Trump reiterates neutrality on two-state solution, but says he ‘likes’ it

(JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he “likes” the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict while reiterating his noncommittal approach.

Asked during an interview with Reuters Thursday whether he had backed away from the two-state concept during his Feb. 15 joint White House appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said, “No, I like the two-state solution.” [Read more…]

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UN human rights office decries Israeli sentence of soldier as ‘excessively lenient’

(JTA) – The United Nations’ human rights office said it is “deeply disturbed” by the 18-month prison term given to an Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian terrorist after he had been subdued.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the sentence for manslaughter as “excessively lenient” and “unacceptable” on Friday in Geneva, Reuters reported. [Read more…]

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Australia reaffirms ties to Israel as Netanyahu wraps up historic visit

(JTA) – Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Malcolm Turnbull of Australia reaffirmed the strong relationship between their two countries as the former completed his landmark visit to the island nation.

The statement issued Thursday by Netanyahu and Turnbull also said that “Australia re-affirmed its commitment to Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people, in peace within secure borders, and its steadfast opposition to attempts to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Israel thanked Australia for its consistent support in this regard. Both countries re-stated their support for a directly negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia affirmed its support for a two-state solution.” [Read more…]

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Michael Flynn, key Iran player, resigns just as Netanyahu arrives in Washington

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Michael Flynn, the national security adviser who emerged as a key player in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy, resigned just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington for his first White House summit with Trump.

Flynn quit late Monday after acknowledging that he had misled other administration officials, including U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, about a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador in December before Trump assumed office. [Read more…]

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Israel bars entrance to Peru’s fugitive ex-president, whose wife holds Israeli citizenship

(JTA) – Israel says Peru’s fugitive former president, Alejandro Toledo, who is wanted on corruption charges, would not be allowed to enter the country.

Toledo’s arrest was requested in Peru last week over allegations he took $20 million in bribes. He was said to have chosen to flee to the Jewish state because his wife, Eliane Karp, holds Israeli citizenship, and because Israel does not have an extradition agreement with Peru, the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reported Sunday.  [Read more…]

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Poll: Americans nearly split over support for Palestinian state

(JTA) – Americans are nearly evenly divided over support for a Palestinian state, according to the latest Gallup poll.

Some 45 per cent of Americans back the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 42 per cent oppose it, according to the poll taken during the first week of February. Some 13 per cent said they have no opinion.  [Read more…]

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U.S. Senate committee to hold David Friedman confirmation hearing this week

Donald Trump, right, along with his attorney David Friedman, left, exiting the Federal Building following their appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News via Getty Images)

Donald Trump, right, along with his attorney David Friedman, left, exiting the Federal Building following their appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News via Getty Images)

(JTA) – David Friedman, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to Israel, will have his confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.

The committee announced Saturday that the hearing is set for Feb. 16, a day after Trump is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. [Read more…]

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