“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country. This is the position of the president-elect: the era of a Palestinian state is over.”
— Naftali Bennett, Israeli Education Minister
Israeli government ministers and political figures are pushing the U.S. president-elect, Donald Trump, to quickly fulfill his campaign promise to overturn decades of US foreign policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.
Their calls came as one of Trump’s advisers on Israel and the Middle East, David Friedman, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump would follow through on his promise.
“It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,” Friedman said. “We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.”
Other political figures — including Israel’s controversial far-right education minister, Naftali Bennett — went further, suggesting that Trump’s election should signal the end of the two-state solution and aspirations for a Palestinian state.
What is clear, for all the muddle, is that the centre of gravity in US thinking is lurching from the two-state solution as it has been understood by US politicians and diplomats for more than 20 years seemingly towards one of two extremes: a maximalist pro-Israel administration or, equally risky, a minimalist and disconnected isolationist position.
As Donald Trump continues to ponder his choice for secretary of state, and other key foreign policy positions, one thing seems clear: the impact on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians is likely to be serious and retrograde.
The question now is whether the moribund process, which has weathered presidents both Republican and Democrat since it was sealed in 1993 with the aim of securing a two-state solution, can survive the Trump era at all.
The signs are not encouraging. Israel’s far right has greeted Trump’s success with ecstasy, hailing his promises to recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital and move the US embassy to the city, as well as suggestions from his team he would not stand in the way of Israeli settlement construction.
The frontrunners for the secretary of state nomination — Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton — have both been vocal opponents of the idea of a Palestinian state.
Trump’s own pronouncements have swerved wildly between suggesting he would be “neutral” on the question, promising to be Israel’s “best friend,” and even suggesting he could secure the best peace deal ever.
Meanwhile his advisers have fueled a sense of deep confusion by making a series of highly contradictory statements.
“Israel is a state that respects the freedom of worship for all believers and it is committed to protecting those who suffer from noise which is caused by the loudspeakers.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
In response to the Israeli government’s plan to prohibit the call to prayer in the city, Jerusalemites climbed onto the roofs of their houses and recited the call to prayer all together.
Over the past two weeks, Israel has been working to ban the Muslim call to prayer, the athan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has supported the a bill to outlaw the religious calling, saying: “Israel is a state that respects the freedom of worship for all believers and it is committed to protecting those who suffer from noise which is caused by the loudspeakers.”
In video footage which is circulating on social media, residents can clearly be heard reciting the call to prayer in protest of the law to ban it in Jerusalem.
Churches in Nazareth showed solidarity by broadcasting the call to the night prayer in response to attempts to prohibit the call of prayer being broadcasted from Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In defiance to the actions of the Israeli Knesset, Arab Israeli Knesset members Ahmed El-Tibi and Teleb Abu Arar performed the call to prayer, independent of each other, in the Israeli parliament (Knesset).
“We shall not be deterred by threats and fines. We have always said that everything can be solved at the negotiating table, and through dialogue and mutual respect rather than by force.”
Law enforcement authorities in Israel’s Lod city, located 9.3 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, fined a Palestinian imam for making an Islamic call to prayer through a loudspeaker at a local mosque, according to reports. Authorities said that the action violated the anti-noise law in the Shnir area of the mixed Arab-Jewish city.
Mahmoud Alfar, the spiritual leader of the mosque, said he did not get any formal notice related to the fine but officials told him that it will be mailed to him, according to a Haaretz report on Monday. He will have to pay 750 shekels (US$ 194) as fine. Alfar’s brother Sheikh Adel Alfar told the Israeli newspaper that this was the first time the city fined an imam for noise caused by the call to prayer.
The Israeli parliament is mulling a controversial anti-noise legislation, dubbed the “muezzin law.” Muezzin refers to man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of mosque, mostly using loudspeakers. Knesset proposed the bill on November 13 and said that it would restrict the use of loudspeakers at mosques in the country to tackle noise. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the bill, which was criticized by Muslims, Jewish and Christian communities.
“Every president who reversed his campaign promise did so because he decided not to take the risk. . . . Jerusalem has historically been an issue that provoked great passions — often as a result of false claims — that did trigger violence.”
