Advertisements
Image

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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

Wade Massey
Donald-Trump-Benjamin-Netanyahu

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

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

donald-trump1

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)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Muslim Nations Call For Summit If Trump Recognises Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital |RN

Jerusalem

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Monday called for a summit of Muslim nations if the United States takes the controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week over Jerusalem’s status, potentially reversing years of US policy and prompting a furious response from the Palestinians and the Arab world.

The 57-member OIC sought to amplify concern over the possible move in an emergency meeting on Monday in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

“If the United States takes the step of recognising Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel, we unanimously recommend holding a meeting at the level of council of foreign ministers, followed by an Islamic summit as soon as possible,” the pan-Islamic body said in a statement.

The OIC also warned that recognising Jerusalem or establishing any diplomatic mission in the disputed city would be seen as a “blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations.”

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Most of the international community, including the United States, does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through final-status negotiations.

Central to the issue of recognition is the question of whether Trump decides to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

All foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv with consular representation in Jerusalem.

Israelis and Palestinians are eagerly watching to see whether he again renews a waiver delaying the move, as his predecessors have done.

There are suggestions that Trump will sign the waiver and decline to move the embassy for now, but later this week declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel, which seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claims both halves of the city as its “eternal and undivided capital”.

But the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their promised state and fiercely oppose any Israeli attempt to extend sovereignty there.

Several peace plans have come unstuck over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee the city’s sites holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims. (AFP)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: