Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

Jared Kushner
Updated 19 June 2017
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Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

WASHINGTON: Jared Kushner is traveling to the Middle East this week to continue work toward a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
A White House official said the senior aide and son-in-law to President Donald Trump will arrive on Wednesday for meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s international envoy, will arrive on Monday.
The official said Kushner and Greenblatt will hear from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and their senior advisers.
Trump made a personal appeal for peace during a visit to Israel last month. He has cast Middle East peace as the “ultimate deal,” putting Kushner and Greenblatt in charge of the charting the course.
In remarks in the Middle East, Trump called on both sides to put aside the “pain and disagreements of the past.” But he did not offer any details on how to move forward and avoided issues that have stymied all previous attempts at a peace agreement, including the status of Jerusalem, Israeli settlement construction and the Palestinians’ demand for a sovereign nation.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all tried and failed to achieve a peace deal.
The White House official — who was not authorized to speak publicly about the trip — said an agreement will take time, adding that there are likely to be many more visits by Kushner and Greenblatt to the region, as they seek common ground.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Kushner was making the trip.
Jared Kushner is traveling to the Middle East this week to work toward a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
A White House official said the senior aide and son-in-law to President Donald Trump will arrive on Wednesday for meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s international envoy, will arrive on Monday.
Trump made a personal appeal for peace during a visit to Jerusalem last month. He has cast Middle East peace as the “ultimate deal.”


In an Iraqi village, a little girl hides skin disease from neighbors

Haura, a 4-year-old Iraqi child, in the village of Wahed Haziran, Diwaniya province, has a rare skin disease that covers much of her upper body in black marks and hair. AFP
Updated 53 min 17 sec ago
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In an Iraqi village, a little girl hides skin disease from neighbors

  • Iraq’s medical system has been destroyed by the 15 years of chaos
  • We have seen several doctors and they all told us that she cannot be treated in Iraq

WAHED HAZIRAN: Four-year-old Iraqi girl Haura should be enjoying her childhood — games in the street, tearing in and out of friends’ homes and small squabbles over toys.
Instead, a rare congenital skin condition covering much of her upper body in black marks and hair has made her the object of ridicule in her village, about 200 km south of Baghdad.
Everyday, Haura’s parents dress her in long sleeved shirts and high collars, but it is a losing battle — her neck gives her away, to laughter and jeers.
“In two years, she will have to go to school — we really dread that,” says Haura’s mother Alia Khafif at the family home, in Wahed Haziran, Diwaniya province.
“How will the other children behave with her? We can’t guarantee that she’ll be comfortable in a school and this is the biggest obstacle for her future,” sighs Khafif, dressed in a traditional long black veil.
The black marks and hair cover Haura’s shoulders and almost her entire back, along with much of her arms and neck.
But things could still get a lot worse.
Her condition, a giant form of naevus — birthmarks or moles — make her highly vulnerable to malignant melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.
To ward off a potentially “fatal” outcome, the best treatments would be a skin graft and laser sessions, dermatologist Aqil Al-Khaldi tells AFP. He also recommends psychological help.
But Haura’s despairing family can’t afford these things.
Iraq’s medical system has been destroyed by the 15 years of chaos that has followed the toppling in 2003 of dictator Saddam Hussein, and by more than a decade of sanctions before that.
“We have seen several doctors and they all told us that she cannot be treated in Iraq. They all say we have to go to a specialist center abroad,” says Haura’s mother.
“We cannot afford the journey or medical costs.”
Even treatment to alleviate itching is beyond the family’s reach — and the irritation gets worse with the Summer heat, as temperatures regularly exceed 50 Celsius.
“What we have is barely enough to live on and to send four brothers and sisters to school,” adds Khafif, whose husband is old, sick and unemployed.
Haura’s teenage brother Ahmad stands up for her.
“She’s a normal child, there’s nothing wrong with her,” he insists.
“But when she leaves the house, our neighbors laugh at her.”
Outside in the street, passing children avoid her like the plague.
“Even if the Prophet asks us, we won’t play with her,” one says.
So when her siblings head to school, Haura sits and plays on her own — or peers mournfully into a little green-framed mirror, held up close to show only her big brown eyes and pretty face.