Posts Tagged ‘Mahmoud Abbas’

Palestinian leader says Trump administration ‘in chaos’

August 20, 2017

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, suit

Jared Kushner meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, June 21 2017.. (photo credit:AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he has met with officials from US President Donald Trump’s administration over 20 times since his election in November 2016.

“Each time they reiterate their commitment to a two-state solution and the stop to settlement building, Abbas says. “I urge them to tell Netanyahu that, but they are deterred.”

“I don’t even know how they are dealing with us, because his entire administration is in chaos,” he adds.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-august-20-2017/

Related:

Image result for Jason Greenblatt, photos

Jason Greenblatt, assistant to President Donald Trump and special representative for international negotiations, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 14. | AFP/Getty

Jordan king makes rare West Bank visit to meet Palestinian president

August 7, 2017

King Abdullah II has flown to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian President Abbas for the first time in five years. The trip is being viewed as a message to Israel, particularly over a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Jordan’s King Abdullah II flew by helicopter to the West Bank on Monday to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas amid shared tensions with Israel.

Abdullah received a red carpet welcome in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority. He was greeted by Abbas before the two national anthems were played.

The two leaders meet fairly frequently in the Jordanian capital of Amman and other regional capitals, but it was Abdullah’s first visit to Ramallah since December 2012.

The king’s trip had to be coordinated with Israeli authorities who control all entrance and exit points to the West Bank, including the 150 kilometer (93 mile) border with Jordan and the airspace above it.

Jordan's King Abdullah II is hugged by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas King Abdullah II received a red carpet welcome and a hug from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Signal to Israel

Abdullah’s visit comes amid rising Jordanian-Israeli tensions and is seen as a message to Tel Aviv that the Jordanian monarch is aligning with Palestinians on key issues – particularly concerning a contested Jerusalem holy site.

A crisis erupted last month at the Al Aqsa mosque compound when Israel installed metal detectors at Muslim entrances following the killing of two Israeli policemen.

The compound, which sits on a plateau in the Old City, is the third holiest site in Islam and is also revered by the Jews who call it Temple Mount.

Read more: Opinion – Tension escalates on the Temple Mount

The security changes led to several days of protests and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers.

Tensions peaked on July 23 when an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman. Israeli officials say one of the men attacked the security guard with a screwdriver while the other was accidentally shot.

The crisis finally eased on July 27 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the metal detectors be taken down after consultations with Jordan.

Read more: Why Israel censored reporting on the Jordan embassy shooting

Jordan has been the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites since the 1920s. The role is also a key component of Abdullah’s legitimacy.

Abbas and Abdullah are also likely to discuss a US-led effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which have been on hold for the past three years.

US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, has made several trips to Jerusalem, Amman and Ramallah, but there are few signs of interest in restarting negotiations.

rs/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/jordan-king-makes-rare-west-bank-visit-to-meet-palestinian-president/a-39995071

Palestinians Say Security Cooperation with Israel to Resume ‘Gradually’

July 29, 2017

 Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

 Members of the Palestinian special police forces wait to compete during the 7th Annual International Warrior Competition hosted by the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC), Sunday, April 19, 2015, Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)
 July 29, 2017, 2:52 pm
.

Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will gradually increase as long as Muslim access to the Temple Mount remains unrestricted, a senior Palestinian official told The Times of Israel on Saturday.

Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suspended security coordination with Israel to protest the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the site, a move that sparked widespread protests and condemnation from the Muslim world.

The security cooperation between Israel and the PA, in place for years despite near-frozen diplomatic ties, is seen as critical for both Israel and Abbas’s Fatah faction to keep a lid on violence in the West Bank, particularly from the Hamas terror group.

The official praised Israel for removing security restrictions imposed at the Temple Mount in the wake of a deadly terror attack at the site earlier this month. He also praised the Shin Bet Security service and the IDF for their handling of the mounting tensions surrounding the Jerusalem holy site, and expressed hope the two sides were on the way to resuming working ties.

Image may contain: outdoor

 Palestinian Muslim worshipers attend the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan outside the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on June 2, 2017. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

The fate of the Temple Mount is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions.

