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India, China, Russia Refrain from Recognizing `East Jerusalem' as Capital of `Palestine'

By the Algemeiner

Foreign ministers from India, Russia and China notably refrained from recognizing `East Jerusalem' as the capital of Palestine at their annual meeting in New Delhi this week – seven days after the US recognized the holy city as the capital of Israel.

The decision not to restate the position on Jerusalem long-held by all three countries was in marked contrast to their joint call at last year's meeting in Moscow for a "sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital." At this year's 15th annual meeting, their statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stressed support for "an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders," without mentioning the issue of Jerusalem.

The absence of Jerusalem from Tuesday's statement is particularly striking given the strident opposition to the US move in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Turkey and Iran, both of whom retain close diplomatic and security ties with all three countries, have led the denunciation of the US announcement on Jerusalem.

India stands out for not having even taken a position on the US decision. Asked for clarification of India's position on December 7, a spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry said simply, "India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country." Bilateral relations between Israel and India were handed an unprecedented boost by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-profile visit to the Jewish state in July of this year.

Russia's individual position is also under scrutiny, following the announcement by its foreign ministry last April that Moscow was recognizing West Jerusalem as Israel's capital. At the time, the Russians stated their reaffirmation of their "commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of `East Jerusalem' as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view `West Jerusalem' as the capital of Israel." That statement went onto declare support "for the two-state solution as an optimal option that meets the national interests of the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom have friendly relations with Russia."

Meanwhile, China's official statement in response to Trump's decision expressed strong concern at the security implications of the move but stopped short of full-throated condemnation. A spokesperson for the foreign ministry even implied that historic claims of exclusive Arab ownership of the city are not as clear-cut as Palestinian leaders might believe.

"The question over the status of Jerusalem is complicated and sensitive," foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, following Trump's recognition announcement. "All parties should be cautious to maintain peace. All parties should avoid shaking the long-term foundations of solving the Palestinian issues, and avoid creating new divisions in the region."

Saudi's Jubeir: US Peace Plan Not Finalized, But Efforts 'Serious'

By Reuters

The US administration is serious about getting a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but its proposed plan is still being put together, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said.

President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and eventually move the US Embassy in Israel there has angered the Palestinians, who question Washington's role as a sponsor of Middle East peace. Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is leading efforts to restart negotiations, though his bid has shown little public progress so far.

"We believe the Trump administration is serious about bringing peace between Israelis and Arabs," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, a former ambassador to the United States, told France 24 television late on Wednesday. "They were working on ideas and were consulting with all parties, including Saudi Arabia, and they are incorporating the views represented to them by everybody. They have said they would need a little bit of time to put it together to present it."

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel overturned decades of US policy and ignored international consensus that the city's status should be decided only in a future peace agreement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly has said that the actual embassy move would not take place until Trump's second term.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern part which it annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as capital of a future independent state of their own.

The Trump administration argues that any credible peace plan would put the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and that moving past the question can help unblock a peace process frozen since 2014. Washington says Trump's decision does not affect Jerusalem's borders or future status which can still be decided in talks. Trump's aides say the peace plan could be released early next year and the US president has said he hoped for an agreed two-state deal between the two sides.

Jubeir emphasized that Riyadh continued to support a two-state solution, which Washington had indicated to the Saudis was its working proposal. "Whether the administration's proposals are acceptable to the parties remains to be seen because I don't believe that the plan the US administration is working on has been finalized yet," he said

Jubeir also denied the Sunni Muslim kingdom had any relations with Israel despite sharing Israel's concern about the regional influence of Shi'ite Iran. He repeated that Riyadh had a "roadmap" to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel should there be a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Israel also says it is waiting for Washington to finish drawing up a peace plan. "The Americans are preparing a peace deal. They did not tell us the details. They did not speak about a `Deal of the Century'. Rather, they asked what we can accept, and they asked the Palestinians the same thing. And they will offer – as they put it – something creative," Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in interview with Saudi-owned news site Elaph, published on Wednesday.


Hamas Rockets are Onset of Anti-Israel War of Attrition Ordered by Iran's Gen. Soleimani

By DEBKAfile

The Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza Wednesday night, December 13, were the 12th and 13th since President Donald Trump's Jerusalem decision on December 6.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that the daily rocket assault from Gaza is turning into a war of attrition declared by three Palestinian extremist groups, Hamas, the Jihad Islami and the Popular Resistance Committees, on the orders of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Quds external terrorist arm, and supreme commander of Iranian forces in the region.

