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

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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.

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

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.

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“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.”

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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The Trump depression: Experts see a serious psychological depression taking hold in America

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Reviewing “Trump’s Wacky, Angry, and Extreme August” on Twitter, the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser said the experience “was exhausting, a dark journey to a nasty and contentious place.” But that’s hardly news: it’s a place we live in every day. We try to turn the volume down and ignore it, and that may work for a while. But it won’t last. It can’t. It’s getting worse, and we can all see where we’re headed.
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Julian Castro nails McConnell and GOP to the wall for putting ‘sexual predator’ Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court

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Calling into MSNBC's "AM Joy" on Sunday morning, Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro ripped into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a serial sexual predator and said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP are to blame for his being on the court.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Castro renewed a call he made late Saturday night for Kavanaugh to be impeached over fresh allegations of sexual assault  before getting down to the heart of the matter.

"Do you believe there was misconduct in this case by the FBI and the Department of Justice or even by the senators who seemed uninterested in finding out of what really happened with this very brief investigation of Mr. Kavanaugh?" Reid asked.

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Condi Rice deflects Trump’s racism by saying slavery was just ‘a number of people being treated badly’

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Former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sunday blamed Democrats for racism after she was asked about President Donald Trump's controversial bigoted statements.

During an interview on CNN, host Fareed Zakaria asked Rice about some of Trump's most racist statements, like telling Democratic congresswomen to "go back" where they came from. And when he said there were good people on "both sides" at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville.

"When you hear Trump, this is a repudiation of everything you were trying to do," Zakaria pointed out.

"The president needs to be a lot more careful," Rice agreed. "Race is a very delicate and raw nerve in America. We have the birth defect of slavery, we have the birth defect of a number of people being treated badly."

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