Saturday, June 29, 2013
LastGenerationNews: June 29, 2013 SATURDAY Tammuz 21, 5773
June 29, 2013 – SATURDAY - Tammuz 21, 5773
President Shimon Peres meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the President's
residence in Jerusalem on June 28, 2013. (Photo: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv/Flash90)
Jordanian media reported that a joint Israeli, Palestinian, American and Jordanian summit will possibly be announced soon, in a move which will signal the restarting of the stalled peace process.
According to the reports, which cite Palestinian sources, the Americans told the Palestinian side on Friday that Israel agreed to their preconditions of settlement construction freeze, prisoners' release and defining the borders on which basis the negotiations will be held, though these will be implemented gradually, and not all at once.
US State Secretary John Kerry's press conference in Amman, Jordan was cancelled on Saturday, and no reason was given. However, Kerry decided to also cancel his visit to the United Arab Emirates scheduled for today due to meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry meeting with Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Friday, June 28, 2013.
After cancelling a scheduled trip to Abu Dhabi earlier Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry flew from Jerusalem to the Jordanian capital Amman for yet another meeting with Abbas (his second in 24 hours). He returned later via Tel Aviv to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the third time Saturday evening.
Kerry was due to convene a press conference on Sunday to discuss the visit to the region under the framework of resuming stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Army Radio reported Saturday. An expected press conference in Jordan on Saturday had been postponed following the meeting between Kerry and Abbas.
A bank of centrifuges at a nuclear facility in Iran.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia - Iran will press ahead with its uranium enrichment program, its nuclear energy chief said on Friday, signaling no change of course despite the victory of a relative moderate in the June 14 presidential election.
Egyptian protesters shout anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans
during a protest in Tahrir Square on June 28, 2013.
(Photo: AP, Amr Nabil)
Egyptian protesters shouted anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans as they held posters depicting U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson and President Mohammed Morsi during a protest in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, on June 28, 2013. Arabic on the poster at center reads, "shave your beard show your shame, you will look like Mubarak."
Ancient Roman road exposed in Jerusalem
A Roman road was exposed during recent excavations in Jerusalem. / COURTESY OF THE ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY ,ASSAF PERETZ
The worn-down flat stones of an ancient Roman road have been unearthed in Jerusalem, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced.
About 1,800 years ago, the road was one of two imperial arteries that connected Jerusalem to the ancient coastal city of Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv. A well-preserved section of the path was exposed in northern Jerusalem during an excavation ahead of the installation of a drainage pipe, excavators say.
"Several segments of the road were previously excavated by research expeditions of the IAA, but such a finely preserved section of the road has not been discovered in the city of Jerusalem until now," David Yeger, who directed the excavation, said in an IAA statement.
"The Romans attached great importance to the roads in the empire," Yeger added. "They invested large sums of money and utilized the most advanced technological aids of the period in order to crisscross the empire with roads. These served the government, military, economy and public by providing an efficient and safe means of passage. Way stations and roadside inns were built along the roads, as well fortresses in order to protect the travelers."
The part of the road discovered in Jerusalem stretched 26 feet (8 meters) across and was bound on either side by curbstones, according to the IAA.
Though it has been largely covered up by modern development, parts of the road seem to have been in use long after the Romans left the region. For instance, the modern road in Bir Nabala, just northeast of Jerusalem, has been paved only a few centimeters above the ancient road, suggesting the Roman path had been used until a few decades ago, IAA officials said.
Israel's long history means archaeological salvage work is often necessary before construction projects break ground. Recent excavations have revealed a 2,000-year-old ritual bath, a Stone Age carving of a phallus, and animal figurines more than 9,000 years old.
Both same-sex marriage advocates and opponents have seen national recognition of the unions as inescapable. But fortune tellers don’t have great track records.
How experts are trying to shape divorce policies in fresh ways.
And why, in comparison, the suburbs so often feel flat.
Spiritual heroism gets rooted in love and mercy.
What the decisions really say, plus responses from Jim Daly, Andrew Marin, and others.
The church’s response to the LGBT movement must be that matter matters.
The rulings today on DOMA and Proposition 8 are an opportunity for gospel witness.
What Should We Do Now?
How churches and pastors should respond.
Alan Chambers, Paula Deen, and a Christian response to contrition.
Former Exodus leaders and longtime observers share their complicated response to its death.
