After UN vote, Erdogan calls on Trump to rescind Jerusalem move
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After UN vote, Erdogan says he expects Trump to rescind Jerusalem move

Turkish president praises 'historic resolution' which passed 128-9 with 35 abstentions, says motion challenges legality of US recognition of Israel's capital

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech at an event in Ankara, Turkey, December 12, 2017. (AP)
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech at an event in Ankara, Turkey, December 12, 2017. (AP)
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks as he holds a press conference following the Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Instanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017, in Istanbul. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks as he holds a press conference following the Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Instanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017, in Istanbul. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)
  • List of how countries voted in the December 21, 2017 UN resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (Courtesy)
    List of how countries voted in the December 21, 2017 UN resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (Courtesy)
  • The 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, Saturday, September 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
    The 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, Saturday, September 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
  • US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks with Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon before a United Nations Security Council on December 8, 2017 in New York City. 
(Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP)
    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks with Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon before a United Nations Security Council on December 8, 2017 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mocking veteran Israeli journalist Moshe Nussbaum during a rally with Likud supporters, in Tel Aviv, on December 19, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mocking veteran Israeli journalist Moshe Nussbaum during a rally with Likud supporters, in Tel Aviv, on December 19, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
  • US President Donald Trump (right) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    US President Donald Trump (right) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and I Chief of Police Roni Alshiech at an inauguration ceremony marking the opening of a new police station in the Northern Arab Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa November 21, 2017. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
    Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and I Chief of Police Roni Alshiech at an inauguration ceremony marking the opening of a new police station in the Northern Arab Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa November 21, 2017. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
  • A memorial to soldiers of the Jerusalem Brigade who fell in 1967's Six Day War was vandalized on December 21, 2017. (Israel Police)
    A memorial to soldiers of the Jerusalem Brigade who fell in 1967's Six Day War was vandalized on December 21, 2017. (Israel Police)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.

Police chief says force not part of public debate on Netanyahu probes

In his first public response to a speech from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu roundly dismissing the police investigations against him, police chief Roni Alsheich says the criticism will not affect the force’s work.

Netanyahu’s attacks do “not disturb the work” of the investigation, the commissioner says at a ceremony to mark the changing of commanders for the Hof district police.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh at an inauguration ceremony marking the opening of a new police station in the northern Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa. November 21, 2017. (Basel Awidat/ Flash90)

“[Police] are not part of this dialogue,” Alsheich adds. “We need to do our professional work, that is what we do and that is how we will continue.”

He would not be drawn into commenting on the value of the public debate surrounding the investigations, saying “I leave everything that is connected to the professional police prism to other commentators. The debate that has formed is a public debate and not a police dialogue.”

Police say Melbourne ramming suspect is Australian citizen

Australian police say the driver of a vehicle that rammed into pedestrians in Melbourne is an Australian citizen of Afghan decent who has a known history of drug use and mental health issues.

Police said in news conference that there was no evidence or intelligence to indicate that the incident was connected to terrorism, but they believe the act was deliberate. They said counter-terror officials would remain involved in the investigation to be sure there was no connection.

Scene of downtown Melbourne where a car ran into a crowd on December 21, 2017. (Screen capture: Twitter video)

Police said the 32-year-old driver was known to state police on “historical assault matters.”

Thursday’s incident on a busy city street left 19 people injured.

— AP

State asks court for okay to extradite Israeli man over US rape charges

The State Prosecution asks the Jerusalem District Court for permission to extradite an Israeli man to the US so that he can be tried there over charges that he raped a 15-year-old girl in Pennsylvania in 2004.

Police on Wednesday arrested a man after a request from the US State Department for his extradition after working together with Interpol to track the man down.

The man, now 52, was arrested in the southern town of Ofakim on the instruction of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

According to the charges filed against the suspect, whose name is under gag order, he raped the girl, who had come to his clothing shop together with her friend. When the suspicions were raised against him he fled to Israel and has lived there ever since.

The man’s attorney, Sharon Nahari, said his client denies the charges and plans to oppose the extradition.

