Edition 1471
21 April 2018
Edition: 1471

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Portugal fears US Jerusalem decision may spark violence

by TPN/PA, in News · 07-12-2017 13:55:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s foreign minister said on Wednesday he hoped that the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would not lead to a spiral of violence, stressing that the solution to the conflict required “coexistence” between Israel and Palestine.

Portugal fears US Jerusalem decision may spark violence

“Portugal believes that the two-state solution, the state of Israel and Palestine existing side by side is the only solution that can overcome the present conflict”, the minister told reporters.
Augusto Santos Silva said that everyone who wants to contribute towards a peaceful solution must avoid taking decisions that only hinder a solution to the conflict.
“We, therefore, cannot accompany the US decision to transfer our embassy to Jerusalem. Our diplomatic mission is in Tel Aviv and we have another in Ramallah, in Palestine, and we believe that the future status of the city of Jerusalem is one of the issues to be discussed and resolved as part of a more general solution for the Israeli-Palestine conflict”, he added.
This comes after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
The move, that comes despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition, upends decades of US policy and risks potentially violent protests.
President Trump will instruct the State Department to begin the multi-year process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, US officials said on Tuesday.
It remains unclear, however, when he might take that physical step, which is required by US law but has been waived on national security grounds for more than two decades.
The officials said numerous logistical and security details, as well as site determination and construction, will need to be finalised first.
Because of those issues, the embassy is not likely to move for at least three or four years, presuming there is no future change in US policy.
To that end, the officials said Trump will sign a waiver delaying the embassy move, which is required by US law every six months.
He will continue to sign the waiver until preparations for the embassy move are complete.
The officials said recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be an acknowledgement of “historical and current reality” - rather than a political statement - and said the city’s physical and political borders will not be compromised.
They noted that almost all of Israel’s government agencies and parliament are in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the US and other countries maintain embassies.
The US has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has insisted its status be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.
The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed US security warning on Tuesday.
America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered US personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.
Trump, as a presidential candidate, repeatedly promised to move the US embassy.
However, US leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the US must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem, unless the commander in chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.
Jerusalem includes the holiest ground in Judaism, but it is also home to Islam’s third-holiest shrine and major Christian sites, and forms the combustible centre of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Any perceived harm to Muslim claims to the city has triggered volatile protests in the past, both in the Holy Land and across the Muslim world.

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Edition 1471
21 April 2018
Edition: 1471

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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