Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’s King Abdullah II’

Why can’t Israel make peace? Because Palestinian elites have no interest in doing so

February 21, 2018

Enjoying the good life themselves, Palestinian leaders have created a misrepresentation of their people as ‘the wretched on earth.’ It’s a recipe for endless conflict

Jordan's King Abdullah II (right) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 7, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II (right) speaks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 7, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

This article is excerpted from Ben-Dror Yemini’s new book, Industry of Lies: Media, Academia, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict, published by ISGAP.

We must admit that there is no chance for peace in the foreseeable future.

It’s not that the solution is complicated. Despite the disagreements, despite the fantasy of mass Return, and despite the isolated settlements, there are clear parameters for peace. Bill Clinton presented them in late 2000; the Geneva plan presented a similar plan in 2002; Ehud Olmert repeated it, with semantic changes, in 2008; John Kerry introduced two versions with almost the same parameters in 2014. Even the Arab initiative, if we take away the fantasy of mass Return, could have been the basis for an agreement.

Although the parameters are known, peace cannot be achieved.

In the past century there have been many conflicts. Almost every actualization of the right to self-determination created a bloody conflict, years of struggle, and the expulsion of populations. Yet, eventually, agreements were reached. Enemies have become neighbors. Peace agreements have also been signed between Israel and two Arab states — Egypt and Jordan, and Israel maintains cooperation with many other Arab states.

So why this should not have happened in the Israeli Palestinian conflict? Because it has another dimension, which was absent in other conflicts. The Palestinian elites have reached a status that no elite had before. The Palestinian struggle is not one more struggle.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, then-US President George Bush, and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in Annapolis, Maryland in 2007. (Courtesy Ian Black)

It became the most famous, most celebrated, and the most prestigious of all — the crown jewel of causes. The Palestinian refusal to accept any peace proposal is not only due to historical reasons or a sense of injustice. It is not about more or less concessions. It stems from the fact that the Palestinian elites only benefit from the continuation of the conflict. The Palestinians have become not only the ultimate global symbol of a “victim” and an “oppressed people,” who are supposedly fighting against colonialism and occupation. They have become global celebrities.

On the one hand, members of the Palestinian elite come and leave the capitals of the world dressed in the most tailored and fashionable of men’s apparel. They enjoy the good life. On the other hand, they succeed in creating a misrepresentation of “the wretched on earth.”

According to any objective measure of life expectancy, infant mortality, natural increase, education, and so forth, the Palestinians are not in the worst shape among the world’s needy populations. Just the opposite. Most people in the world live in much worse circumstances. But they are not in the headlines. No one is demonstrating for them. The claim that those who identify with the Palestinians are concerned with human rights is one of the most ridiculous claims of the present era; supporters of the Palestinian struggle are, after all, not bothered by the tens of millions who suffer from internal or external oppression.

* * *

Let’s imagine a student from northern Nigeria on an American campus. He represents one of the most miserable communities in the world, suffering from non-stop Jihadist terrorism of Boko Haram: thousands have been massacred; 1.4 million children have become refugees, 100,000 of them on the verge of starvation. But nobody cares about them. There are no demonstrations. No global protest. No conferences. Nigeria is not included in the latest buzz words about oppression. Yet, for many, Israel has become representative of all other injustices in the world, in addition to one’s own as an African-American, woman, or homosexual, as illustrated by the phenomenon of intersectionality.

An image taken from a video released on August 14, 2014 by the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram purportedly shows dozens of girls kidnapped by the group in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube)

In any case, the world stage is dominated by the Palestinians. Couple this with intersectionality, and it ensures that countless opponents of injustice half way across the world will be aligning themselves against “the oppressor Israel.” It doesn’t help that “colonialism,” one of the magic words in post modern discourse, can, through selective interpretation and a web of lies, be used to tag Israel as an oppressor. It is a little difficult to use the word “colonialist” against the Jihadists even if they have extreme imperialist ambitions.

Not only is there no worldwide protest against the Jihad affiliates, there is even support for those who champion an anti-Semitic, fascist, and murderous ideology. Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo displayed his stripes in the middle of the 2014 Gaza War, declaring “shoot those bastard Zionists,” encouraging the Europeans to buy weapons for Hamas, and arguing that “Israel is worse than the Nazis.” The feminist organization Code Pink organized no less than seven solidarity missions to Gaza, meeting with Hamas members (never mind that the mufti of Gaza tells male viewers how to beat their wives without leaving scars that would make them ugly or alert the police).

