BREAKING NEWS: Netanyahu Out And Naftali In As Israel’s Prime Minister |The Republican News

Naftali Bennet and Benyamin Netanyahu

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday.

Israel’s Knesset has voted for a fragile eight-party coalition, replacing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in the top post.

Israeli lawmakers on Sunday passed a vote of confidence for a coalition government that will end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power.

The coalition is comprised of bitter ideological rivals, united by their will to oust Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader.

Naftali Bennett will replace his former ally Netanyahu as prime minister.

Israeli Knesset elected Mickey Levy of the Yesh Atid Party — a coalition member — to house speaker.

Key moments from the Knesset special session

Emotions ran high during the Knesset special session on Sunday with both Bennett and Netanyahu speaking through raucous boos from some lawmakers.

Naftali Bennett promised that the coalition “represents all of Israel.”

He said that the coalition government would open a new chapter in the relationship between the state and Israel’s Arab citizens, reported Israeli media outlet Haaretz.

He thanked Netanyahu for the role he played in this process.AFP


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Assassination Of Iran Nuclear Scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh ‘Was Mossad’s Finest Work’ |The Republican News

Iran Nuclear Scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

It was the IRGC that was entrusted with the protection of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who Iran used to claim was a university researcher but who official obituaries said was a brigadier-general high up in the defence ministry. Israel believes he headed the military arm of the nuclear programme, overseeing the research needed to fit a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile.
Critical voices within the Iranian establishment, including a government spokesman, have already claimed that Mr Fakhrizadeh’s security team had been warned of a plot against his life, with details of when it would take place.

The more sophisticated the plot and the weapons that killed Mr Fakhrizadeh, the less culpable the IRGC might seem. What is certain is that in the early afternoon of Friday, November 27, the brigadier was in a Nissan Teana car with his wife, driving with a protection detail to his home in the town of Absard, 50 miles from Tehran. The convoy took the eastern approach to Absard, a picturesque resort between mountain ranges and home to a number of Iran’s elite, along highway 79, the Firuzkuh Road. It took the looped exit slipway and turned south into town.
According to the initial accounts, a pick-up truck parked on the opposite side of the dual carriageway exploded with great force, bringing the convoy to a stop and sending debris flying 300 yards away. A gunfight followed, led by five or six men who got out of a vehicle parked by the motorcade’s side of the carriageway.

“As soon as the explosion ended, shooting started,” a lorry driver who witnessed the incident said on state television. “They were shooting from both sides. Then I saw one man lying on the road and shooting at me. I put my lorry in reverse gear.”
Another account, by Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, a close friend of Mr Fakhrizadeh and a fellow nuclear scientist — who himself was injured in an assassination attempt in 2010 — gave more detail, presumably based on what he was told by officials. He said that two snipers and four other gunmen began the operation from a Hyundai Santa Fe. Four other men on motorcycles were also involved, he said.
It was not clear exactly where Mr Fakhrizadeh was killed. His sons, Hamed and Mehdi, said he died in his wife’s arms on the roadside. One version claimed he had got out of the car, perhaps at the sound of the initial explosion, to see what was happening.
More in keeping with Mossad’s methods would be that an assassin ran to the door, pulled him out to check his identity, and shot him twice, to make sure. One picture from the scene showed blood on the road.
Mehdi Fakhrizadeh said that his father was shot from about four or five yards away. His spinal cord was severed. Hamed Fakhrizadeh, the other son, arrived at the scene shortly after, describing it as a “war zone”.
Their mother gave an interview to state television within hours, but was vague on details. She was covered by her chador and it was not clear whether she had been injured. A friend said she had minor wounds and that she had described bullets flying overhead “from left and right”.
Early accounts said that a bodyguard, Hamed Asghari, had been shot four times after throwing himself in front of Mr Fakhrizadeh. Other sources say three bodyguards were killed.
The “official version” began to change two days later, when regime- affiliated news agencies published claims that a “remote-controlled gun” planted on the pick-up truck played a part. More strange details followed: the gun was controlled by satellite and contained elements of artificial intelligence, enabling it to zoom in on Mr Fakhrizadeh, which was presumably a reference to facial recognition technology.
The first mention of the remote-controlled gun came from the Fars news agency, which picked up an account by Javad Mogouyi, an IRGC film-maker who was a friend of one of the bodyguards, and who posted a story on Instagram. He talked of a 12-strong team carrying out the assassination.
However, Fars added that a gun on the pick-up opened fire before the explosives detonated, a claim elaborated by a succession of senior officials over the coming days, including Ali Shamkhani, secretary to the national security council. “The operation was a very complicated operation and was carried out by using electronic devices,” Mr Shamkhani said on the Monday. “No individual was present at the site.”
The final touch, the satellite-controlled artificial intelligence capacity, was added this week by Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the IRGC.
The idea of robot machineguns sounds like science fiction but is already science fact, so Mr Mogouyi’s account is to some extent credible. Israel uses remote-mounted machineguns to guard its border fence with Gaza, and they are said to have been responsible for a number of deaths.
The technology is also deployed in tanks, including British ones, to control turrets. Rafael, an Israeli manufacturer, makes a machinegun version. It is radio-operated from near by, however, rather than via satellite. Arms experts say that while weapons can be controlled by satellite — drones being the most obvious example — the signal transmission time would make such a system unwieldy for a ground-level assassination’s split-second precision.

