Archive for the ‘Jerusalem – status’ category

Paraguay president lands in Israel for Jerusalem embassy opening

May 21, 2018

Paraguay’ President Horacio Cartes (3rd-L) is greeted at Ben Gurion International Airport by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (3rd-R) after landing in Israel to attend the opening of the Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem, on May 20, 2018. (Foreign Ministry)

Horacio Cartes greeted at airport by Likud minister, who thanks him for his ‘brave leadership’; new mission to be inaugurated Monday

By TOI STAFF 20 May 2018, 11:41 pm Times of Israel

Source Link: Paraguay president lands in Israel for Jerusalem embassy opening

{More winning! – LS} 

Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes arrived in Israel Sunday evening ahead of the opening of his country’s embassy in Jerusalem this week.

Cartes was greeted at the airport by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who praised him for moving the Paraguayan embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“I thanked the president for his decision that testifies to the depth of countries’ ties and his brave leadership. Another state leader that chooses truth and strengthens our sovereignty in our capital,” Erdan tweeted.

Paraguay is set to open its new mission in Jerusalem on Monday, making it the third country to do so after the United States and Guatemala opened their embassies in the city last week.

Following the embassy inauguration, Cartes will attend a reception at the Foreign Ministry attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

Last month, Cartes said he wanted to relocate the country’s embassy to Jerusalem before the end of his presidential term in August.

The decision has been controversial in Paraguay. It comes less than two months before Mario Abdo Benitez replaces Cartes, and the president-elect has said he wasn’t consulted.

Israel claims the entire city as its eternal capital. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as their future capital and have been infuriated by the embassy moves.

Most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv and have balked at moving them until the international legal status of the city has been resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

In addition to the US, Guatemala and Paraguay, a number of other countries have expressed interest in moving their embassies to Israel, among them Honduras, the Czech Republic and Romania.

US President Donald Trump bucked longstanding international consensus with his December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, when he also announced he would move the embassy to the city.

In a video message shown at Monday’s embassy inauguration, Trump said his recognition was of the “plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem,” noting that the city houses Israel’s main governmental facilities, Supreme Court, Prime Minister’s Office and president’s home.

He also stressed that the US remains committed to facilitating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and called for Israel to preserve the status quo at religious sites in Jerusalem.


People watch as US President Donald Trump speaks in a prerecorded video shown at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

AP contributed to this report.

IT’S OFFICIAL: First ‘US Embassy’ Road Signs Go Up In Jerusalem

May 7, 2018

Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter 12:02 PM 05/07/2018 The Daily Caller

Source Link: IT’S OFFICIAL: First ‘US Embassy’ Road Signs Go Up In Jerusalem

{A sign of the times. – LS}

Israel put up the first “U.S. Embassy” road signs in its capital of Jerusalem Monday morning, weeks after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Israel’s capital.

The signs read in English, Hebrew, and Arabic and were put in place one week before the U.S. officially transfers its embassy to the city, Reuters reported Monday. The U.S. had technically recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for decades, but past presidents put off transferring the embassy from Tel Aviv to placate the Palestinian contingent.

“This is not a dream. It is reality. I am proud and moved to have hung this morning the first new signs that were prepared for the U.S. Embassy,” wrote Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Twitter.

The Palestinian Authority continues to be enraged by the move, however, claiming it severely threatens any hope of lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

“This [embassy] move is not only illegal but will also thwart the achievement of a just and lasting peace between two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 borders, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

The U.S. hopes there is still a possibility for peace, however. Israel has made repeated offers of a two-state solution, once even offering to internationalize Jerusalem, but the Palestinians rejected them.

“By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we’re recognizing reality,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week. “I also stress, as President Trump has said in December, the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiations between the parties, and we remain committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future for both Israel and the Palestinians.”

 

 

Abbas’ ultimatum to Trump: Choose between a Palestinian Jerusalem or war

January 17, 2018

Abbas’ ultimatum to Trump: Choose between a Palestinian Jerusalem or war, DEBKAfile, January 17, 2018

(Please see also, Did Abbas just give his valedictory speech, blaming everyone for his failures? — DM)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) speaks during a meeting with members of the Central Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 14, 2018. Photo by Flash90

The Palestinian leader finds himself tied down by two handicaps: shortage of funds for buying supporters and his advanced age. At 82, he may choose a fourth option, to retire voluntarily and make way for a younger leader.

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Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas kicked back hard after grasping he was confronted with an orderly, Arab-backed US peace plan that left his strategy in ruins.

Abbas now sees he is cornered by his nemesis: Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, was not just a one-off whim, but a component of the “deal of the century,” which the US president and his advisers had crafted for months together with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman and the UAE ruler Sheikh Muhammed Bin Ziyad.

