U.S., Israel and Arab states to expand cooperation in unprecedented meeting
While unprecedented, the meeting came amid a growing list of tensions between the Washington and its Middle East allies, including the the Iran nuclear deal, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and a lackluster response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from Arab and Israeli partners.washingtonpost.com
Blinken set to see Israelis, Arabs wary about Iran, Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will try to use his three-nation tour of the Middle East and North Africa to reassure wary Israelis and Arabs that the Biden administration is committed to the region’s security at a time when Washington is confronting multiple foreign policy challenges.
Weathering the global storm: Why neutrality is not an option for Palestinians
Palestinians — people, leadership and political parties — have little trust or faith in Washington. While Palestinian groups, whether Islamists or socialists, have repeatedly called on the PA to liberate itself from its near-total dependency on Washington, the Palestinian leadership refused. For Palestinians, neutrality is not an option since the latter is a privilege that can only be obtained by those who can navigate global polarization using their own political leverage. The Palestinian leadership, thanks to its selfish choices and lack of a collective strategy, has no such leverage. The Palestinians cannot afford to stand aside and pretend that they will magically be able to weather the storm.arabamericannews.com
Israel approves measures for Palestinians after leaders meet
Israel's defense minister approved a raft of measures aimed at improving relations with the Palestinians on Wednesday following a rare meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Israel. Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas at his private residence in a Tel Aviv suburb late Tuesday night. It was the first time Abbas met an Israeli official inside Israel since 2010.news.yahoo.com
Israeli defense minister meets with Palestinian president
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas paid a rare visit to Israel on Tuesday for talks with Israel's defense minister, the latest in a series of meetings by top Israeli officials with the Palestinian leader. Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, opposes Palestinian independence and has ruled out formal peace talks.news.yahoo.com
Abbas issues ultimatum to Israel in harsh UN address
In an unusually harsh speech, President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday gave Israel one year to end its occupation of territories the Palestinians want for a future state. “If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation," Abbas said.news.yahoo.com
Relations between new Israeli government and Palestinian Authority shift substantially
Relations between the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have shifted substantially in recent weeks, with Israeli officials going so far as to call it “a renaissance."Why it matters: During Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister, relations deteriorated to the point where there was almost no contact other than security coordination. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeState of play: In the last month,news.yahoo.com
Family: Palestinian Authority covering up critic's death
The family of a political activist who died in the custody of Palestinian security forces last month on Saturday accused the Palestinian Authority of trying to cover up his death. Relatives of Nazir Banat said they still have not received a document with an official cause of death and said the Palestinian Authority has made efforts to settle the matter out of court. Nazir Banat was an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority who called on Western nations to stop providing aid to the PA due to human rights violations and growing authoritarianism.news.yahoo.com
Israel arrests Palestinian rights lawyer who protested Abbas
A Palestinian human rights lawyer was detained by Israeli forces early Sunday after taking part in a protest in the occupied West Bank against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his rights group said. The Independent Commission for Human Rights said Farid al-Atrash was detained at an Israeli checkpoint while returning from a protest against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, where the PA is headquartered. It said al-Atrash was transferred to Israel's Hadassah Hospital.news.yahoo.com
Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate against Abbas
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday to demonstrate against President Mahmoud Abbas, hoping to inject new momentum into a protest movement sparked by the death of an outspoken critic in the custody of security forces. Palestinian security forces and groups of men in plainclothes violently dispersed a similar protest a week ago, drawing expressions of concern from the United States and the U.N. human rights chief. The Palestinian Authority was established as part of the peace process in the 1990s and governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.news.yahoo.com
UN official urges Palestinian security to allow protests
The U.N. human rights chief on Thursday urged the Palestinian Authority to ensure the safety of protesters after security forces and supporters of President Mahmoud Abbas attacked demonstrators over the weekend. The protests erupted after an outspoken critic of the PA died shortly after his family says he was severely beaten by security forces who arrested him. The PA, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has grown increasingly autocratic and unpopular in recent years.news.yahoo.com
Poll finds dramatic rise in Palestinian support for Hamas
A new poll released Tuesday finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month's Gaza war, with around three quarters viewing the Islamic militants as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites. The scientific poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research also found plummeting support for President Mahmoud Abbas, who was sidelined by the war but is seen internationally as a partner for reviving the long-defunct peace process. The poll found that 53% of Palestinians believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” while only 14% prefer Abbas' secular Fatah party.news.yahoo.com
Palestinians say Israeli forces kill 3 in West Bank raid
Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinians, including two security officers, in a shootout that erupted in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin during what appeared to be an Israeli arrest raid overnight, Palestinian officials said Thursday. The coordination has contributed to mounting anger at the PA among Palestinians. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a “dangerous Israeli escalation," saying the three were killed by Israeli special forces who disguise themselves as Arabs during arrest raids.news.yahoo.com
Egypt invites Hamas, Palestinians, Israel for further talks
Egypt has invited Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for separate talks that aim at consolidating the cease-fire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers, an Egyptian intelligence official said Thursday.
