January 17, 2018

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12/15 Links Pt1: Abbas Defies Oslo Agreements, Demands Full UN membership; Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital: Watch the Masks Fall

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/12/1215-links-pt1-abbas-defies-oslo.html

From Ian:


The Anti-Semitic Invective of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Accuses Jews of ‘Counterfeiting History and Religion,’ Claims Qur’an Says They ‘Fabricate Truth’

Abbas, whose doctorate denied the Holocaust and who accused rabbis of poisoning Palestinian water, is no stranger to anti-Semitic remarks

On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at a summit in Turkey. Understandably, Abbas condemned the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and reiterated Palestinian claims to the city. But then the Palestinian leader ventured into far more disturbing territory: instead of simply assailing the political policies of the United States and Israel, he began to assail Jews. Almost as an aside, Abbas declared:

I don’t want to discuss religion or history because they are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history and religion. But if we read the Torah it says that the Canaanites were there before the time of our prophet Abraham and their existence continued since that time—this is in the Torah itself. But if they would like to fake this history, they are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Qur’an they fabricate truth and they try to do that and they believe in that but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.

Typically, Abbas presents his critiques of Israel as anti-Zionist rather than anti-Jewish. But of course, the Qur’an does not mention Zionists or Zionism—a modern political movement. It mentions Jews. Thus, according to Abbas, it is Jews who are “really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history and religion,” who “fabricate truth,” and who “are really masters in this.” Ironically, in this passage, Abbas was attempting to argue that the modern Palestinian people is actually descended from the biblical Canaanites, a dubious claim with little evidence to support it. Thus, he accused Jews of being fabricators of history while engaging in the same.

This is far from the first time the Palestinian president has dabbled in anti-Semitic invective.

Abbas Defies Oslo Agreements, Demands Full UN membership

Abbas stressed there can be no peace without Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian state, and described President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a violation of international law and signed agreements. With that, Abbas said, the US disqualified itself from playing the role of mediator in the peace process, and his side will now take its case to the international community.

Abbas then called on the OIC member states to support his nation on 13 distinct points:

1. Limit the foreign relations of OIC members with world countries based on their position on the issue of Jerusalem, specifically with regard to the US declaration.

2. In light of the Jerusalem declaration, it is necessary to take political and economic measures to compel Israel to end its “occupation of the land of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to implement international humanitarian law.” In other words, commit suicide, ASAP.

3. Demand that the countries of the world review their recognition of the State of Israel.

Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital: Watch the Masks Fall

Many analysts say that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a campaign promise to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters, but there is another way of looking at it. Trump’s recognition might be a golden opportunity for two-faced opportunists to be unmasked — a shot of reality that might eventually help the peace process and solve this long-lasting conflict.

Since the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, many Arab observers, intellectuals and academics have started to question the veracity of those jihadists who claim they are sacrificing themselves to defend Jerusalem, because when the actual announcement came — nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem — especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah — come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

Other opportunists are the two-faced countries in the region, such as Qatar and Turkey. While publicly hostile towards Israel, behind closed doors they support it. Further opportunists are the Western and Arab media, who for decades have been promoting the idea that the problem is the Israeli occupation, but never mention the Palestinian Authority corruption.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has also revealed the shortcomings of the US Department of State. It has not played any role in clarifying the above-mentioned points and, by this negativity and bureaucracy, only generated further hatred towards the US.

Trump’s recognition has exposed the hypocrisy of the armed militia Hezbollah which always claims it will never disarm because of its fight against Israel. Now after the recognition of Jerusalem, many Arabs are questioning Hezbollah’s motivations regarding Israel. Lebanese and other Arabs are questioning why Hezbollah has not sent its armed militia to fight in Israel as it did in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Dr. Hadi El Amine, a Lebanese researcher in political science and governmental studies, tweeted, “The axis of resistance’s words are aimed against Israel, but their missiles are pointed at the Arabs.”

Palestinian with suicide bomb belt stabs border guard during protest, is shot

A Palestinian wearing what appeared to be an explosive belt stabbed a Border Police officer in the upper body, moderately wounding him, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday during a violent Palestinian protest, police said.