The Palestinian leader’s first predicament was how to explain to the Palestinian and Arab public what happened to his master strategy of the past 25 years, for using world opinion to force a pro-Palestinian peace solution down Israel’s throat. Not too long ago, Abbas boasted he was about to pull it off. Now it is crashing before his eyes. It is not enough for him to yell that the “deal of the century” is the “slap of the century.”

Here and there, he may find international pro-Palestinian stalwarts, but the doors are slamming shut as funds for UN bodies and NGOs dry up. Even the Europeans, who dislike Trump and sympathize with the Palestinians, are beginning to think twice about sticking to a blunt line against the US and Israel. They are reluctant to buck the two allies’ partners, the oil-rich Saudi and Emirate rulers, a luxury they can ill afford in these times of profound economic decline.

Much of the criticism of the US-Arab peace plan is prompted by a misapprehension. The plan is based strongly on a two-state solution that offers the Palestinians their own state and negates binational Israeli-Palestinian statehood. But the contours are different from any former peace proposal. Gone for good are the pre-1967 war lines which were Abbas’ sine qua non. According to the fragments leaked about the new proposal, which is still on the work bench, this Palestinian state would rise on territory currently governed by the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. Its backbone would be formed by the chain of Palestinian towns running from Nablus in the north through Ramallah and Bethlehem and up to Hebron in the south. They would link up with the Gaza Strip and acquire parts of northern Sinai, presumably Egyptian Rafah and El Arish.

According to this plan, the governmental and population of the new Palestinian state would be oriented mainly in the south, so that Jerusalem would not be relevant as its capital. It would still have Ramallah and possibly Abu Dis, outside Jerusalem, where government and parliamentary compounds were installed long ago, after one of several stillborn peace initiatives.

This plan for Palestinian statehood bears little resemblance to the goal of the 50-year old Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian national movement has consistently aspired to a state that would swallow Israel and extinguish the Zionist vision. However, the contemporary Palestinian state as envisaged in the new plan would be dependent for its strength and survival on Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, all of which maintain good security and economic ties with Israel.

For Mahmoud Abbas this prospect is anathema. He is so beside himself that on Sunday, he cursed the house of US President Donald Trump before the PLO central committee. But, then on Monday, Jan. 16, Trump whipped out his ultimate weapon and slashed aid to the UN Works and Relief Agency for Palestinian refugees, from $165m to $60m.

For many years, UNWRA has been a powerful political sponsor of any Palestinian group willing to join the “struggle” against Israel. Its personnel were flush with the funds paid in as dues by UN members, unlike the often cash-strapped Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Trump therefore decided that the key to getting the US-Arab peace plan on its feet would be to cut off the flow of cash to its opponents. It is a little-known fact that he was joined in this endeavor by the Saudis, the Emiratis and even Qatar, all of whom started some weeks ago to staunch aid funds to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas therefore find they are being squeezed into an US-Arab blockade, which leaves Abbas with three options:

  1. To realize his back is to the wall and he has no option other than to accept the “deal of the century.”
  2. Face being ousted by the rest of the Palestinian leadership and replaced with a successor who is amenable to reaching an understanding with the Trump administration, Cairo, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
  3. Regress to Yasser Arafat’s doctrine of armed struggle – not just against Israel this time but against US targets as well. Abbas indicated that was on the warpath when he challenged President Trump in a ferocious speech he delivered in Cairo Wednesday, Jan 17. He shouted, “Jerusalem would be a gate for peace only when it was the capital of Palestine. But it is also a gate for war, insecurity and instability, if not. Trump must choose.”

His barefaced ultimatum to the US president was accompanied by a rumor his cronies began to circulate, charging that the Trump administration was plotting to forcibly depose Abbas as PA chairman. The Palestinian leader finds himself tied down by two handicaps: shortage of funds for buying supporters and his advanced age. At 82, he may choose a fourth option, to retire voluntarily and make way for a younger leader.

Egypt quietly urges Palestinians to accept Ramallah as capital

January 7, 2018

Egypt quietly urges Palestinians to accept Ramallah as capital, DEBKAfile, January 7, 2018

Cairo has tacitly accepted Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. An Egyptian intelligence officer Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi is recorded in four audios of telephone calls to Arab media as asking: “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?”  Palestinians should content themselves with Ramallah, he said. “Like all our Arab brothers, Egypt would denounce in public” President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but strife with Israel is not in Egypt’s interest and the Arabs must accept it.

The end of an era

January 4, 2018

The end of an era, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, January 3, 2018

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

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In the late 1990s, author and political commentator Fouad Ajami published his book “The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey,” in which he laid out the failures in the worldviews of Arab leaders and their self-criticism as the reason for their lack of achievement.