“There’s a lag that makes it difficult to actually control a system with this level of accuracy,” said Arthur Holland Michel, an artificial intelligence specialist with the UN’s Institute for Disarmament Research. He said all the technical elements of the weapon described by Rear-Admiral Fadavi existed, but were not known to have been brought together into a single system. Facial recognition technology is also not fully reliable. Israel is said to have set Mossad a condition for its covert assassination programme that the risk of “collateral damage”, even to targets’ families, should be minimised.

As shown by the survival of Mrs Fakhrizadeh, this condition was observed. Would the Israelis rely on an experimental weapon for a high-stakes, moving target? “Even if you had these competencies and you managed to put them all together, I still can’t see a world where this is the method that is most likely to succeed,” Mr Holland Michel said. “There are other, more certain ways of killing.”
The Iranian version was met with derision within the Israeli intelligence community, and on social media inside Iran. Israel will not confirm, beyond a few hints, that it was behind the assassination, but one intelligence official who spoke to The Times was prepared to speak “hypothetically” about the assassination. “A large number of operatives are involved in such an operation,” the official said. “It wouldn’t make sense after carrying out all the stages to locate the target’s whereabouts and schedule and scouting out the location, not to have people on the ground to ensure he was indeed dead.

“It’s obvious that the Iranians are extremely embarrassed that such a complex operation was carried out deep within their territory, so they’re trying to make it sound like some kind of science fiction or James Bond film. Meanwhile, they’re still trying to work out how their security was breached so badly. Heads will roll, without a doubt.”
Iran’s leaders are said to be divided over whether to retaliate or to await the inauguration of President Biden, who wants to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, making its scientists less of a target.
One unanswered question is whether the US had approved the assassination. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is reported to have flown to Saudi Arabia for an unprecedented joint meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, the weekend before the killing.
It is highly probable that the CIA had an idea of what was about to happen. It may even have supplied logistical support, but it is highly unlikely that such a sensitive operation would be discussed at such a meeting, for reasons of operational security.
Iran’s scientists, for their part, may be keeping a closer eye on their own operational security from now on.
The Times UK

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Archaeologists Excited By Discovery Of 3,000-yr-old Sculpture But No Idea Who It Represents

a close up of a statue        © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

A 3,000-year-old sculpture has proven to be a mystery for researchers who have no idea whose face it depicts.

The 5cm figurine was discovered in 2017 in a site called Abel Beth Maacah, which sits just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon.

Apart from a missing beard and chipped nose, the Old Testament-era sculpture is in excellent condition. However, archaeologists are unsure about who it is supposed to represent.

“This location is very important because it suggests that the site may have shifted hands between these politics, more likely between Aram-Damascus and Israel,” Hebrew University archaeologist Naama Yahalom-Mack told The Guardian, adding that the sculpture has a “very interesting hairdo”, which is similar to the way ancient Egyptians depicted Near Eastern peoples in their art.

After being found by a volunteer digging at the site, curators at the Israel Museum made the uncommon move to put the piece on display almost immediately.

Eran Arie, the museum’s curator of iron age and Persian archaeology, said of the discovery: “In the iron age, if there’s any figurative art, and there largely isn’t, it’s of very low quality. And this is of exquisite quality.”

Ms Yahalom-Mack made some educated guesses as to who the man is, suggesting it could be either Ahab or Jehu of Israel, Ithobaal or Hazael of Damascus, or even Ben Hadad.