“A terrorist approached Border Police officers who were responding to a riot at the Judea and Samaria Square in Ramallah, and stabbed one of them,” police said, adding that they were investigating the possibility that the terrorist was “mingling with journalists and posing as a one” in order to get close to the troops.

The assailant was shot by the other officers at the scene and was seriously wounded. Some Palestinian media outlets reported that he had been killed.

The apparent explosive belt did not go off. Police said they were investigating if it was a real bomb or only a device meant to look like one. The attacker, still wearing the apparent suicide bomb belt, was taken away from the scene for medical treatment by the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service.

The officer was treated at the scene and then taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was listed in “a moderate condition with two stab wounds in the upper body.” The hospital said his condition was stable and he was undergoing examinations before being operated on.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security forces.

“I praise the work of the Border Police force that took out the terrorist,” Netanyahu tweeted, adding that he sends his wishes for a speedy recovery to the soldier who was wounded. “Thank you to our forces who protect us around the clock. Everybody salutes you.”

4 Palestinians, including terrorist stabber, killed in clashes with IDF

Four Palestinians died on Friday afternoon after being shot in clashes with Israeli security forces during protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said, as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated for a second week against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli police officer on Friday before being shot has died, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said, naming him as Mohammed Aqal, 29.

Aqal stabbed and moderately wounded a Border Police officer, before being shot. When officers noticed he was wearing what appeared to be a suicide bomb belt, they shot him again, fearing he would detonate it, police said.

He was taken away by Palestinian medics and later died of his wounds, the health ministry said.

Another Palestinian was killed in clashes in Anata on the northeast outskirts of Jerusalem, the ministry in Ramallah said, naming him as Bassel Ibrahim, 24. It said he had been shot.

Two more Palestinians were killed along the Gaza-Israel border, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said. They were named as Yasser Sokar, 32, and Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29. The ministry said Abu Thurayeh, who had previously lost both his legs, was shot east of Gaza City in the north of the coastal enclave.

Elliott Abrams: Abbas and Jerusalem

I’ve known Abbas for about 15 years and it is painful to see this man, generally viewed as a “moderate voice,” descend to these depths. He has done it before, and then pulled back when called on it: see his speech to the European Parliament in 2016, when he said Israeli rabbis were calling for the poisoning of water wells in the West Bank and then issued a statement saying he’d been misinformed.

Abbas is now presenting Jerusalem as a Christian/Muslim city whose only connection to the Jews is that they are lying about it and defiling it. It has never been clear to me what he expected to gain from such vile statements, because he will never out-Hamas Hamas, never compete with them successfully in hatred of Jews.

President Trump’s statement on Jerusalem was criticized in many quarters as threatening the “peace process.” Reading Abbas’s speech one cannot avoid thinking “what peace process?” If Abbas is the only, indeed best possible, Palestinian partner for peace and these are his views, what chance is there for a successful negotiation? None, I would think. And this conclusion may be widely shared, even in the Arab world. Many have noted the relatively moderate official Arab reaction, and perhaps Mr. Abbas’s speech is his emotional reaction to being abandoned–to his conclusion that Arab leaders have written him off.

That’s speculation. What seems to me less speculative is that the “peace process” is damaged not by decisions like the President’s, which was so carefully worded and explained, but by the kind of language Abbas used. It was inflammatory, false, and anti-Semitic. I do note that the official Palestinian News Agency version of his speech, linked above, omits the worst anti-Semitic passage. But he said it. The omission only proves that even among Palestinians, there is some understanding that you cannot say those things and then hold yourself out as a leader committed to peace and harmonious coexistence.

In rare rebuke, J Street joins AIPAC in panning Abbas over Jerusalem speech

In a rare reproach, the liberal Mideast policy group J Street rapped Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday for his speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which it characterized as “divisive and inflammatory.”

The language mirrored a similar criticism from more hawkish Israel lobbying group AIPAC, which said the Palestinian leader had “set back the cause of peace” with his remarks.

Following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision last week to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — while setting in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv — Abbas on Wednesday urged the international community to roll back its recognition of Israel and said the Palestinians would no longer work with the US and threatened the Palestinians might no longer be bound by commitments agreed to in earlier peace talks.

