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Gunter Grass, Nobel Prize-winning author who served in Nazis’ Waffen-SS, dies

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 08:12

(JTA) — Gunter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning German author who admitted in 2006 that he had served in the Nazis’ notorious Waffen-SS, has died.

Grass died Monday in a hospital in the northern German city of Luebeck. He was 87.

Grass wrote more than 30 plays and novels, as well as books of poems, essays and memoirs. He is best known for his debut novel, “The Tin Drum,” dealing with the rise of Nazism in Danzig, Poland.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

In 2012, Grass was declared a persona non grata in Israel a week after publishing the poem “What Must Be Said,” which claimed that Israel was endangering world peace by threatening Iran with a nuclear attack. In interviews after the poem was published, Grass reiterated the claim about Israel and criticized the German government for its support of the Jewish state.

In a 2006 interview ahead of the publication of his autobiography, “While Skinning an Onion,” Grass admitted that he served in the Waffen-SS, a paramilitary force he was drafted into at 16. He said in the book that he tried to volunteer for the submarine corps at 15. Grass had previously and openly talked about his membership in the Hitler Youth at age 10.

“It weighed on me. My silence during all these years is one reason that led me to write this book. It had to come out,” he said in an interview with a German newspaper.

Grass criticized the role of average Germans in the rise of the Nazis and condemned the reunification of East and West Germany, saying it would lead again to the rise of a kind of Nazism.

Dutch Jewish group decries honoring of soldier who fought for Hitler

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 06:02

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — Dutch Jews protested the commemoration of a soldier who fought for Adolf Hitler on a monument bearing names of Holocaust victims.

The Federative Jewish Netherlands, or FJN, called the inclusion of the soldier’s name to the monument in the town of Geffen, located 60 miles southeast of Amsterdam, “both shocking and cowardly,” the Eindhovens Dagblad reported last week.

In 2012, then-Geffen Mayor Roel Augusteijn announced the scrapping of a controversial plan to unveil a monument bearing the names of German soldiers who died fighting for Nazi Germany along with Holocaust victims and Allied soldiers.

Hotly contested by Jewish organizations including FJN, the so-called Reconciliation Monument’s original intention had become too controversial to be realized, Augusteijn said. Instead, a monument with no names was unveiled.

But the monument was redesigned to include one headstone carrying the names of Jewish Holocaust victims and another bearing the name of a local man who died while fighting for Germany’s Wehrmacht under Hitler, the Eindhovens Dagblad reported.

The additional headstones were placed in December with no media coverage. FJN was informed about it earlier this month.

“There can be no reconciliation between perpetrators and victims,”  FJN chair Herman Loonstein told the local daily. “Certainly not in one stroke, as was done here with the placing of two adjacent stones.”

A member of the local historical society defended the move, saying “the names of all victims from the village are listed together” on previously erected monuments.

The Geffen controversy comes amid a polarizing debate in the Netherlands about commemoration of World War II fatalities.

In 2012, the national commemoration committee of the Netherlands scrapped a poem from its main annual ceremony because it was seen to suggest that Nazis deserved to be commemorated along with their victims. The poem was written by a high school student to his late great-uncle, who died while fighting as an SS officer.

Also that year, a Dutch court issued an injunction against the commemoration of German soldiers in the town of Vorden.

The country’s leading watchdog on anti-Semitism, the Center for Documentation and Information on Israel, has called for official commemoration authorities to adopt clear criteria that exclude the commemoration of soldiers and other representatives of Nazi Germany or its allies in ceremonies in memory of people who died during or because of World War II.

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West visiting Israel, baptize daughter

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 05:52

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Reality television star Kim Kardashian and her husband, rapper Kanye West, landed in Israel for a private visit, during which they baptized their daughter.

The couple and their nearly 2-year-old daughter, North West, as well as Kardashian’s sister Khloe, landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday following a roots visit to Armenia. Photos of their arrival were featured on Israeli news websites and on news programs.

The celebrities and their entourage had originally planned to stay at the new Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, but reportedly switched to another hotel after their plans were leaked to the public.

An Israeli security firm that specializes in protecting VIPs reportedly was hired for the visit.

The group is scheduled to visit the Western Wall and other Jerusalem sites, where footage reportedly will be shot for the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” The sisters reportedly will make a trip to the Dead Sea and travel from Israel to Jordan.

Later Monday, Ynet reported that the purpose of the visit was to baptize North that day at the Cathedral of St. James in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter. They were reportedly scheduled to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre following the baptism.

The couple also met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Reports emerged in January that Kardashian and her two sisters were planning to buy a Tel Aviv apartment worth $30 million.

