Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, twice refused to say whether the Western Wall, which the president is set to visit next week, is part of Israel. Trump is not planned on being accompanied by any Israeli politicians on his visit to the holy site (Ha’aretz). Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Nikkey Haley said on Tuesday that the Western Wall is part of Israel (Jpost).
“We have no demand for a settlement freeze,” David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel told Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview this week.
U.S. President Donald Trump remains committed to moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, even if he extends at the end of the month the presidential order freezing the implementation of the law calling for it, senior U.S. officials told their Israeli counterparts in recent days.
According to reports, “a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information” has revealed Israel was the initial source of the intelligence (Jpost). Israeli intelligence appears to be reassessing what information they choose to share with the US (ToI).
“Trump administration’s flip flops, stumbles, and sins could present an opportunity for Netanyahu in his time of need,” writes Allison Sommer.
“Fireworks aside, the Israeli nuclear program may not have made much difference at all, either to Israel’s security or to regional nonproliferation efforts,” writes Robert Farley.
A group of Israeli settlers have reportedly begun setting up an illegal outpost in the northeastern occupied West Bank district of Tubas, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Tuesday.
Israeli soldiers arrested seven Palestinian customs officers east of Nablus on Tuesday. The arrest occurred after the officers stopped a truck delivering produce from the Israeli settlement of Itamar that lacked transport documents.
“A new study shows that Jewish Israeli teens who studied Arabic in elementary school have a better appreciation for Arab society later on. As the government continues its attacks on Arabic, it is imperative that teachers and parents fight to ensure children learn the language,” writes Gil Gertel.
“The fact that Israel is unable to swallow or get rid of the territories it occupied in 1967, makes it far more difficult for the state to recognize the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians during the 1948 War,” writes Oren Barak.
Some 800 members of the ruling Likud party’s top decision-making body, its Central Committee, signed a petition Wednesday calling for a vote within 30 days on support for annexing the West Bank.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry circulated on Tuesday draft legislation that would exclude its activities from provisions of the Freedom of Information law. The draft legislation is meant to ensure the confidentiality of the ministry’s activities against the BDS movement and foreign groups working to promote a boycott of Israel, also those carried out clandestinely through non-governmental groups for Israel on campuses abroad and elsewhere.
The Israeli state comptroller has charged that Ariel reallocated funds meant for underfunded periphery communities to religious- Zionist communities in Tel Aviv and other central locations.
Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank on Tuesday arrested several Bir Zeit students who were demonstrating in front of the “Beit El” checkpoint north of the Palestinian town of Bira. The arrest came on the same day that the Fatah leadership in the West Bank called on Palestinians to go on strike and shut down settler roads [Arabic] (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida) in the West Bank during the ongoing Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
Azzam Al-Ahmad, the Fatah official in charge of reconciliation talks with Hamas, told Voice of Palestine on Tuesday that he hoped Hamas would relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree exempting Gazans from fees for services that the Palestinian Authority provides, and that the Hamas-run treasury collects.
Civil society groups and development agencies in the Gaza Strip warned on Wednesday of an impending food security crisis.