Argentine Ex-President Charged with Treason for Covering Up Iranian Involvement in Jewish Community Center Bombing - Max Radwin and Anthony Faiola (Washington Post)
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio on Thursday indicted former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on treason charges and sought her arrest over allegations that she covered up Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people, in exchange for a potentially lucrative trade deal.
Authorities conducted raids linked to the case on Thursday, arresting three of Fernandez's former aides and associates.
Hector Timerman, her former foreign minister, was placed under house arrest.
The court requested lifting her immunity from prosecution, a protection she enjoys as a sitting senator, but observers say it doesn't look probable.
Alberto Nisman, a crusading prosecutor, accused Fernandez of a cover-up in 2015.
His mysterious death came only days after he alleged that Fernandez and Timerman had colluded to shield Iran's role in the car-bomb attack on the center.
Czech Republic Wants to Move Embassy to Jerusalem - Noa Landau (Ha'aretz)
President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman said Thursday that, as he proclaimed during his visit to Israel four years ago, he "would appreciate the transfer of the Czech Embassy to Jerusalem, and had it happened, we would have been the first to do so. Now we may sooner or later follow the United States."
"Every country has the right to decide upon the location of its embassy."
The Czech Republic's Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that it recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Last May, the Czech parliament voted to recognize Jerusalem, along the 1967 lines, as the capital of Israel.
Video: Trump Tells the Story of Hannukah at White House Celebration (C-SPAN)
At Thursday's White House Hannukah party, President Donald Trump said: "At the birth of Hannukah is the miracle of Israel, that descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression, but no force has ever crushed your spirit and no evil has ever extinguished your faith, and that is why the Jewish people shine as a light to all nations."
250 Israeli Rabbis Send Thank You Letter to Trump for Jerusalem Recognition - Kobi Nachshoni (Ynet News)
250 Israeli rabbis, including Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, sent a thank you letter to President Trump for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"You have a rare privilege to be the first president to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel," they said.
U.S. Says 2,000 Troops Are in Syria - John Ismay (New York Times)
About 2,000 American troops are in Syria fighting the Islamic State, a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday, almost four times the total previously disclosed.
The Pentagon also announced Wednesday that 5,200 American troops are serving in Iraq.
65 MKs, Hoenlein Call to Protect Mount of Olives - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
The Knesset Lobby for the Protection of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem was launched this week with members from every party except the Arab Joint List.
The Mount of Olives cemetery is 3,000 years old, and contains the graves of 150,000 Jews, including leaders and rabbis from throughout Jewish history.
The site has been plagued by vandalism and rock-throwing by east Jerusalem Arabs.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, attended the launch.
See also The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2009)
Man Holding Palestinian Flag Smashes Windows of Amsterdam Kosher Restaurant - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
On Thursday, Dutch AT5 television showed a video of a man holding a large stick and a Palestinian flag and wearing a Palestinian keffiyah smashing the windows of the HaCarmel kosher restaurant in Amsterdam as passersby and two police officers look on.
After the man breaks into the restaurant and then returns with an Israeli flag that he took from inside, the police overpower and arrest him.
Police said the man was a 29-year-old foreigner.
Museums in Israel Portal: Culture and History for the Digital Age (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
You can now access thousands of history's magnificent treasures - with the touch of a button.
With more museums per capita than any other country and some of the world's most important historical and archeological sites, Israel has emerged as a hub for art, history, and culture.
This portal - five years in the making - provides visitors with unlimited access to more than 63,000 photographs, items, and exhibits with a touch of a button.
It features works of art, archeological artifacts, extensive Judaica, and original historical documents from prehistoric times to today.
The portal also gives visitors access to millions of items featured in Europeana, the European digital cultural library.
Visit the Museums in Israel Portal (Museums in Israel)
Israeli Device Banishes Finger-Pricking for Sugar Levels in Diabetes Patients - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
Israeli startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels without pricking or pain.
Its glucose meter, already approved for use in numerous countries worldwide, uses a camera to provide a diagnosis of blood glucose levels by observing the changing colors of the user's finger.
Prof. Andreas Pfutzner, who tested the technology in two clinical studies in Germany, said the device performed "with a surprising level of accuracy," the same as that of needle sensors. "It is a wonderful device" and a "true alternative."
