Posts Tagged ‘Erdogan’

U.S. Liberal Jews Read It Wrong. Trump’s Call on Jerusalem Was Good for the Peace Camp

December 17, 2017

The pro-peace, pro-negotiations, two-state camp consensus in Israel welcomed Trump’s Jerusalem move. That shows it was no sell-out to Netanyahu and the Israeli right-wing – and that Palestinian rejectionists can’t wish historical realities away

OPINION

Eric H. Yoffie Dec 17, 2017 4:36 PM
Haaretz

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capitol as Vice President Mike Pence looks on. White House, Washington, D.C. Dec. 6, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol as Vice President Mike Pence looks on. White House, Washington, D.C. Dec. 6, 2017 Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

President Trump’s statement on Jerusalem was good for the peace camp.

The center and mainstream left in Israel understood this, while pro-Israel liberals and leftists in America did not.

This was not my initial reaction. As a peace advocate and a strong supporter of a two-state solution, I responded to Trump’s pronouncement on Israel’s capital the same way that I respond to virtually everything that the President says: negatively and dismissively.

Palestinian children hold models depicting the Dome of the Rock during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Gaza Strip, December 15, 2017
Palestinian children hold models of the Dome of the Rock during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Gaza Strip, December 15, 2017REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

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And the reason for this is that the President’s foreign policy statements have been inconsistent and muddled at best and isolationist and xenophobic at worst. Not surprisingly, my default position is to resist every word on foreign affairs that comes out of his mouth.

And this position was strengthened by the arguments of Tom Friedman and a host of other journalists, commentators, academics, and Middle East experts whose opinions I respect and who asserted that Trump had given away the store.

Why, they asked, should the President of the United States give Israel’s right-wing government something it so desperately wants without getting anything in return? Why should he take steps that will likely lead to despair and anti-American violence throughout the Arab world?  Why should he fail to take note of Palestinian concerns about their potential capital?

And not only that. If Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s right-wing and corrupt prime minister, is exhilarated by the president’s stand, isn’t that a good reason for me to react to Trump with a substantial measure of skepticism and doubt?

And I did. At the beginning, at least. After all, those of us in the two-state camp are a beleaguered bunch, and when so many in my camp opposed Trump, I found it hard not to join in.

But it didn’t last, for three reasons.

Palestinian protester holds a banner during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017
Palestinian protester holds a banner during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Gaza City, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017AP Photo/Adel Hana

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In the first place, I responded viscerally. I am a Jerusalem Jew. In my 75 or so visits to Israel, about 60% of my time has been spent in Jerusalem. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv, and I love the stark majesty of the Negev. But still, warts and all, Jerusalem remains for me a city of unsurpassed beauty and palpable holiness. And I believe that Judaism and Jewish life will not be sustained without Jerusalem at its core.

Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, whether the President of the United States says so or not. Nonetheless, it is comforting and gratifying when President Trump finally states what I know to be eternal and true.

And not only that. When Palestinians express their outrage and demand justice for Jerusalem, I can’t help wondering: Where was justice when Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were claiming at the UN that Jews have no historical connection to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and indeed to all of Jerusalem?

Last Thursday in Istanbul, Abbas repeated this ugly and absurd claim at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Having insisted that Jerusalem’s holy sites belong only to Muslims and Christians, how much sympathy do they have a right to expect now?

A Palestinian protestor uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 16, 2017
A Palestinian protestor uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 16, 2017 FP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI

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In the second place, I saw that not only Netanyahu and the right supported President Trump’s statement. So did the leaders of the Israeli center and center-left. Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid, Zionist Union chair Avi Gabbay, and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni all applauded the President’s words.

When I am looking for guidance from Israel’s political leaders, these are the people to whom I turn. They are all critics of Benjamin Netanyahu and the rightwing government now in power. They are all advocates of a Jewish and democratic Israel and a two-state solution. They all call for immediate negotiations with the Palestinians.

