Volume 17 Issue 455-Rabi ul Awwal 18, 1439 AH December 8, 2017

   :: International News
::Trump to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital, move embassy

US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and direct the state department to begin the lengthy process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, according to senior Trump administration officials. The announcement, which is expected at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, comes amid global condemnation of the move. The officials said in a briefing that Trump’s expected announcement is “recognition of a reality”. The officials added that moving the embassy “will take years” and Trump will continue to the sign six-month waiver to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv until the relocation process is complete. The expected announcement comes despite warnings that such a move would have grave implications for the peace process in the Middle East and on regional stability. Trump held phone calls with the leaders of Palestine, Jordan and Egypt on Tuesday to inform them of his intention to move the embassy. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had warned Trump against “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,” Navil Abu Rudeina, Abbass’ spokesman, said in a statement after Trump’s call. Jordan’s King Abdullah II told Trump that such a decision would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region”, according to a statement released by the palace. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in a statement, also cautioned Trump against “taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East”. Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if Trump went through with the embassy move, calling it a “red line for Muslims”. Jerusalem’s status is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel claims the city as its capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan, and considers Jerusalem to be a “united” city. Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They say that a US move to relocate the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict - the status of Jerusalem - and undermine any attempt by Washington to restart the so-called peace process. US officials said that Trump “remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians and is optimistic that peace can be achieved”. But Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada said that one would have to have been “living on another planet for the last few decades to believe that the US was ever an honest broker”. “What [Trump’s move] achieves is truth in advertising,” he told Al Jazeera. “It is a more honest expression of American policy, which is to support Israel unconditionally, including Israel’s illegal colonisation and settlement-building in East Jerusalem,” he said, adding that “this has effectively been US policy for many, many years and Trump is simply coming out and being open about it”. A small group of Palestinians protested in Bethlehem on Tuesday evening, burning posters with the image of Trump. In a statement, Hamas called for Palestinians “to make Friday a day of rage against the occupation, rejecting moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and declaring it the capital of a Zionist entity”. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian politician in the West Bank, warned that the “Arabs and Muslims will not take this lying down”. “The Palestinian people will react, with a public, popular non-violent uprising.., Barghouti told Al Jazeera earlier on Tuesday. “That’s what you will see tomorrow, after tomorrow and the days after,” he added. Hillary Mann Leverett, a former state department official, said Trump’s move may be an attempt to “generate a crisis in order to create opportunity”. “If there was any actual hope of a peace process being launched by Jared Kushner, they wouldn’t be doing something like this that is so inflammatory and incendiary about Jerusalem,” Mann Leverett said, referring to the senior White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. “[The expected move] says to me that the process that Jared Kushner has been working on since Trump was elected is going nowhere and they’ve decided to generate crisis in order to create some opportunity,” she added. No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem, and the international community does not recognise Israel’s jurisdiction over and ownership of the city. US Congress passed a law in 1995 that required the embassy be transferred to Jerusalem, but all presidents since then have repeatedly signed a six-month waiver to override the implementation of law. White House officials on Tuesday said Trump, who pledged during the 2016 presidential campaign to move the embassy, will continue to sign the waiver until the embassy is reading to be transferred to Jerusalem in order to avoid the financial consequences of not implementing the law.
Source Al-Jazeera

::Pakistan affirms solidarity with Palestine, urges US to refrain from shifting embassy to Jerusalem

Palestinian people and expressed concern over the proposed move by the United States to shift its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying “such a step would constitute a clear violation of international law and UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions”.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister Office stated that shifting the US embassy to the “occupied City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif will alter the legal and historical status of the city”. US President Donald Trump told Arab leaders on Tuesday that he intends to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a decision that breaks with decades of US policy and risks fuelling further unrest in the Middle East.
“It would also sidestep decades of global consensus on this issue, undermine regional peace and security as well as derail any prospects for a lasting peace in the Middle East,” read the PM Office statement.
PM Office said the people and government of Pakistan are unequivocally opposed to the reported plan of shifting the US Embassy, adding that, “Pakistan fully endorses the recently adopted final communique of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) on this issue.”
On Monday, the OIC had said that its 57 member states should sever ties with any state that transfers its embassy to Jerusalem or recognises Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. Pakistan has called upon the United States to refrain from any move that alters the legal and historical status as well as the character of Jerusalem, and urged it “fully comply with all applicable UN Security Council resolutions including UNSCR 478”.
“Pakistan renews its call for the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” read the statement. Senior US officials said Trump is likely to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday while delaying relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, though he is expected to order his aides to begin planning such a move immediately.
Washington’s endorsement of Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital would reverse a long-standing policy that the city’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, home to sites holy to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Source: The

