Archive for Middle East
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.
Turkey’s Embassy in the Swedish capital of Stockholm has been attacked by two masked men, media reported Wednesday. The two attackers, detected by the surveillance camera, threw bottles with white paint at the embassy building in Stockholm, the Anadolu news agency reported. Swedish police have launched investigation into the attack. In November 2016, a group of unidentified people attacked a mosque and a Turkish cultural center in Stockholm.
The photo of the gunman who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey in December has won the World Press Photo of the year competition. It was the 60th year of this award, which “honours the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year”, according to the World Press Photo Foundation. The assassination photo was snapped by Burhan Ozbilici, a photographer for the Associated Press in Istanbul, moments after the attack. Mary F Calvert, member of the jury, said the winning photograph “was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times.
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.
The actual danger that Russia’s embassy in Damascus may come under attack is not decreasing even amid the ceasefire deal between the Syrian government and the opposition, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said in an interview with TASS. “The establishment of ceasefire on December 30, 2016 had a positive impact on the military and political situation in Syria in general,” he said. “Unfortunately, this does not mean that the security situation of the embassy has automatically improved.” Russia’s embassy in Damascus again came under shelling on February 3, the ambassador said, adding that there was no serious damage to it. “We constantly register shellings in close vicinity to the embassy,” he added.
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad said on Monday it has limited the movement of its personnel after receiving “credible threats of possible attacks on hotels frequented by Westerners”. “As a reminder, U.S. citizens should maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq,” an emergency security message for U.S. citizens on the embassy’s website said. It did not give details on the nature of threat. U.S. authorities advise citizens to avoid travelling to Iraq citing the risk of being kidnapped by armed political groups or criminal gangs and bombings by the group Islamic State.