Posts Tagged ‘Haram al-Sharif’

Abbas to boycott Pence as protests over Jerusalem continue — “Let us die as martyrs — there is no place for the State of Israel.”

December 9, 2017

Hundreds protest at funerals in Gaza and along border fence; soldiers use tear gas to disperse rioters near Bethlehem

Members of Hamas military wing carry the body of their comrade Mohamed al-Safadi, who was killed the previous day in an Israeli air strike, during his funeral in Gaza City on December 9, 2017. ( AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

Members of Hamas military wing carry the body of their comrade Mohamed al-Safadi, who was killed the previous day in an Israeli air strike, during his funeral in Gaza City on December 9, 2017. ( AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with US Vice President Mike Pence when he visits the West Bank this month, a senior Palestinian official said Saturday as protests continued due to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abbas’ diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Saturday that Abbas won’t meet Pence “because the US has crossed red lines” on Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump holds up a signed memorandum after he delivered a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017 as US Vice President Mike Pence looks on. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Abbas had viewed close ties with Washington as strategically important because of the US role as Mideast broker. The snub of Pence signaled a sharp deterioration in relations.

Demonstrations continued Saturday as Palestinians called for a further “Day of Rage” to protest Trump’s decision.

In Gaza, where four people have been killed — two Hamas gunmen killed in an airstrike on one of  the terror group’s camps, and two who were shot during Friday’s protests — hundreds of Palestinians were protesting near the border fence with Israel and at the funerals for the dead.

Palestinian mourners carry the body of Mahmoud al-Masri, a 30-year-old Palestinian man who was killed the previous day in clashes with Israeli troops, during his funeral in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 9, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

One Palestinian was seriously wounded by Israeli fire in a demonstration by the fence in southern Gaza, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

In East Jerusalem, dozens of people tried to block a main road and confront policemen who were guarding the site. The crowd was dispersed, police said, without giving details.

Video showed horse-mounted police officers charging into crowds of people.

In the West Bank, there were clashes near the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem, where soldiers were using tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades to turn back demonstrators who were throwing rocks and burning tires. At least 10 Palestinians were hurt, most by smoke inhalation, Israel Radio reported.

There were several smaller protests in the cities of Tulkarem and Hebron, with no immediate reports of injuries.

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces near an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on December 9, 2017, following the US president’s decision to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. ( AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)

Meanwhile some 100 people protested in the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel, the Ynet news site reported.

In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

Friday saw some 5,000 Palestinian protesters demonstrating and clashing with Israeli security forces at almost 30 locations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday after midday prayers.

A Palestinian protestor uses a sling shot to throw stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes after the Friday prayers in the city center of the West Bank town of Hebron on December 8, 2017. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

Gaza-based terror groups fired rockets at Israel, with one landing in the southern town of Sderot; Israel responded with air strikes on Hamas targets. On Saturday, the Hamas-run health ministry said two Hamas gunmen were killed in one of the strikes on a Hamas facility in Nusseirat in the central Gaza Strip.

The rocket on Sderot caused minor damage, and no injuries.

The Israeli army said it was braced for more protests on Saturday, and it stepped up the deployment of troops at West Bank settlements in an attempt to thwart any attempted terror attacks. It said the 5,000 demonstrators on Friday marked a lower number than anticipated, but expected protests to continue for several more days, Hadashot news reported on Friday night.

The army was expected to hold a review of the situation on Saturday evening and decide on the continued deployment of additional troops in the area, Israel Radio said Saturday.

On Friday, Hamas called on the Palestinian public to confront IDF soldiers and Israeli settlers across the West Bank in demonstrations on Saturday. There was also sporadic rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinian rallied after Friday prayers near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a flashpoint site in the holy city which, along with the Dome of the Rock, sits on the Temple Mount. The holiest place in Judaism, the mount is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif. PLO and Turkish flags were raised during Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa.