Israeli Startup Creates Sensor-Based Tubes for Better Patient Monitoring - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
U.S.-Israeli medical device firm ART Medical has developed
a smart Sensor-Based Tubes Platform to monitor breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and urine catheters continuously and automatically to detect and alert nurses and physicians of any abnormalities, enabling them to take necessary action.
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- Tillerson: On Jerusalem, Trump Is Obeying the Will of the American People
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday:
"There's a 1995 law in the United States that requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate our embassy....After many, many reaffirmations by our Senate, including as recently as this past summer - the vote, I think, was 90 to none with 10 abstentions - the President is simply carrying out the will of the American people....It is just an acknowledgment of what is the reality on the ground....So the reality is, as you wake up today after this announcement, there's nothing that's different other than the President has now implemented the 1995 law."
"Having said that, he also reaffirmed our strong belief that the status quo of the holy sites must be maintained, which recognizes the rightful role of the various countries around those sites. He also affirmed our support for a two-state solution if that's what the parties believe they are ready to agree. And he also made a statement regarding the final status of Jerusalem is something that is left for the parties to negotiate....Every country has a right to decide what it wants to decide as to its embassy in Israel." (U.S. State Department)
- U.S. Warns Palestinians Against Cancelling Upcoming Talks with Vice-President Pence
The U.S. has warned Palestinians that it would be "counterproductive" to scrap talks between Vice-President Mike Pence and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned for later this month, after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. A senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, earlier said Pence would not be welcome. (BBC News)
- Hamas: U.S. Decision on Jerusalem Is a Declaration of War
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said in Gaza City on Thursday that the U.S. decision on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a "declaration of war against Palestinians," and called for a new "Intifada," or uprising. "Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, is ours," he said.
- EU Vows Push to Make Jerusalem Capital for Palestinians Too - Robin Emmott
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini pledged on Thursday to reinvigorate diplomacy to ensure Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem, after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel's capital. "We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both," she said. The EU believes it has a duty to make its voice heard as the Palestinians' biggest aid donor and Israel's top trade partner.
See also Israel to EU: "Denying Truth Distances Peace" - Itamar Eichner
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded Thursday to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's statement that President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital may "return us to dark days."
"Insisting on denying Jerusalem is Israel's capital is disavowing an undisputable historical fact. Any denial of this simple truth distances peace by creating expectations detached from reality in Palestinians," the ministry said. "President Trump has taken a courageous, righteous step that increases the chances of peace by speaking the truth." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: We Thank President Trump and the American Congress for Their Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday:
"We were all moved to hear President Trump's historic statement, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and this statement is, of course, based on ancient right. The Jewish People determined Jerusalem to be its capital 3,000 years ago. Here our forefathers walked. Here our kings ruled. Here our prophets preached. Here are our roots. This is, in effect, our identity card."
"President Trump has inscribed himself in the annals of our capital for all time. His name will now be linked to the names of others in the context of the glorious history of Jerusalem and our people. I would like to thank him and the American Congress which, 22 years ago, provided a basis for the recognition until President Trump came and implemented this law."
"We are already in contacts with other countries that will declare similar recognition and I have no doubt that the moment the American embassy moves to Jerusalem, and even before, many more embassies will move to Jerusalem. It's about time." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Trump Peace Team Believes It Can Ride Out Arab Anger - Michael Wilner
White House officials told the Jerusalem Post that they believe their plan to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations can survive what they expect will be a temporary burst of anger across the Arab world. Administration officials said they take seriously Palestinian and Arab concerns and understand the reaction that has followed Trump's speech. But they hope their anger will pass, and expect Ramallah in particular will realize that the Palestinians' only chance of achieving sovereignty is with the help of Washington.
They believe Arab world powers no longer prioritize the Palestinian issue in such a way that it will affect bilateral relations, and that their leverage over their Arab allies, seeking help pushing back against Iran, will keep their peace process on track. They also believe that Israel's presence in Jerusalem is right and just, regardless of how negotiations ultimately settle its final status. (Jerusalem Post)
- Amb. Friedman: Trump's Jerusalem Move Reflects Best Path for Peace - Sue Surkes
President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reflects the "best path for peace," and those demonstrating against it failed to listen properly to his speech, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Fox News on Thursday.