Alan Chambers's impassioned apology reflects many elements of godly repentance, but it also goes awry in three key ways.
Naomi Schaefer Riley sheds light on an issue—interfaith marriage—that deserves greater attention.
Sometimes Christian women can’t help breaking traditional gender roles.
Neighborhood Film Company includes adults in recovery in the production process.
Jim Daly and singer-activist discuss Jesus as Messiah, evangelical credit for PEPFAR, and how C.S. Lewis may inspire the next U2 song...
There's a boatload of efforts to create a full-scale replica of Noah's work.
Talking modesty beyond two-piece v. one-piece.
Across the country, congregations are whipping members into shape with highly marketed, faith-based health programs. What's right—and troubling—about the trend.
A roundup of responses to Alan Chambers’s apology and Exodus International’s closure and reboot.
CHRISTIANITY SECTION This Last Week
(Updated) Rules issued today by HHS finalize which 'religious employers' may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
The final rules...lay out the accommodation ...
Removal of “conscience clauses” ratified in response to growing acceptance of women clergy
The Reformed Church of America (RCA) officially eliminated a policy allowing its members to object to the ordination of women this past week. While the church originally allowed members to conscientiously object to the ordination proceedings, the removal of the "conscience ...
Campaign aims to oust Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi and force early elections
Frustrated Egyptians will take to the streets on Sunday, the one year anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi's inauguration. Dubbed the "Rebellion Campaign," the grassroots movement announced the collection of 15 million signatures to depose the president and ...
JUNE 28, 2013 9:00AM
New info on Nigeria's Boko Haram violence, Britain's boy and girl scouts, and church security standards.
In addition to reporting fresh religion news daily, CT updates stories we've previously noted.
We tweet the updates. But in case you're not one of our more than 124,000 Twitter followers (and really, why aren't you?), here's what you missed this week:
JUNE 28, 2013 8:20AM | CHURCH AND STATE
University and local Episcopal church cooperate in a “win-win” agreement over campus zoning
How about getting paid over $12.8 million to not build church-sponsored student housing? The deal sounded good to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church of Columbus, Ohio, where members received word this week that a June 12 property agreement with The Ohio State University was ...
(UPDATED) Gang of 8's original proposal drew support from Evangelical Immigration Table.
A majority of U.S. senators have voted to pass a broad immigration bill with a new path to citizenship path for unauthorized immigrants, according to the Associated Press.
Reuters reporter Collin McDonald, who liveblogged the Senate roll call to pass the first major immigration ...
JUNE 27, 2013 3:30PM | RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Also, Geneva College becomes first nonprofit to win injunction.
Hobby Lobby has won a "major victory" in its case for an injunction against the Department of Health and Human Services' employer-provided contraceptive mandate, according to The Becket Fund.
Today, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ...
JUNE 27, 2013 11:10AM | FAMILY AND SEXUALITY
(UPDATED) Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules to allow same-sex marriages to take place immediately.
Yesterday's much-anticipated Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage have legal analysts rushing to interpret the decisions—especially as both supporters and opponents of Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, are claiming ...
Old-fashioned filibuster keeps Texas senate from voting on abortion ban, but Gov. Rick Perry calls special session.
Abortion-rights activists dubbed Tuesday as "the day Wendy stood." But even though the Democratic Texas senator's attempt at a 13-hour filibuster (she fell short of 11) prevented the state Senate from voting on a controversial abortion bill, anti-abortion activists ...
JUNE 26, 2013 10:11AM | PEOPLE
Long-time associate of George Beverly Shea, Hustad taught at Moody Bible Institute and Southern Baptist Seminary.
One of the evangelical movement's most influential church musicians, Donald P. Hustad, died on Saturday, June 22, according to family members. He was 94.
"[His] life and work inspired generations of people," said Rhonda S. Furr, a professor of music at Houston ...
ISRAEL FEATURE SECTION
Gilad Erdan compares Abbas to Iran’s Rouhani — neither, he says, has really given up on terror; the ball’s in Netanyahu’s court, says senior PA official Jibril Rajoub
Kerry set to announce four-way peace summit, Jordanian reports claim
Secretary heads back to Jerusalem for third meeting with Netanyahu in 72 hours, amid unconfirmed reports of progress and ahead of a Sunday press conference
US Secretary of State John Kerry waits for departure after boarding a Jordanian helicopter in Jerusalem, en route to Amman, Jordan, to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the second time of his trip, on Saturday, June 29 (photo credit: AP /Jacquelyn Martin)
US Secretary of State John Kerry kept up his frenetic Mideast diplomacy Saturday, shuttling again between Palestinian and Israeli leaders in hopes of restarting peace talks.
