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The Daily TIP: U.S. Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-establishing Ties with Allies

Posted by Tip Staff - August 23, 2017

U.S. Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-establishing Ties with Allies
Palestinian Affairs Correspondent: In Struggle for Power, PA, Hamas Take Reporters Hostage
Amid Growing Rift With PA, Hamas Reaches Out to Iran for Support
Wonder Woman, Starring Gal Gadot, Becomes #1 Earning Superhero Origin Movie in North America


U.S. Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-establishing Ties with Allies

In a meeting with Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Jordan's King Abdullah II praised the United States's commitment to working towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the Jordan Times reported Wednesday.

Kushner, who was accompanied to the Middle East by United States Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, also discussed how to enhance the strategic partnership between the United States and Jordan.

The latest trip to the Middle East by Trump administration officials comes following a reorganization of the negotiations team and having it more closely tied to National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster. Victoria Coates, a former foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R - Texas), who had been on the National Security Council joined Greenblatt's team as senior director of international negotiations, Politico reported Wednesday.

“Renewed U.S. engagement with our Middle East allies is welcome and badly needed,” said Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, told Politico. “The task requires someone in the White House who can manage the many diverse levels of the bilateral relationship, and the decision to move Victoria Coates to the center of the portfolio is a signal that these issues will get the attention and seriousness they need.”

It was announced earlier this month that administration officials would be making another trip to the region to work towards restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians with no preconditions.



Palestinian Affairs Correspondent: In Struggle for Power, PA, Hamas Take Reporters Hostage

Palestinian journalists are being traded as bait in the ongoing power struggle between the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah and the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas, a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent warned.

Khaled Abu Toameh reported that journalists working in the Palestinian territories face extreme conditions. Both the PA and Hamas are known for cracking down on the media, creating a climate in which freedom of expression is non-existing. But now journalists also face arrest and torture to settle scores between PA President President Abbas and the Hamas leadership.

Over the past few weeks, Abu Toameh reported that several Palestinian journalists have been jailed in PA and Hamas prisons, while others have faced long hours of questioning in interrogating rooms and detention centers.

A correspondent for the PA's Palestine TV in the Gaza Strip was arrested by Hamas on security-related offenses. In return, Abbas ordered a crackdown on journalists employed by Hamas-affiliated media outlets in the West Bank, with the result that seven Palestinian journalists found themselves in a PA detention center for working for "hostile and unauthorized" media organizations.

“As it turned out, the PA hostage-taking paid off, and Hamas was forced to release Jaradeh after 70 days in detention. In return, the PA security forces released six of the seven journalists, who were even allowed to return to their jobs and resume their work under the PA,” Abu Toameh wrote, adding that “Hamas and Abbas have turned Palestinian journalists into weapons in their internecine war.”



Amid Growing Rift With PA, Hamas Reaches Out to Iran for Support

Finding itself increasingly at odds with the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, is aligning with Iran, according to an analysis published last week.

The rift came to the fore earlier this week as The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Israeli politician that if the split between Hamas and the PA persisted, the PA would "reduce our [financial] support to Gaza by 100%.”

Against the backdrop of this growing rift, a delegation of top Hamas officials visited Iran earlier this month. The delegation was recieved by top Iranian officials. According to Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi's analysis for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, this is a sign that for the Gaza-based terror group, "liberating Palestine takes precedence over the blood-drenched Middle Eastern battles between the Shiite and Sunni axis."

In his analysis, Halevi assessed that Hamas sees that Iran "can help it fulfill its strategic objectives of taking control of the Palestinian national movement and 'liberating Palestine.'” Iran is viewed by Hamas as "a rising regional power," with growing influence over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, its expanding arms industry, its purchases of Russian arms, and its ongoing nuclear weapons research.

A renewed alliance with Iran would also enhance Hamas's standing in a situation where "Iran makes an effort to undermine [King] Abdullah’s regime" in Jordan.



Wonder Woman, Starring Gal Gadot, Becomes #1 Earning Superhero Origin Movie in North America

Proving that a superheroine can outdo a superhero – at least in box-office earnings – Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman starring Israeli sensation Gal Gadot has surpassed the 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man by grossing $404.1 million in North America. Spider-Man raked in $403.7 million in the same market, according to Forbes.

Wonder Woman is the top movie of the summer in America. Worldwide, the Gadot flick has earned more than $800 million thus far, putting the live comic-book thriller in seventh place compared to previous Hollywood films in this genre. It gets bumped to first place when sequels are taken out of the equation, Forbes notes.

A sequel is in the works, however. Warner Bros. plans to release Wonder Woman 2 on December 13, 2019.

“Wow! Just heard the news! Thank u to everyone who has shown their support to WW in theaters! What an amazing ride this has been! #grateful,” Gadot tweeted upon learning of the earnings feat.

Wonder Woman won three Teen Choice Awards on August 13: best action movie, best action movie actor (Chris Pine) and best action movie actress (Gadot).

Can a few Oscars be far behind?

(via Israel21c)


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