And the unanimity of their sentiments demonstrates that proclaiming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not a surrender to Netanyahu and the right. It is a reflection of a broad consensus in Israel that certain historical realities need to be recognized and that Palestinian rejectionists are not entitled to wish these realities away.

In the third place, I read President Trump’s speech a second time and then a third time. And while it is difficult for me to say this, say it I must: It was a pretty good speech. Not wholly adequate to be sure, but nonetheless moderate, reasonable, and generally fair. And far better than I had feared and expected.

Those who saw it as a give-away to settlers and rightwing fanatics should look again. Netanyahu and the Israeli right call for a united Jerusalem; for the city to be the capital of the Jewish state, and the Jewish state alone; and for sovereignty of the city to be solely in Jewish hands. Yet Trump clearly rejected all of these positions, asserting instead that these matters are to be determined by negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

To be sure, the U.S. president made clear that any peace deal would result in Israel maintaining its capital in at least part of Jerusalem. But he said nothing to preclude negotiations that would result in a Palestinian state that would also have its capital in some part of the city.

A protester holds a sign during a rally to condemn U.S. President Donald Trumps's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Jakarta, Indonesia, December 17, 2017
A protester holds a sign during a rally to condemn U.S. President Donald Trumps’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Jakarta, Indonesia, December 17, 2017REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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And this too: The president is not moving the American embassy to Jerusalem at this time, or at any specified time in the future. It will happen at some future date, as yet undetermined. Had Trump moved the embassy immediately, as he could have, any chance of negotiations in the near future might have been snuffed out. But he chose not to do so, leaving open the door to talks that both sides now seem unwilling to enter.

In short, this was no sell-out to the Israeli right. Israel got recognition of Jerusalem as its capital from the United States of America. The Palestinians heard from the American President that he does not accept the united-city, single-sovereignty model for Jerusalem that Netanyahu advocates; these matters are to be determined jointly, through negotiations.

Does this make President Trump a hero? Hardly. The big question, for all parties, is whether or not he has a strategy for what happens now. At the moment, it is not the least bit clear that he does. While he talks constantly about “the ultimate deal,” there is little to indicate that he has a serious plan to get the two sides there.

Still, fair is fair. He has taken a generally responsible approach to Jerusalem, and for this I give him the credit that he is due.

Eric H. Yoffie, a rabbi, writer and teacher in Westfield, New Jersey, is a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Follow him on Twitter: @EricYoffie

Eric H. Yoffie
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.829408

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Turkey accuses new Austria government of ‘racist approaches’

December 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Austrian chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz has a deeply-fractious relationship with Ankara due to his staunch opposition to Turkey’s EU bid

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey on Sunday slammed the incoming Austrian government, a coalition between conservatives and the far-right, for “discrimination” and “racist approaches” after its programme pledged Vienna would not agree to Ankara joining the EU.The landmark coalition deal, marking the return to power in Austria of the Freedom Party (FPOe), has sparked ripples of concern throughout Europe after a year of successes for far-right movements.

The chancellor-elect, Sebastian Kurz of the conservative People’s Party (OeVP), already has a deeply-fractious relationship with Ankara due to his staunch opposition to Turkey’s EU bid while serving as foreign minister.

“This baseless and short-sighted statement in the new Austrian government’s programme unfortunately confirms concerns about a political trend based on discrimination and marginalisation,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik meanwhile said the incoming Austrian government had “started attacking fundamental democratic values without delay.”

In a barrage of tweets, he said Kurz was “even more radical than the far right”.

Slamming the EU for not condemning the government programme, he said: “Ignoring the racist approaches in the Austrian government programme… is a weakness.”

“Islamophobic, antisemitic, xenophobic and anti-migrant parties are on the rise. Now this movement is in power in Austria,” Celik said. “Austria should draw lessons from recent history.”

Accusing the incoming government of “dishonesty”, the Turkish foreign ministry warned that if realised, the programme would bring Austria “to the brink of losing Turkey’s friendship” and be met with “the reaction that it deserves”.