However, she was quick to point out that “we’re only guessing here”.

As the sculpture is only a head, archaeologists now plan to continue digging in the site to see if it was part of a larger piece.

The archaeology community made another incredible discovery this week when researchers in China found the oldest footprints on Earth in the Yangtze Gorges which they believe are 550 million years old.


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Roman Abramovich Becomes An Israeli Citizen Leaving UK Behind, Buys £17.1m Mansion In Tel Aviv

By Raf Sanchez
Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea football club in 2003, though his attendance at home matches has fallen in recent years. © Getty Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea football club in 2003, though his attendance at home matches has fallen in recent years.  

Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, has become an Israeli citizen just a month after the UK delayed renewal of his British visa amid diplomatic tension between London and Moscow.

Mr Abramovich, who is Jewish, exercised his right under Israel’s Law of Return, which states that Jews from anywhere in the world can become Israeli citizens.

The Russian oligarch, who is worth an estimated £8.6 billion, instantly became Israel’s wealthiest person after receiving his citizenship on Monday.

The 51-year-old had been travelling in and out of the UK for years on a Tier-1 investor visa, designed for wealthy foreigners who invest at least £2 million in Britain. He applied to renew the visa in April but did not immediately receive approval from the Home Office.

a man standing next to a ramp           © Provided by The Telegraph  

It is not clear if the UK decided to reject his application permanently but a source familiar with the matter told the Daily Telegraph that the renewal process was taking an unusually long time.

Mr Abramovich is believed to have returned to Russia after his visa expired and he did not attend Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup on May 20.

The UK government has suggested it would take a harder line on Russian oligarchs in Britain following the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. The government has accused Russia of being behind the attack.

It is not clear if there is a direct link between the UK’s moves on Russian oligarchs and Mr Abramovich’s visa.

Roman Abramovich smiling for the camera            © Provided by The Telegraph  

Mr Abramovich’s private G650 jet touched down in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday and he was immediately granted Israeli citizenship.

A spokesman for the Israeli interior ministry said he applied at the Israeli embassy in Moscow and was found eligible for citizenship after proving his Jewish heritage.

“He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the Law of Return, and he was indeed found eligible,” the spokesman told Israel’s Channel 10 news.

Mr Abramovich previously purchased a £17.1 mansion in Tel Aviv’s upmarket Neve Tzedek neighbourhood. The house was a former hotel and Mr Abramovich bought it from the husband of Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who starred in Wonderwoman.           (The Telegraph)

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Israel/Palestine: Pope Francis Calls For Two-State Solution |The Republican News

Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Monday to call for a negotiated two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after U.S. President Donald Trump stoked regional tensions with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Francis spoke of the Middle East conflict and other world flashpoints in his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) address, four days after more than 120 countries backed a U.N. resolution urging the United States to reverse its decision on Jerusalem.

“Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders,” he said, referring to the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said in his address, delivered from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to tens of thousands of people.

It was the second time that the pope has spoken out publicly about Jerusalem since Trump’s decision on Dec. 6. On that day, Francis called for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, lest new tensions in the Middle East further inflame world conflicts.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its “united and eternal” capital.

Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urged people to see the defenseless baby Jesus in the children who suffer the most from war, migration and natural calamities caused by man today.

“Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world … Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, ‘there is no place in the inn,’” he said.

Francis, celebrating the fifth Christmas of his pontificate, said he had seen Jesus in the children he met during his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, and he called for adequate protection of the dignity of minority groups in that region.

More than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled mainly Buddhist Myanmar to Bangladesh in recent months. The pope had to tread a delicate diplomatic line during his visit, avoiding the word “Rohingya” while in Myanmar, which does not recognize them as a minority group, though he used the term when in Bangladesh.

“Jesus knows well the pain of not being welcomed and how hard it is not to have a place to lay one’s head. May our hearts not be closed as they were in the homes of Bethlehem,” he said.

He also urged the world to see Jesus in the innocent children suffering from wars in Syria and Iraq and also in Yemen, complaining that its people had been “largely forgotten, with serious humanitarian implications for its people, who suffer from hunger and the spread of diseases”.   (The Sun)

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UN Says Trump Budget Cuts Would ‘Make It Impossible’ To Do Its Job – New York Times

APTOPIX Israel United Nations

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the U.S. allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

The United Nations said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts would “simply make it impossible” for the global organization to maintain essential operations.

