Jerusalem’s Old City was on lockdown as Trump arrived.
Shortly before Donald Trump’s historic visit to Jerusalem’s Old City, the first for a sitting US president, the normally bustling stone alleyways stood deserted and silent, a strange sight for midday on a Monday. From early morning, the only people treading the ancient stones were a few confused tourists, bored shop owners, and hundreds of Israeli police and army forces.
More than 10,000 police officers are taking part in the two-day operation to secure places that Trump will visit, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall in the Old City, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld….
In addition to the security measures that shut down most of the Old City, the Arab-Israeli Higher Follow-Up Committee called a general commercial in the West Bank and Israel for Monday, encouraging the shuttering of all Israeli Arab and Palestinian businesses in solidarity with prisoners hunger striking in Israeli jails.
Even stores in areas that were open to pedestrians, such as the Arab market leading to Damascus Gate, had their gates drawn close and locked, due to the strike and lack of foot traffic. A few tourists filed through the dead streets, their footsteps echoing in the quiet.
Hamas rewriting history by claiming Jerusalem is a Muslim city and referring to Israel’s capital as the “birthplace of Jesus”. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was Jewish.
Hamas’ new policy paper, perceived by the world as softening of their position, calls for ethnically cleansing the region by force in order to create a Muslim state. Israel claims it is an attempt to fool the world, and fix Hamas’ image as a terror organization.
The five page document was presented on Monday at a news conference in Doha,Qatar, by Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader. The document stated that the State of Israel is, in entirety, illegal, and calls for the establishment of a Muslim State in its place.
The paper refers to Israel as “a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project”, while turning the regional conflict into a war of religion by calling Palestine “an Arab Islamic land…,a blessed sacred land that has a special place in the heart of every Arab and every Muslim.”
“Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea,” the document states.
The paper also lay claim to Jerusalem as a Muslim city, rewriting history by referring to Israel’s capital as the “birthplace of Jesus”. While making these exclusive Muslim claims to all of Israel, Hamas makes other claims that most people would disagree with.
Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. It provides an umbrella for the followers of other creeds and religions who can practice their beliefs in security and safety. Hamas also believes that Palestine has always been and will always be a model of coexistence, tolerance and civilizational innovation.
The paper lay claims to all holy sites in Jerusalem, a claim that has been upheld by UNESCO in several resolutions.
Ten UNESCO member states — the US, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Togo, Ukraine and the UK — voted against the resolution on Tuesday.
The low numbers in a UNESCO 22-10 vote disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem on the country’s birthday represent a diplomatic victory for Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
With 23 countries abstaining and 3 absent altogether, the 58 board members gathered in Paris approved the resolution referred to as “occupied Palestine” with minority support. The UNESCO Executive Board is expected to ratify the resolution on Friday.
“The number of countries who support this absurd UNESCO resolution is getting smaller,” Netanyahu told the diplomatic corps at an Independence Day reception.
It’s a significant shift from the passage of Jerusalem resolutions last year, with 33 nations approving a controversial anti-Israel text in April and 24 voting for it in October.
With a determined effort it will be possible to whittle that number down further, “because there is no need for these types of votes in the UN,” Netanyahu said.
Speaking at the International Bible Quiz prior to the vote, Netanyahu said that there was no nation in the world to whom Jerusalem was more holy than to the Jewish people.
“I know that today there is a vote in UESCO that will try to deny that simple truth, we reject UNESCO,” he said. Throughout Jewish history, he added, Jerusalem was “the heart of the people, the place to which everyone turned to, went to, and prayed toward.” JPost
“Once again, the United States rejects the adoption of these anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO,” the spokesperson told The Algemeiner. “Like other parts of the UN system, UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to deride and delegitimize the State of Israel. Although several of these anti-Israel resolutions are typically adopted biannually at UNESCO, over time they have become increasingly political in nature, and now attempt to deny the historic connections of the Jewish people to the holy sites of Jerusalem.”
The spokesperson continued: “These biased resolutions are counterproductive to the core work of UNESCO, discredit the organization, and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues. There is no place for them in an organization that is meant to be impartial. The United States will continue to object to efforts to politicize the organization and its important function on world heritage issues.” Algeimeiner
Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim )is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in June 1967.
Yom Yerushalayim [May 23, 2017] is still six weeks off, but foreign critics already have launched their attack.
In their view, there is no miraculous Six Day War victory to extol; no grand return to the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria to toast; no historic reunification of Jerusalem to celebrate; no liberation and redemption to commemorate; no flowering of religious culture and national creativity to admire; no jubilee to enjoy. Not at all.
Instead, there is only an entrenched “occupation” of the West Bank to bemoan. Palestinian self-determination is being stifled, and this casts a pall over all.
Worse still, in their view, is that “Israel’s soul has been corrupted,” ostensibly, by the occupation.
