Trump Invites Netanyahu to Meet in U.S. (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Trump invited Netanyahu to a meeting in the U.S. at the first opportunity.
See also Netanyahu Speaks with Hillary Clinton (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and thanked her for supporting Israel.
He told her that she has an open invitation to visit Israel.
After U.S. Withheld Missiles During Gaza War, Israel Modifies U.S.-Made Helicopters to Fire Israeli Missiles - Udi Etsion (Ynet News)
The Israel Air Force has modified its Apache helicopters to fire Israeli-made missiles after U.S. leaders delayed the delivery of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles to Israel during the 2014 Gaza war.
Jewish Contingent in U.S. House of Representatives Grows from 19 to 23 (JTA)
The Jewish contingent to the U.S. House of Representatives grew from 19 to 23 in Tuesday's elections.
The new congressmen include Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and David Kustoff (R-Tenn.).
See also Jewish Former Navy SEAL Becomes Governor of Missouri (JTA)
President of Israel Congratulates Trump - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
President of Israel Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday:
"I would like to congratulate the president-elect, Donald Trump, his family, and the American people as a whole, who have once again proven to the entire world the meaning of being the greatest democracy in the world."
"Israel, the United States' strongest ally, stands by our friend and partner in any challenge that may come our way, and I have no doubt that the connections between the countries will continue and strengthen during Trump's presidency as well."
See also U.S. Jewish Organizations Congratulate Trump (JTA-Ha'aretz)
Egypt's Sisi Invites Trump to Cairo (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday invited U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to visit Cairo, in a telephone call in which El-Sisi congratulated Trump personally on his election triumph.
El-Sisi expressed his hope for more cooperation between Egypt and the U.S. in all fields.
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- IAEA: Iran Once Again Exceeds a Nuclear Deal Limit - Francois Murphy
Tehran has surpassed the 130 metric ton threshold for heavy water for the second time, exceeding the limit set under the nuclear deal, the UN atomic watchdog said on Wednesday. "On 2 November 2016, the [IAEA] director general expressed concerns related to Iran's stock of heavy water to the vice president of Iran and president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a confidential report.
- Trump Election May Impact on Iran Nuclear Deal - Carol Morello
The future of the nuclear agreement with Iran is in the air with the prospect that a Donald Trump administration could take steps that would cause Iran to abandon its commitments, experts said Wednesday. "I think it's basically the end game for the deal," said Richard Nephew, a Columbia University fellow who was the lead sanctions expert on the U.S. negotiating team.
"It's very hard for me to see, based on the rhetoric, letting it stand as is, or not doing something that forces the Iranians to walk away."
Uncertainty in Tehran is not necessarily a bad thing, said Mark Dubowitz, head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who opposed the deal.
"I could see a Trump administration beginning to threaten the use of American power, and put the Iranians to a choice between severe sanctions and potential military action, or going back to renegotiate some key elements of the deal," he said, citing sunset provisions that lift some limitations after seven to 15 years.
"One should never underestimate the power of U.S. secondary sanctions and the fear that creates in the marketplace - a fear that has now been intensified as a result of a President Trump."
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Trump Adviser: New President Won't Force Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Eric Cortellessa
Jason Dov Greenblatt, one of President-elect Donald Trump's top advisers, told The Times of Israel Wednesday, "I think he's going to try to help the Israelis achieve peace with the Palestinians....He will make it a priority if the Israelis and Palestinians want to make it a priority. He's not going to force peace upon them, it will have to come from them." (Times of Israel)
See also Trump Adviser: "West Bank Settlements Are Not an Obstacle to Peace" - Tovah Lazaroff
Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt told Israel Army Radio on Thursday, "It's certainly not Mr. Trump's view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it's an obstacle for peace - because it is not the obstacle for peace." Trump's views, he said, come from the past example of the 2005 Israeli demolition of 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the northern West Bank. That withdrawal did not bring peace but rather was a precursor to a Hamas takeover of Gaza and three wars with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
- Trump and Israel, Now What? - Herb Keinon
Hillary Clinton was a known commodity because she has been involved for so long at a policy level on Israel-related issues. There was a degree of predictability regarding how she would act. No such predictability exists with regard to Donald Trump, who has no real track record on Israel beyond being the grand marshal of the Israel Day Parade in Manhattan. At the same time, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, is a former Indiana governor and congressman, an Evangelical Christian, and has a long record of political support for Israel.