Then there are high-profile entertainers, such as the aging British rocker and lead singer from Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, who compares Israel to Nazi Germany and supports BDS, or British film director Ken Loach, who called for a cultural boycott of Israel. Even if they don’t convince their fellow artists, who keep on coming to Israel, they still encourage the Palestinian elites to keep on with the struggle against Israel instead of fighting for peace.

British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a meeting of the Party of European Socialists in Brussels, on October 19, 2017. (AFP Photo/John Thys)

There is a whole chapter in the work at hand about major producers in the industry of lies, such as academic Noam Chomsky, who made a pilgrimage to visit Hezbollah leader Nasrallah in Lebanon; UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who embraced Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends”; Judith Butler, who turned them into progressive bodies; and Canadian writer Naomi Klein, who cuts Hamas out of the equation when attacking Israel as the aggressor in the 2014 Gaza War.

British musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. (AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

There are even some academics who have turned their anti Israel positions into a career— such as Norman Finkelstein, a highly visible figure on the lecture circuit, as well as a talented and highly entertaining speaker who attracts droves of students on campuses around the world, and elsewhere.

Individual academics are not the only ones who participate in the industry of lies, and MESA (the Middle East Studies Association in the United States) presidents are not the only supporters of BDS. The same evil spirit extends to campus life — awash in anti Israel “academic gatherings.”

With all the big bucks flowing in, with no strings attached, what are the chances that Palestinian activists will give up this abundance of status, honor, prestige and jobs?

For example, at University College Cork Ireland in April 2017, a three-day academic conference was held under the heading “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy Exceptionalism and Responsibility.” Speakers pilloried Israel as an exception to the world order (as if it was the only nation state) in order to deliberate whether Israel could legitimately exist as such an exception. The keynote speaker was Richard Falk, who used the occasion to charge that the foundation of Israel was “the most successful terror campaign in history.” There was actually a conference slated to take place in the UK at the University of Southampton (but prohibited at the last-minute by campus authorities on “health and safety concerns”) devoted to the question “does Israel have the right to exist.” No such conference was contemplated to discuss England’s right to exist, of course.

UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk (photo credit: UN Watch)

Richard Falk (photo credit: UN Watch)

Some Israel bashing gatherings take place under a cloak of polite respectability such as a July 2017 two-day conference at the University of Sydney in Australia, called “BDS: Driving Global Justice for Palestine,” hosted by none other than the Department for Peace and Conflict Studies. The use of benign language is disarming: the objective of the gathering was to promote “greater public understanding of the BDS campaign,” which, the organizers stressed, would be devoted to “harness rational argument to support a more peaceful and more just world.” (One needs to understand the subtext of “a just world”: it includes a Palestinian right of return, demanded by Students for Justice in Palestine, in order to rectify Israel’s alleged ethnic cleansing.)

This intellectual disease extends to the American political arena, where anti Israel currents have gained a foothold within the Democratic Party, reflected in a one-sided amendment to the Middle East plank of the Democratic platform, suggested by Bernie Sanders’ people, that was rejected by a narrow margin of 95 to 73, as well as the rising popularity of movers and shakers with strong anti Israel orientations, such as Keith Ellison and Linda Sarsour.

The problem is that the Palestinians read such undercurrents as proof that they are on a winning streak, at least in terms of the Democratic Party, giving them no reason to rethink their positions or seek reconciliation.

The limelight as a livelihood

Palestinians are riding a wave of support from celebrities in a host of professions, including academia, with few, if any, strings attached.

It is not only the Palestinian leadership that enjoys ideological and moral support. Dozens of Palestinian or pro Palestinian organizations receive extensive financial support from dozens of celebrated foundations and political structures: the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation (George Soros), the European Union, individual European countries, and church funds. Then, of course, there is UNRWA and other United Nations funding entities.

With all the big bucks flowing in, with no strings attached, what are the chances that Palestinian activists will give up this abundance of status, honor, prestige and jobs? Is it at all surprising that Palestinian activists of such well-funded NGOs are against reconciliation and peace?

