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Palestinian protest on Gaza border turns deadly

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured and at least 12 killed by Israeli security forces facing down land protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The protests are to continue until the new US Embassy is opened. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, gathered at five points along the fenced border at the start of six weeks of protests on Friday. The five sites have been set up from near the Erez border crossing in the north to Rafah, where it meets the Egyptian border in the south. At least 12 Palestinians were killed on Friday: two of them by Israeli tank fire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The same source said 400 people were wounded by live Israeli gunfire and others were struck by rubber bullets or treated for the effects of tear gas. Organizers had called on demonstrators to stay away from the border area but as the day wore on, hundreds of young people moved closer to the frontier, from where the Israeli military kept watch. Disproportionate force? The Israeli military said Palestinians rolled burning tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces, who responded with live bullets, tear gas and fired at what they called the "main instigators." Witnesses said the Israeli military used a drone to drop tear gas over at least one location. Three sites in particular were targeted with tank fire and an airstrike after the Israelis claimed there had been a shooting attack against their soldiers. No Israeli soldier was injured. Palestinians, and Turkish authorities, accused Israel of using disproportionate force. The protest, which has the backing of Hamas, is expected to last more than six weeks, as US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital becomes final when the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem. On Friday evening, organizers encouraged demonstrators to withdraw from the border area until Saturday. 'A message to Trump' "The Great March of Return is a message to Trump," Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of the Hamas political bureau, told the crowds. "There is no concession to Jerusalem, no alternative to Palestine, and no solution but to return. This is the Palestinian people taking the initiative and making the event for the sake of Palestine ... for the sake of Jerusalem and the right of return," Haniyeh said. The protests began as Palestinians marked Land Day, commemorating the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in Israel in 1976. Dubbed "The Great March of Return," organizers said the rallies would continue until May 15 when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or "catastrophe," where more than 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes or were expelled during the war that led to the creation of Israel in 1948. The date is one day after the new US Embassy in Jerusalem is expected to be formally opened. According to the United Nations, about 1.3 million of Gaza's 2 million residents are refugees or the descendants of refugees, and the protest is calling for them to be allowed to return to land that has been taken by Israel. Read more: Intifadas: What you need to know jm,law/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured and at least 12 killed by Israeli security forces facing down land protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The protests are to continue until the new US Embassy is opened. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, gathered at five points along the fenced border at the start of six weeks of protests ... Read More »

Majority of South Koreans favor North Korea ‘friendship’

