Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trumps Receive Secret Security Briefing by Israeli Intelligence; Friedman Next Ambassador 

A Palestinian walks past a souvenir shop displaying T-shirts bearing images of US President Barack Obama wearing a kaffiyeh and president-elect Donald Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew in Jerusalem's Old City November 10, 2016. (Photo: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

US President-elect Donald Trump’s security team received secret briefings by Israel’s top intelligence officer in clandestine meetings in New York according to Israeli media. Yossi Cohen, who heads Israel’s famed Mossad international intelligence agency, reportedly briefed Team Trump on topics that included terror threats, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war and the Iranian nuclear deal, as part of a delegation arranged by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and led by National Security Adviser Yaakov Nagel.

The Israelis also pressed the Trump team for cover at the United Nations regarding a Palestinian-initiated Security Council resolution outgoing President Obama is expected to support during his remaining time in office that will declare Israeli communities built on post-1967 land to be illegal. Last week, Trump announced the nomination of New York attorney David Friedman as the next United States Ambassador to Israel, raising a maelstrom of criticism on the political left.

During the campaign, Friedman raised eyebrows with his candid rejection of American policy standards regarding the Middle East including a promise to bestow recognition of full Israeli sovereignty over the entire city of Jerusalem and move the US Embassy there.

On Friday, Palestinian chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Sa’eb Erekat told reporters that moving the embassy would mean “the destruction of the peace process as a whole.”

Other presidents-elect have promised to move the embassy but instead signed a national-security-based waiver every six months to override implementation of the 1995 law requiring the embassy to be moved. Some observers believe the first indication that Trump, too, will not deliver on his promise to move the embassy came with spokesman Jason Miller’s admonition that it was “premature to present a timetable for such a move.”


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