Jews revere the hilltop compound as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. It is the holiest site in Judaism, and the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the temples, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

But the walled compound is also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe the site marks the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/security-cooperation-with-israel-to-resume-gradually-pa-official-says/

Analysis: Jerusalem Shrine Crisis Hardens Leaders’ Positions — “A nation led by Prophet Muhammad will not be defeated.”

July 29, 2017

AMMAN, Jordan — The latest crisis over one of the most combustible spots in the Middle East has been defused for now, but has pushed the leaders of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians into tougher positions that could trigger new confrontations. The standoff over a Jerusalem shrine holy to Muslims and Jews also signaled that the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is shifting further from what was once seen as a territorial dispute toward a religious one.

Palestinian prayer in the east Jerusalem area of Wadi Joz, near the Temple Mount, July 28, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem)Palestinian prayer in the east Jerusalem area of Wadi Joz, near the Temple Mount, July 28, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem)

___

WHAT STARTED IT?

On July 14, three Arab assailants opened fire from the walled compound at Israeli police guards, killing two. The shooting left Israeli police scrambling for ways to screen worshippers for weapons as they enter the Muslim-run site through eight gates.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a police recommendation to install metal detectors — reportedly over objections from Israel’s military and a domestic security agency.

The new measures stoked Muslim fears that Israel is trying to expand control over the site under the guise of security — a charge Israel denies. Palestinians in Jerusalem, led by senior Muslim clerics, began staging mass street prayers in protest, four Palestinians were killed in street clashes with Israeli troops and a Palestinian killed three members of an Israeli family in a West Bank settlement.

Tensions ebbed after Israel removed the metal detectors and other devices earlier this week.

__

SIDELINED PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT

Mahmoud Abbas, who runs autonomous enclaves in the West Bank, was in China and his return home a week into the crisis reinforced perceptions among many Palestinians that he is out of touch. Trying to assert a leadership role, Abbas announced a suspension of security coordination with Israel until the situation at the shrine is restored to what it was before July 14.

For years, Abbas’ forces worked with Israel to foil attacks by militants in the West Bank, often acting against a shared foe, the Islamic militant Hamas. Such mutually beneficial cooperation, though unpopular among Palestinians, survived many crises and failed efforts to negotiate the terms of Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967.

Abbas threatened in the past to end security coordination, but never followed through. If he now restores such ties, he risks further harm to his domestic standing. If he doesn’t, Israel’s right-wing government could retaliate and threaten the survival of his Palestinian Authority.

The crisis highlighted Abbas’ fading influence in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. He also risks being cut off completely from Gaza, the territory he lost to Hamas in 2007. In recent weeks, Hamas and a former Abbas-aide-turned rival, Mohammed Dahlan, forged a Gaza power-sharing deal that would open the blockaded territory to Egypt and further weaken ties with the West Bank.

Abbas, 82, was briefly hospitalized Saturday for what his office said was a routine checkup, but it also served as a reminder of his advanced age and lack of a successor.

Nearly two weeks of civil disobedience have gripped the Palestinian territories [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

___

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER UNDER FIRE

Netanyahu was lambasted by all sides in Israel.

The center-left accused him of making hasty decisions at a volatile site — the third holiest in Islam and the most sacred on in Judaism — that has triggered major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian violence, including one involving Netanyahu in the mid-1990s.

Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist rivals, key to the survival of his coalition, said he capitulated to Arab pressure and effectively encouraged Palestinians to push for more concessions.

Netanyahu responded with a flurry of tough statements.

He ordered the resumption of plans to build a new West Bank settlement and reportedly gave the green light to draft legislation to bring several West Bank settlements under Jerusalem’s jurisdiction. He vowed to “kick Al Jazeera out of Israel,” accusing the Qatar-based satellite station of inciting violence over the shrine crisis. And he called for the death penalty — not imposed by Israel for more than half a century — for last week’s killer of the Israeli family.

Even if it’s mostly rhetoric, Netanyahu’ statements suggest that fending off his ultra-nationalist challengers is more important to him than calming the atmosphere. As both Netanyahu and Abbas harden positions, chances of the Trump administration — itself embroiled in turmoil — being able to revive peace talks seem close to zero.

__

JORDAN’S ANGRY MONARCH

King Abdullah II publicly vented his anger about what he called Netanyahu’s “provocative” behavior. Such harsh words from an Arab leader known for his measured tone were prompted by twin crises between the two countries and signaled delicate ties had taken a hit.