Jean-Marie Le Pen quits French election after conflict with daughter

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 05:19

(JTA) — Far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen said he will not run in regional elections following a conflict with his daughter, who heads the National Front party he founded.

Le Pen told the French magazine Le Figaro that he will not run this year in the southeast Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, “even though I think I am the best candidate.”

“If I must make a sacrifice for the future of the movement, I would not be the one to cause it damage,” he said.

His daughter, Marine Le Pen, said last week that she would oppose allowing her father to run for office as a member of the party after the elder Le Pen slammed her in an interview for criticizing his remarks diminishing the Holocaust.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, told the far-right weekly Rivarol earlier this month that he stood by his remark that the Nazi gas chambers were a “detail” of World War II, and accused his daughter of betrayal for criticizing him. He also defended the French Nazi collaborator Phillipe Petain and called on France to join Russia to defend the “white world.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen remains honorary president of the National Front and retains a seat in the European Parliament.

Marine Le Pen, who has sought to gain mainstream acceptance for the anti-immigrant National Front by eliminating her father’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, responded by saying of her father, according to The Wall Street Journal, “His role as honorary president (of the party) doesn’t authorize him to take the National Front hostage, with crude provocation that seemingly aims to harm me but unfortunately deals a heavy blow to the whole movement.”

Marine Le Pen has called a meeting of the National Front’s executive committee for April 17 to discuss her father’s role in the party going forward.

Israeli mobile game publisher TabTale purchases American developer

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 04:27

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli mobile game publisher TabTale acquired a U.S. mobile game developer for children.

TabTale, a top 10 worldwide mobile game publisher headquartered in Tel Aviv, announced Sunday that it had purchased Sunstorm Games, a Las Vegas-based firm that has released more than 100 games. It is the Israeli company’s first American acquisition and its third foreign buy this year.

No purchase price was disclosed.

Founded in 2010, TabTale has operations in seven countries, including Israel, the United States and China. It has more than 350 applications, 40 million monthly active users and 600 million downloads worldwide.

Hillary Clinton’s White House bid sparks examinations of her Israel record

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 15:02

(JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose complex dealings with Israel date back to her days as first lady of Arkansas, announced her second bid for the White House.

Clinton’s announcement Sunday made headlines in Israel, with newspapers running front-page chronologies of her relations with the country dating back to the 1980s, when as the first lady of Arkansas she introduced an Israeli literacy program to the state, through her years in the White House as first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state.

The chronologies included low points, such as her embrace in 1998 of Suha Arafat after the Palestinian leader’s wife claimed in remarks that Israel was deliberately poisoning Palestinian children, and high points like Clinton’s endorsement of Israel’s security barrier while she was a senator.

Also highlighted was her endorsement of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, albeit with caveats suggesting that she was more skeptical of the Iranian regime than the president.

Clinton entered the 2016 presidential race on Sunday afternoon with a two-minute video posted on her campaign website and on YouTube. She is seen as the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

The video abjured foreign policy and dealt mostly with Americans facing tough economic times and the aspirations of middle-class Americans.

“Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion,” Clinton said at the end of the video. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Clinton, who served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama in his first term, will soon head to Iowa and New Hampshire, the sites of the first primaries. While serving as a senator from 2001 to 2009, she lost the Democratic nomination to Obama in 2008.

In December, during the Saban Forum in Washington — an annual forum of Israeli and American leaders — Clinton endorsed Obama’s positions on talks with Iran and a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Nobody can argue with the commitment of this administration to Israel’s security,” she said at the forum.

In a late March conversation with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Clinton said that the relationship between the United States and Israel should return to a “constructive footing.” The ties have frayed of late over the nuclear framework agreement signed by world powers, including the U.S., and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress deriding Obama’s policy on Iran.

“Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” Hoenlein said in a statement regarding the conversation.

“We must ensure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue,” he also said, citing Clinton.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, was president from 1993 to 2001.

In Budapest, thousands mark the Holocaust at March of the Living

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 14:50

(JTA) — Thousands came out for the the March of the Living in Budapest, where World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder  reminded the Hungarian government to speak out against anti-Semitism.

Lauder also denounced the far-right Jobbik party, the second largest in the country, as “extremist” on Sunday at the annual commemoration of the Holocaust in the Hungarian capital.

“The March of the Living also reminds us what happens when the world is silent,” Lauder, the event’s keynote speaker, told the crowd, which was estimated as high as 10,000. “We will never be silent again. And when it comes to anti-Semitism, the Hungarian government must never be silent.

