The Latest: Arab leader asks nations to recognize Palestine

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2017 2:38 PM
The Latest: Arab leader asks nations to recognize Palestine

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the fallout from the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

The Arab League chief has called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital in response to President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the holy city as Israel's capital.

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, speaking Saturday at the start of an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers, said Trump's decision "condemned" the country that took it and the administration that passed it.

The decision, he said, raises a question mark over Washington's role as a peace mediator, not just in the Middle East but in the entire world.

"The decision amounts to the legalization of occupation," said Aboul-Gheit, alluding to the occupation and later annexation of east Jerusalem by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

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7:15 p.m.

Arab foreign ministers are arriving in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, to attend an emergency meeting to formulate a unified response to President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The ministerial meeting brings together foreign ministers from Arab League member-states and is scheduled to open in Cairo later on Saturday.

The meeting takes place amid a wave of anger at the U.S. leader's decision, which sparked three days of street protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In Cairo, the heads of the largest Christian church and the Al-Azhar, the world's top seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, have announced they would not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits Cairo Dec. 20.

Hundreds also protested Trump's decision at Al-Azhar mosque on Friday.

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7 p.m.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters have demonstrated in Paris against the imminent arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The protest organizers say Netanyahu's visit Sunday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron is not welcome — especially following this week's declaration by US President Donald Trump that Jerusalem is Israel's capital city. Macron called the decision "regrettable."

Tensions grew at the Place de la Republique demonstration when pro-Israeli protestors approached the rally brandishing Israeli and US flags. The police separated both groups and no further incidents were reported.

The rally was organized by a broad coalition of associations.

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6:20 p.m.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has condemned Israel's "excessive" and "disproportionate" use of force against Palestinians protesting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In a statement published Saturday, the ministry said Turkey felt "huge sadness and worry" after four people were killed and hundreds injured in Israeli law enforcement's intervention on Palestinians protesting in the "occupied lands."

The statement said the U.S. decision stood contrary to international law and United Nations resolutions on the status of Jerusalem.

Turkey has strongly denounced President Donald Trump's announcement, calling it a "red line" and moved to convene the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in an extraordinary congress Wednesday.

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5:30 p.m.

Hundreds of Palestinians and their supporters have rallied in Rome to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the American Embassy there.

The protest on Saturday, outside the U.S. Embassy in Rome, also drew American citizens.

Some Italian demonstrators expressed dismay that Italy's top cycling race Giro d'Italia" will start next year in Jerusalem.

Other protesters held Palestinian flags, and some shouted slogans against Israel. One participant held a sign reading, "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine."

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5:30 p.m.

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church says it will not receive Vice President Mike Pence after the U.S. decision to recognize the contested city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The spokesman of the Coptic Orthodox Church said Saturday in a statement that it's excusing itself from receiving Pence during his visit scheduled for later this month.

The Church says the U.S. move is "inappropriate and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people."

U.S. President Donald Trump had also announced plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that triggered protests across the Middle East.

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4:05 p.m.

Turkey's president has called on Muslims to remain calm in their response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said protesters should act within the scope of law and democracy.

Protests in Gaza and the West Bank have led to clashes. Demonstrations in Turkey continue Saturday.

Erdogan says: "The fate of Jerusalem cannot be left to an occupying state that usurped Palestinians' lands since 1967 with no regard to law or morality."

Erdogan called Jerusalem "the apple of our eyes" and the "red line" of the Muslim world.

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4:05 p.m.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom says those who called for Jews to be killed did something "totally unacceptable" during a small demonstration in southern Sweden to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Swedish media reported that anti-Jewish slogans were yelled when about 200 people, some waving Palestinian flags, rallied late Friday in Malmo.

Wallstrom tweeted Saturday "threats, hate and anti-Semitism have no place in our society"and were "totally unacceptable."

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson tweeted "it is horrendous ... to invoke violence against Jews," and promised that if anyone could be identified as those who shouted it, the person would be prosecuted.

In Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, about 7 percent of 285,000 inhabitants were born in the Middle East, according to city statistics.

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1:45 p.m.

Hundreds of women belonging to Pakistan's main Islamist party have rallied in the country's biggest city against U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Wearing all-encompassing black veils, the protesters Saturday chanted anti-Trump and anti-U.S. slogans and held banners and placards.

Senator Sirajul Haq, the head of Jamaat-e-Islami, addressed the protest, calling for a diplomatic boycott of the United States if it does not reverse its decision. He also called for a ban on American goods and the closure of U.S. diplomatic missions in Pakistan.

Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem upended decades of U.S. foreign policy and went against the international consensus that Jerusalem's final status should be decided by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It sparked protests across the Arab and Muslim worlds.

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11:45 a.m.

A senior official has confirmed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in the West Bank this month because of U.S. recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

President Donald Trump's recent decision breaks with long-standing U.S. policy. Israel says it won't relinquish any part of the city, while the Palestinians want the Israeli-annexed eastern sector as their future capital.

Under international consensus, the city's fate is to be determined in negotiations.

Abbas' diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Saturday that Abbas won't meet Pence "because the U.S. has crossed red lines" on Jerusalem.

Abbas had viewed close ties with Washington as strategically important because of the U.S. role as Mideast broker. The snub of Pence signaled a sharp deterioration in relations.

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10:15 a.m.

Gaza officials say two Hamas members have been killed in Israeli airstrikes following a rocket attack on Israel.

The Israeli military says it targeted four Hamas facilities early Saturday in response to rockets fired the previous day, including one that landed in the town of Sderot without causing casualties or major damage.

The military says it struck military warehouses and weapons manufacturing sites. Hamas says it recovered the bodies of two of its men.

Israel considers Hamas responsible for all rocket fire emanating from Gaza, which is home to other armed groups.

The conflagration was the latest fallout from President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in dozens of West Bank hotspots Friday and along the Gaza border, where two were killed.