He also refused to recognize any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“We will tell the Israelis that we are no longer committed to any agreement from Oslo until today,” Abbas threatened. He declared that the PA intended to return to the United Nations to circumvent negotiations and gain full membership.

“If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world,” he said. “They must choose.”

While recognizing the Palestinian leader’s frustration with the Trump administration, J Street said it “rejected” his rhetoric and stated that the Palestinian national movement still needed the United States to advance its agenda.

“The US can and must play a vital and productive role in facilitating negotiations toward a comprehensive two-state solution,” the statement said. “The harmful actions of President Trump can be overturned by future administrations and leaders who understand the value of serious diplomacy and the urgent necessity of resolving this conflict.”

Israel’s leaders atypically quiet after Abbas asserts their state is invalid

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week threatened to cancel his agreements with Israel, appeared to accuse Israel and/or Jews of falsifying history and religion, and asserted that Israel does not meet the criteria for statehood and thus that the international community should reconsider its recognition of Israel.

But while American Jewish groups — including, most unusually, J Street — issued highly critical responses to the PA chief’s address in Istanbul, Israel’s leaders and officials were markedly subdued in their response, apparently preferring not to kick a man when he’s down. Having pocketed the long-coveted American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Jewish state’s leaders may have decided, for a few days at least, not to pour additional salt on Abbas’s wounds.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a relatively mild response to Abbas’s ferocious speech Wednesday at the Organization for Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Extraordinary Islamic Summit,” but his office chose not to directly address some of Abbas’s most incendiary rhetoric, and numerous other Israeli leaders, contacted by The Times of Israel, also chose not to comment. A rare exception was Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who in a written response, castigated Abbas for what she called his “path of lies” and for denying “the Jewish people’s connection to its land.”

Seth Frantzman: Abbas, Fakhri Nashashibi and the legacy of the mufti

More than 75 years after Nashashibi’s death his life is in stark comparison to the words Abbas uttered in Istanbul. The Palestinian Authority president claimed that Jews are fabricating their historical connections to Jerusalem. “They are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Koran they fabricate truth and they try to do that [fabricate] and they believe in that, but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.”

Abbas’s incitement was in front of the representatives of 50 Muslim countries and almost two-dozen Muslim heads of state. Yet at the same time there is supposed to be a peace agreement and east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestine.

The contradictions between Abbas’s rhetoric and the desire for a peace agreement are one of the central problems in the conflict. There are many other challenges as well, such as the inability to disentangle Jewish and Palestinian areas in the West Bank.

But at the heart of the conflict since the 1920s has been a persistent denial of the existence of Jewish history. It has not been a denial shared by all. There were many other chances to embrace a different and more compromising view of history. That history is buried near Salah a-Din Street in east Jerusalem.

It is perhaps not an irony that Fakhri Nashashibi was buried near the street named for the Kurdish sultan Salah a-Din who had amicable relations with Jews. The Jewish sage Maimonides was a court physician to Salah a-Din. If these historical figures could see the abysmal state of affairs in Jerusalem today and the incitement, they would be shocked. They would have been shocked by the speech in Istanbul.

‘Tis the Season to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Does Jewish statehood begin as a result of illegitimate 19th century colonialization? Or the reestablishment of native Jewish communities in a place that the Jewish people have called home, and lived in, for more than 3,000 years?

Why did the Jews of Europe decide to create a Jewish state in the land of Israel? The answer is not the Holocaust. The answer is also not because of the fall of the British Empire.

It is because the Jews are the prototypical aboriginals returning to an ancient homeland. According to historian Martin Gilbert, for more than 1,600 years, the Jews formed the main population of “Palestine.” For much of this time, the land was ruled by independent Hebrew kingdoms under Kind David and his successors. The name Israel was switched to Palestine by the Romans after their conquest — in an attempt to de-Judaize the kingdom.

For centuries, Jews all over the world ended their Passover seder by reciting the words l’shana hahah bireryushalayim –– “next year in Jerusalem.”

These words weren’t written by a Likud government, or by the Trump administration. They were written nearly 1,000 years ago. In fact, in the ancient Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times.