“Today, when the world looks at Hungary, it does not see its great culture. It does not see its beautiful cities. It does not remember its great and glorious past. Today the world sees Hungary and they see Jobbik. They see an extremist party that promotes hate.”

Jobbik is behind only the ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

About 560,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, most of them in 1944. Today, Hungary’s Jewish community numbers around 100,000.

Lauder stressed that the Hungarian Jewish community is “alive and well.”

“And the Hungarian Jewish community is not going anywhere. We march today to say: We are here. We are alive. And here we will remain,” he said.

Lauder said the Jewish community had contributed much to Hungarian society.

Sabra recalls classic hummus due to possible contamination

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 11:21

(JTA) — The Sabra Dipping Company recalled 30,000 cases of its classic hummus due to a possible listeria contamination.

The hummus tested positive for the food-borne bacteria listeria monocytogenes, which is potentially fatal and can affect the elderly, pregnant women, babies and those with compromised immune systems.

No one has become ill from the Sabra hummus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The voluntary recall was announced on April 9.

The bacteria were discovered during a routine, random sample collected at a retail location on March 30 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Sabra company said.

Those with questions should call (888) 957-2272.

Suspect arrested in Berlin murder of Israeli man

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 09:39

(JTA) — An Albanian man was arrested in connection with the murder of an Israeli in Berlin.

The suspect was taken into custody late Friday in the Czech Republic near the German border. Germany will seek to extradite him, The Associated Press reported.

The victim, who was identified as Yossi Damari days after his body was found on April 5 amid the rubble of construction being done at a church, reportedly checked into a hostel the day before he was murdered.

Damari, 22, reportedly had visited Israel’s embassy in Berlin in the days prior to his murder requesting financial help in order to return to Israel. He also reportedly had asked the Jewish community for food and a place to sleep.

The Chabad rabbi in Berlin, Yehuda Teichtal, told the NRG news website that Damari was supposed to have attended a seder at the local Chabad house but never showed up.

Damari’s body, discovered with his passport, was so badly beaten that it was difficult to make a positive identification.

Berlin Prosecutor Martin Steltner told the German media that neither robbery nor nationalism appear to be motives in the killing.

Netanyahu offers alternatives to Iran deal following latest Obama criticism

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 09:08

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel offered alternatives on the nuclear framework agreement with Iran.

Netanyahu released a statement on Sunday with the changes to the deal signed earlier this month, a day after President Barack Obama told reporters that Netanyahu had not provided any alternatives.

The Israeli leader called on the international community to negotiate a better agreement.

In his statement, Netanyahu criticized Iran for insisting in the wake of the agreement on maintaining its nuclear capabilities and refusing to allow nuclear inspections, as well as its continuing aggression in the region.

“Let me reiterate again the two main components of the alternative to this bad deal: First, instead of allowing Iran to preserve and develop its nuclear capabilities, a better deal would significantly roll back these capabilities – for example, by shutting down the illicit underground facilities that Iran concealed for years from the international community,” he said. “Second, instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of these restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.”

On Saturday, Obama spoke at a news conference at the Americas Summit in Panama City, Panama, on Netanyahu’s failure to come up with alternatives.

“The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it, I think he’s made that very clear,” Obama said. “I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.”

The Netanyahu statement came the same day that Haaretz reported, citing two unnamed Israeli officials, that Netanyahu said at an April 3 meeting of the security Cabinet that if a final agreement is signed between Iran and the world powers, the greatest concern is that Tehran will fully implement it without violations.

Netanyahu reportedly said at the meeting — hours before the start of the Passover seder and a day after the framework agreement was signed — that he was concerned that Iran will not break the agreement, waiting until it expires in 10-15 years and the country is not considered a threat to restart its nuclear program without the threat of international monitors or sanctions.

The security Cabinet decided at the meeting to try to persuade the Obama administration to improve the agreement. Most ministers, however, reportedly believe the best way to halt or alter the agreement is through Congress, which is where the most effort will be spent.

Vandalism strikes Jewish deli in Copenhagen

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:58

(JTA) — A Jewish deli and kosher supermarket in Copenhagen was vandalized.

A window of the store was smashed and anti-Semitic epithets were scrawled on the wall, including “Jewish pigs,” The Local reported, citing the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

The attack, which was discovered on Thursday at Slagter & Delikatesse, comes less than two months after a terror attack outside a Copenhagen synagogue left a Jewish volunteer security guard dead.

In the wake of the synagogue attack, a guard protects the deli during business hours, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“All vandalism is serious, but it is obvious that when it comes to this particular location, there will be an extra focus on it,” police investigator Kenneth Jensen told Berlingske.