Most of the thousands of worshipers dispersed peacefully after Friday prayers in the Old City. But hundreds of demonstrators burned Israeli flags while others chanted, “The war is approaching, Al-Quds Arabiya,” using the Arabic name for Jerusalem and declaring it an “Arab” city. Protesters also chanted, “Let us die as martyrs — there is no place for the State of Israel.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-to-boycott-pence-as-protests-over-jerusalem-continue/?utm_source=abbas-to-boycott-pence-as-protests-over-jerusalem-continue&utm_medium=desktop-browser&utm_campaign=desktop-notifications

 

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Reading Between the Lines of Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement

December 7, 2017
BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 The Jerusalem Post
DECEMBER 7, 2017 12:16

What did the president say and why and how did he say it.

In a thirteen minute, 1,200 word speech, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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With Vice President Mike Pence looking on, US President Donald Trump gives a statement on Jerusalem, during which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, US, December 6, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

Although he promised a departure from failed policies of the past and sought to put his imprimatur on the peace process, much of the speech he gave was based on careful wording intended not to upset the status quo too much.

It was crafted with careful attention to carry Trump’s own message, alongside a message the future administrations could stand by.

The following are several key elements of the statement.

 We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past.

Trump promised when he came into office to move beyond the problems he claimed to have inherited from past administrations.

Some of these related to what he sees as failed policies in the Middle East, wasted lives and money.

Like Obama before him, Trump wants to depart from these failures and try something new.

 I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

Trump wants to remind voters that he has accomplished something in 2017, after almost a year in office. This is a campaign promise he can deliver.

He’s trying to break with former presidencies and distinguish himself.

 The Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

 Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Here the speechwriters have carefully chosen “Israeli people” and not “Jewish people,” trying to be cognizant that Israel is not just made up of Jews. The “Israeli people” are contrasted with the three monotheistic religions.

It’s interesting they chose the “stations of the cross” and not the Holy Sepulchre which is probably because Protestants do not have a space in the Sepulchre, and one of Trump’s base of support has tended to be among more rural Christian Americans.

 But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

The centerpiece of the speech, doubling down on mentioning Jerusalem, which is mentioned eighteen times in the speech, compared to “Israel” which is mentioned twenty-three times.

The word “obvious” feels very Trump-like. Diplomats tend to shy away from “obvious” in favor of complex terminology and views that are not obvious. The Golan is obviously part of Israel, but according to the UN is still part of Syria, for instance.

 This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

Here, Trump seems to lapse into a discussion about building something “great” in America.

During the campaign he often references his acumen as a builder of things, such as in Atlantic city, or the numerous places that have the “Trump” name.

There was no reason to delve into the minutiae of “hiring architects, engineers and planners,” but this is classic Trump.

 I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.

 We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians.

The second part of the speech seeks to re-assure local allies in the region that the US administration will stand by its commitment to “lasting” peace.

This term “lasting” is one of the meaningless generalizations regarding “peace” that always finds its way into US policy statements.

Trump adds a flourish though, “a great deal,” to show that he has taken part in this statement.

 In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

Here the speechwriters wants to make sure to include the Islamic holy site, a quiet communication to Saudi Arabia and Jordan that the US cares about the holy sites and the status quo.

This is a historic status quo reference from the 19th century, one that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan takes very seriously as a custodian of the holy sites.

 I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year:

Trump seeks to reach out to Saudi Arabia which has been one of his closes allies in the region.

Saudi Arabia was not only the site of his speech to 50 Muslim countries in the spring, but also the Kingdom has been pushing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to make peace.

In the region the Saudis are widely blamed for Trump’s decision and they are accused of accepting the recognition quietly. Trump wants to remind listeners, the Saudis are on his side and he is on theirs.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Reading-between-the-lines-of-Trumps-Jerusalem-announcement-517303

Netanyahu sees ‘many’ nations following U.S. move on Jerusalem — “We must recognize reality, both historic reality and modern reality”

December 7, 2017

Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “many” countries would follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and that such contacts were already under way.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Speaking at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu did not name any of these countries. He said some might relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the U.S. move, which the Trump administration expects to take several years.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by

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The White House repeatedly referred to the recognition and embassy move, which will likely take years, as “acknowledging a reality,” noting the city’s role as the seat of Israel’s government but disregarding Palestinian claims there.

