Examples of continuous Israeli harassment/murder of Palestinians

Moscow is alarmed that Washington’s step "poses a risk for the Palestinian-Israeli relations and for the entire region".

Russia at UN urges to re-launch process of Israeli-Palestinian settlement

Russia has called to relaunch urgently a "meaningful political process" in order to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by establishing separate states for two nations, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzya said on Friday.

The UN Security Council had convened an emergency session following the US’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Moscow is alarmed that Washington’s step "poses a risk for the Palestinian-Israeli relations and for the entire region," Nebenzya said.

According to the Russian ambassador, "under the current circumstances, it is more important than ever to relaunch a meaningful political process so as to find a final and sustainable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of a two-state decision."

Nebenzya pointed out that "in this sense the Quartet of International Mediators will remain as a unique mediation mechanism."

Israel praised America's decision to call Jerusalem capital and displays 'ancient coin' to justify its claim.

US stands alone as world condemns embassy move to Jerusalem at UN

After two hours of speeches, the emergency UN Security Council session has ended with the majority of members siding with Palestine as America continues to stand-alone in its decision to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Holding an "ancient coin" in the UN Security Council chamber to justify its claim to Jerusalem, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon used his address to praise America for its actions.

"No UN vote can alter this historical fact. This council had the audacity or the chutzpah (to say) that Israel's presence on the Western wall has no legal validity and that it holds a flagrant violation of international law," Danon told the session.

He also criticized the international condemnation America has faced since its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and scolded the UN for "being responsible for one historical wrong after the other."

Meanwhile, Riyad Mansour, Palestine's UN ambassador, described Jerusalem as being the "red-line" and that "there can be no solution if there is no just solution to Jerusalem."

Before beginning his remarks in English, Mansour used the opportunity to praise Palestinians who had "resisted the Israeli occupation."

He added: "Our rights and resolutions. I thank those who call for the US administration to stop it's illegal and provocative decision which has no meaning except pleasing the occupying power of Israel.

"Israel has never been recognized as a sovereign over Jerusalem. Its status remains unresolved and continues to be a final status discussion."

'Common sense to move embassy' - US ambassador Nikki Haley described Trump's decision to move the embassy as "common sense" and that "change is hard."

Haley justified her comment on the basis of the majority of Israel's major government bodies being based in Jerusalem.

"For nearly 70 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel. The American people are less patient," Haley told the UN session.

"In 1995 the US Congress voted that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel and that the embassy should be moved."

Haley was confident that America continued to have the confidence of both sides and cited past agreements where the White House lawn was the venue for past agreements between both sides.

Hundreds injured, one dead - The emergency session came as hundreds were injured during clashes across the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 300 people were injured during the clashes, with many suffering from rubber bullet wounds.

Some gained injuries after choking from tear gas inhalation and being hit by tear-gas canisters.

A 30-year-old Palestinian man, Mahmoud al-Masry, died in the Southern Gaza city of Khan Younis after inflicting injuries from rubber bullet wounds during clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Neither the Palestinian President nor the US Vice President has confirmed the information so far.

Palestine's Abbas Reportedly Refuses to Meet Pence: 'US Crossed All Red Lines'

The Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, won't hold a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence later this month following Donald Trump's policy toward Jerusalem, an Abbas aide Majdi al-Khaldi told AFP news agency Saturday.

"The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision," the aide said.

Commenting on the media reports, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf told Sputnik, "Undoubtedly, the US delegations are not welcome throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, and vice president Pence too. After this decision [to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital] there are no negotiations with the United States, it can be considered a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and leadership."

Palestinian President Will not Meet Pence: His Adviser Confirms

One of Egypt’s top Muslim leaders, the Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque, today rejected a meeting requested by US Vice President Mike Pence in protest against an American decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Al-Azhar said in a statement today.

Al-Azhar Sheikh rejects meeting with US official over Jerusalem

Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb had rejected a request from the United States for Pence to meet him on 20 December at Al-Azhar saying President Donald Trump must reverse his decision on Jerusalem.

Yesterday, a senior Palestinian official in President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah party said Pence “is unwelcome in Palestine”.

“In the name of Fatah I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian Territories. He asked to meet [Abbas] on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place,” Jibril Rajoub said.

Following Rajoub’s announcement, the White House warned the PA against cancelling the meetings, warning it of the repercussions.

Netanyahu is set to visit Paris and meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday amid a global uproar after US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Hundreds Protest in Paris Against Netanyahu's Upcoming Visit to France (PHOTOS)

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Paris in support of the Palestinians ahead of the upcoming arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a “working lunch” with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"Boycott Israel," "Third Intifada," the demonstrators, who gathered in Paris, chanted, while carrying Palestinian flags.

The US president's intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked criticism all across the world, with representatives of the international community fearing that the move could fuel the situation in the Middle East.

Turkey, France Plan to Make Trump Change His Decision on Jerusalem - Reports

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held phone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, during which the parties discussed Washington's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Turkish NTV news channel reported.

According to the media source, Erdogan told Macron that the international community should protect the historical status of Jerusalem, with the parties reportedly having agreed to cooperate in the area in order to convince US President Donald Trump to change his decision on the issue.

A member of the Palestine Liberation Organization has commented on Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, as well as Russia's efforts in the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Former Rivals Hamas, Fatah United Against Trump's Move on Jerusalem - PLO Member

The Palestinian Hamas and Fatah movements have united to stand against the decision of US President Donald Trump to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Wasel Abu Yousef, told Sputnik Saturday.

"We are now united to stand against the occupation government and the decision of the US on Jerusalem. We confirm as the Palestinian movements […] that Jerusalem is the internal capital of Palestine," the official said.

When asked about the issue of carrying out the third intifada uprising against Israel by Palestinians, Yusuf said, "The issue is open, the Palestinian people will not remain silent, as well as the Arab community, the Islamic community and its peoples, the Christian world too. There are Muslim and Christian shrines in Jerusalem… Any action related to this city can be considered playing with fire."

The statement comes after the Israeli air force struck four locations in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas on Friday.

Israel Strike Kills 2 Palestinians - Gaza Strip Officials (PHOTO)

Two Palestinian fighters have been killed in Israeli airstrikes of the Gaza Strip, a local Health Ministry official told Sputnik Saturday.

"Ambulance brigades took the bodies of two fighters out from under the ruins of the Badr military installation south of Gaza, which was attacked by Israeli bombers at dawn," the representative said.

Following the statement, the Israeli military said that the country's air force launched a fresh airstrike in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, targeting four Hamas facilities, including two arms manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound.

According to the latest data provided by the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 25 people have been injured as a result of the airstrike. At the same time, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported Friday that six children were among the injured.

An Israeli air strike on Gaza Strip killed two people on Saturday, injured several others.

Zionist Air Strike on Gaza Kills Four People

Among the martyrs was the child, Imad Ashqian, in addition to the injury of 25 Palestinians, including children, by the Israeli shelling on the northern strip.

Another strike on a resistance base in Nusseirat in the central Gaza Strip, one of several in the early hours, led to the martyrdom of two Qassam Brigades resistance fighters.

The Zionist strikes were in retaliation to two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday evening which fell in open areas near “Ovakim” without causing any injuries.

The Zionist crimes came amid protests across the Palestinian territories against US President Donald Trump’s blatant recognition of Al-Quds as the Zionist entity’s capital.

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari described Washington’s move to recognize al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israel’s capital as a “historic mistake”, saying the holy city will be the burying place for the fake Zionist entity.

Quds to Be Burying Place for Zionist Regime: IRGC Chief

“The United States and Zionist regime committed their most historic mistake … and, with the grace of God, Quds will become the burying place for the fake Israeli regime,” Major General Jafari said Saturday.

He also criticized certain regional countries for having connived in the move, saying “we know that this decision is the result of behind-the-scene consultations, agreements and coordination (of the US) with some Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and they had been aware of the issue since a few months ago.”

The Saudi regime is making attempts to make sure Muslims’ stances against the US’s new crime remain limited to words and statements, he added.

The IRGC commander further said such moves by the US and Israel are preludes to attempts at destroying al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that Muslims must stand up against the inauspicious plot straightaway.

... Israel has occupied East Quds since the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in 1980 and sees it as its exclusive domain. Under international law, the area is considered to be occupied territory.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant decided on Friday to promote a plan to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied city, Quds Press has reported. Israeli media added that 7,000 settlement units are expected to be approved this week. All of Israel’s Jew-only settlements are illegal under international law.

Israel plans 14,000 new settlement units in occupied Jerusalem Sat. December 9, 2017

“Following Trump’s historical recognition,” Galant told Israeli television, “I decided to increase building in a number of Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods [settlements].”

On Wednesday evening, Trump announced his decision to recognise that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that he had directed the State Department to work on moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing so, he has adopted the Israeli narrative that the holy city is its “undivided capital”, which is another clear violation of international law.

Israel occupied the western part of Jerusalem in 1948 and the eastern part in 1967. It annexed the eastern part in the early 1980s. The international community still looks at East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestine state.

World leaders have condemned Trump’s move and stressed that the issue of Jerusalem should be resolved as a final status agreement.

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper released $2.2 million to support health, food and livelihood program in the Gaza Strip amid Israeli strikes against the besieged enclave in the wake of the US president's decision to announce Jerusalem (al-Quds) as the Israeli “capital”.

UN Official Releases Funds to Enable Aid Programs in Gaza amid Israeli Strikes

According to a news release by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the allocation authorized Friday by Robert Piper will also enable essential and life-saving child and maternal health interventions, including the provision of incubators and phototherapy equipment to neonatal intensive care units and intensive care units in Gaza hospitals.

With each day that passes without improvement, hopes diminish and frustrations rise. We must summon the resources and political will to bring change to Gaza,” said Piper in the news release.

“In spite of political movement towards Palestinian reconciliation in recent months, most of the measures adopted by the Palestinian Authority since March 2017, which triggered the latest deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, are yet to be reversed,” he added.

It will enable the most vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip to immediately access fresh and nutritious local food through the provision of six-month fresh food vouchers for families falling below the deep poverty line, with insufficient or no access to means of assistance and with limited capacity to meet their households' basic food needs.

It will also support livelihoods and improved food security of farmers to overcome the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip, through provision of solar power systems and agricultural supplies.

The allocation came after Israeli forces fired artillery shells at a checkpoint belonging to Palestinian resistance forces in the northeast of the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, on Friday night.

An Israeli jet also targeted a group of resistance fighters in the east of Beit Hanoun, the Palestinian Information Center said, adding that they survived the air strike.

Palestinian sources said Israel also carried out an air strike on the town of Beit Lahia.

Three Israeli rockets were fired at Shaikh Zayed area in northern Gaza.

Palestinian Health Ministry said that 25 Palestinians, including six children, were injured in the attacks.

Tel Aviv claimed that Palestinian resistance forces had fired a number of rockets at an Israeli military position.

Hundreds gathered in front of the White House on Friday to protest President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem (al-Quds) as the “capital” of Israel.

Protests Erupt in Washington, NY in Reaction to Trump’s Al-Quds Decision (+Photos)

The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organizations, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Jews United Against Zionism took their grievances to the US Capitol.

"This decision exposes what we have been saying for a long time that there is no such a thing as a peace process," well-known US-based Muslim scholar, Omer Suleiman told Anadolu Agency.

"If we are to initiate an honest peace process then the American government has been anything but an honest broker."

However, the fault largely lies on Muslim leaders and Arab leaders, Suleiman said, adding that some of those Arab leaders have secretly aided the Israeli occupation while some have given permission "behind closed doors".

On Wednesday, Trump announced US recognition of al-Quds as Israel’s capital as well as plans to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The controversial decision has angered Muslims throughout the world.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss and his followers from Jews United Against Zionism were among those who participated in the demonstration.

While Muslims performed Friday prayer in front of the White House, Rabbi Weiss and his companions held banners reading, “Torah true Jews in Jerusalem and Worldwide condemn the aggression in Al-Aqsa and the occupation of Palestine” and “Judaism rejects Zionism and the state of Israel”.

"This decision on Jerusalem will make everything worse," Rabbi Weiss said.

Protestors chanted against Israel and Trump's decision on Jerusalem, carried banners reading, “Stop the occupation in Palestine now”, “Jerusalem belongs to Palestinians” and "We reject Trump's decision". The event ended without conflict.

"Today we gathered here to protest Trump's decision, declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel," Naem Baeg, Director of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) interfaith programs said.

Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators also marched in Times Square, New York.

Demonstrators chanted against Israel and Trump's decision, shouting "Free, Free Palestine, Long live Palestine," while carrying banners reading, "This is unacceptable, Palestine will be free,” “Israel is a terrorist, Palestine is free” and "We reject Trump's decision". The event ended without conflict.

During the massive demonstration under intense security measures, the New York police had to warn some demonstrators to stay in the designated areas.
A second "March of Shame" over the course of 7 days has been held in Israel at a time when " the flags of Israel and the US are being torched," as described by the ruling party.

Tens of Thousands of Israeli Protesters Demand Netanyahu's Resignation (PHOTO)

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to protest alleged government corruption, calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.

The protest dubbed "March of Shame" was part of a series events that were held in other Israeli cities, all sparked by corruption allegations against Netanyahu, with the previous rally being held last week.

People held banners and shouted slogans against the prime minister, who has been suspected of being involved in bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Some of the protesters also denounced Tel Aviv's policies.

Following the protests, the ruling Likud party issued a statement, claiming that such protests divided the nation at a time, when " the flags of Israel and the US are being torched," speaking about anti-Israeli protests across the Arab world.

The Zionist war minister Avigdor Lieberman stated on Sunday that the Palestinians dwelling in the territories occupied in 1984 must be boycott by the Israelis due to their participation in protests against US Jerusalem recognition.

Lieberman Provokes Zionists to Expel Palestinians from Territories Occupied in 1948

“The Palestinians here must feel that they are unwanted and that they must move to Ramallah.”

“They also must remember that we restrained Gaza by force and restored calmness and stability to it,” he said, hinting at the Zionist war on Gaza in 2014.

At a time when it appears that almost the entire developed world has refuted a recent White House claim of support for the highly-disputed location of Israel’s capital city, one of the world’s most prominent global organizations has chimed in, asserting its refutation of the deeply unpopular Washington move.

Just Say No: UN Rejects White House Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

The White House, isolated during a special United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting following an announcement by the administration of US President Donald Trump supporting Israel's claim that Jerusalem must be Israel's — and no other's — capital city, now has additional pushback from the UN.

"The status of Jerusalem must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians leading to a final status agreement," stated the five European member nations of the UNSC — including permanent members France and the UK — in a statement following an emergency meeting on the Trump declaration of support.

In pointing out that the EU has "a clear and united position: we believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two States, and with Jerusalem as the capital of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine," the five Europe-based members of the UNSC indicated that the European Union will not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem, according to The Hindu.

A group of masked people has reportedly firebombed a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

Jewish Agency for Israel Alarmed Over Growing Anti-Semitic Sentiment in Sweden

The Israeli defense forces have demolished two tunnels leading to the country from Gaza Strip within the last 1.5 months.

Israeli Army Destroys Tunnel From Gaza Strip

The Israeli Defense Forces have discovered and destroyed another terrorist tunnel today, coming from the area of Khan Yunis in the central part of the Gaza Strip a few hundred meters into Israeli territory," Israel's Army spokesperson Jonathan Conricus told reporters. The spokesman specified the operation wasn't believed to have caused casualties, unlike the previous case on October 30, when 12 militants from the two largest armed groups died, adding that the armed forces will continue similar operations.

According to the information from the military, the tunnel was built by the militants from the Hamas Islamic movement leading in Gaza Strip and was discovered with the help of a new technology that is now available to the Israelis. Conricus has assumed that the tunnel was very significant for the group, judging by the quality of its construction.

The army official has called the construction of the tunnel an infringement upon Israeli sovereignty, for which Hamas "carries a double responsibility".
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Saturday called on the US administration to back down from a recent decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia calls on US to back down on Jerusalem decision Sunday 10 December 2017

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said: “my government calls on the US administration to back down from its decision and support the international will to enable the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate rights, taking into account that this step, although it will not change or prejudice the firm rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and other occupied territories, it represents a significant retreat in efforts to push the peace process forward and a disruption of the US position."

Al-Jubeir, in a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, added: "We call upon the international community to intensify its efforts to push forward the peace process in order to put an end to this historic conflict within the framework of a permanent, just and comprehensive solution based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative to enable the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate rights in an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to establish peace, security and stability in the region and the world at large."

The Arab League meeting, which brings together foreign ministers from member states, is taking place as protests continued for the third consecutive day in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

US President Donald Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, and his intention to move the US Embassy there, triggered denunciations from around the world, with even close allies suggesting he had needlessly stirred more conflict in an already volatile region.

According to the Israeli defense minister, residents of the Jewish state's area populated mostly by Arabs "have no connection with this country."

'They Aren't Wanted Here': Israeli Defense Minister Calls for Boycott of Arabs 10.12.2017

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has stated that the Arabs residing in the Wadi Ara region "do not belong" to the Jewish state and called for a boycott.

They should understand that they are not wanted here, they are not part of us," the minister told the Army Radio.

Commenting on Saturday's protests in the region over US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital, Lieberman said that Wadi Ara residents "have no connection with this country," adding that the riots are "intolerable."

"So I am calling for a boycott of Wadi Ara. Don’t go there and don’t buy there. They need to understand that it is impossible to demonstrate with Hezbollah flags, Palestinian flags and pictures of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah. To accept billions from the National Insurance [Institute] and to also destroy us from within," he said.

Echoing Lieberman's statement, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has stated that "Israeli Arabs should not test our patience."

The statements referred to protests along Route 65, when demonstrators threw rocks at car and a bus, injuring three, while about 200 people blocked the main highway in the Wadi Ara, an area in Israel populated mainly by Arab citizens of Israel.

Saturday also saw protests in eastern Jerusalem, Bethlehem and areas on the Israeli-Palestinian border, with at least 140 Palestinians being injured in clashes with Israeli police, according to the Red Crescent.

The protests followed the so-called "day of rage" mass rallies on Friday that have resulted in two deaths and injured over 1,000 others.

Following Trump's controversial announcement generally criticized by the international community, a number of protests were held in Muslim countries that have slammed the move as destabilizing the situation in the Middle East.

Palestinians came out in force in the Gaza Strip to protest US recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” burning the pictures of American and Saudi heads of state.

Gazans Burn Photos of Saudi King, Crown Prince Sun Dec 10, 2017

The protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags as well as the portraits and effigies of US President Donald Trump, and tore up pictures of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Palestinian Sama news website reported.

The rally, organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), drew thousands in the besieged enclave to protest the most serious inroad in recent years to the third holiest site in Islam.

Under the new plan, Israel lays claim to the entire city as its “capital,” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of their future state.

“Al-Quds is Palestine’s eternal capital and not an inch of it will be conceded,” to Israel, Jamil Mazhar, a PFLP leader, told the rally.

The protesters also condemned what they called Arab states’ alignment with Washington, which is Israel’s oldest and strongest ally, and held up placards reading “Down with Al Saud.”

The health ministry said the total number of Palestinians injured by Israeli army's fire during protests against the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is 1250 in total.

1,250 Palestinians Injured Since US Announcement over Jerusalem

The health ministry spokesperson Ossama al-Najjar told WAFA on Sunday, 150 of the total number of injuries has been caused by the use of live fire by the Israeli army.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) added Saturday that Israel has used excessive force against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said Sunday that Israeli army forces and police detained a total of 150 Palestinians since US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

150 Palestinians Detained by Israel Since US Move

A press released published by PPS said the highest percentage of detentions occurred in Jerusalem with 40 people detained, including four women who were later released, WAFA reported.

In Hebron, 30 Palestinians were detained, including a woman, who was transferred to Hadasa hospital.

PPS added that Israeli army detained 14 Palestinians from the West Bank, including six men from Jericho, two from Bethlehem and another two from Ramallah.

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm newspaper, said the regional states quiet on the US decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's capital will soon collapse as a result of their nations' anger and uprising.

Arab Analyst: Regional Nations' Wrath over Quds to Isolate Jordan, S. Arabia, Egypt

"Trump is not the only one who has made a mistake in his calculations and assessments of the Arab and Islamic world's reaction to the recognition of the occupied Quds as the capital of the Israeli occupying regime. It is clear that Trump's closest allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, have also made a big mistake because they have adopted no strong and deterrent position against it, didn’t warn Trump about the consequences of his decision and showed no support for the Islamic Ummah's principles," Atwan wrote on Sunday.

"When thousands of angry protestors across Jordan for the first time in the country's history chant slogans against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and call him as the US mercenary and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is faced with similar slogans in several Arab states, it means that the so-called moderate Arab states have lined up with the US and Israel their collapse and isolation has started," he concluded.

In relevant remarks earlier today, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called on the Arab countries to declare their refusal to abide by Washington's decision to recognize Juresalem al-Quds as Israel's capital or face their nations' wrath.

"None of the former US presidents showed such an improper behavior but the current US president impudently did such a thing after phone conversations with a number of Arab leaders," Larijani said, addressing an open session of the parliament in Tehran on Sunday.

He added that based on behind-the-scene reports, the measure was taken following certain coordination with the Arab states to normalize ties with Israel and forget the tragedy of the Palestinian people, saying that if the reports are true, the Arab countries have sold their dignity for nothing.

"If the Islamic and Arab states don’t go a different path from the US, no dignity will remain for them and they will see the Muslims nations rising against them," Larijani said.

Malaysian defense minister said that the US decision to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel was "a slap in the face for the entire Muslim world", pointing out that his country's military is prepared to perform its duty if its services are required.

Jerusalem: Malaysia Army 'Ready' to Play Role

"We have to be prepared for any possibilities. The ATM (Malaysian Armed Forces) has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership," the Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted Hishammuddin Hussein as saying.

"Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos," Hussein added.

The dramatic shift in Washington's Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and countries around the world.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reacted to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the country's embassy to the disputed territory from Tel Aviv.

Erdogan Slams Israel as 'Terrorist State,' Which 'Kills Children'

"Palestine is an innocent victim […] As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!" Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated during his speech in the central city of Sivas on Sunday.

The Turkish president vowed to use all possible means to fight Israel, claiming that "we will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children," holding a picture a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from Hebron, as he described, allegedly dragged away by Israeli soldiers.

The statement comes in line with his previous stance, calling US President Donald Trump's announcement, made on December 6, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, "null and void."

Police have neutralized the suspect, who is allegedly a Palestinian. The attack comes in the wake of mass protests in Jerusalem against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the city as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

Stabbing Attack Targeting Israeli Policeman Occurs in Jerusalem (PHOTO, VIDEO)

According to Jerusalem Post citing police reports, an Israeli security guard has been stabbed near the Central Bus Station in the center of Jerusalem. The surrounding area has been closed off, while the mayor of Jerusalem has reportedly arrived at the scene.

The 25-year-old Israeli policeman wounded in his chest is reportedly in severe condition after the knife attack.

Police have neutralized the suspect allegedly of Palestinian origin, who was taken alive, according to the police spokesperson.

While it hasn't been immediately clear whether the incident is a terror attack, it took place in the wake of mass protests of Palestinians in the city following US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

During the latest protests in Jerusalem that were held on Saturday, at least 140 people were injured in clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police, according to the data released by the Red Crescent.
Almost two dozen senior Israel Defense Force service members, Defense Ministry officials and technology company employees were put in handcuffs on Tuesday for allegedly stealing $28 million, or 100 million new Israeli shekels, from the government.

IDF Officials Arrested over Alleged $28 Million Scam

The scheme to steal taxpayer funds allegedly involved the suspects billing Israel's Defense Ministry for telecom projects that never happened or were only partially complete, the Times of Israel reported.

Giltech and Uricom, two telecommunications firms in Israel, were listed as the technology companies involved in the scam. The identities of the IDF and officials involved in the operation have not been disclosed.

The arrests followed an extensive investigation by Israeli military police.

In October, six people working for a contractor to maintain IDF bases were arrested for receiving money from the government in exchange for tasks that were never completed, while an IDF lieutenant colonel, four majors and a non-commissioned officer are under investigation for taking bribes in exchange for looking the other way while the contractors ran off with "huge sums" of money.

Several Muslim leaders and top diplomats geared up for a special summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on al-Quds in the Turkish city of Istanbul in criticizing a US President Donald Trump decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

OIC Emergency Summit on Al-Quds Starts in Turkey

The OIC convened for an extraordinary summit in Istanbul to discuss Jerusalem following the US President’s controversial and historic decision last week to recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy to the city.

