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Soldier hit on leave dies, bringing Israel’s Gaza war dead to 71

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 05:54

(JTA) — An Israeli solider hit with shrapnel while on leave died, bringing to 71 the total number of people killed on Israel’s side during the most recent Gaza war.

Sgt. Netanel Maman, 22, suffered a shrapnel wound to his head when a rocket fired from Gaza Aug. 22 landed near a car he was in, in his hometown of Gan Yavne in Israel’s south.

He died Friday, the army spokesman said.

Five others wounded in the explosion, including Maman’s brother, Tamir, were treated and released, according to Israeli media.

More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza war launched July 8 and ended this week with a long-term cease-fire agreement.

Cleveland State University signs agreement with University of Haifa

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 05:36

University of Haifa Rector David Faraggi, left, and Cleveland State University President Ronald M. Berkman on Wednesday, Aug. 27, in Cleveland. (Courtesy Cleveland State University)

(JTA) — Cleveland State University and the University of Haifa signed an agreement to develop joint programming.

David Faraggi, rector of Israel’s University of Haifa, signed the memorandum of understanding to formalize their collaborative relationship with CSU President Ronald Berkman on Wednesday in Cleveland.

Faraggi was in Cleveland for a two-day visit to meet with college deans and community leaders.

The two universities plan to develop joint programs in natural sciences, Middle Eastern studies and educational leadership, according to Cleveland State.

During a trip to Israel with a group of students in CSU’s executive MBA program in April, Berkman met with the leaders of several of the universities in Israel, the Cleveland Jewish News reported. The University of Haifa was found to be the most similar to Cleveland State.

Although Cleveland State has numerous international agreements, this is the first time the university has entered into an agreement with a school in Israel, according to the Cleveland Jewish News.

“CSU and the University of Haifa share many similarities as urban universities with diverse students and a commitment to providing a global experience,” Berkman said in a statement. “Cleveland also includes a large and engaged Jewish community. Our students and faculty will gain access to a university deeply rooted in Israel’s innovation-driven economy, and we offer access to exceptional resources in business, urban affairs, natural sciences, health care and biotechnology.”

Netanyahu meets with House Armed Services members

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 15:13

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas to radical Islamists in Iraq and Syria in a meeting with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

“We’re faced with common enemies, radical Islamic terrorists who have absolutely no inhibitions on executing people, terrorizing people, targeting innocent civilians,” Netanyahu said, meeting Thursday with a bipartisan delegation led by chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.). “These are common enemies of Israel, the United States and all the civilized countries. And I think we should take a common stand to defeat them.”

McKeon in his response pledged continuing support for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, credited with deflecting over 80 percent of targeted missiles in the recent war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“On the House Armed Services Committee, we’re happy with the work we’ve been able to do, working with you on [Iron] Dome and how you’ve used it to protect human life,” he said. “And we will keep that bond and that friendship and that special relationship that we have forever.”

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal outlined tensions between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration over Israel’s direct lobbying of Congress and the Pentagon for supplementary weapons supplies.

Sinai terror group beheads four accused of spying for Israel

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:14

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four Egyptian men were beheaded by a Sinai-based terror group for allegedly spying for Israel.

Members of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis said in a video released Thursday that they killed the men because they had been spying for Israel’s Mossad agency.

The headless bodies were found in the Sinai earlier this month, Reuters reported citing security sources.

The video shows men in black masks beheading the accused collaborators as they kneeled on the ground, according to Reuters.

The terror group said that the men provided intelligence to Israel used in a July airstrike on northern Sinai, in which three Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis fighters were killed. The Egyptian army said at the time of the strike that no Israeli aircraft had been in Egyptian airspace.

Two of the executed men served time in Israeli jails for smuggling, and two had said the Mossad had paid them for information, the group asserted in the video.


Holocaust memorial erected in Polish Jewish cemetery

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:11

SEROCK, Poland (JTA) – A Holocaust memorial was erected in the Jewish cemetery in Serock, Poland.

The town of Serock is located some 25 miles north of Warsaw and has a population of about 4,100. No Jews currently live there.

The Jewish cemetery in Serock, which served as a burial place from the 18th century, was destroyed during World War II. The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad helped to build the memorial and rededicate the cemetery.

The dedication of the cemetery memorial and the rededication of the cemetery took place on Wednesday. The memorial is made up of headstones toppled during World War II, which were discovered lying in a pile next to the cemetery.

