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Today’s Top Stories
1. BREAKING NEWS: Shortly before today’s roundup was published, it was reported that the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamal al-Jamal, died of injuries from an explosion at his Prague residence. A second person was also hospitalized. According to Reuters:
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said ambassador Jamal al-Jamal had been trying to open a safe that was recently moved to his new home and a Czech government source told Reuters that the explosion was probably caused by a security device on the unit.
2. Israel broached the idea of transferring a cluster of Israeli Arab towns to the PA in exchange for annexing West Bank settlement blocs. At stake is an area known as The Triangle, where 300,000 Israeli Arabs live in towns like Kafr Qara, Umm al-Fahm, Tayibe and Qalansawe. What do you think? The Times of Israel writes:
Israeli legal officials have begun investigating legal aspects of such an arrangement, the newspaper said. It added that the Americans have apparently not assented to the idea, and that the Palestinians are likely to reject it.
The idea is aimed at addressing two central issues in a possible peace agreement: first, land swaps between Israel and a Palestinian state that would enable Israel to expand its sovereignty to encompass major West Bank settlements, while compensating the Palestinians with territory that is currently part of sovereign Israel; and second, preserving Israel’s Jewish majority.
3. John Kerry is going to push a framework deal with Israeli and Palestinian officials while in the region. According to AP, there won’t be much hard info about Kerry’s framework proposal:
Any agreed framework would not be a signed document, but would address all core issues, including the borders between Israel and a future Palestine; security; Palestinian refugees; and conflicting claims to the holy city of Jerusalem, the official said. The official also said if the parties agreed on a framework for negotiating a final peace deal, it might not be made public to avoid exposing the leaders to political pressures at home.
But the NY Times says the framework might be made public “to prepare Israelis and Palestinians for what a potential peace treaty might look like.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• Once again, Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to bring in the UN against Israeli settlements, even though he committed to the US not to internationalize the conflict.
• Headline of the Day, from Buzzfeed:
• Sign of the times in Hamastan:
• As 2013 ends, 91 universities rejected the ASA’s Israel boycott.
- Soccer player’s anti-Semitic gesture has world asking, What’s a quenelle?
- Mideast peace and Iranian nukes: the insight and ignorance of linkage.
- US to allocate $440 million to the PA.