Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert supports Palestinian move for enhanced international recognition.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat discusses the change in status at the UN with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
A year after failing to win recognition as an independent state, the Palestinian Authority came back to the United Nations and won the vote for an upgraded status as a non-voting member state in the General Assembly Thursday.
The governments of the United States and Israel both stood firmly against the Palestinian Authority’s move at the United Nations, which passed with an overwhelming majority. Surprisingly, though, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threw his full support behind the move.
“What the Palestinians moved to do today in the U.N., I think is in basic line with the strategy of a two state solution,” Olmert told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. FULL POST
By Samuel Burke, CNN
The Arab Spring countries of North Africa are struggling to balance their secular and Islamic roots, but the leader of Tunisia’s ruling party thinks he has the answer.
Rached Ghannouchi co-founded the Ennahda party, but only returned from 22 years in exile after Tunisia became the first country of the Arab Spring to oust its leader.
Secular Tunisians and national media have questioned how much sharia law would be enshrined in Tunisia’s new constitution, but Ghannouchi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that the problem has already been bypassed.
“There was some dispute about enshrining sharia,” he said, “that’s why we had to push away the controversy and we settled for what was said in the 1959 constitution about Tunisia as an Arab country.” FULL POST
An adviser to Egypt's president says Morsy's decrees could be lifted in as little as 15 days.
An Egyptian-American professor speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about Egypt's ongoing constitutional crisis.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
The decrees that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy issued last week, which have sparked a constitutional crisis in Egypt, could be lifted in the next two weeks.
That’s according to Essam el-Erian, a top adviser to Morsy, and a senior leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing.
El-Erian told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the constitutional process has been greatly accelerated, so much so that a draft will be voted on in the constitutional assembly on Thursday or Friday. FULL POST
(CNN) – Did Yasser Arafat die eight years ago of natural causes or was the 75-year-old Palestinian leader poisoned, as his widow believes?
That's the question forensic investigators from at least three nations are trying to answer by testing samples taken from Arafat's body, which was exhumed Tuesday and reburied a short time later.
Tests are being performed on those samples for the presence of polonium – a toxic, radioactive element found on some of his personal belongings earlier this year.
For five decades, Arafat was the most prominent face of Palestinian opposition to Israel, first as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which carried out attacks against Israeli targets, and later as the head of the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, says it is convinced Israel is behind any poisoning of Arafat. FULL POST
By Mick Krever, CNN
If diplomacy is a tightrope walk, Gary Locke, as the U.S. ambassador to China, walks one of the thinnest.
To listen to the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates, China is an economic cheater, global bully, and human rights violator that the U.S. needs to wrestle under control.
In a debate last month with his republican challenger, President Barack Obama said that China is “an adversary, but also a potential partner.”
That may be the reality of a political campaign, but the reality now for the governments of the United States and China is that despite very real differences, the two countries – entwined economically and in foreign policy – need each other more than perhaps ever.
“We do have disagreements,” Locke told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “And we’re publicly and privately constantly urging the Chinese to reexamine some of their policies.” FULL POST
Egyptian Judge Mohamed Al Zind speaks about his opposition to Morsy's decrees.
An analyst of the Middle East discusses America's perspective on Morsy's decrees.
A former adviser to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy defends the edicts as the only option to building a democracy.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
A former aide to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy said that no concession had been reached between Morsy and the country’s judges, despite a meeting Monday that appeared to have resulted in an agreement between the two sides.
“It’s not a compromise – it’s a clarification,” Jihad Haddad told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
Just days after Morsy received international acclaim for helping to broker a truce between Israel and Gaza militants, the Islamist leader has triggered angry demonstrations for an edict, issued Thursday, that effectively allows him to rule the country unchecked by the judicial system, for the next six months, or until a new constitution is finalized.
Haddad insisted that Morsy has tried to compromise with the judiciary, even looking for a “dignified way of promoting [the Prosecutor General] out of office,” but Morsy has been met with opposition from judges who are Mubarak appointees and loyalists. FULL POST
History professor Rashid Khalidi discusses the future of the Palestinian territories and how the latest conflict may shift political power.
A conversation about the bigger picture between Israel and Gaza, and the changing roles of Egypt and the United States in the region.
PART 1: Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Khaled Meshaal, head of the political wing of Hamas.
PART 2: Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Khaled Meshaal, head of the political wing of Hamas.
PART 3: The head of the political wing of Hamas tells Christiane Amanpour about the attempted assassination on his life.
By Ashley Fantz, CNN
(CNN) - The political leader of Hamas says his group was not behind Wednesday's bus bombing in Tel Aviv. But Khaled Meshaal did say he believed the bombing was a response to the violence in Gaza.
A cease-fire, announced Wednesday night in a joint news conference in Cairo, Egypt, by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, took effect at 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).
In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Cairo, Meshaal - whose group is considered a terrorist group by Israel and the United States - spoke about the bus attack, which injured more than 20 people, and he detailed Hamas' mindset on the situation overall.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Amanpour: There has been a terrible attack inside Israel today, in Tel Aviv. The first of these kinds of attacks in six years. A bomb on a bus, and there have been many casualties. Does Hamas claim responsibility? Did Hamas do that?
Meshaal: This question must be addressed to (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.
Amanpour: No, no, I'm asking you. Did Hamas claim responsibility? Did Hamas do that?
Meshaal: Not Hamas, not others, not other people from, not Hamas. No one can announce except those who committed, not me. The lesson is what matters. What led to this? Who created the circumstances that led to this operation? It is Netanyahu with his crimes, in killing the kids of Gaza, and the continuity of aggression. He create(d) such ramifications everywhere. This could lead to any kind of reaction as retaliation for what happened in Gaza.
In the spirited interview, with Meshaal often raising his voice passionately, Amanpour asked Meshaal about whether he would accept a two-state solution that envisages the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.
"And yet you say that you would accept a two-state solution but you won't recognize Israel's right to exist," Amanpour said.
Meshaal repeatedly said that the "Palestinians are offering peace" and blamed the United States and Israel for working toward situations that are not peaceful.
"How can I accept Israel? They have occupied my land," Meshaal said.
Amanpour asked him directly if Hamas is getting weapons from Iran.
Hamas is a "resistance" against "occupation," he said and it seeks financial, military and other forms of support from Iran from any state that wishes to support Hamas.
The group gets helps from Europe and from Iran, wherever it can get it, he said.
"So the answer is yes," to whether Iran helps Hamas, Amanpour challenged.
"I answered you," Meshaal replied.
Amanpour asked him to explain Hamas' end game.
"The end game is to end occupation," he said, and "peace throughout the region."
CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.
PART 1: Qatar's Prime Minister tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour about his country's role in ceasefire talks.
PART 2: Qatar's Prime Minister tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour about his country's role in ceasefire talks.
By Mick Krever, CNN
Ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have yielded “no concrete solution,” Qatar’s prime minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
Talks to end the nearly week-long conflict between Israel and Hamas have been spearheaded by Egypt, with strong support from Qatar and Turkey.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, speaking to Amanpour from Doha, said that he believed both Israel and Hamas want a ceasefire, but that Hamas would not accept the status quo. FULL POST