Abdullah, Muslim custodian of the Jerusalem shrine, was involved in trying to defuse tensions there when he faced another complication: On Sunday, a guard at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan shot dead two Jordanians after one attacked him with a screw driver.

After a phone call between the king and Netanyahu, the guard returned to Israel and Israel removed the metal detectors. The sequence of events suggested a horse trade with problematic optics for Abdullah that might have been forgotten quickly — had Netanyahu not given a hero’s welcome to the guard and inflamed long-running resentment against Israel in Jordan.

Jordan has since charged the guard with murder, demanded he be tried in Israel and issued a veiled threat — through an unidentified official quoted by Jordanian media — that Israel’s ambassador would not be allowed to return to Jordan until the guard is held accountable.

Israel and Jordan share strategic security interests, but any open cooperation at this time might not be tolerated by the Jordanian public. Abdullah already faces other threats to Jordan’s stability, including rising unemployment and spillover from regional conflicts.

___

FROM LAND DISPUTE TO HOLY WAR?

Recent events made it clear that the conflict in the Holy Land is no longer just a territorial dispute that can be resolved through creative partition ideas. Such efforts ran aground a decade ago, and the absence of a solution has given a bigger role to the religious component. The showdown over shrine was increasingly being framed as a zero sum game between religions.

After Israel captured the shrine in 1967, it left the administration in Muslim hands to avoid a conflagration with the Muslim world. The arrangement held into the 1990s, when more rabbis challenged a long-standing religious ban on Jews entering the site.

Increased visits by Jews — even if Israel enforces a Jewish prayer ban at the compound — have spooked Muslims, reviving fears of purported Israeli takeover attempts.

In the past two weeks, Palestinian protesters chanted Islamic not nationalist slogans. “A nation led by Prophet Muhammad will not be defeated,” was one of the rallying cries.

__

Laub, the AP bureau chief in Jordan, has covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1987.

__

Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank contributed reporting.

Related:

Israeli security on high alert at the Old City of Jerusalem, July 28, 2017 (Marc Israel Sellem)Israeli security on high alert at the Old City of Jerusalem, July 28, 2017 (Marc Israel Sellem)

.

.
.
.
.
.
.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers at Temple Mount.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers and newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Inspecting a body on Friday near what Jews call the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The area, home to the complex of Al Aqsa Mosque, is Jerusalem’s holiest site for both faiths. This photo from just after the killing of Israelis on July 14, 2017. Credit Ammar Awad/Reuters

.
 .

.

The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Trump’s Mideast Envoy Expected in Israel Amid “Worst Unrest in Years”

July 24, 2017

JERUSALEM — The Latest on the escalation in Israel and the Palestinian territories over a contested Jerusalem holy site (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

Israeli media are reporting that President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy is on his way to the region to try and defuse a growing crisis over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.

The newspaper Haaretz says that Jason Greenblatt is expected to arrive on Monday in the Trump administration’s first direct foray into the crisis.

Image result for Jason Greenblatt, photos

Jason Greenblatt, assistant to President Donald Trump and special representative for international negotiations, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 14. | AFP/Getty

Tensions have been high since Israel set up new measures after Arab gunmen earlier this month opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.

Israel says the measures are meant to prevent more attacks but Palestinians allege they are an Israeli attempt to control the Muslim-administrated site and have launched mass protests.

Three Palestinians have been killed in street clashes and a 20-year-old Palestinian stabbed and killed three members of an Israeli family in their home in a West Bank settlement.

___

8:45 a.m.

Israel’s security Cabinet has reached no decision about the new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site that have set off a wave of violence.

The top decision-making forum met overnight and into early Monday to discuss the latest developments, including an incident in which a security guard at the country’s embassy in Jordan opened fire, killing two Jordanians, after being attacked.

The incident is threatening to complicate the crisis over the holy site, which is administered by Muslim authorities under the auspices of Jordan.

Israel set up the new measures after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It says they are meant to prevent more attacks. Palestinians allege they are an Israeli attempt to control the site and have launched mass protests.