Suspected cholera cases reach one million in Yemen

The number of suspected cholera cases in war-torn Yemen has reached one million, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Yemen suspected cholera cases has reached the threshold of one million, amplifying the suffering of the country caught up in a brutal war,” the ICRC says on its Yemen Twitter account.

The World Health Organization warned in November that some 2,200 people have already died from the waterborne disease, which has propagated rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions.

Yemen is in the midst of a bloody war between pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels who control the capital.

— AFP

Israeli search-and-rescue team fails to find Montreal man missing in Peru

An elite Israeli search-and-rescue team hired by the family of a Montreal man missing in Peru for three months suspects he was the victim of foul play.

Alisa Clamen has spent almost $1 million trying to find her son, Jesse Galganov, 22, since he disappeared in Peru at the end of September just as he was starting an eight-week solo backpacking trek. Galganov is a dual US-Canadian citizen.

Desperate to find him, Clamen hired Israeli firm Magnus International, which has used dozens of Israeli and Peruvian searchers over the last several weeks to comb the country’s Cordillera Blanca mountains – to no avail.

The search continues, however, using drone footage and satellite imagery.

“[The Israelis] are fairly certain that they didn’t find him because someone doesn’t want us to find him,” Clamen told The Montreal Gazette.

— JTA

Corsica held first public Hanukkah celebration, island rabbi says

Corsica saw its first public celebration of Hanukkah in its recorded history, according to the French Mediterranean island’s only rabbi.

The event took place in the central Foch Square of the capital Ajaccio on Tuesday, the last of the Jewish holiday’s eight days, the Corse-Matin daily reported.

Several hundred people attended the candle lighting, including Jews who traveled there especially for the ceremonies from the southern mainland city of Nice, located 120 miles north of Ajaccio.

“This has been the first time in the history of the Island of Beauty that the Hanukkah menorah was lit in public,” Rabbi Levi Pinson told the daily, adding it is “a historic moment.” Pinson, 27, and his wife, Mushky, opened the country’s first permanent Chabad community center and synagogue last year.

Ajaccio Mayor Laurent Marcangeli said he was “proud to be the first mayor of any city in Corsica to permit the lighting of candles in public.”

He said it was “an important message of tolerance.”

— with JTA

Erdogan urges world ‘not to be bought’ by Trump’s dollars in Jerusalem vote

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on the world not to be swayed by US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off financial funding, during a key vote on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I am calling on the whole world: Never sell your democratic will in return for petty dollars,” he says in a televised speech in Ankara.

Trump has threatened to cut funding to countries that backed the measure.

Two die in Iran quake panic

An elderly woman and a young girl died and nearly 100 people were injured as a 5.2 magnitude earthquake sparked panic in the Iranian capital and neighbouring areas, according to Iranian officials.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck shortly before 11:30 pm (2000 GMT) on Wednesday, was just 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital,the seismological center of the University of Tehran says.

“A 70-year-old woman died after suffering a heart attack and a 10-year-old died of elevated stress,” the head of Iran’s hospital emergency services, Mojtaba Khaledi, tells the ISNA news agency.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent’s Relief and Rescue Organization, Morteza Salimi, said 97 people were injured.

— AFP

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle release engagement photos

Britain’s Kensington Palace releases two official photos of Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, to mark the couple’s engagement.

One of the photos is an intimate black-and-white portrait of the couple embracing, while the other is a more formal picture of the two sitting together holding hands. Both show off Markle’s engagement ring.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for one of two official engagement photos, at Frogmore House, in Windsor, England, December 21, 2017. (Alexi Lubomirski via AP)
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for one of two official engagement photos, at Frogmore House, in Windsor, England, December 21, 2017. (Alexi Lubomirski via AP)

The photographs were taken by fashion and celebrity photographer Alexi Lubomirski earlier this week on the grounds of Frogmore House, a royal-owned country house in Windsor. Lubomirski said in a statement: “I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together.”

The couple, who announced their engagement last month, will be married May 19 at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel.

— AP

Knesset Hebraicizes “coalition” and “opposition”

The Knesset has officially renamed the “opposition and “coalition,” Hebraicizing the words to “Negda” and “Yahda” respectively.