The Palestinians’ special status as the blue-eyed boy everyone embraces creates some very strange anomalies. Palestinian activists stand shoulder to shoulder with LGBT activists, although everyone knows — or should know — that members of the LGBT community in the Palestinian territories are at severe risk, facing persecution and often mortal danger. As a result, many prefer to flee to Israel.

Too many Palestinians have a huge vested interest in intransigence and violence

These are the facts, but anti Israel demonstrations are also held under the charge of “pink washing” — the idiotic theory stating that Israel grants freedom and rights to people of different sexual orientations only as a mask to conceal the horrors of the occupation. Thus, members of the Palestinian and anti Israel elites have succeed not only in disseminating ridiculous theories, but also in obtaining an exemption from violations of basic human rights for Palestinian authorities. This is another expression of racism of low expectations.

Palestinian women chant slogans as they hold Palestinian flags during a sit-in in the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp, in Beirut, Lebanon, December 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

There are Palestinians who suffer. These are mainly those in Lebanon, who experience apartheid (subject to separate laws) with all its implications, or those in Syria who suffer, together with the rest of the Syrian population, from terrible bloodshed. They can only dream to live under Israeli rule. Yet, they do not interest anyone because they are not under Israeli control.

Under Israeli rule, on the other hand, the Palestinians in the territories enjoy the highest rate of higher education in the Arab world. In fact, the rise in the level of education has led to the emigration of tens of thousands of young Palestinians to Europe and the United States, subsequently eligible for graduate studies in the most prestigious universities (hundreds of them subsequently became faculty).

Industry of Lies, by Ben-Dror Yemini

In an era dominated by a postcolonial school of thought, the Palestinians have become the icon for struggle against colonialism. If the symbol in the 1960s was Che Guevara, the contemporary symbol is to sport a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf.

There are a thousand and one rivalries between student organizations that represent different groups, but they are united about one subject: their support for the Palestinians, with no knowledge about the conflict. Instead of focusing their efforts on the rights of African-Americans, the Black Lives Matter movement has become fixated on Israel, even accusing the Jewish state of the events in Ferguson. There will always be Jews and Israelis to tell them that Israel is the source of their troubles. In the past, it was said that Jews were the source of global evil. Today, it is said that Zionists are the source of every evil.

This is the madness consuming the free and academic world. This distortion does not support peace, reconciliation, or compromise. The common denominator of these bodies, which are supported by academia and funded by the EU and various other foreign governments, is usually their opposition to the very existence of Israel. It is doubtful whether there is one body among them that supports peace and reconciliation and that is funded by the same sources.

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops following protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Does this encourage the Palestinian elites towards reconciliation with Israel, or does it encourage them to perpetuate the struggle? And if this is the position of the progressive elites of the free world, why would a rational Palestinian change direction and support reconciliation and compromise? Why should any of the Palestinians give up the special status they now enjoy that bundles together victimhood, prestige, legitimacy for all their actions, economic benefit and a comfortable livelihood?

A peace agreement would undermine this special status. Instead of talking about racism and colonialism, instead of being the stars of academia and the darlings of the progressive elites, and instead of enjoying generous funding as activists against oppression, the Palestinians will have to worry about welfare, sewage systems, and building a state. They will have to take responsibility for themselves and their fate. They will stop receiving tens of millions of dollars each year for political struggle. They will not be the stars of the campuses. That is the last thing they want.

They have succeeded in convincing many intellectual circles in the world that BDS is a “nonviolent movement” against racism and for equal rights. There is no greater lie than that. The BDS movement is fighting to deny the right of self-determination of one state among all the countries of the world: Israel.

What should rational and decent people do?

What can rational and decent people do against this mind-boggling phenomenon?

First, expose the absurdities. Do not give in to the thought police. Maintain independent and critical thinking, connected to reality. Make a hierarchy of global injustices. The Alice in Wonderland-like lunacy that is taking place in significant sectors of the academic and media elites is not a problem for Israel. It is a problem of the free world. This is fake knowledge that produces fake realities.

The attention, top priority, aide and grants underwrites an entire sector of the economy and society that “makes a living from the conflict” — from elite Palestinian leaders flying around the world in first class and elegant suits to academics paid to write a flood of studies on the feasibility of the right of return, to tunnel operators in Gaza, and families who depend on stipends for sons killed in terrorist attacks (shahids).

