Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
  
 

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital stirs muted anger

Cairo: On a blisteringly cold Cairo evening, a dozen protesters burned Israeli flags, denounced America in their chants at the steps of the Journalists Syndicate and then walked away.

It was a tepid response, far from what was projected by international political observers, to US President Donald Trump’s shocking announcement that Jerusalem would be Israel’s new capital.



Trump lawyers denies Deutsche Bank subpoena



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Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s …

Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

US President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of US policy and risk potentially violent protests.

Trump lawyers denies Deutsche Bank subpoena



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Trump lawyers denies Deutsche Bank …

Trump lawyers denies Deutsche Bank subpoena

A US federal investigator probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election asked Deutsche Bank for data on accounts held by President Donald Trump and his family, but Trump’s lawyer denied any such subpoena had been issued. 

Spain withdraws warrant for former Catalan leader



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Spain withdraws warrant for former …

Spain withdraws warrant for former Catalan leader

Spain’s Supreme Court has withdrawn an international arrest warrant for Catalonia’s former leader, but he may still be detained if he attempts to return from self-imposed exile.

Vladimir Putin to seek another term as Russia’s president



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Vladimir Putin to seek another term as …

Vladimir Putin to seek another term as Russia’s president

President Vladimir Putin confirmed he would run for re-election in March 2018, a contest he would be expected to win comfortably, extending his grip on power into a third decade.

Alabama Senate race enters the final stretch



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Alabama Senate race enters the final …

Alabama Senate race enters the final stretch

Populist firebrand Steve Bannon savaged national Republican leaders in a fiery call to rally voters behind embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore as the battle for the GOP’s soul played out in rural Alabama.

California wildfires prompt state of emergency



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California wildfires prompt state of …

California wildfires prompt state of emergency

Three fires are burning out of control around Los Angeles, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

Cygnus cargo craft departs from ISS



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Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

US President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of US policy and risk potentially violent protests.

Upending decades of stalled peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, the Trump administration, defying its allies, has signalled its unequivocal support for Israel repeating the mantra that it is the only democracy in the Middle East.

“This is something that Trump as a candidate and now once he came into office said he was going to do … but we all knew that Trump was not the traditional candidate,” said Dr Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

“It’s very significant as it is a reversal of long-standing US policy.”

“By making this change today unilaterally, the President is changing the very foundations of the peace process that the Americans have been seeking to lead for decades”, he told Fairfax Media from Washington DC.

The expected protests, however, were few and far. 

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In Bethlehem, Christmas tree lights were dimmed as a sign of disapproval of Trump’s unpopular decision in the region while hundreds turned out waving Palestinian flags voicing their disbelief in Amman and Istanbul. The immediate mass demonstrations that triggered the Arab Spring have not materialised in support of the Palestinian people yet.

Palestinian protesters burn tires as they wave their national flags during a protest at the main square in Gaza City.

Palestinian protesters burn tires as they wave their national flags during a protest at the main square in Gaza City. Photo: AP

Fatigue has set in as more turmoil in recent weeks has gripped Arab capitals from Beirut to Cairo. The Palestinian case – the historical linchpin of Arab political grievances – has given way to more immediate conflicts.

The humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen culminating in former president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s assassination by the Houthis locked in a grinding struggle against the US-backed Saudi bombardment is raging on.

US President Donald Trump signs the proclamation next to US Vice-President Mike Pence.

US President Donald Trump signs the proclamation next to US Vice-President Mike Pence. Photo: Bloomberg

Meanwhile, Syria and Libya remain mired in violent quagmires with competing militias and regional powers backing various proxies. 

Palestinian officials from Hamas and Fatah denounced Mr Trump’s move calling for an emergency national meeting. They have been hamstrung by their own political infighting in recent years.

A view of Jerusalem's old city.

A view of Jerusalem’s old city. Photo: AP

As Israel continues expanding its settlements beyond the 1967 borders, Arab regimes who have regrouped militarily after the Arab Spring have tacitly stood by especially in the face of Israeli military campaigns against Hamas in Gaza which have also targeted the civilian population as recently as 2014.

Saudi Arabia has moved in recent years to become the dominant regional force signalling its warming ties to Israel to curb Iran’s influence. Egypt, traditionally a regional mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians, has taken a diplomatic back-seat as it deals with its own domestic problems.

Holding a banner with a Turkish, left and a Palestinian flag, right, protesters chant anti-US slogans during a ...

Holding a banner with a Turkish, left and a Palestinian flag, right, protesters chant anti-US slogans during a demonstration near the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Photo: AP

Such moves are indicative that concerns for Palestine’s sovereignty have waned and more importantly that the two-state solution is now completely obliterated.

“Jerusalem was a central piece in two-state solution idea … which calls for a Palestinian state on the territory occupied since 1967 with East Jerusalem serving as the capital. With the US now pre-judging the outcome … they essentially have gifted to the Israelis before any negotiations around this core issue,” Mr Munayyer explained.

Dr Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Dr Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Photo: US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

“What this will do is make clear to the increasingly small number of people who remain believing in the path of American-mediated negotiations realise that simply is not the path to peace.”

The Trump administration has delayed its plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the coming months. No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem and the international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the entire contested city.

Mike Pence, the US Vice-President, is expected to arrive the region in coming days to smooth over the bombshell announcement but he might receive a cold reception. 

Hanan Ashrawi, long-time senior Palestinian Authority official, was forceful in her response to Mr Pence’s proposed visit, saying in a BBC interview: “I belong to the oldest Christian tradition in the world and I don’t believe God ordained the world to be unjust to the Palestinians.”