Turkey’s decades-long ambition to join the EU has hit the buffers in recent months as the bloc sounded the alarm over the crackdown that followed the 2016 coup bid aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While Austria has called for the accession process to be formally halted, this has met with opposition from key EU members, notably Germany.

Meeting Erdogan on his trip to Greece earlier this month — the first by a Turkish president in 65 years — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also backed Turkey’s EU bid.

But last month, the EU cut funds destined to Turkey in the 2018 budget, citing doubts about Ankara’s commitment to democracy and human rights in a move supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prepare for attacks trying to bring down Muslims from within: Erdoğan

December 17, 2017
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency

Prepare for attacks trying to bring down Muslims from within: Erdoğan

The Muslim world is the target of plots to reshape it to the benefit of others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in his address on Dec. 16.

“Like a century ago, the Islamic world faces attempts to reshape it through blood, tears and intercenine warfare,” Erdoğan said in Istanbul, at the 7th Hadith and Sira Studies Awards Ceremony.

He called on people “to be ready for attacks that aim to bring down Muslims from within.”

“As Muslims fight each other, the ones that benefit are terrorist groups, and terrorist states such as Israel,” he said.

Erdoğan also reiterated his condemnation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In response to Trump’s announcement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a declaration this week recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

Erdoğan said the OIC move would create a strong precedent, encouraging other nations to follow its lead.

Recep Tayyip ErdoğanTayyip ErdoğanErdoğanspeechaddressJerusalemIslamMuslimMiddle East

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prepare-for-attacks-trying-to-bring-down-muslims-from-within-erdogan-124232

Erdogan Says Turkey to Open Embassy in East Jerusalem — Is This a Breakthrough For The Two State Solution?

December 17, 2017

‘God willing, the day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy there,’ said Turkish President Erdogan

Reuters Dec 17, 2017 3:06 PM

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Yalova, Turkey, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Yalova, Turkey, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 Yasin Bulbul

Turkey will open an embassy in East Jerusalem, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognize it as the capital of Palestine.

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“God willing, the day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy there,” Erdogan said in a speech, maintaining his fierce criticism of the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The United States is expected to veto an Egyptian draft resolution on Jerusalem that is taking shape at the UN Security Council. The resolution would seek to affirm “that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”

More details soon…

Reuters and Haaretz

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/turkey/1.829489?utm_source=Push_Notification&utm_medium=web_push&utm_campaign=General

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With IS in tatters, Syria Kurds fear US to abandon them — “Erdogan has made it crystal clear that as soon as the Americans are no longer in the way, he intends to crush the Syrian Kurds.”

December 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Delil Souleiman | Rojda Felat, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander, waves her group’s flag at the iconic Al-Naim square in Raqa on October 17, 2017

 QAMISHLI (SYRIA) (AFP) – Syria’s Kurds fear the steadfast ally they found in the US to successfully take on Islamic State group jihadists may now leave them to face threats from Turkey and Damascus alone.

Across Syria’s north, Kurdish authorities have spent more than four years steadily building public institutions including elected councils, security forces, even schools.

They felt they had found an international sponsor in the United States, which relied primarily on the fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to roll back IS in northern and eastern Syria.

But with IS holding just five percent of Syria, Kurds worry the US could withdraw support, costing them the key political and territorial gains they scored in the chaos of war.

“We are afraid of America, which has been using us as a card to play for a long time,” said Rafea Ismail, a 37-year-old who sells women’s accessories on the hood of his car in the city of Qamishli.

“When they’re done using us, they’ll forget us,” he said.

Qamishli is the main hub of the autonomous administration the Kurdish authorities have run since regime forces withdrew from swathes of northeast Syria in 2012.

“All countries should support us because we fight terrorism. We liberated Raqa, and America should not abandon us and ally with Turkey,” said Nawal Farzand, a 45-year-old Kurdish language teacher.