More than 60 percent of South Koreans believe President Moon should sit down with Kim Jong Un at a summit designed to improve bilateral relations and ease the military tensions that have dogged the region for many years. A poll conducted on February 15 showed that 61.5 percent of South Korean adults nationwide were in favor of Moon travelling to Pyongyang for face-to-face talks with Kim, while 31.2 percent disagreed and expressed the belief that additional pressure – such as international sanctions - is the best way to force North Korea to moderate its behavior. The poll was conducted half-way through the Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, and the results underline the surge in friendly feelings that ordinary South Koreans have felt towards their neighbors on the other side of the Demilitarized Zone. Read more: Olympics chief Thomas Bach set to visit North Korea And that is a direct result of a combination of sense of fear and feeling of hope among many in the South. 'Bloody nose' attack The fear for them is that US President Donald Trump intends to carry out a "bloody nose" military strike against targets in the North in an attempt to demonstrate Washington's capabilities and its willingness to use force. And the other element of the equation is hope that North Korea is genuinely interested in building a more collaborative relationship with the South and that peace is finally possible, 65 years after the end of the Korean War. "Those numbers in this poll, and others, come as no surprise to me at all," said Ahn Yin-hay, a professor of international relations at Korea University in Seoul. "There have been lots of reports of Washington planning a 'bloody nose' attack on a missile site or a nuclear facility in the North, and that makes people very worried because Pyongyang can be expected to retaliate and it is likely to target South Korea," she told DW. "South Koreans believe that a strategy of talking to the North is better than a violent approach that threatens our safety," she said. "Talking has a far better likelihood of achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula." Moon is widely seen as having worked extremely hard since he took over the government in Seoul in May last year to build bridges with the North. Those approaches – including offers of talks to reduce the military threat levels, a front-line military hotline and reunions for families separated since the end of the Korean War in 1953 - were initially ignored or rebuffed by Pyongyang. The gradual ratcheting up of international sanctions in the closing months of 2017, however, appear to have convinced Kim Jong Un to be more amenable to discussions, while the timing and location of the Winter Olympic Games have provided the perfect opportunity for détente to flourish. Yet Moon is clearly in a difficult position. He may want to push ahead with a summit that may turn out to be a turning point in the bilateral relationship. It may, however, equally be a ploy by the North Korean regime to drive a wedge between Seoul and its most important security partner, Washington, as part of Pyongyang's broader long-term aim of a united Korean Peninsula controlled by the government that presently occupies the North. Read more: North Korea leader Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president to summit Historic handshake marks Korean unity at Olympic Opening Ceremony Alienating the US Moon must be careful not to alienate the US – and its present unpredictable leader – as he still needs Washington's security guarantees. Underlining the tightrope that he is walking, Moon said on Saturday that a decision on a summit with Kim is too early. "There are many expectations, but I believe they might be a little too anxious," Moon told reporters when asked about the possibility of a summit. He reiterated that there needs to be progress on the question of North Korea getting rid of its nuclear weapons before real progress can be made. There are, however, a number of areas in which progress can take place and would arguably serve as confidence-building measures for the two sides, believes Ahn. These include discussions between military leaders at the border on easing tensions and reunions of families divided by the DMZ. "If progress can be made in these areas, then I am optimistic that we could see a summit in the late summer months," she said, suggesting a meeting that would coincide with the anniversary of the June 2000 summit between Kim Jong Il and Kim Dae-jung, the then South Korean leader. Another symbolic date that could appeal to both sides might be August 15, the Liberation Day national holiday marking the end of Imperial Japan's colonial rule over the peninsula. Yet others are less positive about the outlook on the peninsula. "Of course South Koreans are saying they want the summit to happen; they do not want a war and the North Korean 'charm offensive' during the Olympics has been a huge success," said Jun Okumura, a political analyst at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs. Read more: US wants North Korea to give up nuclear weapons as pre-condition of talks Kim Jong Un: North Korea has completed nuclear program, US will never attack Difficult situation "But Moon is in a very difficult position, stuck between the US, North Korea and even China as a major player in this situation," he said. "I do not see how Moon can square the South's relationship with the US with this meeting," he said. "And I believe that the issue of the joint US-South Korean military exercises could be the flash point." At the request of Pyongyang, the US and South Korea agreed to postpone military annual exercises that were due to be held during the Winter Olympics. North Korea is now demanding that the manoeuvers be cancelled entirely, warning that failure to do so would reverse all the positive developments in the bilateral relationship of recent weeks. Moon has a choice; one option is to bow to the North Korean demand and risk alienating the US entirely – and possibly encouraging Washington to take a unilateral approach to dealing with North Korea, which could involve the much-feared "bloody nose" approach. Alternatively, he can reschedule the exercises and face the wrath of Pyongyang. "I would say that everything hinges on these exercises and the situation is extremely dangerous at the moment," Okumura said. "A decision must be made in the next few weeks and, whatever that decision is, the ramifications will be felt this spring." Read more: Dialogue with North Korea must continue, says German President Steinmeier

More than 60 percent of South Koreans believe President Moon should sit down with Kim Jong Un at a summit designed to improve bilateral relations and ease the military tensions that have dogged the region for many years. A poll conducted on February 15 showed that 61.5 percent of South Korean adults nationwide were in favor of Moon travelling to ... Read More »

