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Friday Morning Briefing: Trump unsettled on Israel settlements
February 3, 2017 / 11:41 AM / 9 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing: Trump unsettled on Israel settlements

No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of the threat settlements pose to peace. – John Kerry, secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, Dec. 28, 2016

Pro-settlement activists lay on the floor inside a synagogue during the second day of an operation by Israeli forces to evict settlers from the illegal outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching – President Donald Trump Dec. 28, 2016

“While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.” – White House statement, Feb. 2, 2017

The White House statement could disappoint Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right support, which had hoped that Trump would give an unqualified green light on settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu visits the United States in two weeks.

Meanwhile top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway justified the ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries using what she called the "Bowling Green Massacre," which never actually happened. There were, in fact, two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were trying to send weapons and money to al Qaeda. But no attack by any Iraqis occurred there. There was bloodshed in Bowling Green, but it was in 1862 during the Civil War.

GE, Boeing and a host of other exporters formed a coalition to back a House Republican plan to tax all imports in an effort to "support American jobs and American-made products." They will find themselves pitted against the likes of Target and Best Buy, who are heavy importers.

Bought and sold

Ayman, a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, hugs his grandmother after he was returned to his family, in Duhok, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Ayman, a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, hugs his grandmother after he was returned to his family, in Duhok, Iraq, Jan. 31, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Around the world

U.S. immigration officials postponed interviews with asylum seekers in an Australian camp on the Pacific island of Nauru since President Trump's executive order on immigration, suggesting Washington is already blocking progress on a refugee resettlement deal. The deal sparked a rare diplomatic spat between the two staunch allies, with Trump berating Australia's prime minister in an angry phone call. Trump is poised to impose new sanctions on Iran to ratchet up pressure on Tehran, while crafting a broader strategy to counter what he sees as its destabilizing behavior. A French soldier shot and wounded a man armed with a machete and carrying two bags on his back as he tried to enter the Louvre museum in what the government said appeared to have been a terrorist attack.

Around Wall Street

U.S. job growth likely accelerated in January, with wages expected to have increased steadily, suggesting a strong start for the Trump administration as it seeks to boost the economy and employment. The consensus estimate is 175,000 jobs added in January, up from 156,000 a month earlier. 

Digits of the day: $3 billion

That's how much Snapchat wants to raise in its IPO. But it wants investors to have no say on how the company is run. Oh, and they're not promising any profits any time soon. Japan plans to present a plan to Trump next week could create 700,000 jobs in the United States, including investments in high-speed trains and cybersecurity. Japan plans to invest $150 billion in public and private funds over 10 years, according to government sources.

Around the country

The ACLU sued the Trump administration for violating the religious freedom of three student visa holders who have been barred from entering the United States under the travel ban. The Republican-controlled Iowa state senate voted to cut Medicaid funding for family planning services to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood. Republican Governor Terry Branstad supports the bill. Texas passed a similar bill that Planned Parenthood is challenging in court. Can Trump cut federal funds to University of California-Berkeley, a hotbed of anti-right-wing protests? The short answer is no.

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