Trump’s Jerusalem decision could help militants — UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE's deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 24, 2016. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 December 2017
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Trump’s Jerusalem decision could help militants — UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed

DUBAI: US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could provide a lifeline to militants after the setbacks they suffered this year, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan also said that the UAE hopes that Washington would reconsider its decision.
Trump’s announcement has sparked widespread opposition across the Middle East, with many warning it could affect Washington’s role as a Middle East peace broker.
“The US move could throw a lifebuoy to terrorist and armed groups, which have begun to lose ground in the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed, speaking to a delegation from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The comments were carried in a report on state news agency WAM published late on Saturday.
Iraq on Saturday declared final victory over Daesh after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country, while the group is on the back foot in neighboring Syria, where an offensive backed by Russia has driven the group out of most of its strongholds.
Palestinians want Arab East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, to be the capital of a state they hope would be emerge from peace talks with Israel. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and regards the area as part of its capital.
Sheikh Mohammed said Trump’s unilateral decision violates UN resolutions, and urged Washington to “reconsider its move and work basically in an effective and neutral manner to draft true principles for peace that serve all and realize development and stability in the region,” according to WAM.
Turning to Yemen, Sheikh Mohammed said the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which includes the UAE, remained committed to a political solution to end the war that began in 2015 when the Iran-aligned Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.
But he said that any solution “will also not be at the expense of enabling a military militia that operates outside the state authority and posing a direct threat to the security and stability of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region at large.”


Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

Updated 44 min 36 sec ago
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Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

  • Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis
  • Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian finance minister on Thursday announced salary cuts for civil servants, days after Israel said it would withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.
Israel, which collects taxes on behalf of the PA, says the payments encourage further violence.
The PA claims they are a form of welfare to families who have lost their main breadwinner.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel.
The PA, which is already running a deficit, will "pay the salaries of civil servants in time, but they will be reduced", said PA finance minister Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
The cuts will not apply to salaries "paid to pensioners and families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners", he added, adding that wages below 2,000 shekels ($550) would also not be affected.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them as martyrs.
Under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.
The money it then transfers to the PA is the authority's most important source of revenue.
The Palestinians want EU countries to pressure the Israeli government to rescind its decision, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy of Abbas's Fatah party.
Palestinian leaders will take steps to "boycott Israeli goods", he said, adding they had already prepared "a list of Israeli products that have local (Palestinian) equivalents".