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US Palestinian Mission Renamed and Now Reports Directly to Washington, The Guardian
The US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem has been redesignated and will report directly to Washington “on substantive matters”, indicating an upgrade in ties before a planned visit by the US president, Joe Biden. What had been called the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) was renamed the US Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA) under the move. Before becoming the PAU, it had been the US consulate in Jerusalem and a focus of Palestinian statehood goals in the city.
U.S. Sending Senior Diplomat to Ramallah To Reassure Palestinians, Axios
Barbara Leaf, the State Department’s most senior diplomat for the Middle East, will arrive in Israel this weekend for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah. A central goal of the visit is to reassure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the Biden administration is committed to the Palestinians and a two-state solution, a source briefed on the trip said.
U.S. Lawmakers Aim to Help Integrate Israel, Arab States’ Air Defenses Against Iran, Haaretz
Bipartisan U.S. lawmakers from both houses of Congress on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at bolstering defense cooperation between Israel and several Arab states with the Pentagon’s explicit involvement, in order to thwart threats from Iran and its proxies.
For the First Time in Years, Gazans Enjoy Clean Seawater, Reuters
The water looks crystal blue, with no trace of sewage, the yellow sand is clean and the smell in the air is salty and pleasant, giving beachgoers in Gaza their first experience in years of clean and safe beaches.
‘We Won’t Let Anyone Feel Afraid’: Tens of Thousands March in Tel Aviv Pride Parade, The Times of Israel
Tel Aviv held its annual Pride Parade on Friday, with tens of thousands of people attending the celebrations in the Israeli coastal city.
Israel’s Coalition Crisis: Renegade Lawmaker Wants Bennett to Show Progress Within Days, or Else He May Quit, Haaretz
Israel’s beleaguered government may suffer another blow this week, with lawmaker Nir Orbach indicating that he will decide whether to remain with the ruling coalition by Wednesday.
A Jewish-Arab Government Should Be the Israeli Norm, Not an ‘Experiment’, Haaretz
Haaretz’s editorial board writes, “A shared civic existence in this country among Jews, Arabs and all its other religious, ethnic and national groups is necessitated by reality. And even if the current government’s days are numbered, the inclusion of an Arab party in the governing coalition must not remain as a “one-time experiment.””