In March 2016, Kurdish parties announced they would seek to establish a federal system there after ousting IS from much of the area with the help of the US-led coalition.

Their biggest win was Raqa, once IS’s de facto Syrian capital but captured in October by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Weeks later, the US announced it was pulling 500 Marines from its nearly 2,000-strong force in Syria and “amending” its support to the YPG.

But the jihadists are “not finished yet,” said Nassrin Abdallah, a commander in the militia’s female branch, the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

Sleeper cells still stage attacks and IS fighters are active in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, she said.

“It is important for the coalition forces to stay to guarantee security and stability, since the threat from Daesh still exists,” Abdallah added, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

“Turkey is also a threat to the Kurdish people.”

– ‘Gravest’ danger is Turkey –

The Kurds’ rising profile had enraged Damascus, which insists it wants to recapture every inch of territory lost since Syria’s uprising erupted in 2011.

But it especially alarmed Turkey, which feared the semi-independent administration in northern Syria would inspire similar ambitions among its own Kurdish community.

Ankara considers the YPG as “terrorist” because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

English teacher Nada Abbas says she, too, fears the US “will abandon the Kurds after the end of the battle against Daesh.”

“This would be a gift to Turkey, which doesn’t accept Kurds becoming stronger,” says the 30-year-old.

“It would attack us like it did in the past. The Turkish threat will not end,” Abbas adds.

Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Centre for a New American Security think tank, says Turkey poses “the gravest threat to the Kurds in Syria” — even more than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or IS.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip “Erdogan has made it crystal clear that as soon as the Americans are no longer in the way, he intends to crush the Syrian Kurds, all of whom he views as PKK,” Heras tells AFP.

– ‘Russia is the insurance policy’ –

Fears of an American withdrawal may be drawing Syrian Kurds into Russia’s orbit.

The YPG recently announced that its anti-IS operations in east Syria had received air support from Moscow.

Russian forces have also trained Kurdish fighters further west in Afrin — where there is no IS presence — and manage a buffer zone between Kurds and Turkish-backed rebels.

And Moscow has been particularly outspoken in support of Syria’s Kurds having a seat at the negotiating table at talks in Geneva.

“The relationship between the YPG and the Russian military is becoming a special one. The Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin is solely dependent on the Russian military, not the Americans, for protection from Turkish attack and occupation,” says Heras.

Syria’s Kurds may seek to protect themselves from Turkey by leveraging relationships with both Russia and the US.

“Two large foreign power patrons is better than one for the Syrian Kurds, especially because both of those patrons have an interest in holding Turkey in check,” Heras adds.

“Russia is also the insurance policy for the Syrian Kurds if the United States was to ever abandon them to the mercy of Turkey.”

With the frontline against IS winding down, US-led coalition forces are much more visible in urban settings, after several years of being seen almost exclusively in frontline positions.

“We want the best. It won’t be possible to go back to how we were,” says 50-year-old Jassem Hussein in the mostly Kurdish-held city of Hasakeh.

“This is why Kurdish unity is the most important thing.”

by Delil Souleiman

Erdogan and Abbas bark about Jerusalem, but their threats have no bite

December 14, 2017

Times of Israel

In Istanbul, Islamic leaders denounce Israel, vow drastic steps to enable Palestinian statehood, and declare an end to US peace-brokering. But they know there’s no alternative

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, flanked by Jordan's King Abdullah II, left and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, poses for photographs with other leaders during a photo-op prior to the opening session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, December 13, 2017. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, flanked by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, left and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, poses for photographs with other leaders during a photo-op prior to the opening session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, December 13, 2017. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

At the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Extraordinary Islamic Summit” Wednesday in Istanbul, many leaders from Arab and Muslim-majority countries spoke out harshly about the US administration’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

But, despite their bluster, the forecast calls for mostly calm conditions. Many of the threats they issued are rendered meaningless by the rules of the UN or the dynamics of Middle East diplomacy; others have no teeth to begin with.