Until now, the two factions were refereed to by the English-Hebrew words oppozitzia and koalitzia.

The change, which will manifest itself in signs outside the Knesset plenary and on official Knesset documents, comes after the Academy of the Hebrew Language designated the new words.

German man arrested for anti-Semitic slurs at Israeli cafe

A man in Berlin is under investigation for incitement, slander and resisting police officers after uttering anti-Semitic slurs against an Israeli restaurant owner in a scene caught on video that drew widespread criticism.

Police say the 60-year-old suspect approached restaurant boss Yorai Feinberg outside his premises in Berlin Tuesday. In the scene filmed by a friend of Feinberg, the man said “it’s only about money with you” and “no one wants you here,” among other things.

Feinberg hailed a passing police car. Officers took the man away, and police said he also insulted them.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter Thursday: “This totally unbelievable and inexcusable incident in Berlin shows that we all must face up with determination and courage against anti-Semitic agitation.” Israel’s ambassador visited the restaurant Thursday.

— AP

Israeli diplomats in last-ditch efforts to shore up allies for UN Jerusalem vote

Israeli diplomats at the United Nations are trying to persuade countries to vote against or abstain from an upcoming vote at the General Assembly that rejects US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition as Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At an emergency session set to start at 5 p.m. Israel tim (10 a.m. EST), the UN General Assembly will decide on a draft resolution reaffirming that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through negotiations and that any decision on its status has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Israel’s mission to the UN is engaged in a last-ditch effort to shore up potential “no” votes, despite the likelihood of the resolution passing with an overwhelming majority.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told Army Radio that in addition to the US, Palau, France and Russia would likely vote no or abstain.

2 Palestinian women in court over Israeli soldier slap video

Two more Palestinian women appeared in an Israeli military court Thursday after a viral video appeared to show an assault on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Nariman Tamimi, 43, and Nour Naji Tamimi, 21, were detained in a case that has set Israeli and Palestinian social media alight.

The video filmed in the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank shows Nour and her cousin Ahed Tamimi, 16, approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and punching them while filming on mobile phones.

The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke them.

Foreign Ministry says working to prevent European consensus on UN vote

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon says its efforts to persuade countries to stay away from the upcoming vote on Jerusalem at the UN General Assembly are ongoing.

“The Foreign Ministry is continuing its efforts to persuade as many countries as possible not to support the resolution, including by avoiding the vote,” he says of the motion rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“It is an effort stretching across the globe, in every continent,” he says. “Special effort is being made in Europe, in the hope of preventing a European consensus supporting the resolution.”

 

Hungary and Czech Republic reportedly to abstain from UN vote

Hungary and the Czech Republic will abstain at today’s UN vote on Jerusalem, thus breaking the EU consensus in favor of the resolution, Channel 10 news reports.

Hungary had previously blocked the issuance of a EU condemnation of the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

After Trump’s announcement two weeks ago, Prague declared that it recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Rwanda and Mexico are also planning to abstain.

— Raphael Ahren

UN General Assembly debating motion to reject US Jerusalem recognition

UN General Assembly is holding a special session on a motion rejecting the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

US President Donald Trump warned that he could slash funding to countries that support the resolution.

Israeli diplomats have been trying to persuade countries across the globe to vote against the motion or stay away from the vote altogether.

Israel set to speak at UN after Yemen, Palestinian and Turkey envoys

Israel’s ambassador the UN, Danny Danon, will be the fourth speaker to address the UN General Assembly session, following representatives of Yemen (who called today’s “emergency session”), Palestine and Turkey.

British court allows transgender woman to see her Haredi children

Britain’s Court of Appeal overturns a lower court ruling ordering a transgender woman not to see her five ultra-Orthodox children.

The court rules that “the best interests of these children seen in the medium to longer term is in more contact with their father if that can be achieved,” according to the Jewish Chronicle.

The woman, who left a Haredi community in Manchester, had made the request to the High Court of Justice of England and Wales to see her five children, whom she fathered when she was living as a man. That court ruled in January that she could not have direct contact with her children, but be allowed to send them letters or cards four times a year on Jewish festivals and their birthdays.

