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TEL AVIV, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser said in an interview published Sunday that the administration will soon present its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, with or without input from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview published in the Arabic language Al-Quds newspaper, Jared Kushner appealed directly to Palestinians and criticized Abbas, who has shunned the Trump team over its alleged pro-Israel bias, particularly on the fate of contested Jerusalem.

The interview came out after a weeklong trip around the region by Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt. The team met with leaders of Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and the administration’s proposals for a peace deal.

Palestinian leaders have blasted the Trump negotiating team in recent days. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Kushner and Greenblatt on Saturday of trying to topple the Abbas-led West Bank autonomy government and dismantle the U.N. aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

Any peace plan would face major obstacles, including the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, internal Palestinian divisions, and recent cross-border violence between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel. It remains unclear how the Trump administration would proceed with a peace plan without Palestinian co-operation.

Kushner said the plan is “almost done,” but offered scant details aside from the promise of economic prosperity. He made no mention of a Palestinian state arising alongside Israel.

Kushner cast doubt on Abbas’ ability to make a deal, alleging that the Palestinian leadership is “scared we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it” because it would offer them a better life.

“The global community is getting frustrated with Palestinian leadership and not seeing many actions that are constructive towards achieving peace,” Kushner said. “There are a lot of sharp statements and condemnations, but no ideas or efforts with prospects of success.”

Palestinian leaders have refused to meet with the Trump team since the president recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Jerusalem is an emotional issue at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel captured the city’s eastern half, home to holy sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh responded to Kushner’s interview by restating that American efforts will yield no result if they bypass the Palestinian leadership, and if they are not aimed at an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

RAMALLAH, June 23, 2018 (MENA) - A Palestinian youth was injured in his leg as Israeli occupation forces opened fire against him at Al Container checkpoint, northeastern Bethlehem.

The occupation forces prevented Red Crescent paramedics from offering assistance to the injured youth, Palestinian sources said on Saturday.

Israeli police claimed, in a statement, that a suspect carrying suspicious object approached the corridor dedicated to vehicles at Al Container checkpoint.

RAMALLAH, June 22, 2018 (MENA) - A Palestinian youth was wounded by Israeli army's rubber bullets during clashes in south of the West Bank, a Palestinian security source said on Friday.

According to the source, the clashes erupted earlier in the day after Israeli occupation forces raided Dheisheh refugee camp in southern Bethlehem, where they fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas.

The forces also arrested a Palestinian young man at the refugee camp after storming his home, he added.


RAMALLAH, June 19, 2018 (MENA) - Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said on Tuesday that the US is trying to turn the Palestinian cause from a political issue into a humanitarian one.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Erekat said that Washington wishes to get rid of the Palestinian leadership because of its adherence to national principles and to Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, noting that the US administration wants a new leadership that will go along with the new facts it seeks.

He said that the United States has gotten itself into a very dangerous game by trying to replace national rights with humanitarian projects. The PLO official urged the Palestinians to reconcile their differences and work together by implementing the reconciliation agreements and to find a common ground for a full political partnership based on the PLO programme.

GENEVA, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in Gaza has left health workers struggling to cope with an unprecedented crisis, with more than 13,000 wounded, a senior Red Cross official said.

At least 132 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests at the border with Gaza began at the end of March.

Robert Mardini, head of Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told reporters that the “vast majority” of the 13,000 hospitalsed protesters had suffered severe wounds, including multiple gunshot wounds.

“This is I think a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in the Gaza Strip,” said Mardini.

The Red Cross is planning to open a new 50-bed surgery unit at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital to help deal with the surge in gunshot wounds.

Some 1,400 patients have been hit by three to five bullets, many in the legs, which require several complex orthopedic and reconstructive surgeries.

Mardini said the Red Cross was holding talks with Israeli defense forces to minimize civilian harm.



GAZA CITY, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire on Monday near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory said.

An Israeli army statement said "several terrorists were injured" in an explosion as they attempted to carry out sabotage near the border fence, but made no mention of troops opening fire.

The health ministry said in a statement that "Sabri Ahmed Abu Khader, 24, was killed by bullets of the (Israeli) occupation forces."

It did not add further details on the circumstances of the incident.

At least 131 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since major border protests broke out at the end of March.

No Israelis have been killed.

The Israeli army said five "terrorists" had "attempted to sabotage a security infrastructure in the area of the barrier in the northern Gaza Strip".

"The security infrastructure exploded," it said in English. "Subsequently, several terrorists were injured."

Earlier Monday, Israeli warplanes conducted strikes against nine Hamas "military targets" in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.

The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.

Palestinian security sources said nobody was wounded in the morning air strikes.


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