Abbas denies Jewish connection to Israel in speech to Palestinian leadership

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to the media in Berlin, April 19, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, April 19, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denied a Jewish connection to Israel in a speech to the Palestinian leadership.

“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews,” Abbas said during a more than two-hour speech in Ramallah, to a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council. The two-day meeting was held to formulate a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. [Read more…]

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U.S. denies visa for Israeli singer to perform at UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The United States embassy in Israel has declined a visa request by Israeli singer Amir Benayoun, who is scheduled to perform a song he wrote at the United Nations annual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Benayoun is scheduled to be joined on stage at the U.N. in New York by singers David D’Or and Miri Mesika, who already have received their visas, and who will help him perform the song in Hebrew, English, and Arabic in a performance scheduled for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The annual ceremony commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27. [Read more…]

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U.S. Justice Dept. reopens Hezbollah drug probes

WASHINGTON (JTA) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is setting up a special task force on Hezbollah’s drug trade activities to revive investigations that languished during the Obama administration.

“The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” Sessions said Thursday in announcing the establishment of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team. [Read more…]

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Palestinians insist U.S. must rescind Jerusalem decision for peace talks to resume

(JTA) – The chief negotiator for the Palestinians said they will not resume any kind of peace negotiations with Israel until the United States walks back its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The Palestinian leadership will not accept any offers for negotiations unless the American decision on Jerusalem is annulled,” Saeb Erekat said Tuesday in an interview with the official Voice of Palestine radio, the official Palestinian Authority WAFA news website reported. [Read more…]

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Mike Pence’s Middle East visit rescheduled

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)

(JTA) – U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will visit Israel later this month, his office announced.

Pence will travel to the Middle East Jan. 19-23, with other stops in Egypt and Jordan to meet with their leaders. [Read more…]

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Netanyahu proposes alternative to U.S. funding of Palestinian refugee agency

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the U.S. should transfer its funds away from a United Nations agency that deals specifically with Palestinian refugees to another UN body that supports all the world’s refugees.

Netanyahu at the start of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting addressed U.S. threats to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA. [Read more…]

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Report details intense efforts by Trump transition to derail UN anti-Israel resolution

Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)
Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Flynn at the U.S. Capitol during U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Efforts by the Trump transition team to kill a 2016 UN Security Council resolution slamming Israel’s settlement policies were more widespread than was previously known, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The report Friday said the effort encompassed a number of transition officials beyond Michael Flynn, the national security adviser-designate who was previously known to have made the effort. [Read more…]

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Kosovo president: We’d have voted with U.S. on Jerusalem at United Nations

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The voting results of a U.N. resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Dec. 21, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said his Muslim-majority nation would have voted with the United States against a UN resolution condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Thaci said in a recent interview with the Albanian newspaper Express that were Kosovo to achieve full membership in the United Nations, it would vote “all the time” with the United States, including on last month’s resolution on Jerusalem. [Read more…]

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