Related:

 (Includes links to related articles since the start of the crisis)

Israel Cracks Down on Hamas in West Bank after israeli Family Stabbed to Death

July 23, 2017
BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
 JULY 23, 2017 16:27

Security forces arrest 25 Palestinians in sweeps amid high tensions in Jerusalem, West Bank.

IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017.

IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017. (photo credit:IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

With tensions still high in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israeli security forces are cracking down on Hamas militants, arresting 25 Palestinians overnight across the West Bank.

On Sunday morning, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced that it made 25 arrests of Hamas members, including several higher-up officials overnight in the West Bank in cooperation with the IDF as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that tensions do not escalate into more violence.

“The wave of detentions, that included a number of senior Hamas figures, was part of the preventive efforts of the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces against the terrorist organizations, particularly during the past week and due to the tension surrounding the Temple Mount and the unrest in the area,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

.
Image result for Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, IDF, photos
Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis

On Saturday, IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said that the IDF and other security agencies are working to prevent further deterioration of the situation on the ground which is seeing a worsening trend of increased support for attacks among Palestinians.

.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers at Temple Mount.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers and newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Inspecting a body on Friday near what Jews call the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The area, home to the complex of Al Aqsa Mosque, is Jerusalem’s holiest site for both faiths. This photo from just after the killing of Israelis on July 14, 2017. Credit Ammar Awad/Reuters

.
 .

.

The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Arab League Tells Israel it is “Playing With Fire” — Israel Not Allowed “Judaization” of Jerusalem — Jerusalem is a “red line” — Jewish symbols have no basis in reality

July 23, 2017

Image may contain: text

BY YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
 JULY 23, 2017 13:21

 

The organization denounced Israel’s “Judaization” of the city.

THE TEMPLE MOUNT in Jerusalem, the site of a deadly attack last week.

THE TEMPLE MOUNT in Jerusalem, the site of a deadly attack last week. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Arab League on Sunday stated that Jerusalem is a “red line” in response to massive protests against Israel’s implementation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount.

The 22-member state organization’s Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that “Jerusalem is a red line, Arabs and Muslims will not allow harm to it.” He added, “Israel is playing with fire when it tries to changing the status quo in the Holy City, especially the al-Aksa mosque.”

Aboul Gheit, who previously served as Egypt’s foreign minister and visited the Temple Mount during his tenure, said that “the Israeli authorities put the region in a very dangerous situation,” saying that Israeli policies “are not directed at the Palestinians alone” and that they “hurt the feelings of every Arab and Muslim in the world.”

A spokesman for the secretary general accused Israel of trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem, a city which they said had an “Arab character.” The statement also said Israeli “excavations around the Temple Mount to look for Jewish symbols have no basis in reality.”

Aboul Gheit claimed that “Israel is trying to take over the Old City although no other country recognizes its sovereignty there, and it is considered one the most final status issues between Israel and the Palestinians.” He stressed that any changes in the Old City “constitute a red line” and encouraged the international community – particularly the United States – “to take responsibility and to oblige the Israeli government to maintain the status quo.”

He also added that “Israel is playing with fire and has ignited a major crisis in the Arab world, making the struggle with the Palestinians a religious struggle – which will lead to disastrous consequences for the future.”

Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said that an emergency meeting will be held on Wednesday with the foreign ministers of the league’s member states, at the request of Jordan.

On Monday, the UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

.
.
Related:
.
.
.
.
.
.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers at Temple Mount.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers and newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

.

Inspecting a body on Friday near what Jews call the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The area, home to the complex of Al Aqsa Mosque, is Jerusalem’s holiest site for both faiths. This photo from just after the killing of Israelis on July 14, 2017. Credit Ammar Awad/Reuters

.
 .

.

The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Jerusalem: Jewish Groups Slam Palestinian Authority Over Temple Mount Violence — “Heinous crimes are amoral and inexcusable in the name of any faith.” — Is the intifada back?

July 23, 2017

Image may contain: text

BY TAMARA ZIEVE
 JULY 23, 2017 05:55

 

“We demand that the Palestinian Authority take immediate measures to crack down on the incitement.”