Palestinian women take part in a protest in Gaza City on January 29, 2018, against the US move to freeze funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Palestinian public sector is gigantic, and the bonanza of cheap money as the world’s favorite humanitarian cause is reflected on the landscape in the West Bank — glass clad skyscrapers and public institutions, private villas, and virtual mansions that Westerners rarely see. The Pan-Arab paper Asharq al Awsat in London investigated the phenomenon and concluded that there are 600 millionaires in Gaza! Too many Palestinians have a huge vested interest in intransigence and violence.

There is a conflict of interest between rewarded Palestinian elites who want to perpetuate the conflict, and the Palestinian masses who suffer from the conflict. Reaching a peace agreement would lead, for example, to reducing the distress of the Palestinians in Lebanon who are legally, socially and geographically marginalized. They will not be able to return to Israel because Israel has no plans to commit demographic suicide, but they will receive new options, such as an international compensation fund, naturalization in some countries, options for returning to the Palestinian entity, and more. When the elites perpetuate the fantasy of the right of return, they perpetuate the continuation of suffering and plight.

It is possible and necessary to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The outlines are known. There is not much to innovate. For this to happen, it is permissible and, indeed, necessary to criticize Israeli policy. But this will not happen as long as a widespread and well oiled academic and political apparatus provides the Palestinian elites with honor, money and prestige that perpetuate the conflict.

This march of folly must be stopped. Not to harm the Palestinians, but to give them hope and to save them.

Ben-Dror Yemini is a senior journalist with the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth who lectures about the spread and impact of anti-Israel propaganda.

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Trump Jerusalem move triggers Palestinian unrest

December 8, 2017

AFP

© Thomas Coex, AFP | Israeli flags fly near the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on December 5, 2017. The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved “through negotiations”, as US President Donald Trump mulls recognising the city as the capital of Israel.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-08

Furious Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” on Friday as protests spread against US President Donald Trump’s widely criticised recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A senior Palestinian official said late Thursday US Vice President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” following the policy shift, which ended decades of US ambiguity on the status of the disputed city.

But the White House said it would be “counterproductive” to cancel a scheduled meeting between Pence and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas later this month.

Sporadic clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces on Thursday, as Israel deployed hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank amid uncertainty over the fallout.

Bethlehem Proteste gegen Anerkennung USA Jerusalem Sicherheitskräfte (picture-alliance/AA/M. Wazwaz)

Israel security forces

Trump’s announcement was met by an almost universal diplomatic backlash as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lavished praise on the president, saying his name would be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and urging other countries to follow suit.

‘Deplorable and unacceptable’: Trump provokes diplomatic firestorm over Jerusalem

In a speech in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising. Within hours several projectiles were fired from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.

One hit Israeli territory, prompting the army and air force to retaliate by targeting “two terror posts” in Gaza, it said, blaming Hamas, the enclave’s Islamist rulers.

Demonstrations were held in West Bank cities as well as in Gaza, where five Palestinians were wounded from Israeli fire, Gazan authorities said.

Israeli forces dispersed tear gas at a checkpoint entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported 22 wounded from live fire or rubber bullets in the West Bank.

– ‘Darker times’ –

 

Trump said his defiant move — making good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge — marks the start of a “new approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said Wednesday.

But his willingness to part with international consensus on such a sensitive issue drew increasingly urgent warnings from around the world.

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the decision could take the region “backwards to even darker times”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was “deeply concerned”, calling for the Palestinians and Israel to renew negotiations.

And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would put the region in a “ring of fire”.

– ‘Not welcome’ –

 

Pence is due to meet the Palestinian president in the second half of December on a regional tour, but a senior member of Abbas’s Fatah faction said the leader would not meet him.

“The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine. And President Abbas will not welcome him,” said Jibril Rajoub.

However the White House is likely to only consider the meeting cancelled if they hear that from Abbas, whose office could not be reached for comment.

In a joint statement with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Abbas said “any measure tampering with the legal and historical status of Jerusalem is invalid” and warned Trump’s decision would “have dangerous repercussions”.

In Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, called for a mass demonstration on Monday “to protest and denounce this American aggression”. Protests are also planned in Turkey and Malaysia.