Trump's aim had been to "foreclose the fantasy that somehow Jerusalem could be disconnected from the State of Israel," he said. "The president didn't want the Israelis to show up at the bargaining table and be forced to negotiate for something that they already had. What he did yesterday was to simply speak the truth, and to develop for the first time a foreign policy based upon reality rather than fantasy." Friedman insisted Trump's speech had put the president "on the right side of history." (Times of Israel)
- President Rivlin: Our Arab Neighbors Have to Realize that We Are Here to Stay - Greer Fay Cashman
President Reuven Rivlin, a seventh-generation Jerusalemite, told the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday that Jews and Arabs have been neighbors in Jerusalem for the past 200 years.
"We are not condemned to live together, but are destined to live together," he reiterated. As soon as both sides realize this, he said, it will end the tragedy that has plagued Jews and Muslims for so long. "Our neighbors, our cousins, have to realize that we are here to stay. And we have to realize that for those born here, this is also their motherland."
With regard to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Rivlin noted that all new ambassadors come to Jerusalem to present their credentials, meet with government ministers, and visit the Knesset.
- Video: It Is an American Right to Decide Where Its Embassy Will Be Located - Dore Gold
Amb. Dore Gold told StandWithUs in San Diego this week:
"I don't believe that the violence that is being threatened by various groups and organizations happens spontaneously. Violence occurs because someone is planning the violence....If the Palestinian side seeks violence against Israel, or violence against the United States, we should observe that and we should do everything in our power to neutralize it."
"We have to be very firm that we reject the use of violence for what is an American right, to decide where its embassy will be located, and to decide that it will be located in the capital of Israel."
Amb. Dore Gold, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (YouTube)
- U.S. President's Jerusalem Speech Shows that Time Is Not Working in the Palestinians' Favor - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin
The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the world's strongest superpower creates more opportunities than risks, and opens the door for new paradigms for the peace process.
Trump's refusal to bow to the threats and blackmail, together with the message that the Palestinians do not have veto power, is a very important precedent for the future of the peace process. The speech illustrates to the Palestinians that time is not working in their favor.
Trump's announcement did not eliminate the possibility for using the accepted framework for negotiations (two states subject to the agreement of the two sides, core issues to be decided by negotiations, no change in status quo of Temple Mount). The writer, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
- Jerusalem Is Already Israel's Capital. Trump Just Made it Official. - Jonathan Schanzer
Trump's announcement that he will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is recognition of the indisputable fact that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
What's more, the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was not really Trump's to make. It's already enshrined in a 1995 law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Despite a cacophony of claims to the contrary, Trump's decision does not undermine Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim claims on the city. The move does not alter the longstanding U.S. view that the future status of the city is an issue that must be negotiated between the Palestinians and Israelis in bilateral negotiations. Trump stressed this in his speech. The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Trump Recognizes that Humiliating Israel Didn't Bring Peace - Yoram Hazony
For nearly seven decades, alone among the nations of the world, the State of Israel has endured an unusual humiliation: it has been denied the sovereign right to determine its own capital. For the better part of a century, the U.S. has led what is effectively an international boycott of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, keeping its embassy in Tel Aviv as part of a fiction that the status of Jerusalem remains undetermined.
After Jerusalem was united under Israeli rule in 1967, rather than recognizing Israeli sovereignty, the international community decided to leave Jerusalem's status for "future negotiations." Yet now half a century has passed, and still there is nothing but Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem anywhere in sight.
The dream of rebuilding Jerusalem, destroyed in Roman times, is the linchpin that holds Jewish faith and nationhood together. Israel will never agree for Jerusalem to be divided as Berlin was, with mutually hostile police forces on either side of a security barrier. Jerusalem was divided in this way from 1948 to 1967, and anyone who lived through that time of snipers on the city walls knows that such a scheme amounts to destroying Jerusalem, not rebuilding it.
For 70 years, the U.S. and most other nations have declined to stand with the Jewish people on this, believing that peace would somehow be forthcoming if Israel were humiliated in this way. But this approach has not brought peace. It has only encouraged Israel's enemies. All over the world, Jews are saying shehehianu, the traditional blessing thanking God for letting us live to see this day.
The writer is president of the Jerusalem-based Herzl Institute.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Trump's Speech Recognizing Jerusalem: What It Says and What It Doesn't Say - Nadav Shragai
President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital puts into deep-freeze plans for a division of the city. Until Trump's speech, the U.S. did not recognize either west or east Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Trump's speech did not distinguish between west and east. He referred to Jerusalem with all its parts as a single unit.