The family has remained anonymous.

The new judgment means that the case will now be sent back to the family court, where the judge in the case will be required to take into account the Court of Appeal’s recommendation that direct contact between the father and her children be established. The case can then go to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

— JTA

 

UN begins debate on resolution text

The United Nations General Assembly begins debating the motion, proposed by Yemen, rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The following text is being debated and will be voted on after some 34 countries who have requested to speak address the session:

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolution A/RES/72/15 of 30 November 2017 on Jerusalem,

Reaffirming the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967), 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 298 (1971), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), and 2334 (2016),

Guided by the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Bearing in mind the specific status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for the protection and preservation of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the City, as foreseen in the relevant United Nations resolutions,

Stressing that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions,

Expressing in this regard its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,

1. Affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council;

2. Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions;

3. Reiterates its call for the reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution and for the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967;

4. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.

Yemen introduces resolution rejecting Trump Jerusalem move

Yemen is presenting its resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“We express our regret that the US president used his veto at the Security Council to reject the motion,” Yemen ambassador to the UN Feridun Sinirliolu says.

“The is a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the rights of all Muslims and Christians around the world,” Sinirliolu says of the recognition. “This will fan the fires of extremism.”

Sinirliolu says that Yemen “calls on all countries, including the United States, not to change policy regarding the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem.”

Yemen: ‘Vote for rights, vote for stability and vote for peace in Palestine’

“We call upon all peace-loving countries that truly want peace to stand steadfast for the rule of law,” the Yememi ambassador says.

“Vote for rights, vote for stability and vote for peace in Palestine and the entire Arab world,” he tells countries taking part in the UN General Assembly session.

Palestinian envoy: Jerusalem decision an ‘aggression’ against Palestinians

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, says that the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “constitutes an aggression towards the Palestinian people.”

“This decision will not affect the status of the city,” he says. “But it does affect the status of the United States as a mediator of peace.”

Palestinian envoy rejects Trump threat to cut foreign aid

“We will not be threatened,” says Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour of Trump’s threat to cut foreign aid to countries that support to motion.

He says that countries that have criticized the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “are working for sake of humanity and peace.”

“History records names, the names of those who stand by what is right and stand up to peace,” he says in a pointed remark at Trump, who’s own UN ambassador Nikki Haley said she would be “recording names” of dissenters.

Mansour: ‘Reject the blackmail and intimidation’

“The international community must recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders,” Mansour says.

“We call on you to reject the blackmail and intimidation,” he says. “Those who want peace must vote for this resolution.”

Turkey FM to UN: Show the Palestinians they are not alone

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu calls on nations of the world to support the resolution.

“Today’s vote is important to show that the Palestinians are not alone,” he says. “This vote says that the Palestinian cause is also our cause.”

TurkHe calls Trump’s Jerusalem recognition a violation of international law and an “attack on all universal values.”

Turkish FM: We will not be intimidated

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says that a member state threatened all the other members to vote no or “face the consequences,” likely referring to the US.

Countries were threatened with development aid cut, he went on. “This is bullying and this chamber will not do that. It is unethical to think the votes and dignity are for sale. … We will not be intimidated. You may be strong, but that does not make you right.”

— Raphael Ahren

Nikki Haley threatens to cut funding to UN: ‘Don’t disrespect us’

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says the US will stand up for Israel and will not stand for being “disrespected” by UN countries.

She says she sometimes wonders why Israel, so unfairly treated for so long by the UN, remains a member of the organization. But, she says, she realizes it needs to stand up for itself.

“Israel must stand up for its own survival, but also stands up for freedom and dignity,” she says.

Haley says today’s resolution is an attack on the United States, and its right to exercise its own sovereign policy. It is the right of a nation to choose the location of its embassies, she says.

US Ambassador to the US Nikki Haley addresses the General Assembly, on Jerusalem, December 21, 2017 (UN screenshot)

“I must also say today: When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have expectation that we will be respected,” she says. What’s more, she says, the US is being asked to pay more than anyone else for the “dubious privilege” of being disrespected.