Also Thursday, Denmark marked the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of the country, flying its flag at half-mast in front of the Danish Parliament.

Arrested Islamist terror cell plotted bombing at Barcelona Jewish bookstore

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 07:16

(JTA) — Seven suspected members of an Islamist terror cell were arrested for plotting to bomb a Jewish bookstore in Barcelona.

The cell also was planning attacks on local synagogues, as well as other public buildings in the Catalonia region, according to reports.

Eleven people were arrested in total in northeastern Catalonia on April 8, and seven are under formal investigation, Reuters reported. They called themselves Islamic Brotherhood for Jihad Predication.

The terror cell is similar to the Islamic State movement.

Eric Lynn, one-time Obama campaign Jewish liaison, launches bid for Congress

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 05:40

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Eric Lynn, a former liaison between the Obama presidential campaign and the Jewish community, is running for Congress in Florida.

Lynn, a 36-year-old Democrat, launched a challenge last week against the Republican incumbent, Rep. David Jolly, in the Tampa-area district. Lynn, who graduated from high school in St. Petersburg, now works in the district as a defense industry consultant.

Jolly is considered vulnerable. He won the district in 2014 following the death of longtime incumbent Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young, but the district favored Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Lynn parlayed his role in 2008 getting out the Jewish vote for Obama into senior advisory jobs in government, first at the State Department and then at the Pentagon.

His pitch to voters will emphasize the heavy presence in the district of military bases and families.

“I have been profoundly humbled by our brave soldiers, their selflessness and sense of duty,” Lynn said in his first fundraising letter. “I could never match them, but I’d like to bring a dose of ‘country first’ to Congress.”

Lynn once served as an intern at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Kerry and top negotiator meet Jewish leaders to discuss Iran deal

Sun, 04/12/2015 - 05:12

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Obama administration officials met for two hours with U.S. Jewish community leaders to discuss the emerging Iran nuclear deal.

Represented at the April 8 meeting were Secretary of State John Kerry and his undersecretary, Wendy Sherman, who is leading the U.S. side in the nuclear talks.

On the Jewish organizational side, representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative streams were present.

A State Department official said the meeting was part of the administration’s regular outreach to various civil society groups in the United States.

Kerry, the official told JTA, discussed “the U.S.-Israel relationship and the latest developments in our negotiations with the EU, P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program.” P5+1 refers to the countries negotiating with Iran, including the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

Kerry stayed for an hour in the room, which was cleared of leavened goods in honor of Passover week, and Sherman remained for an additional hour.

The Jewish officials present would not describe the content of the off-the-record meeting, but they did say that they raised concerns about the deal.

“Both the secretary and the undersecretary articulated with depth, rigor and passion the deal and explained it,” one Jewish official said. “There was an opportunity for real engagement. Secretary Kerry was reaching out to those who need more engagement and convincing.”

The deal outline presented earlier this month by Iran and the major powers exchanges sanctions relief for restrictions aimed at keeping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Israel and a number of Jewish groups have expressed concerns about the degree of the sanctions relief and whether the structures in place go far enough to keep Iran from achieving nuclear capability.

Heirs of Nazi victim to get compensation from sale of looted Monet

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 14:20

(JTA) – The heirs of a French Jewish art dealer killed in a Nazi concentration camp will get a piece of the upcoming sale at Christie’s of a Monet painting looted by the Nazis and acquired after the war by a Swiss collector.

The painting, “Haystacks at Giverny,” was painted by Claude Monet in 1885 and is estimated to be worth $12 million to $18 million. “Haystacks,” one of several similar paintings of a pasture near the artist’s French home, was acquired by Rene Gimpel, a French art dealer associated with the intellectual elite of his time and a frequent visitor to Monet’s home, according to The New York Times.

After the outbreak of World War II, Gimpel was detained by the Nazi-allied Vichy government in France and shipped off to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he died. Gimpel’s grandson, who also is named Rene Gimpel and is an art dealer, believes his grandfather was forced to sell the Monet under duress, according to the Times. The artwork surfaced in Geneva during the war and eventually ended up in the hands of a private Swiss collector.

Under the terms of a restitution agreement, the elder Gimpel’s heirs will receive an undisclosed amount from the auction house sale, which is to take place in May.

Gimpel told the Times that his family has reached restitution agreements on two other artworks that had belonged to his grandfather.

Israeli, 24, dies in Peru zip-line accident

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 09:16

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli hiker was killed when a zip-line platform collapsed in Peru.

