CMEP Bulletin: As Jerusalem Clashes Intensify, Politicians Discuss Status Quo
Weekly update from Churches for Middle East Peace
UN Security Council Consideration Postponed to January
There are reports that Palestinian authorities have decided to postpone submission of a resolution to the UN Security from November to January. This would give more time for negotiations and the composition of the fifteen member Security Council changes January first. The US has said it opposes action in the Security Council on Palestine and would vote against a resolution in that imposes a deadline (such as November 2016) on negotiations. However, if a resolution gains ten votes in the Security Council and but is vetoed by a permanent member of Council, the possibility exists under the so-called “Uniting for Peace” resolution to have the measure considered by the UN General Assembly.
Clashes and War of Words in Jerusalem
There have been a series of clashes, some verbal, some deadly, in East Jerusalem. On Wednesday a baby was killed and many injured when a Palestinian deliberately drove his car at high speed into a group getting off the light rail train that runs through both Israeli and Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The State Department said Wednesday , “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem…”. Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed each other for incitement that led to the incident.
Clashes also have emerged amidst calls by right-wing Israeli politicians to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, also referred to as Al Aqsa, to allow Jews to pray not only at the Western wall but also in part of Al Aqsa. President Mahmoud Abbas told Palestinians October 17 to use “any means” to bar settlers from the Temple Mount following weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis.
Hamas and Israel in Egypt Negotiate Over Gaza
Two months after a ceasefire last summer, indirect negotiations have resumed between Israel and Hamas in Egypt over Gaza. Hamas will call for a seaport on the Mediterranean and the reopening of the airport that has been closed for over ten years. There are reports that Israel has already eased restrictions on goods entering Gaza and on the offshore fishing zone.
Knesset Peace Bloc
Political parties led by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid that support the idea of a peace agreement with Palestinians have agreed to coordinate their strategies at the beginning of a new session of the Knesset.
Together they have 25 out of 120 seats. There have been rumors, quickly denied, that the Prime Minister is considering early elections next year.
Irish Senate Votes to Recognize Palestinian State
The Irish Senate has followed the British example and voted for recognition of the Palestinian state.
As with the UK, the vote is not binding