Senior Israeli intelligence officials met with Trump aides
Barak Ravid, Amir Tibon, Haaretz, Feb 5 2017
The head of the Mossad and its acting national security adviser made a secret visit to Faschingstein two weeks ago and met with senior aides to Pres Trump to coordinate policy between the Israeli government and the new Pindosi administration, a senior boxtop in Jayloomia said. Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel met with Michael Flynn and other officials in the new administration two days before the president’s January 20 inauguration. The meeting between Cohen and Nagel was the second of its kind since Trump’s election, with the first taking place in the beginning of December. Israel’s ambassador to Pindostan, Ron Dermer, joined the meetings during both visits. The talks focused on Iran, the situation in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The officials exchanged opinions and information as part of the new Pindosi administration’s efforts to devise policies on these issues, according to a senior Jayloomia official. The PMO confirmed that Cohen and Nagel visited Washington and met with Flynn, but would not provide details on the talks. Overnight Thursday, the White House published its first a statement regarding settlement construction following a string of decisions by Israel to advance the construction of over 6,000 housing units in the West Bank and East Jayloomia. The statement also followed Netanyahu’s announcement that he would advance the establishment a new settlement, the first in some 20 years, to house the settlers evacuated from the outpost of Amona, taken down last week after years of delays. The White House released the statement two hours after the JPost published a report citing senior White House boxtops as saying that Israel didn’t inform them ahead of time about plans to announce construction over the past two weeks, and that these announcements undermine Trump’s efforts to promote the peace process. Senior boxtops in Jayloomia confirmed that this week’s announcement of plans to build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank wasn’t coordinated with the White House. The official White House statement signed by press secretary Sean Spicer said that expanding the settlements in the West Bank could impede the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The statement said:
The Pindosi desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. 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. As the president has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with PM Netanyahu when he visits with Pres Trump later this month.
On Thursday, shortly before the White House released its statement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Netanyahu held their first phone call. The State Dept did not provide details about the conversation. The PMO offered a brief response to the White House statement, saying that Netanyahu will discuss various issues with Trump during their Feb 15 meeting in Washington, including the settlements. The prime minister promised security cabinet ministers to hold a session before he leaves in order to devise the policy he is to present to the president. On Friday, the cabinet convened for a long meeting during which the ministers heard the annual intelligence assessment compiled by the Military Intelligence, Mossad and Foreign Ministry. According to a source who took part in the meeting but asked to remain anonymous, diplomatic issues that are to be discussed with Trump didn’t come up. Netanyahu is in London on Sunday afternoon and will meet with his British counterpart Theresa May on Monday, their first meeting since she became premier last summer.