Netanyahu to cabinet: Trump has no concrete peace plan right now

Trump and Netanyahu earlier this month at the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed the Israeli cabinet today on his visit to the U.S. and his meeting with President Trump at the White House last Monday. According to two officials who attend the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told the ministers:

"There is no concrete U.S. peace plan on the table at the moment. I am not saying there couldn't be one in the future, but right now there is none."

At a briefing with Israeli reporters last week after his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu said the President didn't share a draft of the U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, or a timetable for releasing his plan.

Where things stand: In the last few months President Trump's "peace team," led by senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, has been working on a plan for re-launching peace talks. Those efforts encountered serious difficulties after Trump's Jerusalem announcement on December 6th. Since then, the Palestinians refuse to engage in any contacts with Trump's advisers.

In a Washington Post Op-Ed published last Thursday, Greenblatt wrote:

"The president has been clear that he wants a fair and enduring agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians that will enhance Israel’s security and give all Palestinians the opportunity for a prosperous future. We are ready to work with any party truly interested in peace to reach this goal".
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U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan could heat up fast

Taiwanese sailors take part in a military drill. Photo: MANDY CHENG/AFP/Getty Images

As the US and China slouch towards each other’s throats over trade and technology, one of the issues that is set to get hot again is Taiwan. Late last week, President Trump signed a bill that encourages high-level official bilateral visits between Washington and the island nation of 23 million. Beijing, which considers Taiwan to still be a province of China, is not pleased. 

The big picture: Self-governing Taiwan is where the nationalist forces who lost the Chinese civil war to Mao set up shop in 1949. As part of a deal to establish formal relations with China in 1979, the US agreed to pantomime Beijing’s “One China” policy, while also maintaining a robust trade relationship with the island that includes more than $25 billion in arms sales since then.

Dave Lawler 2 hours ago
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Journalists boycotting Russian Duma over #metoo allegations

Slutsky in 2016. Photo: Alexander Shalgin\TASS via Getty Images

More than a dozen Russian news outlets, including three national newspapers, are boycotting the Russian parliament after the Ethics Committee declined to sanction Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the International Affairs Committee, for alleged sexual harassment. The decision came despite allegations from four journalists that he'd sexually harassed them, including a BBC reporter who recorded his unwanted advances.

Why it matters: This is the first massive sexual harassment scandal in Russia since the Weinstein allegations, and the act of solidarity by journalists is unprecedented, according to Ivan Kolpakov, editor-in-chief of Meduza. "This looks like the beginning of something huge," he tells Axios.