Some people are up in arms over America’s policy “deviation” on Jerusalem. In truth, not only is this declaration in line with the prior US policy dating back to 1995, but also with national Jewish policy, dating thousands of years earlier.

It’s a long overdue Hanukkah miracle.

JPost Poll: Skyrocketing support for Trump among Israelis

At a time when President Donald Trump’s popularity has fallen in his own country, his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and start the process of moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv has significantly increased his support among Israelis, according to a Smith Research poll taken on Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post.

When 500 adults representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population were asked whether the Trump administration is more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian, or neutral, 76% of the respondents said it is more pro-Israel, 2% said more pro-Palestinian, 14% said neutral, and 8% said they had no opinion or did not know.

Among Jewish respondents, 77% said the Trump administration is more pro-Israel, 1% said more pro-Palestinian, 15% said neutral, and 7% said they had no opinion or did not know. Among Arab citizens, 69% said the administration is more pro-Israel.

By contrast, the Smith Research poll taken closest to this point in the presidency of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, found that only 4% of Jewish Israelis considered his administration more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. That poll was taken after Obama, in a speech in Cairo, compared Palestinian suffering to the Holocaust, came to the Middle East without visiting Israel and sparred in the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran.

The poll taken on Wednesday was the fourth conducted by Smith Research about how Israelis view the Trump administration since he was sworn in as president last January. Due to his campaign promises, Jewish Israelis received him warmly, with 79% saying in January that they expected his administration to be more pro-Israel.

Erdogan: Turkey Seeking to Annul Trump Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital at UN

Turkey is launching an initiative at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan was speaking two days after a Muslim leaders meeting in Istanbul condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision, calling on the world to respond by recognizing eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

“We will work for the annulment of this unjust decision firstly at the UN Security Council, and if a veto comes from there, the General Assembly,” Erdogan told crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya via teleconference.

The United States is a permanent Security Council member with veto powers, meaning any move to overturn Washington’s decision at the council would certainly be blocked.

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

Trump’s decision broke with decades of US policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks, leading to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.

Mohammed bin Salman Doesn’t Want to Talk About Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia, the protector of Islam and home to its two holiest sites, is a good place to judge the impact on President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on U.S. interests in the region.

Set aside the reaction of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and their state sponsors in Tehran and Damascus. And the angry responses from the Palestinian Authority and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with its large and boisterous Palestinian population, were certainly to be expected. The real question is how America’s friends one step removed from the circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would react. If there were a place one might reasonably expect to hear Muslims expressing thunderous outrage at the handing of Jerusalem to the Jews, it would be in the corridors of power in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

It didn’t happen.

Last week, I was in Riyadh leading a delegation of more than 50 supporters and fellows of the Middle East think tank I direct. On Wednesday, just hours before the president made his Jerusalem announcement, we spent five hours in meetings with three different Saudi ministers, discussing everything from crises with Yemen, Qatar, and Lebanon, to the kingdom’s ambitious “Vision 2030” reform program, to the possible public offering of the state oil company Aramco.

By this time, the White House had delivered numerous background briefings to foreign diplomats and the media, so the essence of the impending declaration was well known. But despite many opportunities, the word “Jerusalem” was never uttered.

IsraellyCool: The Fight They Should Be Having

It is ironic that the only time an emergency summit is called by the Islamic world, it’s to do with Israel.

When hundreds of thousands of Syrians are murdered, there is only a muted response at best.

When violence soars in Yemen, only quietness is in the air.

Something like 6700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in Myanmar in the last month, but not a word.

But when Donald Trump recognises a 3000-year-old fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, then suddenly the Muslim world explodes in uncontrollable fits of anger and rage!

Jordan’s idiot king, claims ‘palestinian injustice fuels Middle East violence.’

Turkey’s hypocritical leader calls Israel a terrorist state and accuses it of killing children.

The same Turkish leader who happily allowed the Mavi Marmara, a boat filled with many terrorists and no aid, to sail to Israel to cause trouble – which it did,

Kredo: State Department Employing ‘Pretzel Logic’ in Defiance of Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, but the State Department will not recognize that fact on official documents, maps, and passports, saying boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations.

“We’re working with something here I like to refer to as pretzel logic, and it’s something we see from this State Department quite often, especially when it comes to issues like Israel,” Kredo said.

