Donald Trump may be uniquely suited to push for Middle East peace: the Israelis as well as key Arab players, each for their own reasons, are all looking like admirers who seek to please. But out-of-the-box thinking will be needed nonetheless.
Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner was in the region this week to hear ideas about a final-status deal. According to a Palestinian official who participated in the meetings, he asked both sides for proposals to take to the U.S. president.
This resurfaces the formula pursued in vain by presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, which presupposes a near-total pullout from the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and sharing of Jerusalem.
Palestinians say they're giving up three-quarters of pre-state Palestine. Israelis see their small country made smaller still in a hostile region teeming with jihadis and struggle with how to divide Jerusalem between countries that will need a border.
Complicating matters are 600,000 Israelis now living in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Various plans envisioned land swaps to incorporate some settlements on the Israeli side — but many people would still need to be removed from their homes, raising real prospects of violence. Resultant maps, with borders snaking around neighboring villages and towns, are all ungainly to various degrees.
Then there's the Palestinian demand for refugees, including millions of descendants, to have at least theoretical rights to return to Israel — a non-starter for most Israelis. In what seems tit for tat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Palestinians to dutifully recognize Israel as a "Jewish state," even though a fifth of its citizens are Arabs who in many cases identify primarily as Palestinians.
Past more moderate Israeli governments have made offers they considered very far-reaching, but none quite satisfied the Palestinians. With few expecting Netanyahu to even approach the past offers, the focus could soon fall on a partial deal that sidesteps excessive ambition.
In one scenario, a Palestinian state arises on lands Israel can comfortably evacuate under present realities — the existing Palestinian autonomous zones set up in the 1990s, plus other parts of the West Bank, plus Gaza, if the coastal strip can be retaken from the Hamas militants who seized it in 2007. Final borders, Jerusalem and the refugee issue would wait, as would declarations of eternal peace.
"We must not nullify any option for a final settlement. We must only seek to make the interim period as manageable as possible; to enable the parties to get used to the mutual benefits of peace and quiet," wrote Tsvi Bisk in Israel's Haaretz, recommending "'a little land for a little peace.'"
Despite rising nationalism, the Israeli electorate does want movement and there is an expectation Netanyahu and his right wing would be amenable to a partial pullout — even if they may still need to be pushed on details.
Indeed, it might cement further their rule.
The Palestinians have objected to such notions in the past, fearing that Israel will be happy to unload most of the Palestinian population in this way but then never return to the table, rendering the intended interim phase permanent in effect.
That's where the Sunni Arab world being rather assiduously courted by Trump might play a role, offering both sides carrots.
Israel would joyously welcome any normalization — an embassy in Riyadh, trade relations with the Emirates, security cooperation in the Gulf. But the Palestinians, impoverished still and traumatized, may have even more to gain from an Arab embrace: aid and investment for their nascent state, and improvements in the lot of Palestinians who across the region are oppressed in various ways.
Trump may have the leverage to nudge this along. His apparently good relations with key corners of the Arab world may seem odd given his anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, but they rest on some solid pillars.
First, he has firmly taken the Saudi side in that country's tussle for regional hegemony versus Iran. That contrasts with Barack Obama, who sought to neutralize Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, and despite reaching a multilateral deal to achieve this is widely seen in the region as an appeaser.
Second, unlike Obama, Trump does not torment authoritarians over human rights. Many of the region's rulers conflate political Islam with Islamic terrorism, justifying crackdowns on dissent — and the new administration seems to not quibble with this. And Egypt's government, which came to power after the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president, feels rehabilitated and welcome in Washington again.
Across the Sunni Arab world there is interest in resolving the century-old Israeli-Palestinian issue and focusing instead on pacifying the smoldering region and containing Iran.
In an unusual meeting of the minds, Israel's nationalist leadership agrees. Gone is American public moralizing over the Palestinians. Instead come exhortations to "deal" — something many Israelis feel the Palestinians never genuinely did in decades of sticking like glue to their core demands.
Indeed, many Israelis had general difficulty warming to Obama. With striking disregard of his repeated acts of support, they seemed receptive to the nationalist message that he was naive at best. And even liberal Israelis are grateful to see a U.S. leadership that calls out the United Nations for what they view as an irksome obsession with the Palestinians at the expense of other oppressed groups around the globe.
