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Palestinian leader to reportedly ask Biden to move U.S. embassy to Tel Aviv

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly thinking about asking President-elect Joe Biden to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, i24 news reported on Sunday, following Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election on Saturday.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly thinking about asking President-elect Joe Biden to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, i24 news reported on Sunday, following Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election on Saturday. The report was originally published in Israel Hayom.

According to the i24 report, a Palestinian Authority senior adviser named Nabil Shaath told the Israeli newspaper that President Abbas, in an effort to reverse many of the pro-Israel policies of President Donald Trump, has been secretly communicating with Biden to get him to move the embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and to rescind the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abbas, it is worth noting, has sent a public message of congratulations to Biden like many other world leaders have already done, but only 15 hours after the race was called by many mainstream media outlets for Biden on Saturday. President Trump has yet to concede the race and has said that the election is far from over and that he will continue his battle in the courts.

Additionally, according to The Jerusalem Post, Abbas is reportedly willing to U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel. This, Shaath noted to Israel Hayom, would require the U.S. to reopen the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic mission in Washington, DC and to renew U.S. financial aid to Ramallah and UNWRA. Shaath added that these U.S.-brokered talks will need to start from where they left off in 2016, when President Barack Obama was in charge.

Back in a September speech to the United Nations, Abbas called for an international conference to hash out a new “genuine peace plan” between the Palestinians and Israel.

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

During his administration, President Trump and his team have achieved many foreign policy victories for his agenda when it came to Israel. Most notably through U.S.-negotiated deals, three countries once hostile to the State of Israel have now recognized the country and have worked to establish regular diplomatic relationships with it—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan. The deals with the UAE and Bahrain were known collectively as the Abraham Accords.

The outcome of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday has certainly left Middle East policy up in the air as Biden begins to assemble his transition team but also as Trump keeps soldiering on in his legal battle against the results.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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