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White House honors Peres

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14 Jun 2012 (All day)
White House honors Peres

Israeli president Shimon Peres was at the White House on Wednesday evening to accept the Presidential Medel of Freedom from US President Barak Obama. “I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor,” Peres said. “With this moving gesture, you are paying tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, fought for, a state of their own. We have a solemn responsibility to our own people, to our friends throughout the world, to posterity. The Iranian threat must be stopped. It cannot be delayed.” Addressing the Palestinian issue, Peres added that “Israel and the Palestinians are ripe today to restart. A firm basis already exists. The Palestinians are our closest neighbors. I believe they may become our closest friends.”

South Sudanese officials in Israel to assist in repatriation
Officials from the South Sudan Interior Ministry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to assist in the repatriation of their citizens currently in Israel. Israeli Interior Ministry officials launched “Operation Going Home” on Sunday morning and have rounded up several hundred African migrants, mostly from South Sudan, in an operation which has been criticised both in Israel and abroad. Hundreds of other South Sudanese migrants have signed papers stating their intention to leave soon, and the Israeli government has organized charter flights for them. There are an estimated 700-1,500 South Sudanese in Israel out of the total illegal African migrant population of over 60,000. The majority of others are from Eritrea and Sudan and cannot be deported, because they could be persecuted if they went back. Israel is reportedly in discussion with the UN and other governments to find a solution. Meanwhile an illegal immigrant from Eritrea were arrested this week on suspicion of giving money to Sinai-based terrorist organizations.

‘Son of Hamas author; returns to Israel
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef and the author of a bestselling book entitled “Son of Hamas” landed in Israel Wednesday evening as a guest of Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara.  “They questioned me for a long time but they treated me well and with respect,” said Yousef regarding his treatment by the Interior Ministry at Ben-Gurion Airport. Yousef, as chronicled in his book, converted to Christianity and worked as an agent for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) from 1997 until 2007, preventing dozens of terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada.

London hosts Israeli film festival
Seret, the London Israeli Film & Television Festival, will open this week in London for the first time ever. Israeli expats living in London organized the event, partially in response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel which has many supporters in the British capital. “We wanted to show the UK audience the culture and social diversity in everyday life in Israel through the medium of film and television,” said Odelia Haroush, a former manager of the Ahava cosmetics store in London which has been relentlessly targeted by anti-Israel activists.

PA corruption exposed by an insider
Yasser Arafat’s former financial adviser, Muhammad Rashid, gave another public broadside on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week in an ongoing internal Palestinian political fight which is increasingly playing out in the media. Rashid’s public attacks on Abbas followed a conviction in of him absentia by a PA court on charges of embezzlement of public funds and money-laundering, for which it sentenced Rashid to 15 years in prison and a $15 million fine. In response to this, Rashid has been giving interviews with prominent Arab media outlets about the finances of senior PA officials, including revelations that Abbas and his two sons have tens of millions of dollars stashed away in private bank accounts, much of it money that rightfully belongs to the PA Treasury. A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Abbas has ordered the Palestinian General Intelligence Service to track Rashid down and assassinate him before he reveals even more.


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