Archive for Israel
Every Muslim state should close their embassy in the United States if the Trump administration moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the president of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) said. Nabih Berri, also speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, said President Trump may not postpone a US-congress decision to move the embassy, at a conference in Rabat, Morocco. “We must call for Palestinian national unity, its return to a central issue in the Arab consciousness and the building of trusting relationships between Muslim neighbours,” Berri said. Berri said that the decision to move the embassy required a “strong reaction” from a unified Muslim world, which would require “at the very least”, the closure of embassies.
Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren for questioning over recent Israeli airstrikes on Syrian state forces, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. Russia demands Israel more closely communicate its military plans in the region to avoid such incidents, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in comments carried by state news agency RIA Novosti. Israeli warplanes conducted air raids in Syria on Friday, with Syrian state forces retaliating using anti-aircraft weapons, in one of the more serious exchanges of fire in the six years of Syria’s multi-sided civil war. Russia has maintained close relations with Israel despite the decades-long animosity between Syria and the neighbouring Jewish state, including over Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. Israel has about a million Russian-speaking residents. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month in Moscow for talks that focused on the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu warned Putin about Iranian involvement in the conflict. Like Syria’s regime, Iran is also a regional rival of Israel but an ally of Russia.
An official United States delegation led by Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is briefly visiting Israel on Saturday and Sunday to study the possibility of relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The delegation is in Jerusalem to learn first hand what it will mean to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Ruth Lieberman, a friend of DeSantis and a political advisor in Israel. “Its leadership intends to return to Congress with a report and a deeper understanding of what to expect, and of some of the decisions that have to be made as well,” Lieberman said. DeSantis chairs the subcommittee for National Security for the US House Oversight Committee. The delegation will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli political leaders during their visit. US President Donald Trump had promised to relocate the embassy during his campaign for the White House. But since his January 20th inauguration, his lukewarm statements about the matter led many to speculate that he would not make good on his pledge. The delegation’s visit is the first sign that there might be some movement on the issue. Palestinian and Jordanian leaders have warned the US that moving the embassy could spark violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as in the Middle East region as a whole.
US President Donald Trump responded to the King of Jordan’s request that the United States refrain from moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Arab media reported on Saturday. The Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, reported that the Trump administration transferred a message to the Palestinian Authority that the embassy would not be moving to Jerusalem. So despite constant promises from Trump that the US Embassy in Israel would be moving to Jerusalem, he has no such plans.
US President Donald Trump does not believe Israeli settlement growth in Palestinian territories is “good for peace”, he told a paper Friday, in his most direct comments on the matter since inauguration. In the interview published in Hebrew by the Israel Hayom newspaper, Trump also said he was thinking “seriously” about moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move fiercely opposed by the Palestinians. Speaking to the newspaper ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next week, Trump was quoted as saying he was “not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace”. The international community considers settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal and says they risk destroying hopes for peace with the Palestinians.
If the Trump’s White House approves the relocation, it would overturn decades of international consensus on Jerusalem. The message to the Palestinians and Arab world would be clear and provocative, said Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official and former Palestinian foreign minister. “Moving the embassy is the same as recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital. It’s a war crime,” he told Al Jazeera. “There’s no way we or the Arab world could accept it. It would mean the end of the US as the broker of the peace process. We would fight back and mobilise the rest of the world against the move.” The Israeli army has been advising the government of Benjamin Netanyahu on the possible fallout too, according to a report last week in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. A change of address would be seen as a US green light for Israel to extend its sovereignty over the city and its holy places, including the al-Aqsa mosque, in the view of Israeli military intelligence. Reactions could include mass protests from the Islamic movements inside Israel; riots in the occupied Palestinian territories and neighbouring states such as Jordan, which is the official guardian of al-Aqsa; and the collapse of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said on Sunday that it will summon the Swedish ambassador to protest the decision of newly-elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s decision to recognize the Palestinian state. Late on Saturday, Lieberman said in a statement that he ” regrets” that the Swedish Prime Minister “was in a hurry to make statements on Sweden’s position regarding recognition of a Palestinian state, apparently before he had time even to study the issue in depth.” In his inaugural address to parliament on Friday, Lofven said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved by a two- state solution which “requires mutual recognition and the will to co-exist peacefully.” “Sweden will therefore recognize the State of Palestine,” Lofven said, but did not mention how or when it would be done. Israel fears that other major European countries will follow Sweden to recognize a Palestinian state.