“He views this as a recognition of reality, both historic reality and modern reality,” one official said.

“While President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, its Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s residence, and as such, it is the capital of Israel,” one of the officials said.

US officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said they expected a broad statement from Trump about Jerusalem’s status as the “capital of Israel.” The president isn’t planning to use the phrase “undivided capital,” according to the officials.

The officials added that Trump “recognizes that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final-status negotiations for such an agreement.”

They also added that this action does not change the “status quo of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.”

 https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-to-recognize-jerusalem-as-capital-plan-embassy-move-white-house-confirms/

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital — Transcript of December 6, 2017 Speech

December 6, 2017

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque Reuters

President Trump, Speech on Jerusalem, December 6, 2017 — Transcript

PRESIDENT TRUMP:

Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.

We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in.

After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver.

Today, I am delivering. I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel.

Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.

Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of State and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have by the a country where Jews, Muslims and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at Al Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.

We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.

Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace. The universal yearning in every human soul.

With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation. This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity.

Lifting our sights to what is possible, not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable.

Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.

So today we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts. I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud and diverse. Vibrant and strong.

But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance and terror.

Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities.

And finally, I ask the leaders of the region political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians and God bless the United States.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-israel-text/text-trump-recognizes-jerusalem-as-israels-capital-idUSKBN1E02SW

President Donald J. Trump’s Proclamation on Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel

December 6, 2017

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” – President Donald J. Trump

RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM: President Donald J. Trump is following through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and has instructed the State Department to begin to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  • Today, December 6, 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people, as the capital of the State of Israel.
    • In taking this action, President Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise of his and many previous Presidential candidates.
  • The Trump Administration is fully coordinated in supporting this historic action by the President, and has engaged broadly with both our Congressional and international partners on this issue.
    • President Trump’s action enjoys broad, bipartisan support in Congress, including as expressed in the Jerusalem Recognition Act of 1995.  This Act was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
  • President Trump has instructed the State Department to develop a plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • Departments and Agencies have implemented a robust security plan to ensure the safety of our citizens and assets in the region.

STATUS OF JERUSALEM: President Trump recognizes that specific boundaries of sovereignty in Jerusalem is highly sensitive and subject to final status negotiations. 

  • President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly-sensitive issue, but he does not think the peace process is aided by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, President, and Prime Minister.
  • President Trump recognizes that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.
  • President Trump reaffirms United States support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.

COMMITTED TO THE PEACE PROCESS: President Trump is committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

  • President Trump remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and he is optimistic that peace can be achieved.
  • Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has not helped achieve peace over the past two decades.
  • President Trump is prepared to support a two-state solution to the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, if agreed to by the parties.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/12/06/president-donald-j-trumps-proclamation-jerusalem-capital-state-israel

Erdogan says Jerusalem ‘red line’, could cut Turkey-Israel ties — “We would set the entire Islamic world in motion” — Israel Fires Back at Turkey: Jerusalem Has Been the Jewish Capital for 3,000 Years

December 5, 2017

Image result for erdogan, Turkey, Photos

File Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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AFP

ANKARA (AFP) – The status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and could even prompt Turkey to cut ties with Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump mulled whether to recognise the city as the Israeli capital.

Erdogan said Turkey, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move.

“Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” Erdogan said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

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Erdogan said that if such a move was made to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he would summon a summit of the OIC in Istanbul within five to 10 days “and we would set the entire Islamic world in motion”.

As for Turkey, Erdogan said Ankara would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel’s deadly storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

The two sides have since stepped up cooperation in particular in energy but Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

The United States is a strong supporter of a strong relationship between Turkey, the key Muslim member of NATO, and Israel, which is Washington’s main ally in the Middle East.

Erdogan’s comments came after the White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phonecalls between world leaders.

