Mahmoud Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, right, welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival at the EU Council in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that France wants the European Union to start work on an agreement on closer ties with the Palestinian territories, following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Mahmoud Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

BRUSSELS: Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Monday urged EU member states to “swiftly” grant official recognition to the state of Palestine as he arrived to meet foreign ministers from the bloc in Brussels.
“We truly consider the European Union as a true partner and friend, and therefore we call its member states to swiftly recognize the state of Palestine and we confirm that there is no contradiction between recognition and the resumption of negotiations,” Abbas told reporters.
The 82-year-old Abbas met EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini for one-on-one talks before joining the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers for lunch on the sidelines of their monthly meeting, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar trip last month.
Abbas, who came to Brussels in search of European support, said the Palestinians were still committed to the stalled peace process.
“We are keen on continuing on the way of negotiations because we believe it is the only way forward to reach a negotiated solution and peace between us and Israel,” Abbas said before talks with Mogherini.
“Despite the hurdles we can find on our way toward the settlement of this issue we remain committed to fighting terrorism, violence and extremism locally, regionally and internationally.”
Last week Abbas denounced Trump’s peace efforts as the “slap of the century” and accused Israel of ending the Oslo accords that underpin negotiations — which have been effectively frozen since 2014.
But on Monday he said his side were still prepared to stick to past agreements.
“We are committed as well to continued compliance with treaties we signed with Israel but at the same time we call upon Israel to play its part and comply with those treaties,” he said.
Mogherini said the two sides needed “to show more than ever before their engagement with the international community” to work for peace.


Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

Updated 32 min 43 sec ago
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Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

  • American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday.
  • His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.

JERUSALEM: Israel will cut the tax revenue it transfers to the Palestinian Authority if it pays the family of the killer of an American-Israeli settler, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Friday.
Kahlon said he had instructed that any sum paid to the attacker’s family be withheld from tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) under interim peace deals.
“I will examine other ways to limit the economic activity of the terrorist’s family,” he said on Twitter.
American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday. His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.
It has not yet been decided whether Jabarin and his family will receive payments, according to a Palestinian official.
Israel has in the past withheld tax funds and in July enacted a law to financially penalize the PA by the amount of stipends paid to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces.
Israel says such stipends are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners’ actions against it. The Palestinian Authority says they are welfare payments to support them and their families.
The PA, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, where Israel retains overall security control, pays stipends that start at 1,400 shekels ($392) after a prisoner has been detained for three months. Amounts differ depending on the length of sentence.
Earlier this year, US lawmakers enacted legislation to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in US aid to the PA unless it took steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime.