Israel News for 12-6-17

Jerusalem Speech
At the time of this writing we are all waiting to hear what US President Trump will say regarding Jerusalem in his speech later today. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday declined to provide any clues.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that President Trump informed him in a telephone conversation that he intends to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Abbas “warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world.”

The White House spokesperson said that Trump also had telephone conversations with PM Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan regarding the embassy move. King Abdullah then called Abbas to stress, “his full support with his Palestinian brothers in respect to their historic rights inherent in Jerusalem and of the need to work together to face the consequences of Trump’s decision and halt whatever will harm the hopes of the Palestinian people to build a state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

King Muhammad VI of Morocco sent Trump a memo in the name of 57 Arab and Muslim nations expressing concern and disapproval of the expected move. The European Union, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Arab League have all warned that any such move would have repercussions across the region.

Trump is expected to announce the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his intention to move the US embassy there, but that the process of moving would take several years. In the meantime he is expected to sign the waiver allowing the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv for the time being.

Israel’s security forces are on high alert against the threat of wide spread violence in the wake of Trumps announcement.

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Taylor Act
The US House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote, overwhelmingly passed the Taylor Act. The bill states that US financial aid to the Palestinian Authority will only be made available if the State Department certifies the Palestinians are serious about ending “acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States citizens that are perpetrated or materially assisted by individuals under their jurisdictional control.” The PA is also required to revoke any laws or regulations authorizing the payments to terrorists or their families and must publicly condemn the acts of violence.

The bill is named for Taylor Force, an MBA student at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and a West Point graduate who was visiting Israel in March 2016 when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist.

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Mount of Olives
A new bus line that takes passengers directly to the Mount of Olives, where the oldest Jewish cemetery if located, launched this week. Hundreds of people have already used the new line to visit the cemetery.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat initiated the idea, working together with Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and the Jerusalem Cemetery Council. According to Barkat, “The Mount of Olives is a very important place, and it is critical that there be a bus line which goes there. I am sure that thanks to this new line, many more people will visit the Mount of Olives. I thank Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz for his help and support in advancing and approving this line.”

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