The statement, by a United Nations spokesman, added to the growing criticism of a budget submission for the 2018 fiscal year that would reduce funding of the State Department by roughly a third and cut foreign assistance by about 29 percent.

The spending proposal, which was released on Tuesday, would reduce American financial support for the United Nations, including for its peacekeeping operations and international aid programs. The United States is the organization’s biggest single donor.

“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres, said in response to queries about the budget proposal.

Republicans and Democrats have criticized the proposed budget’s cuts to foreign assistance, saying that such reductions would undercut national security and send the wrong message about American generosity as humanitarian crises are escalating in the Middle East and Africa.

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has said the United States wants the United Nations to use American taxpayer money more efficiently.

But she has also expressed opposition to what she has called a slash-and-burn approach to budget reductions and has suggested that final allocations will not be as austere as what has been proposed.

“I was a governor; I had to do an executive budget,” Ms. Haley said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal during a visit to the Middle East this week. “What an executive budget is is the start of a conversation.”

Mr. Dujarric acknowledged that the “budgetary process in the U.S. is complex and lengthy, and it needs to be completed.”

He also said, “We are indeed very grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organization’s largest financial contributor.”

The United States contributes 22 percent of the United Nations’ core operating budget of $5.4 billion. That share is set by an international agreement and is based on the size of the American economy. The United States has also been a leading provider of aid to United Nations organizations that rely on voluntary contributions.

Twenty-eight percent of the United Nations’ peacekeeping budget of nearly $8 billion has been paid by the United States. The Trump administration’s budget proposal would reduce the American portion to about 25 percent.  (New York Times)

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Israel PM, Netanyahu Calls UN ‘House Of Lies’ Rejects Vote On Jerusalem |RN

Wade Massey

Just a few hours before the UN General Assembly vote against the USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital “regardless of whether the UN recognizes it or not”.

Turkey and Yemen requested the meeting after an Egyptian draft resolution against the recognition was presented to the Security Council and was vetoed by the United States, although the 14 other members of the council voted for it.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft. “Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem“.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

“The State of Israel rejects this vote out of hand even before it was approved”, he added.

In the run-up to Thursday’s vote, Israeli diplomats stationed overseas made strenuous efforts to get as many countries as possible to oppose or abstain on the resolution.

“The attitude to Israel of many nations in the world, in all the continents, is changing outside of the UN walls, and will eventually filter into the UN as well – the house of lies”, he said.

The prime minister, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, has long argued that Israel’s diplomatic relations are flourishing due to the Jewish state’s technological and security prowess.

Netanyahu’s remarks, particularly his “house of lies” line, were met with instant ridicule on social media, with users pointed out the absurdity of a state founded thanks to a United Nations mandate slamming the worldwide body. “It won’t be forgotten”, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said after the vote.

“Ultimately, the truth will prevail”, he declared, speaking in English.

Unlike the UN’s 15-member Security Council, the US does not have veto power in the General Assembly. “Well, we’re watching those votes”.

With time ticking until the beginning of a UN General Assembly vote on a proposal to urge Washington to scrap its Jerusalem declaration, Tel Aviv has stepped up its rhetoric. (234VibesNews)

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United Nations Vote 128-9 To Denounce US Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital |RN

APTOPIX Israel United Nations

United Nations

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.

The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington’s threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 were absent.

The resolution reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he completely rejects the “preposterous” resolution.

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour called the vote a victory not only for the Palestinians but for the United Nations and international law, saying U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley “failed miserably” in persuading only seven countries aside from the U.S. and Israel to vote against the resolution.

“And they used unprecedented tactics, unheard of in the diplomatic work at the U.N., including blackmail and extortion,” he said.

The United States and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the measure, with Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the U.S. Trump went further, threatening a funding cutoff: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

But in the end, major U.S. aid recipients including Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa supported the resolution. Egypt received roughly $1.4 billion in U.S. aid this year, and Jordan about $1.3 billion.

The nine countries voting “no” were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo. Among the abstentions were Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Mexico.

The absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close U.S. ties.

The U.S. is scheduled to dispense $25.8 billion in foreign aid for 2018. Whether Trump follows through with his threat against those who voted “yes” remains to be seen.

After the vote, Haley tweeted a photo naming the 65 nations that voted no, abstained or were absent, and said: “We appreciate these countries for not falling to the irresponsible ways of the UN.”

But within hours, the Trump administration appeared to be backing away from its funding threats. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said cuts to countries that opposed the U.S. are not a foregone conclusion.

