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US-Israel spat erupts over 'not your territory' Western Wall remark

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Israel demanded an explanation from the White House, casting a cloud over the highly anticipated visit by the new president, which is being greeted with a mixture of excitement and nervousness by Israeli officials.The spat reportedly erupted during preparations for Trump’s visit, during which he is planning a stop at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 Six-Day War. It considers the entire city of Jerusalem to be its eternal capital and next week, on Jerusalem Day, is set to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of its unification.On the campaign trail, Trump voiced solidly pro-Israel positions. His campaign platform made no mention of an independent Palestinian state. He showed little concern about Israeli settlement construction, expressed support for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He also surrounded himself with a core of advisers with strong ties to the settlement enterprise, including his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.Bennett said he welcomed Trump’s arrival next week, but said Israel also has to stick to its positions. He said Israel must oppose attempts to establish a Palestinian state and insist on Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem “forever”.

 

Netanyahu: Moving the US Embassy in Jerusalem won’t harm the peace process

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In an interview with Meet the Press earlier in the day, Tillerson indicated that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv could be harmful to the new peace process that US President Donald Trump hoped to advance during his trip to the Middle East later this month.Netanyahu said in response, “Israel has clearly stated its position to Israel and to the world multiple times. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem won’t harm the peace process. The opposite is true. It will advance the process and correct a historic injustice”. Nethanyau added that it would also shatter a Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem isn’t Israel’s capital.Taking to social media to deliver the message Sunday, Bennett wrote on Twitter: “Countries from across the world place their embassies in Washington DC, thus this needs to be applied in Jerusalem, our capital for 3000 years”. “Moving the US embassy in Israel to (Jerusalem) strengthens Israel and strengthens the prospects for peace”, Bennett added.

 

Israeli soldier wounded in stabbing attack near Ramallah.

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A Palestinian woman stabbed and wounded a female IDF soldier at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah on Monday morning before being apprehended by security forces at the checkpoint.The soldier, 28, sustained wounds to her shoulder. She was treated on site before being evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. According to the Israel Police, shortly before 7 a.m., a Palestinian woman approached soldiers at the checkpoint, saying she had a question. Once she was close to the soldiers, the woman pulled a knife out of her bag and stabbed one soldier in the shoulder. Security camera footage showed the assailant accosting several people in a hotel lobby. The owner of an art gallery in the area told reporters he also entered her establishment, punched her in the ear and stabbed her before fleeing.Tel Aviv Police Commander Shlomi Sagi told the Walla news site that the suspect had arrived in Tel Aviv as part of a “peace tour” for young Palestinians. He had received a one-time entry permit to Israel to participate in the tour, Sagi said.Following the attack, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai temporarily suspended all one-time entry permits into Israel.

Russian Prime Minister Netanyahu says Israel stands with Russia after deadly metro bombing.

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Russians in St. Petersburg on Tuesday paid tribute with flowers and candles to the victims of a deadly blast at a metro station a day earlier, which killed 14 people. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “the people of Israel stand with Russia on this difficult day”. In an action of solidarity with the victims of the bombing, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality lit up the facade of city hall with the colors of both the Russian and the Israeli flags. Nethanyau said that for him this gesture is a really beautiful thing. Also  Nir Sadan, a resident of Tel Aviv said that “Here in Israel we know this kind of problem and I feel sorry for Russia that this terrible thing happened”. Russia has been on alert against attacks on its soil in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’s forces have been supporting troops loyal to President Bashar Assad. The Islamic State group has repeatedly threatened revenge attacks.

 

Vice President Mike Pence said the United States is still considering moving the US Embassy in Israel.

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Speaking to thousands of pro-Israel activists, Vice President Mike Pence said the United States is still considering moving the US Embassy in Israel an action expected to be met with strong opposition in the Arab world. “After decades of simply talking about it, the President of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”, Pence told the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday. The pro-Israel lobby, popularly known as AIPAC, is holding the event in Washington. The embassy promise was a mainstay of President Trump’s campaign speeches, but the administration backed off making the move immediately once it took office.

 

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