Blinken claims progress in effort to boost Gaza truce
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has wrapped up a two-day Mideast mission, winning valuable diplomatic support and hundreds of millions of dollars of pledges from Arab allies as he moved to shore up the cease-fire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers.
U.S. to reopen Jerusalem consulate to engage with Palestinians
Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced on Tuesday that the U.S. would be reopening the Consulate General in Jerusalem that handled relations with the Palestinians but was shut down by the Trump administration.The state of play: Blinken made the announcement after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and hours after he had raised the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeWhy it matters: The consulate oversaw U.S. diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority for more than two decades before being merged into the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Reopening the consulate will be a major step toward normalizing U.S.-Palestinian ties, but it also requires Israeli approval.White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the move was the "natural next step toward restoring ties with the Palestinians," while Blinken said the consulate would also be used to re-engage with civil society and the business sector. He didn't offer a timeline for the reopening.Behind the scenes: Netanyahu raised reservations with Blinken during their meeting and said he'd prefer it if the consulate were to remain as part of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, rather than an independent diplomatic mission, Israeli officials say. The State Department didn’t immediately offer comment.Hady Amr, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, raised the consulate issue last week with officials in Netanyahu's office and the Foreign Ministry while serving as Blinken's envoy during the Gaza crisis. The Israeli officials say Amr received a noncommittal response. The sense of urgency grew in Washington during the crisis, with officials at the State Department feeling at times that they were "flying blind" without a consulate to engage with the Palestinian side, a source familiar with the issue said.In his comments on Tuesday, Blinken stressed that reopening the consulate would make it easier to coordinate humanitarian assistance to Gaza and reconstruction efforts with the UN and the Palestinian Authority. Blinken added the Biden administration would be asking Congress to approve an additional $75 million dollars in assistance for the reconstruction of Gaza in 2021 and another $30 million dollars for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees.The backstory: The consulate dates back to 1844 and served for 25 years as the U.S. diplomatic mission to the Palestinians before being shut down by the Trump administration and merged into the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in 2019.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freenews.yahoo.com
US to reopen Jerusalem consulate, upgrading Palestinian ties
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday that the U.S. would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem — a move that restores ties with Palestinians that had been downgraded by the Trump administration. The consulate long served as an autonomous office in charge of diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. Trump's move infuriated the Palestinians, who view east Jerusalem as occupied territory and the capital of their future state.news.yahoo.com
US reaches out to Palestinian leaders many angrily reject
After weeks of unrest and a devastating 11-day war in Gaza, the U.S. and the international community plan to engage with the Palestinians to revive peace efforts. The Palestinian Authority is no closer to statehood than it was when Mahmoud Abbas, now 85, was elected president in 2005 after the death of Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinians are far more deeply divided.news.yahoo.com
Israeli officials 'regret' bombing Gaza AP bureau as post-ceasefire clean up begins
Israeli officials have privately expressed “regret” for blowing up a tower in the Gaza Strip that contained foreign media offices, it emerged on Sunday, as Palestinians began cleaning up the enclave’s rubble-strewn streets. In Gaza City, groups of young men and women used brooms to sweep dust and debris from the main roads, as outdoor vigils were held for the 248 victims of Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire. US officials estimate that the cost of repairing Gaza’s damaged hospitals, school and infrastructure will amount to several billion dollars, while the United Nations says hundreds of homes have been completely destroyed. It came as the New York Times reported that some Israeli military officials now “regret” a decision to strike the media tower in Gaza City, which contained the offices of Associated Press, a major US news agency, and the broadcaster Al-Jazeera. Israel maintains that the airstrike was justified as it claims that Hamas assets were in the building. The Israeli army gave reporters an hour to evacuate the tower, and no one was killed in the attack. But according to the New York Times, some Israeli military officials had argued against the air strike and now consider it a “mistake.” One official also felt that the damage caused by the strike to Israel’s international reputation outweighed the benefits of destroying Hamas equipment, the report added, citing three sources. Hamas denies that its assets were in the media tower and has accused Israel of committing “war crimes” by attacking civilian buildings, though Israel rejects this. In an interview with the Telegraph on Sunday, a senior Hamas official blamed Israel for the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza and warned that the Jewish state was “playing with fire.”news.yahoo.com
Hamas defiant with military parade, appearance of top leader
Hundreds of masked Hamas fighters brandishing assault rifles paraded in Gaza City and the group’s top leader made his first public appearance on Saturday, in a defiant show of strength after the militants' 11-day war with Israel. In the fighting, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes against militant targets in Gaza, while Hamas and other militants fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel. More than 250 people were killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians.news.yahoo.com
The Latest: Biden tells Netanyahu he expects de-escalation
President Joe Biden has called for “significant de-escalation” from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden’s appeal on Wednesday comes after 10 days of heavy fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. It was Biden’s toughest public pressure so far on the U.S. ally, with the president asking Netanyahu in a telephone call to move toward “the path to a cease-fire,” according to a White House statement on their conversation.news.yahoo.com
Imprisoned Palestinian leader's entry shakes up planned vote
Marwan Barghouti, a popular Palestinian uprising leader imprisoned by Israel has submitted an independent list of candidates to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Polls indicate it would split the vote for Fatah, potentially paving the way for another major victory by Hamas. That increases the likelihood that Abbas will find a way to call off the first Palestinian elections in 15 years. But he remains a popular and charismatic leader, and by breaking with Abbas he could reshape Palestinian politics and potentially replace him as president. Polls consistently show him to be the most popular Palestinian leader, with support from across the political spectrum.
