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Palestinian leader calls for new peace plan, scolds new countries recognizing Israel

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In his Friday speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international conference early next year to hash out a new “genuine peace plan,” the Associated Press reported. In the same speech, he criticized the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for recently recognizing the state of Israel.

“We will not kneel or surrender, and we will not deviate from our fundamental positions, and we shall overcome,” Abbas said. He continued, saying, “There will be no peace, no security, no stability, and no coexistence in our region while this occupation continues.” In front of him was a plaque that read “State of Palestine.”

Whether the international community is willing to undergo another set of peace negotiations, remains unclear.

The Palestinians rejected President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan in January on the grounds that it overwhelmingly favored Israel and didn’t satisfy their own vision of an independent Palestinian state. At the plan’s negotiations, no Palestinian representatives were invited. The biggest sticking point was that the deal would see Israel maintain control over its West Bank settlements, which the United Nations has deemed illegal.

The international community’s reaction to the January plan was mixed.

Jordan, a reliable Arab ally of the U.S., openly rejected the plan because the territory of the proposed Palestinian state did not include the lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. French President Emmanuel Macron, while appreciative of the effort to establish terms for peace, felt that the U.S. should have been more inclusive of the Palestinians in the process, saying, “You can’t get there with just one side.”

The United Kingdom cautiously supported the plan but pushed back against Israeli efforts toward annexing parts of the West Bank. “Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to re-start peace negotiations, and contrary to international law,” its foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that: “Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves.”

Currently, the Palestinian leadership maintains no formal diplomatic ties with either the U.S. or Israel.

Abbas’ speech follows the aforementioned Arab countries finally recognizing and establishing formal diplomatic relationships with Israel two weeks ago at a historic White House ceremony. This move has been broadly seen as a monumental milestone toward peace in the Middle East, as well as a major foreign policy victory for President Donald Trump in his re-election bid.

For many decades, almost all Arab countries refused to acknowledge the existence of the State of Israel. Today, the only other Arab countries which recognize it are Egypt and Jordan, alongside the new additions.

Egypt recognized Israel following the 1978 U.S.-moderated Camp David Accords between both countries’ respective leaders. Jordan, a major U.S. ally in the region, would later recognize the country in 1994.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cruz warns Biden Admin is weaponizing DOJ against Israel in death of journalist

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), warned on Tuesday that weaponizing the Department of Justice against Israel – a staunch allied nation of the United States – is unacceptable in the investigation of the death of a Palestine journalist. Cruz stated that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s actions should end with his impeachment and that the FBI must never be used as a tool against our allies.

Reports surfaced that the U.S. is launching an investigation into the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Israel confirmed the information Monday in multiple media outlets. Israeli officials noted that such an investigation is a “grave mistake.”

NPR Reports:

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Gantz’s statement. It was not immediately clear when the investigation might have begun and what it would entail. But a probe by the U.S. into Israeli actions was a rare step that could shake the strong alliance between the two countries.

Palestinian officials, Abu Akleh’s family and Al Jazeera accuse Israel of intentionally targeting and killing the 51-year-old journalist, who was wearing a helmet and a protective vest marked with the word “press” when she was shot last May in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, however, said on Twitter Monday, “that we won’t cooperate with any external investigation” conducted by the FBI.

“We will not allow interference in Israel’s internal affairs,” he added. According to reports Abu Akleh is a  Palestinian but also a U.S. citizen.

Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Judiciary Committees, was responding to recent reports that the Biden administration seeks to open an FBI investigation into Israel. He stated, “everyone involved with this debacle should be fired or impeached – all the way up to Attorney General Garland.”

Joe Biden and his administration view Israel and Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu as political enemies, and so they are responding to them the way they respond to all their political enemies: by unleashing the FBI,” Sen. Cruz stated. “Our Israeli allies have, since the very beginning, cooperated closely with the United States in investigating this incident, and the State Department and Defense Departments had already drawn their conclusions.”

He warned “this outrage underscores how corrupt and blatantly politicized the Justice Department has become, and how entirely beholden to the radical left-wing Squad Democrats really are. This administration has spent its time in office weaponizing the DOJ to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.”

The Senator went on Twitter saying that Biden and the administration has weaponized the DOJ “to target their political enemies as a matter of policy, and now they have allowed that tactic to bleed into their obsession with undermining our Israeli allies.”

It’s a fact and we’ve seen how the DOJ, as well as other agencies, have been used against political opponents in the United States, particularly since President Donald Trump took office in 2016. Targeting Israel so openly is all-together new and something that has lawmakers, as well as intelligence officials deeply concerned.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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