The summit’s host, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once again called Israel a “terror state,” denounced the US and issued a long list of pro-Palestinian statements. But he did not act on last week’s threat to sever ties with the Jewish state.

Another keynote speaker was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who threatened to abrogate all peace agreements since Oslo and yet again declared that he no longer considers the US an honest broker in the peace process.

His announcement that he would seek full membership for the “State of Palestine” at the United Nations made headlines worldwide. That plan is not new. He already went to the Security Council in 2011 — and failed.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at a press conference following a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week’s US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on December 13, 2017, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL)

Abbas has intermittently revived the idea since then, most recently duringhis speech at the General Assembly in September. “We look to the Security Council to approve our application for full membership of the State of Palestine to the United Nations. All those who support the two-state solution should recognize the other state, the State of Palestine,” he declared.

Given the American move last week, Abbas saw fit to respond Wednesday with ferocious rhetoric, including announcing the return to seeking full UN membership for Palestine.

Other speakers in Istanbul echoed his sentiment.

 suggested that the matter of  could be raised at the forum of General Assembly and Security Council.
~ Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif

But anyone with the even the most rudimentary understanding of how the UN works knows it is an empty threat.

Before Palestine can become a full member of the club, it has to be nominated by the UN Security Council. Any Palestinian bid to join is sure to run headfirst into an American veto there. Barack Obama’s administration vetoed the Palestinians’ attempt in February 2011, and there can be no doubt that Donald Trump and Nikki Haley would do the same. (At the time, the 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was co-sponsored by over 120 of the UN’s 192 members states.)

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Wednesday night that the Palestinians intend to try to bar the US from voting on a resolution that would both condemn President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and simultaneously admit them as full members of the UN. They will reportedly argue that a country should be prevented from voting on a resolution that deals with its own behavior.

The last time this particular argument was successfully invoked at the Security Council was in 1960, when Argentina did not participate in a vote condemning Israel for abducting Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, according to the paper.

But that was 57 years ago, and Argentina was a non-permanent member of the Security Council at the time. There is no credible scenario in which the US could be prevented from blocking a resolution accepting Palestine as a full UN member state.

The General Assembly can pass very comforting resolutions, which the Palestinians can word in any way they want. But that won’t change their status

The Americans, by contrast, cannot veto resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly, where the Palestinians are guaranteed a majority. “But I don’t think the General Assembly can give them any more than they already have,” said Yigal Palmor, a former spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“The General Assembly can pass very comforting resolutions, which the Palestinians can word in any way they want. But that won’t change their status,” he said, referring to the fact that the body already bestowed “nonmember state status” upon Palestine in 2012.

Arguing that Washington is no longer “qualified” to mediate in the peace process, Abbas also demanded “to transfer the entire file of the conflict to the United Nations and to establish a new mechanism to adopt a new course to ensure the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and achieving a comprehensive and just peace.”

It is unclear what exactly he was referring to, but once again: the UN has very little power to actually do anything without US consent. It can pass sharply worded resolutions in the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and elsewhere, but any concrete action with the potential to effect any concrete change would have to go through the Security Council, where the Trump administration is sure to veto anything it deems counterproductive.

In its “Final Communiqué,” the OIC summit declared the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital constituted a “clear desertion … of its role as peace broker.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers the opening speech during an Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week’s US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Istanbul on December 13, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / EMRAH YORULMAZ)

Citing the need to “internationalize peace,” the statement called on the international community to “promote a multilateral political process, to resume an internationally sponsored, credible process to achieve lasting peace based on the two-state solution.”

This demand, too, appears toothless. Yes, the Palestinians have decided to boycott US Vice President Mike Pence’s (now delayed) visit to the region. It’s a strong protest, but the powers that be in Washington won’t be too offended. They understand that after last week’s blow, the Palestinians cannot just sit still and say nothing.