However, there still is no easing of the major restrictions the U.S. has imposed on Israel regarding construction in Jewish neighborhoods within Jerusalem or in Greater Jerusalem. Moreover, diplomatic observers in Jerusalem are concerned that Trump will now request a "payment" for this historic step in the form of Israeli concessions connected to the ongoing talks.
If Hamas succeeds to convince the Palestinian public that the American recognition of Jerusalem means that the "Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger," the masses will again take to the streets. But as long as Al-Aqsa is outside of the picture, the waves of protest will be lower. Israel's interest is to try to isolate Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount from the current agitation and prevent actors such as Hamas, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Turkey, or Qatar from again setting the field ablaze.
The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center, is a journalist and commentator who has documented the dispute over Jerusalem for 30 years. His books include Jerusalem: Delusions of Division (2015) and The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie (2012). (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Recognizing the Obvious: Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital - Editorial
Since Jerusalem actually is Israel's capital, and has been for seven decades, the Palestinians and the rest of the world are going to have to get over it eventually.
The move shouldn't be controversial: Jewish ties to Jerusalem go back millennia. The holy city is the site of the First and Second Temples; it's been Jews' spiritual capital for millennia, even in times of exile.
The Palestinians don't want to recognize those basic facts, but that denial is their problem, and one the rest of the world shouldn't keep enabling. If Palestinians can't find a better cement for their own national identity than hating Israel, Zionism and the Jews, then they're never going to build a state worth having - and they'll simply remain the eternally suffering pawns of outside powers.
(New York Post)
- Trump Is Right - Israel's Capital Is Jerusalem - Kenneth Bandler
Recognition of the city that Israel has always deemed its capital is long overdue. No other country in the world has been treated this way. Longstanding resistance to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital has encouraged many UN member states to regularly adopt resolutions that ignore historical facts and deny any Jewish link to Jerusalem.
Tragically, Palestinian leaders continue to prefer confrontation over resuming negotiations to achieve an enduring comprehensive peace. U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is an act of constructive diplomacy. The writer is the American Jewish Committee's director of media relations.
- Finally, a President Who Looks at Jerusalem Logically - Einat Wilf
The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is 68 years overdue.
Jerusalem was established as the capital of Israel on December 13, 1949.
At the time the U.S. was still attached to the idea, proposed in the UN partition resolution of 1947, that greater Jerusalem should be governed by the international community. This fiction never existed anywhere but on paper because the Arabs rejected the partition proposal and started a war to prevent it from being realized.
So the U.S. chose a policy that held the status of Israel's capital hostage to a fiction that never had a chance of existing. Trump's declaration finally puts an end to this nonsensical policy.
The writer, a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute, is a former Knesset member.
- Why the Jerusalem Announcement Won't Hurt America's Arab Alliances - Shadi Hamid
Most Arab countries won't care much about Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which might seem counterintuitive. The announcement comes at a time when Arab regimes - particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt - find themselves more aligned than ever with Israel on regional priorities, sharing a near obsession with Iran as the source of the region's evils.
In effect if not in intent, few are as indifferent to Muslim life as Arab countries are. It may be hard for Arabs to admit, but Israel has proven - in relative terms - more respectful of Muslim life than most Arab regimes.
No one, then, should fall under the illusion that declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital will harm America's alliances with most, or even many, Arab nations (Jordan being a notable exception). The writer is a senior fellow at the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution.
- Trump Seizes Control over U.S. Israel Policy from the State Department - Caroline B. Glick
By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump made clear that U.S. support for Israel is not conditioned on anything. Israel, the Jewish state, is supported by the U.S. because it deserves U.S. support as an allied democracy.
Trump took control of U.S. foreign policy from a State Department that opposes his policies. He made reality, rather than the defiance of reality, the foundation of U.S. Middle East policy.
He put U.S. allies and enemies on notice that he is calling the shots in U.S. foreign policy. And he took a large step toward restoring U.S. credibility as a superpower.
