Muslim Nations Call For Summit If Trump Recognises Jerusalem

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Monday called for a summit of Muslim nations if the United States takes the controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week over Jerusalem’s status, potentially reversing years of US policy and prompting a furious response from the Palestinians and the Arab world.

The 57-member OIC sought to amplify concern over the possible move in an emergency meeting on Monday in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

“If the United States takes the step of recognising Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel, we unanimously recommend holding a meeting at the level of council of foreign ministers followed by an Islamic summit as soon as possible,” the pan-Islamic body said in a statement.

The OIC also warned that recognising Jerusalem or establishing any diplomatic mission in the disputed city would be seen as a “blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations”.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Most of the international community, including the United States, does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through final-status negotiations.

Central to the issue of recognition is the question of whether Trump decides to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

All foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv with consular representation in Jerusalem.

Israelis and Palestinians are eagerly watching to see whether he again renews a waiver delaying the move, as his predecessors have done.

There are suggestions that Trump will sign the waiver and decline to move the embassy for now, but later this week declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel, which seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claims both halves of the city as its “eternal and undivided capital”.

But the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their promised state and fiercely oppose any Israeli attempt to extend sovereignty there.

Several peace plans have come unstuck over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee the city’s sites holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims

AFP

Turkey Warns Of ‘Catastrophe’ If US Recognises Jerusalem As Israel Capital

A senior Turkish government official on Monday warned of a “major catastrophe” if the United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite a flood of warnings from the Arab world.

“If the (current) status of Jerusalem is changed and another step is taken … that would be a major catastrophe,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said during a televised press conference.

“It would completely destroy the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest.”

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week on whether to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, potentially reversing years of United States policy and drawing a furious response from the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world.

Most of the international community, including the US as well as Turkey, does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through final status negotiations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a champion of the Palestinian cause, often criticises Israel over its actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite a 2016 reconciliation deal after years of severed ties following Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound ship.

Bozdag, also government spokesman, on Monday said a US step to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would benefit “neither Israel … nor the region.”

“It would not benefit anything. Rather than open new doors, it would drag the region into a new disaster.”

AFP

Former Bayern Munich Coach Ancelotti Tours Jerusalem Holy Sites

Former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti toured Jerusalem’s holy sites on Tuesday, less than a week after being sacked.

Ancelotti, who was sacked by Bayern Munich last Thursday (September 28), is working with an organisation called Assist for Peace, which is providing sports facilities in the Old city so children from all religions and ethnic backgrounds can play together.

On Monday (October 2), Ancelotti signed autographs, watched children play soccer and delivered a speech to the people in attendance.

After the match, Ancelotti was coy when asked by one reporter how he was feeling having been sacked by Bayern Munich. The former AC Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid coach simply replied, “I feel really good”.

Ancelotti was relieved of his duties after Bayern’s midweek 3-0 defeat at the hands of Paris St Germain in the Champions League.

Reuters

Netanyahu Says Jerusalem’s ‘Noble Sanctuary’ To Reopen Sunday

NetanyahuIsrael will reopen the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, after the holy site had been shut down following a deadly shooting.

On Friday, three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen on the outskirts of the compound, holy to Muslims and Jews, and were then killed by security forces. It was one of the most serious attacks in the area in years.

Israeli authorities then shut the compound down citing security concerns, just hours before Muslim Friday prayers.

That move prompted anger among Muslim worshippers and was condemned by Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a world Islamic body, among others, who called for the site to be reopened immediately.

Netanyahu who spoke upon his departure to Paris, said the site, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, would be open from Sunday noon to Muslim worshippers, tourists and Jewish visitors.

Israeli Ambassador Blasts UNESCO Over Jerusalem Vote

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations cultural heritage body UNESCO on Tuesday blasted the organisation’s involvement in a resolution vote regarding the country’s sole claim to Jerusalem and its Old City, one of the world’s most sacred sites to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The resolution, a document seen by Reuters TV, said it aimed to “safeguard the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem” and reaffirmed that all legal and administrative decisions taken by Israel concerning the status of the Holy City were “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith”.

The resolution, which is renewed periodically, passed with 22 votes for and 10 against with 23 abstentions and three absentees out of 58 member states.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem, including the predominantly Arab east captured and annexed in 1967 as its “indivisible capital” – a claim not recognised internationally.

