The Top 8 Headlines You Might Have Missed Haaretz Newsline, March 4

From the inauguration of the Palestinian-only bus lines from the West Bank to central Israel, to the Agriculture Ministry bracing for a possible onslaught of locust swarms, Haaretz brings you the top 8 headlines you might have missed.

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John Kerry, in Saudi Arabia on his first overseas trip as U.S. secretary of state, said Monday that talks between Iran and world powers on a diplomatic solution to its disputed nuclear program could not go on indefinitely. While in Riyadh, Kerry held a surprise meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Israel Defense Forces courts in the West Bank canceled only 2.6 percent of the administrative detention orders issued against Palestinians, according to a report – summing up the courts’ activities between 2009 and 2011 – provided to Haaretz. In addition, Israel's High Court of Justice has not accepted a single Palestinian’s petition regarding an administrative detention order.

Israel decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday, but as 65 trucks pulled up to the Israeli side of the border, the Palestinian contractor who runs the other side was nowhere to be found. According to a security official, Hamas instructed the contractor that his services would no longer be needed that that it planned to "take over" management of the crossing.

As of Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs with buses running from the Eyal crossing taking Palestinians to work in Israel. Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

With Passover just around the corner, Israel is bracing for the possible arrival of locust swarms sweeping through North Africa and Egypt. Spreading to Israel depends to a large extent on the direction of the winds in the coming days.

Police arrested four Tiberias youths early Monday morning on suspicion of involvement in an attack last week on an Arab maintenance worker in Tel Aviv. Police expect to apprehend other suspects in connection with the attack, which they said was motivated by anti-Arab sentiment.

Speaking to thousands of delegates at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on the U.S. to set up a “regional security framework” that would unite Middle East countries around the “joint challenges of radical Islamist terror, border security, missile defense and Iran.” He also called for a “daring peace initiative” which would try to achieve a permanent status solution with the Palestinians.

The Tel Aviv district court turned down the state prosecutor’s request to postpone the hearings in the Holyland trial, a corruption case involving former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, until after the Passover break because of the sudden death of key state witness S.D.

A file photo from 2004 showing locust swarming in Israel. Credit: Mori Chen



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