Pence, speaking to nearly 20,000 AIPAC members gathered in Washington for the lobby’s annual policy conference, sought to assure the pro-Israel community of the Trump administration’s backing, while also making clear that President Trump is interested in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace, an issue that had led to friction between the Netanyahu government and the administration of former president Obama.
“President Trump is committed to forging a lasting peace in the Middle East,” Pence said, explaining that Trump is seeking an “equitable and just solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that while there will be need for compromise, Trump “ will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel.”
Pence’s remark come after talks between top Israeli and American negotiators failed to bring about an agreement on limiting Israel’s settlement activity and after a White House statement last Thursday noted Trump’s “concerns” over the settlement issue.
Pence also offered new wording on Trump’s campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The President, according to Pence, is “giving serious consideration” to relocating the embassy.
Activists from the IfNotNow group entered a conference held by the America Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday, demanding that American Jews stop supporting what they say are Israeli abuses toward the Palestinians.
Security at the AIPAC conference, the largest pro-Israel conference of the year, was extremely strict and according to IfNotNow members, the four activists purchased tickets as AIPAC delegates in order to gain access to the building. The IfNotNow activists dropped banners from the center’s third floor stating that their group “reject AIPAC and the occupation” before security guards removed them.
AIPAC delegates watching the from the hallways booed the protestors as they were taken out. Most participants, however, were spread out in conference rooms and were not aware of the protest taking place.
Watch footage from the break-in here:
About 15,000 participants are expected to attend the three-day AIPAC conference that began Sunday, where top Israeli and American leaders are discussing Middle East policy in the first major meeting since the November elections.
President Trump sent 12 FBI investigators from the agency’s cybercrime unit to Israel to assist in the investigation of the Israeli-American teen arrested for making bomb threats at American Jewish institutions, Haaretz reported.
Police sources attributed the arrest to Trump’s pressure on the FBI to pursue the matter, according to Haaretz. The teen, living in the southern Israeli city Ashkelon, had been making cyberattacks for two years, but his arrest was given high priority after Trump said the FBI would do whatever it could to find the perpetrators.
Trump’s statements came after months of criticism against the president for not doing enough to condemn anti-Semitic threats and attacks against Jewish Community Centers and Jewish cemeteries.
The 19-year-old Israeli-American was arrested on Thursday by the Israeli Police’s cyber crime unit. According to Haaretz, the teen made hundreds of threats over the past two years that went unreported by the press. When he saw that calls to Jewish Community Centers were getting media attention, he doubled down on these targets.
The United States has not yet issued an extradition request for the teen, but Israeli police sources said that Israel would probably comply if one was made.
Jared Kushner’s family has financial investments in Israel that could prevent him from being an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, ethics experts say.
According to the Associated Press, Kushner’s family real estate company, Kushner Companies, has a shared investment in a New Jersey apartment building with a major Israeli financial group, Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd.
In addition to the New Jersey apartment building, Harel partnered with Kushner Companies on a deal to provide a $50 million loan for a real estate project in Brooklyn, a 73-story residential building that would be the borough’s tallest.
The AP also reported that Kushner Companies confirmed it has a “longstanding relationship” with Israel’s Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, but would not provide further details.
Jared Kushner has stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies, but he has not entirely divested his assets.
Ethics experts say these investments, in addition to the Kushner family’s support of West Bank settlements and Kushner’s personal relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could impact his ability to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
“Financial investments in Israel would seem to only further complicate conflicts of interest issues,” Larry Noble, senior director of regulatory programs and general counsel at Campaign Legal Center, told the AP.
Boris Epshteyn, a prominent Trump surrogate during the election campaign, is expected to quit his post at Trump TV, Politico is reporting from many sources close to the administration.
The Trump TV project was widely seen as a post-election project if the Republican candidate had failed to win and needed to build yet another alternative to news that would outflank Fox and Breitbart on the right, and give Trump an ongoing political platform.
Epshteyn, a 35-year old attorney from a Russian-Jewish family and a college friend of Eric Trump, is expected to join the administration in an official capacity.
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