JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli court cleared a border policeman Wednesday in the shooting the death of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in July 2008 during a demonstration where youths were hurling rocks at security forces.
Judge Liora Frenkel said the Israeli officer, Omri Abu, violated rules of engagement by opening fire at protesters in the West Bank village of Naalin even though he was not in danger.
But she said the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a bullet from Abu's rifle struck Ahmed Moussa in the forehead, killing him.
Frenkel said Palestinian witnesses gave contradictory accounts, and district police conducted a flawed investigation. The ruling said Israeli officials were not allowed access to the body.
NEW YORK (AP) -- President Barack Obama will be getting a firsthand look at the damage done by the superstorm in New Jersey but not in New York City - and Mayor Michael Bloomberg is OK with that.
Bloomberg on Tuesday said he spoke to Obama and his chief of staff, Jack Lew, and told them the city would "love to have him, but we've got lots of things to do."
Bloomberg said that he wasn't trying to "dis" the president and that his trip to New Jersey on Wednesday would represent the whole region.
He also spoke highly of the relationship between federal and local officials. He said that on a conference call with the president and other mayors and governors of affected areas, everybody kept saying, "Thank you for the service."
By Noah Browning and Ali Sawafta
RAMALLAH, West Bank | Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:15am EDT
(Reuters) - Palestinians have launched a diplomatic blitz aimed at garnering a strong majority for a vote granting the non-member statehood at the United Nations slated for next month, officials said on Tuesday.
Despite heading for a sure victory in the U.N General Assembly, mostly consisting of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians, West Bank diplomats are courting European countries to further burnish their campaign.
"From the E.U. we will have a minimum of 12 votes and maybe up to 15, as some are not yet decided," Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters. There are 27 nations within the European Union.
Palestinian officials say that they can count on around 115 'yes' votes, mostly from Arab, African, Latin American, and Asian states, and expect around 22 no-votes, led by the United States, and 56 abstentions in the 193-member organization.
PARIS | Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:53pm EDT
(Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought on Tuesday to convince Arab states that an Israeli military strike on Iran would benefit them, removing a potential threat and easing tensions across the Middle East.
Netanyahu has made a number of veiled threats to attack Iran's nuclear program and has appealed to the United States and the United Nations to set a limit for Tehran on its further development.
In an interview published on Tuesday with French magazine Paris Match, Netanyahu said such a strike would not worsen regional tensions, as many critics have warned.
"Five minutes after, contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region," he said.
A deal to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute, based on face-to-face negotiations between Iranian and U.S. officials, could follow quickly upon President Barack Obama's reelection on Nov. 6, but those bilateral relations would likely veer toward confrontation if Mitt Romney wins and his neocon advisers retake control of U.S. foreign policy.
Sources familiar with the status of the talks say the potential settlement is much closer than is publicly understood, with a reelected President Obama prepared to relax the harsh economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for tight constraints on any Iranian nuclear program, assuring that it is for peaceful purposes only.
One person familiar with the status of talks said the post-election discussions also could lead to a broader rapprochement between Iran and the United States, two countries that have been at odds since 1979 when Iranian radicals overran the U.S. Embassy and took American diplomatic personnel hostage.
However, the prospects for peace could head off in a very different direction if Romney wins. His neocon advisers are considered likely to hijack the Iran sanctions and use them to force "regime change" in Tehran, rather than for their current narrow purpose of compelling Iran to negotiate seriously on limiting its nuclear program.
Published October 25, 2012
By unifying himself and the countrys ruling party with an internationally despised neo-fascist, Netanyahu has brought Israel a sizable step closer to the limits of Western tolerance. Ultimately, thats good news.
The only way Israel is ever going to give up the occupation and its habit of military aggression is by going too far by becoming such a Goliath that the Western world finally tells it to clean up its act or find some new allies. Tonights union between Bibi Netanyahus Likud and Avigdor Liebermans Yisrael Beiteinu into one big Likud Beiteinu Likud Is Our Home marks a sizable step in that direction.
Netanyahu hurt himself. I dont know whether the new party will win more Knesset seats in the January 22 election than Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu could have won separately, but Netanyahu has dirtied himself in the eyes of the world, including even a lot of his mainstream Jewish supporters in the United States. Avigdor Lieberman has a thoroughly deserved international reputation as an Arab-hating, war-loving neo-fascist (this last label having been pinned on him even by Martin Peretz, the stridently pro-Israel ex-publisher of The New Republic.)
Foreign Minister Lieberman calls for expelling, by means of a land swap, hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens simply for being Arab. He ran an election campaign highlighted by the slogan, Only Lieberman understands Arabic. He was a member of Kach in the late 1970s, which he understandably denies but which Kach veterans from that era swear to. Hes fantasized aloud in the Knesset about executing Arab MKs and threatened to bomb Egypts Aswan Dam. Plus, of course, hes been under Israel Police investigation for corruption for nearly 15 years, and could face indictment pretty soon.
Israelis prefer Mitt Romney over President Obama by a wide margin, according to the latest polling from the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.
The Republican candidate leads Obama 57 percent to 22 percent, the organizations' Peace Index for October found in its October survey.
The gap is especially marked among self-described right-wingers 70 percent of whom prefer Romney while Obama gets three times more support from Arab Israelis, 45 percent versus 15 percent.
Israeli public opinion stands in stark contrast with the rest of the world, where a clear majority of people prefer Obama over Romney, according to a BBC poll.
That poll of 21,797 people in 21 countries but not Israel found an average of 50 percent of respondents favored Obama versus 9 percent for Romney. The two candidates are equally unpopular in Pakistan.
Hurricane Sandy has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the final jobs report before next week's presidential election, with Labor Department officials scrambling to determine if the data can be finalized before Friday's scheduled release.
Officials at the Labor Department said Monday they have not yet decided whether to delay Friday's employment report because of ongoing uncertainty over the extent of damage the hurricane will cause along the East Coast.
Labor officials said they are are trying to determine whether the massive storm will interfere with the ability of economists and analysts to complete the report on time.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) officials are closely monitoring the hurricane as it works its way across the East Coast, and will decide later in the week if they can release the report on time.
DUBAI | Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:02am EDT
(Reuters) - Iran holds pictures of Israeli bases and other restricted areas obtained from a drone launched into Israeli airspace earlier this month, an Iranian lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.
Earlier this month, Israel shot down a drone after it flew 25 miles into the Jewish state. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the aircraft, saying its parts had been manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
The drone transmitted pictures of Israel's "sensitive bases" before it was shot down, said Esmail Kowsari, chair of parliament's defense committee, according to Iran's Mehr news agency. He was speaking to Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam, Mehr reported on Monday.
"These aircraft transmit their pictures online, and right now we possess pictures of restricted areas," Kowsari was quoted as saying.
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court seems skeptical of a government request to throw out a lawsuit challenging an expansion of a surveillance law used to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects.
While the law is aimed at foreigners, a lawyer argued Monday that Americans are getting caught up in the government monitoring. They want to sue to stop the 2008 expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawyer Jameel Jaffers said his colleagues are already taking costly measures like flying overseas instead of using telephones and e-mails to keep their conversations private.
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