“One of our most sacred duties is to keep the memory of the crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. So it could never happen again,” Stephen Mull, U.S. ambassador to Poland, said during the ceremony. “The monument in Serock is an important symbol of American support for the Polish efforts to ensure that no one ever again has to be a witness or a victim of the terrible crimes that took place here in Serock and many other cities and towns in Poland and Europe.”

Hannah Champness, 16, spoke on behalf of the descendants of Serock Jews.She said her hero is her grandmother, Diana Albert, who was taken from Serock to the Warsaw Ghetto.

“When the ceremony ends we will go to our homes. But this monument will remain here,” said Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland. “This monument is a testimony to what once was here in the Jewish community.”

Joan Rivers hospitalized, critical but stable

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:20

(JTA) — Joan Rivers is in critical condition, reportedly after she stopped breathing during throat surgery.

Multiple news outlets on Thursday quoted New York City police as saying that the comedienne and talk show host, 81, was in critical but stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

A report on the gossip website, TMZ, said Rivers was undergoing throat surgery at a clinic when she stopped breathing.

Rivers, a stand up comic and a reality star with a career launched in the 1950s, in recent weeks drew attention for her vigorous defenses of Israel during its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Football broadcaster suspended for Jewish joke

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:19

(JTA) — San Diego Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer was suspended from announcing the team’s final preseason game for invoking a Jewish stereotype in an exchange with his on-air colleague.

In the waning moments of Aug. 24th’s Chargers-49ers preseason football game, play-by-play man Josh Lewin said if he were paying to attend he would not have left early, as many fans did, because of the high price of the tickets.

Bauer responded, “You know how copper wire was invented? Somebody dropped a penny between Josh and his family member.”  Lewin is Jewish.

Bauer’s suspension was imposed by ClearChannel, the owner of Rock 105.3 KIOZ, the radio station that airs the team’s games.

“Although we know Hank had no ill-will behind his remarks, we agree the comments were inappropriate. Per Clear Channel’s decision, Hank will not be broadcasting Thursday night’s game,” the team said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Bauer has been the color commentator for the Chargers radio broadcasts in San Diego since 1998. He played for the Chargers between 1977 and 1982.

Bauer apologized on Tuesday on Twitter.

“I made a hurtful insinuation that I regret and I would like to express how sorry I am. My poor choice of words were unfortunately open for negative interpretation, please know it was never my intention to offend any of my listeners. I hope you accept my apology,” Bauer wrote.



Body found in Jerusalem Forest reportedly confirmed that of missing N.J. yeshiva student

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:14

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel Police reportedly confirmed that a dead body found in Ein Kerem near the Jerusalem Forest is that of  Aaron Sofer, a yeshiva student from New Jersey who went missing in the area a week ago.

The body was found in a shallow ditch a the side of the road in the neighborhood, and that his hat and glasses were found nearby, WABC in Lakewood, N.J. reported, citing Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

The body reportedly has decomposed, making identifying the cause of death difficult.

The Hebrew-language haredi Orthodox news website Behadrey Haredim reported the cause of death as dehydration.

Hatzolah announced via Twitter late Thursday afternoon that the body of Sofer, 23, was found in the Jerusalem forest and that the search had been called off.

Israeli Police said that a body has been found, but did not say more. The body was sent to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for positive identification.

Sofer was last seen at noon Friday when he and a friend began climbing down a steep incline on a hiking trail. The friend called police several hours later and reported Sofer missing.

Prayer vigils have been held in Lakewood since Sofer’s disappearance.

Sofer’s parents, who traveled to Israel after Sofer went missing, released a video Tuesday on social media begging for information leading to his return and offering the reward of 100,000 shekels, or about $28,000.

In June, a Palestinian teen was abducted and then taken to the Jerusalem Forest, where he was knocked out and burned to death. The murder is being treated as a revenge attack for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.

43 UN peacekeepers kidnapped on Israel-Syria border

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:57

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 43 troops from the United Nations peacekeeping force on the border between Syria and Israel were kidnapped by rebels fighting against Syrian government-backed troops.

The peacekeepers, who were abducted Wednesday during a period of increased fighting between the rebels and the Syrian army on the border at the Quneitra crossing, reportedly are troops from the Philippines.

In addition, another 81 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, or UNDOF, are being restricted to their positions, the United Nations said in a statement released Thursday. U.N. peacekeepers on the Israel-Syrian border have been detained in the past. They were released unharmed.

