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Palestinians React to ‘Deal of the Century’

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24 Jun 2019
Palestinians React to ‘Deal of the Century’
Ahead of meetings in Manama, Bahrain this week during which economic aspects of the Trump Administration’s so-called “deal of the Century” are set to be formally unveiled, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told foreign reporters in Ramallah on Sunday that his faction was prepared to re-open negotiations with Israel, but only if there is a recognition that Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem is in fact “occupied” Palestinian territory and the “vision” of a two-state solution is re-affirmed. The statements came amidst a chorus of derision for the American plan, details of which have already been released by the White House, from the wider Arab world, even as some moderate governments allied with Washington expressed cautious optimism for its prospects.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir responded to a question about the plans from France 24 News by saying “I think anything that improves the situation of the Palestinian people is something that should be welcomed. Now having said that the political process is extremely important. The Palestinians are the ones who have the ultimate decision in this, because it’s their issue and so whatever the Palestinians accept I believe everybody else will accept."

“Those who think that waving billions of dollars can lure Lebanon, which is under the weight of a suffocating economic crisis, into succumbing or bartering over its principles are mistaken,” Lebanese parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, said. The Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah, which many analysts believe has become the de facto ruler of Lebanon, has gone further by declaring that the “deal of the century” is a “historic crime” which must be prevented from coming to fruition.

US-allied Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are sending delegations to the Manama Conference along with Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. The PA and most other regional countries are boycotting it and no Israeli officials have been invited to attend.

Turkey on Edge Following Istanbul Rerun Election
Turkey’s political scene was in an uproar Sunday following the rerun election for mayor of Istanbul which saw the AKP party of Turkish strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again defeated by opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu. The margin of his victory was substantially larger than in the first poll in March, leading many analysts to say that if the AKP was trying to regain an important political post, the effort has backfired and any further attempts to deny Imamoglu his office might lead to widespread unrest in the strategically important country.
Sports Fans in Israel Have Much to Cheer About
Israeli sports fans had much to cheer about over the weekend as Rhythmic gymnast Liroy Ashram hauled in four medals, two gold and two silver, at the 2019 European Games in Minsk and a large delegation of players from the National Football League (NFL) in the US visited the Jewish State. The visiting NFL players included a delegation of 15 past and present athletes associated with the New England Patriots, who greeted local football enthusiasts at the Kraft Family Sports Complex in Jerusalem on Friday and Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is touring Israel as part of a documentary film project and has enthusiastically shared his experiences with his large number of fans on social media.

The Patriots delegation were in Israel partially to help team owner Robert Kraft celebrate his reception of the 2018 Genesis Prize, sometimes called the “Jewish Nobel Prize”

Here is a video from the Genesis Prize ceremony 

Hopes for Unity Government Dashed
Forlorn hopes that Israel might avoid the election scheduled for 17 September were decisively crushed on Sunday evening when Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid issued a public statement that they have decided to reject overtures from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join forces and overturn the bill that dispersed the Knesset and form a national unity government. Gantz added that the idea had been worth examining but that in the end it appeared that it would be of more benefit to Netanyahu than Blue and White. Likud officials replied that reports of their attempt to reach an agreement that would make another election unnecessary were vastly exaggerated by Blue and White.

Today’s video gives a short tour of the northern Israeli city of Haifa


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