Netanyahu sees Europeans following Trump on Jerusalem

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini brief the media at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium Dec. 11, 2017. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)
Updated 11 December 2017
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Netanyahu sees Europeans following Trump on Jerusalem

BRUSSELS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that recognizing Jerusalem as his country’s capital “makes peace possible,” after widespread international criticism of the US decision to do so.
US President Donald Trump’s announcement last week has been followed by days of protests and clashes in the Palestinian territories, as well as demonstrations across the Islamic world.
The EU expressed alarm at the decision, which upends seven decades of US policy on the disputed holy city, and the bloc’s foreign ministers are set to urge Netanyahu to resume dialogue with the Palestinians as he meets them over breakfast in Brussels.
The Israeli premier said what Trump had done was to “put facts squarely on the table” by acknowledging Jerusalem had been the capital of the Israeli state for 70 years and of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.
“It doesn’t obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, it’s the foundation of peace,” he said in a statement alongside EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.
Mogherini, who last week warned the Jerusalem decision could take the situation “backwards to even darker times,” restated the EU’s position that a two-state solution with Jerusalem as capital for both Israelis and Palestinians was the only sustainable way to resolve the conflict.
Netanyahu pointed to a new US peace initiative as a possible way forward.
“There is now an effort under way to bring forward a new peace proposal by the American administration. I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace,” he said.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working with a small team to develop a new US proposal to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but it is not clear what progress he is making.
Netanyahu’s visit to Brussels comes after he met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday. Macron called on him to freeze settlement building and to re-engage with Palestinians.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether and how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.


Iraq court condemns to death ‘deputy of Daesh leader’

Updated 21 min 55 sec ago
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Iraq court condemns to death ‘deputy of Daesh leader’

  • An Iraqi courtsentenced to death by hanging one of the most prominent leaders of Daesh
  • Al-Ithawi was extradited from Turkey earlier this year having fled Syria as the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumbled

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court on Wednesday sentenced a prominent militant described as a deputy of Daesh group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to death on terrorism charges.
“The Karkh criminal court in Baghdad sentenced to death by hanging one of the most prominent leaders of Daesh, who served as a deputy of Baghdadi,” judicial spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar said.
Ismail Alwan Salman Al-Ithawi was extradited from Turkey earlier this year having fled Syria as the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumbled.
He was tracked and detained through cooperation between Turkish, Iraqi and US intelligence agencies, a senior Iraqi official told AFP in February.
A native of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Ithawi was accused of holding several positions including Daesh “minister” in charge of religious edicts.
Iraq declared “victory” over Daesh In December after a three-year war against the extremists who once controlled nearly one third of the country as well as swathes of neighboring Syria.
Baghdadi has been pronounced dead on several occasions, but an Iraqi intelligence official said in May that he remained alive in Syrian territory by the Iraqi border.
The Daesh chief called on Muslims to wage “jihad” in a purported new audio recording released last month.