Trump administration drafting Middle East peace plan

What We’re Reading

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

Trump Team Begins Drafting Middle East Peace Plan,

President Trump and his advisers have begun developing their own concrete blueprint to end the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a plan intended to go beyond previous frameworks offered by the American government in pursuit of what the president calls “the ultimate deal.”

Israel nearing long-sought visa waiver deal with US — ministers,

Israel is on the brink of completing a visa waiver agreement with the United States, ministers said Monday, heralding the imminent arrival of the long sought arrangement.

Congress intensifies pressure on embassy move to Jerusalem,

In overwhelming fashion, a clear majority of members of Congress on the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security called on President Donald Trump to swiftly move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Stephen Bannon: ‘I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist’,

Stephen Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Donald Trump, called himself a “Christian Zionist” at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner.

Opinion: American Jews have the power to oppose Israel's gov't. Will they use it?,

“Jewish American leaders are slowly beginning to understand just how vast the gap is between their values and those represented by the Israeli government,” writes Joshua Leifer.

Occupation/Human rights

World Zionist Organization Gave Private Palestinian Land to West Bank Settlers,

The 12.5 acres were given to the illegal outpost of Ma’aleh Rehavam in 2002 by the WZO settlement division even though the division had no rights the land, newly discovered documents show.

Why I got arrested at the ADL,

Jewish Voice for Peace activists are arrested protesting ADL exchange programs that bring together American law enforcement with Israeli military and police, a swapping of ‘worst practices’ that strengthens the repression of communities of color in both places.

Israel allocates record $227 million to building safer West Bank roads,

Israel’s government allotted $227 million for improving the security of roads in the West Bank, including by building new ones that circumvent Palestinians cities. The allocation, which is the largest of its kind, was announced Friday following weeks of protests by bereaved families of Israelis who died in terrorist attacks on West Bank roads. Construction by Israel in the West Bank, including of roads for settlements, is considered internationally as illegal.

Bitter harvest: Israeli settlements close in on Palestinian olive farmers,

As the Manasra family picked olives from one of its fields in early November, marking the tail end of the harvesting season, the low rumbling of construction equipment in the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit served as a reminder of the uncertainty ruling the small Palestinian community’s existence.

Opinion: Equal rights? Not for everyone apparently,

“The Israel Democracy Institute recently released a report on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel titled ‘Limited Partnership.’ It’s a report which should concern all of us, as it reveals that considerable parts of Israel’s Jewish majority don’t believe in equal rights,” writes Aviad Kleinberg.

Anti-occupation U.S. Jewish Students Fight Israeli Plans to Demolish Palestinian Villages,

As part of the new campaign, each of J Street U’s six regional offices in the United States will adopt a Palestinian village under threat of demolition and advocate on its behalf.

Israel, Palestine and the Middle East

Abbas in Riyadh: Saudis court Palestinian support for grand alliance with Israel,

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh this week as part of plans to form a grand regional alliance including both Israel and Palestine to confront Iran, Palestinian officials and western diplomats told Middle East Eye on Wednesday.

Palestinian politics

Tens of thousands commemorate Arafat in Hamas-run Gaza,

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza on Saturday to commemorate the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat in the first such memorial in the Hamas-run territory since 2007. The anniversary event was billed as a show of national unity after the Islamist terrorist group Hamas struck a reconciliation agreement last month with the rival Fatah movement founded and led by Arafat until his death in 2004.

Abbas: PA could move to back one-state solution if two states fail,

If the two-state solution fails, Palestinians will back a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with full rights for all citizens, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday.

Gaza traders, consumers welcome end of double taxation,

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hope reconciliation will bring economic relief with the end of Hamas-imposed taxes and fees on top of those paid to the Palestinian Authority on imports.