President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Saturday evening, congratulating him on his inauguration and inviting him to Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.
"The alliance between our states and our nations is not solely based on friendship. It is rooted in our shared values and longstanding commitment to freedom, liberty and democracy- the foundation stones of our societies," Rivlin stated.
Rivlin thanked the American people for their friendship and support.
"On behalf of our people, I wish you and your administration much success, and take this opportunity to extend to you an invitation to visit the State of Israel and be our guest in Jerusalem," Rivilin concluded.
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told the press last week that Trump would be making an announcement regarding rumoured plans to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the coming weeks.
Thousands of people demonstrated in northern Israel on Saturday protesting against recent home demolitions in Arab communities, Ha’aretz reports.
The protesters denounced the Wednesday police killing of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, who ran over policeman Erez Levi during clashes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, sparked by the demolition of homes in the Negev village. Police claim al-Kiyan was politically motivated, but critics and eyewitnesses say he was first shot by police.
Some of the protesters on Saturday in Ar'ara waved Palestinian flags, black flags and held posters of al-Kiyan. The demonstrators held up signs saying, "United in the fight against the government of racism and destruction," and "Erdan is a war criminal," referring to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
The protesters, some of them Jewish, marched from Ar'ara's municipality toward homes that had received demolition orders.
The demolition in Umm al-Hiran, came a week after demolitions in the city of Kalansua, in northen Israel.
On Thursday, the Israeli Arab community announced three days of mourning and general strike in regional councils following the demolition of homes in Umm al-Hiran.
Israel on Friday denounced what it called the "cynical exploitation" of Belgium's judicial system, after Belgian prosecutors confirmed they wanted to question former minister Tzipi Livni over alleged “war crimes”.
Livni was expected to visit Brussels to meet Jewish leaders in the city but "cancelled three or four days before," a spokesman for the event said.
He said the cancellation was for "personal reasons" but local newspaper LeSoir said prosecutors had been hoping to question Livni over allegations of war crimes during Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in later 2008-early 2009, when she was Foreign Minister.
"We wanted to take advantage of her visit to try to advance the investigation," a spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor Thierry Werts confirmed to AFP.
Livni's spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment from AFP, but the foreign ministry reacted strongly.
"We reject this cynical abuse of the Belgian legal system to advance apolitical agenda," ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, according to the news agency.
He labelled the attempt to question Livni "another cheap publicity stunt with no legal basis that was organised and executed by an anti-Israeli organisation."
Livni is named along with other political and military leaders in a complaint filed in June 2010 over alleged crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead.
Belgian justice has the right to detain a suspect in its territory on crimes related to international law as one of the victims had Belgian citizenship.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delayed a vote Sunday on a controversial proposal to annex Ma'aleh Adumim—one of the West Bank's largest settlements—in an apparent effort to align his policy toward the Palestinians with the new administration of US President Donald Trump, Yediot Aharonot reports.
After eight years of frosty relations with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu has welcomed Trump's election as an opportunity to strengthen ties between two allied nations. The two talked on the phone on Sunday.
In the conversation, which Trump called "very nice," Netanyahu expressed his vision for the two to work together for regional peace and security without gaps between the US and Israel. They discussed Iran, the political process with the Palestinians and other topics. Trump ended by inviting the prime minister to visit him in Washington in February.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Bayit Yehudi party, has been pushing Netanyahu to abandon the idea of a Palestinian state and to annexe the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement near Jerusalem.
But after convening his Security Cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said his cabinet ministers, with Bennett included, decided "unanimously" to delay action until he goes to Washington to meet with Trump. Netanyahu's office said the cabinet would hold further discussions ahead of the meeting, which is expected in early February.
Monday, January 23, 2017