FROM Dan Ephron
Arafat Exhumed After his death eight years ago, Yasser Arafat was buried under several meters of concrete to make sure his remains could never be desecrated. Today, at his widow's request, they were exhumed as part of a French murder investigation. Samples were taken from Arafat's corpse today, as planned, but a military ceremony had to be cancelled. We get an update from correspondent Maher Abukhater, who's in Ramallah for the Los Angeles Times , and from Dan Ephron, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Newsweek and the Daily Beast .
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv under Fire, Israel Threatens Ground Attack on Gaza Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and it's been thought immune to attacks from any of the players in the troubled Middle East. But today, rocket attacks, presumably from the Gaza Strip, fell close enough to trigger air raids and panic in the holy city. Israel says it's prepared for a ground invasion. We hear updates from Jerusalem and Gaza City.
Hamas Issues "Declaration of War" after Israel's Targeted Killing After days of missile- and rocket-fire from Gaza, Israel escalated the confrontation today with multiple airstrikes and the targeted killing of Ahmed-al-Jabari, a senior military leader of Hamas. Hamas, the elected Gaza government, called it the basis for "a declaration of war." Dan Ephron is in Tel Aviv for Newsweek and the Daily Beast .
Palestinian Unity Deal Could Upend Peace Talks with Israel The rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, have announced that a unity government will led by Mahmoud Abbas until elections can be held in the West Bank and Gaza. The agreement has created another convulsion in the Middle East. Dan Ephron, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Newsweek magazine, considers what it means for relations with Israel, continued financial support from Western countries and a two-state solution.
Is Israeli Prisoner Swap with Hamas a Step Toward Peace? Five years after being abducted by Hamas during a cross-border raid, a captured Israeli soldier is back home in Israel. Sergeant First Class Gilad Shalit was taken from the Gaza Strip to Egypt, where he told Egyptian TV he was hopeful that his trade for more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners being released by Israel would "advance peace." Prime Minister Netanyahu said the country was "united in joy and in pain." Buses carrying more than 400 Palestinian prisoners went from Israel to Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank. They were met by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, although their release was negotiated by leaders of the rival Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Will the trade improve relations between Israel and Hamas? Has the "Arab Spring" made Egypt a different kind of player?
Palestinian Factions Reach Agreement Two Palestinian factions have stunned the Middle East with an agreement to get together. Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, which broke away and won elections in Gaza, will form an interim government, followed by elections in both Palestinian Territories. The agreement announced today reportedly was reached after a series of secret meetings in Egypt, and is expected to be formally signed in Cairo. Dan Ephron is Jerusalem Bureau chief for the Newsweek .
The Shabby Treatment of Wounded Soldiers President Bush is appointing a commission to investigate the quality of care at Veterans' Administration hospitals. It will be chaired by former Republican Senator Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration. The shabby treatment of combat veterans at Walter Reed Hospital has been called the "tip of the iceberg" by several Congressmen. Yesterday, both military and civilian officials told a Congressional committee they were surprised at recent reports of shoddy treatment of outpatients at the Army's flagship hospital. Did military and civilian officials ignore early reports? What about other Veterans' Administration facilities? We speak with journalists, doctors and public-policy experts.
Scotland Yard Disrupts Trans-Atlantic Terror Plot British police have arrested at least 21 people in an alleged plot to set off "multiple explosions in multiple planes" headed from London to the United States. On official described the plot as "mass murder on an unimaginable scale." Airports all over America are on "Orange" or high alert" and almost all liquids are banned from carry-on luggage. For airports where planes are arriving from Britain , the level is "Red." Reaffirming that the US is safer than it was before September 11, President Bush today acknowledged that there are still those who would plot against the American people. It's reported that he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair talked about the conspiracy by telephone this past weekend. Blair is vacationing in the Caribbean. We go to London to update the plot and the plotters and hear what it's going to be like to travel at the height of vacation season.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.