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Israel Fires Back at Turkey: Jerusalem Has Been the Jewish Capital for 3,000 Years

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Amid diplomatic backlash over possible change in U.S. status to Jerusalem, top Israeli official says Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital for 70 years, whether Erdogan recognizes it or not

Noa Landau and Reuters Dec 05, 2017 12:53 PM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman attend a signing ceremony of an agreement between the US and Israel for energy aid given by both countries to Africa, on December 4, 2017 in Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman attend a signing ceremony of an agreement between the US and Israel for energy aid given by both countries to A MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

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A senior Israeli official responded to Turkey’s threat to cut ties with Israel if the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as its capital, saying that “Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years and the capital of Israel for 70 years, whether [Turkish President] Erdogan recognizes it as such or not.”

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Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “is a red line for Muslims.” He warned that if such a decision is made it “will result in Turkey’s cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.”

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Erdogan’s comments echo a growing sentiment in the Arab world and international community who are warning the U.S. against the potential fallout from the move.

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The Turkish premier’s announcement follows comments by the diplomatic adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who said that the Palestinian leadership would “stop contacts” with the U.S. if Trump follows through with the move.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, during a news conference at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Erdogan said he's looking forward to a "decisive meeting" with his U.S. counterpart Trump, whose decision to arm Kurdish groups against Islamic State in Syria has stoked tensions between the two NATO members. Photographer: Michael Reynolds/Pool via Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, during a news conference at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday,Michael Reynolds/Bloomberg

U.S. officials have said a possible recognition might come this week, prompting Arab and Muslim backlash.

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Abbas’ aide Majdi Khaldi said on Tuesday the U.S. would lose credibility as a Mideast mediator if Trump goes ahead with the move.

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Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, had even harsher words.

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“So Mr. Trump came up with the slogan of the ‘deal of the century,’ or ‘the mother of all transactions’, as Saddam Hussein would say.  But the mother of all the deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Shaath told reporters. “It removes any chance he will play a role in an agreement. There is no deal that begins with the destruction of the two-state solution.”

According to the Palestinians, they will turn to other countries in the world to serve as mediators in the negotiations should Trump proceed with such a decision on Jeruasalem, like China, Russia or European countries.

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“Everyone conveyed a message that it would destroy any chance for peace. We do not want to reach violence, but we cannot prevent violence. ISIS is recruiting people to defend Jerusalem,” said Shaath.

Saudi Arabia also spoke out against the move, saying it hopes the U.S. will not recognize Jerusalem and warned such a decision would have serious implications, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.
“The recognition will have very serious implications and will be provocative to all Muslims’ feelings,” SPA said quoting an unnamed official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

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“The United States administration should take into account the negative implications of such a move and the Kingdom’s hope not to take such a decision as this will affect the U.S. ability to continue its attempt of reaching a just solution for the Palestinian cause,” the statement added.

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On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador in Washington Prince Khalid bin Salman said any U.S. announcement on the status of Jerusalem before a final settlement is reached in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would hurt the peace process and heighten regional tensions.

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“The kingdom’s policy – has been – and remains in support of the Palestinian people, and this has been communicated to the U.S. administration,” Prince Khalid said in a statement.

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Twenty-five former Israeli ambassadors, academics and peace activists on Monday expressed their opposition to the move in a letter to Trump’s Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt.

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The letter was written on behalf of The Policy Working Group, an organization of Israeli activists with diplomatic, academic, political and media backgrounds, including former Israeli diplomats such as Ilan Baruch, Alon Liel and Elie Barnavi. The group wrote Greenblatt that “we are deeply concerned by recent reports that President Trump is seriously considering the announcement of his decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.”

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“The status of Jerusalem, the city that houses the holy sites of the three monotheistic religions, lies at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and must be determined within the context of resolving that conflict,” the letter continued.

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East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, is home to major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites. The Palestinians seek it as a future capital, while Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.
Arab League representatives were to discuss the Jerusalem controversy on Tuesday. The organization said on Monday that Trump’s possible recognition would constitute “naked aggression” against Muslims and Arabs.

Noa Landau
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.826906

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“But maybe going against the conventional wisdom is a good thing.”

U.S., foreign officials warn Trump not to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital — “But maybe going against the conventional wisdom is a good thing.”

December 5, 2017

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has stirred opposition from U.S. and foreign officials who fear it could unleash violence.