The Western Wall is part of the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount, the site of two biblical Jewish temples and the most sacred site in Judaism. Muslims, who refer to the site as the Noble Sanctuary, regard it as their third holiest place, home to al-Aqsa mosque – a flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and the Dome of the Rock shrine.

Under a long-standing arrangement, reflecting religious and political sensitivities and security concerns, Israel bars Jewish prayer at the holy site.

Palestinians want the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip for a future state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Christians Across The World Celebrate Palm Sunday

Christians in Nigeria and across the world have gathered in celebration of the Palm Sunday, marking the final Sunday in the Lenten season and the start of the Christian holy week.

The holy week is the week leading to Easter and is held in remembrance of Jesus’ time in Jerusalem, before he died and was resurrected.

The Palm Sunday is also in remembrance of the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem in triumph, riding on the back of a donkey.

It is a solemn day where Christians pay their respects to their savior and reflect on the sacrifices he made.

Meanwhile, a blast has taken place outside a church in northern Egypt, leaving at least two people dead.

The explosion occurred hours after a separate blast which killed at least 25 people during a Palm Sunday service in the Nile Delta.

As gathered from Reuters, the Nile Delta explosion comes as Islamic State’s branch in Egypt appears to be stepping up attacks on Christians and threatening them in messages blasted out to followers.

Terrorist Shot After Jerusalem Lorry Attack Injures Soldiers

isrealiA suspected terrorist has been shot after ramming a lorry into a group of soldiers, injuring at least 15, Israeli police say.

“It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack,” a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio, which reported that bodies were “strewn on the street”.

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, some local news reports said three soldiers had died.

The attack occurred on a popular promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem.

Images shared on social media showed a lorry with several bullet holes across the windscreen.

The attack comes weeks after 12 people where killed in a similar attack in Berlin.

Current Oil Prices Are Totally Unacceptable – Buhari

muhammadu-buhari-and-Sheikh-Tamim-Bin-Hammad-Al-Thani on Oil PricesPresident Muhammadu Buhari has decried the current situation in the crude oil market, which has seen oil prices plummet by 70 per cent since mid-2014, saying it is “totally unacceptable.”

He emphasised the need for cooperation among Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC member states to stabilise crude oil prices.

The Nigerian leader made the statement on Sunday in Doha at a bilateral meeting with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani.

Abundant Opportunities In Nigeria

“As members of OPEC and Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), our relations in the areas of oil and gas, which our two nations heavily rely on, need to be enhanced and coordinated for the benefit of our people.

“The current market situation in the oil industry is unsustainable and totally unacceptable.

“We must cooperate both within and outside our respective organisations to find a common ground to stabilise the market, which will be beneficial to our nations,” the President said on the second day of his state visit to Qatar.

The President also commended the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Qatar.

He invited prospective Qatari investors to take advantage of the abundant opportunities in Nigeria and invest in the key areas of energy, agriculture, real estate development, banking and finance.

He assured prospective investors of the government’s protection of their persons and investment, noting that in the course of his visit, the delegations from Nigeria and Qatar would formalise at least two bilateral agreements to boost economic cooperation between both countries.

President Buhari also weighed-in on the situation in the Middle East, commending the role Qatar was playing in resolving the Syrian crisis, the Palestinian cause and efforts in reconstructing Gaza.

“The conflicts in Yemen and Syria, with their attendant humanitarian crisis, need genuine international effort to solve. Nigeria, as a peace loving country, identifies with the State of Qatar in all her peace efforts in the world to end terrorist activities.

“Nigeria is a victim of terrorism. It is with heavy heart that I stand before you and say activities of Boko Haram have led to loss of many lives and displacement of innocent people in our dear nation.

“We, however, take pride to inform you that since our coming to power, Boko Haram has been systematically decimated and are in no position to cause serious threat to our development programs.

“I wish to reiterate that Nigeria rejects violence and extremism in all their ramifications, and assure your Highness that we are with the State of Qatar in your efforts to fight terrorism and injustice in your region and in the world at large,” President Buhari stressed.

He also called for a lasting solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict , saying; “we in Nigeria, like the State of Qatar, favour a ‘Two State’ solution, with the State of Palestine living side by side with the State of Israel.