Haley warns that the resolution could cause the US to pull funding from the UN. Unlike many other nations, she notes, the US government is responsible to its citizens: “If our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our investment in other ways.”

“The United States will remember this day,” she says, when it was attacked in the General Assembly for exercising its sovereignty.

“We will remember” this day, she says, when the US is again asked to make the largest contribution to the UN. And the US will remember, she adds, when other countries come to the US for help.

“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem,” she stresses. So today’s session will have no impact on that policy. But the vote, she notes, will make a difference in how Americans look at the UN and its component countries.

Danon: Supporters of UN resolution are ‘puppets pulled by Palestinian masters’

Israel’s Ambassador to UN the Danny Danon slams countries supporting the UN resolution as being controlled by the Palestinians and backing terrorism.

“Those who support today’s resolution are like puppets. You are like puppets pulled by your Palestinian masters,” he says.

He rejects the vote as “nothing more than a performance of delusion.”

The Palestinians “know this won’t create jobs for their people. They know it won’t provide better healthcare for the people of Ramallah. It tells the Palestinians that they can continue to reject peace,” he says. “Instead, they incite hate and carry out terror attacks against Israel.”

“If you vote for it,” he says, “You are sanctioning it.”

“I thank those countries that reject this puppet show,” Danon concludes.

Danon says UN resolution will end up in ‘trash bin of history’

Danon says that while the UN resolution is expected to pass today, it will eventually be rejected and nations of the world will all recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Forty-two years ago this body adopted a different shameful resolution equating Zionism with racism. It took 16 long years for that hateful resolution to be revoked,” he says.

“I have no doubt that today’s resolution will also end up eventually in the trash bin of history. I have no doubt that the day will come when the entire international community will finally recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel,” he adds.

Bennett to foreign ambassadors: Diplomatic attacks on Israel help terrorism

Meeting with foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem, Jewish Home chair Naftali Bennett says that diplomatic attacks on Israel give support to terror.

“Those who use violence and terror draw confidence from statements and voting patterns of countries around the world,” he tells a special briefing to some 30 diplomats stationed in Israel.

“The fact that countries vote against recognizing Jerusalem is seen by terrorists as a sign their violent struggle against Israel is successful. Your nations’ calls against the declaration encourage the terror groups,” Bennett says. “Every statement against Jerusalem as Israel’s capital encourages Hamas and other terror groups and gives them the feeling their actions are justified.”

US presents new North Korea sanctions resolution, vote expected Friday

The United States presents a draft UN resolution ramping up sanctions on North Korea that is expected to come up for vote at the Security Council on Friday, diplomats said.

The measure would ban nearly 90 percent of refined oil products to North Korea and order the repatriation of all North Korean nationals working abroad within 12 months, according to the text of the resolution.

— AFP

Raul Castro to step down as Cuba’s president in April 2018

Cuban President Raul Castro will step down in April 2018 straight after elections that same month to choose his successor, according to a vote in the island state’s National Assembly.

The vote pushes back the date of the general elections, which were initially to be held at the end of February, because of disruption caused by a hurricane in September.

The elections will now take place on April 19.

Castro, 86, will hand over power shortly afterward to the president-elect.

— AFP

Michael Oren calls on Israel to ‘sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN’

Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren calls on Israel to sever Jerusalem’s ties with the United Nations.

“As the UN denies Israel’s bonds with Jerusalem, Israel must sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN,” he tweets as the UN General Assembly discusses a resolution condemning the US’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“We must evict the UN from the scenic Governor’s House, where it’s bloated staff does nothing, and give this historic site to a school, a hospital or, best yet, a new US embassy,” Oren (Kulanu) says of the United Nations headquarters in Jerusalem.

— Raphael Ahren

* This entry was updated, and its headline changed, after Oren clarified his position to The Times of Israel. While he tweeted that “Israel must sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN,” he did not mean, as originally reported, that Israel should withdraw from the UN, but rather that Israel should evict the UN from its Jerusalem headquarters.