Palestinian shops in east Jerusalem and the West Bank were largely shuttered and schools closed on Thursday in answer to a general strike call.

“By this decision, America became a very small country, like any small country in the world, like Micronesia,” Salah Zuhikeh, 55, told AFP in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Hamas called for fresh protests after the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday.

Trump’s move left many angry US allies struggling to find a diplomatic response, with an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council set for Friday.

– Right-wing politics –

 

Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — another campaign promise dear to US evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters.

His predecessors had made the same pledge, but quickly reneged upon taking office.

Several peace plans have unravelled in the past decades over the issue of how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites in Jerusalem.

A disputed capital: Why the status of Jerusalem is so contentious

Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The international community does not recognise the ancient city as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in negotiations.

This point was reiterated by UN chief Antonio Guterres, who stressed his opposition to “any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace”.

Trump insisted the move did not prejudge final talks, saying it simply reflected the reality that west Jerusalem is and will continue to be part of Israel under any settlement.

“The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides,” he said.

(AFP)

French President Macron arrives in Qatar amid Arab boycott of Doha, uproar over Trump decision on Jerusalem

December 7, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

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© France 24, screen capture | President Macron arrives in Doha on December 7, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-07

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Qatar on Thursday for a one-day trip to the small Gulf country as it faces continued isolation and a boycott by some of its Arab neighbors.

Macron landed and immediately traveled to the vast al-Udeid Air Base, home to some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command. France also has a contingent of soldiers at the base, which is crucial to the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and to the war in Afghanistan.

Macron smiled and shook hands with the French and American soldiers who greeted him at the base before walking into a meeting with the base’s top commanders.

Speaking to coalition soldiers, he said the next few months of battle will determine the outcome of the war against the IS group in Iraq in Syria.

“This military win does not signify the end of the operations and the end of our battle because first we need to stabilize and win peace in Iraq and Syria,” he told troops. “Next spring is decisive in the situation in Iraq.”

Macron also stressed in his remarks at the air base that France wants to avoid partition in Syria and “avoid the domination of certain international elements whose interests contradict peace.”

The French president later will hold talks with Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Macron is traveling with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who in 2015 as defense minister helped negotiate a multibillion dollar deal with Qatar to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets. Qatar may announce during Macron’s visit that it will purchase up to 12 more of the French-made Dassault Rafale jets.

Macron’s visit comes just days after a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Kuwait failed to bring the standoff any closer to a resolution in the dispute engulfing Qatar. In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut relations with Qatar over allegations it supports extremists and has too-close relations with Iran.

Qatar has long denied supporting extremists and shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran.

Also likely to come up during Macron’s visit is President Donald Trump‘s announcement that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future independent state.

Before Macron’s arrival, Qatar’s ruler held calls with Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Qatar has, in the past, provided crucial aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the militant Hamas group, and has helped pay public sector wages in the besieged Palestinian territory.

(AP)

 

Erdogan says US Jerusalem move ‘plays into hands’ of terrorists

December 6, 2017

AFP

© TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/AFP | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and his wife Emine Erdogan, left, welcomed Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania for talks in Ankara on Wednesday

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday strongly warned the United States against recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the move would help terror groups.”Such a step will only play into the hands of terror groups,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference in Ankara after talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“This mistaken step… will lead to public outrage in the entire Islamic world, dynamite the ground for peace and ignite new tensions and clashes in our region,” he said.

US President Donald Trump was set to announce Wednesday that Washington would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that it would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, a plan that has caused consternation in the Islamic world and beyond.

The Turkish presidency said earlier that Erdogan was calling a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the move.

King Abdullah, who had been personally informed by Trump of the move by telephone, backed Erdogan’s warnings and said East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

“There is no alternative to a two-state solution,” Abdullah said, speaking in English.

He cautioned that “Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement (between Israel and the Palestinians) and is key to the stability of the entire region”.

Abdullah said he had told Trump of “our concerns” over the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem during their telephone call.

He added that it was “imperative now to work fast” to reach a final status solution and a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.

“This must allow the Palestinians to establish an independent state side by side with Israel and its capital in East Jerusalem.”

He also warned that ignoring Muslim rights in Jerusalem “will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism.”