Peacekeepers serving with UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement agreement between Syria and Israel after the 1973 war. In June, the U.N. Security Council extended the mission’s mandate for another six months, until December 31, 2014. There are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries — Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, and the Philippines — serving in UNDOF.

The Philippines announced last week that it would recall its peacekeeping force, numbering 331, at the end of its tour of duty in October due to the difficulty in securing the peacekeepers. In September 2013, 21 Filipino peacekeepers were kidnapped by Syrian rebels and released a week later.

The rebels and Syrian forces in Syria’s more than three-year civil war fought Wednesday near the border for control of the crossing. Several mortars and gunfire hit Israeli territory; an Israeli military officer and a civilian were injured by the live fire. The IDF responded by striking two Syrian military positions in the Golan, according to the IDF.

In addition, farmers in northern Israel have been told to stay off farmland near the border and tourist sites on the border were closed, according to reports.

A rebel spokesman told the Associated Press Thursday that they are focused on fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, and pose no threat to Israel.

British Jews, Muslims issue joint statement for peace and tolerance

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 08:00

(JTA) — Jewish and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom issued a joint statement, calling for peace in the Middle East and “constructive dialogue” between the two groups in Britain.

“In spite of the situation in the Middle East, we must continue to work hard for good community relations in the UK. We must not import conflict. We must export peace instead,” read the statement issued Wednesday by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain.

Called “unprecedented” by the London-based Jewish Chronicle, the statement also contends that  “the targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions.”

The statement condemned “any expression of Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any form of racism,” including during rallies and on social media.

It also called for a redoubling of efforts “to work together and get to know one another.”

“We need constructive dialogue to limit our disagreements and identify the widest possible range of areas for cooperation. There are more issues that unite us than divide us,” the message concluded.

Meanwhile, a rally to demand zero tolerance against anti-Semitism in London and throughout the United Kingdom is scheduled to be held Sunday outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism announced Thursday.

The rally comes after four synagogues in Britain were vandalized in the past month, Jews were attacked on the street, and a Jewish graveyard and Holocaust memorials were vandalized, also all in the last month. An uptick in anti-Semitic acts occurred during Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza.

“British Jews are afraid. Citizens are looking to the police and government to enforce the law with zero tolerance against anti-Semites, as they do in other cases of racism. It is only through zero tolerance that the tide of anti-Semitism can be turned,” Jonathan Sacerdoti of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said in a statement.

Report: Netanyahu, Abbas met secretly in Amman

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 07:24

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met secretly in Amman days before the current cease-fire with Gaza, a Jordanian daily reported.

The meeting reported by the independent Amman-based Arabic newspaper Al-Ghad was part of a gathering of senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, held at the invitation of King Abdullah II.

No Israeli officials have confirmed the report.

As part of the Egyptian-brokered, open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority will coordinate reconstruction efforts in Gaza with international donors.

New Birthright program is courting U.S. Hebrew speakers

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 05:25

(JTA) — Birthright Israel and the Israeli-American Council will offer a new Birthright program track for Israeli-American young adults called IAC Shelanu.

The free trip for children of Israelis, which will be funded by the council, will be conducted in Hebrew.

The Birthright program takes Jewish 18- to 26-year-olds on free 10-day trips to Israel.

The impetus of the trip is a recent study commissioned by the council which found that about 17 percent of second generation Israeli-Americans are married to non-Jews and Hebrew fluency drops from 53 percent to 19 percent for those living in the United States for more than 10 years.

The Israeli-American Council serves an estimated 750,000 Israelis in the United States with a large variety of programs and events.

PA wants foreign nationals serving in IDF investigated for war crimes

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 05:18

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on foreign governments whose citizens serve in the Israel Defense Forces to investigate them for war crimes in Gaza.

Malki sent a letter to the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, South Africa and five Latin American countries on Tuesday, as well as to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reminding the countries that under international law they are required to investigate their citizen’s alleged violations of international law, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Wednesday.

He also called on the countries to warn their foreign nationals that they could be investigated and prosecuted.

The letter calls on the countries to identify their nationals serving in the IDF, notify them of their possible war crimes, and to investigate and possibly prosecute them.