Representatives from 57 OIC members, including 30 heads of state, attended the summit, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun are among the participants.

The OIC, which was established in 1969 to support a free Palestine, is expected to go beyond messages of condemnation at the summit and prompt Washington to abandon its decision that enables the Israeli occupation of Palestine and massacre of Palestinians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the current chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), had asked for an emergency meeting to convene in Istanbul, calling Jerusalem the "red line for Muslims", and describing Israel as a "terrorist state" and a "killer of children".

According to Turkish media, possible decisions that the OIC could take in its special summit in Istanbul for a free Palestine are as follows:

1. Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state.

2. Jerusalem should not be excluded from all regional discussions.

3. Israel is an occupying state and it should withdraw from these territories immediately. No international enterprise can legitimize this occupation.

4. US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is null and void. Initiatives to halt its implementation should be started urgently and this decision should be made impractical by effective measures.

5. All attempts made and pressure put on Muslim countries to compromise on Jerusalem must be rejected.

6. Jerusalem cannot be seen as a bargaining piece in the name of "peace" or "rapprochement" with Israel, nor can it be up for discussion. Countries that do this should be condemned and put under pressure.

7. Muslim countries should clearly and collectively declare to the world that they reject all initiatives that view Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

8. All negotiations in the name of "peace" with Israel should be ended immediately. Joint political, military and economic projects with Israel should also end.

9. Muslim countries should cut their economic and political ties with Israel.

10. Harsh economic and political pressure must be imposed on the Israeli government, defense of Palestine should be noted as a non-controversial decision, and Israel should be isolated from the region.

11. A historic step should be taken at the extraordinary OIC summit in Istanbul, firm decisions should be made and Muslim countries must demonstrate their political strength and their capability to act independently.

12. OIC member countries should withdraw their ambassadors to the US for “consultations.”

13. Muslim countries should limit, freeze or even end relations with the countries that accept Israel's occupation of Jerusalem.

14. European countries in particular should be subjected to intense pressure in this regard. Strong lobbying should be initiated immediately.

15. Initiatives should be started in the European Union, Russia and China, and international organizations should be mobilized.

16. The declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is also unacceptable for the Christian world. Therefore, Eastern churches and the Christian clergy should be gathered in Istanbul and a common decision should be made.

17. The US has lost its impartiality in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The US administration should no longer be considered an interlocutor in Middle East peace talks. All Muslim countries should declare that they will not see Washington as a party of peace.

18. Muslim countries should establish a common force to defend Jerusalem, establish a line of defense, and encourage and direct large-scale mass movements. A global pressure mechanism must be mobilized.

19. Muslim countries should establish a Common Peace Army, and within this power a unit should be formed under the name of “The Force to Protect Jerusalem.”

20. Muslim countries should establish a “Jerusalem Fund” within the OIC, and the economic dependence of the Palestinian people on Western countries must be ended.

21. The airspace of Muslim countries should be closed to Israeli aircraft, and the sharing of intelligence with Israel and the US should be stopped immediately.

22. Israel's military interventions in Muslim countries should be responded to harshly, and mechanisms and partnerships should be established to prevent these interventions.

23. Muslim countries must end their conflicts with each other and unite in solidarity against the threats posed by Israel and the US

24. The headquarters of the OIC must be moved to Istanbul, and Istanbul should run the post of general secretary.

US President announced last Wednesday Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and ordered that work on the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds begin.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Washington's decision in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

People in different countries have also hit the streets to denounce Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

According to reports, the total number of Palestinians injured by Israeli army's fire during protests against the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is 1,630 in total, while Israeli army forces and police detained nearly 200 Palestinians since US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The delegation from the Palestinian Agency for International Cooperation (PICA) withdrew on Wednesday from the conference hall in Tunis which hosted the meeting of the international cooperation agencies before a speech by the director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Palestinian Delegation Leaves Int'l Meeting in Tunis before Speech by USAID Delegate

PICA Director Imad Zuhairi said the withdrawal came as message of condemnation and rejection of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, WAFA reported.

He said it was not possible for the Palestinian delegation to stay in the hall and listen to the speech of the American delegate in spite of the nature of the conference. “The continued denial by the US administration of the rights of our people requires a halt to dealing with it,” he said.

The delegation returned to the meeting after the American official left the conference hall at the end of his speech.

For the second night in a row, the Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes over the Gaza Strip, hitting the Southern suburbs of the Palestinian territory.

Israeli Warplanes Bomb Southern Gaza

According to the spokesperson of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), their warplanes struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a rocket that was fired into the occupied territories, Al-Masdar reported.

“In response to the rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel earlier today, the IAF targeted a Hamas military compound in the Southern Gaza Strip,” the IDF spokesperson tweeted.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rockets and artillery shells that are fired into the occupied territories, regardless if they are behind the attack or not.

Israeli forces detained a senior Hamas leader in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

Israel Arrests Senior Hamas Leader in West Bank Raid

According to his son, Hasan Yousef was arrested from his house in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Yenisafak reported. “Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the house at dawn and arrested my father,” Oays Hasan told Anadolu Agency.

Yousef, 57, has been frequently arrested by Israeli forces and has spent a total of 21 years in Israeli jails.

Israeli forces also rounded up 32 Palestinians, including Hamas members, in overnight raids in several areas in the West Bank for suspected involvement in “terrorist” activities, the Israeli army said in a statement.

Tension has risen across the West Bank and Gaza Strip following US President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Palestinian medical sources confirmed, late on Tuesday at night, that an elderly Palestinian woman was killed after Israeli soldiers invaded a town near Jericho, and fired concussion grenades, many striking homes, causing her to suffer a heart attack.

Elderly Palestinian Woman Dies of Heart Attack after Soldiers Hurled Concussion Grenades at Homes

The sources said that dozens of soldiers invaded Zubeidat town, North of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, and fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades and flares, IMEMC reported.

They added that the army stormed and ransacked many homes in the town, after hurling concussion grenades at them.

Medical sources announced that an elderly woman, identified as Hamda Zubeidat, 60, died of a heart attack when the soldiers hurled concussion grenades near her, just as she opened her door.

Israeli special forces arrested five Palestinian youths, including a young woman, and wounded two young men, during clashes near the illegal Beit El settlement in the central West Bank district of Ramallah.

West Bank: Palestinians Wounded, Detained by Israeli Special Forces

Witnesses told Ma’an News Agency that a group of undercover Israeli forces, known as ‘mustaaribeen’ in Arabi, infiltrated crowds of protesters and journalists when they took out their guns and “attacked the youths,” assaulting, shooting and injuring two of them before detaining five.

Israeli forces sprayed skunk water and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas at protesters in the area, which has become a flashpoint of confrontations since demonstrations broke out in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel will close two border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Thursday over security concerns, the Israeli military said Wednesday.

Israel Puts Gaza Border on Lockdown Over Security Concerns

The Israeli military announced on Wednesday that two Israeli border crossings with the Gaza Strip will be closed on Thursday over security concerns.

Due to security-related incidents and after analyzing the current situation, the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used for goods transfer, and the Erez pedestrian crossing will be closed tomorrow," the Army press service said.
US President Donald Trump received a “Friends of Zion Award” on Tuesday, in a White House ceremony attended by Vice President Mike Pence and Jared Kushner, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Trump receives ‘Friends of Zion Award’ in White House ceremony Thursday December 14, 2017

Trump was presented with the award by founder of Jerusalem-based Friends of Zion Museum, Mike Evans, who hailed the president’s support for Israel as unprecedented.

“No president in history has ever built such an alliance for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and no president has courageously stood up for the State of Israel on the global stage as you had Mr. President,” Evans said.

President Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem will secure his place in history as the first American president to take that step since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The Friends of Zion Heritage Centre has become one of the central institutions in the State of Israel, influencing the world and strengthening Israel’s relations globally.” Previous recipients of the award include US President George W. Bush.

“President Trump’s historic declaration regarding Jerusalem takes its place as one of Israel’s historic milestones, from the Balfour Declaration to President Truman’s acceptance of Israel into the family of nations,” the museum said in a statement.

On 6 December, Trump declared his administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel adding that the American embassy would be moved to the Holy City from Tel Aviv. The decision contravenes numerous UN resolutions and international law and has received global condemnation and caused a wave of protests

US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Egypt and Israel next week, despite controversy and meeting cancelations as a result of the administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pence Middle East trip to go ahead Thursday 14 December 2017

Aides said Pence is to travel to Cairo and Jerusalem from Tuesday. The vice president had been scheduled to leave Saturday for Israel. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he can preside over the Senate during a vote on the tax package.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly describe scheduling details.

They said Pence’s trip will be abbreviated after Palestinian officials and leading Muslim and Christian clerics in Egypt refused to meet with him during his trip to the region.

[...] Palestinian, Coptic and other leaders have said Pence is not welcome and have publicly rebuffed requests for a meeting.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled a planned sit-down with Pence in Ramallah and warned that the US no longer had a role to play in the peace process.

Any plans that Pence may have had to make the pilgrimage to Bethlehem also appear to have been thwarted.

The US vice president will, however, address the Knesset and meet the Egyptian and Israeli leaders Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Benjamin Netanyahu during the five-day trip.

Pence has been forced to adjust his schedule in the Middle East amid protests from leaders over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Aides to Abbas, who has condemned Trump’s decision, said earlier this week that he would not meet with the vice president. Abbas had originally planned to host Pence — a devout Christian — in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Pence is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Cairo with El-Sisi, a close ally of Trump. Pence will arrive in Israel later Wednesday for a visit to the Western Wall. The following day, he will meet Netanyahu, deliver an address to the Knesset and later dine with Netanyahu.
White House officials said Pence will wrap up his trip to Israel on Friday with a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

The following document pertaining to the formation of “Greater Israel” constitutes the cornerstone of powerful Zionist factions within the current Netanyahu government, the Likud party, as well as within the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. (article first published by Global Research on April 29, 2013).

“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

President Donald Trump has confirmed in no uncertain terms, his support of Israel’s illegal settlements (including his opposition to UN Security Council Resolution 2334, pertaining to the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank).

Moreover, by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and allowing for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and beyond, the US president has provided a de facto endorsement of the “Greater Israel” project as formulated under the Yinon Plan.

Bear in mind: this design is not strictly a Zionist Project for the Middle East, it is an integral part of US foreign policy, namely Washington’s intent to fracture and balkanize the Middle East. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is intended to trigger political instability throughout the region.

According to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, “the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” According to Rabbi Fischmann, “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

When viewed in the current context, the Zionist Plan for the Middle East bears an intimate relationship to 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing wars on Syria, Iraq and Yemen, not to mention the political crisis in Saudi Arabia.

The “Greater Israel” project consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighboring Arab states as part of a US-Israeli expansionist project, with the support of NATO and Saudi Arabia. In this regard, the Saudi-Israeli rapprochement is from Netanyahu’s viewpoint a means to expanding Israel’s spheres of influence in the Middle East as well as confronting Iran. Needless to day, the “Greater Israel” project is consistent with America’s imperial design.

“Greater Israel” consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates. According to Stephen Lendman, “A near-century ago, the World Zionist Organization’s plan for a Jewish state included:

• historic Palestine;

• South Lebanon up to Sidon and the Litani River;

• Syria’s Golan Heights, Hauran Plain and Deraa; and

• control of the Hijaz Railway from Deraa to Amman, Jordan as well as the Gulf of Aqaba.

Some Zionists wanted more – land from the Nile in the West to the Euphrates in the East, comprising Palestine, Lebanon, Western Syria and Southern Turkey.”

The Zionist project supports the Jewish settlement movement. More broadly it involves a policy of excluding Palestinians from Palestine leading to the eventual annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza to the State of Israel.

Greater Israel would create a number of proxy States. It would include parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Sinai, as well as parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (See map).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in a 2011 Global Research article, The Yinon Plan was a continuation of Britain’s colonial design in the Middle East:

“[The Yinon plan] is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.

The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states.

“The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation… This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.” (Yinon Plan, see below)

Viewed in this context, the war on Syria and Iraq is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. In this regard, the defeat of US sponsored terrorists (ISIS, Al Nusra) by Syrian Forces with the support of Russia, Iran and Hizbollah constitute a significant setback for Israel.

(Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, September 06, 2015, updated December 8, 2017)

Article, "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East" follows at link above.)
Hamas marks 30th anniversary in Gaza Strip Friday December 15, 2017 (Photos)

The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of its founding with a mass rally in the Gaza Strip.