Kerry was set to hold a press conference Sunday in Jerusalem. Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour reported that he was expected to announce a four-way summit between Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, and the US, and the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but offered no official source for the report.
Kerry met for two hours with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan in what was their second set of discussions in two days.
He planned more talks in the evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem after the two held two meetings over the past two days.
“Working hard,” is all Kerry would say when a reporter asked him before the latest Abbas meeting whether or not he was making progress.
US, Israeli, and Palestinian officials have declined to disclose details of the talks, but several foreign media outlets have reported on developments apparently fed by leaks.
According to Chinese News Agency Xinhua, Abbas told Kerry on Friday that Israel’s goodwill gestures were too insufficient for the resumption of peace talks.
“What Israel offers in terms of releasing a limited number of prisoners and increasing the Palestinian Authority’ s influence in the West Bank is not enough for President Abbas to accept returning to the negotiating table,” the news agency quoted a Palestinian official as saying.
The official reportedly said Israel would have to freeze settlement building and accept a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders for talks between the two sides to continue, adding that Abbas had told Kerry as much during their meeting in Amman.
Meanwhile, Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour quoted a Palestinian official saying Kerry had in fact managed to secure Israel’s agreement to hold limited talks in order to discuss a possible settlement construction freeze, the marking out of borders for a future Palestinian state, and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The paper did not say when the talks would start or how long they would last.
A report on Israel’s Channel 2 news Friday evening said Kerry is bidding to broker a series of at least three meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas at the start of new direct peace talks, and is seeking guarantees from the Israelis and the Palestinians that a new peace effort will not quickly fall apart, as happened with the last resumption of negotiations in 2010.
Kerry, who is on a two-week swing through the Mideast and Asia, has conducted the meetings at a breakneck pace. He even cancelled a stop in Abu Dhabi because of extended discussions on the Mideast peace process.
He had a four-hour dinner meeting with Netanyahu Thursday night in Jerusalem, followed by a more than two-hour lunch with Abbas on Friday in Amman at the home of the Palestinian ambassador to Jordan. Then it was back to Jerusalem for another meeting with Netanyahu and dinner with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
On Saturday morning, he boarded a helicopter to fly back to Amman to meet again with Abbas, this time at the Palestinian president’s residence there.
Later Saturday, he was to return to Jerusalem to meet with Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians, and Isaac Molho, a Netanyahu envoy.
Kerry is scheduled to leave Jerusalem on Sunday to head to Brunei for a Southeast Asia security conference.
There is deep skepticism about Kerry’s ability to get the two sides to agree on a two-state solution, something that has eluded presidents and diplomats for years. But the flurry of meetings has heightened expectations that the two sides can be convinced to at least restart talks, which broke down in 2008.
So far, there have been no public signs that the two sides are narrowing their differences.
In the past, Abbas has said he won’t negotiate unless Israel stops building settlements on war-won lands or accepts its 1967 lines — before the capture of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem in a Mideast war that year — as a starting point for border talks. The Palestinians claim all three areas for their future state.
Netanyahu has rejected the Palestinian demands, saying there should be no pre-conditions for talks.
Abbas made significant progress with Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, in talks in 2007 and 2008, but chose not to accept Olmert’s 2008 peace offer, under which Israel would have left the West Bank with one-for-one land swaps, and divided Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has adopted much tougher starting positions than Olmert, refusing to recognize Israel’s pre-1967 frontier as a baseline for border talks. Abbas and his aides suspect Netanyahu wants to resume talks for the sake of negotiating and creating a diplomatic shield for Israel, not in order to reach an agreement.
Netanyahu has said all issues can be discussed in direct talks, but has ruled out pre-conditions, and fears Abbas will abandon any new talks, blame israel, and turn to the UN for recognition for the Palestinians.
Palestinian PM’s convoy involved in West Bank accident
6 Israelis and 3 of Hamdallah’s security guards injured in car crash near Tekoa
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (photo credit: An-Najah University)
Nine people were injured Saturday in a head-on collision between an Israeli car and a vehicle belonging to outgoing Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy, near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem.