Moreover, as of January 20 there will be sitting in the White House a man who has been scathing in his criticism of the Iranian nuclear deal. He does not have any emotional investment in it that could possibly blind him to Iranian violations. (Jerusalem Post)
- Middle East Looks to America for Leadership - Dore Gold
The countries of the Middle East are looking for America to be an ally. They are looking for America to lead the peoples of the Middle East. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency in certain parts of Washington in recent years to try and see how to fix America's relations with its adversaries - with Syria's Assad, with the Iranians and with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and with other radical groups across the Middle East. This leaves America's allies, like the famous situation with President Mubarak of Egypt, in the lurch.
There is a hope that is common to Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Egypt under President Sisi, with Saudi Arabia under King Salman, and with the United Arab Emirates under Mohammed bin Zayed. All of these leaders are hoping for a United States that will lead them against the twin radical threats of ISIS and Iranian imperialism.
The writer is former director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to the UN.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Why UNESCO Shouldn't Treat Jerusalem as a Weapon - Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander Joffe
UNESCO has now voted to place the Muslim narrative on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on a pedestal and to ignore Jewish and Christian connections. But what is the Muslim narrative? For Islam, Jerusalem is less a holy city than a rallying cry and a prize to be denied to others, especially Jews.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran at all and there is no explicit connection between the city and Muhammad's life. Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, and it has been the direction of Jewish prayer for two thousand years.
The UNESCO vote shows how Palestinians and their supporters will subvert any international institution in order to vilify Israelis.
Asaf Romirowsky is the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and a fellow at the Middle East Forum, where Alexander Joffe is also a fellow.
- Are the Palestinians Prepared for Statehood? - Editorial
The Palestinians are unprepared for statehood because they are unable to solve their own differences through cooperation and peaceful politics. The Palestinian political leadership is split between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Due to that split, Palestinians have been unable to hold democratic elections on a national level for a decade. The present Palestinian political leadership has no democratic mandate to rule.
So as long as Palestinians are unable to solve their internal problems, how are they going to work together to run a unified Palestinian state? If a future Palestinian state deteriorates into anarchy shortly after inception, this would have major ramifications for the security of Israel.
And Palestinian rule remains autocratic. In both the West Bank and Gaza, the human rights of Palestinians are regularly trampled. Journalists and political dissidents who dare to criticize the political leadership are beaten, imprisoned and intimidated. The rights of women and religious minorities are not protected. Hamas, which rules in Gaza and enjoys substantial support in the West Bank, calls outright for the destruction of Israel.
Taking steps to create a Palestinian state before solving the more fundamental problems within Palestinian society is a recipe for disaster. It would likely help create yet another failed state in the Middle East that would be a magnet for Islamic extremism, and an existential danger to the State of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
The Folly of Seeking an Imposed Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- The notion that an externally imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viable and ultimately in Israel's best interest is sheer folly.
- The Palestinians continue to glorify and reward violence and cling fervently to the hope that they can achieve statehood on their own terms, without conceding Israel's basic need for security, and without recognizing the reciprocal legitimacy of the two national movements.
- The Palestinians' refusal to accept Israel as the embodiment of the right of the Jewish people for national self-determination - indeed, their refusal to accept that there is a Jewish people - undermines what is certainly a basic requirement if peace agreements are to hold.
- By advocating coercive pressure on Israel, would-be "peacemakers" make peace impossible.
- The idea that an elected Israeli government should impose great pain on its own people for no reward and under foreign pressure is a fantasy.
The writer is former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel's National Security Council.
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