The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said during the celebration that the aggression against Jerusalem after US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an affirmation that the Palestinian people are one who can defend the Palestinian cause.

“Since the decision, the issue of Palestine and Jerusalem has returned to the forefront of our people, our nation and the free world after nations were preoccupied with their conflicts and problems,” he said.

“The US administration, for the first time in the history of the conflict, is isolated. Trump and Netanyahu are standing on one side while the whole world stands on the other, which is a confirmation that the Israeli occupation no longer occupies its former position even among European countries,” Haniyeh said.

“We are moving with all firmness to force the American administration to retreat from its unjust decision. No one can take Jerusalem away from us or change its identity, and no force can grant Jerusalem to the occupier.”

“If our ancestors for many reasons could not stop the Balfour Declaration, we will not allow Trump’s promise to pass even if we sacrifice our lives,” he said.

Haniyeh reiterated that Hamas will never abandon its national constants including retaking the city of Jerusalem, the right of return of all Palestinian refugees, an independent Palestinian state and releasing all prisoners.

“Hamas is committed to the Palestinian national unity on the basis of mutual respect and partnership to manage the country’s affairs which requires the speedy implementation of all agreements and allowing the people of Gaza to live dignified lives,” he said.

“We must agree on a strategy for armed and popular resistance and rearrange the Palestine Liberation Organisation to include all the forces of our people,” he added.

Tel Aviv braces for anticipated clashes with protesters in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians continue to denounce the declaration of the ancient holy city as Israeli capital by the US president.

Israel Sends More Troops to West Bank Ahead of Friday Prayer (Video)

Israeli Defense Forces are deploying hundreds more soldiers throughout the West Bank and along the Gaza Strip border in preparation for mass protests that are expected to follow the Friday prayer on December 15, according to Times of Israel.

At the same time, Israeli security forces do not intend to impose any age restrictions for people wishing to visit the Temple Mount due to the relatively calm situation in Jerusalem last week, the newspaper adds.

Earlier today, Israeli security forces also "raided" the city of Halhul in the southern West Bank, employing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the Palestinian protesters there, Press TV adds citing local media sources.

At least several Palestinians were injured during the clashes that erupted between the protesters and Israeli forces.

This unabated outbreak of violence started last week when US President Donald Trump publicly recognized the city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The US leader’s statement triggered a wave of outrage throughout the Muslim world and sparked violent protests among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who regard Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry warned the international community and all countries of the dangers of ignoring Israel's profound actions on the ground as an occupying power, which aim at unilaterally solving final status issues.

Palestinian Foreign Ministry Warns Int'l Community of Israel’s Actions

In his latest statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian side to recognize what he called ”recognition of the status quo” alongside a widespread Israeli incitement campaign against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his speeches, and his declared positions, WAFA reported.

“This reflects a fierce Israeli desire to deepen the gap between the Palestinian and American sides aimed at holding the Palestinians responsible for the continued failure to launch a peace process,” the foreign affairs ministry’s press release said.

The announcement by US President Trump and the Israeli government and Prime Minister disregard of international reactions to this declaration prompted Netanyahu to dare and demand the (recognition of the status quo), which ultimately illustrates that Netanyahu does not need negotiations to resolve the conflict and achieve peace, but calls on the Palestinian side to recognize the changes that the occupation has exerted throughout the years on the Palestinian reality.

“The failure to hold Israel accountable as an occupying power for its grave violations of international law, international legitimacy and the Geneva Conventions fosters it to continue to perpetuate the occupation thwarting any effort to resume negotiations,” it added.

Israeli forces closed Bab Al-Amoud, one of the gates of the old city of Jerusalem, after a sit-in organized by Palestinians to protest US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

26 Palestinians Injured during Protest in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) crew members treated 26 cases that were assaulted by Israeli police, while one was transferred to hospital to receive treatment, WAFA reported.

Footage of the event was caught on video, and has gone viral on social media.

Israeli Troops Detain Palestinian Teen Girls at Gunpoint From Ambulance (Videos)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFplcDDMEUU (0:55 min.)

An unpleasant video emerged on the internet showing Israeli troops in heavy riot gear violently dragging two Palestinian teenage girls out of a Red Crescent ambulance in the Hebron district in the southern West Bank.

The amateur video, showing the ongoing clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces following Washington's decision to recognize the multiethnic and multi-confessional city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, captured two Israeli troops walking up to the open door of an ambulance parked in the street.

With medics looking on helplessly from the front seats, the heavily-armed soldiers attempt to violently pull the young women out of the ambulance. As they resist and begin screaming, one soldier calls for backup as the other climbs into the vehicle. About a half-dozen more troops show up to pull the girls out.

An eyewitness from the scene told Palestinian news agency Ma'an that the teens were handed off to female Israeli soldiers, who handcuffed the girls and detained them.

The girls' identities, and the charges under which they were detained, remain unknown. The video footage caused outrage on social media.

President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has sparked widespread protests among Palestinians and across the Middle East, and condemnation from around the world, including from Washington's European allies. Trump's decision, which envisions relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in six-months' time, led the Palestinian political and militant group Hamas to declare an intifada, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Wednesday that if the decision wasn't reversed, Palestine would withdraw from all previous agreements with Israel.

An Israeli solider hit a Palestinian child with a gun

New video shows Israeli soldier striking Palestinian child with gun

A newly-published video shows an Israeli soldier striking a Palestinian child in the head with his gun, during a settler procession in Hebron, the occupied West Bank.

The video, published by Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem and recorded by one of its volunteers, shows Israeli occupation forces confronting Palestinian residents in Hebron’s Old City, on 11 November, as Israeli settlers marched nearby.

“The procession runs through the heart of Hebron’s Old City and to allow it, the Israeli military restricts Palestinian movement in the area and disrupts daily life,” B’Tselem explained.

“On this day too, soldiers and Border Police officers shut down stores and streets along the route of the procession”.

Ahmad Hudeib, 16, a resident of ‘Aqbat Tafuh, a village that lies west of Hebron, works in one of the stores that were shut down, and that morning, he sat with his friends who work in nearby stores and watched the marching settlers.

“The settlers reached the turn onto Beer a-Sabe’ Street, and some of them tried to take down Palestinian flags that were hanging on the doors of some stores,” the teen told B’Tselem.

“We started whistling and yelling. We didn’t do anything else. The soldiers started coming towards us. One of them got really angry and tried to kick us out of there. He pushed me and I pushed him back. Then he hit me on the head with the butt of his rifle. I started bleeding.”

According to B’Tselem, “this incident is not unusual”.

Enforcement of the occupation involves routine use of violence by Israeli security forces against Palestinians. This reality is accepted and enabled by top Israeli members of government and military officers, despite the occasional would-be denouncement of such acts.”

The NGO added: “The violence described above is not limited to the beating of a Palestinian minor. It is also manifested in extreme restrictions that the military imposes on Palestinian movement in Hebron, disrupting the daily lives of Palestinian residents to accommodate the settlers.” For years, Israel has preferred the settlers’ interests over the rights of Palestinian residents in Hebron.

“Its authorities openly pursue a policy based on the ‘separation principle’, enforcing physical and legal segregation between the settlers and the Palestinian residents in the city.”

An Israeli army spokesperson, in a statement to Haaretz, claimed that “the video documents only partially a confrontation between a Palestinian who participated in the demonstration and one of the soldiers”, adding that “the incident will be investigated by the commanders of the soldier”.

Israel closed border crossings into the Gaza Strip as the regime stepped up its aerial assaults against the besieged coastal enclave.

Israeli Military Closes Gaza Border Crossings amid Airstrikes

The Israeli military said in a statement that “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments” Kerem Shalom crossing - the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip, and the Erez pedestrian crossing - would be shut as of Thursday until further notice, presstv reported.

Shutting the two border crossings effectively cuts off Gaza from the rest of the world by land, save for its small Egyptian border, which is generally closed. The territory is also under a naval blockade by the Israeli navy.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said earlier in the day that it had targeted three facilities belonging to Palestinian resistance movement in the Southern Gaza Strip before dawn.

The assault, it claimed, was a response to rockets fired from Gaza towards the Southern parts of the occupied territories.

Israel’s News 10 declared that Riyadh and Cairo gave US President Donald Trump the go ahead to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

Israel TV: Saudi Arabia, Egypt Give US President Green Light Regarding Jerusalem

The channel announced that the Arab parties’ reactions and condemnations are not genuine and are misleading, Middle East Monitor reported.

Israeli journalist and head of the Arab desk at the news channel, Zvi Yehezkeli stressed that the announcement could not have been made without coordination between Trump and his regional allies.

“I am not sure about the Arab countries’ reactions to this resolution,” Yehezkeli said, adding that the responses issued so far were not serious.

The Civil Administration forces of the Israeli army yesterday stormed the school in the Bedouin Abu Nawar community in occupied East Jerusalem, and ordered its demolition.

Israel demolishes school in Bedouin community in Jerusalem December 14, 2017

The Civil Administration forces of the Israeli army yesterday stormed the school in the Bedouin Abu Nawar community in occupied East Jerusalem, and ordered its demolition.

The spokesman of the Bedouin communities, Abu Imad Jahalin, told Quds Press that the crews of the Civil Administration accompanied by Israeli military forces, stormed the village and handed demolish orders to the school.

He added that residents were surprised by the decision, especially as it comes after the Israeli High court issued a “precautionary order” not to demolish the school.

He pointed out that “the school of Abu Nawar” is composed of two rooms, and it is attended by about 26 students. The targeting of the school is nothing new, he added.

Abu Nawar is one of the 18 Palestinian Bedouin communities located within the area which Israeli authorities have allocated for the so-called E1 project. Israel plans to relocate all the Palestinian communities in the E1 area in order to pave the way for building a large new settlement that is expected to divide the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

The number of Palestinian structures demolished by Israeli occupation authorities in 2017 to date has topped 400, according to UN OCHA.

Israel demolished 410 Palestinian structures in 2017

According to the agency’s latest update, Israel has demolished 412 Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem (from 1 January up to 4 December).

Some 630 Palestinians have been displaced by the demolitions, UN OCHA reports.

In terms of a breakdown, 265 structures have been demolished in “Area C” of the West Bank, 136 in East Jerusalem, and 11 in Areas A and B.

More than half of those displaced, 369, lost their homes in Area C, while 228 were displaced in East Jerusalem (and 33 in Areas A and B).

UN OCHA’s update, which covers the period 21 November to 4 December, records the punitive house demolition carried out in Qabatiya, near Jenin, which displaced five, including three children.

“Since the beginning of 2017,” UN OCHA noted, “nine homes have been demolished or sealed on punitive grounds, displacing 49 Palestinians.”

In addition, during the two-week recording period, Israeli authorities demolished 13 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. These displaced 24 Palestinians, including 12 children, and affected an additional 78 people.
Israeli troops shot dead four Palestinians and wounded 367 with live ammunition on Friday, medical officials said, as protests over US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital entered a second week.

Israeli troops kill 4, injure 367 in Jerusalem protests

Most of the casualties were on the Israel-Gaza border, where thousands of Palestinians gathered to throw stones at Israeli soldiers beyond the fortified fence.

Medics said two protesters, one of them wheelchair-bound, were killed and 150 wounded.

In the occupied West Bank, medics said two protesters were killed and dozens wounded by Israeli gunfire. One of the dead was a man whom Israeli police said was shot after he stabbed a member of their unit.

Washington’s European allies and Russia have also voiced concern.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump’s decision is a “bomb” thrown at the entire Middle East, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. “The Jerusalem decision is a harbinger of new operations targeting the Islamic world,” he added. “If Muslims fail to show the necessary reaction on this issue within the law, believe me there will be more to come.”

Palestinians are planning to appeal to the UN Security Council, and Erdogan said Muslim nations will ask the UN for an “annulment” of Trump’s decision.
The initiative will start at the Security Council, and if it is vetoed there, “we will work within the UN General Assembly for the annulment of this unjust and lawless decision,” he added.

Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad, a Fatah spokesman for international affairs, told Arab News that the US will not be able to use its veto power on this issue because it is involved in the dispute.

The UN Charter gives the Security Council’s five permanent members veto powers with one exception: Article 27-3 states that “a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.”

But Anis F. Kassim, publisher of the Palestinian Year Book for International Law, expressed doubt over whether the world body will agree that the US is party to the dispute, or refer to it as a “situation rather than a dispute.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that Israel’s legitimacy is in question because of its failure to declare its borders.