Iranian envoy at UN: ‘All crises and conflicts in Middle East’ caused by Israel

The Iranian ambassador to the UN tells the General Assembly that “the Israeli occupations lie at the center of all crises and conflicts in the Middle East.”

Calling on all countries to vote for a resolution rejecting it, he calls Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “politically incorrect, illegal and unlawful.”

Egypt announces probe into torture claims

Egypt’s judiciary says it has launched an inquiry after Human Rights Watch accused security services of widespread torture of detainees in a probable “crime against humanity.”

The New York-based rights group said in a September report that security services in the North African country used torture as a “systematic practice” against suspected opponents of the government.

The prosecutor’s office says that counselor Nabil Sadik has ordered the appointment of a senior judicial official “to investigate the allegations mentioned” in the HRW report.

In a statement in English, it said the investigation, which began in late October, aimed to “rightfully stand on the truth and take the necessary legal measures.”

Since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, rights groups have regularly denounced the regime of his successor President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over alleged abuses.

— AFP

Afghanistan and Mali withdraw sponsorship of UN Jerusalem resolution

Afghanistan and Mali withdraw their sponsorship of the UN resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

South Africa, Comoros, Somalia and South Korea join sponsorship.

 

UN resolution against US Jerusalem move passes 128-9

The UN passes a vote to adopt a resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

One hundred and twenty eight countries vote in favor of the motion and nine vote against.

Thirty-five countries abstain.

How countries voted on UN Jerusalem resolution

List of how countries voted in the December 21, 2017 UN resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Courtesy)

Israel: Number of countries that opposed or abstained from UN vote ‘hugely significant’

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says the number of countries that either opposed, abstained or were absent from the vote on the UN resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “hugely significant.”

One hundred and twenty eight countries voted in favor of the motion and nine voted against. Thirty-five countries abstained.

A further 21 countries didn’t show up for the vote.

The vote shows that “not the whole world is part of this show,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon says, immediately after the vote.

Joint List chair: UN vote shows world still supports Palestinians

Joint (Arab) List chairman Ayman Odeh responds to the UN vote.

“It appears that the prime minister’s non-stop trips around the world mainly serve his avoidance of the interrogation room,” he says, referring to the corruption investigations against Netanyahu.

Joint List MK Ayman Odeh (YouTube screenshot)

Odeh says the vote, which passed 128-9, shows that “in the international arena, there still exists a large and definitive majority that believes that the Palestinian people, like all other nations, deserve a place in this world and the right to self determination.”

“This evening’s vote by the majority of the world’s nations against Trump’s announcement, in spite of the pressure and threats, is contradiction of Trump and Netanyahu’s diplomatic policy and a clear statement to the international community in support of peace and the right of the Palestinians to an independent state, whose capital is East Jerusalem,” he concludes.

Erdan: We will respond to UN with ‘construction in every part of Jerusalem’

Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Security Gilad Erdan responds to the UN vote on Jerusalem:

“The historic connection between Israel and Jerusalem is stronger than any vote by the “United Nations”- nations who are united only by their fear and their refusal to recognize the simple truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people,” he says.

“While the US has recognized this simple truth, the UN has chosen once again to resort to lies and to ignore the reality that has existed for 70 years. Our response to the UN campaign by Abu Mazen and his supporters against the US and Israel will be to strengthen our sovereignty, security, and construction in every part of Jerusalem,” Erdan adds. “The Palestinians can threaten and the UN can vote- we will continue to build and strengthen our capital Jerusalem.”

Abbas hails ‘a victory for Palestine’

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hails the passage of the resolution.

“The vote is a victory for Palestine,” says his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

He promises: “We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation and to establish our Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

Netanyahu: ‘Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says it “rejects the UN decision and, in parallel, express satisfaction at the large number of states that did not vote for the resolution,” noting they were “states that Prime Minister Netanyahu has visited in Europe, Africa and Latin America.”

“Israel is grateful to President Trump on his steadfast position on Jerusalem, and thanks the nations that voted with Israel, and with the truth,” the statement says.

In a video on Facebook, Netanyahu says: “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital — always was, always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theater of the absurd.” He thanks Trump and Haley for “stalwart defense” of Israel and the truth.

Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital. Always was, always will be.But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refused to participate in this theater of the absurd. So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to President Trump and Ambassador Haley, for their stalwart defense of Israel and their stalwart defense of the truth.

Posted by The Prime Minister of Israel on Thursday, 21 December 2017

Nikki Haley: ’65 countries refused to condemn the United States’

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweets:

Gabbay tells UN to focus on other issues

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay says in response to the UN vote, “Jerusalem was our capital before the resolution and [will be] after it. I urge the UN to deal with issues it can actually influence for the better.”

Lapid says UN ‘lost its last shred of dignity’

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid slams the UN vote rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The UN lost its last shred of dignity today. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it always was and it always will be. No hypocritical vote will change that. The decision that was taken today will be wiped from the pages of history,” he says.

“I’m saddened to see our European friends bow to pressure and stand alongside supporters of terror and mass murder instead of standing beside the only true democracy in the Middle East,” he adds.

Palestinians thank supporting countries after UN vote

An aide to the Palestinian Authority president is thanking countries that voted in favor of a UN resolution countering the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “despite all the pressure exerted on them.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, appeared to be referring to a threat by US President Donald Trump to cut off US funding to countries that support the resolution, which called Trump’s Jerusalem recognition “null and void.”

Abu Rudeineh says in a statement to the Wafa news agency that the vote reflects the support the Palestinians enjoy in the international community. He says the Palestinians will continue their efforts in international forums to help create a Palestinian state.

— AP

After UN vote, Erdogan calls on Trump to rescind Jerusalem move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on Trump to reverse his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital following a UN vote rejecting the move.

“We welcome with great pleasure the UN General Assembly’s overwhelming support for a historic resolution on Al-Quds Al-Sharif,” he says, referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name. “We expect the Trump administration to rescind without further delay its unfortunate decision, whose illegality has been clearly established by UNGA.”

He adds: “On behalf of myself and the Turkish people, I extend my gratitude to everyone who has been supportive of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/Pool Photo via AP)

Hamas praises UN resolution on Jerusalem

The Islamic terrorist group Hamas welcomes the UN General Assembly resolution calling the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.”

In a statement, spokesman Fawzi Barhoum calls the resolution “a step in the right direction” and “a blow to [President Donald] Trump’s announcement.” He says the resolution emphasizes “the Palestinian right to the holy city.”

Facebook pulling ‘disputed’ flags from fake news

Facebook says it will stop flagging fake news as “disputed,” opting instead to offer up contradictory stories containing facts that have been checked.

The change comes as the leading online social network strives to stymie use of its platform to spread bogus information.

Lessons learned thus far in the effort to combat fake news include the fact that dispelling misinformation is challenging, especially if it involves what people are already determined to believe, say Facebook experts Jeff Smith, a product designer, user experience researcher Grace Jackson and content strategist Seetha Raj, in an online post.

Employees of the Competence Call Center (CCC) work for the Facebook Community Operations Team in Essen, Germany, November 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

“Just because something is marked as ‘false’ or ‘disputed’ doesn’t necessarily mean we will be able to change someone’s opinion about its accuracy,” they say. “In fact, some research suggests that strong language or visualizations (like a bright red flag) can backfire and further entrench someone’s beliefs.”

Drawbacks to ‘disputed’ flags include requiring people to click through in pursuit of further information, and needing more fact-checkers than are sometimes available, according to Facebook. It was found to be more effective to offer fact-checked articles on the same subject before someone clicked a link to a story considered dubious.

— AFP

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After UN vote, Erdogan calls on Trump to rescind Jerusalem move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on Trump to reverse his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital following a UN vote rejecting the move.

“We welcome with great pleasure the UN General Assembly’s overwhelming support for a historic resolution on Al-Quds Al-Sharif,” he says, referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name. “We expect the Trump administration to rescind without further delay its unfortunate decision, whose illegality has been clearly established by UNGA.”

He adds: “On behalf of myself and the Turkish people, I extend my gratitude to everyone who has been supportive of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif.”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/Pool Photo via AP)