State says Trump not pulling out of peace efforts; Did Netanyahu play Kushner?

What We’re Reading

US-Israeli/Palestinian relations

U.S. Rejects Reports That Trump Is Pulling Out of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts,

The U.S. State Department forcefully denies reports claiming that President Donald Trump was considering ending his efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Jared Kushner’s Road From Jerusalem to Nowhere,

“It appears Netanyahu played Kushner like a fiddle, sending him to Ramallah with a laundry list of demands that he knew Abbas would reject, further delaying the start of any ostensible peace negotiations by instigating a diplomatic crisis he could then blame on Palestinian intransigence,” writes Jonah Shepp.

Israel's Arabian Fantasy,

“If the Trump administration is looking to the Arabs for a shortcut on the Palestinian issue — or thinks Israel can establish closer relations with the Arabs without addressing that issue — it is likely to be disappointed,” writes Philip Gordon.

Abbas looks to new Saudi crown prince for Mideast initiative,

The Palestinians are hoping to engage Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help in making their case to the Donald Trump administration.

Haley Vows to Veto Any Palestinian For Senior UN Post,

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley promised to block the appointment of any Palestinian official for a senior role at the United Nations on Tuesday.


The Trump Effect in Gaza,

“Abbas must find a way to show Trump that the Palestinians can contribute something significant to his regional efforts. The one thing he can do that no other Arab agent can is to take on Hamas,” writes Mitchell Plitnick.

Abbas blamed as 3 Gazan babies die after denied Israel entry permits,

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says other infants are in imminent danger of a similar fate.

Palestinians wary of talk Gaza may be declared 'rebel district',

“The poor living conditions and security situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip could further deteriorate if Palesinian President Mahmoud Abbas declares Gaza a ‘rebel district,'” writes Ahmed el-Komi.

Occupation/Human rights

Settlements at 50 Years - An Obstacle to Peace and Democracy,

What motivates and enables the Israeli government to continue settlement expansion in the West Bank? What are the implications for the future of peace and Israel’s long-term democratic survival? The Middle East Institute, New Israel Fund, Foundation for Middle East Peace, and Americans for Peace Now hosted a conversation with Israeli attorney Talia Sasson, president of the New Israel Fund.

IDF's two-front war in West Bank with Jews and Palestinians,

The Israeli army records a surge in number of clashes between Jewish and Palestinian rioters in Yitzhar, with both sides pitted against troops; reservists explain their dilemma; ‘We never learn how to deal with a Jewish teen throwing stones so by standing there we give them legitimacy’; residents claim clashes start from Palestinian arson attacks.

Israel Tackles Environmental Hazards in West Bank - in Violation of Oslo Accords,

Israel’s Civil Administration is taking action against a waste disposal site and charcoal producers in Area B, the territory under Palestinian civil control.

Israeli politics

Lapid's Trip to Spain Sponsored by Group That Attacks Israeli Human Rights Organizations,

NGO Monitor lobbies to have Western states stop funding Palestinian civil society groups and leftist NGOs in Israel. Yair Lapid will address Spanish parliament, present monitor’s report