Palestinian rage over holy city fuels fears of bigger conflict

1 / 3
Palestinians take part in a protest against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City on December 7. (AFP)
2 / 3
Above, Palestinian women shout slogans during a protest in Gaza City on December 6. (AFP)
3 / 3
A protester waves a Palestinian flag near the words “Free Palestine” spray-painted onto a wall of the US consulate during a demonstration in Istanbul on December 6. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2017
0

Palestinian rage over holy city fuels fears of bigger conflict

LONDON: Palestinians on Wednesday warned that a bloody third “intifada” could follow a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, branded Trump’s policy shift as a “breach of international conventions” which both trampled on the rights of Palestinians and put Israel at heightened risk of attack.
He told Arab News: “People are going to go into the streets, not only in Palestine but in all capitals across the Arab world. The situation is very risky.”
By changing America’s stance toward Jerusalem, Trump “is opening a can of worms that cannot be controlled.”
Trump’s decision sparked anger across the Middle East and beyond as global leaders warned about the destabilizing repercussions across borders.
Since fielding a phone call from Donald Trump on Tuesday night, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been in close contact with regional allies, the UN and the EU, demanding they condemn the move.
Hassassian said that the US policy shift discredited America’s role as a peace broker between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We cannot look at the US as a mediator anymore,” he told Arab News, adding that the new policy showed an undeniable bias toward the Jewish state. Moreover, Hassassian cautioned that altering the status of Jerusalem would spark ire far beyond the borders of Palestine.
“The issue of Jerusalem will carry the weight of a religious conflict, now,” Hassassian said. “1.5 billion Muslims are not going to accept the monopoly of Judaism over the (holy city).”
The American president he said, “is putting the region into real risk.”
The international community considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.
Trump’s statement, Hassassian said, constituted a break with UN resolutions and international norms.
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, agreed. “The decision that Donald Trump has made is a flagrant violation of international law and disregards legitimate rights and claims of the Palestinian people,” he told Arab News.
He said that the status of Jerusalem was an unequivocal red line for Palestinians. “There is no possible peaceful resolution to the conflict that does not acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.”
Condemnation of Trump’s new policy was echoed by Omar El-Hamdoon president of the Muslim Association of Britain, who said it was “not just a step in the wrong direction but it’s almost like pouring oil onto the fire.”
Hassassian said the Palestinian leadership was appealing to the international community to stand against Trump’s intransigence.
Jamal agreed: “It is time for the international community to take robust action if it wishes to support a just resolution,” he said. “Donald Trump’s decision needs to be … condemned by all governments, including the UK government that say they support international law.”


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
0

Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.