 President Donald Trump speaks to the press before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 18, 2017, in New York.

Such a decision, which U.S. officials have said has not been finalized, would violate decades of U.S. policy not to take a stance on the fate of Jerusalem on the grounds that this was an issue Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate and decide.

If Trump made such a move, it could spark demonstrations or violence by Palestinians or by Muslims around the world, in part because of the sensitivity of the Jerusalem site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

© AFP/File | The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The site includes the al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. It was also the site of an ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism.

Israel seized East Jerusalem, which includes the area, during a 1967 war. However, the Waqf, a Muslim religious body, manages the Islamic sites within the compound.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters last week that Trump was likely to make the announcement on Jerusalem’s being Israel’s capital on Wednesday, though his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner on Sunday said no final decision had been made.

Kushner is leading Trump’s efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, efforts that so far have shown little progress.

The White House said it would not take any action on Monday on whether to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, something that Trump had promised to do in his presidential campaign.

Trump is expected to sign the waiver, according to several U.S. officials. One U.S. official said Trump was likely to accompany the signing with an order for his aides to begin serious planning for an eventual embassy move, though it was unclear whether he would establish a strict timetable.

Two other U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity that news of the plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had kicked up resistance from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau (NEA), which deals with the region.

“Senior (officials) in NEA and a number of ambassadors from the region expressed their deep concern about doing this,” said one official, saying that the concerns focused on “security.”

The State Department referred questions to the White House. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the concerns of U.S. and foreign officials about the possibility of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump, near an Israeli flag at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

A fourth U.S. official said the consensus U.S. intelligence estimate on U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was that it would risk triggering a backlash against Israel, and also potentially against U.S. interests in the Middle East.

“PLAYING WITH FIRE”

The core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute include borders, the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Islamist Hamas, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A general view shows the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem’s Old City December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

U.S. allies voiced their misgivings about the United States unilaterally calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

“Any U.S. announcement on the status of Jerusalem prior to a final settlement would have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region,” Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron “expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” during a phone call with Trump on Monday, Macron’s office said after the two leaders spoke by telephone.

And in an unusually detailed statement published by Jordan’s official news agency Petra, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi was quoted as having warned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against the move in a call on Sunday.

Safadi said such a move would “trigger anger across the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts,” Petra reported.

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief representative in Washington, Husam Zomlot, said a formal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be the “kiss of death” to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Should such a step be taken it would have catastrophic consequences,” Zomlot told Reuters.

A fifth U.S. official said concerns of Palestinian and other Arab leaders about endorsing Israel’s claim to Jerusalem were being taken into account but no final decisions had been made.

Daniel Benjamin, a former U.S. counterterrorism official now at Dartmouth University, had a simple message: “This is playing with fire.”

Israel to let MPs visit flashpoint Jerusalem holy site Al-Aqsa mosque (Called the Temple Mount by Jews)

August 24, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men leave after praying at the Western Wall, the most holy site in Judaism, in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem’s Old City
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to ease a ban on lawmakers visiting a sensitive Jerusalem holy site rocked by violence last month, his office said Thursday.An official told AFP on condition of anonymity that members of parliament would be allowed to visit the site known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and Jews as the Temple Mount in a one-day trial next week.

“In consultation with security officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to open the Temple Mount to MPs’ visits, for one day at this stage, on Tuesday, August 29,” the member of his office said.

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“The decision was taken in light of the improvement in the security situation at the site,” he said. “Decisions on the issue will continue to be made in accordance with assessments of the security situation.”

Netanyahu instructed police in October 2015 to bar lawmakers from visiting the site in the Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque complex and the Dome of the Rock.

It was meant to help calm unrest that erupted in part over Palestinian fears that Israel was planning to assert further control over the compound.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly that he is committed to the status quo there.

The site is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam, and it is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jews are allowed to visit the compound but not pray there, and the site has been the scene of regular confrontation over any attempt to flout the rule.

Yehuda Glick, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party, had in March petitioned Israel’s supreme court against the ban on members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, visiting the hilltop site.

