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.


Turkey to host four-nation summit on Syria crisis

Updated 19 October 2018
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Turkey to host four-nation summit on Syria crisis

  • Russia and Turkey reached an agreement last month to set up a demilitarized zone around the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib
  • The Kremlin confirmed Vladimir Putin’s participation in the summit

ANKARA, Turkey: A summit between the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia will be held in Istanbul this month to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts for a lasting solution to the war in the Arab country, a Turkish official said Friday.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, in a written statement said the summit will take place on October 27.
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement last month to set up a demilitarized zone around the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib preventing a government offensive on the last rebel stronghold in the country.
Idlib has been calm ever since although some militant groups did not meet an Oct. 15 deadline to evacuate the demilitarized zone that surrounds Idlib province. Many feared that a government offensive in Idlib would trigger a new refugee crisis as the region is home to some 3 million people many of them displaced by war from other parts of Syria.
Russia is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government while Turkey has been helping insurgents trying to remove him from power.
Kalin said all aspects of the Syrian conflict are expected to be discussed, including the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement and efforts for a lasting solution to the conflict.
German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz announced that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be attending the summit.
A statement by France’s Elysee Palace said Paris intends primarily to promote the maintenance of the ceasefire in Idlib to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and a new mass wave of refugees, and the effective launch of an inclusive political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
“These two objectives will be at the center of discussions between Heads of State and Government,” the statement said.
Security Council resolution 2254 from December 2015 called on top UN officials to convene the two sides of the Syrian conflict “to engage in formal negotiations on a political transition process.”
The Kremlin confirmed Vladimir Putin’s participation in the summit and said it would focus on political settlement and conditions for the return of Syrian refugees.
Asked if the Kremlin was expecting a breakthrough at the meeting, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that “this meeting is not about breakthroughs.”