It will be extremely difficult for the Netanyahu camp in Israel — which is often joked of as a branch of the U.S. Republican Party — to rebrand Trump as anything but a friend, even if pressure should arrive.
And from Jerusalem to Ramallah and Riyadh, all the players project a view of Trump as mercurial and impulsive enough that he must be handled with caution and a wary smile. It's a landscape that may make the Middle East, for all its vexations, uniquely fertile ground for U.S. diplomacy at the moment.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — An artist in Maine's capital city is asking members of the community to come together and help add color to a large black-and-white mural outline.
Clint Pettengill, an artist who studied at the University of Maine at Augusta, is inviting Augusta residents to help finish his mural on Saturday. The Kennebec Journal reports Pettengill is one of a few artists working to create new murals and public art in downtown Augusta.
City officials designed the mural program to help draw tourism to the city and to spur economic and community development in Augusta. The Saturday community mural-painting will also coincide with a planned family festival at a nearby park.
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — Five Massachusetts beaches have been temporarily closed for swimming after tests found elevated bacteria levels.
The Newport Avenue Beach in Hull had the highest level, at four times the limit. Smith Beach in Braintree had bacteria levels double the safe amount.
The other closed beaches include the Milton Street section of Wollaston Beach, Darcy's Beach in Hull and Green Harbor Beach in Marshfield. All were closed to swimming Thursday, except for Milton Street which was closed Wednesday.
Many of the beaches impacted are bays where rain has washed contamination into the water.
A total of 65 beaches in the South Shore area have been tested for bacteria, and the 60 that passed are open for swimming.
The five beaches closed this week are being retested, with results expected Friday.
BERLIN (AP) — The U.S. European Command has released dramatic photos of a Russian jet coming within a few feet of a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance jet over the Baltic Sea in a maneuver that has been criticized as unsafe.
The photographs released Friday show the Russian SU-27 coming so close to the wing of the U.S. RC-135U that the Russian pilot can be seen in the cockpit in some images.
Intercepts are common and are usually considered routine, but EUCOM said in this case on June 19 "due to the high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft during the intercept, this interaction was determined to be unsafe."
Two days later, Sweden summoned Russia's ambassador after another SU-27 jet flew close to a Swedish Gulfstream reconnaissance plane over the Baltic.
MANCHESTER — Emergency crews have responded to the scene of a crash Friday afternoon.
The crash occurred on Bridge Street in the area of Ohio Avenue and Robinson Street around 12:30 p.m.
Manchester fire and ambulance crews as well as Manchester police and State Police are on scene.
The crash involves a blue four-door sedan. The car crashed over a guardrail and is hanging over a ditch. It is unknown if there are any injuries at this time.
Drivers should avoid the area.
NH1 News will update this story when more information is available.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Democratic senator's bill to give preference to Maine and U.S. companies in state contracts is receiving support in the Senate.
Lawmakers voted Thursday to approve Sen. Troy Jackson's bill that would give preference among similar bids to in-state contractors.
Republican Sen. Tom Saviello's amendment would allow businesses to qualify as in-state companies if at least 60 percent of their workforce is located within Maine borders.
The bill also would create a provision in public works contracts that manufactured goods like iron and steel be manufactured in the U.S.
A failed amendment by Republican Sen. Andre Cushing would have removed the requirement for in-state preferences.
The state Department of Administrative and Financial Services opposes the bill and calls its requirements too ambiguous, burdensome and costly.
MANCHESTER — A burglar was arrested after police caught him in the act Thursday.
Manchester police said they responded to Juba Market at 135 Cedar St. around 4 a.m. and immediately saw a man inside of the closed business.
Police said he appeared to be striking the cash register drawer with an unknown object.
Police entered the building and detained Nicholas Santos, 26, of Pembroke. Santos was able to gain access to the cash register, but police said he was unable to pry open an ATM machine.
The store's owner responded to the scene to assess the damage, and he notified police about a small amount of missing cash from the damaged cash register drawer. He also pointed out the damaged ATM machine.
A search revealed Santos was in possession of a similar amount of cash missing from the register, police said.
Police charged Santos with burglary, and he was held on $25,000 cash or surety following his arraignment. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for July 7 at 1:30 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts jury has awarded $750,000 to a man who suffered severe leg injuries while working for a landscaping business that did not carry worker's compensation insurance.