“I want to assure you that we will stand side by side with you, until our brothers and sisters in Palestine achieve their desired objectives.

“Our support for various Security Council resolutions restoring and respecting 1967 boundaries with Jerusalem as capital of Palestine is firm and unshaken”.

Attacks Continue In Jerusalem Despite New Checkpoints

jerusalemDespite new security measures launched in Arab areas of the city, attacks have continued in some parts of Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the Police blocked entrances to Jabal Mukaber, a district that was home to three men accused of killing three Israelis on Tuesday.

But hours later, the Police said they shot dead a Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli woman at Jerusalem’s main bus station.

A Palestinian also tried to stab a policeman near the walled Old City. He too was shot dead by the Police.

Israeli authorities say since the beginning of October, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens wounded in shooting and stabbing attacks.

The Palestinian Health Ministry also said at least 30 Palestinians have been killed, including assailants, and hundreds have been injured.

Nigerians Observe Good Friday

Good FridayToday is good Friday, a day Christians all over the world commemorate the passion and death on the cross of our lord, Jesus Christ.

Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.

The holiday is observed during holy week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of passover.

It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, or Black Friday.

Good Friday is a widely-instituted legal holiday in many national governments around the world, including in most western countries especially among catholic nations.

Some governments have laws prohibiting certain acts that are seen as profaning the solemn nature of the day.

Here in Nigeria as in some countries, Christians particularly the Catholics embark on a special Good Friday processions as a re-enactment of the crucifixion of our lord Jesus Christ.

Jerusalem Good Friday

Meanwhile in Jerusalem’s old city, Christian pilgrims and local worshippers have gathered at the church of the holy sepulchre.

Followers of the Christian faith believe the church stands on the site of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

It marks the last five stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa, which is walked by pilgrims who arrive from all over the world to take part in Good Friday processions.

Israel Prepares For Election

israelVoters in Israel are preparing to go to the polls in what is expected to be a tightly-fought election, to elect a leader.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces a challenge from a Centre-left Alliance that has promised to restore ties with the Palestinians and the international community.

Candidates from both parties spent Monday making one last appeal to voters. Neither side is expected to get more than a quarter of the votes.

While results could be declared soon after the close of polls, a definitive conclusion appears likely to take some time.

A lengthy period of negotiations over the formation of the next coalition government could follow.

No party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s election, meaning it has always been governed by a coalition.

Much of the focus of the campaign has been on international issues, from Israel’s relationship with the United States to concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme.

But many of the candidates have concentrated on socio-economic problems in Israel, including the high cost of living and slow economic growth.

The future of the city of Jerusalem has been a central election issue.

Mr Netanyahu has consistently accused his centre-left challengers of being willing to relinquish Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its indivisible capital in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But Zionist Union party co-leader, Yitzhak Herzog, has accused Mr Netanyahu of “panicking”.

Visiting the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, on Sunday, he pledged to “safeguard Jerusalem and its residents in actions, not just words, more than any other leader”.

Kaduna Airlifts First Batch Of Pilgrims To Jerusalem

Jerusalem

The Kaduna State Government, on November 26, commenced the airlifting of the first batch of over 1000 intending pilgrims to Jerusalem amidst tight security.

Addressing the intending pilgrims at the Kaduna Airport before their departure, Governor Mukhtar Yero, urged them to be good ambassadors of the state and the country in general.

The Governor also urged them to pray for God’s intervention for the end of the current security challenges confronting Nigeria and the successful conduct of the 2015 general election.

The Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Christian Pilgrims Board, Nuhu Buzun, also joined the Governor in urging the pilgrims to pray for peace and security in the state and country at large, while in Jerusalem.

He also admonished the pilgrims to shun all acts capable of tarnishing their image and that of the nation and also advised them not to abscond while in the holy land.

The Executive Secretary stated further that all arrangements, including transportation, accommodation and the overall welfare of all the intending pilgrims had been concluded.

Some of the intending pilgrims told our correspondents that their main aim of going to the holy land of Jerusalem was for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth, and most importantly to pray for the peace and stability of Nigeria.

The pilgrims, who were accompanied by some Pilgrim officials from the state, were sponsored by both the state and the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.