“International law stipulates that to be recognized as a state, a country has to meet three conditions: Sovereignty, population and borders. This third condition is not declared in Israel, and I challenge it to say where its borders are… Its recognition is void,” Abbas said.

Kassim said Israel’s recognition by the UN in 1949 was conditional. “Recognition followed commitments made by its representative to honor the partition plan and the right of Palestinian refugees to return,” he told Arab News.

He said while borders are a major issue in terms of recognition, it is not a deciding factor. “Many countries have been recognized without their borders being totally clarified,” he added.

But Kassim believes that recognition of Israel was conditional on the commitments made by its then-ambassador to the UN regarding resolutions 181 of 1947 and 194 of 1948. The 1947 partition plan (resolution 181) declared Jerusalem a corpus separatum (special entity), Kassim said. After the 1967 war, the world recognized the east of the city as “occupied territory,” and continued to reject Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, he added.

Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told Arab News that UN Security Council resolutions refer to all areas seized by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, as “occupied territories.”

Resolution 476 condemned Israel’s 1980 Jerusalem Law, which declared the city its united capital, as a violation of international law, Judeh said. He added that the resolution says the Security Council “will not recognize this law, and calls on member states to accept the decision of the council. It also called upon members states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city.”

At least 150 Palestinian protesters were injured during clashes with Israeli forces near Gaza City on December 15, in response to an earlier decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Reported IDF Killing of Palestinian Amputee Provokes Uproar on Twitter (Photos - Video)

29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a wheelchair-bound Palestinian man with no legs, was reportedly killed by Israeli troops during Friday's Gaza protests against President Trump's previous declaration on Jerusalem.

His killing immediately caused an international outcry, with Jerusalem-based journalist Nasser Atta writing on his Twitter page that the death of Abu Thuraya may result in the third intifada. Thuraya lost his legs during Israel's Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Social media users expressed outrage at Thuraya's killing and squarely pointed the finger at the Israeli troops. According to them, Thuraya was not carrying any weapons and did not pose a threat.

Ahead of Gaza protests, Thuraya reportedly said that "this land is our land." "We are not going to give up. America has to withdraw the declaration it has made," he underscored.

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials, for their part, said that they are investigating the death of Thuraya, who was shot and killed after an Israeli officer noticed that Thuraya was wearing "what appeared to be a suicide belt," the Times of Israel newspaper reported.

Earlier, the Israeli military said in a statement that "during the violent riots, IDF soldiers fired selectively at the main instigators."

About 2,500 Palestinians took part in the riots, during which they threw firebombs and rocks at soldiers and border police, who had to retaliate, according to the Israeli military.

In early December, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told Sputnik that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "will start another intifada and will lead to the deterioration of US relations with other Arab and Muslim states."

In early December, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told Sputnik that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "will start another intifada and will lead to the deterioration of US relations with other Arab and Muslim states."

Gaza’s health ministry said a disabled Palestinian man missing both legs was among those killed by Israeli security forces that opened fire on demonstrators in the West Bank and along the border with Gaza.

Wheelchair-Bound Man with No Legs Killed by IDF in Gaza during Jerusalem Protest

Abu Thurayeh, 29, was shot dead East of Gaza City, according to Gaza’s health ministry as cited by the Times of Israel.

He is one of four Palestinians who were killed during a protest over the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Abu had lost his legs in an Israeli attack on Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir said, adding that “It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”

Social media have been flooded with videos and photos of Abu Thurayeh a few hours before his death, sitting in his wheelchair and waving a Palestinian flag.

“This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” Abu Thurayeh reportedly said in a video.

Abu had been earning a living for himself and his family by washing cars.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets on Friday in continued protest of US President Donald Trump's announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem, causing clashes with Israeli forces to erupt across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza Strip.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has signaled that the Western Wall, a site of worship in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City, has to be a part of Israel.

US Signals Western Wall Has to Be Part of Israel

The declaration by two US senior officials on Friday came amid mounting tension over Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's capital. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, ruled out any scenario that did not retain Israeli control over the site.

"We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement," the Associated Press quoted one of the officials as saying.

Another official later added by email that "We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn't include the Western Wall."

This also came ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's trip to the region on Wednesday, a visit Trump officials said is aimed at reinforcing the president's announcement on Jerusalem al-Quds.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, Turkey stated initiatives at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move which faced strong opposition from the international community.

Turkish President: Ankara Starting Initiatives at UN to Annul US President's Decision on Jerusalem

Addressing crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya at a rally for Jerusalem, known as al-Quds by Muslims, the president said via teleconference that Turkey would first seek the annulment of the US decision in the UN Security Council, and if that fails, the next step would be to apply to the UN General Assembly, Daily Sabah reported.

"We have shown that our brothers in al-Quds are not alone. We are launching new initiatives at the UN for the annulment of the US decision. No country in the world is above international laws," Erdogan said, and continued by adding that the Muslim world's opposing stance is not a retaliation, but rather, a "struggle for justice."

"Separately, we are starting initiatives to increase [the number of] states who recognize the state of Palestine," he stressed.

Erdogan also said that Muslim countries will start new funds to protect Palestinian families, "preventing Israel's seizure of neighborhoods, houses, and workplaces belonging to Muslims."

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested that Ankara will consider opening an embassy in East Jerusalem once an independent Palestinian state is internationally recognized.

Turkey Reveals Plan to Open Embassy in East Jerusalem

Cavusoglu said there is a “serious determination” among the international community to recognize Palestine, RT reported.

The diplomat added that, once the world acknowledges the claim, he is confident there will be an influx of embassies and other diplomatic services into what would then be the new state’s capital.

“We need to succeed in this,” Cavusoglu said, adding that “Once we succeed, embassies will open in the independent Palestinian state’s capital, East Jerusalem.”

The solidarity shown by the Islamic states' leaders during the Wednesday summit in Istanbul to defend the Palestinian identity of the holy Quds frustrated the US and forced it to raise baseless allegations against Iran, Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm newspaper, said.

Arab Analyst: US Enraged by Shiite-Sunni Coalition to Defend Al-Quds

"The US propaganda and baseless theatre on Iran's sending weapons and missiles to Ansaruallah movement in Yemen was aimed at diverting attention from the Istanbul summit and the Shiite-Sunni coalition to defend the holy Quds," Atwan wrote on Saturday.

During her press conference on Thursday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared standing before what she claimed was debris of a missile from an Iranian-origin dispatched to Yemen and then fired to Saudi Arabia. Tehran immediately and categorically rejected all those charges.

Iran' permanent mission at the UN on Thursday categorically rejected as "fabricated" the evidence presented by Haley that it had supplied Yemen with a missile fired at Saudi Arabia, saying the accusations were baseless.

"As part of the baseless allegations raised by the US administration against the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout the last 10 months, the US ambassador accused Iran of supplying missiles to Yemen once again; a baseless allegation that we categorically reject," Iran's Envoy to the UN Gholamali Khoshrou said.

Atwan believes that the US allegations against Iran was the result of two developments. "First the Istanbul conference in which over 57 leaders and foreign ministers participated and displayed Islamic unity and interest in confronting the US biased support for Israel."

"Second, the Shiite-Sunni coalition beyond the differences and the unprecedented solidarity between the Turkish and Iranian presidents which foiled the US plots to sow discord between the Shiites and Sunnis."

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened an urgent summit in Istanbul last Wednesday on Washington’s contentious declaration on Jerusalem al-Quds, with the Turkish foreign minister urging Muslim nations to respond by pressing the world for the recognition of the city as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The OIC extraordinary meeting ended with issuance of a final statement, and the participating countries highlighted recognition of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The meeting was held in response to the US action to recognize Jerusalem as capital of the Zionist regime and was attended by heads and representatives of 57 Islamic countries.

Islamic countries warned that if the United Nations Security Council fails to act in connection with the American decision, they would refer the matter to the General Assembly of the international body.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the occupied Palestinian territories said that over 560,000 Palestinians in Gaza residing in areas prone to flooding are at risk of temporary displacement due to the precarious state of infrastructure.

UN: Half Million Palestinians in Gaza at Risk of Displacement Due to Flooding

The OCHA said in its Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin for November that poor infrastructure and lack of funding put over 560,000 people at risk of flooding in the Gaza Strip, WAFA reported.

“In the Gaza Strip, another winter season brings with it the threat of temporary displacement, property losses and health risks due to flooding and poor housing conditions. Insufficient funding, import restrictions, the ongoing energy crisis and the low capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense are key factors that hinder the ability of the relevant actors to reduce vulnerability and respond effectively,” said the report.

According to media sources, Sabih al Masri, head of Arab Bank, has been repeatedly warned against traveling to Saudi Arabia, however, the businessman insisted he had nothing to fear there.

Palestinian Billionaire Reportedly Detained in Saudi Arabia After Trip to Riyadh

Family members of Palestinian-Jordanian businessman and Arab Bank chairman Sabih al Masri confirmed previous reports that he was arrested during his business trip to Saudi Arabia's capital, Reuters says.

The Palestinian billionaire, who also holds Saudi citizenship, was detained after heading to Riyadh last week to chair meetings of the companies he has holdings in.

The Riyadh's authorities did not respond to Reuter's request to comment on the situation, and Masri was also unreachable.

The detention occurred amid an ongoing massive anti-corruption campaign in Saudi Arabia led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the push which is widely regarded to be an effort to strengthen his power. However, no details on the charges against any of the detainees or about any settlement talks with them have been disclosed yet. In November, the kingdom's authorities announced that over 200 people have been arrested for questioning in its anti-corruption drive.

Masri has close ties with King Abdullah of Jordan, who was warned against participating in a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Turkey, according to media reports. This week East Jerusalem was recognized by the OIC as the capital of Palestine.

Hind Khlaifat, the founder and CEO of Jordan's Alocloud, shared a post on twitter, in which she noted the significance of Sabih al Masri to the economy of Jordan. Economy in Jordan depends on Sabih al Masri. Don't let our economy be destroyed overnight. A tweet for Mohammed bin Salman, with kind regards.
Elderly Woman Faces Off Between Raging Palestinians, Israeli Forces (VIDEO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G51iy4dvpT4 (1:15 min.)

The draft resolution is likely to be supported by most of the UN Security Council members. However, Washington is likely to veto the document, according to diplomatic sources.

Can UNSC Reject Trump's Decision on Jerusalem With New Resolution?

Resolution Calls for Talks on Jerusalem's Status

The UN Security Council is reportedly considering a draft resolution aimed at legally voiding any unilateral decision on the status of Jerusalem.

On Monday, the council will discuss the situation around Jerusalem, including the drafted resolution, a diplomatic source told Sputnik. However, there is no information whether the vote on the draft will take place.

The draft resolution "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 in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council," Reuters reported.

It also "calls upon all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council."

According to AFP, the draft resolution stresses that the Jerusalem issue should be resolved "though negotiations" and expresses "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem." The document, however, does not specifically mention Trump’s decision.

The move has come after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel on December 6 and announced the transfer of the US Embassy to the city, in a move that has sparked outrage in the Arab world and faced international criticism.

Possible Veto

A resolution in the Security Council needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China to pass.

Diplomats told AFP that despite the fact that most, if not all, of the 14 UNSC other members support the resolution, Washington is likely to veto the document during a vote this coming week.

The protests in several cities across Israel have occurred in light of ongoing investigations into corruption allegations against the prime minister. Netanyahu continues to deny all the accusations, calling them a political campaign against him.

Tel Aviv Protest Draws Thousands Calling for Netanyahu's Imprisonment (Video)

Several thousand people took part in a protest march in Tel Aviv against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday over corruption allegations.

"Bibi is an embarrassment" and "Netanyahu to jail," the protesters chanted, calling for his resignation and imprisonment.

​The march started with a Hanukkah lighting ceremony and was held under the banner "We have come to drive out corruption."

​The Saturday protest was the third "March of Shame" against Netanyahu in less than a month.

​Similar protests were held on Saturday in other Israeli cities, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu was questioned by police for the seventh time as part of an ongoing corruption investigation against him. The prime minister strongly denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a smear campaign by political opponents.