A lawyer for 52-year-old Jose Hernandez tells The Berkshire Eagle that her client was working for Lenox-based Rick's Complete Lawn and Landscaping Service in February 2015 when he fell from the roof of a building while clearing show.
Hernandez landed on his feet and fractured his heel bone into multiple pieces and now suffers from osteoarthritis in his right ankle.
His lawyer says the injury limits his mobility and he can no longer perform physically demanding work.
The business owner claimed Hernandez was not an employee at the time of the injury. His attorney did not return a call for comment.
KEENE — A man that broke into the Eagle's Club Sunday was eventually identified, partially because of unique tattoos on his hands, according to police.
Keene police said they responded to the Eagle's Club on Church Street because a motion alarm was triggered. When they arrived, police discovered that the building had been entered and items were stolen.
Surveillance cameras captured a male suspect in a hooded sweatshirt entering the building. Police said the footage also showed the man's unique hand tattoos.
Police released the photos to the public, and the suspect was identified as frequenting the Roxbury Street area.
On Thursday, police located and arrested Ricky Laprade, 26 of Keene, and charged him with felony-level burglary. Police said Laprade was wearing cover up make-up on his hand tattoos at the time of his arrest.
Laprade’s bail was set at $10,000 cash, and he is scheduled to appear in Cheshire Superior Court Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Police said the case remains under investigation, and anyone with information related to the incident is asked to call the Keene Police Department at 603-357-9820.
CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire tourism officials are anticipating 17 million visitors and $2.25 billion in visitor spending this summer, up 4 percent in both categories over last year.
More than 1 million visitors are expected to generate more than $150 million in spending from June 30 to July 4.
Tourism officials are anticipating increased overnight visits, extended weekend and day trips compared to last summer. Their research cited a number of economic indicators suggesting a successful summer tourism season, including a 10-year low in the unemployment rate and growth in U.S. travel volume.
ARUNDEL, Maine (AP) — A man has died after being thrown from his vehicle in a crash in a Maine town.
York County sheriffs say 20-year-old Austin Cole was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash in Arundel Wednesday night. Deputies say Cole lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.
The impact caused the vehicle to roll over and Cole was ejected from the car.
Authorities say no other vehicles were involved in the crash. The cause is under investigation, with police saying speed may have been a factor.
CHICHESTER — Four horses are working their way toward recovery after being rescued from a farm in Deering.
Police said they received reports in May that the horses had not been seen outside the barn at the farm at farm located at 558 E. Deering Road in more than a year in a half.
After police, the New Hampshire SPCA and the state veterinary office made repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact the horses' owners and caretakers to check on their welfare, police applied for a warrant.
On Thursday, Police Chief James Pushee and New Hampshire State Department of Agriculture Veterinary Technician Alicia Pedemonti executed the search warrant and found four Arabian horses in extremely poor health living in unsafe conditions.
They requested additional help and seized the horses and brought them to Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester. The owners signed over care to Live and Let Live, which is now looking for help paying for the horses care.
Anyone who would like to help, can make donations by texting 71777 and typing in the keyword "HAY" or through PayPal at www.liveandletlivefarm.org.
Deering police said they plan to charge the owners and caretakers with cruelty to animals.
According to town assessing records, the property is owned by Anthony Costine.
RYE — About 500 cyclists will hit the road Saturday to raise money for a cure for Alzheimer's, and it's not too late to register.
The 21st annual RIDE to End Alzheimer’s takes off at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye with four distance options including a 30-, 62- 100-mile and a 2-mile family course that run throughout the New Hampshire Seacoast and the north shore of Massachusetts.
The take off times are as follows:
100-mile riders take off: 6:30 a.m.
62-mile riders take off: 8:30 a.m.
30-mile riders take off: 10 a.m.
Family ride takes off: 11 a.m.
Online registration closed Wednesday, but those looking to register may do so Friday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Packet Pick Up Event at Discover Portsmouth, at 10 Middle St., Portsmouth.
Registration also will be available the day of the event from 6-11 a.m., and participants are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes ahead of their desired start time to register.
Every year, 90 percent of the funds raised by the event are given to research restricted grants, while the remaining 10 percent goes to fund programs and services for families impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
This year's fundraising goal is $500,000, and since the event began 21 years ago, the RIDE has raised over $4 million.