An Israeli couple and their four children were injured in one of the cars and three of Hamdallah’s bodyguards were wounded in the other. Red Crescent and Magen David Adom ambulances treated the wounded at the scene and transported them to Sharei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Authority governmental hospital in Beit Jalla.
Israeli emergency forces attempted to rescue one of the wounded Israelis using mechanical equipment, as he had been trapped in the vehicle, Ma’an reported.
According to Palestinians eyewitnesses at the site, Hamdallah, who was on his way to Ramallah, exited his vehicle in order to personally make sure that the injured passengers were safe.
An initial police report said Hamdallah’s driver illegally attempted to pass another vehicle.
Jewish college student stabbed to death in Egypt protests
21-year-old Andrew Pochter, an intern at an educational NGO, killed in Alexandria as he watched clashes
Andrew Driscoll Pochter, 21, of Chevy Chase, Md. died Friday, June 28, while photographing clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in Alexandria, Egypt. (photo credit: AP/Pochter Family)
An American Jewish college student, Andrew Driscoll Pochter, 21, a native of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was killed in Alexandria, Egypt on Friday as he watched clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s Islamist president, it was confirmed Saturday.
Pochter, one of three people killed in Friday’s clashes, was stabbed to death by a protester, his family said.
Originally reported to have been an employee of the American cultural center in Alexandria, Pochter was later identified by his parents anduniversity, Ohio’s Kenyon College, as an intern at AMIDEAST, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting education in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Our beloved 21-year-old son and brother Andrew Driscoll Pochter went to Alexandria for the summer, to teach English to 7- and 8-year-old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic. He was looking forward to returning to Kenyon College for his junior year and to spending his spring semester in Jordan,” Pochter’s parents told CNN.
“As we understand it, he was witnessing the protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester. He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding. Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned. Andrew cared deeply about his family and his friends. We won’t have any further comment and ask for privacy now at this difficult time for the family.”
Marcela Colmenares, a Venezuelan scholar at Kenyon College who was a friend of Pochter’s, paid tribute to him in her blog Saturday, saying he exemplified the “difference between a talker and a doer.”
Colmenares related her first meeting with Pochter in the college library, where they became caught up in a political argument and discovered their mutual interest in the Middle East.
“The last time we spoke, he was already in Egypt and we agreed to eat a falafel in August, when he would come back to Maryland. After a long discussion, he planned to prove that — against my predictions — the falafels in Adams Morgan were better than those in Berlin,” wrote Colmenares.
“But he is never going to come back, because he was killed in a protest in Alexandria, where he was — according to the news — teaching English during the summer. In fact, Andrew was doing much more than teaching English, he was absorbing every bit of the Egyptian culture, he was learning about the Middle East, and he was doing what so many people avoid — following his passion,” she wrote.
Andrew Pochter. (photo credit: Facebook)
In 2011, Pochter wrote an article for Al Arabiya on the effects of the Arab Spring on Moroccan society. He was an active member of a group of Kenyon students interested in the Middle East, was involved in Middle East activism on campus and took part in a forum Colmenares had created for students willing to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and collaborate to organize events.
Pochter was also active with Hillel, the Jewish campus organization.
“I don’t know the details about his death, and I don’t want to know them,” Colmenares wrote.
“But I know that it was provoked by an unreasonable amount of hate, a hate that does not have owners and that will never have a proper explanation –because it is irrational. This hate managed to kill an American who genuinely cared about the Middle East, and who would have had an extremely positive impact on the region. Violence is increasing in Egypt, especially towards Americans,” she lamented.
Late Friday, Alexandria security chief Gen. Amin Ezz Eddin told Al-Jazeera TV that an American later identified as Pochtor was killed in Sidi Gabr Square while photographing the battle. The US State Department later confirmed the death, in a statement from Patrick Ventrell, a press office director.
“We are providing appropriate consular assistance from our Embassy in Cairo and our Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department,” he said.
An Egyptian medical official, in an earlier unconfirmed report, had said Pochtor died of gunshot wounds at a hospital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
In the aftermath of Friday’s deadly clashes, the US State Department issued a travel warning cautioning citizens to avoid Egypt.
“The US Department of State warns US citizens traveling to or living in Egypt to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest. On June 28, 2013, the Department of State authorized the departure of a limited number of non-emergency employees and family members. US citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security,” the warning read.