Two decades later, as 2017 was drawing to a close, the Palestinians’ dream palace sustained three serious blows in quick succession. First, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was followed by the Likud Central Committee’s decision to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley. Finally, the Knesset passed a law that removes the teeth from any future peace deal involving Jerusalem (by requiring a special majority of 80 MKs to vote in favor of handing any part of the city over to any foreign government).

If the Palestinians were to look at them in a sober light, they would see that the U.N. resolutions that followed Trump’s announcement were meaningless. In light of the continuing historic drama that began with the landmark Balfour Declaration, the U.N. resolutions condemning Trump’s announcement carried no operative significance and merely served as a faint echo of the detached institution’s fading anti-Israelism.

The latest provocations from Hamas are not a lust for battle, but an expression of how desperate and lost – operatively, politically, and ideologically – the organization is. This beaten and battered group made an immense investment in missiles and attack tunnels, at a heavy cost to its people. These have become a pointless burden. Hamas is currently in a political situation in which the world is sick of Islamism, and the entities that aid and abet it (Qatar, Iran, and Turkey) are bogged down in their own domestic troubles.

The Palestinian Authority is at the end of an era. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying fruitlessly to use a diplomatic atmosphere that is hostile to Israel to wring concessions out of it, while simultaneously avoiding direct negotiations with Israel or recognizing it as a Jewish state. The PA is wasting time trying to paint Israel as an apartheid state through a South Africa-style boycott movement, while continuing to coordinate on security because it is afraid of Hamas.

The Israeli convoy is moving on while the PA is gritting its teeth over absurd demands (Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees), not realizing the effect the processes at work in the world are having on their delusional dreams. Indeed, Islamist terrorism, the Iranian threat, the breakdown of many countries in the region, the masses of Muslim refugees into sinking Europe, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – these are the factors that have sidelined the Palestinian problem, which was never the cause of the regional unrest.

As these developments take place, Abbas is claiming that the U.S. is sponsoring an Israeli strategy to eradicate the Palestinians and their irrefutable right to kill off the peace process. A range of voices in Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas – responded to Trump’s declaration and Israel’s decision about Jerusalem and the settlements with the language of a declaration of war that demands that they revoke any recognition of Israel and the peace process and resume resistance (the armed struggle).

Most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are waking up. The sparsely attended “days of rage” Hamas and the PA initiated over the issue of Jerusalem signal a disappointing finale because the city used to be an issue that would light up both the Palestinians and Arab nations.

The Gazans are sick of Hamas, and in Judea and Samaria they are tired of the corruption in the PA, and once again an interim government devoted to economic issues that would have Israel’s blessing is being discussed. Some reject the militant candidates for Abbas’ position (Majid Faraj and Mohammed Dahlan) as representatives of the same old organizational approach and would prefer Salam Fayyad, who has already proven his ability to make the vision of a flourishing Palestinian society a reality. That might work well for us.

No friend of Israel

December 27, 2017

No friend of Israel, Israel Hayom, Eldad Beck, December 27, 2017

(Might the substantial and increasing Islamisation of “multicultural” Germany be a factor in German hostility to Israel? — DM)

The time has come to reveal the true face of Germany, a country that wages a relentless struggle against Israel in both EU and U.N. institutions at the same time that it claims Israel’s existence and security are integral to its national interests. Germany is Europe’s single largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, but it has never once thought to demand the Palestinians do something for peace in return for all the money it provides, like put an end to the violence and the anti-Semitic incitement. While this should be obvious given Germany’s history, it seems it is not so crystal clear to Berlin. Germany prefers to put pressure on Israel only, by funding radical organizations that slander the Jewish state around the world.

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Around two weeks ago, and mere days after U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin was opened at the Jewish Museum. Spanning over 1,000 square feet, the “Welcome to Jerusalem” exhibit is huge and includes hundreds of displays and exhibits.

One would have expected this type of exhibit at such an important Jewish museum to emphasize Jerusalem’s unique character as the holiest city in Judaism and also possibly focus a bit on the historical narrative of Zionism and the State of Israel. Such an exhibit could also have presented, in a balanced manner of course, the different religions that coexist in the city in spite of the ongoing conflict. But regrettably, the exhibit does nothing of the sort, but rather serves to strengthen the theory of Muslim-Arab-Palestinian ownership of the city, mainly through a biased presentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A historical documentary about the conflict, one of the exhibit’s highlights, portrays Jews as domineering invaders. It notes the massacres and terrorist acts committed by Jewish paramilitary organizations while completely ignoring those same acts when they were carried out by Arab organizations at the behest of Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini; completely ignores the Arab revolt of the 1930s and Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis; presents a fairly long segment from an interview with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from the early years of his leadership, in which the then-PLO chief explains that the Palestinians have no choice but to take up arms; and repeats the theory according to which the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is what led to the disintegration of the peace process, as well as the proven lie that then-Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon’s 2000 visit to the Temple Mount sparked the Second Intifada. In short, according to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Jews are bad while the Arabs are victims.

