Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Al Qaeda chief says Israel's Tel Aviv is also Muslim land

Al Qaeda chief says Israel's Tel Aviv is also Muslim land

The United States is in the "late phases" of finalizing its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that will be presented to both parties for consideration, according to a senior White House official, who discussed progress on the matter ahead of a massive celebration in Israel to open the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

"We are not taking a position on final status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, nor on the resolution of contested borders", the department said.

Meanwhile, there have been months of protests by Palestinians in Gaza. Only two countries, Guatemala and Paraguay, have said they will follow suit.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in the USA, expressed concern that the embassy move would backfire. Police usually call Palestinians to close their stores, fearing violence by right-wing demonstrators.

Some marchers chanted "Thank you Trump" and "We love America" in advance of Monday's opening ceremony, which will see a high-ranking delegation of American diplomats, including Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.

USA officials say the move represents the long standing reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

"The Jewish people are alive", "the people of Israel are strong" and other famous slogans in Hebrew could be heard all along the way from the city center to Damascus Gate. It's been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. "And it will be our capital for all time", he said.

"It's a recognition of reality", Bolton said on ABC's "This Week".

As is the case throughout the occupied West Bank, the expanding settlements are guarded by a constant Israeli military presence.

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Workers prepare the stage for the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 13, 2018.

For Israelis, Sunday is Jerusalem Day, an annual celebration of the "reunification" of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday said America's decision to shift its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem was evidence that negotiations and "appeasement" have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

Friedman credited Trump for making a "cost-effective" decision to carve out space in the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem to create the embassy in the suburb of Arnona in a matter of months.

Gaza's ruling Hamas movement is urging tens of thousands of people to join the protest against the USA embassy.

The Israeli military announced that it had deployed additional combat battalions, special units, intelligence forces and snipers along the Gaza border.

The army says it is defending its border and uses live fire only as a last resort.

"The Palestinians can have a veto, which is no less important than the one the United States exercises at the UN Security Council, on any political process Trump tries to launch - either between the Palestinians and Israelis or at a regional level", he noted.

Jerusalem is considered holy to three of the world's major religions, and Palestinians have long sought to have East Jerusalem serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

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