Malki’s letter alleges that Israeli troops have “committed war crimes during the repeated assaults on Gaza in the present, as in the past. They have engaged in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such actions have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, and massive destruction to civilian properties, in grave breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

The letter singled out Israeli citizens with dual citizenship in a second country, non-Israeli volunteers through the IDF’s “Mahal” programs and volunteers in the Sar-El program, which brings Jewish volunteers from around the world to Israel to volunteer at military bases around the country.

Two American citizens volunteering in the IDF were killed during Israel’s operation in Gaza.

The United Nations has established an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes and human rights violations committed by both sides during the Gaza conflict. Israel has not yet agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Israeli company ReWalk going public

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 05:07

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli company ReWalk Robotics, which builds exoskeletons to help people with spinal cord injuries stand and walk, is going public.

The company, which changed its name recently from Argo Medical Technologies to the name of its signature product, announced this week that it will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange next month.

The company recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the ReWalk device, a 44-pound exoskeleton that allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to walk, stand and sit with minimal exertion. ReWalk is already in use in Europe and was featured in 2010 on the popular television drama “Glee” while ReWalk was undergoing clinical trials in the United States.

Released in September 2012, ReWalk is the brainchild of Amit Goffer, an Israeli computer scientist and inventor who became paralyzed after a 1997 car accident. Although he cannot use the ReWalk himself because he lacks the use of his arms, he began designing the device with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Israeli government because, he said, he was frustrated at the lack of alternatives to a wheelchair.

The device functions through motors attached to the legs that can propel a disabled person at a slow walking speed. A tilt sensor, the same technology used on Segway electric transporters, can sense whether the user wants to move forward or back, and stand or sit. Poles are used for added support.

Arab-Israeli killer in Michigan prison seeking deportation to Israel

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:55

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli immigrant to the United States who is serving a life sentence for murder has sued the U.S. government in a bid to be deported to Israel.

Elias Abuelazam, 37, a Christian Arab from Ramla, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in a Michigan federal court saying he committed a murder in Israel in 2009, months before he came to Flint, Mich., and stabbed a man to death.

“I have written letters to the Israeli authorities asking them to prepare the necessary warrants and extradition documents to bring me back to Israel where I will stand trial and be sent to prison,” Abuelazam said in the lawsuit, The Associated Press reported.

Abuelazam, who lived in the United States for several years as a child, reportedly was living legally in the United States on a green card obtained when he married a U.S. citizen. He was accused of killing three people in three U.S. states during the summer of 2010, and was arrested on Aug. 1 of that year in Atlanta after boarding a flight to Israel. He claimed that demons told him to commit the attacks, but a jury rejected the insanity plea.

Abuelazam was not tried for the other two murders because he was given a life sentence without parole in the Michigan case.

Ed Zeineh, Abuelazam’s attorney, said his client could serve his sentence in Israel if Israel would take him.

“I don’t believe this is a mechanism to get out from a life sentence,” Zeineh told AP. “Abuelazam was and is mentally ill, and I believe the structure of the correctional system in Israel is able to better treat mental illness.”

Israeli civilian injured by Syrian mortar on Golan Heights

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:31

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli man was wounded when a mortar shell fired from Syria struck Israel’s Golan Heights.

The mortar was believed to be part of the battles between Syrian rebels and government forces from the country’s more than 3-year-old civil war.

The man, 52, was taken to the hospital. He was described by the Israel Defense Forces spokesman as “lightly injured.”

Syrian rebels reportedly seized control of the Quneitra crossing at the Golan Heights on Wednesday.

Farmers in northern Israel were told to stay off farmland near the border and tourist sites on the border were closed, according to reports.

Also Wednesday, an Israeli army officer was struck in the chest by gunfire from Syria. In addition, six mortars fired from Syria struck the Israeli Golan Heights, damaging two cars.

Israel responded by striking two Syrian military positions in the Golan, the IDF said.


Netanyahu: Hamas ‘begged’ for cease-fire

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:13

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas did not achieve any of its demands in the wake of Israel’s operation in Gaza and “begged” for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, speaking Wednesday in his first public statements since an open-ended cease-fire went into effect the previous evening, also said the Israeli military achieved its goals.

He said Hamas’ demands included promises of an airport, seaport and the release of prisoners in Israeli jails, and reiterated that Hamas “did not get any of its demands,” at a news conference and address to the nation. Several of the demands reportedly will be discussed in a second phase of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire after one month of quiet on the Gaza border.

