Mike Pence to address Knesset during December Israel visit

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence speaks at the Christians United for Israel conference in Washington, D.C., July 17, 2017. (CUFI)

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence speaks at the Christians United for Israel conference in Washington, D.C., July 17, 2017. (CUFI)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will address the Knesset when he visits Israel next month.

Senior officials in Jerusalem told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Pence had suggested speaking to the Knesset, and that his offer was accepted. [Read more…]

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Palestinians threaten to cut ties with U.S. if Washington office closed

President Donald Trump shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, May 23, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, May 23, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

(JTA) – The Palestinian Authority has threatened to suspend communications with the United States if moves ahead with closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, D.C.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the possible closure a “very unfortunate and unacceptable” decision, and said that Washington was bowing to pressure from the Israeli government “at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal.” [Read more…]

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Trump administration welcomes Palestinian Authority deployment to Gaza crossings

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy handling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, welcomed the deployment of Palestinian Authority (PA) personnel to control crossings into the Gaza Strip and said it was “essential” that the Palestinian Authority control Gaza.

“The United States believes it is essential that the Palestinian Authority assume full responsibility for Gaza,” his statement said. Hamas control of Gaza has been a major impediment to restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; renewing the talks is a key foreign policy goal for Trump. [Read more…]

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Egypt ready to help Palestinians, assist in peace talks, White House official says

(JTA) – Creating a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians “will take time,” a senior White House official said.

The official reiterated requirements laid out last week by Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the peace process, on a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, namely adhering to the Quartet principles: unambiguously and explicitly committing to nonviolence; recognizing the State of Israel; accepting previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists; and committing to peaceful negotiations. [Read more…]

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What the U.S. is requiring from Hamas to join a Palestinian unity government

(JTA) – Any Palestinian government “must unambiguously and explicitly” commit to nonviolence, recognize Israel, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the peace process said.

The statement issued Thursday by Jason Greenblatt is the first response by the United States to the Palestinian reconciliation agreement signed this week between the Fatah Party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the terrorist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. The Trump administration has been working to jump-start the peace talks, a stated major goal of the administration. [Read more…]

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