Could one have really expected a different approach from a Jewish museum that, as part of its permanent exhibits, presents Israel as part of the “Diaspora” of German Jewry along with images of left-wing German Jews protesting against Israel? One of the curators of the Jerusalem exhibit is Cilly Kugelmann, a former vice director of the Jewish Museum whose post-Zionist views helped turn the museum into a center of activity for those who negate Israel’s existence. It is important to note that the Jewish Museum does not have ties with the local Jewish community and is financed by public funds, meaning the German establishment could influence the content on display and use the museum to relay a message. In fact, that is exactly what it is doing: The Jewish Museum serves the German establishment in its conscious struggle against Israel under the guise of a supposedly Jewish body.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital served to reveal Germany’s hypocrisy as far as concerns its ties with the Jewish state: Last week, Germany voted in favor of a U.N. resolution submitted by Turkey and Yemen that called U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.” Germany, along with the other great nations of the European Union, betrayed its alliance with the United States and Israel in order to align with the world’s most unsavory regimes in negating the Jewish state’s right to determine that its capital is in Jerusalem, the most sacred city to Jews.

The time has come to reveal the true face of Germany, a country that wages a relentless struggle against Israel in both EU and U.N. institutions at the same time that it claims Israel’s existence and security are integral to its national interests. Germany is Europe’s single largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, but it has never once thought to demand the Palestinians do something for peace in return for all the money it provides, like put an end to the violence and the anti-Semitic incitement. While this should be obvious given Germany’s history, it seems it is not so crystal clear to Berlin. Germany prefers to put pressure on Israel only, by funding radical organizations that slander the Jewish state around the world.

Unfortunately, Germany is no friend of Israel. That is at least as long as its current policies remain in place.

O! Jerusalem

December 26, 2017

O! Jerusalem, Israel National News, Rabbi Berel Wein, December 26, 2017

The city of Jerusalem itself is thriving as perhaps never before in its long and turbulent history. The population is at an all-time high and every neighborhood in the city is experiencing new construction and refurbishment. The light rail system has proven to be a success and the good old green Egged buses are still plying their routes more or less in an orderly fashion and on a scheduled timeline. 

The city has enjoyed an economic upturn and its government has improved many of the services, quietly and without boastful fanfare. The Arab citizens of Jerusalem – they are a little more than 30% of the population here – enjoy a standard of living and opportunity unmatched anywhere else in the Middle East.

Yet, this means nothing regarding the attitude of much of the world as far as Israel and Jerusalem is concerned

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The Jewish people and the world generally were witness this past week to yet another fulfillment of a biblical prophecy. The prophet said that a day will come when all of the nations – or at least a sizable portion of them – will attack Jerusalem and attempt to dislodge the Jewish people from their capital city and its holy environs. 128 nations voted for a UN General Assembly resolution denying the right of Israel and the Jewish people to claim Jerusalem as its capital. 

Among the nations that voted for this resolution were the usual culprits – dictators, slaveholders, warmongers and many others of this ilk. And naturally the hypocritical democracies of Europe never have been able to overcome their anti-Jewish bias, developed over centuries of persecution and discrimination against Jews also supported this nefarious resolution.

There were countries, led by the United States of America, who voted against the resolution and spoke up about its bias and impracticality. In the long view of history those nations who defended Jewish rights eventually were blessed for their wisdom and kindness. The United States of America is the world’s leading democracy and with all of its warts and faults remains a shining beacon of fairness and opportunity for individuals all over the world. 

Supporting Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is just simply choosing right over wrong and realistic history over illusory plans and policies. The United States committed its error in supporting an anti-Israel resolution last year under the Obama administration. And it made good on its policy of long-standing to protect Israel from these continued efforts by the United Nations to undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

There is no use arguing this matter logically or even realistically. It matters little to the world that Jerusalem, for the first time in many centuries, is free for worship to all faiths and peoples. It also matters little that Israel has all of its government offices located in Jerusalem and that Israel as a sovereign nation has long chosen Jerusalem to be its capital. None of this matters because it is not so much that the world wants Jerusalem – after all it was a wasteland and backwater location for many centuries whether under Christian or Moslem rule – it is simply that the world does not want the Jews to have Jerusalem.

There is absolutely no logical explanation for this position but there it is anyway. The terrible virus of anti-Semitism affects all attitudes and positions regarding the state of Israel and certainly regarding Jerusalem. I certainly agree that there are religious difficulties for both the Christian and Moslem worlds regarding the status of Jerusalem as being a Jewish city and the capital of the state of Israel. However just as portions of the Christian clergy and Moslem nations have learned to live with the reality of the existence of the state of Israel – itself a religious difficulty to the theology of these faiths – so too I am confident that they will be able to adjust to the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state. Reality eventually affects beliefs and previously held opinions, even those that were once represented as being sacred and immutable.