On July 4, the justice ministry said Knesset members would be allowed access for a “pilot number of days” starting on July 23.

But on July 14, three Israeli Arabs emerged from the mosque compound with automatic weapons and shot dead two policemen nearby before being shot dead by other officers.

Israel responded by installing metal detectors and other security equipment at the entrance but that triggered protests which left seven Palestinians dead.

Also, as the unrest raged, a Palestinian broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and stabbed four Israelis, killing three.

The crisis ended when Israel removed the Al-Aqsa security devices.

Israel arrests Islamic cleric for ‘incitement’

August 15, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Jordanian Islamists carry a portrait of Arab-Israeli cleric Raed Salah during a protest in Amman on July 21, 2017 against new Israeli security measures, since removed, at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqa mosque compound

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli police arrested a firebrand Islamic cleric on Tuesday who has been repeatedly accused of inciting violence over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site where tensions again flared last month.

Raed Salah, released from prison in January after serving a nine-month sentence, is accused of inciting violence and terrorism as well as support for and participation in an illegal organisation, police said.

His group, the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was outlawed in 2015 after it was accused of inciting violence linked to  Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Police said in Tuesday’s statement that Salah, an Arab Israeli, is accused of having publicly supported violent acts against the country on several occasions following the ban on his organisation.

It was not clear whether the accusations were linked to last month’s deadly unrest surrounding the holy site, which includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Violence erupted in and around the compound after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli policemen on July 14.

Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the complex, used as a staging point for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

Salah served a nine-month prison term after being convicted of fomenting violent protests over the holy site.

He was convicted of having incited violence in a 2007 speech. He was convicted in 2014 and his appeals were later denied.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement following Salah’s Tuesday arrest that he hoped “this time justice will be done and he will be sent behind bars for a long time.”

The compound, central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to the status quo.

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Israel MP holds ‘protest’ office outside Jerusalem al-Aqsa Mosque

August 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Jonah Mandel | Israeli rabbi and right-wing MP Yehuda Glick sets up a make-shift office outside a flashpoint Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews on August 14, 2017 to protest a ban on lawmakers from entering it

JERUSALEM (AFP) – A rabbi and lawmaker from Israel’s ruling party held office hours Monday outside a sensitive Jerusalem holy site to protest a government ban on visits by MPs and ministers.

Yehuda Glick, who was shot in 2014 over his campaign for Jewish prayer rights at the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount, said it was a one-day action.

“I’m here to protest the fact that the prime minister won’t enable police to allow us to enter the Temple Mount,” Glick told AFP.

“I suffer every day I can’t enter the Temple Mount,” he said, as he held court at one of the gates to the compound alongside a number of bodyguards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had in October 2015 imposed the ban on visits by MPs and ministers to the flashpoint religious site in an effort to restore calm after an outbreak of violence.

The unrest was fuelled in part by fears among Palestinians that Israel was planning to assert further control over the compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The site, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam, and it is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Glick had in March petitioned the supreme court against Netanyahu’s ban.

The government decided in response to allow lawmakers to visit the compound for a “pilot number of days” in July, but an outbreak of violence there put off the plan.

– ‘We don’t want to harm Muslims’ –

Glick, a US-born rabbi, survived a 2014 assassination attempt by a Palestinian over his campaign for Jewish prayer rights at the site before he joined parliament as a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Violence erupted in and around the site after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli policemen on July 14.

Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, used as a staging point for the attack.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and staged mass prayers in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead, while three Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

Jews are allowed to visit the compound but not pray there, and the site has been the scene of regular confrontation when they try to flout the rule.

Glick described the site as “the essence of my life.”

“There’s no reason in the world to think that my entering the Temple Mount will stir trouble,” he said.

“The Jewish god is inclusive… he wants to see the prayer of Muslims and Jews and Christians and Indonesians and Mexicans,” Glick said.

“We don’t want to harm the Muslims, on the contrary… when I see a Muslim praying at the Temple Mount it fills my heart with great joy. It shows me the fulfullment of the prophecies of our prophets.”

by Jonah Mandel