The British Guardian got the ball rolling on this sullying narrative last week by giving full play to the nasty remarks of former GSS chiefs Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon at a Jerusalem event in support of Breaking the Silence and Babur Gallery.
Gillon painted a bleak picture of Israel’s political trajectory, saying that the country was being “driven by the occupation towards disaster”. He added: “This country was established on the values of liberal democracy; values we don’t fulfill any more. You can analyze what happened to us in the last 50 years, but everything is under the shade of occupation. It has changed us a society. It has made us an unpleasant society.”
Ayalon dove even deeper into calumny by alleging that Israel is being overtaken by a process of “incremental tyranny.” He cited recent moves by ministers in the Netanyahu government to change the laws to hit groups such as Breaking the Silence by banning them from events in schools and targeting their funding, while also “taking aim” at the country’s supreme court and independence of the media.
In short, all liberal, progressive, democratic, good and holy values are being crushed by the shadow of occupation. Yada, yada, yada.
This is a very dangerous and delegitimizing storyline. The Guardian, of course, ate it up.
By perpetuating myths about the illegality and immorality of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria; by exaggerating the impact of Israel’s military rule in the territories and minimizing the evils of Palestinian kleptocracy and intransigence; and by insinuating a non-existent trend towards dictatorship in Israeli society and politics – these critics threaten to smear Israel permanently with the stink of a decaying carcass.
This cannot be tolerated. Such defamation cannot be brooked. Israeli and Jewish leaders worldwide must push back hard against such slander, beginning now. Otherwise, every newspaper around the globe is going to echo the same malevolent messages in their coverage of the June jubilee.
Israel must assert loudly and clearly that its return to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is legitimate, not immoral. Its security control of the “Greater Israel” envelope is a source of regional stability, not conflict. The absence of peace and mutual recognition stems from Palestinian rejectionism, not a lack of Israeli imagination. JPost by David M. Weinberg
United Nations Security Council Resolution #2334 is worded in a way that creates some very odd results. Yes, the Western Wall is now an “illegal settlement,” and any Israeli activity there is a “flagrant violation of international law.”
Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital. Currently, no country has its embassy in Jerusalem.
President Trump is not the first President to promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem in line with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was passed by Congress in 1995. But every president since has signed a national-security waiver suspending the act, arguing that Jerusalem’s status will be determined only after a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Economist
Thanks to a law signed by Bill Clinton, Trump will face a decision on whether to move the embassy within his first six months in office. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandates that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or risk a massive cut in State Department funding, but allows the president to postpone the move for reasons of national security.
Since the law’s passage, successive presidents have issued such a waiver every six months. The most recent one, signed by Obama on Dec. 1, expires in May 2017, meaning it will be up to Trump to decide the embassy’s fate. Politico
Christians – Support
Aside from its centrality to Jewish history, and its role as Israel’s capital, Jerusalem is also a holy place for many Bible-reading Christians. As such, prominent pro-Israel Christian organizations are lining up to express their support for President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to hold the president accountable for his words.
Susan Michael, the US director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), said Christians already understand that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and would like to see the American government follow suit. In fact, the ICEJ has had its own “unofficial” embassy in Jerusalem since 1980, a point that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted in his 2016 Christmas address.
“Hundreds of millions of Christians around the world understand from their Bible the spiritual significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, and that it was established as the capital of Israel some 3,000 years ago by King David,” Michael told JNS.org, adding that Christians “believe the spiritual law of blessing established in Genesis 12 that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people.” Algemeiner
“A U.S. administration would be seriously harming its potential role, as it has historically played, as a so-called ‘honest broker’ between the Israelis and the Arabs,” said Edward Djerejian, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and ambassador to Israel under the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. Politico
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer was an original co-sponsor on the Jerusalem Embassy Act and has expressed support for relocating the embassy.
“Senator Schumer has long supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and has called on both Democratic and Republican Presidents to make this happen,” Matt House, Schumer’s spokesman, told Politico in an email.
EU – Opposes
European Union foreign ministers opposed any plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and warned that it could ratchet up tensions with the Arab world.
“It is very important for us all to refrain from unilateral actions, especially those that can have serious consequences in large sectors of public opinion in large parts of the world,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after chairing their talks in Brussels.
“We hope that there can be reflection on consequences of any move that is taken,” she said. Mogherini declined to say what consequences could be considered as no formal decision has been made to move the embassy. USNews
Trump and Congress are in accord. State Department bureaucrats will ‘get with the program’ with the threat of freezing the department’s funds.
A delegation of Republican senators is moving forward with an effort to freeze some funding to the State Department until the U.S. embassy in Israel is formally moved to Jerusalem, according to new legislation.
The legislation comes as the Obama administration continues to face criticism over its behind-the-scenes effort to forward a United Nations resolution condemning Israel.
