Raise Restitution Issue in Poland, Group Asks Obama


(JTA) -- President Obama should raise the issue of restitution of private Jewish property during his meeting this week with Polish officials, a Jewish group has urged.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization made the request two days before Obama meets Friday with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The request follows a similar one contained in a letter to Obama from U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), chairs of the Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission).

S.F. Archbishop Raps Proposed Circumcision Ban


(JTA) -- San Francisco’s Catholic archbishop expressed his opposition to a city ballot initiative that would ban circumcision for minors.

Archbishop George Niederauer condemned the initiative in a May 23 letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, his archdiocese’s newspaper reported.

Abbas: Netanyahu Speech Left ‘Nothing to Build On’


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there was nothing for peace talks to build on in Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the U.S. Congress.

Abbas, speaking to the Palestine Liberation Organization and also with reporters on Wednesday in Ramallah, asserted that if no progress is made in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that he will go to the United Nations General Assembly in September seeking recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.

Netanyahu to Congress: No Compromise on Jerusalem, Refugees or Jordan River Presence


WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any peace deal with the Palestinians must grant Israel a military presence along the Jordan River, exclude repatriation of Palestinian refugees to Israel and leave Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital.

However, the Israeli leader said in his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday, some Jewish settlements in the West Bank would fall outside Israel’s borders in a final peace deal.

At AIPAC, Effort to Shift Focus Back to Agenda: Iran, Foreign Aid, Capitol Hill Relationships


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Let’s get past this U.S.-Israel relationship thing, so we can get on with important stuff, like the U.S.-Israel relationship.

That seemed to be the message this week at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. With 10,000 people and both the U.S. and Israeli leaders in attendance – plus 67 U.S. senators and 286 members of the U.S. House of Representatives at the gala dinner on Monday night – this AIPAC parley was the biggest and in many ways the most impressive ever.

U.S. House Approves Jewish Chaplains Memorial


(JTA) -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize the construction of a memorial for fallen Jewish chaplains in Arlington National Cemetery.

The bill was approved Monday night and now moves to the Senate.

AIPAC Likes Obama’s Clarification On ‘67 Lines


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said it "appreciated" President Obama's clarification that he did not expect Israel to return to its 1967 lines.

"In particular, we appreciate his statement that the U.S. does not expect Israel to withdraw to the boundaries that existed between Israel and Jordan in 1967 before the Six-Day War," the pro-Israel lobby said in a statement released after Obama delivered a speech Sunday to its annual policy conference.

Hamas Response to Obama Speech: Still Won’t Recognize Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Hamas condemned President Obama's AIPAC speech, saying it will not recognize Israel despite the United States president's demand.

The Obama administration is "not a friend to the people of the region," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the Ma'an Palestinian news service.

Obama to AIPAC: Israelis, Palestinians Should Negotiate a New Border


WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama said his call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based on the pre-1967 lines did not mean the future state of Palestine would have those exact borders.

After White House Meeting, Netanyahu Sticks to Objections to Obama Speech


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held firm in his meeting with President Obama to his reservations to the outlines of peace negotiations that the president laid out in a speech yesterday.

"A peace backed by illusions will crash on the rocks of Middle East reality," Netanyahu told Obama while the two addressed the media in the White House after a meeting on Friday. In his remarks at the White House, Netanyahu reitereated his contention that the 1967 lines were "indefensible" for Israel.

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