The Latest: Trump blasts Fauci and Birx as 'self-promoters'
The Department of Health reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the highest since the pandemic hit the country. Fauci told CNN it seemed like the Trump virus team was “fighting with each other rather than fighting the virus.”AdIn his statement, Trump says “Dr. Texas has administered more than 10 million vaccine doses. Jared Polis has announced that residents over age 16 will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine starting Friday. Ad___NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson says it’s agreed to provide up to 400 million doses of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine to African countries, starting this summer.
Palestinians expand vaccination campaign after UN shipment
The vaccine shipment is a boost to the West Bank, where the PA has struggled to obtain vaccines as the infection rate surged in recent weeks. In the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the vaccines would go to medical workers and older people. But in recent weeks, it has inoculated over 100,000 Palestinian laborers in the West Bank who have permits to work inside Israel and its West Bank settlements. Bootsma said the limited number of vaccines in Gaza prevents a mass vaccination campaign. The West Bank has reported nearly 163,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,824 deaths.
Palestinians get 60,000 vaccine doses through WHO program
The Palestinian Authority says it will receive 62,000 coronavirus vaccine doses through a World Health Organization partnership designed to help poor countries. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday it will receive just over 60,000 coronavirus vaccine doses over the next 48 hours, the first shipment provided by a World Health Organization partnership aimed at helping poor countries. That's only enough doses to vaccinate 31,000 people out of a population of nearly 5 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal al-Shakhra said authorities would receive 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. AdUntil now, the PA had received 2,000 doses from Israel and acquired another 10,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.
Palestinian Authority faces criticism over vaccine rollout
But to date it has only acquired enough doses to inoculate 6,000 people in a population of nearly 5 million. “We have focused from the beginning on health workers, but there are around 100,000" in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Health Minister Mai Alkaila told reporters on Tuesday. The PA acquired another 10,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. AdAlkaila said 2,000 doses have been shipped to Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas and is under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Of the remaining 9,800 doses, she said 90% have been given to health workers.
Israeli plan to share vaccines frozen by legal questions
Israel's attorney general says a plan by Netanyahu to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to diplomatic allies has been frozen. (AP Photo/Tal Shahar, Yediot Ahronot, Pool, File)JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial plan to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations was frozen Thursday following a legal challenge to the deal, his office announced. Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that he had personally decided to share small quantities of surplus Israeli vaccines with allied nations. He described the mission as a “strategic and political move at zero cost.”Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel has hundreds of thousands of surplus vaccines. In his letter, Gantz noted that the decision to share vaccines with the Palestinians was made after consultations involving various government ministries.
Diplomatic doses: Israel shares vaccines with allied nations
While Israel does not produce vaccines, Netanyahu has moved aggressively to secure enough vaccines for Israel’s 9.3 million people in deals with Pfizer and Moderna. Ad“Our supply is beyond what is needed by the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters Tuesday. In Prague, the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, said Israel was donating 5,000 doses to his country after a request for assistance. He said the vaccines were in response to requests from friendly countries, and not in exchange for any diplomatic favors. Israel this month delivered 2,000 doses of Moderna vaccines to the Palestinian Authority for frontline medical workers in the West Bank, and it has pledged to share a total of 5,000 doses.
Hamas-ruled Gaza launches coronavirus vaccination drive
GAZA – The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip began its coronavirus vaccination drive on Monday following the arrival of the first vaccines to the blockaded coastal area. Former health ministers and several medical workers were inoculated with Russia’s Sputnik V jabs in front of dozens of cameras. More medical workers and patients with chronic diseases are to start receiving injections on Tuesday. The Palestinian Authority has struggled to secure vaccines, obtaining just 2,000 doses from Israel for West Bank medical workers and an additional 10,000 doses from Russia. Al-Qedra, the Health Ministry spokesman, said he expected more vaccines to arrive in Gaza in the coming days.
Dubai's Emirates seeks key role in global vaccine delivery
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to clobber the aviation industry, Emirates Airlines, the Middle Easts biggest airline is seeking to play a vital role in the global vaccine delivery effort. The arrival was part of an effort by the Middle East's biggest airline to pivot from shuttling people to shipping cargo — and grabbing a central role in the global vaccine delivery race. The key transit hub, previously used for the global shipment of pharmaceuticals, is now at the center of a growing vaccine supply network based in the United Arab Emirates. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reported as being 95% effective, must be preserved at the frigid temperature of negative 70 Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). On the one hand, the federation of seven emirates is accelerating efforts to import vaccines despite supply lags.