Tag: Palestinian Authority

Belgian state secretary: No doubt Jerusalem is Israel’s capital

BRUSSELS (JTA) — In a departure from Belgium’s official policy, the country’s secretary of state said that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Philippe de Backer, whose position in the Belgian government is comparable to that of a deputy Cabinet minister, made his remarks in an interview published earlier this week for Joods Actueel, the Jewish monthly of Antwerp.

“There is no doubt that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It’s clear; it’s reality. There’s no discussion on this issue,” he said. “But we’re in a political context where Europe sees Jerusalem as subject to negotiations toward a two-state solution.”

In December, Belgian Prime…

US Ambassador David Friedman says his remarks about Abbas were not a call for regime change

JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the United States was not looking to “replace” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and that reports implying he said otherwise misquoted him.

On Wednesday, the Religious-Zionist newspaper Shevii released excerpts of an interview with Friedman to be published on Friday in which the ambassador is quoted as saying, “If Abu Mazen is not interested in negotiating, I am sure that someone else will want to. If Abbas creates a vacuum, I am convinced that someone else will fill it, and then we will move forward” with the peace process.

Some…

In Israel, Netanyahu is embattled. At AIPAC, he was at home.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is mired in several corruption scandals back home, and his political future seems increasingly under threat.

But you wouldn’t know it from his speech Tuesday at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee: He looked energized and right at home.

His address to the crowd of 18,000 played more like a pep rally than a policy address. Netanyahu largely stuck to his standard talking points — celebrating Israeli innovation, confronting Iran, criticizing the Palestinian Authority.

But he was upbeat and relaxed while doing it. He grinned, laughed, joked,…

The Palestinian Authority is wiretapping people with the CIA’s help, leaked document charges

(JTA) — A leaked document alleges that the Palestinian Authority has been wiretapping its residents with the backing of the CIA.

The document was shared on the messaging service WhatsApp by an anonymous employee of the Palestinian wiretapping agency last month, according to The Associated Press. It says the agency was set up jointly by three Palestinian security services and contains transcripts of recorded phone conversations.

The wiretapping allegedly targeted thousands of Palestinians, from the heads of militant groups to judges, lawyers and allies of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, according to AP.

Now two of the people allegedly wiretapped are…

Netherlands, Belgium pledge new funds to UN Palestinian relief agency following US cutbacks

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Netherlands and Belgium pledged a total of $38 million for the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinians following U.S. funding cuts of $110 million.

Belgium’s government pledged $23.3 million in extra funding for UNRWA and the Dutch government said it would fast-track another $15 million in funding.

The United States announced its cuts on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that a $45 million payment pledged for the UNRWA food aid program would not go through for the time being. Earlier this week, the U.S. said it would freeze $65 million pledged to the…