Oprah for president? How the idea anchored within a day

It was jokingly suggested during Golden Globes night, then came an electrifying speech by the talk show queen: Within 24 hours, "Oprah Winfrey for president" turned into an actual possibility. Here's how. In a way, "Saturday Night Live" host Seth Meyers pushed Donald Trump to run for president. To compensate, he might have launched Oprah Winfrey's candidacy as well. Hired as a comedian for the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011, Meyers slammed billionaire reality TV star Trump, also present at the event, jokingly implying that he was as qualified to become president as an old rusty bird cage. The merciless jokes at Trump's expense allegedly contributed to his decision to run for president. Hosting the Golden Globes Awards 2018 ceremony on Sunday, Meyers referred to his prescient humor: "Some have said that night convinced him to run. So, if that's true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes. And Hanks! Where's Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable. Now we just wait and see." That night, receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award honorary Golden Globe Award for her lifetime achievement, Oprah Winfrey's powerful speech demonstrated that she had the eloquence it takes to move the public. Even Ivanka Trump was touched by Oprah's "empowering & inspiring speech." The tweet by the president's daughter, however, drew a lot criticism from other Twitter users. A new day on the horizon In any case, Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes call, "a new day is on the horizon," was readily turned into a campaign slogan. A tweet posted by the NBC network posted a picture of Oprah, stating, "Nothing but respect for OUR future president." The tweet was a reference to a meme that developed following Twitter user Makenna's cleaning of Donald Trump's star: Not everyone found it funny; NBC deleted the controversial tweet after it had already been retweeted and liked by thousands. Meryl Streep also contributed to the hype by telling the Washington Post, "She launched a rocket tonight. I want her to run for president. I don't think she had any intention [of declaring]. But now she doesn't have a choice." Other celebrities, including pop superstar Lady Gaga, contributed to the social media wave. Fame, the only way to a US presidency? If some political observers smirk at the prospect that yet another TV megastar is suddenly seen as the only hope for the US, Winfrey's name is meanwhile spreading in serious political circles as well. Brad Anderson, the Iowa state director for President Barack Obama's re-election, tweeted that Oprah should give him a call: Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser to President Obama and CNN contributor wrote that the "Oprah thing isn't that crazy." Pfeiffer added in another tweet that "he didn't know if Oprah would be a good President, but she would definitely be a better President than Trump." Trump's first choice Although Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey share TV stardom, unlike Trump, hers is an actual rags-to-riches story. As a self-made billionaire, Oprah has always used her own story of overcoming abuse to inspire others to seek a better life. As such, she is perceived as an upgrade to the current president, despite her lack of experience in politics. Ironically, in 1999, Donald Trump had suggested himself that he would see Oprah as his first choice for vice president if he were to run for president: "Americans respect and admire Oprah for her intelligence and caring. She has provided inspiration for millions of women to improve their lives, go back to school, learn to read, and take responsibility for themselves," Trump wrote in his book, as pointed out CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski. Although Oprah had always previously denied that a presidential run was an option, "two close friends" told CNN that she was "actively thinking" about it now.

It was jokingly suggested during Golden Globes night, then came an electrifying speech by the talk show queen: Within 24 hours, “Oprah Winfrey for president” turned into an actual possibility. Here’s how. In a way, “Saturday Night Live” host Seth Meyers pushed Donald Trump to run for president. To compensate, he might have launched Oprah Winfrey’s candidacy as well. Hired ... Read More »

Do Korea talks put initiative back with Seoul and Pyongyang?

North and South Korea have held talks for the first time in over two years. DW spoke with Patrick Köllner from the GIGA Institute for Asia Studies about the outcome of the discussions and if any changes can be expected. DW: The fact that representatives from North and South Korea have sat together at a table and held talks could already be considered a successful step in relations. Now that the meeting is over, what outcomes did it bring? Patrick Köllner: First off, it was agreed at Tuesday's talks that North Korea will participate in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. This also guarantees that the games will be peaceful and quiet. This is of the utmost importance for the South Korean government. It is also expected that family reunions between the North and South will resume after being suspended for several years. Trust-building measures could also emerge in the form of talks between the two countries' militaries. Read more: North, South Korea agree to discuss military following Olympics talks Those are the tangible results - but what in your opinion is the most important message that can be read between the lines after the meeting in Panmunjom? One important message is that North and South Korea, the most important actors in the middle of this conflict, have actually managed to begin talking again. The initiative is once again with Seoul and Pyongyang. The last year was characterized overall by North Korea's armament efforts and the resulting reaction from the United States and the international community. It is crucial that the two Korean governments communicate because this conflict primarily affects 50 million Koreans. Do you think anything surprising happened during the meeting, or did the talks go as expected? The talks went positively in the sense that North Korea, after everything that we know, did not insist that planned military exercises between the US and South Korea be called off. The exercises, which were planned directly after the games, were postponed, but not cancelled. Requiring they be called off would most likely have led to the talks collapsing. Read more: What to expect from North and South Korea meeting ahead of Winter Olympics US wants North Korea to give up nuclear weapons as pre-condition of talks What were the goals and background agenda for each side during the talks? North Korea, of course, continues to follow the strategic aim of putting a wedge in the alliance between Washington and Seoul. But South Korea certainly knows this, and this alone doesn't exclude the possibility of reintroducing increased economic cooperation between the two Koreas. The drive to increase economic cooperation has been put on ice for the past few years because of North Korea's nuclear weapons testing. Even deliveries of humanitarian aid from South Korea were reduced. North Korea has an interest in once again promoting economic cooperation. South Korea has an interest in not letting important discussions about developments on the Korean Peninsula bypass Seoul. The positions of both sides seem incompatible. The North wants to keep its nuclear program and the South wants a nuclear weapon-free peninsula. How much maneuvering room do negotiators on each side have? Negotiations are complicated by the fact that possibilities for compromise are limited by the international sanctions regime hung on North Korea. Of course, South Korea cannot come out with its own measures that violate these sanctions. US interests in the background also complicate matters, and there is always the need to coordinate with Washington in addition to Seoul and Pyongyang. But trust-building measures could be possible, especially with the military. South Korean humanitarian aid could also be increased. These small steps could be the basis of talks on larger issues, which could also include the US and the question of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Read more: North Korea reopens hotline to South to talk Olympics Interceptions cut off another source of North Korean fuel After today's talks, is it too early to hope for an overall relaxation of tensions? We need to keep in mind that the discussions did not change the fundamental constellation of issues. North Korea's weapons program continues and Kim Jong Un promised in his New Year's address to increase weapons production. Big challenges remain. But there are also positive takeaways – especially the fact that diplomacy is once again playing a role. We have spent the past year considering the possibility of military action. It is really a positive development to see examples of diplomacy. Professor Patrick Köllner is director of the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg. The interview was conducted by Esther Felden.