Trump and his peace team are well aware that, for the time being, the Palestinians — and indeed the wider Islamic world — need to express outrage and indignation. But the Americans also believe that the Palestinians will eventually have to calm down and engage with the US — simply because there is no other game in town.

“The president remains as committed to peace as ever,” a senior White House official said Wednesday, responding to Abbas’s fiery speech earlier in the day. Washington “anticipated reactions like this,” the official added, insisting that the US will “continue to work on our plan for peace that we hope will offer the best outcome for both peoples and look forward to unveiling it when it is ready and the time is right.”

As long as the wound over Jerusalem is still fresh, no Islamic leader would admit the obvious: A peace process not led by the US is nothing but a pipe dream.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) holds a joint press conference with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Belgium, October 11, 2017.(Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Even the European Union, which forcefully rejected the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, made plain this week that Washington will remain at the center of any conceivable peace process.

“I can say very clearly that there is no initiative, no peace initiative, no attempt to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians that can happen without an engagement from the United States,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini declared on Monday, immediately after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels.

While she stressed that Washington cannot act alone, she added that Europe does “not want to see a discredited US administration when it comes to negotiations in the Middle East.”

France and Belgium reportedly plan to get the EU to issue a joint condemnation of Trump’s Jerusalem recognition, which would also express the hope that the city would become the joint capital of Israel and Palestine in the future. Given that such a resolution would require unanimous support from the union’s 28 member states — and Hungary already blocked such a move last week — chances of even this kind of statement passing are slim.

More important still is the fact that Israel will simply not agree to any peace process that is not under American tutelage.

The Palestinians can kick and shout and appeal to the Arab League and the United Nations, but if they want anything more than empty statements of support and comfort, they will have to engage constructively with the US administration.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/erdogan-and-abbas-bark-about-jerusalem-but-their-threats-have-no-bite/

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Muslim leaders urge recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine

December 13, 2017

Reuters

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Muslim leaders condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday and called on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who hosted the summit of more than 50 Muslim countries in Istanbul, said the U.S. move meant Washington had forfeited its role as broker in efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“From now on, it is out of the question for a biased United States to be a mediator between Israel and Palestine, that period is over,” Erdogan said at the end of the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states.

“We need to discuss who will be a mediator from now on. This needs to be tackled in the UN too,” Erdogan said.

A communique posted on the Turkish Foreign Ministry website said the emirs, presidents and ministers gathered in Istanbul regarded Trump’s move “as an announcement of the U.S. Administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace”.

It described the decision as “a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus (for) extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security”.

Leaders including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Jordan’s King Abdullah, a close U.S. ally, all criticized Washington’s move.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” Abbas said, adding Trump’s decision was “the greatest crime” and a violation of international law.

The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status.

It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.

But Abbas told the leaders in Istanbul that Washington had shown it could no longer be an honest broker.

“It will be unacceptable for it to have a role in the political process any longer since it is biased in favor of Israel,” he said. “This is our position and we hope you support us in this.”

“PALESTINIAN CAPITAL”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Pool

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

The communique on the Turkish ministry website and a separate “Istanbul Declaration” distributed to journalists after the meeting said the leaders called on all countries to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“We invite the Trump Administration to reconsider its unlawful decision that might trigger…chaos in the region, and to rescind its mistaken step,” the declaration said.

Iran, locked in a regional rivalry with Saudi Arabia, said the Muslim world should overcome internal problems through dialogue so it could unite against Israel. Tehran has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Israeli state and backs several militant groups in their fight against it.

“America is only seeking to secure the maximum interests of the Zionists and it has no respect for the legitimate rights of Palestinians,” Rouhani told the summit.

King Abdullah, whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel more than 20 years ago, said he rejected any attempt to alter the status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

Abdullah’s Hashemite dynasty is custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim sites, making Amman sensitive to any changes in the city.

Not all countries were represented by heads of government. Some sent ministers and Saudi Arabia, another close ally of Washington‘s, sent a junior foreign minister.