America’s top diplomat in Jerusalem lives in an elegant three-story stone house first built by a German Lutheran missionary in 1868, a short walk from the historic Old City. But he is not an ambassador and the mission is a consulate, not an embassy.
For decades, those distinctions have rankled many Israeli Jews. The United States, along with the rest of the world, has kept its primary diplomatic footprint not in Israel’s self-declared capital, Jerusalem, but in the commercial and cultural hub of Tel Aviv to avoid seeming to take sides in the fraught and never-ending argument over who really has the right to control this ancient city.
Until now. Maybe.
President-elect Donald J. Trump vowed during his campaign that he would relocate the mission “fairly quickly” after taking office. That in itself is nothing new: For years, candidates running for president have promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and for years, candidates who actually became president have opted against doing so.
[Continue reading here . . . ]
Editor’s note: The U.N. Security Council has consistently maintained that East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 War, is occupied territory subject to the Geneva Convention. The Security Council has declared Israel’s attempt to make Jerusalem the “eternal and indivisible” capital of Israel to be in violation of international law. There are 82 foreign embassies in Israel, none of them is located in Jerusalem.
The United States is paying a military and security price “every day” because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warning that the continued construction of settlements is liable to turn Israel into an apartheid state.
Donald Trump says he is considering retired Marine general James Mattis as a possible Defense Secretary:
Mattis has been outspoken, that the U.S. pays a “security price” in the Middle East because it is seen as biased in favor of Israel and that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state due to its occupation of the West Bank.
A former U.S. general said last week that the United States is paying a military and security price “every day” because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warning that the continued construction of settlements is liable to turn Israel into an apartheid state.
Gen. (ret.) James Mattis, who until two months ago headed the Central Command of the U.S. Army (CENTCOM) and commanded U.S. forces in the Middle East, made the comments at an Aspen Institute conference last Saturday…
Gen. (ret.) Mattis then sounded a prophecy of doom regarding what is liable to happen if a Palestinian state is not established. “I would tell you that the current situation is unsustainable,” he said, adding, “It’s got to be directly addressed. We have got to find a way to make the two-state solution that Democrat and Republican administrations have supported. We’ve got to get there, and the chances for it are starting to ebb because of the settlements, and where they’re at. [They] are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.”
“The deeply entrenched racism in our country has to be addressed. And it has to be addressed not for any single minority population, but for the sake of all of us as human beings.”
One morning, Khalid Latif was asleep in his bed when he was awakened by two FBI agents. Latif remembers the agents telling him, “You’re just too good to be true, and we want you to know we’re watching you.”
At the time, Latif was an honored member of the NYPD and traveled around the world for the US State Department. He had met with President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama. Yet every time he went through an airport, he was searched, questioned, and detained. When Latif asked the TSA agents why, they said, “you’re young, you’re male, and you’re Muslim, and those things don’t go so well together right now.”
For Khalid Latif, this has been his reality in a post-9/11 world.
In his role as Imam at New York University, he currently devotes his life to combat Islamophobia and to create a safe, open, nonjudgmental environment for Muslim students and local community members to come together, worship, and feel that they have a support system.
Loretta Napoleoni is one of the world’s leading experts who “follows the money” in understanding the growth of jihadist terrorism, and consults world leaders on combatting such organizations as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. She’s written several best selling books on the economics of terrorism, including “Terror Inc.” and “The Islamist Phoenix.” Her latest book, “Merchants of Men,” focuses on how funds from kidnapping and trafficking in refugees is financing the Islamic State.
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
Olympia’s faith leaders are calling on local residents to join them in taking a stand against hate crimes and race-related violence.
Representatives from five local congregations have announced the Olympia Charter for Compassion, which outlines a set of civic values “that we hope the larger community will adopt as a standard of behavior and as a tool for dialogue as we seek to live together in a way that nurtures the well-being of all people.”
The charter was prompted by several recent crimes in which the victims were targeted because of race or sexual orientation, said the Rev. Amy Walters LaCroix of First Christian Church. She cited examples in downtown Olympia such as the Sept. 4 assault of a woman who was leaving a charity drag show and the Aug. 16 stabbing of an interracial couple by an alleged white supremacist.