Max Sela, 24, of Shoham in central Israel, died at the scene of the accident at the Cola de Mono zip-lining site in the Machu Picchu region. The zip-line is a major tourist attraction.

Sela was climbing the ramp to the platform, which was suspended about 260 feet in the air, when it collapsed. The two friends with whom he was traveling were not hurt.

He was on a trip to South America after being released from army service, a typical Israeli rite of passage. Sela had visited Brazil and Argentina over the past three months.

Jewish groups hail guilty verdict in Boston Marathon bombing case

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 08:12

(JTA) — Jewish groups praised the guilty verdict in the Boston Marathon bombing case.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted on all 30 charges Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Boston. The explosions at the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon set by Tsarnaev and his brother killed three, including an 8-year-old boy, and also injured more than 240, including 17 who lost limbs.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 24, was killed four days after the bombing in a shootout with police. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer also was gunned down in the aftermath of the attack.

At least 17 of the charges on which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty can carry a death sentence. The sentencing phase could begin as early as next week.

“The jury’s guilty verdict against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sends a resounding message that those who engage in such acts of terrorism will be held accountable and pay a hefty price,” Robert Trestan, the Anti-Defamation League’s New England regional director, said in a statement. “It is clear the jury agreed with the prosecution’s assessment that Tsarnaev and his brother worked together in plotting a coldblooded, intentional, calculated terrorist act and he therefore should be held to account for his actions.”

Trestan also said that the brothers were radicalized in part by “online terrorist propaganda geared toward young American audiences,” which shows “the seriousness of the threat from Islamic extremists.”

The American Jewish Committee in a statement hailed the jury for convicting Tsarnaev.

“The horror carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers was a wake-up call that Americans must be vigilant and united in confronting the ongoing threat of jihadist terrorism that  continues to challenge our country and the larger world,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“While the guilty verdict is very important in bringing some justice, we will forever remember the victims — Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lu Lingzi who perished in the bombings, as well as Sean Collier, the MIT campus officer shot dead, and the more than 240 who were wounded, many with significant injuries.”

The verdict came after 11 hours of deliberations over two days.

Armed Palestinian police expand security control

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 07:29

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Armed Palestinian police have expanded security control to Palestinian towns bordering Jerusalem.

Under a deal with Israel, the patrols began working in Abu Dis, A-Ram and Biddu, Reuters reported. The patrols include 90 officers.

The towns have been under Israeli security control since the peace process began with the Oslo Accords in 1993.

The Palestinians have threatened to halt security cooperation with Israel since it withheld tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority beginning in January. P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas refused the revenues earlier this month when Israel held back some of the money for utilities payments.

Israel withheld the money as a punitive measure for Abbas signing requests in late December to join the International Criminal Court and other international conventions as a result of the failure of the United Nations Security Council to pass a Palestinian statehood proposal.

Rouhani: Iran will sign nuclear deal only if sanctions immediately lifted

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 06:40

(JTA) — President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said his country will sign a final deal on its nuclear program only if sanctions are immediately lifted.

Rouhani made the demand Thursday in a nationally televised speech on Nuclear Technology Day in Iran.

“We will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are totally lifted on the first day of the implementation of the deal,” Rouhani said.

The framework agreement signed last week says sanctions will be lifted only once international inspectors verify that Iran is in compliance with the final agreement. If Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, the sanctions would be reinstated.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday in a tweet from his official Twitter account, “All #sanctions should be removed just when the deal is reached. If sanctions removal depends on another process then why we started to talk?

June 30 has been set as the deadline for a final agreement between Iran and the six world powers, including the United States.

Argentina to declassify intelligence on Israeli Embassy bombing

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 06:07

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Argentine government will declassify all the intelligence documents about the deadly 1992 bombing on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

The measure was announced Thursday on the government’s website for records of public proceedings, the Official Gazette. It followed a request made the previous day by the National Supreme Court of Justice in a document signed by all four justices.

The high court is leading the investigation because the attack occurred on a diplomatic mission. Its investigation has found that the March 17, 1992 attack, which killed 29 and wounded hundreds, was perpetrated by Hezbollah.

Interest in the investigation has picked up since last month, when Argentina’s president, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, rebuked Israel for not working to bring the perpetrators of the bombing to justice. Israel responded that it was Argentina’s responsibility.

In 1999, the court ordered the arrest of top Hezbollah operations officer Imad Mughniyah, who was assassinated in 2008, in connection with the embassy attack.

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel noted the two bombings in Buenos Aires — the other was the AMIA Jewish center attack in 1994 — during his address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. Iran, he said, “blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.”