Netanyahu says U.S. decision to halt funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency is a ‘welcome and important change’

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the United States announcement that it would halt all funding to the United Nations agency that aids Palestinians a “welcome and important change.”

Netanyahu made the statement on Sunday morning, more than a day after U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that: “The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.” [Read more…]

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Abbas says U.S. negotiators offered plan that includes federation with Jordan

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

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

(JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that Trump administration peace negotiators offered a peace plan that included forming a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation.

Abbas told members of the left-wing Peace Now organization and opposition Israeli lawmakers during a widely-reported meeting on Sunday that he told Trump advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt that he would only agree to such a confederation if it was three ways and included Israel. [Read more…]

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Mahmoud Abbas still favours demilitarized Palestinian state, minimal refugee return

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

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

(JTA) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was still committed to key concessions he has made in years of negotiations with Israel, including a demilitarized Palestinian state and no massive return of Palestinians to Israel.

Abbas’ remarks in a meeting Tuesday with Israeli academics are notable because he has pulled away from Trump administration efforts to revive the peace talks, principally because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while not extending a corresponding recognition to the Palestinians. [Read more…]

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Trump administration looks set to end UNRWA funding altogether

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The United States appears set to cut off funding altogether to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that administers relief for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The United States has so far this year disbursed $60 million US to UNRWA. It sent $364 million US to UNRWA last year, by far the largest contribution of any entity and a third of the agency’s budget. [Read more…]

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California museum can keep Nazi-looted paintings valued at $24 million, U.S. court rules

(JTA) – A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that an art museum in Pasadena, California, can keep two Nazi-looted Renaissance paintings.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Norton Simon Museum can keep “Adam” and “Eve,” which were painted around 1530 by Lucas Cranach the Elder and in 2006 were appraised at $24 million, The Associated Press reported. [Read more…]

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