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 as a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

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

Related:

See also:

Supreme Leader Khamenei says U.S. is Iran’s ‘number one enemy’

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-usa/supreme-leader-khamenei-says-u-s-is-irans-number-one-enemy-idUSKBN1D211H

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Turkey, Jordan call for ‘serious’ Mideast peace talks — “Unilateral Israeli action threatening the identity of east Jerusalem.”

August 21, 2017

AFP

© Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP | Jordan’s King Abdullah II (R) greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the royal palace in Amman
AMMAN (AFP) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Monday for new “serious and effective” peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the royal palace said.Meeting in Amman, they urged “the resumption of serious and effective negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel to end the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution to assure an independent Palestinian state with June 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as capital”.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since the failure of US mediation in the spring of 2014.

“New peace negotiations must take place according to a precise timetable and be based on international resolutions,” Erdogan and Abdullah said.

They also expressed their “unequivocal rejection of any attempt to change the legal and historical situation in the Al-Aqsa mosque and any unilateral Israeli action threatening the identity of east Jerusalem”.

Jordan, the only Arab country apart from Egypt to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, is custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the eastern sector’s Old City — which Jews call the Temple Mount — was the focus last month of a tense standoff after Israel introduced new security measures following an attack that killed two policemen.

Jordan’s king said earlier this month that a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was becoming more and more difficult.

In January, US President Donald Trump came to power promising to push Israelis and Palestinians towards a peace deal, raising brief hopes among Palestinians that his unconventional approach could achieve results.

But Palestinians have become increasingly frustrated by what they see as his negotiating team’s one-sided approach.

Abdullah and Erdogan on Monday also underlined the importance of a political solution to end the war in Syria.

All diplomatic efforts to end to the conflict that has caused more than 330,000 deaths and displaced millions since 2011 have failed.

However, the two leaders welcomed an agreement that followed trilateral talks between Jordan, the United States and Russia that resulted in a truce in three regions of southern Syria.

Jordan king makes rare West Bank visit to meet Palestinian president

August 7, 2017

King Abdullah II has flown to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian President Abbas for the first time in five years. The trip is being viewed as a message to Israel, particularly over a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Jordan’s King Abdullah II flew by helicopter to the West Bank on Monday to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas amid shared tensions with Israel.

Abdullah received a red carpet welcome in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority. He was greeted by Abbas before the two national anthems were played.

The two leaders meet fairly frequently in the Jordanian capital of Amman and other regional capitals, but it was Abdullah’s first visit to Ramallah since December 2012.

The king’s trip had to be coordinated with Israeli authorities who control all entrance and exit points to the West Bank, including the 150 kilometer (93 mile) border with Jordan and the airspace above it.

Jordan's King Abdullah II is hugged by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas King Abdullah II received a red carpet welcome and a hug from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Signal to Israel

Abdullah’s visit comes amid rising Jordanian-Israeli tensions and is seen as a message to Tel Aviv that the Jordanian monarch is aligning with Palestinians on key issues – particularly concerning a contested Jerusalem holy site.

A crisis erupted last month at the Al Aqsa mosque compound when Israel installed metal detectors at Muslim entrances following the killing of two Israeli policemen.

The compound, which sits on a plateau in the Old City, is the third holiest site in Islam and is also revered by the Jews who call it Temple Mount.

Read more: Opinion – Tension escalates on the Temple Mount

The security changes led to several days of protests and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers.

Tensions peaked on July 23 when an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman. Israeli officials say one of the men attacked the security guard with a screwdriver while the other was accidentally shot.

The crisis finally eased on July 27 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the metal detectors be taken down after consultations with Jordan.

Read more: Why Israel censored reporting on the Jordan embassy shooting

Jordan has been the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites since the 1920s. The role is also a key component of Abdullah’s legitimacy.

Abbas and Abdullah are also likely to discuss a US-led effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which have been on hold for the past three years.

US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, has made several trips to Jerusalem, Amman and Ramallah, but there are few signs of interest in restarting negotiations.

rs/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/jordan-king-makes-rare-west-bank-visit-to-meet-palestinian-president/a-39995071

Jordanian king in rare visit to Palestinian president

August 7, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Shatha Yaish and Hossam Ezzedine | Israeli security forces stand guard in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on July 27, 2017

RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II began a rare visit to the occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Monday, amid shared tensions with Israel over a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

In his first visit to Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah in five years, Abdullah was welcomed on a red carpet near his helicopter by the Palestinian leader before the two national anthems were played.