North and South Korea have held talks for the first time in over two years. DW spoke with Patrick Köllner from the GIGA Institute for Asia Studies about the outcome of the discussions and if any changes can be expected. DW: The fact that representatives from North and South Korea have sat together at a table and held talks could ... Read More »

Egypt’s Coptic Pope shuns US VP Mike Pence over Jerusalem

The Coptic Christian Pope has cancelled a meeting with the US vice president in Cairo, protesting against America's move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinian leader Abbas also snubbed Mike Pence. In a statement released on Saturday, the Coptic Church said it "excused itself from hosting Mike Pence" when he visits Egypt, citing US President Donald Trump's decision "at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people." Egypt's Coptic Church said it would pray for "wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East." The decision comes a day after Egypt's top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb also refused to meet Pence. Egyptian Coptic Christians, the largest religious minority in the region, make up about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people. Solidarity from non-Muslim Arabs The Coptic Pope's refusal to host Pence is largely symbolic but significant because it demonstrates the Arab solidarity for Palestinians irrespective of religious affiliations. Trump's decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem has not only been criticized by Muslim countries; Germany, China and Russia are among scores of nations that have slammed the US president over the policy U-turn. The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, in particular regarding the question of how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites. Read more: Jerusalem: Three things to know Intifadas: What you need to know While Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a majority of the international community rejects that claim, saying the city's status should be settled in peace talks with the Palestinians. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday it would take several years before the US opens an embassy in Jerusalem. Anger against US Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will also not participate in a planned meeting with Pence later this month. "There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine," Majdi al-Khaldi, a Palestinian diplomatic adviser, told AFP news agency. "The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision," he added. Washington had warned Thursday that cancelling the meeting would be "counter-productive" for peace in the region, but Abbas has been under tremendous pressure to assert over the Jerusalem decision. Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas' Fatah party, said Pence was "not welcome in Palestine." Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urged protesters Saturday to remain calm over Trump's recognition of Jerusalem. "The fate of Jerusalem cannot be left to an occupying state that usurped Palestinian lands since 1967 with no regard to law and morality," Erdogan said, adding that reactions to the situation should be within democratic and legal scope. Protests and airstrikes Palestinian protests against Trump's announcement continued on Saturday also. On Friday, at least two people were killed and 760 were injured in clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli airstrikes killed at least two people on Saturday after targeting military facilities in the Gaza Strip allegedly linked to the armed wing of the Islamist group Hamas. Militant groups operating in the Gaza Strip launched missiles into Israel on Friday amid mass protests and clashes against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital earlier this week. There have been Palestine solidarity rallies in many Muslim countries, including Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. Read more: Palestinian youth fight to defend right to Jerusalem as capital The militant al Qaeda network urged its supporters the world over to target key interests of the US and its allies, in response to Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Coptic Christian Pope has cancelled a meeting with the US vice president in Cairo, protesting against America’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinian leader Abbas also snubbed Mike Pence. In a statement released on Saturday, the Coptic Church said it “excused itself from hosting Mike Pence” when he visits Egypt, citing US President Donald Trump’s decision “at ... Read More »