Israeli media also reported that the investigation has enough evidence to bring formal bribery charges against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is being investigated in a pair of corruption probes, knows as cases 1000 and 2000. In the first investigation, he is suspected of accepting expensive gifts from wealthy supporters, in the form of cigars, champagne and jewelry in return for advancing their interests. The second investigation looks into allegations that Netanyahu arranged to obtain favorable coverage from the popular broadsheet Yedioth Ahronoth in return for creating problems for its rival, the Israel Hayom paper.

People gather in Rothschild Boulevard to protest Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who questioned for 7th time in corruption probe

Thousands protest Netanyahu, corruption in Tel Aviv, again (Photos)

Thousands of people on Saturday marched in Tel-Aviv to protest Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged corruption.

For the third week in a row, the protesters gathered in Rothschild Boulevard, where they chanted slogans against Netanyahu, who was interrogated for “several hours” on Thursday at his Jerusalem residence as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.

Since last year, Netanyahu has been the subject of criminal investigations in two separate corruption cases. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The first case involves Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.

The second case relates to allegations that Netanyahu struck a deal for favorable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of popular Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, has also been questioned by police regarding earlier corruption allegations.

She stands accused of receiving “lavish and inappropriate” gifts from wealthy businessmen and paying bribes to a media mogul in return for favorable coverage.

She has also been questioned within the context of an ongoing investigation into allegations that Netanyahu used state funds for personal expenditures.

Arab radio stations and TV channels will launch a joint broadcast on Sunday in a show of support for Jerusalem following a US move to recognise the holy city as Israel’s capital.

Arab media launch joint broadcast to support Jerusalem

“This is a message to [US President Donald] Trump that his declaration about Jerusalem is rejected,” Ahmed Assaf, the general supervisor of official Palestinian media, told Voice of Palestine Radio. “It’s also a message to Israel that Jerusalem belongs to Palestinians and Arab,” he said, adding: This message is also directed to our people that they are not alone in defending Jerusalem.

He said a large number of Arab radio stations and satellite channels will take part in the transmission under the title “Jerusalem Unites Us”.

The official Palestine TV and Voice of Palestine radio station will host a number of Palestinian and Arab guests to speak about the importance of Jerusalem to Arabs and Muslims.

Last week, the Arab States Broadcasting Union set December 17 to show solidarity with the Palestinians by launching a joint broadcast in support of Jerusalem.

At a Tuesday summit in Istanbul, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) responded to the controversial US move by formally recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Someone rewrote the Torah to declare that the Holy Land extends from the River of Egypt (i.e., the Nile) to the River Euphrates. This is false! Nabī Ibrahīm (‘alaihi al-Salām) had to migrate from Babylon and travel a long distance in order to reach the Holy Land.

Imran Hossein: Part of the Torah has been forged to justify Israel's expansion

Yet Babylon was most certainly within the land falsely designated in the Torah as the Holy Land. Nabī Mūsa (‘alaihi al-Salām) also died in Sinai without ever having entered the Holy Land. And so, Sinai is not a part of the Holy Land. Yet Sinai is most certainly within the land falsely designated in the Torah as the Holy Land.

The impostor State of Israel – impostor because it is not the Holy Israel of Nabī Dāūd and Nabī Sulaimān (‘alaihim al-Salām) – recognizes Gaza, as well as several other territories now populated by Arabs, to be a part of the Holy Land. The majority Israeli view is that those lands belong to the Israelite people since they are a part of the Holy Land, and that Israelites have a right to get rid of the Arabs now resident in their land.

The above is the briefest explanation possible for Israel’s persistent barbaric wars designed to achieve the ethnic cleansing of Gaza so that the Israelites can recover their Gaza.

It is ironic that those who control power in modern western civilization, and who have continuously used their power to pave the way for the creation of the impostor State of Israel, and for its survival and continuous growth, have persistently claimed for themselves the mantle of torch-bearers of the civilized way of life.

They have always held Islam and Orthodox Christianity (RUM of the Qur’an) with contempt, and considered Muslims and Orthodox Christians to be barbarians. The British, French, Germans (and later Americans, Canadians, etc) who followed the western version of Christianity, wrapped themselves in messianic clothing as the ‘chosen people’ of the Lord-God Most High.

The truth is quite the opposite, and the nakedness of their barbarism is now plainly visible in Gaza for all those who still possess some measure of honesty and integrity, and are still capable of thinking clearly.

How should Muslims respond to this barbarism and deceit?

1. Muslims who still prefer to reside in, or support, the conduct of the modern West where a man can now legally wed another man, and who proudly identify with American, British, French, German, etc., armed forces as “our armed forces”, should be recognized as belonging to the modern west rather than to the Ummah of Nabi Muhammad (sallahu ‘alahi wa sallam). They are no longer our brothers and sisters in Islam!

2. Muslims should withdraw their support for Governments which rule over Muslims and which have so far failed to respond appropriately to the Israeli genocide and ethnic cleansing of Gazan Arabs and Muslims.

3. This is particularly true for Egyptian Muslims who continue to support the post-Ikhwan military government in Egypt. If Ikhwan’s rule over Egypt was terrible. Sisi’s is worse! The great and glorious Egyptian armed forces will not even squeak as a mouse in response to Israel’s genocide of the Muslims of Gaza. The betrayal of the Egyptian armed forces is likely to be even greater than that. They will not open the doors for the oppressed in Gaza to seek safety and refuge in Egypt. Israel can destroy all the Gazan Muslims, their homes, schools, hospitals etc, and even kill them all – women and children included, and Egypt will do nothing in response.

4. The writing is now on the wall. Israel is engaged in a deliberate war of massive destruction in blessed Ramadan (Israel always chooses Ramadan) in order to enrage Muslims to the maximum extent possible. Israel is doing this in order to facilitate the process of getting large numbers of Muslims to join the bogus ISIS Jihad in northern Iraq. How else will Israel be able to convince world opinion that Islam is now reemerging as a threat to all of mankind, and that Israel has to wage a great war to save mankind from the menace of Islam? How else will Israel wage her great war to extend the frontiers of the State to encompass the false Biblical frontiers of the Holy Land? How else will Pax Judaica succeed a Pax Americana which is now in irreversible decline?

Foot note: I advise my Arab readers in particular to read my book entitled ‘Jerusalem in the Qur’an’ which explains the subject. It has been translated to Arabic and has just been published as ‘Al-Quds fil Qur’an’ by KA’ Editions in Tunisia. The book can also be ordered from my online bookstore.

HEBRON, Palestine - A video has just emerged of Israeli apartheid soldiers attacking journalists covering protests across Palestine.

WATCH the moment that Israeli apartheid soldiers attack journalists

In the video, it can be seen that Israeli soldiers are throwing sound grenades at journalists during demonstrations in Hebron on Friday.

Protests have been ongoing in Palestine since US President Donald Trump announced Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Since the announcement, at least 2,000 Palestinians have been injured and several killed in protests against Israel's apartheid regime.

President Donald Trump’s US Middle East peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt will return to Israel next week for talks related to the peace efforts, a senior administration official said on Friday.

Trump aide Greenblatt heads to Israel after Jerusalem announcement

The trip is Greenblatt’s first to the region since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which created an international uproar. Greenblatt, along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner is allegedly working on a new peace plan.

Greenblatt, whose title is special representative for international negotiations, will meet with Fernando Gentilini, the European Union’s special representative to the Middle East and stay for US Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Israel later in the week, the official said.
The Israeli military announced yesterday evening that an internal investigation into the killing of Ibrahim Abu-Thurayya in protests on Friday found no wrongdoing by occupation forces.

Israel army exonerates itself over killing of Palestinian wheelchair-user

Wheelchair-user Abu-Thurayya, 29, was shot in the head during anti-occupation demonstrations by the Gaza Strip perimeter fence, one of four Palestinian fatalities the same day.

“The initial investigation indicates that no moral or professional failures were identified,” said the Israeli army statement, which claimed that “no live fire was aimed at [Abu Thurayya]” and that it was “impossible to determine” exactly “what caused his death”.

The army statement additionally praised the “restraint” showed by the Israeli soldiers present at the time, in the face of a protest that threatened “the sovereignty of the State of Israel”.

The military acknowledged the use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters, saying that “few controlled shootings were carried out towards main instigators”, and that “troops received approval prior to shooting each round by a senior commander in the field”.

Abu-Thurayya previously worked as a fisherman, but lost both his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008. He has since done a number of jobs and also regularly attended protests.

Ibrahim’s mother said her son posed no threat: “He was only holding a flag, not an explosive belt or a bomb,” adding: “I do not trust them or their investigations.”

Some three in every 100 people injured by rubber-coated steel bullets dies as a result, a team of US-based researchers has found, according to the Associated Foreign Press.

Study: Rubber bullets ‘inaccurate’, should not be used for ‘crowd control’

A statement released by the team today in the BMJ Open journal revealed the statistics after analysing 26 scientific reports published on injury, disability and death caused by rubber bullets between 1990 and 2017 in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the United States, India, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey and Nepal.

The results showed that three per cent of the sample assessed during that period died due to their injuries, with many more left injured for life.

“Some 300 (15.5 per cent) of all survivors were left with permanent disability as a direct result of the rubber bullet impact they sustained – usually to the head and neck,” they stated.

“Blindness, and removal of the spleen, or a section of the bowel as a result of abdominal injuries, accounted for most of this disability.”

Rubber-coated steel bullets are perpetually used in Israel against Palestinians, including young children. Those injured are often unable to study, work or resume their daily lives.

Despite Israel purporting that rubber-coated steel bullets, also known as kinetic impact projectiles (KIP), are a non-lethal crowd-control mechanism, the report states that the measure should not be used in such scenarios.

Given their inherent inaccuracy, potential for misuse and associated health consequences of severe injury and death, KIPs do not appear to be appropriate weapons for use in crowd-control settings.

The researchers concluded that “appropriate use of force and alternatives to weapons must be considered in all contexts,” and appealed for the urgent creation of “international guidelines” on the use of crowd-control weapons.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, Israel has injured 634 people with rubber-coated steel bullets in the eight days following protests at the announcement of US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A further 2,500 were injured as a result of other forms of Israeli aggression including the use of live bullets and tear gas in the past two weeks.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Sunday that bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces would not be returned to their families for burial, Quds Press reported.

Israel minister: Bodies of slain Palestinians will not be returned

“It must be clear that the bodies of terrorists will not be returned,” Shaked told journalists yesterday, in reference to Palestinians killed at the hands of Israeli occupation forces.

“There can be two tracks of going about it, as I said, either another discussion, which is the preferred route, or legislation.”

On Thursday, the Israel Supreme Court ruled that the state is not allowed to hold bodies of Palestinians to be used as “bargaining chips”.

Based on the ruling, the Israeli government was given a period of six months to appeal before it must release the bodies of slain Palestinians unconditionally.

Israeli occupation forces have withheld the bodies of hundreds of Palestinians, including ten killed during the uprising which started in October 2015. It is believed that they will be used in future negotiations surrounding the release of Israeli soldiers who have been captured as prisoners of war in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The bodies of the Palestinians are held in the cemetery of numbers which is a closed military area which civilians and NGOs are unable to access.

The #FreeAhed campaign has been launched in support of the 16-year-old who was taken from her home.

Israel arrests Palestinian teen who forced them off her land (Videos)

A 16-year-old Palestinian girl was arrested early this morning after a video of her telling Israeli soldiers to leave her property went viral, according to Haaretz. Female Border Police and Israeli occupation forces took Ahed Tamimi from her home in Nabi Saleh, near occupied Ramallah, and was taken to be questioned, the army said in a statement.

The video, filmed amid ongoing protests last Friday, shows Tamimi along with two other women, telling two armed Israeli soldiers to remove themselves from her property. Israeli soldiers had reportedly shot at children throwing stones from a house in the neighborhood and prevented the family from re-entering their home. Neighbors joined the scene in an attempt to force the soldiers to leave.

After they refuse, Tamimi can be seen attempting to push the soldiers off her land. They later detain her for assaulting military officers, a crime which carries up to seven years imprisonment.

Human rights groups and activists have since launched the #FreeAhed campaign online.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Army Radio this morning that he believed the young girls in the video “should finish their lives in prison”.

Tamimi’s father Bassem took to Facebook to record the incident and told of how his home was raided and their phones, cameras and laptops stolen following his daughter’s arrest.

“The IOF [Israeli occupying forces] raid my home and arrested my daughter Ahed Tamimi after the Israeli media attaks [sic] here after she stop the solder [sic] in front of our house when he shot child on his head,” the status read.

