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Archive for Israel

Newsline: Israel returns ambassador to New Zealand, ending diplomatic rift

Israel said its ambassador to New Zealand will return to his post, ending a six-month rift in relations over a United Nations resolution against Israeli settlements on occupied territory which Palestinians seek for a state. Israel recalled the ambassador in December after New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal sponsored a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity. New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the two leaders spoke on the phone earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michal Maayan said in a statement. “I regret the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand proposing Resolution 2344 at the Security Council,” English wrote, according to the Foreign Ministry statement. On June 4 Israel said it was returning its ambassador to Senegal, after recalling him over the U.N. Security Council resolution. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Malaysia and Venezuela.


Newsline: Moscow will not move Embassy to Jerusalem before final settlement

Moscow will not move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem before reaching a final settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The statement was made in response to a call by an Israeli minister for Russia to become the first country in the world to move its embassy to Jerusalem.


Newsline: Donald Trump Won’t Move Embassy to Jerusalem, at Least for Now

President Trump signed an order keeping the American Embassy in Tel Aviv rather than moving it to Jerusalem as he promised during last year’s campaign, aides said, disappointing many Israel supporters in hopes of preserving his chances of negotiating a peace settlement. Aides said the decision was just a delay and that he still planned to move the embassy to Jerusalem when conditions were right, although past presidents have said the same without ever acting. In a statement issued by the White House, officials said that Mr. Trump’s move should not be considered “a retreat from the president’s strong support for Israel” and its alliance with the United States. “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interest,” the statement said. “But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that happens, but only when.” Mr. Trump made no mention of his pending decision during a visit to Jerusalem just last week and waited to announce it until almost the last minute he could under law, demonstrating the deep political sensitivity of a city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. The order waives for six months a congressional edict requiring the embassy be located in Jerusalem, meaning he will have to consider the matter again by Dec. 1.

Newsline: Trump feeling pressure for embassy move to Jerusalem

While the president reiterated his desire to broker a peace deal, his visit produced no announcement on steps toward renewing negotiations. “There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both Netanyahu as well as Abbas”, Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. Meanwhile, Trump’s Middle East trip showed his intention to reset Obama administration’s Middle East policy by beefing up support to Saudi Arabia and Israel, regional nemesis of Iran. And in words that resonated well in Israel – which chronically accuses the West Bank Authority for inciting violence and compensating families of those involved in terror attacks – Trump made perhaps his sharpest point of the trip. Not once since becoming president, including and most glaringly during his joint press conferences with Netanyahu and Abbas during their White House visits, has Trump uttered any variant of the phrase “two-state solution”, leading to questions about his vision for what a deal would look like. Such a pact would also enable Israel to place its defensive capabilities at the disposal of states in the region with which it will be at peace. Hamas has said that Trump’s labeling it as a terrorist organization demonstrates the American president can not be a fair broker for peace.


Newsline: Israel dismisses US concern over Jerusalem embassy move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has challenged US concerns over moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and said a move will help the peace process progress. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sunday’s statement from Netanyahu’s office came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump is still assessing the impact of the potential move. “The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite,” Netanyahu said in the statement. “It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.” The Palestinians and the Arab world fiercely oppose a move, and the international community has warned that it could spark fresh unrest. Palestinians argued moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America’s status as an effective mediator.


Newsline: US top diplomat says Trump weighs embassy move impact on Mideast peace

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Donald Trump is considering how moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would affect the Mideast peace process. Tillerson is giving the most detailed description yet of Trump’s criteria for making the decision. He tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump is listening carefully to both Israelis and Palestinians about whether moving the embassy would be helpful for peace talks or a distraction. As a candidate, Trump vowed to move the embassy. But since taking office he’s said he’s studying the issue before making a final decision. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital and has urged the U.S. for years to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for the capital of a future independent state.


Newsline: US Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv

Senior US sources said US President Donald Trump has already decided to extend the order which prevents the US Embassy in Israel from being transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, 360 reporter Ariel Kahana said. A US source said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already been informed of Trump’s decision. Recently, both governments agreed that this would not be the best time to move the Embassy, and US officials said Israel did not want to deal with the matter at present and had requested Trump delay the move. The Israeli government is not surprised by Trump’s decision, but they are still very disappointed. The expectation was that Trump would make an announcement regarding Jerusalem during his upcoming May 22 visit to Israel. However, the expectation currently is that Trump will push Israel to renew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, who will be the main focus of Trump’s visit. The next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, apparently received the news before it was told to Israel. Friedman is scheduled to take office next week. Last week, Friedman was instructed to hold official Embassy events at the Ambassador’s House in Herzliya, since he himself will be living in Jerusalem. The last communication on the issue was received from US Vice President Mike Pence, when he said that the Trump administration was obligated to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as promised during the election campaign.