Two reasons behind Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

With President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital being widely criticized in the US and abroad, many question his rationale. Scholars point to a political reason — and a psychological factor. The chorus of critics lambasting US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv has only grown — both in the United States and around the world — since he announced it on Wednesday. As the UN Security Council held a special meeting on Friday in New York over the president's unilateral move, protesters across the Muslim world took to the streets to denounce the decision. Five European countries — Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Italy – in a joint statement after the UN session called Washington's decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region." Read more: Israel airstrikes strike Gaza Strip during Palestinian 'day of rage' On Thursday, an impromptu survey of recent American ambassadors to Israel nominated by both Republican and Democratic presidents conducted by The New York Times, found that nine out of 11 of them disagreed with Trump's decision. Also in the US, more than 100 Jewish studies scholars across the country released a petition on Thursday opposing the move. With Washington facing widespread criticism for its decision to break with decades-long precedent in its stance towards Jerusalem, the question arises why the Trump administration would have decided to do so despite publicly voiced concerns from close US allies in the region and Europe. Appeal to evangelicals For Martin Indyk, former US special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and former US ambassador to Israel, the rationale behind Trump's decision is entirely domestic – and easily explained. "It was an appeal to his evangelical Christian base, pure and simple," Indyk, now the executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, wrote in an email. Steven Spiegel, director of the Center for Middle East Development at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), agreed that pleasing Trump's base of Christian and Jewish conservative supporters was a key element in the decision. During the presidential campaign, Trump had repeatedly promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Read more: Hamas calls for third intifada after US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital With Wednesday's declaration, Trump, who has struggled to win legislative victories despite his Republican Party holding control of both houses of Congress, fulfilled a campaign pledge and did so with relative ease. Low-hanging fruit Unlike many of Trump's other efforts to make good on his campaign promises, such as repealing former-President Barack Obama's health care reform or implementing a travel ban, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is low-hanging fruit as it really can be done by presidential action alone. But there's another — non-political — factor that helps explain Trump's decision to undo decades of US foreign policy and that is Trump's inclination to shake things up, said UCLA's Spiegel. It's a penchant that in itself is not necessarily a bad idea, he added. "Shaking things up, coming up with a better idea – sure, but this wasn't weighted to do that, especially if you are not going to mention that East Jerusalem will be the Palestinian capital," he said. Read more: Palestinian youth fight to defend right to Jerusalem as capital Messing things up Both scholars disagreed with Trump's decision as well as how it was carried out, especially because it stands to cripple the administration's approach in the Middle East, one of the few regions where, according to Spiegel, Trump's policy had been received fairly positively until now. "Things seemed to be really better," he said. "They didn't like Obama generally in the Middle East and so, therefore, he seems to have taken advantage of that. He doesn't get the absolutely low grade he gets elsewhere. This messes it up." The Jerusalem decision clashes with Trump's broader Middle East strategy, said Indyk. "His aides tried to make it fit with his peacemaking strategy, but it was too unbalanced to assuage Palestinian anger." Spiegel said he thinks Trump's decision deals a serious blow to the Middle East peace process and will hurt Washington's perception in the region and beyond. "It's largely symbolic, especially because the embassy will not be moved for many years," former US special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Indyk said. "But in the Middle East conflict is fueled by symbols."

With President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital being widely criticized in the US and abroad, many question his rationale. Scholars point to a political reason — and a psychological factor. The chorus of critics lambasting US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to move the US Embassy from ... Read More »