Temple Mount clash

A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman at the entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City . (photo credit:AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

“The World Jewish Congress unequivocally condemns the heinous and horrific attack in the settlement of Halamish tonight which took the lives of three innocent Israelis sitting down for Shabbat dinner,” the organization said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and with Israelis and Jewish people around the world. We demand that the Palestinian Authority take immediate measures to crack down on the incitement that led to this attack and make every effort to prevent such an atrocity from happening again.”

Anti-Defamation league CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said he was “heartbroken” by the attack, adding that “such heinous crimes are amoral and inexcusable in the name of any faith.”

Addressing the riots which erupted after metal detectors were placed at an entrance to the Temple Mount complex, Greenblatt said that “all should have access to holy sites but violent riots are not a reasonable response to security measures intended to prevent violence.” He also criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement that he was freezing all contacts with Israel until it removes the new security measures, saying: “at time of intense tensions when we need cooperation, leaders should work together, not cease all contact.”

.

Image result for abbas, Palestinians, Photos

PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Meanwhile, the Simon Wiesenthal Center directed its criticism at the the World Council of Churches, which demanded a return to the status quo on the Temple Mount.

“Rather than decry the desecration of both human life and a holy site by jihadi murderers, the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined the chorus of voices in the Muslim world up in arms because Israel has introduced metal detectors to increase security for Muslims, Christians, and Jews,” the center said.

No automatic alt text available.

An Israel family of three was attacked and killed in their home while eating dinner in Halamish, Israel, July 21, 2017. (photo credit IDFWO)

“The response by the WCC is perfectly consistent with the WCC’s decades-long animus against the Jewish State,” remarked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Center and its Director of Global Social Action. “In the years prior to the 1967 war, Jordan administered Jerusalem’s holy sites, desecrated every synagogue in the Old City, and barred Jews entirely from the Western Wall. The WCC never, ever protested. Yet they are prepared today to work in the name of the ‘status quo’ against the installation of metal detectors, delighting jihadist groups who dream of igniting regional or global war by suicide attacks launched from Al-Aqsa,” he continued.

“The installation of metal detectors is taken for granted at the Vatican, at government offices, at every airport around the globe,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. “They were first made necessary when Palestinians internationalized terrorism decades ago.”

.
.
Related:
.
.
.
.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers at Temple Mount.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers and newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

.

Inspecting a body on Friday near what Jews call the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The area, home to the complex of Al Aqsa Mosque, is Jerusalem’s holiest site for both faiths. This photo from just after the killing of Israelis on July 14, 2017. Credit Ammar Awad/Reuters

.
 .

.

The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to help broker Middle East peace

June 22, 2017

Mr Kushner holds separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

By Alexandra Wilts Washington DC
The Independent

jared-kushner-goes-to-israel.jpg

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner AP

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top White House adviser, has met Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the aim of helping revive a US effort for a peace deal.

A former real estate developer with little experience in international diplomacy, Mr Kushner met the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before travelling to Ramallah, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, for a late-night meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Jared Kushner with Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Getty Images)

Mr Netanyahu warmly greeted Mr Kushner with a smile and hug. “This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace,” Mr Netanyahu said. “The President sends his best regards and it’s an honour to be here with you,” Mr Kushner replied.

Mr Kushner’s trip follows the President’s visit to the region last month, when Mr Trump also had discussions with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Appearing at a press conference with Mr Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Mr Trump declared that the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace”.

Mr Kushner played a key part in planning Mr Trump’s stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Rome during the President’s tour abroad. The 36-year-old also appears to be taking on a more public role in his father-in-law’s administration, giving his first public remarks as a White House adviser this week.

The President has tasked Mr Kushner with the ambitious goal of laying the groundwork for what he calls the “ultimate deal,” but significant obstacles remain

This month marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Mideast war — a seminal event in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians claim these territories for their future independent state. Mr Netanyahu opposes a return to the 1967 lines and also rejects any division of Jerusalem. The eastern part of the city, which the Palestinians claim as their capital, is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit

The White House appeared to play down expectations for a breakthrough ahead of the visit, saying that “forging a historic peace agreement will take time” and that Mr Kushner and envoy envoy Jason Greenblatt will likely make “many visits” to the region.

For now, the United States is expected to pressure each side to make goodwill gestures in hopes of improving the overall climate.

