President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner arrives in Israel on Wednesday in the latest U.S. effort to revive long-stalled Middle East peace talks, but at a time when progress may be more elusive than ever.
Ahmad Majdalani, a top aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians asked Kushner for the U.S. position on two key issues — Israeli settlements and support for Palestinian independence — during his last visit to the region in June. “Since then we didn’t hear from them,” he said Tuesday.
The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, released last week and compiled before the government suspended a deal on a permanent pluralistic prayer area at the Western Wall, diplomatically pans the lack of progress by the Israeli government toward increased religious freedom.
There are 3,455 residential and public buildings built on private Palestinian lands in the West Bank, according to Civil Administration data. These illegal structures could be legalized under the expropriation law, whose validity is now being determined by the High Court of Justice in response to Palestinian petitions against the law.
The Israeli government said a law that legalizes certain settlements built on Palestinian property is “a humane, proportional and reasonable response to the genuine distress of Israeli residents.”
The start of the school year in a West Bank village was pushed back from Wednesday to next Sunday after the Israeli Civil Administration confiscated the trailers that were supposed to serve as classrooms.
Security Guards at Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station have become de facto illegal immigration enforcers, given instructions to ask for identification from all passengers who look of Arab heritage and detain anyone who doesn’t have ID until the police arrive, it has been claimed.
“While much of the world justly focuses on land theft in the occupied territories, we must not forget that Israel uses the pretense of ‘Jewish and democratic’ to actively dispossess its own Arab citizens,” writes Orly Noy.
“Democracy didn’t solve apartheid’s problems – it sparked a process of addressing them that could not start beforehand. South Africa should remind Israeli and Palestinian leaders that the road to transformation is long and imperfect – and it must start now,” writes Dahlia Scheindlin.
Six residents of an unrecognized Bedouin village near the southern city of Be’er Sheva will have to pay the state to cover the costs of demolishing their homes, an Israeli court ruled last week.
“The Hamas-Dahlan-Egypt cooperation against Abbas is typical of enemy-of-my-enemy strategy,” write Ghaith Al-Omari and Grant Rumley.
The leadership of Hamas has confirmed it is reviewing a proposal from its armed wing that suggests creating a political and security vacuum in Gaza as a way of dealing with the inhuman conditions there.
The Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is expected to reopen on a regular basis in September, after the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha. Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip have reported over the past 10 days that Egypt decided to reopen the crossing at that time, following the completion of extensive renovation work that had been underway since March.
Disillusioned about US efforts to revive the peace process, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is considering dissolving the PA and renewing a Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership, Arabic media reported on Wednesday.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has called on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to recognize a Palestinian state in a declaration akin to that of the 1917 Balfour Declaration.