World News Brief, Tuesday August 13

Israel names 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed; Cambodia upholds election results; Japan's economy expands for third consecutive quarter; Mugabe makes first post-election speech; Britain may take legal action against Spain over Gibraltar

Top of the Agenda: Israel Releases Names of Palestinian Prisoners to Be Freed

The Israeli government has published the names of twenty-six Palestinian prisoners to be released (Haaretz) on Tuesday as part of a U.S.-brokered deal that led to a relaunch of Mideast peace negotiations. Among the prisoners (BBC), most of who have already served for twenty years, are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad. The announcement comes after Palestinian officials accused Israel of derailing peace talks by approving nearly 1,200 new settlement homes (FT)—a criticism Israel rejected. Direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on Wednesday.


"Officials who have spoken to Netanyahu say his behavior, his hesitation and zigzagging result from his lack of trust in Abbas. Netanyahu, say the officials, is willing to cross the river but wants to know if Abbas will do the same," writes Barak Ravid for Haaretz.

"To induce the citizens of Israel to support a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with minor modifications, and the division of Jerusalem, Netanyahu should start marketing this ideologically revolutionary political-security product right away. At the same time, he must take concrete steps to demonstrate to the Palestinian public as well that this time around, the negotiations are not intended to buy him more time for the expansion of the settlements," writes Akiva Eldar for al-Monitor.

"Given Mr Kerry's frenetic focus on Israel and Palestine at a time when other more burning regional issues might have topped his agenda, a token reward for his efforts was perhaps the least the parties could offer. America's battered credibility in the region has been spared another blow, at least for now," writes the Economist.



Cambodia Upholds Election Results

Cambodia's election committee confirmed the election win (BBC) of Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party despite protests from the opposition, which said it would not accept the results unless allegations of electoral fraud were addressed.

JAPAN: Japan's economy expanded for the third straight quarter (FT), with gross domestic product rising at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent, but the pace was slower than experts had expected.

This CFR Backgrounder explains Abenomics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's grand plan to restart Japan's economy.


Britain considers legal action against Spain over Gibraltar

Mugabe makes first post-election speech

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