Bolton: Recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel 'enhances the chances for peace'

Charlene Craig
May 14, 2018

A senior delegation from Islamic Hamas movement in the Palestinian Gaza Strip headed Sunday for Egypt to meet with Egyptian officials a day before a major Palestinian rally along the Gaza-Israel borders, spokesman for Hamas said.

Both arrived in Israel on Sunday.

As guests sipped wine in front of a stage with a backdrop of American and Israeli flags, the mosques in Gaza were urging people to attend protests.

Israeli troops have killed 45 Palestinians since the protests began on March 30, according Palestinian health officials, while no Israeli casualties have been reported. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

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

The Israel PM thanked to United States president on micro blogging website Twitor as saying, "President Trump is making history".

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The Palestinian Authority's leadership has effectively refused to speak to Trump's team since the move was announced, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is supposed to be spearheading a new drive for peace.

He also thanked the leaders of Guatemala and Paraguay for their decisions to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

The Trump administration has sought to keep the door open to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy by saying the embassy move did not aim to prejudge Jerusalem's final borders.

Outside Jerusalem's ancient Damascus Gate, Israelis danced in another celebration on Sunday, marking the capture of the Old City from Arab forces in the 1967 Middle East War. It's been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. The U.N., European Union and rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force against unarmed protesters.

Israel's army said it would nearly double the number of troops surrounding the Gaza Strip and in the occupied West Bank.

Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, was decorated with roadside flowerbeds in the design of the United States flag and posters reading "Trump make Israel great again".

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On Saturday Conricus said the rules of engagement had not been changed. Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The United States government has taken a number of actions to ensure that not only our governmental interests but the American people in that region are secure as well, and we're comfortable we've taken action that reduces that risk", said the top USA diplomat.

Bolton's comments come just one day before the U.S. Israeli embassy in Jerusalem is set to open. In the decades since 1967, worldwide consensus has been that the city's status must be negotiated between the two sides, but Trump broke with that to global outrage.

He has argued that it helps to make peace possible by taking Jerusalem "off the table", but many have pointed out he has not announced concessions in return from Israel.

He added that Bin Laden had declared the U.S. "the first enemy of the Muslims, and swore that it will not dream of security until it is lived in reality in Palestine, and until all the armies of disbelief leave the land of Muhammad".

KENYON: Yes, I think you could say that.

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