Kredo said hostility toward Israel is deeply embedded at the State Department. His sources told him that career diplomats at the agency strongly opposed Trump’s decision to make the recognition announcement last week.

“The White House really dragged the State Department along on this,” Kredo said, adding that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was forced to call Arab leaders about the announcement.

“Twisting and turning to not actually fully implement the president’s will,” Kredo said of the State Department.

Asked by anchor Liz Wheeler if Tillerson was responsible for bucking Trump’s policy, Kredo said that while he is the one at the top, the anti-Israel sentiment came more from State lawyers and entrenched diplomats.

EU distances itself from Trump with ‘firm commitment’ to 2 states

In an apparent rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, leaders of the 28-nation European Union reiterated Thursday their “firm commitment” to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to their longstanding position that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

The announcement was made by European Council President Donald Tusk, who is presiding over the leaders’ summit in Brussels.

“EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged,” he tweeted.

On Dec. 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced that the U.S. would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The declaration was a sharp departure from decades of U.S. policy, which held that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations.

Malaysia former PM calls Trump a ‘villain’ for Jerusalem plan

Muslim-majority Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday called US President Donald Trump an “international bully” and a “villain” for his move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump last week reversed decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and said the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in the coming years.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

The anger from Trump’s decision “will lead to what is called terrorism”, the 93-year-old Mahathir told a a protest rally in front of the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

PMW: Fatah calls for rage

Since US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel Abbas’ Fatah Movement has encouraged Palestinians to riot and “rage” in several posts on Facebook. The posts have included images of Palestinians with rocks and slingshots, demonstrations and burning tires.

One post quoted a Fatah song that encourages terror:
Posted text: “I am coming towards you, my enemy, from every home, neighborhood, and street
#Jerusalem_is_our_capital”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 11, 2017]

The text is a quote from a song by Fatah exposed by PMW in 2014. The full lyrics promise violence with “cleavers and knives”:
“I’m coming towards you, my enemy, from every house, neighborhood and street
Our war is a war of the streets…
We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives
With grenades we announced a popular war
I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy…”
[Facebook, Fatah – The Main Page, Nov. 22, 2014]

A branch of Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades called for continuation and escalation of “the intifada”:

Gary Lineker, you were duped: Palestinian youths were held in a corridor, not a cage

If anyone should know that one camera angle isn’t enough for a full analysis, it’s Gary Lineker.

But a storm erupted on Twitter on Tuesday after the Match of the Day host shared a video tweeted by Ben White, a notorious activist with a history of vile and intolerant anti-Israel statements.

The video, originally shot by B’tselem, shows Israeli soldiers strong-arming Palestinian youths to a checkpoint, where they were detained.

Mr Lineker’s tweet contained just one word: “Sickening.”

Predictably, outrage followed. Many expressed disgust at the soldiers’ behaviour.

Others, such as prominent international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky, chastised Mr Lineker for sharing content from “an extremist and bigot”.

Hamas calls for another ‘Day of Rage’

The Hamas organization in Judea and Samaria is calling on the Palestinian Arab public to escalate confrontations with the “occupation” and take part in “Day of Rage” activities that will take place on Friday at all points of friction.

A statement issued by Hamas on Thursday said that the Al-Quds Intifada would escalate with all its might and that “the soldiers of the occupation and the villages of its settlers” would pay the price of the attack on Al-Quds, the Palestinians and their holy places.

Mass rallies are scheduled to take place in the large cities in Judea and Samaria immediately after Friday prayers, and from there the crowd is expected to confront IDF troops.

In Gaza, Hamas is organizing a mass rally to take place along the main road of Gaza. Riots are expected there as well.

The rallies are in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement from last week that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Thousands protest Trump in Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin

Thousands of Arab citizens of Israel demonstrated Friday in the northern city of Sakhnin against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with speakers stressing that there will be no peace unless east Jerusalem becomes the capital of an independent Palestine.

Demonstrators, some of whom came from as far away as the Negev, carried Palestinian flags and signs saying “Jerusalem and al-Aksa are a red line” as they made their way through the city streets to municipality square. Mohammed Barakeh, head of the High Follow Up Committee, which is the representative body of Israel’s Arab citizens called on all Arab and Islamic countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Washington to protest Trump’s move.

Raja Zaatry, an official of the Follow Up Committee, quoted Barakeh as telling the crowd: “Jerusalem will not be alone. All the Palestinian people will defend her. The rights of the Palestinian people do not derive from the declarations of American imperialism.”

“There will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” he said.

“We won’t surrender to the threats of the rightist government,” Barakeh said, adding: “the criminals of the government are Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.”

‘Dogs and Americans not allowed’

A store near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho responded to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week with a decidedly unwelcoming gesture to any American passersby.

The store, located in Aqabat Jaber, near Jericho, recently added a sign reading “Dogs and Americans are not allowed to Enter”, aping racist signs of the 20th century, after last Wednesday’s declaration.

Yoav Mordechai, chief of the army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), publicized a photograph of the anti-American sign.

In an Arabic Facebook post, Mordechai slammed the store owners for hanging the sign, saying it was reminiscent of Nazi-era incitement.

“We are shocked, first of all as human beings, and second off as Jews who recall similar signs being put up against our people in stores in Nazi Germany during the 1930s.”

“Residents of Judea and Samaria: Do you understand how serious this is? Wake up! This is more proof that Palestinian incitement is reminiscent of [those] dark days.”

Nazareth to observe most Christmas festivities despite anger over Trump

Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam decided Thursday to keep most Christmas festivities intact despite anger over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Our message is we love Jerusalem, we’ll never abandon you under any circumstances,” he said at a press conference in which he announced that singing performances on outdoor stages that are normally part of Nazareth’s Christmas Market would be canceled.

He termed Trump “wretched” and said the US president had “stabbed” Palestinians with the Jerusalem decision.

But he also noted that “there are commercial interests of the city and we are used to hundreds of thousands coming for this season.”

After the press conference, it was erroneously reported that Salam had canceled the Christmas Market. But, according to the Al-Arab website, the municipality issued a statement denying this. It said that “the cancellation only applies to artistic performances on stages,” and that outdoor stalls would remain, the lighting of the Christmas tree will take place Sunday as scheduled, programs in the Old City will proceed, and a parade will be held on December 23.

“Christmas season in Nazareth is the season of good and blessing and we are completely vigilant that commercial interests won’t be damaged,” the statement said.

Middle East TV Correspondents Prepared for an Armageddon That Didn’t Arrive

Middle East television correspondents donned flak vests, helmets, and other military gear last week in anticipation of a crushing wave of violence and hysteria they were certain would follow President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Experts on the region who uniformly opposed Trump’s move—which the U.S. Senate voted 90-0 in favor of as recently as last summer—predicted utter chaos and essentially called for the U.S. to yield its foreign policy to the veto of a mob.

They might have been more comfortable in their regular clothes. In an unsurprising development, the promised “days of rage” gave us much roaring but comparatively little violence.

While stating a fact and removing a bargaining chip from a non-existent peace process, the Trump administration’s decision didn’t do much to the status quo except to reaffirm the ignorance of the so-called experts.

Jerusalem Marathon sees spike in registration after US declaration

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may have led to a rise in foreign registration to the Jerusalem Marathon, officials say.

Some 100 foreign runners have signed up since Trump’s Dec. 6 declaration, representing some 12% of the overall registration from abroad. Moreover, according to municipality officials, registration from outside Israel is 30% higher than in the equivalent period last year.

The marathon will take place on March 9, 2018. Some 900 runners from 47 countries have registered for the marathon so far, and officials expect the final number of competitors to total some 3,500.

Officials say the number of African participants has increased by some 50% compared to the equivalent period in 2017. The U.S. has led the pack so far, with 123 registered participants, followed by Germany, Poland and China.

The upcoming marathon will comprise six different races, with the over-arching theme being the 70th anniversary of the city’s reunification in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“The marathon generates millions of shekels for the city’s hotels, businesses and its entertainment industry, and is a boon to the livelihood of Jerusalemites,” Mayor Nir Barkat said this week. The marathon is expected to generate some 10 million shekels ($2.8 million) in revenue.



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