In Brief: US defence secretary visits Israel

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, forming part of a two-day visit to Israel. Austin tweeted that the US is committed to working closely with Israel, particularly on security and “threats posed by Iran”. He did not mention Iran or its nuclear programme on the visit, however. The[…]

In Brief: Bibi-Bennett coalition talks continue

Benjamin Netanyahu met with Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party, for the fourth time on Wednesday after being asked to form a government by President Reuven Rivlin last week. The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem hosted coalition negotiations between Likud and Yamina, who have also been meeting separately. Talks between Netanyahu and Bennett were described as[…]

In Brief: Biden to reverse Trump’s Palestinian aid cut

The Biden administration has announced plans to restore $235m (£171m) of aid to Palestinians, in a reversal of a cut made by Donald Trump. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, will receive two-thirds of the aid. UNRWA experienced a sharp financial crisis when the Trump administration slashed $360m in US funding. A spokesperson said that Biden[…]

Analysis: Iran nuclear site attack as Vienna talks commence

Iran last weekend began speeding up its nuclear enrichment programme – just days after talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action began in Vienna. But Tehran’s launch of banned advanced centrifuges at the secret Natanz plant appears to have been disrupted by a suspected Israeli attack early on Sunday morning. What[…]

In Brief: Coalition-building begins after election

Almost two weeks after Israel’s fourth general election in two years, President Reuven Rivlin gave Benjamin Netanyahu the first opportunity to form a government on Monday. He said he did so reluctantly, with “moral and ethical” reservations over the fact that Netanyahu is on trial for corruption. Rivlin’s announcement came after consultations with party leaders[…]

In Brief: Internationally led vaccine progress in the Palestinian Territories

The rollout of covid-19 vaccinations in the West Bank and Gaza received a boost on Monday as the Palestinian Authority received 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from the Chinese government. The elderly, frontline medical staff and at-risk groups will be proritised, the PA says. This brings the PA’s total received doses to 153,000 –[…]

In Brief: Labour and Conservative Friends chairs call for international peace fund

Labour Friends of Israel chair Steve McCabe and Conservative Friends of Israel chair Stephen Crabb have written a joint op-ed in today’s Times Red Box, calling on the government to “seize the moment” at the G7 summit in Cornwall later this year by committing to an international fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The campaign, led by[…]

In Brief: Post-election coalition building ongoing as fifth election looms

A week after Israel’s fourth election in two years, negotiations to build a coalition government have begun. Of the 13 parties represented in the new Knesset, all have previously ruled out coalitions with at least one other party. Should all keep their promises, it will be impossible for a government to be formed – and[…]

Analysis: Iran and China seal $400bn economic and military pact

Iran and China signed a major 25-year economic and military partnership agreement at the weekend which could boost the Islamic republic’s sanctions-wracked economy by $400bn. The move comes as Tehran continues to resist efforts by the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal which Donald Trump withdrew from three years ago. What happened The[…]