Mr Greenblatt landed in Israel on Monday for preliminary talks in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will also remain for follow-up discussions after Mr Kushner has left.

“Part of it is to figure out how to make incremental change that results in a lasting peace,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Monday. “Part of this is really to utilise the trust that has been built up, and not have these negotiations out in public. But I think that they had a very successful visit when the President was over there, and they’re going to continue to build on that.”

For more than 20 years, the US has pushed for a “two-state solution”, meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel.

But during a February meeting with Mr Netanyahu in Washington DC, Mr Trump declared that he was not fixed on two states saying, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like”.

Discussions over a peace deal will mean putting pressure on Israel to restrain its construction of settlements on occupied lands sought by the Palestinians. It also could mean working with Israel to take new steps to help improve the struggling Palestinian economy, such as easing restrictions to allow more development of West Bank lands.

However, hours before Mr Kushner’s arrival in Israel for his 20-hour vist, Mr Netanyahu announced the beginning of construction on a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, despite the White House’s position that “further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace”. In the past, the Palestinians have called for a stop to settlement building before any peace negotiations can occur.

“This is the way Mr Netanyahu is meeting Trump’s envoys,” said Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian official told Reuters. “The real question here is will the administration of Trump tell Israel that it is enough and they have to stop immediately all settlement activities, or they will accept this Israeli provocation?”

Mr Netanyahu had vowed to compensate the residents of Amona with a new settlement, after their previous illegally built outpost was dismantled in February under orders from the Supreme Court.

As for the Palestinians, they are under pressure to halt what Israel sees as incitement to violence in their official media, speeches and social media.

Israel has also demanded that the Palestinians stop making welfare payments to families of militants who are either imprisoned or were killed while committing attacks on Israelis. Israel says the so-called “Martyrs’ Fund” provides an incentive for Palestinian violence.

After arriving early on Wednesday Mr Kushner paid a condolence visit to the grieving family of a young female Israeli police officer who was killed by Palestinian attackers last weekend in Jerusalem. Mr Kushner said Mr Trump asked him to personally convey the condolences of the American people.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/jared-kushner-israel-middle-east-peace-deal-visit-jerusalem-donald-trump-a7801431.html

Reuters contributed to this report 

Israel Says No Link to Any Armed Group and Jerusalem Attack

June 17, 2017

 

Thomas Coex, AFP | Israeli security forces and an ambulance at the scene of an attack outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 16, 2017.

BY REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
JUNE 17, 2017 11:37

 

“The Palestinian youth will continue to characterize the occupation as its single enemy.”

.

Damascus gate, Jerusalem

Damascus gate, Jerusalem. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)No connection has been found between three Palestinians who carried out a fatal attack in Jerusalem on Friday and any organization, Israeli police said on Saturday, after Islamic State had claimed the assault.

Palestinian militants factions have also denied that Islamic State carried out the attack, in which one Israeli police office was killed.

“It was a local cell. At this stage no indication has been found it was directed by a terrorist organization nor has any connection to any organization been found,” police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

Staff Sergeant Major Hadas Malka, 23, was taken to the emergency care unit at nearby Hadassah University Medical Center in critical condition after sustaining multiple stab wounds during the attack. Hospital officials later pronounced her dead after failing to save her life.

Two Palestinians were shot dead after opening fire at and trying to stab a group of Israeli police officers at one scene, police said. At the other, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a border policewoman before being shot dead by police.

.
No automatic alt text available.Israeli police said on Friday all the assailants were from Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Two of the attackers, both from Ramallah, were between the ages of 18 and 19 and the third was a 30-year-old from Hebron, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

The assaults took place simultaneously in two areas near the Damascus gate of Jerusalem’s walled old city.

Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas praised the bloodshed but disputed the Islamic State’s claim, stating that the perpetrators were affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“The sacrificial operation in Jerusalem that was carried out by three martyrs in Jerusalem confirms that the PA’s attempt to make the relationship with the occupier ‘a normal relationship’ is a failure. The Palestinian youth will continue to characterize the occupation as its single enemy,” said Hamas spokesperson Hazim Qassim in a Facebook post.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party called the death of the three perpetrators a “war crime by the Israeli occupation forces” in a statement published by Fatah spokesperson Osama Al-Qawasmi.

.
.
Related:
.