Many of the riders have personal ties to Alzheimer's, like Ann Whaley-Tobin, who not only participates in the RIDE but has been a committee member for the event for eight years. Whaley-Tobin lost her mother and aunt to Alzheimer’s and said that a cousin also has been diagnosed.
Marian Hyder, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, was diagnosed in 2016 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s and primary progressive aphasia. This is Marian’s second year participating in the event on the 30-mile course, and in 2016 her team raised over $10,000. She is very active and wants to show people that you can still do things with Alzheimer’s.
Another couple traveled all the way across the country from California to participate in this event, despite having no ties to the region. Leslie Laskin Reese and her husband decided to ride for causes they believe in this year and the RIDE and a vacation to New Hampshire sounded like a great opportunity. Leslie also lost her mother to Alzheimer’s.
Jim Wessler, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association's Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter, has pedaled for a cure for 13 years, and this year he will ride the 100-mile course.
A post-ride celebration and barbecue will be held at Odiorne Point State Park from noon-4 p.m.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — This August, the U.S. will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years.
Total solar eclipses occur every year or two or three, often in the middle of nowhere like the South Pacific or Antarctic. What makes this one so special — at least for Americans — is that it will cut diagonally across the entire United States.
The path of totality on Aug. 21 — where day briefly becomes night — will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Those on the outskirts — all the way into Canada, Central America and even the upper part of South America — will be treated to a partial eclipse.
The last time a total solar eclipse swept the whole width of the U.S. was in 1918.
No tickets are required for this Monday matinee, just special eclipse glasses so you don't ruin your eyes.
Here are some eclipse tidbits as you get ready to feast your protected eyes on perhaps the greatest of all cosmic spectacles.
WHAT'S A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
When the moon passes between Earth and the sun, and scores a bull's eye by completely blotting out the sunlight, that's a total solar eclipse. The moon casts a shadow on our planet. Dead center is where sky gazers get the full treatment. In this case, the total eclipse will last up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds in places. A partial eclipse will be visible along the periphery. Clouds could always spoil the view, though, so be ready to split for somewhere with clear skies, if necessary.
WHAT'S THE PATH ON AUG. 21?
The path of totality — meaning total darkness — will begin near Lincoln City, Oregon, as the lunar shadow makes its way into the U.S. This path will be 60 miles to 70 miles wide; the closer to the center, the longer the totality.
Totality will cross from Oregon into Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and, finally, South Carolina. (It will also pass over tiny slivers of Montana and Iowa.) The eclipse will last longest near Carbondale, Illinois: approximately two minutes and 40 seconds. The biggest cities in the path include Nashville; Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina; Salem, Oregon; Casper, Wyoming; and just barely within, Kansas City, Missouri.
LAST TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSES IN U.S.?
Hawaii experienced a total solar eclipse in 1991. But the U.S. mainland hasn't seen a total solar eclipse since 1979, when it swooped across Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, then into Canada.
Before that, in 1970, a total solar eclipse skirted the Atlantic coastline from Florida to Virginia. Totality — or total darkness — exceeded three minutes in 1970, longer than the one coming up. The country's last total solar eclipse stretching from coast to coast, on June 8, 1918, came in over Oregon and Washington, and made a beeline for Florida.
WHEN'S THE NEXT ONE?
If you miss the Aug. 21 eclipse — or get bitten by the eclipse bug — you'll have to wait seven years to see another one in the continental U.S. The very next total solar eclipse will be in 2019, but you'll have to be below the equator for a glimpse. We're talking the South Pacific, and Chile and Argentina. It's pretty much the same in 2020. For the U.S., the next total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. The line of totality will cross from Texas, up through the Midwest, almost directly over Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, up over New England and out over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Carbondale, Illinois, will be in the crosshairs once again.
NASHUA — Attention Spider-Man fans! The rarest Spider-Man costume in the world is coming to the Granite State, so don't miss your chance to see a piece of comic book history up close and in person.
The rare Spidey-suit belonging to legendary comic book creator and writer Roy Thomas will be on display at the Nashua Library ComicFest on July 22.
