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Turkey to open ‘embassy to Palestine in Jerusalem’: Erdogan

President Tayyap Ardogan

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope on Sunday that Turkey would soon be able to open an embassy to a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, as he stepped up his attacks on Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as the Israeli capital.

Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of his US counterpart’s move, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul who urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after it seized control of the area in the 1967 war, in a move never recognized by the international community.

“Because it is under occupation we can’t just go there and open an embassy,” Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling party in the city of Karaman.

“But, God willing those days are near and… we will officially open our embassy there,” he said, without giving any precise timescale.

Turkey currently has a general consulate in Jerusalem. Ankara has full diplomatic ties with Israel, and like other nations, its embassy is in Tel Aviv.

Erdogan again slammed Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there, saying it smacked of a “Zionist and evangelist logic and understanding.”

He said Jews had no right to “appropriate” Jerusalem which was the “capital of Muslims.”

“Please stop where you are and don’t attempt any Zionist operation,” he said. “If you try, then the price is going to be high.”
Erdogan hailed the outcome of the December 13 summit which he said showed the “world a vote of unity.”

However the meeting was overshadowed by the level of attendance from close US allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who sent lower-level officials rather than leaders.

Erdogan had warned Muslims, in a speech earlier this weekend, against “internecine warfare,” saying fighting with each other “only helps terror states like Israel.”

Israel has reacted relatively cooly to Erdogan’s repeated broadsides over the last days, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “not impressed” by statements made at the summit.

Contacted by AFP, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson declined to comment on Erdogan’s latest remarks.

Protests which have been taking place almost daily in Turkey against Trump’s move continued at the weekend.

In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, thousands of people turned out Sunday, waving Palestinian flags and brandishing slogans like “the massacres will not stop if all Muslims are not together.”

In a separate speech also Sunday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that “from now on we declare that occupied East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” adding Turkey wanted to see a solution for Jerusalem that satisfied both sides in the conflict.

Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin — a key foreign policy adviser of the president — wrote in a newspaper article that Trump’s move represented “a toxic mix of populism and unilateralism.”

But he wrote in Daily Sabah that one positive consequence was that the issue of the Palestinians was again at the center of global debate.

“This new momentum should now be utilized to find a fair and lasting peace,” Kalin said.
Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel’s storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

Israeli terrorism in Palestine

Arrests, clashes as Palestinians continue to protest

The “Day of Rage” protests have continued across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip over the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Palestine news

At least two Palestinians were killed and nearly 800 others were injured during protests on Friday, while two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air strikes on Gaza Strip as the unrest against the US decision continued for the fourth day. Israel said it retaliated Hamas rockets attacks towards its territory.

On Saturday, at least three Palestinians were arrested when Israeli forces attempted to disperse a crowd of at least 100 peaceful protesters in East Jerusalem’s Salah Eddin Street.

Among those arrested were Palestinian Legislative Council member Jihad Abu Zneid.

Israeli forces fired stun grenades, tear gas and charged through the crowd on horses, pushing and beating journalists and demonstrators at the scene.

Israeli forces closed down most shops on Salah Eddin, and confiscated Palestinian flags from protesters.

A 30-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire during protests in Gaza on Friday, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported, citing the Palestinian health ministry.

A 54-year-old man in Gaza later died from his wounds, WAFA said.

Mostly peaceful
The Red Crescent said on Friday that so far, they had attended to at least 767 injuries in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

In and around the Old City of Jerusalem, protests began after noon prayers on Friday as part of the “Day of Rage” protests.

Speaking in front of Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said on Friday the protests have been mostly peaceful.

“Occupied East Jerusalem has been relatively peaceful in the past two days since this announcement from Trump,” he said.

“Emotions are very high here, and it doesn’t take much to kick things off,” he added.

“The protests have largely been noisy and loud and occasionally Palestinian flags and banners [would be] unfurled at which Israeli security forces would move in and separate out some of those who they wanted to target.”

Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators in the occupied West Bank cities of Hebron and Bethlehem, with at least one case of live ammunition being reported, Palestinian medical services said.

Friday marked the third day of protests across the occupied territories.

Palestinian universities, schools, and educational institutions had also declared a strike after a directive from the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

‘Dangerous escalation’
Trump, ignoring warnings from the international community, announced on Wednesday that the US was formally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.

The decision has been condemned by world leaders who have described it as a “dangerous escalation” and the final nail in the coffin of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel says the city, which is under Israeli occupation, cannot be divided.

Trump’s “announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in”, said Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs.

Speaking on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the relocation of the US embassy would probably not take place for at least two years.

“This is not something that is going to happen this year or probably not next year, but the president does want us to move in a very concrete, very steadfast way,” Tillerson said after talks in Paris with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, has said Palestinians will not talk to the US until Trump reverses his decision.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday, Erekat said the Palestinian leadership was considering all options in response to Trump’s announcement.

In a speech in Gaza City on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the US decision is a “war declaration against Palestinians”, and called for a new Intifada, or uprising.

Haniya said US President Donald Trump’s recognition “killed” the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“This decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo [accord], has killed the settlement process,” he said.

“The US decision is an aggression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem. We should work on launching an Intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Haniya said.

On Friday evening, at least 25 Palestinians, including six children, were wounded in Israeli air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Friday night’s air raid by Israel followed the alleged launching of rockets from inside the Gaza Strip.

There were reports that an infant died from wounds inflicted by the strikes, but the health ministry has not confirmed the death.

Israel’s 54-year-old nuclear reactor a safety risk

nuclear reactor

The Dimona reactor, which began its life in 1963, is one of Israel’s most closely guarded secret installations.

A study made public last year found more than 1500 fissures within the reactor core.

Israel is estimated to have more than 100 nuclear warheads, the plutonium for which comes from its Dimona reactor.

On Sunday, the Nobel Peace Prize will be handed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons at a ceremony in Oslo.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from West Jerusalem.