Mike Pence not welcome in Jerusalem!

Palestinian women outraged at Trump’s embassy move plan take to the streets
Palestinian women outraged at Trump’s embassy move plan take to the streets

PALESTINIAN president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement on Saturday called for a massive demonstration this week to protest against a visit to Jerusalem by US Vice President Mike Pence after Washington said it would recognise the holy city as Israel’s capital.

Breaking with decades of US policy, President Donald Trump also said on December 6 that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The move has stirred global condemnation and sparked angry protests across Arab and Muslim countries, as well as deadly clashes in the occupied territories between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

It also prompted Abbas to cancel a meeting with Pence, who arrives on Wednesday in Jerusalem, and warn that Washington no longer had a role to play in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

‘We call for angry protests at the entrances to Jerusalem and in its Old City to coincide with the visit on Wednesday of US Vice President Mike Pence and to protest against Trump’s decision,’ Fatah said in a statement.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

The call to protest came as thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals for four men killed last Friday in clashes with Israeli forces during protests in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

Mourners chanted anti-Trump slogans and masked men fired into the air during one of the ceremonies in the village of Beit Ula in the occupied West Bank.

Funerals were also held for the two other Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, where the enclave’s Islamist Hamas rulers had on Friday called for a ‘day of rage’.

One of those killed was Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, a Palestinian who lost his legs in an Israeli attack a decade ago, who, with his wheelchair, was a regular feature at protests along Gaza’s border with Israel.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniya attended Abu Thurayeh’s funeral in a refugee camp west of Gaza City.

‘With his death there is no valid excuse not to fight,’ Haniya said.

‘No one in the world can change the truth that Palestine and Jerusalem belong only to the Palestinians,’ he said.

Friday’s deaths brought to eight the number of Palestinians killed in violence or air strikes since Trump’s Jerusalem move, and hundreds have been also wounded.

Pence will no longer see Palestinian officials during his visit to the region after they – as well as Egyptian Muslim and Christian religious leaders – cancelled meetings in protest at the embassy move.

‘We understand that the Palestinians may need a bit of a cooling off period, that’s fine,’ a senior White House official said Friday. ‘We will be ready when the Palestinians are ready to re-engage.’

Pence is expected to try to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward after he lands in Jerusalem on Wednesday, US administration officials have said.

They also suggested that that the Western Wall, in Palestinian east Jerusalem, would almost certainly be part of Israel under any deal, sparking Palestinian condemnation.

‘We will not accept any changes to the 1967 border of east Jerusalem,’ Nabil Abu Rudayna, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, said on Saturday.

‘This American position proves once again that the current US administration is completely out of the peace process,’ he said, adding that Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was ‘totally unacceptable’.

A US administration official said last Friday: ‘We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.’

Another one added: ‘We cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.’

The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray, at the foot of the Haram al-Sharif compound housing the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in Islam.

• The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution affirming that any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed, in response to the US decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

Egypt circulated the draft text on Saturday, and diplomats said the Security Council could vote on the proposed measure as early as Monday.

Breaking with the international consensus, US President Donald Trump this month announced that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking protests and strong condemnation.

The draft resolution stresses that Jerusalem is an issue ‘to be resolved through negotiations’ and expresses ‘deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,’ without specifically mentioning Trump’s move.

‘Any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded,’ it said.

Diplomats said they expected the United States to use its veto power to block the measure while most, if not all, of the 14 other council members were expected to back the draft resolution.

US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, wading into the crisis over one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon ‘strongly condemned’ the draft, dismissing it as an attempt by the Palestinians ‘to reinvent history.’

‘No vote or debate will change the clear reality that Jerusalem has and always will be the capital of Israel,’ Danon said in a statement.

The draft resolution calls on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem, reflecting concerns that other governments could follow the US lead.

It demands that all member-states do not recognise any actions that are contrary to UN resolutions on the status of the city.

Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war and have reaffirmed the need to end the occupation of that land.

The Palestinians had sought a toughly-worded draft resolution that would have directly called on the US administration to scrap its decision.

But some US allies on the Security Council such as Britain, France, Egypt, Japan and Ukraine were reluctant to be too hard-hitting and insisted that the proposed measure should reaffirm the position enshrined in current resolutions, diplomats said.

Backed by Muslim countries, the Palestinians are expected to turn to the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution rejecting the US decision, if, as expected, the measure is vetoed by the United States at the Security Council.

Aside from the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia can veto any resolution presented at the council, which requires nine votes for adoption.

• More than 1,000 people rallied and marched through the streets of San Francisco on December 9 in solidarity with Palestine and the struggle for self-determination, all in the wake of Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Chants echoed throughout Civic Centre: ‘There is only one solution: intifada, revolution!’ and ‘Netanyahu, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!’

The rally and march was organised by the Arab Resource and Organising Centre (AROC) and cosponsored by many other groups.

On December 8, over 300 people gathered in Tampa, Florida, to protest at Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision that runs against international law.

Tampa joined hundreds of cities across the world in protesting at the decision.

The majority of protesters were Arab and Palestinian, raising dozens of Palestinian Flags and chanting ‘Free, free Palestine!’ and ‘Hands off Jerusalem!’

The spirit was one of anger, but also one of empowerment as people of all ages – the youngest being two years old and the oldest being 70 – joined together to fight for the freedom of Palestinians.

Over 2,000 people took to the streets outside of the Los Angeles Westwood Federal Building on December 10, chanting, ‘No Wall, No Ban, No Embassy on Stolen Land!’ and ‘From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,’ as the crowd unified in solidarity with Palestine.