US ambassador to Israel believes peace deal is unlikely

US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman

The US ambassador to Israel has warned President Donald Trump that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine is highly unlikely. David Friedman, a long-time Trump confidant and former Trump attorney, was reported by the Israeli newspaper, Arutz Sheva, of warning the president that the chances of brokering a comprehensive deal between Israel and the PA are exceedingly slim.

President Trump has expressed his “personal commitment” to help reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but senior advisors are said to be less than optimistic that such a deal can be brokered and have made their scepticism clear to the president, Israeli sources reported.

Friedman was quoted as saying: “People whose opinion he [Trump] respects told him it will be very hard, perhaps even impossible, but so far, he hasn’t changed his mind.”

While Trump’s advisors have instructed him not to have high expectation in securing the “ultimate deal”, Haaretz reported that Friedman stressed the need for Israeli officials to cooperate with his diplomatic initiative during his visit to Israel next week.

Friedman is thought to have told Israeli officials that Trump presented a great opportunity for the country and he is said to have also mentioned that the appointments made by the president to deal with the Israel issue were “graduates of Jewish religious schools”.

Friedman’s advice to his Israeli interlocutors was to refrain from getting into confrontations with the president and to help him implement his Middle Eastern policies.

Israel Violates Syrian Airspace, Bombs Ammunition Depot in Mazzeh, Damascus

21st Century Wire says…

News is coming in from Damascus of an Israeli airstrike or missile attack on an ammunition depot in Mazzeh Airport, on the outskirts of Damascus. It is believed that Israeli F35 jets have targeted the depot in the early hours of Friday morning, 13th January. 

This report from Al Masdar News:

“BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:35 A.M.) – The Israeli Air Force carried out a number of airstrikes over the Mezzeh Airbase in west Damascus tonight, destroying an ammunition depot while causing a series of explosions around this military installation.

According to Israeli media reports, the fighter jet that carried out this mission was an F-35; this is the first time that these Israelis have used this aircraft against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Video footage of the Israeli airstrikes was captured by an Al-Masdar field correspondent that was approximately 500 meters from the Mezzeh Airbase when the attack occurred.

The death toll from the Israeli airstrikes tonight is still unknown; however, a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army told Al-Masdar News that it is not expected to be very high because there was not a large presence of soldiers near the ammunition depot.

According to a report from Watan News, this is the first time that Israel has used the F35 in an attack in the region.  Six injured in the attack. Three jets were involved in the attack, one for the bombing and two for air support. The aircraft took off from Ben Gurion airport at 12.17 am. They approached Syria via Lebanese airspace, before launching three missiles at Mazzeh military airbase. They then headed to the North West of Syria, & carried out further attacks, before re-entering Israeli airspace.

UPDATE: Syrian Army Warns Israel: ‘We Will Respond’ After IDF Bombs Syrian Military Airport

Israeli forces kill 23-year-old Palestinian, injure dozens during clashes in WB

Saba Abu Ubeid

A Palestinian youth was shot dead Friday after clashes erupted in the Israeli-occupied West Bank between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

“Saba Abu Ubeid, 23, was killed after being struck in the heart by a bullet fired by an Israeli sniper during clashes that occurred in Nabi Saleh village north of Ramallah,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 20 Palestinian demonstrators were injured by live ammunition and rubber bullets.

“Thirty other protesters suffered temporary asphyxia [due to the excessive use of tear gas by Israeli forces],” the Red Crescent added in a statement.

Friday’s demonstration was organised by the National Committee to Support the Hunger Strike, which includes representatives of several Palestinian political factions.

Led by jailed Palestinian resistance icon Marwan Barghouti, more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike on April 17 to demand more prison visits, better medical care and improved treatment for female inmates.

Since then, Palestinians have staged numerous demonstrations and protest marches across the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip to show solidarity with the hunger strikers.

According to Palestinian figures, Israel is currently holding more than 6,500 Palestinians — including scores of women and children — at 24 detention centres across the country.

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