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Israel signals displeasure at Australia’s ‘mistaken’ West Jerusalem move

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2016 (AFP Photo/Abir Sultan)

Israel signalled displeasure on Sunday with Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as its capital, with a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying it was a mistake to gainsay Israeli control over the whole city.

The premier, for his part, stayed silent on Canberra’s move at a weekly Israeli cabinet meeting that is usually his opportunity to hold forth in public on major diplomatic developments.

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Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and annexed it as its capital in a moved not recognised internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of the state they hope to found in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

A year ago, U.S. President Donald Trump outraged Palestinians by recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, a designation that did not acknowledge their claim on the east of the city though it left open the question of its final borders.

On Saturday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Canberra formally recognises West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but reaffirmed his country’s support for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem under a two-state peace deal. [nL3N1YK033]

Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded tepidly, calling the Australian move “a step in the right direction”. At the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu declined to elaborate.

“We issued a statement at the Foreign Ministry. I have nothing to add to it,” he told reporters at the outset of the meeting.

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Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s minister for regional cooperation and a Netanyahu confidant in the right-wing Likud party, was more openly critical of Australia, though he deemed it a “deep and intimate friend of many years’ standing”.

“To our regret, within this positive news they made a mistake,” Hanegbi told reporters outside the cabinet room.

“There is no division between the east of the city and west of the city. Jerusalem is one whole, united. Israel’s control over it is eternal. Our sovereignty will not be partitioned nor undermined. And we hope Australia will soon find the way to fix the mistake it made.”

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Morrison’s move first surfaced in October, when it was viewed cynically in Australia because it came days before a crucial by-election in an electorate a strong Jewish representation. His party lost that poll. [nL3N1X102G]

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Saturday’s move was born of Australian “petty domestic politics”.

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“All of Jerusalem remains a final-status issue for negotiations, while East Jerusalem, under international law, is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory,” he said.


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Justice Sotomayor pens scathing dissent to COVID-19 ruling: This ‘will only exacerbate the Nation’s suffering’

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted her more conservative colleagues for barring New York state from reimposing coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4, in a late-night emergency ruling, that state officials could not reimpose limits on churches and synagogues to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus, and Sotomayor penned a scathing dissent that was joined by Justice Elena Kagan.

"Amidst a pandemic that has already claimed over a quarter million American lives, the Court today enjoins one of New York’s public health measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID–19 in areas facing the most severe outbreaks," Sotomayor wrote.

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Conservative rips GOP ‘turkeys’ for turning Thanksgiving COVID safety measures into a culture-war fight

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Writing in The Bulwark this Thursday, Tim Miller says that America should be experiencing a time of national solidarity in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, "we have a president whose focus is entirely on his effort to perpetrate a fraud on the American public."

According to Miller, Republicans are disseminating a narrative that says coronavirus restriction should be met with a sort of "organized resistance" from individuals and businesses that feel unfairly oppressed. While everyone wants to be with their families on Thanksgiving, "one thing that most people have learned by the time they are adults is that they don’t get to do whatever they want whenever they want."

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2020 Election

‘Fox & Friends’ graphic destroys Trump for ‘baselessly’ and ‘falsely’ claiming election was rigged

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Viewers of Fox & Friends were treated to a dose of the truth on Thursday when the show admitted that President Donald Trump has "baselessly" and "falsely" claimed that the 2020 election was rigged.

The message to Fox News viewers appeared on the network's ticker graphic that is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

"President Trump phoned into a meeting organized by Republicans in Pennsylvania Wed., baseless claiming that the election was 'rigged' and falsely claiming that he won it 'by a lot,'" the Fox News ticker reported. "Most of Trump's legal efforts to challenge voting procedures in PA, MI and other states have been thrown out and his campaign has not produced sufficient evidence to back up claims of widespread voter fraud."

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