The city of Jerusalem itself is thriving as perhaps never before in its long and turbulent history. The population is at an all-time high and every neighborhood in the city is experiencing new construction and refurbishment. The light rail system has proven to be a success and the good old green Egged buses are still plying their routes more or less in an orderly fashion and on a scheduled timeline.

The city has enjoyed an economic upturn and its government has improved many of the services, quietly and without boastful fanfare. The Arab citizens of Jerusalem – they are a little more than 30% of the population here – enjoy a standard of living and opportunity unmatched anywhere else in the Middle East.

Yet, this means nothing regarding the attitude of much of the world as far as Israel and Jerusalem is concerned.

The United Nations resolution, shameful as it is, is nevertheless nonbinding and non-enforceable. It is another one of the paper propaganda victories that the Palestinian Authority revels in, which brings them no closer to a state of their own, which by now most of us suspect they really don’t want anyway.

Jerusalem was supposed to be a bargaining chip to extract greater concessions from Israel on any final agreement. Somehow that chip may now be lost and no longer in play.

The Palestinian grinch that stole Christmas once again

December 25, 2017

The Palestinian grinch that stole Christmas once again | Anne’s Opinions, 24th December 2017

The Palestinian Authority has a nasty habit of taking out its rage against Israel on its Christian citizens. They have done it before and this year the Palestinian grinch is stealing Christmas once again, as Lahav Harkov explains:

It came as no surprise that the Palestinian leadership responded angrily to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the obvious reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

But beyond the usual “day of rage,” rockets shot at Israeli preschools and firebombs thrown at passing Israeli civilians’ cars, the Palestinian Authority decided to make like the Grinch and steal Christmas, only proving that Trump was right not to fold to the whims of the side that has a pattern of violating religious freedoms, when it comes to a city holy to three religions.

Bethlehem, thought to be Jesus’ birthplace, and Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital, turned off their Christmas lights within an hour of Trump’s announcement.

Business is slow in Bethlehem

In Nazareth, the town where Jesus is thought to have grown up, now the largest Arab city in Israel, the Muslim mayor scaled back Christmas celebrations in identification with the Palestinians.

And ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence’s planned visit to Jerusalem this week, now postponed, Adeeb Joudeh, the Muslim man whose family has held the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for generations, announced that he wouldn’t let Pence, a devout Evangelical Christian, enter.

This tactic of protesting by denying Christians their Christmas celebrations reaffirms that Trump did the right thing in declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital, and for his administration to say last Friday that it envisions the Western Wall within Israeli Jerusalem in a final-status deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claims that he is a defender of Christian Arabs in areas under his control. He repeatedly said that Jerusalem is a Muslim and Christian – but not Jewish – holy city in his speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation last week.

But the Palestinians’ track record, even before putting a damper on Christmas this year, should leave Christians skeptical.

In 1950, the Christian population of the Bethlehem area was 86%, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Today, it’s only 12%, and Christians are only 2% of the Palestinian population, even though they were more than twice that a generation ago. The situation in Gaza, controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, is even worse. When Hamas took control in 2006, there were 6,000 Christians, and as of a year ago, there were 1,100. In Israel, the Christian population has stayed mostly stable at around 2%, growing by about 5,000 in the past 20 years.

Christians have been fleeing Palestinian-controlled territories, and it’s easy to understand why, in light of their systemic abuse. In 2002, terrorists affiliated with Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat raided and trashed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, holding monks hostage in the church, leading to a standoff with the Israeli Army. One of the Palestinian leaders of the raid later said they chose the church as a combat base intentionally in order to put make Israel look bad.

In Gaza, Palestinian Christians have been murdered for their faith, including Rami Ayad, a leader of the Gaza Baptist Church and the manager of the area’s only Christian bookstore. The church has been commandeered by Hamas for combat, because it’s one of the tallest buildings in Gaza City.

After all that, the Palestinian leadership still claims that they are the best choice to control Christian holy sites.

Since Israel liberated the Old City in 1967, people of all religions are free to visit and worship in Jerusalem’s holy sites. This follows the verse in Isaiah used in Jewish prayers that says God’s “House,” meaning the Temple, “will be called a House of prayer for all nations.”

In fact the only religious discrimination in Jerusalem is that faced by the Jews!

The exception is the Temple Mount, which, while under Israeli sovereignty, is administered by an Islamic Trust, as a condition of Israel and Jordan’s peace treaty. Non-Muslims are prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount, even though the site is holy for all three major monotheistic religions. The rule is strictly enforced, and people have been thrown out for violating it.

