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Israeli settler group invited to Trump's inauguration, say reports

Turmp has appointed several pro-Israel figures to prominent posts and pledged to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
US President-elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated on 20 January (AFP)

An Israeli settler group called the Yesha Council has reportedly been invited to attend US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January.

The council’s foreign envoy, Oded Revi, told British daily The Independent on Friday that his group had been invited to Trump’s inauguration but did not confirm whether representatives would attend.

The Yesha Council represents Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which are considered illegal under international law, and lobbies in the Israeli government and abroad. The council was formerly headed by Naftali Bennet, now leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party and Israel’s education minister.

Trump’s transition team did not comment on the report and has not confirmed whether any groups representing Palestinians or Arab-Israelis had also been invited to the inauguration, reported the Independent.

According to the paper, the council raised $90 million in private donations for the event.

Israeli lobby in London

The news comes after secret recordings of an AIPAC event in the British capital suggested that the Israeli embassy in London is working with the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to set up pro-Israel groups and cultivate an American-style lobbying culture in the UK.

In covertly filmed footage, a senior political officer at the embassy described how he had set up an organisation called the City Friends of Israel with AIPAC's support, and later brought AIPAC officials over from the US to address the group.

Shai Masot, the now-former embassy official at the centre of revelations about Israeli influence inside British politics, also told an Al Jazeera undercover reporter how he had arranged a meeting between Conservative and Labour party delegates and AIPAC's head of strategy in Washington in order that he could give them “some ideas for Britain”.

Student activists in the UK also revealed how they had received funding from AIPAC to set up groups tasked with countering pro-Palestinian sentiment and undermining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on university campuses.

AIPAC is considered one of the most effective lobbying organisations in American politics, with a member of its delegation telling his audience in London that it had built relationships with all 535 members of Congress.

UN Security Council

A resolution adopted by the UN Security Council last month condemned settlements in the West Bank as “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Turmp condemned the Obama administration’s choice to abstain from the resolution, rather than veto it.

“As to the UN, things will be different after January 20,” said Trump, who has appointed several pro-Israel figures to prominent posts and pledged and to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.