Ivanka Trump will become an unpaid special assistant in her father’s White House, the Trump administration announced late Wednesday, ending months of speculation about whether the first daughter would have a formal role in the government.
“I will … serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” she said in a statement, stressing that she would abide by all necessary disclosure and ethics requirements.
Politicos were anticipating news about her place in the White House, after a story broke that she would be soon moving into a West Wing office. She and her husband Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, are seen as crucial behind-the-scenes players in crafting policies and managing crises.
But the Trump administration’s mingling of family and White House personnel has raised questions about anti-nepotism rules. The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions cleared Kushner’s appointment as not in violation with those regulations, even as others have disagreed with that assessment.
It was not immediately known which issues Trump would focus her attention on, but she has previously expressed interests in matters like family leave, climate change and women’s empowerment.
A former journalist charged with making a wave of bomb threats to Jewish organizations by telephone while posing as his ex-girlfriend appeared in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon.
Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis earlier this month and arrived in New York on Wednesday morning. He appeared wearing beige prison garb and flanked by two public defenders at a brief hearing before Magistrate Judge James Francis.
The public defender assigned by Francis to represent Thompson, Mark Gombiner, did not seek bail at the hearing and declined to say afterward when he might. Thompson will remain in custody for now.
Thompson is scheduled to appear again before U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel on April 6.
Prosecutors say Thompson used fake email accounts to impersonate his ex-girlfriend when he sent the bomb threats. The threats were the culmination of months of harassment against the ex-girlfriend that began after she broke up with him last July, they said.—Reuters
After weeks of heightened unease over the stance of the United States under the new administration of President Donald Trump, Arab leaders reaffirmed on Wednesday their commitment to a two-state solution to the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict.
They called for a new round of peace talks based on a two-state solution and renewed a 2002 offer of “reconciliation” if Israel quit occupied Arab land and agreed a deal on Palestinian refugees, according to a statement read out after a summit.
Trump rattled Arab and European leaders in February by indicating he was open to a one-state solution, upending a position taken by successive administrations and the international community.
Trump later told Reuters in an interview he liked the concept of a two-state solution but stopped short of reasserting a U.S. commitment to eventual Palestinian statehood, saying he would be “satisfied with whatever makes both parties happy.”
Arab leaders attending a one-day summit beside the Dead Sea did not publicly refer to Trump or his ambiguous statements, but were keen to stress their own continued backing for an independent Palestinian state and also strongly criticized the persistent building of Jewish settlements on occupied territory.
The summit’s host, King Abdullah of Jordan, said the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel remained the basis of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal.
“Israel is continuing to expand settlements and wreck chances of peace … There is no peace or stability in the region without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause through a two-state solution,” he said.
The conference venue is only a few km (miles) from the occupied West Bank where Israeli settlements are clearly visible.
This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed to working with Trump to advance peace efforts with the Palestinians, but he also stopped short of reiterating a commitment to a two-state solution.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Israeli policy in his speech at Wednesday’s summit.
“The Israeli government has since 2009 worked on wrecking the two-state solution by accelerating the tempo of settlements and the confiscation of land,” Abbas told the leaders.
Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt met Abbas before Wednesday’s summit, the second such meeting in two weeks. Trump has also invited Abbas to the White House.
“(Greenblatt) had a lot of queries and we are answering them to complete the picture in their minds and speaking as Arabs in one language,” Abbas said.
He had told Greenblatt that Palestinians remained as firm as ever in their demand for an independent state, he said.
The Palestinians and Arabs want Arab East Jerusalem - which Israel captured in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally - as the capital of a future state encompassing the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
King Abdullah, whose dynasty has custodianship over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, said any unilateral Israeli move to change the status quo in the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque would have “catastrophic” consequences for the future of the region, inflaming Muslim sentiment.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also endorsed a two-state solution, telling summit participants this was the “only path to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis can realize their national aspirations and live in peace, security and dignity.”
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 230 new immigrants from Ukraine arrived in Israel.
The immigrants landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport on a flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
There were 78 families in the group, as well as four Holocaust survivors and more than 40 children.
Some of the new arrivals left war-torn areas suffering from civil unrest.
“Life in Ukraine has become life without a future, especially for families with children,” said a couple identified in a news release as Olski and Irina L. “Because of the continuing war the economic situation is also terrible. For us it was clear, if we are looking for a future for our children, it is better to do it in the land of Israel.”
Since the Fellowship began bringing immigrants to Israel in 2014, 5,179 arrivals have some from Ukraine.
J Street U said efforts made by the Israeli government and its supporters to counter BDS are “unhelpful and counterproductive.” These include a recent travel ban Israel imposed on BDS advocates.
“The only true way to overcome the Global BDS Movement is to end the occupation and live up to Israel’s founding values of democracy, equality, and social justice,” the group wrote, and added that it continues to support the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. J Street U announced its approach while its members attended an “Ambassadors Against BDS” summit at the United Nations.
Supporters of BDS say the movement can use economic pressure and isolation to end Israel’s half-century long military rule of Palestinian territories. Critics say the movement unfairly singles out Israel for criticism and delegitimizes the Jewish State.
J Street has walked a narrow line: criticizing Israeli policies while opposing BDS. By contrast, the IfNotNow movement has protested Jewish groups and leaders to demand an end of the occupation.
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