Netanyahu emphasized that Hamas was struck hard, including the deaths of about 1,000 fighters, and the destruction of tunnels and rocket launchers. He called it the worst blow to Hamas since its founding.

The Israeli leader asserted that the goals of the military were met: to hurt Hamas and to bring prolonged quiet to Israel’s southern communities.

“We brought in ground troops for that reason,” Netanyahu said. “When the mission was complete, we withdrew our troops so as not to give Hamas the opportunity to kill or kidnap them.”

Netanyahu said his government will try to take advantage of “the new diplomatic opportunities” created through the Gaza operation.

In remarks that were echoed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and the Israeli military’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, Netanyahu praised the strength and unity of the Israeli public, notably the residents of the South.

Yaalon and Gantz said the Israeli military and the government would do everything in their power to return the remains of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to Israel for burial. Both were determined to be killed in action, with their remains held by Hamas.

Gantz called the loss of 64 Israeli soldiers and six civilians “a painful price that we are familiar with.”

Several Israeli Cabinet members and lawmakers have been publicly critical of Netanyahu for agreeing to a cease-fire. Among the most vocal is Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said in a statement posted on his Facebook page, “So long as Hamas controls Gaza, we cannot guarantee safety for the citizens of Israel and we cannot reach a political arrangement.

“Hamas is not a partner for any sort of deal, neither diplomatic nor security. We cannot trust contemptible murderers.”

Roman Vishniac archive chronicling pre-Shoah Eastern Europe goes online

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:53

(JTA) — An archive of photographs taken by Roman Vishniac documenting the life of pre-Holocaust Eastern European Jews is available online.

The archive of the Russian-American photographer also documents the rise of the Nazis and the party’s effect on Jewish life in Europe.

It is a joint project of the International Center of Photography in New York and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The database includes most of Vishniac’s 10,000 negatives, of which only about 350 have previously been published, according to the Holocaust museum.

The project has called on the public to assist in identifying people and places in the photographs.

“Your efforts can help others learn about the vanished world documented by Vishniac,” the website says.

Vishniac, who died in 1990, was born to a Russian-Jewish family and grew up in Moscow. His family left Russia after the revolution for Berlin.

In 1935, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee hired Vishniac to travel to Eastern Europe and take photographs documenting Jewish poverty and relief efforts to be used in its fundraising campaigns. Four years later he pursued other JDC assignments in Western Europe and worked as a freelance photographer there.

After the German invasion of France, he was arrested and sent to an internment camp. With help from the JDC and the remainder of his family’s assets, he secured release and immigrated with his wife and two children to the United States via Portugal in December 1940.

Israeli toddler riding in car hurt in West Bank rock throwing

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:42

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli toddler traveling in a car in the West Bank was injured by rocks thrown by masked Palestinians.

Dozens of Palestinians threw “rocks and heavy furniture” at passing Israeli cars at the Yitzhar Junction in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces told the Times of Israel.

Some of the rocks hit the car carrying the toddler, which led to the injuries. The toddler was taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

Three children also were injured Wednesday when Palestinians threw rocks at cars passing Wadi Joz in eastern Jerusalem, Israel Police said.

State Dept. calls for due process for U.S. citizen held in Israel

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:06

(JTA) — The U.S. State Department called for the speedy resolution to the case of a U.S. citizen being held in an Israeli jail.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was arrested on July 28 for allegedly throwing fireworks at Israel Police. He is a cousin of a Palestinian teen by the same name who was kidnapped and murdered in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2 by three Israelis in a revenge attack.

Asked about Khdeir’s situation at Tuesday’s daily news briefing, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance and that the consulate is in contact with Khdeir’s family and lawyer. A consular official visited him most recently on Aug.14.

Khdeir, whose age and U.S. hometown were not given, has not yet been indicted.

“We have raised Mr. Khdeir’s case with the Government of Israel. We are concerned that U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest. We are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appear to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Psaki said, echoing a statement made by the department on Aug. 20.

Israeli police arrested Tariq Abu Khdeir, an American citizen and cousin of the murdered teen, at a protest on July 5. Tariq Abu Khdeir, who has since returned to the United States, was beaten by police while he was held.

Psaki added that the role of the State Department “is to ensure that Mr. Khdeir is being afforded due process under local laws and international standards. We will continue to seek access to Mr. Khdeir as long as he is detained, and we will remain in contact with his family.”