Anger erupts over Jerusalem embassy move; Palestinian president claims world support

A Palestinian protester in the West Bank city of Ramallah burns tires on Thursday during clashes with Israeli troops following protests against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2017
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Anger erupts over Jerusalem embassy move; Palestinian president claims world support

JEDDAH/JERUSALEM: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he is rallying international opposition to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which he called an “unacceptable crime.”
At a meeting with Jordan’s king, Abbas said that he rejects Trump’s decision and believes America has hurt its credibility in the region.
Abbas said the Palestinians have been rallying Arab support as they formulate a response. He said he has been communicating with other world leaders.
“Fortunately, there was a positive response from all the countries in the world, from Europe and from Africa and countries close to America that don’t support the US,” he said. “These all are messages to Trump that what he did is an unacceptable crime.”
Abbas is trying to organize a three-way summit with King Abdallah of Jordan and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, Hamadeh Faraneh, a member of the Palestinian National Council, told the Amman-based radio Al Balad.
Saudi Arabia expressed “great disappointment” over Trump’s announcement. In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the royal court said the Kingdom had previously warned of the serious consequences of such an “irresponsible and unwarranted step.”
The statement said: “The Kingdom expresses its denunciation and deep regret that the (Trump) administration has taken this step, as it represents a great bias against the historic and permanent rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, which have been affirmed by the relevant international resolutions and have been recognized and supported by the international community.”
Hundreds of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank while demonstrators in Gaza burned posters of President Donald Trump.
The leader of Hamas, which runs Gaza, called for a new armed uprising in a widespread show of anger, as the demonstrators torched American and Israeli flags.
The Israeli military said it struck targets in the Gaza Strip in response to projectiles fired at Israel.
In the West Bank, crowds of protesters set tires on fire and hurled stones at Israeli troops. In Bethlehem, troops fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse a crowd, in clashes that could cloud the upcoming Christmas celebrations. In Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, protesters set tires on fire, sending a thick plume of black smoke over the city.
Palestinians shuttered their schools and shops on Thursday to begin three “days of rage.”
The Israeli military said it would deploy several battalions to the West Bank ahead of Friday, while other troops have been put on alert to address “possible developments.”
Dozens of civilians were wounded by rubber bullets during the clashes with the Israeli forces following demonstrations.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said its crews dealt with 108 injuries, some with live bullets, during the confrontations in many cities and towns including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Jenin, the borders of Khan Yunis and the center of Gaza Strip.
In Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps, protesters burned tires and fired in the air, as their leaders called for a “day of rage” on Thursday and a “total shutdown in all camps.”
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon took to the streets in spontaneous protest at Trump’s decision.”Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” said a refugee in Ain Al-Hilweh camp. “This is what our history says, and what books and international resolutions say.”
Jordanian demonstrators torched the US flag and pictures of Trump during a protest near the American Embassy in Amman.
Dozens of riot police cars surrounded the fortified embassy compound to keep protesters at bay and policemen deployed in the area.
Hundreds of hard-liners rallied in major cities across Pakistan.
The demonstrators dispersed peacefully after Thursday’s rallies in the capital, Islamabad. Similar anti-US rallies were also held in Karachi, the country’s largest city, and in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, as well as in the city of Multan in Punjab province.


Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Updated 21 July 2019
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Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

  • Actress and singer Zuhal Olcay was charged with insulting Erdogan using hand gestures at a concert in Istanbul in 2016
  • Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence, originally imposed last year but suspended

ANKARA: Accusations of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may lead to a jail sentence — even if the “insult” is in private, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence on actress and singer Zuhal Olcay, 61, after a complaint that she had changed lyrics of songs and used hand gestures to insult the president at a concert in Istanbul in 2016.

The revised lyrics said: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream’.” Olcay said she had changed the lyrics only because the president’s name fitted the rhyme.

The court confirmed a sentence originally imposed last year, which had been suspended. The singer is expected to spend up to three days in prison, before being released on probation.

“This case highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres.”

Louis Fishman Academic

“Zuhal Olcay is an artist with great stature, and this case shows that no one is out of reach of a judiciary that increasingly has little independence from the government,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at City University of New York, told Arab News.

“The message is clear; artists in Turkey should be silent or face legal consequences that can be drawn out for years and eventually lead to prison,” said Fishman, an expert on Turkey.

He said it was significant that the hand gesture at the center of the case had happened at a private concert, and the prosecution began only after it was reported to police by someone in the audience.

“Therefore, this case also highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres,” he said. 

“In other words, there is a growing fear in Turkey of criticizing, or ‘defaming’ Erdogan, not only in public, but also in private. In both cases, vigilant citizens can report such alleged cases to the police.”