The solution is obvious – obvious to anyone except the UN and its warped institutions:

No matter what the city will eventually look like, all of the above is overwhelming evidence that Israel is the right choice to control the heart of Jerusalem – the Old City – because only Israel is willing to protect the religious freedom of Jews, Christians and Muslims who call it holy.

RJ Streets, blogging at Israellycool, provides a poignant look at Bethlehem under the diktats of Mahmoud Abbas and his decision to cancel Christmas in protest at Trump, comparing it to last year’s celebrations:

Business was reported slow last year. It must be even slower so far this year, with calls for protests before Christmas in Bethlehem, using Jerusalem as the latest excuse.

And listen to the voice of Jonathan Elkhoury, an Israeli Christian, who tells us the truth about the treatment of Christians in Israel and under the Palestinian Authority:

Last minute update: The Nazareth festivities have been reinstated due to public pressure:

Let’s just keep in mind the sequence of events:

The Muslim Palestinians are angry at the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, i.e. the Jewish capital. So in revenge, they cancel Christmas.

They don’t cancel Ramadan or Eid. They don’t cancel Chanukah. They cancel Christmas. Because Jews. Or because America. Or because they are bigoted supremacist supercessionists. Take your pick. Any one of the above, or all, are correct.

 

The UN has its own day of rage over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

December 24, 2017

The UN has its own day of rage over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration | Anne’s Opinions, 21st December 2017

The UN continued its shameful tradition vis-à-vis Israel with an emergency session held yesterday in order to denounce Trump’s declaration of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and demanding that the US rescind the President’s decree.

Outrageously and absurdly, it was Yemen who called for the debate on the grounds that the declarations “threatens peace”. This is Yemen which is embroiled in a civil war with tens of thousands of casualties, not to mention massive human rights violations. I guess they would know what peace looks like?

Ahead of the debate US Ambassador Nikki Haley responded to the UN in kind, issuing threats of “taking names” of those who will vote against the US, in order to reconsider the aid that the US gives them:

She was given full support by Donald Trump:

“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, for all those nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said, commenting on US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s statement to UN member states in which she warned of possible retaliation should they support a resolution criticizing Washington’s decision.

And then the debate and the vote took place – and it was more shameful and outrageous (there’s that word again. I just can’t help it when it comes to the UN) than I expected. Here is the final tally:

Final tally of votes at UN debate on Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

I am disgusted at the United Kingdom, but despite Theresa May’s pro-Israel reputation the Foreign Office does not fully represent her views. And maybe her reputation is not as well-deserved as we think. I expected no better from Germany and France, but it was interesting that the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary chose to abstain rather than vote with the EU block, as well as Latvia and Romania.

Australia and Canada, traditionally two of Israel’s strongest Western allies, hardly covered themselves in glory when they abstained – which is almost as bad as a vote in favour of the resolution.

As to the action on the floor itself, here are some of the speeches against the resolution.

Here is Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon, and I am pleased that he mentioned the outrageous (again) UN Security council Resolution 2334, which was NOT vetoed at the behest of former President Barack Obama, which denounced all Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria and denied any Jewish connection to those areas and to Jerusalem. Here are some highlights:

Addressing the General Assembly, Ambassador Danny Danon harshly criticized the countries supporting the resolution at the urging of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“Those who support today’s resolution are like puppets pulled by the strings of the Palestinian puppet masters,” said Ambassador Danon. “You are like marionettes forced to dance while the Palestinian leadership looks on with glee.”

Danon noted the recent rocket attacks from Gaza and went on to say that “violence and terror must never be tolerated.” He pointed out that “if this body were really united for peace, it would pass a resolution condemning Palestinian violence.”

Earlier in his address, Ambassador Danon displayed a coin from the year 67 CE that was minted during the Jewish revolt against the Romans. Replicas of the coin had been distributed to the UN ambassadors before the vote.

“On this coin is written ‘Freedom of Zion,’ Danon said. “It proves the ancient connection of Jews to Jerusalem. No UNESCO declaration, no empty speeches, no General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem.”

But the star of the show was no doubt the US’s intrepid Ambassador Nikki Haley. here is the full text of her speech before the vote:

Thank you, Mr. President. In this meeting, I will not use Council’s time to address where a sovereign nation might decide to put its embassy, and why we have every right to do so. I will address a more appropriate and urgent concern.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of Resolution 2334. On that day, in this Council, in December 2016, the United States elected to abstain, allowing the measure to pass. Now it’s one year and a new administration later. Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2334, I can say with complete confidence that the United States would vote “no.” We would exercise our veto power. The reasons why are very relevant to the cause of peace in the Middle East.

On the surface, Resolution 2334 described Israeli settlements as impediments to peace. Reasonable people can disagree about that, and in fact, over the years the United States has expressed criticism of Israeli settlement policies many times.