“The president’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward with other nations,” Nauert said. “However, no decisions have been made.”

During the debate, Arab, Islamic and non-aligned nations urged a “yes” vote on the resolution, which was sponsored by Yemen and Turkey.

Yemeni Ambassador Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany warned that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem undermines any chance for peace in the Mideast and “serves to fan the fires of violence and extremism.”

He called Trump’s action “a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations, and all Muslims and Christians of the world,” and “a dangerous violation and breach of international law.”

On Wednesday, Trump complained that Americans are tired of being taken advantage of by countries that take billions of dollars and then vote against the U.S. Haley echoed his words in her speech to the packed assembly chamber, threatening not only member states with funding cuts, but the United Nations itself.

Haley said the vote will make no difference in U.S. plans to move the American Embassy, but it “will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N., and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N.”

“And this vote will be remembered,” she warned.

Trump’s pressure tactics had raised the stakes at Thursday’s emergency meeting and triggered accusations from the Muslim world of U.S. bullying and blackmail.

“It is unethical to think that the votes and dignity of member states are for sale,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “We will not be intimidated! You can be strong but this does not make you right!”

The Palestinians and their supporters sought the General Assembly vote after the U.S. on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other U.N. Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem.

The resolution adopted by the assembly has language similar to the defeated measure.

It “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.”


Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Joe Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Source: Associated Press

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Protests Erupt In Middle East After Donald Trump Declares Jerusalem Capital Of Israel

Tom Powell

                           (Provided by: Reuters)

Protests have erupted across the Middle East after Donald Trump made the historic and highly controversial move to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In a ground-breaking speech at the White House, the president ended decades of US neutrality on Jerusalem and promised to relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The move sparked fury among Palestinians, who immediately took to the streets in protest at a decision that they claim shatters hopes for peace in the war-torn region.

Jerusalem is regarded as a capital by both Israel and Palestine, making it the highly combustible centre of the decades-long Israeli-Arab conflict.

a group of people sitting at night: an136620567istanbul-turkey-.jpg   © Provided by Independent Print Limited an136620567istanbul-turkey-.jpg

Defying worldwide warnings, Mr Trump insisted that after repeated peace failures it was time for a new approach.

“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” he said.

Following the speech, Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – areas occupied by Israel – began protests by burning flags, pictures and chanting anti-American slogans.

In Gaza – the thin coastal strip cut off by Israel – groups were also pictured setting fire to American flags.

an136614787epa06372508-prot.jpg   © Provided by Independent Print Limited an136614787epa06372508-prot.jpg  

In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Christmas tree lights were switched off in protest outside the Church of the Nativity, seen by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus.

Protesters also took to the streets in Amman, the capital of neighbouring Jordan, where Palestinian refugees in the Baqqa refugee camp denounced Mr Trump’s actions. Similar displays were seen in Egypt’s capital Cairo.

Meanwhile, Palestinian factions agreed to a general strike and midday rallies on Thursday.

a group of people standing around a fire                      © Provided by Independent Print Limited  

The Palestinian education ministry declared a day off and urged teachers as well as high school and university students to take part in the planned rallies in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Palestinian areas in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in praise of Mr Trump’s speech, but no other world government lent its support.

Palestinians burn an Israeli and a U.S. flag during a protest against the U.S. intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City.                        Protesters react to Trump’s Jerusalem decision  

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US shift is a boost for extremist groups that want religious war and signals American withdrawal from being a peace mediator.

Theresa May she disagreed with the move and described Mr Trump’s actions as “unhelpful”.

She said: “Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.”

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including occupied Palestinian territory, is a reckless threat to peace.

“The British Government must condemn this dangerous act and work for a just and viable settlement of the conflict.”   (Evening Standard)

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Trump To Move US Embassy In Tel Aviv To Jerusalem |The Republican News


The official Palestinian news agency says President Donald Trump informed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of his plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.

The WAFA agency says Trump informed Abbas of his decision in a phone call Tuesday.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh says Abbas warned Trump of the dangers of such a decision to Mideast peace efforts as well as security and stability in the region and the world.

The statement did not say if Trump told Abbas when he plans to move the embassy.

The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and have warned they would halt contacts with Washington if Trump makes unilateral decisions about the status of the city.

Jerusalem, home to key Muslim, Christian and Jewish shrines, is the combustible centerpiece of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

(Source: AP)

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