The Obama administration, like previous administrations, does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and has worked to stymie efforts to move the U.S. embassy there.
While Congress first approved legislation to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 1995, the new bill threatens to cut State Department funding until the relocation is complete.
The effort is being spearheaded by Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Dean Heller (R., Nev.), all of whom support efforts by the incoming Trump administration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after years of debate.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Cruz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth—let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel—is shocking in some circles.”
“But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel,” Cruz said. Free Beacon
The coins are from the time of the Jewish revolt against the Romans.
Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) presented the coin at the beginning of cabinet meeting discussing symbols and ceremonies for the commemoration of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem.
“In 1967, exactly 1900 years (after this coin was minted), IDF paratroopers entered the Old City of Jerusalem and liberated it – they returned Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem,” Regev said.
A 1,950-year-old coin has been found following excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem.
There is a grape leaf on one side of the coin with the words “Freedom for Zion,” while on the reverse is a cup with the words “Year two of the large revolt.” This dates the coin to the second year of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, putting the coin at being minted in 67 CE.
The coin was found in an area known as “Pilgrims’ Road,” which was the road Jewish pilgrims would have used to go up to the Temple to make ritual sacrifices during Jubilee holidays.
The Pilgrims’ Road, along with other roads in Jerusalem dating back 2000 years, will be opened to the public this Hanukkah. There will be a grand opening hosted by the Ministry of Culture along with the Israel Antiquities Authority. This will serve as the opening event celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule. YNetNews
U.S. funds to UNESCO should be stopped. The United States cut fund to UNESCO in 1984 for becoming increasingly politicized and bad management with assertions that 70 percent of Unesco’s total annual budget of $188 million was spent on administrative expenses. in 2011, the US cut funds to UNESCO after its acceptance of a Palestinian bid for full membership.
Israel cut ties with Unesco day after the agency adopted a resolution that denies Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem Holy Sites.
A group of Republican senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday urging him to suspend the US’s diplomatic ties with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in light of its recent adoption of resolutions denying Judaism’s connection to Jerusalem.
“Because UNESCO continues to deviate from its founding mission and adopt one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions, it is time for the U.S. to stand with Israel and suspend our ties with UNESCO,” declared the letter, signed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Mark Kirk and David Perdu.
The lawmakers said that UNESCO’s decisions render the organization “counterproductive” and went so far as to suggest the U.S. give up its member state status to the UN body, one of whose main purposes is “securing world cultural and national heritage” – a mission quite clearly mangled by inherent anti-Israel bias and Arab agendas at the UN.
“Recent UNESCO resolutions that deny Jewish and Christian ties to holy sites in Jerusalem not only reinforces the necessity of withholding American funding from this counterproductive UN organization, but also call into question future U.S. membership in UNESCO,” read the letter.
“Given that U.S. law already forbids American taxpayer money going to UNESCO, we urge your administration to join Israel in suspending ties to UNESCO.” BreakingNewsIsrael
Pope Francs directed a rebuke to UNESCO when he declared during a public address at the Vatican Wednesday that God promised the Land of Israel to the Jewish People.
God promised the Holy Land to the people of Israel, Pope Francis said during a speech at the Vatican on Wednesday.
“The people of Israel, who from Egypt, where they were enslaved, walked through the desert for forty years until they reached the land promised by God,” he said in his address about migration.
His address came before giving an audience to Arab-Israeli Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara in which he thanked him for his efforts on behalf of Christians in Israel.
According to Kara, the Pope was sending a direct message to UNESCO, whose World Heritage Committee approved a resolution hours before that ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount.
Kara thanked Pope Francis for acknowledging Israel’s rights to the Holy Land and added that there is no question that the resolution harms Christians because it “distorts historical and theological facts.” BreitBark
An ancient papyrus dating to the First Temple Period — 2,700 years ago – features the oldest known reference to Jerusalem in Hebrew.
The fragile text, believed plundered from a cave in the Judean Desert cave, was apparently acquired by the Israel Antiquities Authority during a sting in 2012 when thieves attempted to sell it to a dealer. Radiocarbon dating has determined it is from the 7th century BCE, making it one of just three extant Hebrew papyri from that period, and predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by centuries…
The slip of papyrus, which was formally unveiled by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday, measures 11 centimeters by 2.5 centimeters (4.3 inches by 1 inch). Its two lines of jagged black paleo-Hebrew script appear to have been a dispatch note recording the delivery of two wineskins “to Jerusalem,” the Judean Kingdom’s capital city. The full text of the inscription reads: “From the female servant of the king, from Naharata (place near Jericho) two wineskins to Jerusalem.”
The fact that the note was written on papyrus, rather than cheaper clay ostraca, suggests the consignment of wineskins may have been sent to a person of high status. TimesOfIsrael