Summit host Turkey has warned that Trump’s decision would plunge the world into “a fire with no end in sight”.

Erdogan described it as reward for Israeli actions including occupation, settlement construction, land seizure and “disproportionate violence and murder”.

“Israel is an occupying state (and) Israel is a terror state,” he told the summit.

“I invite all countries supporting international law to recognize Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine. We cannot be late any more,” Erdogan told leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries.

Trump’s declaration has been applauded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Washington had an irreplaceable part to play in the region.

“There is no substitute to the role that the United States plays in leading the peace process,” he said at a Hanukkah holiday candle lighting ceremony on Tuesday.

Palestinians have right to east Jerusalem as capital: Saudi king

December 13, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, a highly contested site at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seen in a general view of Jerusalem on December 1, 2017

RIYADH (AFP) – Palestinians have the right to Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, Saudi King Salman said Wednesday, echoing calls at an Islamic summit in Istanbul from which he had stayed away.”The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve regional crises, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” the king said.

Salman’s address to the kingdom’s Consultative Council came as the world’s main pan-Islamic body held an emergency summit in Istanbul in response to last week’s US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The king renewed his condemnation of President Donald Trump’s decision, saying it “represents an extreme bias against the rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem that have been guaranteed by international resolutions”.

At Wednesday’s summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the world to recognise east Jerusalem as the “capital of Palestine”, while Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas warned there could be no peace in the Middle East until such a move was made.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — a Saudi arch foe — used his speech to make a thinly veiled jab at Washington’s Arab allies.

“Some countries in our region are in cooperation with the United States and the Zionist regime in determining the fate of Palestine,” he said.

Jordanian King Abdullah II, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and the presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia all joined the summit.

But Saudi Arabia, which hosts the pan-Islamic bloc’s secretariat, sent only a senior foreign ministry official.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tells Muslim Summit: Donald Trump Jerusalem Move is “Greatest Crime”

December 13, 2017

BY REUTERS
 DECEMBER 13, 2017 10:14

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed an emergency summit in Istanbul in response to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Leaders and representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states

Leaders and representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states pose for a group photo during an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017. (photo credit: OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS)

ISTANBUL – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the “greatest crime” and a flagrant violation of international law.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” he told an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey. He said the United States was giving away Jerusalem as if it were an American city.

“It crosses all the red lines,” he said.

Abbas said it was unacceptable for the United States to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favor of Israel.

Muslim nations must press the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, Turkey said on Wednesday as it opened the emergency summit.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on world powers to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on Wednesday and said the United States should reverse a decision recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

Addressing a summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan described Washington’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli “terror acts” and said the city was a red line for Muslims.

The meeting of leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries takes place a week after US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, which triggered widespread protests in the Middle East and Islamic world.

“Firstly the Palestinian state must be recognized by all other countries. We must all strive together for this,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

“We must encourage other countries to recognize the Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.

Turkey has said Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would plunge the world “into a fire with no end,” and called an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to urge Washington to change course.

Cavusoglu said this week Turkey would not call for sanctions in response to the US move, but would appeal for all countries that have not formally recognized Palestine as a state to do so, and to issue a strong rejection of the US decision.

He said the summit would declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and call for Israel to withdraw from territories it occupied in a 1967 Middle East war. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in that war and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the summit, which will also be attended by leaders including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Bashir over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Sudan’s Darfur province, but Turkey is not a member of the court and not obliged to implement the warrants.

The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status.

It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.

 http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Muslim-nations-summit-Turkey-urges-world-recognize-E-Jerusalem-as-Palestinian-capital-517892
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Turkey’s Erdogan tells Muslim summit Jerusalem is capital of Palestine

December 13, 2017

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for a group photo during an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 13, 2017. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on world powers to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on Wednesday and said the United States should reverse a decision recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
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Addressing a summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan described Washington’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli “terror acts” and said the city was a red line for Muslims.
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