The two men did not address the media but shook hands with senior Palestinian officials.

The visit came less than two weeks after the end of a standoff at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem where Israel had imposed new security measures, including metal detectors, following an attack that killed two policemen.

Jordan, which is the custodian of the site, reacted angrily to the new measures, while Palestinians responded with days of protests.

The tensions were exacerbated on July 23 when an Israeli security guard shot dead two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy compound in the capital Amman.

One of the two men attacked the Israeli with a screwdriver, while the other was apparently shot dead by accident, according to Israeli officials.

The crisis eased on July 27 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the removal of the metal detectors, while he has also promised to investigate the embassy incident.

Abdullah’s visit was seen by analysts as providing support to Abbas, who has been isolated by Israel over his response to the Al-Aqsa row.

The mosque compound is in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

The 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan recognises Amman’s special status as official custodian of Jerusalem’s holy Muslim sites.

About half of Jordan’s 9.5 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.

‘Anger’

Netanyahu’s removal of the metal detectors was seen by Palestinians as a victory.

At Abbas’s headquarters a large banner was erected with a picture of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound with the slogan “Jerusalem is victorious.”

“It appears that King Abdullah wants to show through his visit that he stands with the Palestinian people in the battle for Jerusalem,” Palestinian political analyst Abdel Majid Sweilem told AFP.

In a statement on the official state news agency Petra, the king was quoted as saying that without Jordanian “custodianship and the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites, the holy sites would have been lost many years ago.”

In the middle of the crisis over the metal detectors, Abbas suspended security coordination with Israel, and it has remained suspended despite their removal.

As such 82-year-old Abbas cannot leave the West Bank as Israel controls the border crossings.

“This visit sends a message from his majesty that he is willing to contribute to removing president Abbas’s isolation following his decision to stop the security coordination with Israel,” Samir Awad, politics professor at Birzeit University near Ramallah in the West Bank, told AFP.

In January US President Donald Trump came to power promising to push Israelis and Palestinians towards a peace deal, raising brief hopes among Palestinians that his unconventional approach could achieve results.

But they have become increasingly frustrated by what they see as his negotiating team’s one-sided approach.

Trump’s team have yet to publicly commit themselves to the two-state solution, the idea of an independent Palestinian state next to Israel that has been the basis of decades of international consensus.

Leading Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has strongly criticised the “silence” of the US administration over Israeli settlement growth and its lack of support for the two-state solution.

The Jordanian ruler seemed to echo those remarks, calling for intensive US effort to help bridge the gap between the sides, according to Petra.

by Shatha Yaish and Hossam Ezzedine

Muslims heed calls to avoid holy site over Israeli security measures

July 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Majeda El-Batsh | Palestinians chant slogans outside the Lions Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, due to newly implemented security measures by Israeli authorities, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 17, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Muslims heeded calls Monday not to enter a Jerusalem holy site and protested outside after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at entrances to the ultra-sensitive compound following an attack that killed two policemen.The compound was largely empty on Monday apart from tourists and Jewish visitors, with Muslims again praying and protesting outside the site instead of entering through the metal detectors.

The Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Several hundred people could be seen praying outside two different entrances to the site around midday on Monday.

There were protests after the prayer, with crowds shouting: “Aqsa mosque, we sacrifice our souls and our blood.” Police later sought to move them back.

“We will not break the solidarity of the people,” said Jamal Abdallah, a Palestinian who now lives in the US state of Arizona and was planning to visit Al-Aqsa, but changed his mind when he was told of the situation.

Israel installed the metal detectors after Friday’s attack near the holy site that saw three Arab Israelis open fire on Israeli police.

They then fled to the compound, where they were shot dead by security forces.

It was among the most serious incidents in Jerusalem in recent years and heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Israel took the highly unusual decision of closing the compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site’s custodian.

The site remained closed on Saturday, while parts of Jerusalem’s Old City were also under lockdown.

Israeli authorities said the closure was necessary to carry out security checks, adding that the assailants had come from within the holy site to commit the attack.

They began reopening it on Sunday, but with metal detectors in place, while security cameras were also being installed in the area.

