After US veto, UN assembly votes on Jerusalem resolution
RAMALLAH: Israeli forces arrested a third Palestinian woman yesterday in connection with a viral video showing Israeli soldiers being slapped in the occupied West Bank. Soldiers arrested Nour Naji Tamimi, 21, from the village of Nabi Saleh north of Ramallah in the West Bank, residents said. Cousin Ahed Tamimi, 17, a well-known campaigner against Israel’s occupation, was arrested on Tuesday along with her mother.
The video shot last Friday, apparently with a mobile telephone, showed two Palestinian girls approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and slapping them while filming on mobile phones. The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them. They then move backwards. The army confirmed it had made a third arrest. The cousin is expected to be brought before an Israeli military court yesterday.
The video appears to have been filmed on the steps of the Tamimi house, during a day of protests against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It has been widely picked up by Israeli media, which often accuse Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses which are then filmed. Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military’s values. Palestinians on social media criticized Ahed’s arrest in the middle of the night, arguing it is the people’s right to resist military occupation. A member of the Tamimi family was shot in the head with a rubber bullet during protests on Friday, the family said.
The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session today to vote on a draft resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after the United States vetoed the measure at the Security Council. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN reacted angrily to the move, tweeting: “On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names,” in rhetoric reminiscent of her boss’s threatening style.
Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting of the 193-nation assembly on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded. Egypt had put forward the draft at the council which was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in the vote on Monday. Like the Egyptian draft, the text before the assembly does not mention Trump’s decision but expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said he expected “overwhelming support” for the measure stating that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians. “The General Assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States,” Mansour told reporters. No country has veto powers in the 193-nation assembly, contrary to the council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.
Recognition harms Christmas
The Catholic Church’s top official in Jerusalem yesterday criticized Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of the city as Israel’s capital, saying it damaged Christmas celebrations and led to hundreds cancelling trips. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said “dozens” of groups had pulled out of planned visits after being scared off by the announcement and subsequent clashes.
He added that the heads of the Christian churches in Jerusalem would find it difficult to accept an official request by US Vice President Mike Pence to visit the city’s holy Christian sites in January, calling for him to “listen more” to other Christians. “Of course this created a tension around Jerusalem and this diverted attention from Christmas,” Pizzaballa said of Trump’s December 6 decision. “After this there are some tensions in Jerusalem, Bethlehem also. This scared many people, so we’ve had less people than expected.”
He stressed, though, that they would continue with planned Christmas celebrations. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, breaking with decades of US policy on one of the most complicated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been met with near-daily protests across the Palestinian territories. Pizzaballa, the most senior Roman Catholic official in the Middle East, stressed the church was opposed to “unilateral” decisions on the future of Jerusalem. – Agencies