Trump Mulling Mideast Peace Conference

Today’s Top Stories

1. On the heels of President Donald Trump’s first phone call with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas, the White House is mulling a Mideast peace conference.

According to White House sources, Trump told his advisors that if preparations are made and the conference’s purpose is made clear to not just be for show, then he is willing to participate in it. The White House is checking the possibility of holding the conference in Jordan or Egypt and is trying to even incorporate Saudi Arabia in it, which the president sees as an important ally.

2. In an effort to soften its image, and also a little pressure from Egypt, Hamas is revising its founding charter. The main takeaways, according to the New York Times, is that the new charter will reportedly A) describe its struggle against “occupiers” instead of “Jews,” and B) distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood. Even so, Hamas won’t give up terrorism or truly accept Israel’s existence:

The new document would accept borders of the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war as the basis for a Palestinian state. It would not recognize Israel, however, nor would it give up future claims to all of what Hamas considers Palestinian lands.

Hamas

Members of Hamas’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, at a rally marking the 29th anniversary of the founding of the movement on December 16, 2016, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 16, 2016. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

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3. A previously cancelled academic conference debating the legal legitimacy of Israel’s existence is back on. According to RTE, the confab’s first day will take place at University College Cork, with Cork city hall being the venue for the next two days. The Irish media noted some of Roseanne Barr‘s acerbic tweets in response.

Israel and the Palestinians

• A Fatah splinter group in Gaza said it fired two rockets at Israel on Thursday night. According to the Jerusalem Post, it’s the first time in almost three years that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for rocket fire.

• The Naharayim massacre killer was released from a Jordanian prison to a hero’s welcome in his home village.

• The Times of Israel picked up on a government report examining how domestic, mental and social problems are responsible for some of the stabbing and car-ramming attacks over the last 18 months.

Since October 2015, more and more attackers are choosing to commit terror attacks and suicide missions for various reasons. Among these reasons include but are not limited to various levels of domestic violence within the household (with family members such as siblings, spouses, fiance, etc.); social criticism for an immoral act, such as adultery, lack of respect for the family, matriculation failure and more; and serious psychological issues stemming from depression, despair, and mental illness.

• The British government is hinting that a senior member of the royal family will indeed visit Israel this year to mark the centennial of the Balfour declaration after President Reuven Rivlin extended the invitation to visiting Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. According to The Independent, Prince Charles would likely make the trip as Queen Elizabeth has cut back on overseas travel for health reasons.

A spokesperson for Clarence House, the official residence of the Prince of Wales, told The Independent that the Prince of Wales’ overseas visits are only made at the request of the government.

 

They could not confirm whether the Prince would be visiting Israel.

Prince and President

President Reuven Rivlin welcoming Prince Charles after the 2016 funeral of Shimon Peres.

• State Department: Israel’s anti-BDS law is a ‘sovereign decision.’ Meanwhile, the British media reported that the legislation would theoretically prohibit UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn too. However, the Daily Telegraph noted:

Israeli government officials said privately that it was unlikely the law would be used against Mr Corbyn or any other member of a foreign parliament. The legislation gives Israel’s interior minister discretion over where and when to bar foreigners on the grounds that they support boycotts.

• The Mail on Sunday puts the spotlight on British taxpayer money going to Palestinian schools that glorify terrorists.

Head teachers openly admit flouting attempts by British and European donors to control the curriculum at schools. They print overtly political study aids for pupils, some even denying the existence of Israel, and teachers boast of encouraging pupils to emulate teenage attackers killed in the most recent wave of terrorist attacks in the region.

 

One senior teacher from a prominent West Bank school, asked what he would say to a pupil threatening to attack Israelis, told this newspaper: ‘I would tell them go in the name of God.’ . . .
 

But they brazenly said they ignored the bans, claiming their leaders agree controls just to get through the vetting process and obtain aid cash in full knowledge any restrictions will be brushed aside in classrooms.

Around the World

• Two German tabloids included Netanyahu in a list of the world’s seven looniest dictators. The Hamburger Morgenpost and Berliner Kurier, which the Jerusalem Post notes are part of the same publishing house lumped Benjamin Netanyahu together with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Syria’s Bashar Assad, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

The Morgenpost later tweeted an apology.

• Israel calls on banks in Spain and South Africa to shut down BDS accounts.

• French presidential candidate Francois Fillon rebuked his own party’s use of an anti-Semitic election cartoon.

AP updates the latest on the investigation into the wave of hoax bomb threats made to North American JCCs and other Jewish institutions:

New York City’s head of police intelligence said Thursday that investigators believe one man using a voice changer and phone spoofing device is behind a large number of the scores of threats made against U.S. Jewish institutions this year.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that evidence suggests that some of the calls are linked to similar threats received by British Jewish institutions.

Miami police arrest homeless man for scratching swastikas onto cars and slashing tires.

• Hate-graffiti describing Holocaust as ‘fake history’ found at Seattle synagogue

• Head of French umbrella group complains to U. of Pau over professor’s ‘latest acist frenzy’ against Jews.

• Professor Robert Kelly’s routine Skype interview with the BBC took a funny and viral turn when his kids crashed the office. Its a very human moments that any parent will relate to.

• Israel senses a chance to boost trade with UK after Brexit. When the EU’s protectionist policies no longer apply to Britain, the US won’t be the only country lining up to ink new trade agreements. More on the business possibilities at The Guardian.

• Team Israel pulled off another upset at the World Baseball Classic, defeating heavily favored Cuba 4-1. Watch the game highlights. Before the game, team vice president Jordy Alter read Megillat Esther in the dugout. The magic carpet ride continues on Monday against the Netherlands.

Commentary/Analysis

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

Avi Issacharoff: Ever unpredictable, Trump throws Mahmoud Abbas a lifeline
Michael Oren: Why Trump should withdraw the US from the UN Human Rights Council
Robert Fulford: Supporters of official Palestine are either naive or accepting of indiscriminate murder
Prof. Eyal Zisser: Iranians at the gate
Yonah Jeremy Bob: How North Korea endangers Israel
Col. Richard Kemp: Mistaken criticism
Elior Levy: As Fatah hardens, Hamas becomes more receptive
Aaron David Miller: Trump’s hard-line Israel ambassador pick will have to bend
Moshe Klein: BDS is not the way to achieve peace in Israel
Ruthie Blum: The witches’ cauldron of intersectionality
Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: Fake news and “alternative facts”
Dr. Howard Patten: Brexit and Israel
Mitchel Malkus: What happened after an anti-Semitic bomb threat at my school
Jeff Jacoby: In the land where Jews feel welcome, anti-Semitism is on the rise

 

Featured image: CC BY JD Hancock; Prince Charles via YouTube/President Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin; money CC BY Images Money;

 

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

 

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