::UN: Myanmar may be guilty of genocide against Rohingya

The persecution of Rohingya by Myanmar’s security forces may amount to genocide, the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has said. Addressing the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Zeid said UN investigators have received “concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingyas” during a military crackdown in Rakhine state in August. These included allegations of security forces “deliberately burning people to death inside their homes, murders of children and adults; indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians; widespread rapes of women and girls, and the burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques”, he added. “Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?” Zeid urged the 47-member council to recommend to the UN General Assembly to authorise a new mechanism to probe individual criminal responsibility. Myanmar’s government has denied allegations of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, but it has refused UN investigators and journalists access to the affected areas in northern Rakhine state. The military said its actions were legal and in response to coordinated attacks on border posts by a Rohingya armed group. Those who fled the violence did so voluntarily, some officials have said. Zeid said some about 626,000 Rohingya have fled since August, and many more are continuing to pour into Bangladesh. Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a repatriation deal in November, but little is known of its provisions. But Zeid said no Rohingya refugee should be repatriated without sustained human rights monitoring to ensure they can live safely and in dignity, warning that continued dehumanising of the Muslim minority could fuel further violence and draw in other communities. Amnesty International has called on the Human Rights Council to pass a “strong resolution that sends a clear message to Myanmar’s government and military that their abhorrent treatment of the Rohingya must end immediately”.
Source: Al-Jazeera

::GCC structure may have to change: Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah

The structure of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) might have to change in the near future to face upcoming challenges, the emir of Kuwait has said. Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah made the remarks as a summit of the GCC in Kuwait City concluded abruptly on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, with all the delegates leaving Kuwait after a closed session. “We might change the system of the GCC to have mechanisms to better face challenges,” Sheikh Sabah said, referring to the GCC crisis that began on June 5. On that day, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - all GCC members - cut ties with Qatarafter accusing it of supporting “terrorism”, allegations that Qatar strongly denies. Sheikh Sabah also hinted at the possibility of setting up a task force to deal with future rifts within the GCC. “The truth is, the GGC already has a mechanism to form a task force to deal with internal disputes,” Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Kuwait City, said. “A lot of criticism in the last few months has come from people asking where has this task force been to solve the GCC crisis. “The reality is, if there was genuine interest to solve this, then we would have at least the deputy heads of state here.” The meeting in Kuwait City - the 38th annual GCC summit - took place exactly six months after the announcement of the siege of Qatar. “The mere fact that it convened is major progress, especially in the absence of true progress in bridging the gap between Qatar and, on the other hand, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain,” Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said. Earlier on Tuesday, the UAE announced that it had formed a new economic and military partnership with Saudi Arabia separate from the GCC. That announcement, combined with the absence of high-level officials from the blockading countries, was loaded with significance, our correspondent said. “The countries that have laid the Qatar siege decided to send low-level diplomats to represent them. Bahrain decided to send a third level diplomat, the deputy prime minister. Saudi Arabia sent Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister, instead of a royal family member,” Al Jazeera’s Elshayyal said. “This shows that they no longer care about the GCC.” Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was one of the few to send a royal family member to the Kuwait summit. “I am full of hope that the summit will lead to results that will maintain the security of the Gulf and its stability,” Sheikh Tamim said. Oman had announced that a high-ranking official would represent Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, while al-Jubeir led the Saudi delegation. The agenda of the Kuwait summit had not been made public, but the Gulf crisis was believed to be a top priority. “It seems that there is an intention by the Saudis and Emiratis, especially with the timing of the announcement [of the new partnership] today, to say that the GCC is effectively dead,” said Majed al-Ansari from Qatar University. “It is clear now that Emiratis and Saudis have no intention of supporting stability in the GCC, no intention of supporting Kuwait’s mediation efforts, and no intention to end the crisis one way or another.” The talks could have defined the very future of the bloc that was established in 1981 for closer economic, trade and security partnerships on the Arabian Peninsula. In October, Sheikh Sabah, who has been mediating between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc, warned of the potential collapse of the GCC if the crisis continued. In late October, the king of Bahrain said his country would not take part in any summit or meeting attended by Qatar unless Qatar “corrects its approach”. Sheikh Tamim has agreed to resolve the crisis through dialogue, but Kuwait’s call for talks has not been accepted by the blockading countries. Another important issue for the bloc was the ongoing war in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the poorest nation in the Middle East since March 2015, creating one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of modern times. During his speech, Sheikh Sabah called for a political solution to the war. “The only solution in Yemen is a political solution. We urge the Houthi [rebels] to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen,” he said in his statement. The killing on Monday by Houthi rebels of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the removed Yemeni president, has thrown the Arabian Peninsula country into deeper chaos.
Source: Al-Jazeera

