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Trump tells Israel peace means compromise; U.S. envoy under fire


U.S. President Donald Trump told Israel on Friday that it too would need to make “significant compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, even as they accused one of his Middle East envoys of bogging down diplomacy with what they see as pro-Israel bias. The Palestinians were outraged by Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, a move overturning decades of U.S. reticence on the city’s status, and say they are looking at additional world powers as potential mediators. In an interview with an Israeli newspaper that was excerpted ahead of its full publication on Sunday, Trump described his Jerusalem move as a “high point” of his first year in office. The language of Trump’s announcement did not rule out a presence in Jerusalem for the Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city – captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally – as their own capital.

Commercial relations with Israeli settlements in the West Bank


The United Nations Human Rights Office said it had identified 206 companies that so far have commercial relations with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, where it claims that violations against Palestinians are “pervasive and devastating”. The report is politically sensitive because the companies mentioned by the UN could be targeted for boycotts or divestments aimed at strengthening the pressure on Israel and its settlements, which many countries regard as illegal. Most of these companies are based in Israel or its settlements (143), the second largest group in the United States (22), the rest in 19 other countries. The report, which did not indicate the companies claimed that the work in the database production on the companies will not involve a judicial process of any kind. The mandate of the UN office was only to identify the companies involved in the construction and surveillance of settlements, including transport services and banking and financial transactions that may raise human rights concerns. The violations associated with the settlement according to the report affect every aspect of Palestinian life, including freedom of religion, movement and education, as well as lack of access to land, water and livelihood.

Trump threatens to pull aid to Palestinians if they don’t pursue peace


U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they did not pursue peace with Israel, saying they had snubbed the United States by not meeting Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit.Trump, speaking after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum, said he wanted peace. However, his remarks could further frustrate the aim of reviving long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks. Palestinians shunned Pence’s visit to the region this month after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to begin moving the U.S. embassy to the city, whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Lebanon: Berri urges ‘boycott’ of Trump administration


Nabih Berri, during the Conference of Islamic Parliaments in support of Jerusalem in Iran, renewed his appeal for the transfer of the Islamic embassies from Washington and for the boycott to the administration of President Donald Trump until the latter cancels the controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also called for the closure of all Israeli embassies in Arab and Islamic capitals and the annulment of the Oslo peace accords, which form the basis of relations between Palestinians and Israel Negotiations for a peace process in the words of Berri they should remain firm until there is a clear announcement that blocks the settlement process.

Israeli officer will not be prosecuted for extrajudicial killing


The out-of-service Israeli soldier who shot “against the regulations” killing the 15-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud Badran in an allegedly mistaken identity case in June 2016 will be fired by the army for “failures in conduct”, but will not be prosecuted. The officer will not be accused of culpable homicide, since it is believed that the Palestinian group he shot was the assailant fleeing a terrorist incident. The news further provoked anger in a controversy that had already caused many unrest, primarily because of the excessive force used by the Israeli army against the Palestinians and also because of the impunity for an extrajudicial kill that occurred when the troops Israeli women opened fire on an unarmed car near the village of Beit Sira, in the West Bank, on which seven teenage friends were traveling, returning home from an evening in a water park. The investigation found “serious failures” in the conduct of the soldiers on the scene and that the officer in question had “contravened the rules of engagement”.

Saudi support to Palestinian cause


King Salman has expressed his support to Palestinian’s cause to establish an independent and openly recognized state. Trump’s declaration and operative recognition of Jerusalem as the unique Jewish capital, has mobilized Middle East countries in their support to Palestinian people. The king, in a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stressed the kingdom’s firm position on the legitimate rights of Palestinians and their wish to have Jerusalem as their capital.

Israeli army imposes partial lockdown on West Bank City


The Israeli army took office in the city of Nablus and neighboring villages in the West Bank on Wednesday, establishing roadblocks at all entrances and exits after a terrorist attack in the area led to the killing of an Israeli man on Tuesday night, the rabbi 35-year-old Raziel Shevach. The Israeli defense forces said an armed man opened fire on his car. The army searched the villages in the area overnight in search of the terrorists behind the attack and reinforcements were sent to the area to watch the operations. On Wednesday night, together with the Shin Bet security service and the Israeli police, the IDF arrested 11 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Jordan Valley for their suspected role in other cases of terror and disorder. During one of the arrests in the city of Jericho, the Palestinians set fire to rubbish bins and tires, also threw bricks and stones to the forces leading the army to shoot at the main rioters. The Shin Bet then declared that the “funds of terror” worth thousands of shekels were confiscated.

Palestinians threatened to suspend all communication if US closes PLO mission


The Palestinians threatened on Saturday to suspend all communication with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington. The potential rupture in relations threatens to undermine President Donald Trump’s bid for Mideast peace: a mission he has handed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the U.S. decision was “very unfortunate and unacceptable,” and accused Washington of bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal”. The administration announced late Friday that the Palestinians had run afoul of a legal provision that says the Palestine Liberation Organization cannot operate a Washington office if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the Palestinians crossed that line in September, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the court to investigate and prosecute Israelis, according to State Department officials.

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