Jerusalem: Trump’s envoy Haley berates ‘outrageous UN hostility’

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The US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has accused the UN of damaging the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The organisation “has outrageously been one of the world’s foremost centres of hostility towards Israel”, she said.

Mrs Haley was addressing an emergency meeting of the Security Council called after President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The move has been widely condemned and sparked clashes in the West Bank.

Israel has carried out air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, injuring a number of people, after Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israeli territory.

Two Palestinian men died after Israeli troops fired on crowds in Gaza during clashes earlier on Friday.

Tensions remain high across the Middle East after Mr Trump announced the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US neutrality on the matter.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Mrs Haley said the decision “recognises the obvious; that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

She said the US continued to be “committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement”, and accused the UN of bias.

“Israel will never be, and never should be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security.”

The Palestinian representative, Riyad Mansour, said Mr Trump’s move meant the US could no longer be seen as a broker of peace.

“Complicity must be recognised,” he said.

Israel’s representative, Danny Danon, thanked the US for what he called “a milestone for Israel, for peace, and for the world”.

Also on Friday:

  • Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Palestinians would not talk to the US until Mr Trump reversed his decision
  • Both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the highest Sunni Muslim authority in the world, the imam of al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, said they would not meet US Vice President Mike Pence when he visited the Middle East later this month
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it could take two years before the US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv
  • The Israeli army said a rocket had hit the town of Sderot in southern Israel, but did not say whether anyone had been injured
  • Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas military facilities in Gaza in retaliation, the Israeli army said, and the area’s hospital said 14 people were wounded

Where has there been violence?

In the West Bank, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as smaller locations.

Israel had deployed extra battalions to the West Bank in anticipation of violence after Palestinian leaders called for protests after Friday prayers.

At least 217 Palestinians were wounded in confrontations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics said.

Elsewhere, demonstrations against Mr Trump’s announcement have spread.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters held noisy demonstrations in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia and Iran.

Further afield, protesters rallied in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indian-administered Kashmir and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Why does Trump’s announcement matter?

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israel and the Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Israel occupied the eastern sector – previously occupied by Jordan – in 1967, and annexed it in 1980, but the move has never been recognised internationally.

Some 330,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, along with about 200,000 Israeli Jews in a dozen settlements there. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel does not regard them as settlements but legitimate neighbourhoods.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

The last round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 and while the US is formulating fresh proposals, Palestinian officials have said Mr Trump’s announcement has disqualified the US from brokering future negotiations.

*News Searching By BBC*

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