Tamimi has stood up against Israeli aggression multiple times in the past, attending protests and preventing soldiers from arresting a 12-year-old boy in her hometown of Nabi Saleh in 2015.

The Israeli authorities today unveiled a new Jewish synagogue under the Al-Buraq Wall – known to Jews as the Western Wall – in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israel unveils new synagogue in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

“Following 12 years of construction, the new synagogue was opened on Monday evening,” the Heritage Foundation of the Western Wall, an Israeli governmental body, said in a statement.

“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” the statement read.

In recent years, Islamic institutions in East Jerusalem have lodged repeated protests over excavations being carried out by the Israeli authorities under the flashpoint mosque compound.

In a statement, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council and a former Al-Aqsa imam, stressed that the Al-Buraq Wall was a component of the Al-Aqsa’s western wall. “The wall is part of our Islamic heritage and will remain so until Judgment Day,” Sabri said.

“The Israeli occupation has no claim on Jerusalem’s heritage,” he added. “This new synagogue… doesn’t have any historical roots.”

“All new construction by the [Israeli] occupation authorities in Jerusalem is illegitimate and lacks a historical basis,” Sabri said, adding the holy city “cannot be partitioned”.

In October 2016, UNESCO voted on a resolution which denied any Jewish connection to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq Wall in occupied Jerusalem.

Tension has mounted in the occupied territories since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December, drawing condemnation from across the world. Yesterday the United Nationals Security Council voted 14 to one against Trump’s decision, however due to the US power of veto a resolution could not be passed against his unilateral move.
UN goes easy on Israel for killing disabled Palestinian 19 December 2017

The United Nations human rights chief has joined the condemnation of Israel’s killing of a disabled Palestinian man in the occupied Gaza Strip.

But while Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein calls the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya “incomprehensible” and a “truly shocking and wanton act,” his office stops short of calling for any real accountability from Israel.

It thus demonstrates a double standard in which Israel is treated more leniently by the UN than other perpetrators of human rights crimes.

Abu Thurayya, 29, lost both his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008. Last Friday he was participating in demonstrations in Gaza near the boundary fence with Israel in protest of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abu Thurayya “was protesting around 15 metres from Gaza’s eastern fence when he was shot while sitting in his wheelchair,” the human rights group Al-Haq stated.

Shot dead in wheelchair holding flag - According to Al-Haq documentation and footage of the incident, Abu Thurayya “was only holding a Palestinian flag and did not pose any threat to the [Israeli occupation forces] when he was shot in the forehead in what appears to have been a deliberate act of killing.”

A statement on Tuesday from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein acknowledges these facts and states that “there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu Thurayya was posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury when he was killed.”

The statement adds: “Given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible – a truly shocking and wanton act.”

Yet the statement falls far short of what should be expected in such a grave situation.

Mild language - The UN human rights office also said that Israel’s other killings and injuries to hundreds of Palestinians the same day raise “serious concerns as to whether the force used by Israeli forces was properly calibrated to the threat.”

This mild language appears to justify and rationalize an occupation army’s use of force against civilian demonstrators while appealing politely to the occupier to be slightly less brutal.

Most troubling, however, is the UN human rights office’s call on Israel “to immediately open an independent and impartial investigation into this incident, and into all others that have resulted in injury or death, with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable for any crimes committed.”

The UN knows full well that Israel is utterly incapable of investigating itself in any serious manner. The statement even acknowledges that a “preliminary internal Israeli army investigation has taken place” into the killing of Abu Thurayya.

That “investigation” already concluded that Israeli forces had done nothing wrong and had demonstrated “no moral or professional failures” in shooting dead a disabled man.

Zeid’s office certainly knows that this kind of impunity is systematic.

Human rights groups have handed masses of evidence of Israeli violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

These are crimes that Israel has refused to investigate.

The International Criminal Court appears to be dragging its feet on cases involving Israel.

According to Al-Haq, Israel’s killings of Palestinian protesters on Friday “may amount to a wilful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”

Yet in its statement on Abu Thurayya, the UN human rights office fails to call for the International Criminal Court to robustly combat Israel’s systematic impunity.

Calls for intervention - This is in marked contrast to the human rights office’s calls on the court to get involved in other countries such as Syria, Burundi, North Korea and Myanmar

Zeid has also called for an “international investigation into the human rights violations in Venezuela” to hold perpetrators there accountable.

His call for intervention in Venezuela was based on his assessment that “the current mechanism is inadequate” and needed to be “reconfigured with the support and involvement of the international community.”

The statement on Abu Thurayya is worryingly not the only sign of a bias where the UN treats Israel with kid gloves.

Under the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid’s office is compiling a database of companies doing business in Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The database was originally expected to be published this month, but Zeid’s office reportedly pushed it back amid intense pressure from Israel and the United States, prompting concern from human rights groups.

And in 2016, while saying it was “extremely concerned” about the extrajudicial killing of an injured Palestinian by an Israeli army medic, the UN human rights office appeared to insist that Palestinians under military occupation have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their occupiers.

UN Condemns Israel's Killing of Palestinian in Wheelchair

The Palestinian ministry of public health in Gaza stressed on Saturday that the Zionist occupation forces fire bullets directly on the Palestinian protestors and use unknown gas bombs, “which raised the number of martyrs and injured among the civilians.”

Palestinian Ministry of Public Health: Zionist Occupation Forces Use Unknown Gas Bombs

The ministry added that the Israeli occupation forces use unknown gas bombs which caused cases of stress, convulsion, vomit, cough and rapid heartbeat among the Palestinian civilians, urging the competent sides to unveil their nature.

The Zionist occupation forces use excessive force against the civilians and the rescue teams as well as the medics, according to the Palestinian ministry which called for denouncing the racist actions of the Israeli authorities.
Israeli occupation police yesterday arrested Nariman Tamimi, the mother of 16-year-old Ahed who had been arrested during a dawn raid on her house in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank.

Israel arrests Ahed Tamimi’s mother

Ahed has accused of inciting against occupation forces, while her mother attacked Israeli officers and incited against them.

Nariman was detained yesterday afternoon, her lawyer said, after she went to an Israeli police station to ask about the whereabouts of her daughter.

The family’s home had been raided by Israeli occupation forces yesterday.

Ahed’s father Bassem took to Facebook to record the incident and told of how his home was raided and their phones, cameras and laptops stolen following his daughter’s arrest.

“The IOF [Israeli occupying forces] raid my home and arrested my daughter Ahed Tamimi after the Israeli media attacks [sic] here after she stop the solder [sic] in front of our house when he shot child on his head,” the status read.

Israel today extended the detention of 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi for ten days.

Israel extends detention of Palestinian teen

Tamimi appeared in court at the Ofer military base near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The teen was arrested after video footage circulated of her and her 21-year-old cousin, Nour Naji Tamimi, forcing Israeli occupation forces off their family’s home in their West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

The footage was taken on 15 December but Ahed was arrested from her home in a dawn raid yesterday. Nour was also arrested.

The family’s electronic equipment including mobile phones and laptops were also seized.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, was later arrested as she went to inquire about the whereabouts of her daughter.
Palestinians staged a protest rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank to once again say "no" to Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israeli Forces Clash with Palestinians at Birthplace of Jesus on Christmas Eve

Israeli forces have used tear gas and stun grenades against Palestinians who rallied outside an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem, widely known as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ. Some of the protesters were dressed as Santa Claus, Sputnik reported.

According to Bethlehem resident Mohammad al-Lahham, these demonstrators have sent a message to Palestinian children about their determination to follow "the path to freedom, to Jerusalem."

"Papa Noel (Santa Claus) distributes gifts and the occupation distributes bombs today. These are the bombs that the Israeli occupation is distributing today, at Christmas," he stressed.

The Health Ministry said a Palestinian teenager died on Sunday, nine days after being wounded by Israeli fire during a Gaza protest against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

19-Year-Old Becomes 15th Palestinian to Die since US President's Jerusalem Announcement (BUT - it's not Trump inflicting the casualties!)

Mohammad Sami al-Dahdouh, 19, from Gaza City was shot during a demonstration on the Israeli border on December 15, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, Daily Sabah reported.

According to Palestinian Health Ministry, Dahdouh's death brings to 15 the number of Palestinians killed since US President Donald Trump announced that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The total number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of the protests goes beyond 500, including minors and women, according to official Palestinian and Israeli sources.

Also, thousands of Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli army's fire during demonstrations against the US President decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Preparations were under way in Bethlehem on Sunday for Christmas, with tensions still simmering in the city and the region following Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Jerusalem tensions cast shadow over Holy Land Christmas

The controversial December 6 announcement by President Donald Trump unleashed demonstrations and clashes, including in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city Bethlehem, where Christians will mark the birth of Jesus in a midnight mass.

Bethlehem is normally flooded by tourists at this time of year, but has at times appeared almost empty of visitors as nearby clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army keep people away.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said “dozens” of groups had pulled out of planned visits after being scared off by the announcement and subsequent violence.

“Of course this created a tension around Jerusalem and this diverted attention from Christmas,” the Catholic church’s top official in Jerusalem said of Trump’s announcement, but stressing that Christmas celebrations would go ahead as planned.

Perhaps as few as 50,000 Palestinian Christians make up just around two percent of the predominantly Muslim population of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel’s tourism ministry has said that Christmas preparations have not been affected and that it expects a 20 percent increase in the number of Christian pilgrims this year compared with 2016.

The ministry plans to operate a free shuttle service for the short distance between Jerusalem and Bethlehem for mass.

Christmas in the Middle East

An Israeli police spokesman said that extra units will be deployed in Jerusalem and at the crossings to Bethlehem to ease the travel and access for the “thousands of tourists and visitors.”

The annual scouts parade in Bethlehem will march through Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, built over the spot where tradition says Mary gave birth to Jesus and where celebrations will culminate with midnight mass.

Israel seized east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, in moves never recognized by the international community.

Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and interpreted Trump’s statement as rejecting their right to a capital in east Jerusalem, although the Americans deny this.

In a statement ahead of Christmas, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Trump’s announcement “encouraged the illegal disconnection between the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, both separated for the first time in over 2,000 years of Christianity.”

Abbas called on “world Christians to listen to the true voices of the indigenous Christians from the Holy Land... that strongly rejected the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“They are the descendants of the first followers of Jesus Christ and an integral part of the Palestinian people,” Abbas said, calling the local Christian community “an inherent part of our societies.”

In neighboring Egypt, Coptic Christians who celebrate Christmas on January 6 saw a church in Giza attacked by a mob following Muslim prayers on Friday, the latest in some 20 such incidents in 2017.

Hundreds entered the church, chanting slogans calling for its demolition, destroying furniture and attacking worshippers before security forces restored order.

But in Iraq, this year marks a positive turning point for the Christian community in the northern city of Mosul.

Christmas mass will be celebrated there for the first time in years following the city’s recapture from the ISIS group in July.

ISIS seized Iraq’s second most populous city as part of a lightning offensive in 2014, driving out many Christians, and only small numbers have since returned.

Christian dignitaries as well as Iraqi political and military leaders are expected to attend the annual service at St. Paul’s Church in the eastern sector of Mosul.

MOSUL, Iraq: Hymns filled a church in Iraq’s second city Mosul on Sunday as worshippers celebrated Christmas for the first time in four years after the end of jihadist rule.

Mosul celebrates first post-Daesh Christmas

Tens of thousands of Christians fled northern Iraqi towns in 2014 as the Daesh group seized Mosul and swathes of the surrounding Nineveh province. But Iraqi forces expelled the jihadists from the city this year after months of battle, allowing Christians to return to pray at Saint Paul’s church.

On Sunday morning, the patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, called on dozens to pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”

Muslims, as well as local and military officials, stood with Christian worshippers amid the candles and Christmas trees.

On the church’s walls, white sheets covered up window frames blasted empty in the war. Armored vehicles sat outside the church, where the portrait of a Christian killed under Daesh rule was displayed as a reminder of the city’s grim recent history.

Farqad Malko, a Christian woman in the congregation, said celebrating the mass on Christmas Eve was “important to relaunch Christian life” in the city.
She is one of the few to have returned to the area after Iraqi forces defeated Daesh in the city in July. She said she was determined “to work and go to church in Mosul.”

The jihadists’ defeat is a massive turnaround for an organization that once ruled over millions of people in a territory as big as Italy encompassing large parts of Syria and nearly a third of Iraq.

This month Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory in the three-year campaign backed by a US-led coalition to expel Daesh from Iraq.

CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptians ransacked a church south of Cairo and called for it to be demolished, the region's diocese said.

Crowd ransacks church in Egypt

The attack on the church in Atfeh, 100 km from the capital, took place on Friday after weekly Muslim prayers, the diocese said on its Facebook page.

Several churches, especially ones that have yet to be licensed by the government, have come under attack by local Muslims in the conservative south of the country.

The diocese said the Prince Tawadros church had been used for almost 15 years and had applied for a license under a law passed last year meant to ease permits for new churches.

Hundreds of people massed in front of the building, chanting “hostile” slogans and calling for the church to be demolished, it said.

“They stormed the place and destroyed what was inside it, after assaulting the Christians there,” the diocese said.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians comprise up to 10 percent of the country’s 93 million people and are the Middle East’s largest religious minority.

They have come under sectarian attacks and been targeted by militants who have killed more than 100 people in church bombings and shootings since last December.

AMMAN: Christian refugees from the conflict in Syria may feel that the Christmas spirit is in short supply this year, but Jordanians have gone out of their way to ensure that it is alive and well.

Jordan brings spirit of Christmas to Syrian refugees

“We host events from dinners, to food distribution, to Santa Claus gift giving for members of the Sudanese, Iraqi and Syrian Christian communities in Jordan,” the Rev. Yousef Hashweh, head of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Jordan and Palestine, told Arab News.

Hashweh, whose family is from Palestine, often relates his own experience when visiting refugees in Jordan.

“I try to encourage them by talking about how Palestinian refugees went through similar hardships with the hope that they can look forward to happier days in the future,” he said.

The Caritas mission in Jordan has adopted the theme of “peace” in its refugee effort.

“We know they come from areas like Mosul and Kirkuk that have gone through violence and war, and we want them to trust God that peace is at hand,” spokesperson Dana Shahin told Arab News.

Rola Habash, a volunteer with the Sweileh Baptist Church outside Amman, told Arab News most of the Iraqi Christians they worked with were awaiting papers to emigrate to Canada and Australia.

“We have been visiting them and inviting them to our homes and church, and we feel like a family with them,” he said.

The church provides food parcels and clothing for the refugees, many of whom arrived in Jordan with nothing. For Christmas, the monthly packages contained chocolate and toys for children.

The Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary held its annual Christmas dinner for boarding students from Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Chad, Sudan and Egypt.

“During Christmas we know that many of the students from outside of Jordan feel lonely and miss their families so we have tried to make up for that by organizing events and encouraging local families to host some of the students in their homes,” seminary president Imad Shehadeh told Arab News.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, there was a Christmas Eve church service for the first time since Daesh was driven out of the region. Hymns and cries of joy filled Saint Paul’s church and Muslims stood with Christian worshippers amid the candles and Christmas trees.

“With this mass, we’re sending a message of peace and love, because Christ is the messenger of peace,” said Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church.
The Israeli ministry tasked with fighting the BDS Movement is spending millions of shekels to place propaganda that looks like news in Israel’s most prominent media outlets.

The Israeli Government Is Paying for Anti-BDS Journalism

The Israeli government paid the Yedioth Group, publisher of Israel’s best-selling daily newspaper, hundreds of thousands of shekels to publish articles and interviews meant to influence readers to support a campaign Israel is waging against its critics. The Strategic Affairs Ministry, headed by Minister Gilad Erdan, purchased positive coverage and the distribution of that content on the Internet.

According to information provided to “The Seventh Eye” and “Hatzlacha,” as part of a freedom of information request, the Yedioth Ahronoth Group received NIS 350,000 ($100,000) to publish journalistic articles, which were then distributed by member organizations of the “Pro-Israel Network” in Israel and around the world. The articles, according to the information furnished, were meant to motivate or enlist Israelis into the struggle.

The paid-for articles were published starting in June 2017 in the news section of Yedioth Ahronoth‘s weekend magazine, and on its website, Ynet. Like other campaigns that included purchasing articles from the newspaper, this one also included promotions in the widely-distributed weekend edition.

Alongside the paid-for articles, Ynet also published promotional videos produced by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, as well as three interviews with a ranking official at the ministry, Tzahi Gabrieli. Two of those paid-for interviews were conducted by Ynet’s senior political correspondent, Attila Somfalvi, who asked soft-ball questions that allowed him to present his talking points.

In addition to the interviews with Gabrieli, Yedioth also interviewed a string of people from various Jewish organizations that do not have direct ties to the state. The role of those organizations in the government efforts against de-legitimization and their ties to the government are unclear.

Two of those organizations, the “World Jewish Congress” and “Stand With Us,” were sponsors of Yedioth’s anti-BDS conference last year, in which senior politicians and officials from the Strategic Affairs Ministry took part.

“Over the last year,” wrote journalist Reuven Weiss in one of the paid-for articles, “the boycott movement’s main base of operations in their campaign to delegitimize Israel has moved to social media, and new tools are required.”

The aim of at least some of those state-sponsored articles was to enlist the public to help some of those civil society organizations in spreading government messaging on the internet and to combat unflattering content. In other words, to get the public to execute the Ministry of Strategic Affairs’ strategy.

“Are you sick of hearing the lies about Israel spread in the international media and on social networks?” read an accompanying box in one of the Hebrew-language state-sponsored articles. Readers were then encouraged to Google the campaign’s name, “4il,” go to the site, and start sharing “videos, caricatures, and articles that expose the lies of BDS.” In addition, Yedioth suggested that readers download an app called Act.il, which enables them to take part in “daily missions” to advance pro-Israel messaging on social media.

As has become customary at Yedioth Ahronoth in recent years, readers are told only that the article they are reading was published “in cooperation with” an Israeli government ministry, without explaining that “in cooperation with” actually means “paid for by.” In recent months, the list of articles featuring that disclosure has grown to include articles written by the news organization’s diplomatic correspondent Itamar Eichner.

The relationship between the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Yedioth Ahronoth is only part of a much broader, well-funded campaign: in June and July of 2017 the ministry spent nearly NIS 7 million ($2 million) on spreading its messaging to the public in Israel and abroad. That is larger than any of the other campaigns that have been exposed by The Seventh Eye in recent years. The second-largest such campaign documented previously was NIS 11 million, and that was over the course of more than a year.

In addition to the journalistic content that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs purchased in Yedioth, it also spent over half a million shekels on placing content on Israel’s highest-rated television news channel, Channel 2 and its website, Mako. And in addition to Hebrew-language articles, the ministry also purchased journalistic content targeting a more global audience, enlisting it in the fight against de-legitimization.

The state-sponsored articles aimed overseas audiences were published in The Jerusalem Post, which was paid NIS 120,000 ($34,000); in the Times of Israel, which was paid NIS 95,000 ($27,000); and the J Media Group, an American publishing group, which was paid NIS 115,000 ($33,000). The J Media Group, which operates a television station called ILTV, also received money from the Strategic Affairs Ministry, along with Hebrew-language newspaper Makor Rishon. The ministry refused to release data on its relationship with Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper, Israel Hayom.

According to the data that was released, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs’ biggest expenditure of the campaign — over NIS 2.6 million ($740,000) — was budgeted to promote content on social media and search engines, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Another large sum, around NIS 2 million ($570,000), was budgeted for building the Act.il website and producing multi-media content for it. Another roughly NIS 490,000 ($140,000) was budgeted for “strategy,” “creative,” and “branding.”

The funds the government is using to purchase state-sponsored journalistic articles come from the public, and therefore most government ministries have agreed to release information on those types of relationships. It will soon be far more difficult to obtain information about the purchase of journalistic content by Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The ministry has in recent months been advancing legislation that would exempt it from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law. According to the draft legislation, “successfully waging this battle requires keeping it as ambiguous as possible.”

The Strategic Affairs Ministry claimed that the law would not apply to the types of relationships like that with the Yedioth Ahronot Group, but the bill itself, which passed a preliminary vote over the summer and is now waiting for its second and final votes, is written in a way that will apply to all of the ministry’s activities. In response to past freedom of information requests by The Seventh Eye and Hatzlacha, the ministry claimed that some of the requested documents were “classified.” It redacted other documents, claiming that they were liable to harm Israel’s foreign relations, and even state security.

Attila Somfalvi declined to respond to interview requests. Ron Yaron, the editor of Yedioth Ahronoth, sent the following response:

We are proud of the broad and comprehensive coverage Yedioth Ahronoth has been leading against the boycott of Israel. When, in that framework, there has been cooperation with [government] officials or bodies in articles that were published, there have been prominent disclosures of it, similar to what is done in other media outlets when they cooperate with various bodies.
Jerusalem is the Palestinian people’s eternal homeland and capital, the member of the Islamic-Christian Council in Jerusalem, Father Manuel Mosallam, has stressed.

Jerusalem’s Islamic-Christian Council calls for building Palestinian army

Speaking at a national conference held by the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip, Mosallam said that “the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has made the world collapse.”

“Where are the international legitimacy, UN Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accord,” he wondered, denouncing the “the US has trampled on all these resolutions and international covenants”

On the two-state solution, Mosallam noted that “this project was over long time ago.” “Palestinians have no faith in anyone. They only trust in their weapons, resistance, and their blood,” he said.

“The Palestinian people are the decision makers,” the Palestinian official pointed out, stressing “the only solution is the resistance and civil disobedience.”

“Al Aqsa is part of our Islamic faith,” Mosallam reiterated.

He called on the Muslim countries to provide what he described as the Palestinians with the weapons that “would help them liberate Al-Aqsa.”

He also urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas to launch a compulsory military service scheme the Palestinian youth in order to establish a Palestinian army.

A new train station to be built next to the Buraq Wall, also known as the Western Wall, will be named after US President Donald Trump, the Jerusalem Post reported today.

Western Wall train station to be named after Trump

Transportation minister Israel Katz announced that the decision had been made to honour the president for his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this month.

“The Western Wall is the holiest place for the Jewish people, and I decided to name the train station that leads to it after President Trump following his historic and brave decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

The approved plans will also include a three kilometre tunnel from the Ummah station at the entrance to the occupied Old City to the Cardo station in the Jewish Quarter.

Katz further stated that the ongoing construction of a high speed railway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv was the country’s most important project, one that the transportation ministry had designated a top priority.

In May, Trump became the first US President to visit the Buraq Wall as part of his tour of the Middle East.

The head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Al-Sinwar, warned that the reconciliation agreement reached with rival Fatah movement is “collapsing”.

Hamas: Reconciliation agreement with Fatah ‘collapsing’

“I regret to say that those who cannot see the reconciliation is collapsing are blind. The reconciliation is collapsing and everyone must intervene to save it,” he said during a meeting with youth and activists in Gaza.

He added: “We have taken great steps to achieve the reconciliation and made a lot of concessions, but the reconciliation is still in the same place.”

“Some want the reconciliation according to the American and Israel terms. This means handing over weapons, missile capabilities and tunnels,” Al-Sinwar added.

Fatah and Hamas failed to meet the 10 December deadline set for the Palestinian unity government to assume full responsibility of the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the reconciliation agreement signed on 12 October in Cairo, Egypt.

The Palestinian Authority took over the three crossings in the Gaza Strip: the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) commercial crossing and the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border with Israel.

Sinwar said US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “requires speeding up the reconciliation efforts”.

Israeli occupation authorities are to build three new Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied Jordan Valley, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed yesterday.

Israel to build 3 new settlements in occupied Jordan Valley

Haaretz said that the Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) had released their plan to build new settlements and the expansion of existing ones in the occupied Jordan Valley.

The plan allows for 10,000 more Jewish settlers to move into the occupied region.

It also reported that there are 20 Israeli Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley with a total population of 4,500 Jewish settlers, noting that the Israeli government plans to triple this number.

According to the newspaper, a settlement called Anichai was approved early this year to house settlers evicted from the illegal outpost of Amona, citing it as the first new settlement to be approved in the Jordan Valley in years.

Quds Press said that the current Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant is one of the main supporters of the plan.

The US yesterday told Israel to hold back on large construction projects in occupied Jerusalem, Israel’s Ynet News reported.

US tells Israel to pause construction in Jerusalem

In a meeting held between US President Donald Trump’s special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the American officials said they did not want Tel Aviv to announce an increase in construction in Jerusalem as a result of Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. They added that they fear this would further ignite anger among Palestinians and the wider international community.

On his part, Netanyahu claimed that he was committed to participating in US peace negotiations with the Palestinians, referred to as “the ultimate deal” by Trump.
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