Barack Obama evokes Nazi Germany in plea to voters

Conservative commentators have latched onto comments they claim compared US President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Obama said voter complacency could lead to events like WWII. Conservative commentators have hit out at former US President Barack Obama after he evoked Nazi Germany in a bid to encourage voters to remain vigilant and protect democracy. "We get complacent and assume that things continue as they have been, just automatically, and they don't," Obama said in comments to the Economic Club of Chicago earlier this week. Videos of the event were shared on social media. "You have to tend to this garden of democracy — otherwise, things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we've seen societies where that happens," he added, referring to the late 1920 and 1930s. Read more: The racist comments of Donald Trump "Now, presume there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or 30s that looked pretty sophisticated and seemed as if it, filled with the music and art and literature and science that was emerging, would continue into perpetuity," Obama said. "And then 60 million people died. An entire world was plunged into chaos. So you've got to pay attention and vote." About 60 million people died in World War II. Images of the speech were shared on Twitter by some of the 1,800 attendees — mostly business leaders in the Chicago area. Conservatives angry Read more: What are the links between US and German neo-Nazis? Conservative commentators seized on the comments as inappropriately comparing current US President Donald Trump to the mass-murdering fascist Adolf Hitler. Obama never mentioned Trump or Hitler by name. Fox News commentator Jesse Watters said the comparison was "horrible." "I thought Obama was better than this. To compare his successor to Adolf Hitler. Horrible. Horrible. Just demeaning. Beneath him," he said in a discussion on The Five talk show. Fellow Fox News conservative Greg Gutfeld was similarly upset by the comments. "He said this just hours before Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which makes Donald Trump a pretty weak Nazi. And after America had just decimated ISIS, the worst group of fascists since the Nazis. So we aren't becoming Nazis. We're stopping Nazis. But this is what liberals do, comparing adversaries to Hitler." Conservative commentator and former game show host Chuck Woolery, who himself has been accused of having anti-Semitic views, said Obama's comments were "despicable."

Conservative commentators have latched onto comments they claim compared US President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Obama said voter complacency could lead to events like WWII. Conservative commentators have hit out at former US President Barack Obama after he evoked Nazi Germany in a bid to encourage voters to remain vigilant and protect democracy. “We get complacent and assume that ... Read More »

Protesters in West Bank, Gaza, Mideast and Asia rail against Trump’s Jerusalem gambit

At least two are dead and a dozen injured during clashes with police Friday, as the protests extended into a second day. Thousands more protested across the Muslim world in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. At least two Palestinian protesters were killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in Gaza on Friday as protests over Jerusalem intensified. Palestinian protesters also clashed with Israeli police across the West Bank after Friday prayers, as Muslims across the Middle East and elsewhere joined in condemning US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In what has been dubbed a "day of rage," protesters in cities and towns threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Smoke was seen rising over Bethlehem. Trump's announcement this week upended decades of US diplomatic efforts to maintain a semblance of objectivity while leaving the status of a contested Jerusalem to peace negotiations between the two sides. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital for their future state, but Israel has refused that claim. Much of the international community considers East Jerusalem occupied territory. Jerusalem is home to key holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. More than a dozen Palestinians were hurt during Friday's clashes with police, according to Erab Fukaha, a spokeswoman for the Red Crescent paramedics. She said 12 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and one by live fire. More than 30 Palestinians were injured on Thursday in clashes with police. A call for holy war Palestinian political groups had called for a day of rage in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem on Friday, to protest Trump's decision. Separately, in Gaza, the leader of Hamas, a militant Islamic group, is pushing for a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel. The first intifada erupted in December 1987 and ended in 1993. The second intifada began in September 2000 and ended about five years later. Thousands of Palestinians were killed in the two uprisings. "Whoever moves his embassy to occupied Jerusalem will become an enemy of the Palestinians and a target of Palestinian factions," said Hamas leader Fathy Hammad as protesters in Gaza burnt posters of Trump. "We declare an intifada until the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine." Meanwhile, militant al-Qaida leaders urged their followers around the world to target the strategic interests of the US and Israel. Muslims also took to the streets in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Somalia. More than 3,000 people protested outside a mosque in Istanbul, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans. There were also protests in the capital, Ankara, and at least three other cities in Turkey. Across the street from the embassy in Ankara, protesters chanted: "USA, take your bloodied hands off Jerusalem."

At least two are dead and a dozen injured during clashes with police Friday, as the protests extended into a second day. Thousands more protested across the Muslim world in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. At least two Palestinian protesters were killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in Gaza on Friday as protests over Jerusalem intensified. Palestinian protesters ... Read More »

US Embassy move to Jerusalem could spark ‘third intifada’ Germany’s former ambassador says

