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The 65th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel was celebrated in Baku.

The event was attended by officials of Azerbaijan, plus members of the Milli Majlis (Parliament), representatives of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan, ambassadors of foreign countries, representatives of international organisations in Azerbaijan, as well as well as public representatives.

The Ambassador of Israel to Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz, speaking at the event, spoke about the development of Israel and stressed that the country has made great progress in the economic, cultural and other areas.


Israeli authorities on Thursday closed the Kerem Shalom crossing for the fourth day in a row, an official said Maan reported.

Raed Fattouh, a border official, told Ma'an that Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian side that the crossing would be closed for security reasons.

Israel sealed its border with the Gaza Strip on Monday after militants fired a rocket into the Negev desert on Sunday evening.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP the rocket landed in an uninhabited sector of the Negev desert.


A delegation from the Israeli government which planned to visit Turkey to discuss the issue of compensation for the bereaved families of Turkish citizens, has cancelled a visit to the country, Yeni Şafak newspaper said on Tuesday.

The visit was scheduled for April 11. According to the newspaper, it will now take place presumably after April 22.


Israel's government on Friday strenuously denied it had any link to an arms-laden ship that Egypt said its navy seized as it sailed from the Israeli port of Eilat to Togo in West Africa .

"Nobody in Israel knows anything about this ship. It's clear that it did not come from Eilat or any other Israeli port," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

"We cannot understand why anyone should tell stories which can easily be proved to have no basis in fact."


An Israeli-Palestinian peace was possible, necessary and just, President Barack Obama said Thursday, DPA reported.
Addressing 1,000 young Israelis in Jerusalem, he said this did not mean that peace was guaranteed or likely, but said there was "an opportunity" and there was "a window."

The President quoted former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying that if Israel insisted on controlling the entire biblical land of Israel, it would end up losing it all.


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to apologize for the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid in which nine activists died, dpa reports.

Their first talk since 2009 was brokered by US President Barack Obama, on an Israel and West Bank visit, to end a diplomatic freeze between the two countries.

Netanyahu and Erdogan agreed to return their respective ambassadors and pledged to overcome their differences.


A procedure will be simplified for Georgian tourists to obtain visas to Israel.

"Israel wants to simplify a procedure of obtaining visas for Georgian tourist groups," Israeli ambassador to Georgia Yuval Fuchs said at a meeting with representatives of the Georgian tourism companies today.

"The embassy and consulate are ready to cooperate with tour operators in connection with the issuance of visas for tourist groups," he said. "As it is known, tourism contributes to the economy of Georgia and Israel. Its role is more significant as tourism is part of the country's culture."


The United States stands with Israel because it is in its "fundamental national security interest" to do so, US President Barack Obama said Wednesday, as he arrived for a 51-hour visit to the Jewish state and the Palestinian territories, dpa reported.

"We stand together because peace must come to the Holy Land," he added, as he spoke at an airport welcoming ceremony.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as he welcomed the US chief executive, that "the need of our alliance is greater than ever" and was "a key to achieve a stable and secure peace."


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to present his new centre-right government to parliament Monday, dpa reported.

The coalition of Netanyahu's nationalist Likud-Beiteinu alliance, the pro-settler Jewish Home, the centrist Yesh Atid - which advocates socio-economic reforms - and another centrist party of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, has a majority of 68 mandates in the 120-seat Knesset.

The swearing-in session was scheduled to start at 3 pm (1300 GMT).


Israeli forces arrested 12 people in the West Bank overnight Sunday, locals and Israel's army said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said five people were detained in Beit Khalil, two in Beit Awwa, two in Azzun, one in Nablus, one in el-Kharab, one in el-Arrub.

Locals said Mutaz Asafra, 20, Muhannad Asafra, 20, and Hamza Zuhur, 20, were arrested in Beit Khalil.

In Beit Awwa village, Israeli troops detained brothers Samir Abdul Qader, 32, and Tamer, 22.

Israeli forces routinely arrest Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, usually on the pretext of security questioning.