Our sources reveal that the order was given Monday in a phone conversation Soleimani held with Marwan Issa, commander of the Hamas armed wing, the Ezz e-din al-Qassam. It was the first direct, phone conversation between a high-ranking Iranian general and the Hamas commander and it was deliberately overt. The Iranians wanted the Israeli and Egyptian intelligence agencies eavesdropping on incoming and outgoing phone calls to and from Gaza to hear Soleimani pledge full Iranian support for any military action conducted against Israel.

Tehran and the Lebanese Hizbullah are eager to see Israel trapped in a rising spiral of military tension – and not just from its border with the Gaza Strip, but also at some point, emanating from new war fronts in Lebanon and Syria. At present, they are not looking for a comprehensive conflagration, but rather to subject Israel to a creeping war of attrition, like the couple of rockets which the Palestinians are firing night after night from the Gaza Strip.

Like Chinese drip torture, this campaign is intended to torment Israel while gradually escalating. It doesn't matter if they are inaccurate and fail to cause Israel casualties of damage. Indeed, one of the rockets fired Wednesday night exploded in an UNWRA school at Beit Hanoun inside the northern Gaza Strip, wrecking a schoolroom. The threat by Israel generals Wednesday night of painful retaliation if the rocket fire continues is therefore ineffective. Hamas and the Jihad Islami are fully prepared for a major war escalation, in the certainty that Iran and Hizbullah have their backs.

ISIS Threatens US Attacks Over Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

The Islamic State group threatened attacks on U.S. soil in retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, one of the group's social media accounts reported on Thursday without giving further details.

In messages on one of its accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service titled "Wait for us" and "ISIS in Manhattan," the group said it would carry out attacks and posted images of New York's Times Square and what appeared to be an explosive bomb belt and detonator.

"We will do more ops in your land, until the final hour and we will burn you with the flames of war which you started in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria and Afghan. Just you wait," the message said. "The recognition of your dog 'Trump' [sic] Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will make us recognize explosives as the capital of your country."

Washington triggered widespread anger and protests across the Arab world with its decision on Jerusalem last week. The disputed city is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.

Islamic State was driven out of its Iraqi and Syrian capitals this year and squeezed into a shrinking stretch of desert straddling the border between the two countries. The forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria now expect a new phase of guerrilla warfare there.

Hamas: We Will Liberate 'Occupied Tel Aviv'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Hamas terrorist organization declared on Wednesday that "Al-Quds [in its entirety] is the eternal capital of Palestine, not its eastern or western part, and is an Arabic Islamic city." The statement, released in honor of the 30th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, is in response to President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel will not cancel the right of the Palestinian national and religious people to the city, and Al-Quds will remain an Arab Islamic state, Hamas stressed.

The terrorist group further stressed that it was continuing the path of liberation and the resistance in all its aspects until the last layer of historic Palestinian land is liberated, noting that it "bombed occupied Tel Aviv that was established on our occupied land in Jaffa."

The statement also called for an end to the Palestinian Authority's security coordination with Israel and stressed that the "right of return" is a private and collective right that cannot be revoked by any party.

Earlier this week, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas's political bureau and one of the leaders of the terrorist organization, vowed that the group would continue the path of resistance "in order to liberate every inch of Palestine from the filth of the occupation."

"The promise of Allah will come true in the security system of the world to come, in which Al-Quds is linked to the Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said. In a message to Israel, Zahar added, "Beware of the power of Hamas and the power of the [Al-Qassam] Brigades."

'Dogs and Americans Not Allowed'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A store near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho responded to President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week with a decidedly unwelcoming gesture to any American passersby. The store, located in Aqabat Jaber, near Jericho, recently added a sign reading "Dogs and Americans are not allowed to Enter", aping racist signs of the 20th century, after last Wednesday's declaration.

Yoav Mordechai, chief of the army's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), publicized a photograph of the anti-American sign. In an Arabic Facebook post, Mordechai slammed the store owners for hanging the sign, saying it was reminiscent of Nazi-era incitement.

"We are shocked, first of all as human beings, and second off as Jews who recall similar signs being put up against our people in stores in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Residents of Judea and Samaria: Do you understand how serious this is? Wake up! This is more proof that Palestinian incitement is reminiscent of [those] dark days."

Gaza Eatery Offers Discounts to North Koreans but No Takers

By VOA News

A Gaza eatery is offering massive discounts to North Korean diners but there is just one problem — there are no North Koreans in Gaza. Ibrahim Raba, manager of a shawarma restaurant in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, says he is offering the 80% discounts to show his appreciation for North Korea's rejection of President Donald Trump's recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He has also placed a large photo of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the glass door entrance to his restaurant.

A new Kim fan, Raba likes to quote the North Korean leader, saying: "Trump proved he is mentally deranged." And though Raba knows there are no North Koreans in Gaza, he hopes they will come someday, perhaps after joining other foreign aid workers.

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