PLO officials, others push for a ‘strong and clear’ stand

Protesters shout slogans and wave the Jordanian flag during a protest near the American Embassy in Amman against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Thursday, December 7, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 08 December 2017
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PLO officials, others push for a ‘strong and clear’ stand

AMMAN: Hamden Faraneh, a member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), told the Amman-based radio Al-Balad that President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to organize a three-way summit with King Abdallah of Jordan and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt in response to the Donald Trump announcement.
Anees Sweidan, director of external relations for the PLO, told Arab News that Arab and Muslim leaders must stand up for their historic and religious responsibilities toward the occupied city of Jerusalem. “We are not looking for a statement but a strong and clear position that makes it clear that moving the embassy to Jerusalem will have strong and impactful results.”
Sweidan, who was born in Nablus and lives in Ramallah, says that he, like so many other Palestinians, can not go to Jerusalem to pray or to visit. “For years we have been barred from entering Jerusalem, but despite Trump’s position, which violated international law and goes against world opinion, we will not be stopped from saying that Jerusalem is the capital of our future Palestinian state.”
The Jordan Evangelical Council sent a letter to President Trump asking him to refrain from moving the embassy.
Retired Gen. Imad Mayyah, who heads the Jordan Evangelical Council, told Arab News that for a Jordanian Christian the issue of Jerusalem had the same effect as on any other Arab or on Muslims. “We feel anger about the irresponsible decision by President Trump, which provides rights to those who are undeserving while leaving Palestinian, whether Muslim or Christian, out in the cold.”
Mayyah said that he sees no affiliation with American Christian Zionist evangelicals who are said to be supporting the Trump decision.
“This issue is a national political issue and has nothing to do with our faith.” Mayyah said that he is certain that there are many who misinterpret the Bible and its meaning. “American Evangelicals are making distorted interpretations from a far land without any knowledge of the situation on the ground,” Mayyah told Arab News.
Najwa Najjar, an award-winning Palestinian filmmaker, told Arab News that there was a need to work on two parallel fronts.
“It is true we need to have a strong strategy for supporting the steadfastness of our people in Jerusalem, but at the same time we need to return to the Arab fold.”
Najjar said that since the Arab Spring erupted, Arabs have been so busy with other issues that they have lost interest in Palestine. “We need to revive the Arab spirit supporting the rights of Palestinians. Jerusalem is a unifying issue and we need to find ways to leverage that in a stronger way than we have.”
Najeeb Qadoumi, also a member of the PNC, wrote on his Facebook page that the best way to respond to the Trump speech is by canceling the term negotiations from the lexicon.
“We need to work together in a united way to agree on a strategy that should include different forms of boycotts and efforts to get more countries to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”
Usually moderate voices in Jerusalem also spoke out against the Trump decision.
Mahdi Abdul Hadi, director of the Palestinian Academic Society for International Affairs (PASSIA), told Arab news that to be steadfast Palestinians needed to respond in kind: “No negotiations, no mediations and no security coordination.”
Abdul Hadi said that the international law and order that Trump violated and Netanyahu challenged forced Palestinians to think in a different way. “We need to find new ways of being steadfast on our land with dignity and at the same time unmask the ethnic cleansing by the apartheid Israeli regime and those who support them.”
 


US delegation in Turkey to talk Syria troubles

Co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli (L) and Pervin Buldan (R) speak to the media on May 25, 2018 during a campaign meeting for the presidential elections near the prison where Demirtas is being held in Edirne. (AFP)
Updated 26 May 2018
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US delegation in Turkey to talk Syria troubles

  • US has a military presence in Manbij and has provided military support to the YPG
  • Manbij is held by Kurdish militia

ANKARA: A US delegation was in Turkey on Friday to discuss Syria, an official said, after a Kurdish-held city became a major headache between the NATO allies.
The northern city of Manbij is held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia, a group which Ankara says is the “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish hard-liners in Turkey.
The US has a military presence in Manbij and has provided military support to the YPG in the fight against Daesh, causing anger among Turkish officials. After Turkey launched a cross-border operation against the YPG in the western enclave of Afrin in January, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to take the offensive to Manbij which raised fears of a confrontation between Turkish and American troops.
The offensive also caused tension between the allies because Washington urged Turkey to show “restraint” and said it could harm the fight against Daesh extremists.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told reporters on Friday that American officials were in Turkey as part of a working group on Syria.
The group was established to try to resolve the Manbij issue and coordinate US-Turkey efforts in Syria after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met in February.
Turkish officials were in Washington in March as part of the working group, set up after the threats by Ankara and repeated calls for the YPG to leave the city.
Cavusoglu is due to meet the new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on June 4.
Ankara says the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the US and the European Union.
The PKK has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.
Erdogan has repeatedly urged the US to halt support for the YPG.
His ruling Justice and Development Party published a manifesto on Thursday calling for “concrete steps” by the US to end its backing of the YPG and provide “concrete support” to Turkey in its fight against the PKK.
Erdogan vowed Turkey would “continue its operations in Syria until the last terrorist is cleared.”