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The News Line: Feature ‘JERUSALEM IS NOT FOR SALE!’ –President Abbas addresses 54th anniversary of Fatah
Palestinians demonstrate outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem against the decision of US President Trump to transfer the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
‘JERUSALEM is not for sale. Palestine will never let the US sell occupied al-Quds to Israel,’ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said adding that the occupied city will remain the eternal capital of the state of Palestine.

Abbas was speaking at an event marking the 54th anniversary of the Fatah party’s founding in the West Bank city of Ramallah at the beginning of the week. ‘We will not allow anyone to advance a plot against Jerusalem (al-Quds),’ he said, stressing that the city ‘will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state, as the late President Yasser Arafat said that a Palestinian child will raise the flag of Palestine on the walls, minarets and churches of Jerusalem (al-Quds).’

Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967 and later annexed the city in a move not recognised by the international community.
US President Donald Trump sparked furious anger among Palestinians and mass protests across the globe in December 2017, when he recognised Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli ‘capital’ and then moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

Abbas said that the embassy relocation would fail to undermine the right of Palestinians to Jerusalem al-Quds and would not cause them to give up their principles.
He also emphasised that the Palestinian people would press on with their struggle until they establish their independent state, saying, ‘The revolution goes on and will continue.’

Abbas further said that the Palestinian nation would not accept Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the wake of Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem al-Quds, the Palestinian president described the US president’s proposed plan, which is yet to be unveiled, as the ‘slap of the century’, saying Washington could no more act as a mediator in the so-called peace process due to its bias towards Tel Aviv.

Abbas went on to say that Washington’s punitive measures against Palestinians would not change their position on ‘refugee rights’. Amid tensions with Palestinians, the US ended its decades of funding for the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees and slashed aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says Arab countries view the regime as an ‘indispensable ally’. That evaluation has caused ‘a revolution in relations with the Arab world’, Netanyahu said in an interview with Brazilian Globo TV on Monday.

The Israeli regime has been conducting extensive diplomatic negotiations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments over the past months in a bid to convince them that they should allow formal diplomatic relations more than half a century after the Six-Day War, which saw Israel occupy the West Bank and the Golan Heights. 

Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab country has diplomatic relations with Israel, but both sides are widely believed to have secret liaisons, and are working behind the scenes to establish formal contact.

In April last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with TIME magazine that the two regimes had ‘a common enemy’ and that they could immediately normalise their relations once the Palestine issue was resolved.
Bin Salman and Netanyahu have held secret meetings in Jordan, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reports. Netanyahu has repeatedly boasted of his efforts to get closer to Arab governments that have for years condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Many believe he wants to use the issue to divert attention from an ongoing investigation into his financial wrongdoings. Netanyahu has said he would not resign if indicted on corruption charges, as police continue to investigate several cases involving him ahead of April polls.

‘No, I don’t intend to resign,’ he told the news conference in Rio de Janeiro in response to a question whether he would take the decision if Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit acted on the police’s recommendation that the premier be indicted. Netanyahu faces three corruption cases.

In Case 1000, he is suspected of receiving gifts from businessmen overseas.
He is also being investigated in Case 2000 for an alleged media bribery scheme to help Yediot Aharonot newspaper against its competitor Yisrael Hayom in return for favourable coverage.

Case 3000 surrounds Israel’s $2-billion purchase of Dolphin-class nuclear-arms-capable submarines from German shipbuilding company ThyssenKrupp. Last Monday, Netanyahu’s coalition announced snap polls after his ruling Likud party failed to garner the necessary support to pass a controversial legislation aimed at drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.

However, with opinion polls showing that Likud could easily win the April 9 vote, originally scheduled for November, observers say the party has called early elections to give a fresh mandate to Netanyahu to help him sustain the corruption drama.

• The projected number of Palestinians in the world is 13.05 million, of whom 4.91 million are in the State of Palestine, 1.57 million in Israel, 5.85 million in Arab countries and around 717,000 in foreign countries, Ola Awad, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a brief on the status of the Palestinian people at the end of 2018.

The projected number of Palestinians living in the State of Palestine at the end of 2018 is 4.915 million: around 2.954 million reside in the West Bank and 1.961 million in Gaza Strip. Palestinian refugees make up 42% of the Palestinian population in the State of Palestine: 26% of them in the West Bank and 66% in Gaza Strip.
The total fertility rate declined during (2011-2013) to 4.1 births (compared to 5.9 births in 1999).

In Gaza Strip the rate was 4.5 births compared to 3.7 births in the West Bank during 2011-2013. The average household size in the State of Palestine was 5.1 persons in 2017 (compared to 6.1 in 2000): 4.8 persons in the West Bank and 5.6 persons in Gaza Strip.

The 2018 crude birth rate is 30.5 births for every 1,000 of population in State of Palestine: 28.0 in the West Bank compared to 34.4 in Gaza Strip. The crude death rate is 3.8 deaths for every 1,000 of population in State of Palestine 2018: 4.0 in the West Bank compared to 3.5 in Gaza Strip.

The total fertility rate for the Palestinian women living in Jordan was 3.3 births in 2010 compared to 2.5 in Syria in 2010 and 2.8 in Lebanon in 2011. The number of Palestinians living in Israel is 1.568 million by the end of 2018 of whom the percentage of individuals under 18 years was about 40% for males and 39% for females, while the percentage of individuals 65 years and above was 4% for males and 5% for females at the end of 2017.

The population growth rate of Palestinians in the State of Palestine reached about 2.5% in 2018. In addition, the growth rate of the Palestinian population in Israel reached about 2.3% in 2017, while the rate for Jews in historical Palestine was about 1.7% in 2017.
 
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