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US-PA Relations Rapidly Deteriorating

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9 Feb 2018 (All day)
US-PA Relations Rapidly Deteriorating
Jason Greenblatt, chief envoy to the Middle East peace process for the Trump Administration, tweeted on Wednesday evening that “Pres. Abbas states about Jerusalem: ‘It is Arab, Muslim and Christian and makes no mention of any Jewish ties. Nothing peaceful or productive can come from statements like this.” Abbas was quick to respond, adding to his sharp criticism earlier in the week of US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Friedman and an ongoing pattern of criticizing the Administration generally.

Friedman’s “recommendations and advice, which do not aim to achieve a just peace on the basis of international legitimacy, is what led to this crisis in American-Palestinian relations,” Nabil Abu Rudaineh, Abbas’s spokesman, said in a statement published on Wafa, the official PA news site, on Wednesday. “The American ambassador’s statements make us wonder about his relationship with the occupation. Is he representing America or Israel? Instead of contributing to creating a climate for peace, Ambassador Friedman is increasing tensions and providing pretexts for violent acts like these that we reject. We affirm that the [PA] president and Palestinian leadership’s policy is popular, peaceful resistance.”

The PA has not made any direct, official contacts with the US Administration since President Donald Trump publicly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

Israeli Athletes Proud to Compete in the Olympics
Israel’s delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea was scheduled to be in action Friday morning. Figure skater Alexei Bychenko will perform in the men’s short program as part of the team event early in the morning, followed by Evgeni Krasnopolski and Paige Conners in the pairs short program a few hours later. “I’m always proud to represent Israel wherever I compete,” said Bychneko. “It is a great responsibility and as always I promise to represent Israel as best as I can.”

Byzantine-Era Mosaic Uncovered in the Galilee
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Thursday that a rare floor mosaic has been uncovered at Caesarea National Park. “The dig uncovered part of a large, opulent building dating back 1,500 years to the Byzantine period,” the statement said. “Scholars believe the building was part of an agora – a large public area for commerce and socializing – a kind of ancient version of Tel Aviv’s shopping complexes.”

“In collaboration with our colleagues from the IAA [Israel Antiquities Authority] and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, we make sure to preserve every find in its natural place, and are investing huge resources to make the site accessible to Israeli visitors and tourists from all over the world,” said Michael Karsenti, CEO of the Caesarea Development Corporation. “The impressive mosaic joins the many other important recently unearthed archeological finds.”

Here is a short video about the mosaic posted by the Antiquities Authority

Saudi Arabia Denies Reports of Air Routes Between India and Israel
Reports that Saudi Arabia has granted permission to Indian aircraft to fly through its air space on their way to Israel were flatly denied by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) on Wednesday. The denial followed wide reporting in the Israeli media that the permission had already been granted and flights would soon begin.

Today’s video gives a snapshot of Kibbutz life in Israel


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