At Jerusalem’s holy sites, Prince William talks about importance of peace to all communities

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Britain's Prince William tours the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem's Old City, June 28, 2018. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince William, accompanied by a group including Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, tours the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem's Old City, June 28, 2018. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince William, accompanied by a group including Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, tours the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem's Old City, June 28, 2018. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince William (C) wave to the public near British chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (L) and Western Wall chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (R) during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP)
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Britain's Prince William (C), British chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (R) and Western Wall chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (L) talk during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP)
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Britain's Prince William touches the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP)
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Britain's Prince William visits the Church of St Mary Magdalene, a Russian Orthodox church located on the Mount of Olives, near the Garden of Gethsemane, where he paid his respects at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, in east Jerusalem, Israel, June 28, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 29 June 2018
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At Jerusalem’s holy sites, Prince William talks about importance of peace to all communities

  • The prince began his tour of the Old City from the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem.
  • He also visited the nearby gravesite of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, whose last wishes were to have her remains buried in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene above the Garden of Gethsemane.

AMMAN: Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, concluded a carefully planned visit to the Middle East region with visits to Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem visit followed an important meeting in Ramallah with the Palestinian president as well as visits to a refugee camp and engagement with Palestinian social, civil and cultural communities.
On Wednesday night, the Duke of Cambridge met with about 200 Jerusalemites at the British Consulate, where he delivered one of his most important speeches in support of peace and in solidarity with Palestinians.
“The story of the Palestinian people is so often told only through the lens of difficulty and conflict,” the Duke of Cambridge said. “But there is another story which I was privileged to witness today. This afternoon in Ramallah I saw an unforgettable display of Palestinian culture and hospitality. The Dabka, the singing, and the dancing were by turns beautiful, moving and joyful.”
The prince began his tour of the Old City from the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. He then visited the nearby gravesite of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, whose last wishes were to have her remains buried in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene above the Garden of Gethsemane.
After a private visit to the Western Wall, the prince was welcomed at the Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque by leaders of the Palestinian Islamic community. While on the premises of Al-Aqsa, Islamic leaders talked to him about their difficulties and aspirations.
Abel Azziz Salhab, head of the Higher Waqf Council, told the visiting prince that “what is expected from Britain is to fix the historic injustice against Palestinians.”
Mohammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, welcomed him “to the capital of the Palestinian state,” thanking the prince for not wavering on the description of Jerusalem as an occupied city.
Professor Mustafa Abu Sway, Al-Ghazali chair at Al-Quds University, gave the prince a tour of the UNESCO world heritage site explaining the importance of the third holiest mosque in Islam.
The prince appeared happy to hear about the accommodations provided to Muslim women by having them pray at the Dome of the Rock mosque while men worship at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The prince asked about the ability of Palestinian youth from outside Jerusalem from accessing the mosque. Abu Sway told the British royal visitor that Palestinian youth are not allowed at all to visit the mosque.
“During Ramadan, men over 40 years old are allowed to visit from the rest of the Occupied Territories but youth under 40 are not allowed to visit at all throughout the year."
The Anglican primate of the Middle East, Archbishop Suheil Dawani, told Arab News that the prince was happy to tour holy sites in Jerusalem.
Dawani, who was entrusted with the Christian leg of the visit, said that he accompanied the prince from St. George’s Order in the old city to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
“On the way to the church, the prince was greeted by local Palestinians, including a young woman on a wheelchair whom the prince spent a considerable time chatting with,” Dawani told Arab News.
The prince visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and met with the Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian patriarchs of Jerusalem as well as leaders of all Christian community in Jerusalem.
Dawani told Arab News that the prince spoke about the importance of peace to all communities.
Palestinians generally were pleased with the visit of the second in line to the British throne and were delighted that the British royal stuck to his guns and did not retract the official description of the visit to Jerusalem as being part of his visit to the Occupied Territories.
While Israeli officials did not like the description, it seemed that the Israelis did not want to argue too much with the prince on this issue, a political leader in Jerusalem told Arab News.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.