A group of prominent Israeli and Palestinian politicians, working outside official channels, have written a symbolic peace agreement that they hope could be a foundation for future negotiations. \nThe 50-page draft agreement was completed over the weekend in neighboring Jordan by the two delegations, which included current parliament members and former Cabinet members on both sides. \nThe proposal offers highly specific solutions, and calls for major compromises on the most sensitive issues that have torpedoed previous peace efforts, ranging from the status of Palestinian refugees to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. \nOfficial planning toward a peace agreement is currently frozen. \nThis new proposal has no official sanction, and the right-wing Israeli government immediately denounced it, calling it irresponsible, freelance diplomacy. \n"The public rejected these same political figures," Limor Livnat, Israel's education minister, said of the Israeli delegation, led by left-wing politicians. "In no democratic country would this be acceptable," he said. \nThe Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment, though the Palestinian team included senior figures with close ties to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. \nThe Swiss government supported the two-year negotiating effort, and the proposal, dubbed the "Geneva Accords," will be formally signed at a ceremony planned for next month in that Swiss city. \nThe Israeli delegation was led by former justice minister Yossi Beilin. The most prominent Palestinian was Yasser Abed Rabbo, a former information minister. \nUnder the proposal, a Palestinian state would be created that would include the entire Gaza Strip and almost all of the West Bank. The capital would be in the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. \nThe plan identifies about 20 of the larger Israeli settlements among the 140 in the West Bank that Israel would keep, and Israel would give the Palestinians land in southern Israel in compensation. \nOn another delicate issue, the plan calls for the Palestinians to have ultimate control over Jeru-salem's most important and contested holy site, called the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, the mosque compound in East Jerusalem. \nIsrael would relinquish its claim of sovereignty over the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount. Israel would keep full control of the Western Wall, the Jewish place of prayer that borders the compound. \nRegarding another complicated question, 4 million Palestinian refugees from the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and their descendants would be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state, move to a third country or receive compensation for their losses. But they could not return to their old land inside Israel without Israeli consent, according to the plan. \n"The Palestinians tried very hard to put the word `return' in the document," said David Kimche, a member of the Israeli delegation. \nThe Israeli side was able to win this concession by giving the Palestinians full control of the Jerusalem holy site, he added. \nThe delegations began their talks from the point where Israeli-Palestinian negotiations broke off in January 2001, several months after the current fighting began. \nEhud Barak, the Israeli prime minister who pushed hard for a deal, was roundly defeated in a February 2001 election by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. \nThe agreement is similar to proposals made by Barak. But he condemned the delegations' efforts today on the grounds that it is the government's job to handle any negotiations. \n"This is a fictitious, eccentric agreement," Barak told Israel radio.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”