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Netanyahu pledges that Al-Aqsa Mosque will remain occupied ‘forever’

Israeli forces stand guard as Muslim worshippers pray at the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on 30 May 2015 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]
Israeli forces stand guard as Muslim worshippers pray at the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on 30 May 2015 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged that Al-Aqsa Mosque – which he called the Temple Mount – will remain in Jewish control forever, local media have reported. He made this pledge just one day after the visit of US President Donald Trump to the region.

We liberated [sic] Jerusalem, we made it one city, imperfect but whole

…Netanyahu told the Knesset (parliament) today in a session attended by President Reuven Rivlin and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Miriam Naor. The special session was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the eastern part of the city.

In a bizarre twist of the Zionist myth that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land”, Netanyahu claimed that there was “nearly nothing” before the Israeli occupation. “It was forsaken and in constant crisis,” the Times of Israel reported.

Read: Trump considering how move of US Embassy in Israel could affect Mideast peace

He pledged that Israel would never return to the situation where Jerusalem is divided. He insisted:

The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty

Both are in the Old City of Jerusalem occupied by Israel in June 1967 and annexed subsequently, illegally according to the rest of the world.

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The fact that Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem is not recognised by the international community means that almost all embassies are located in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu described this as “absurd” and stressed that moving the embassies to what Israel believes is its “undivided capital” – Jerusalem – especially the US Embassy, is “not a trivial matter”.

Meanwhile, an Israeli official told the Hebrew-language Maariv that the Palestinians were “distressed and put back 100 years” by Trump’s visit to the region. “It is the first time in years that there is no American pledge to reach results for [Israeli-Palestinian] talks. The level of expectations of the Palestinians was reduced.”

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