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as a capital. Former German Ambassador to Israel Rudolf Dreßler told DW that the United States would seriously harm the Middle East peace process with an embassy move. DW: Mr. Dreßler, The United States Congress voted to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there when it passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995. Why was that decision never acted upon? Rudolf Dreßler: The proposal has been regularly suspended by every American president regardless of political party every six months since 1995 because the Arab world and the European Union have clearly stated that it would be unacceptable for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We have always maintained that such a move would be an escalation akin to riding the edge of a razor. Yet that is exactly what Trump has done in all of his ignorance and disdain for international opinion — something we have seen again and again. He has said that he will do whatever he wants, just like he did he was running his companies. For 70 years the international consensus has been that Jerusalem was tabu until a solution to the Middle East conflict could be found. What is Donald Trump's withdrawal from this international consensus supposed to bring about? I suppose that it is just part of his nature. It isn't the first decision he has made on the issue. But the worst effect of the administration's decision to move the embassy is that it has effectively forfeited the United States' role as a stabilizing force and also as an international partner in future peace negotiations. That is really the worst aspect of the decision. Now Russia, China and the EU will take over this role. You spent five years in Israel as the German ambassador. Did you ever think you would see the day when the United States would act on its 1995 resolution? No, I didn't think it possible because as anyone who has ever analyzed the situation knows, the implementation of such an idea could never provide a sustainable groundwork for a new round of peace talks. And also because the conflicts surrounding the situation would grow so large that the threat of a third intifada could not be ruled out. If we think about the fact that the second intifada was sparked by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, then it becomes clear that there are certainly similarities. The ideology and transmission of signals, the fact that one is choosing sides, also in terms of religious conflict, is all extremely dangerous. Read more: The Temple Mount: A clash of cultures Germany is a close ally of the United States. The German Embassy, like every other country's diplomatic representation, is based in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem. What is the German position on this issue? It is that we would only look favorably upon moving the embassy when we have a peace treaty in place that resolves the issue of Jerusalem as capital for both sides — East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem — and when that treaty is accepted by both Israelis and Palestinians. That is not only not the case right now, we are actually further away than ever. Was there ever a different German position on the issue of Jerusalem? Not that I am aware of. Washington's announcement has been greeted with great outrage in the Arab and Muslim world and beyond. What will the United States' symbolic and one-sided partisanship towards Israel mean for the peace process throughout the region? It will mean that the US will sacrifice its role as a reliable guarantor of Western-style multilateralism. That is the political message, and that is also how German Foreign Minister [Sigmar Gabriel] summed it up. And that, in turn, means that we will no longer be looking for new ways to restart peace negotiations but rather will be forced to seek ways to hinder new outbreaks of violence. Read more: Palestinians protest against US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital What will now be required of German foreign policy? No one even knows at this point, but if renewed violence should become a reality — for instance, with a third intifada — then Germany and all of its EU partners will have a lot to deal with. We will have to determine how to reformulate the EU's role against the backdrop of Trump and Netanyahu's policies in Israel. The possibility for renewed peace talks is slim at this point. They simply are not likely to take place. We have to figure out how we can get Israel back to the negotiating table. Rudolf Dreßler (77) is Social Democratic Party (SPD) politican. He represented the Federal Republic of Germany as its ambassador to Israel in Tel Aviv from 2000 until 2005.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as a capital. Former German Ambassador to Israel Rudolf Dreßler told DW that the United States would seriously harm the Middle East peace process with an embassy move. DW: Mr. Dreßler, The United States Congress voted to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there when it ... Read More »

Germany warns US of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Germany's foreign minister has urged the White House of taking the decision, saying it "does not calm a conflict." Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Donald Trump called to tell him he plans to recognize Jerusalem. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday warned the US about the dangers of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more," Gabriel said. "It's in everyone's interest that this does not happen." Read more: Arab world warns US not to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital Gabriel's remarks come as the White House has suggested it may take the decision to relocate its embassy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said US President Donald Trump called to inform him of plans to move the US embassy, reported the Palestinian Authority's official news agency. Abbas "warned of the dangerous repercussions of such step on the (long-stalled) peace process, security and stability in the region and the world," said Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh. The Jerusalem question The status of Jerusalem has been a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, in particular regarding the question of how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites. Another major issue is illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Read more: 'Palestinians want reconciliation' between Fatah and Hamas The international community has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital or its unilateral annexation of territory around the city's eastern sector, which it captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. However, Israeli officials have urged the Trump administration to take the decision. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the White House to take the "historic opportunity" to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying he hopes to "see an American embassy here in Jerusalem next week or next month."

Germany’s foreign minister has urged the White House of taking the decision, saying it “does not calm a conflict.” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Donald Trump called to tell him he plans to recognize Jerusalem. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday warned the US about the dangers of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “Recognizing Jerusalem ... Read More »

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