But in truth, it was Resolution 2334 itself that was an impediment to peace. This Security Council put the negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians further out of reach by injecting itself, yet again, in between the two parties to the conflict.

By misplacing the blame for the failure of peace efforts squarely on the Israeli settlements, the resolution gave a pass to Palestinian leaders who for many years rejected one peace proposal after another. It also gave them encouragement to avoid negotiations in the future. It refused to acknowledge the legacy of failed negotiations unrelated to settlements. And the Council passed judgment on issues that must be decided in direct negotiations between the parties.

If the United Nations’ history in the peace efforts proves anything, it is that talking in New York cannot take the place of face-to-face negotiations between the regional parties. It only sets back the cause of peace, not advance it.

As if to make this very point, Resolution 2334 demanded a halt to all Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem – even in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. This is something that no responsible person or country would ever expect Israel would do. And in this way, Resolution 2334 did what President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel did not do: It prejudged issues that should be left in final status negotiations.

Given the chance today, the United States would veto Resolution 2334 for another reason. It gave new life to an ugly creation of the Human Rights Council: the database of companies operating in Jewish communities. This is an effort to create a blacklist, plain and simple. It is yet another obstacle to a negotiated peace. It is a stain on America’s conscience that we gave the so-called BDS movement momentum by allowing the passage of Resolution 2334.

To the United Nations’ shame, this has been a disproportionately hostile place for the Middle East’s most enduring democracy.

The United States refuses to accept the double standard that says we are not impartial when we stand by the will of the American people by moving our US embassy, but somehow the United Nations is a neutral party when it consistently singles out Israel for condemnation.

For decades, Israel has withstood wave after wave of bias in the UN and its agencies. The United States has often stood beside Israel. We did not on December 23, 2016. We will not make that mistake again.

This week marks the one year anniversary of a significant setback for Middle East peace. But the United States has an undiminished commitment to helping bring about final status negotiations that will lead to lasting peace.

Our hand remains extended to both parties. We call on all countries that share this commitment to learn the hard lessons of the past and work to bring Israel and the Palestinian people in good faith to the peace table.

Thank you, very much.

The United States exercised its veto (which it refused to do with Resolution 2334) in order to defeat the resolution. Ms. Haley explained the reason for the veto (at the same link above, scroll down the page):

Here is the full text of her speech: (scroll down the page to the second half):

Thank you, Mr. President.

I have been the proud Representative of the United States at the United Nations for nearly a year now. This is the first time I have exercised the American right to veto a resolution in the Security Council. The exercise of the veto is not something the United States does often. We have not done it in more than six years. We do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance.

The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.

As I pointed out when we discussed this topic 10 days ago, I will once again note the features of the President’s announcement on Jerusalem that are most relevant here. The President took great care not to prejudge final status negotiations in any way, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. That remains a subject to be negotiated only by the parties. That position is fully in line with the previous Security Council resolutions.

The President was also careful to state that we support the status quo regarding Jerusalem’s holy sites, and we support a two-state solution if that’s what the parties agree to. Again, these positions are fully consistent with the previous Security Council resolutions.

It is highly regrettable that some are trying to distort the President’s position to serve their own agendas.

What is troublesome to some people is not that the United States has harmed the peace process – we have, in fact, done no such thing. Rather, what is troublesome to some people is that the United States had the courage and honesty to recognize a fundamental reality. Jerusalem has been the political, cultural, and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people for thousands of years. They have had no other capital city. But the United States’ recognition of the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital and seat of the modern Israeli government – is too much for some.

First, some have threatened violence on the street, as if violence would somehow improve the prospects of peace.

Now today, buried in diplomatic jargon, some presume to tell America where to put our embassy. The United States’ has a sovereign right to determine where and whether we establish an embassy. I suspect very few Member States would welcome Security Council pronouncements about their sovereign decisions. And I think of some who should fear it.

It’s worth noting that this is not a new American position. Back in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was the American President, the Security Council voted on Resolution 478, which called upon diplomatic missions to relocate from Jerusalem. The United States did not support Resolution 478.

In his remarks, then-Secretary of State Ed Muskie said the following: “The draft resolution before us today is illustrative of a preoccupation which has produced this series of unbalanced and unrealistic texts on Middle East issues.”

Specifically, regarding the provision on diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, Secretary Muskie said this: “In our judgment, this provision is not binding. It is without force. And we reject it as a disruptive attempt to dictate to other nations. It does nothing to promote a resolution of the difficult problems facing Israel and its neighbors. It does nothing to advance the cause of peace.”

That was in 1980. It is equally true today. The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy.

