Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to negotiate a Middle East peace deal, declaring that the Palestinians were ready to cooperate with Trump’s efforts to broker a regional peace agreement. Last week, the Palestinian Authority president met Trump in Washington. The Palestinian leader made a similar statement on Tuesday, following a meeting with German President FrankWalter Steinmeier in Ramallah. “I stressed to President Trump that under his auspices I am open to cooperating and to meeting with the Israeli prime minister in order to make peace”, Abbas told reporters. “I pledged our full cooperation in the war on terror and extremism in our region and across the globe”. Putin also said Thursday Russia will continue efforts to help restore direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. After their meeting, Putin and Abbas praised bilateral relations as they dedicated a cultural center in Bethlehem via video conference. According to the WAFA Palestinian news agency, the construction of the new venue, named Putin Palestinian Foundation for Culture and Economics, cost $40 million.The center is meant to promote cultural exchange between the Russians and the Palestinians.
Israeli forces closed the road connecting the towns of Silwad and Ein Yabrud in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah with a large cement block early Wednesday, imposing a complete closure on the two Palestinian towns. According to locals, residents were forced to use dirt roads or roads far out in the outskirts of the town in order to avoid the cement block, while others were forced to exit and enter on foot. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the closure.
After a two-year delay, Fatah movement’s seventh congress kicked off in Ramallah today, where the movement has re-elected President Mahmoud Abbas to a new five-year term. Abbas said that 60 delegations from 28 countries will be joining the conference tonight. Party official Salim Zanoun asked the gathering on Monday to elect Abbas “by consensus.” The hundreds of delegates stood up and applauded Abbas, who then hugged Zanoun, AP reported. The five-day conference is expected to cement Abbas’ control of Fatah and lock out his chief rival, the exiled Mohamed Dahlan.
The Hamas movement is currently discussing the possibility of attending Fatah’s seventh conference later this week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told Ma’an on Sunday. The announcement came almost a week after Hamas denied reports that it had been invited to attend the congress. Qasim said that Hamas had recently received an invitation to attend the Nov. 29 event in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab told Ma’an that the political faction had also received an invitation to the conference, and that it would send a representative to participate.
A Palestinian was killed in clashes with the Israeli army along the Gaza Strip border on Friday, the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said. “Mohammed Abu Saada, 26, died after being shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers in clashes east of the Al-Bureij camp,” Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement. The Israeli army confirmed clashes in the area, which is in central Gaza, but could not immediately provide details. Also on Friday, an Israeli man was lightly wounded when stones were hurled at his vehicle as he drove near the West Bank town of Sinjil, about 20 km from Ramallah.
On Wednesday morning, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) broke into and attacked the headquarters of the Palestine National Initiative (PNI) movement in central Ramallah and arrested two youths. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers broke into the city with military jeeps, then stormed the headquarters, raided them, arrested two youths and confiscated computers. During the attack, clashes broke out between the youths and IOF, who threw intense teargas and rubber-coated metal bullets, injuring two Palestinians.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) disbursed over $1.6 million for reconstruction and severe repair works to 244 refugee families across Gaza. A statement said emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – is a top priority for UNRWA. European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah, meanwhile, visited Gaza on Tuesday to get first-hand impression of reconstruction efforts. The group of more than 20 senior European diplomats met with UNRWA officials, Palestinian ministers and representatives of Palestinian civil society.
Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, arrived on Wednesday in Ramallah ahead of the opening ceremony of Yasser Arafat Museum, and later met with President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah where they discussed the situation in Palestine in addition to Arab support for the Palestinian people. Abbas stressed the importance of coordination between the Arab League and the Palestinian leadership on future steps to protect Palestinian rights and to work towards ending the Israeli occupation. Abbas also said that it was important that there should be Arab backing to the French initiative to convene an international conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before the end of this year to resume the peace process.
Three Palestinians were wounded after being attacked by Israeli settlers on Saturday in the village of al-Janiya in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Israeli settlers “assaulted” and threw rocks at members of the Abu Fekheideh family while they were picking olives on their land in the al-Batha area of the village, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Talmon. Jaber Barakat Abu Fekheideh was critically injured in the head, while his brother Hasan and cousin Muhammad were reported as mildly wounded, though it remained unclear exactly what type of wounds they sustained. An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.