::US Supreme Court allows Trump travel ban to take effect

The US Supreme Court has allowed the administration of President Donald Trump to fully enforce the third version of a controversial travel ban that prohibits people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The court, with two of its nine justices dissenting, said in an order Monday that the policy can take full effect, even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The ban applies to people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Unveiled in September, the latest ban was immediately challenged in federal appeals courts in Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco, California. Lower courts said in October, just a day before the ban was set to come into full effect that that, the portions of the ban should be put on hold while the challenges proceed. But Monday’s order by the Supreme Court suspended the lower courts’ injunctions, allowing the ban to take effect. The court said the appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond should act swiftly to determine the legality of the ban. The ban is the third attempt by the Trump administration to restrict individuals from several countries from coming to the US. Lower courts had previously limited the scope of the ban to individuals without a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the US. In July, the US Department of State expanded its definition of “close family” to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a “bona fide” US relationship for visa applicants and refugees from the six countries. The ban has been widely criticised by human rights and refugee advocacy groups. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is challenging the ban, said on Twitter that Monday’s decision “is not a ruling on the merits”. It added that it would “continue to fight for freedom and equality and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones”. Karen Tumlin, the legal director for the National Immigration Law Center, echoed that sentiment, saying “it is important to remember that the Supreme Court has not addressed the legal merits of the latest Muslim ban nor the human impacts with its order today”. The latest ban also includes restrictions on individuals from North Korea and some officials from Venezuela. The courts had already allowed those provisions to take effect. The White House maintains the ban targets individuals from countries that have failed to provide enough information to allow for proper vetting of prospective travellers. Source: Al-Jazeera

::Damning Najafi report puts Punjab govt in a tight spot

• Tribunal sees cover-up after Model Town ‘massacre’
• Says police did what they had been sent to do
• CM Shahbaz ‘never ordered police to disengage’
LAHORE: The government of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was delivered a serious blow on Tuesday when the contents of the Justice Ali Baqir Najafi report were made public on orders of the Lahore High Court.
Recalling the gruesome events of June 17, 2014 in Model Town, Lahore, the one-man judicial tribunal, constituted to ascertain the facts and fix responsibility on the perpetrators, observed that the Punjab police had done exactly what “it went for”. The police, it said, had “actively” participated in the “massacre”, and keeping in view the “facts and circumstances, the reader of the report can easily fix the responsibility of the unfortunate incident”.
The tribunal, which investigated the killings of 14 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in Model Town, accused the Punjab government of concealing facts and hindering the investigation, while its officials tried to cover up for each other, preventing the tribunal from arriving at a definitive conclusion. Dismissing the Punjab gov­ernment’s appeal, a three-judge LHC bench ordered that the Najafi report be made public. Ever since the report was submitted to the Punjab government on Aug 9, 2014, there have been incessant calls to make the report public even as the government remained reluctant to share the contents.
In its order on Tuesday, the LHC asked the Punjab government: “The copy of the inquiry report of Tri­bunal shall be supplied to the respondents for their inf­ormation, by concerned official, forthwith. The inquiry report of the Tribunal shall be published by the concerned authorities within 30 days from the announcement of this judgement.”
Later in the afternoon, the provincial government uploaded the report on one of its websites bringing to end speculation about whether the government would challenge the LHC order in the Supreme Court.
The unveiling of the report drew contrasting responses from the PAT and the government. While the PAT leadership welcomed the LHC order, those standing by the Shahbaz administration, including the police force which was at the fore of the action that day, tried to play down the possible ramifications of the report by insisting that it had no legal implications. The 132-page report recommends that the Punjab government draw up legislation to empower the magistracy to issue orders to fire at such occasions so that the responsibility for any such unfortunate incident could be clearly fixed in the future.
In its conclusions, the report noted that a meeting was held on June 16 (a day before the incident), which was attended by then law minister Rana Sanaullah, the chief secretary, home secretary, the commissioner of Lahore and the capital city police officer (CCPO) and representatives of the special branch. They decided “not to allow Tahirul Qadri to fulfil his objective (a sit-in in capital, which he had announced for June 23).” It was the Lahore commissioner who pointed out that the “barriers” around Minhajul Quran were illegal and he “treated them as encroachment”. The chair (Mr Sanaullah) decided that those barriers must be removed and Tauqeer Shah (then secretary to the CM) “consented on behalf of the chief minister”. Source: The

::::Mayor of London Sadiq Khan arrives in Lahore, meets CM Shahbaz Sharif

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan arrived in Lahore on Wednesday via the Wagah Border.
The mayor was received by officials from the Punjab government upon his arrival and is currently holding a meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Model Town.
During his time in Pakistan, Khan will also visit Islamabad and Karachi. Khan has said that his trip seeks to “strengthen the links that exist between London and these great cities of Pakistan”.“I see my visit as an exciting opportunity to build on the ties that bind our cities and countries together for the mutual benefit of everyone — Brits and Pakistanis, Londoners and Lahoris, EastEnders and Karachiites alike,” Khan wrote in Dawn on Wednesday. ”As someone of Pakistani heritage, I feel a deep affinity with the country and I’m looking forward to going back.”
Khan is the first ever mayor of London to make an official vi






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