Buried even deeper in the jargon of this resolution is the accusation that the United States is setting back the prospects of peace in the Middle East. That is a scandalous charge. Those who are making it should consider that it only harms the very Palestinian people they claim to speak for. What does it gain the Palestinian people for their leaders to throw up roadblocks to negotiations?

A “peace process” that is damaged by the simple recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is not a peace process; it is a justification for an endless stalemate. What does it gain the Palestinian people for some of their leaders to accuse the United States of being hostile to the cause of peace? It gains them nothing, but it risks costing them a great deal.

The United States has done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people. By far. Since 1994, we have given over $5 billion to the Palestinians in bilateral economic assistance, security assistance, and humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees operates schools and medical facilities throughout the region. It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. Last year, the United States voluntarily funded almost 30 percent of UNRWA’s budget. That’s more than the next two largest donors combined. And it’s vastly more than some of the members of this Council that have considerable financial resources of their own.

I’ll be blunt: When the American people see a group of countries whose total contributions to the Palestinian people is less than one percent of UNRWA’s budget – when they see these countries accuse the United States of being insufficiently committed to peace – the American people lose their patience.

I have been to the Palestinian refugee camps the United States supports with their contributions. I have met with men, women, and children. I have advocated on their behalf. I can tell you that their leaders do them no favors by being more open to abandoning peace negotiations than to doing the hard work of seeing them to completion.

The United States has never been more committed to peace in the Middle East. We were committed to it before the President announced our recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and we’re committed to it today.

What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Today, for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly. Today, for acknowledging a basic truth about the capital city of Israel, we are accused of harming peace. The record will reflect that we reject that outrageous claim.

For these reasons, and with the best interests of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people firmly in mind, the United States votes no on this resolution.

Thank you.

Israel will remain eternally grateful to the United States, led by President Donald Trump and so excellently represented by Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Here is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanking the US for its support:

And Danny Danon reminded us of another shameful and outrageous resolution 42 years ago: the equating of Zionism with racism. Just as that resolution was rescinded 16 years later, so too will all these other shameful debates and resolutions end up in the trash can.

How do you say “Kill the Jews” in Swedish?

December 17, 2017

How do you say “Kill the Jews” in Swedish?, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, December 16, 2017

The most impressive aspect of what happened in Sweden in the past week is not that there are people shouting anti-Semitic slogans, but that the Swedish authorities not only were unable to protect the Jewish minority, but often sided with those who would like to “shoot the Jews”.

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Last weekend, after the just US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, anti-Jewish slogans were hurled at the American embassy in London and under the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. But it is in Sweden that anti-Semitism has shown its most chilling face.

Molotov cocktails were launched against a synagogue in Gothenburg, while a group of Jewish boys barricaded themselves in the adjacent Jewish center. A few hours later, Israeli flags were burned in Stockholm. In Malmö, the third largest city in the country, hundreds of people gathered to scream “we will shoot the Jews”. The next day, more Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish chapel in Malmö.

Swedish police increased security around Jewish community buildings after these events that shocked the country. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has condemned “incitement to violence against Jews”. But the fact is that even Swedish parliamentarians (who defend themselves by saying that they did not understand the slogans in Arabic) took part in a rally in which “death to the Jews” was shouted casts a sinister light on Swedish social democracy.

Jews in Sweden are fearful and Jewish parents are afraid to leave their children at Jewish kindergartens. They are afraid to go to the synagogue and there are many people who are puttig away their Stars of David because they are too afraid to wear them. Expressing public support for Israel can be dangerous, but the police do not always provide adequate protection for pro-Israel events. During a demonstration in Malmö, the small crowd of supporters of Israel was forced to abandon the event after the police were unable to prevent thousands of Palestinian supporters from attacking and rushing toward the group.

Following the attack in Gothenburg, some observers, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, linked the incidents to the Swedish government’s hostile attitude towards Israel. In 2014, Sweden became the first member state of the European Union to recognize the “State of Palestine”. More recently, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was criticized by Israel for suggesting that the motivation of the terrorist attacks in Paris, during which Islamic terrorists killed 130 people, stemmed from the frustration of the Palestinians. Hanif Bali, a member of parliament for the Moderate Party, the largest opposition party, received a myriad of hate letters because of his open support for Israel.

A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Eurabia is a place in Sweden”. And it will only become worse. In recent days, the Pew Forum explained that, depending on migratory flows, Sweden will have between a 20 to 30 percent Islamic population within thirty years. In that scenario, the slogan “Itbah al Yahud” (slaughter the Jew) is likely to become a soundtrack in the clumsy Scandinavian social democracy.

The most impressive aspect of what happened in Sweden in the past week is not that there are people shouting anti-Semitic slogans, but that the Swedish authorities not only were unable to protect the Jewish minority, but often sided with those who would like to “shoot the Jews”.