Al-Aqsa officials have refused to enter and have called on worshippers to do the same.

Palestinians view the new measures as Israel asserting further control over the site.

Crowds chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as they gathered near the Lions Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday.

On Sunday night, skirmishes broke out between Israeli police and worshippers outside the entrance, with the Red Crescent reporting 17 people wounded.

With tensions high, two mosques in the northern Israeli Arab town of Maghar were targeted overnight, one with a stun grenade and another by gunshots. No serious damage was reported.

One of the two policemen killed in the attack lived in Maghar. Both of the officers were from the Druze minority, Arabs who belong to an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

– Netanyahu order –

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the decision to install the metal detectors and cameras following a meeting with security officials on Saturday.

He also spoke by phone with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday night before leaving on a trip to France and Hungary.

Abdullah condemned the attack, but also called on Netanyahu to reopen the Al-Aqsa compound and stressed the need to “avoid any escalation at the site”.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas conveyed a similar message to Netanyahu when the two spoke by phone on Friday in the wake of the attack.

Proposals to change security measures at the compound have sparked controversy in the past.

A plan developed in 2015 between Israel and Jordan to install cameras at the site itself fell apart amid disagreement over how they would be operated.

The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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

It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

by Majeda El-Batsh
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Abbas: Trump ‘serious’ about Israel-Palestine peace

March 30, 2017

AFP

© PPO/AFP | Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas attending talks of the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017
RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – President Donald Trump is “serious” about solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas said ahead of a meeting with the US leader.

“The US administration of President Donald Trump is seriously considering a solution to the Palestinian issue,” Abbas told AFP late Wednesday after a meeting of the Arab League in Jordan.

Abbas met with Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt before leaving for the summit and said contacts with the administration were ongoing.

“(There is) continuing dialogue with the American administration and there were a number of issues they wanted our opinion on or our answer to them,” he added.

“We gave them our position on all their questions.”

Abbas is expected to meet with Trump in Washington for the first time in April.

Trump is also expected to meet other Arab leaders in the coming weeks, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Trump caused alarm among Palestinians and many parts of the international community in February when he broke with years of US policy in support of the two-state solution, meaning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said at the White House before a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas said the Arab League summit on Wednesday confirmed that the Arab world had a “clear” vision for peace on the basis of two-states.

In their final statement, the leaders called for a revival of “serious and productive peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians” and renewed their commitment to a two-state solution.

Netanyahu offered unity govt as part of peace bid: report

March 5, 2017

AFP

© EPA POOL/AFP | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on March 5, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a plan to form a unity government with Israel’s opposition last year as part of a regional peace bid, but later backtracked, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The plan centred on a document delivered to opposition leader Isaac Herzog in September, but Netanyahu later pulled back and talks collapsed in October, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Spokesmen for Netanyahu and Herzog, who heads the Zionist Union coalition dominated by his Labour party, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The effort came as moves were underway to restart peace talks with the Palestinians through a process that would include Arab countries in the region.

Netanyahu currently heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israeli history, with key members of his coalition openly opposing a Palestinian state.

Forming a unity government with the centre-left could have reassured Arab nations of his sincerity.

The document reportedly delivered to Herzog in September was a proposal for a joint declaration reiterating their commitment to a two-state solution and their desire to seek a resolution with the Palestinians.

It came some seven months after a previously reported secret meeting between Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and then US secretary of state John Kerry.

The meeting in the Jordanian city of Aqaba saw Kerry pitch a regional peace effort.

Arab countries have previously offered normalised relations with Israel in exchange for resolving the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Under Netanyahu’s plan, the draft document negotiated with Herzog was to be submitted at a summit in Egypt in October to launch a regional peace initiative.

The two men were then to announce negotiations for the formation of a unity government after returning from the summit, which ultimately did not occur, Haaretz said.

According to the paper, Netanyahu later told Herzog he wanted to resolve controversy surrounding the evacuation of a Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank first, and talks later collapsed.

Donald Trump has since taken office as US president and has sent mixed signals regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last month as Netanyahu visited the White House, Trump backed away from Washington’s years-long commitment to a two-state solution, saying he would support a single state if it led to peace.

Israeli right-wing politicians have welcomed Trump’s election, with some calling for an end to the idea of a Palestinian state.