Israel to reduce electricity supplied to Gaza at Abbas’ request

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s security cabinet agreed to reduce the amount of electricity Israel supplies to the Gaza Strip at the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas said he would reduce by 40 per cent how much money the PA pays Israel to supply the electricity, with a concurrent reduction in the amount of electricity delivered, Haaretz reported. He reportedly made the decision in order to put pressure on Hamas in Gaza. [Read more…]

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Israel’s defense minister proclaims peace closer than ever

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel is “far closer” to an agreement with the Palestinians than it has ever been before.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV station Thursday, Liberman expressed confidence that an offer of normalized relations with Arab states would bring the government and people of Israel on board. [Read more…]

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Abbas reportedly ready to suspend settlement freeze demand to restart peace talks

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) – Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to suspend his demand that Israel freeze West Bank settlement construction as a condition for restarting peace talks, a top adviser said.

Abbas also is willing to mute his campaign to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes and to single Israel out for condemnation at the United Nations, Mohammad Mustafa, a senior economic adviser to Abbas and a former PA deputy prime minister, told Bloomberg on Wednesday in an interview in Ramallah on Monday, that  was published on Thursday. [Read more…]

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Abbas reportedly confirms to PLO that Trump shouted at him during meeting

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) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has appeared to confirm an Israeli report that U.S. President Donald Trump shouted at him during their meeting last month in Bethlehem.

The London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Araby, or The New Arab, which has editions in both Arabic and English, reported on Wednesday that Abbas acknowledged the previous day during a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee that his meeting with Trump was “uncomfortable,” citing unnamed sources present at the meeting. [Read more…]

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Thousands rally in Tel Aviv for two states, against occupation

Thousands of Israelis rallying im Tel-Aviv, May 27, 2017. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Thousands of Israelis rallying im Tel-Aviv, May 27, 2017. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Thousands of Israelis rallying im Tel-Aviv, May 27, 2017. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

(JTA) – Thousands of Israelis gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against what organizers called “50 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.”

The rally on Saturday night under the banner of “Two States – One Hope” was organized by anti-settlement group Peace Now and included left-wing Israeli political parties such as the Zionist Union and Meretz, as well as several other left-wing organizations including the Geneva Initiative, the New Israel Fund, “Standing Together,” “Zazim” and “Reinforcing the Left on the Web.” [Read more…]

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Rex Tillerson: Trump ‘putting a lot of pressure’ on Israel and the Palestinians

WASHINGTON (JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump is “putting a lot of pressure” on Israel and the Palestinians to restart peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

“The president was very forceful in his encouragement to both of them to be serious about approaching these discussions in the future and recognize you have to compromise,” Tillerson said in Rome, where he was accompanying Trump on his first overseas trip as president. Trump had just visited Israel and the Palestinian areas. [Read more…]

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