- Trump's Move Frees Palestinians to Focus on Peace, Not Jerusalem - Eli Lake
Western sensitivity on Jerusalem has allowed Palestinian leaders to weaponize the issue. Palestinians are fed a steady stream of propaganda about the danger to Jerusalem. Even Abbas has given speeches warning about Jewish plans to alter al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. A policy of Jerusalem neutrality feeds the Palestinian illusion that with enough patience and rage, one day the Jews will be evicted from their eternal capital.
- Trump's Truth-Telling on Jerusalem - John Podhoretz
Trump could have just signed the waiver of the law passed in 1995 compelling the executive branch to move America's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did it six months ago, just like his three immediate predecessors did every six months since 1996. Instead, he called the international community's seven-decade bluff and ended a delusion about the future that has prevented Palestinians from seeing the world and their own geopolitical situation clearly.
The Palestinians continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection and resistance and rage. The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel has been the greatest bar to peace. (New York Post)
- U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem and the Road to Peace - Gregg Roman
The Palestinian rejection of partitioning the territory into Jewish and Arab states
continues. The primary obstacle to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the near-century of Palestinian rejectionism of the right of self-determination for the Jewish people.
Years of concessions, of work to build the Palestinian Authority into something capable of handling the levers of power, have brought us no closer to peace. How can Israel make peace when the Palestinians don't want peace? Individual Palestinians surely want the conflict over. But as a nation, they still seem convinced that they have the choice to reject Israel and eradicate it. For peace to come, the Palestinians must decide that they have more to gain by giving up the conflict than by perpetuating it. The writer is director of the Middle East Forum.
- Israeli Aid to Syrians: Warm Clothing, Heating Oil, and a Maternity Hospital - Ben Lynfield
The IDF has facilitated the opening of a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights - part of a significant expansion of Operation Good Neighbor, which provides Israeli assistance to war-ravaged Syrian villages near the Israeli border.
Lt.-Col. E., commander of the operation, explained, "You can't stand from the side and see your neighbor dying and living in hard conditions and know that you can help them and not do so." The hospital opened two weeks ago in Bariqa in the Quneitra region. It is staffed entirely by Syrian doctors, while the incubators, beds, and ultrasound equipment come from Israel.
The operation is expanding and reaching villages as far as 20 km. from the border in an area with 200,000 people. "We are...literally every day saving people's lives," Lt.-Col. E. said.
In preparation for winter, the IDF has provided 30 tons of warm clothing and a mass supply of diesel fuel so villagers can heat their houses. IDF supplies of flour have brought the price of bread down by at least half in the assisted villages. Lt.-Col. E. said, "The flour is free, the diesel is free, the vehicle [for transportation] is free. They just have to pay for the worker in the bakery." (Jerusalem Post)
Trump's Speech: A Seismic Event and a Historic Watershed - Melanie Phillips (Jerusalem Post)
- This is where blackmail and intimidation are faced down. This is where appeasement ends. President Trump's speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital has signaled that, for America, the century-long Arab attempt to destroy Israel's legitimacy - the essence of the Middle East conflict - has failed.
The incendiary threats of vengeful violence should be taken seriously. But the Arabs need no excuse to try to murder Israelis.
- Appeasing those who threaten violence doesn't reduce it. It encourages it. The more concessions are offered, the more the Palestinians believe even greater violence will deliver them final victory. Britain, France and Germany have obligingly once again genuflected to the men of violence by disapproving of Trump's speech. If they had said they, too, would now recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the threat of violence would lose much of its point.
- The Arab war against Israel is not a conflict about the division of land. It is a war of extermination based on a refusal to accept that the Jews have any right to that land. And Jerusalem is central to that refusal. They deny the Jews any rights to Jerusalem at all. That's because they need to suppress what they can never admit: that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews' ancient kingdom which preceded Islam and the Arab and Muslim conquest by many centuries.
- Trump was in error when he said Jerusalem was at the heart of three great religions. It is the Jews alone for whom Jerusalem is at the core of their religious faith. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran; Muslims pray toward Mecca, their holiest city.
- Far from the Israeli presence there being illegal, the Jews are the only people who are entitled to the city as a matter of international law, historical truth and natural justice. Which is why the refusal by Western countries to recognize the unique Jewish right to Jerusalem has been so malevolent.
- Those who say Trump's move makes peace less likely couldn't be more wrong. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the essential step without which peace can never be achieved.
The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).
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