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2014-12-05 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

December 5, 2014  RSS feed
Just a Nosh

Text: T T T

Just a nosh...

Oil spill near Eilat called one of Israel’s worst environmental disasters

JERUSALEM -- An oil spill from a pipeline into a desert nature reserve near Eilat is being called one of Israel’s worst environmental disasters. The Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline ruptured Dec. 3 next to the Evrona reserve on the border with Jordan. The break occurred during maintenance work on the pipeline that runs between the Mediterranean and Red seas, according to reports citing a preliminary investigation.

The amount of crude oil spilled is estimated at thousands of gallons, according to the Environment Protection Ministry (EPM).

“Rehabilitation will take months, if not years,” Guy Samet, the director of the southern region for the EPM told Israel Radio. “This is one of the State of Israel’s most serious pollution events. We are still having trouble gauging the full extent of the contamination.”

More than 80 people were treated for respiratory problems due to the spill, mostly over the border in Jordan. Three Israelis were hospitalized for inhaling toxic fumes.

Wife of Alan Gross: ‘I am afraid that we are at the end’

The wife of Alan Gross said “I am afraid that we are at the end” as the American-Jewish contractor marked the completion of his fifth year in a Cuban prison.

Dec. 3 was the first day of Gross’ sixth year of a 15- year prison term for “crimes against the state.”

Gross 65, of Potomac, MD, reportedly is in ill health and has lost more than 100 pounds since his incarceration, and has suffered from painful arthritis.

Judy Gross said in a statement released Wednesday that “Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end.”

In August, Gross said he could no longer take life in prison and reportedly said goodbye to his family.

Gross was leaving Cuba when he was arrested in December 2009 for setting up Internet access for the Jewish community there as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Marie Harf, a deputy State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement issued Dec. 2 that Gross continues to suffer an “unjustified imprisonment in difficult conditions in Cuba.”

“We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba’s allies, to release Alan Gross immediately,” Harf said in a statement.

Cuba has expressed an interest in negotiating a trade of Gross for three Cubans who are jailed in the United States on espionage charges, an idea which the Obama administration has rejected.

British lawmakers call for economic sanctions, boycotts on Israel

British lawmakers called for economic sanctions and boycotts on Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

The calls came during a three-hour debate on Dec. 1 in the Parliament’s House of Commons, the Londonbased Jewish Chronicle reported.

Some 30 lawmakers spoke during the session, most criticizing Israel and several comparing Israeli policies to apartheid in South Africa, according to the Chronicle.

Labor lawmaker Grahame Morris, who led the session, said during the debate that an arms embargo should be placed on Israel in addition to economic sanctions.

The session comes weeks after the House of Commons approved a nonbinding motion to recognize a Palestinian state. The session was required after more than 124,000 British citizens signed a petition calling for the debate, according to the Chronicle.

Report: Israel and Palestinians held backchannel peace negotiations

JERUSALEM – Israel and the Palestinians held secret back-channel peace negotiations, the New Republic reported. The secret negotiations created substantial progress toward an agreement but collapsed when it became clear the Palestinian negotiator did not have the backing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the article.

The secret talks began in 2010 between Yitzhak Molho, an attorney and confidante of Netanyahu, and a confidante of Abbas’ whom the magazine said it did not name for fear for his safety. The talks also were shepherded by Dennis Ross, then-special foreign policy adviser to President Obama.

The secret plan agreed on borders for a new Palestinian state and recognized Israel as the nationstate of the Jewish people while clarifying that it would not harm the rights of Arab citizens of Israel, according to the magazine. The secret negotiators also discussed the Palestinian refugee issue and reached creative wording acceptable to both sides. They could not reach an understanding on Jerusalem, according to the magazine.

Abbas announced at the end of 2013, as the U.S.- backed peace talks were failing, that there were no secret, back-channel negotiations, causing concern in Israel.

“Perhaps what the Israelis considered a serious back channel, the Palestinians – including their man in the room – saw as merely an unofficial exchange of ideas,” the New Republic article said. “Only two people can really solve the mystery, Yitzhak Molho and his negotiating counterpart. Both of them refused to comment.”


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