Roy’s friend and agent John Cimino will give a talk about the suit, which is the first Spider-man costume ever made by Marvel Comics and was once believed to have been lost to the ages. He will recount Roy’s history wearing the suit in the pages of the Marvel comics in the 1960s, at the Stan Lee Carnegie Hall show in 1972, up through the last time he wore it in public.
After his talk, Cimino will be exhibiting the costume until 4:30 p.m.
Something for every fandom will be happening at ComicFest, which runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Other activities include Minecraft games and board games, along with a video game tournament.
New to the event this year is a Cosplay Dating Game and two "escape rooms." There will also be a cosplay contest, with plenty of prizes for both experienced and novice cosplayers.
There will be activities for families in the library’s Children’s Room, and the library’s Image Gallery and Plaza will be filled with artists displaying and selling their comics, drawings, crafts, jewelry and more.
All the day’s events are free and open to the public, and you can visit www.nashualibrary.org/comicfest for more information.
SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (AP) — A customer's act of kindness at a southern Indiana McDonald's sparked a chain reaction of niceness in its drive-thru line.
Hunter Hostetler is a cashier at a McDonald's in Scottsburg, about 50 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. He says an older woman waiting in the restaurant's drive-thru Sunday decided to pay for the big order of a man with four children in a van behind her.
Hostetler says she asked him to tell the man "Happy Father's Day," then drove away.
The kind gesture prompted the man to pay for two cars behind him, and that generosity eventually spread to 167 cars by closing time.
Abby Smith was in one of those cars. She tells WDRB-TV it's wonderful knowing that there's still "a lot of great people out there."
CONCORD — US Attorney Farley announced that Leeland Eisenberg would be sentenced to five years in federal prison for robbing a bank and another five years probation for possessing cocaine.
Court documents proved Eisenberg robbed the Citizen's Bank on Elm Street in Manchester on August 2, 2016.
Eisenberg pleaded guilty to the bank robbery and drug possession charges. He was sentenced to the bank robbery charge June 16, and the drug possession charge June 21.
SALEM, Mass. — Charges were dropped against one of the two New Hampshire men charged with blowing up a newspaper distribution box in downtown Salem last summer.
According to Salem News, charges against Lawrence Gilman, 21, of Milford, were dropped because there was no evidence that Gilman actually participated in placing a firework inside the Rainbow Times box in Townhouse Square, only that he was present when it happened.
His co-defendant, John Richard, 23, of Hollis, admitted last month to bringing a firework mortar with him when he and Gilman and the rest of their musical band, D-Sagawa, came to Salem to play at a nearby club on the evening of Aug. 22.
Salem News reported that Richard's case was continued without a finding for a year, with conditions that include restitution, community service and a letter of apology.
It was also reported that Gilman's lawyer, John Bosk, credited the Salem Police Department and the Essex District Attorney for not "politicizing" the incident after learning that the explosion was not motivated by animus against the gay community.
MILFORD — Police arrested a Warner man accused of breaking into a Milford home and then fleeing.
The Milford Police Department responded to a residential burglary in progress on Ponemah Hill Road on April 14 around 8:47 a.m. The suspect, who was believed to have made entry through an unlocked door, had left the scene just prior to police arrival. Police identified the suspect through surveillance video captured inside the home and issued an arrest warrant.
On Wednesday, Maurice Tweedie Jr., 47, was arrested and charged with burglary. He is being held on $10,000 cash bail and has a probable cause hearing scheduled for June 28.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Detective Division at the Milford Police Department at 603-249-0630.
Friday will be a much more humid day with a mix of clouds and hazy sun. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s as the warmth from the south returns to the region. Showers and thunderstorms are possible. It won't rain the whole day, but a storm is possible during both the morning and afternoon.
It will be very warm and humid Friday night with lows in the upper 60s and low 70s.
The next cold front slides through early Saturday. It likely will start rather gray on Saturday with clouds and lingering showers. Drier air will move in during the afternoon with a clearing sky and developing sunshine. Highs on Saturday will be in the lower 80s.
Saturday night will be much more comfortable and Sunday looks decent with a mix of sun and clouds and highs near 80. A shower or thunderstorm can't be ruled out in the northern half of New Hampshire especially Sunday afternoon.
Next week looks unsettled with shower chances and a mix of sun and clouds. These small disturbances are difficult to time. No days look to be washouts but there will be higher chances for showers at times.