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Palestinian journalist calls Jerusalem Palestinians to look past Trump

Sept. 3, 2018 4:55 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2018 4:24 P.M.)
Daoud Kuttab
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian award-winning journalist, Daoud Kuttab, said that Palestinians need to look past United States President Donald Trump in regards to the long-term future of the city of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank.

Kuttab told the Rotary Club that his "lecture is titled Jerusalem After Trump which refers to the discussion of issues after the Trump decision on the embassy but more importantly it talks about the future of the city after the departure of Trump."

Kuttab said that "the heart of the current struggle today lies in the holy basin of Jerusalem and specifically in and around al-Aqsa Mosque, saying that "the 144 dunams that constitute Al Haram Al Sharif (al-Aqsa Mosque) like the walls of Jerusalem and all the old city are UNECO world heritage site that must be protected," alluding to the October 2014 understanding between the United States Secretary of State at the time John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah II as stipulating the basic agreement in how to preserve this important site that the Jordanian Hashemites are custodian of.

"That understanding stipulates freedom of worship without Israeli restrictions on Muslims on the basis that Al Aqsa is for Muslims to pray and for others to visit." Kuttab noted that the Israelis continue to use the Moroccans Gate to allow Jewish visitors to enter without going through the agreed-to Islamic Endowment department of tourism for tickets to visit al-Aqsa. "While the Israelis have not violated the time of visit between the morning and noon prayers, they have allowed many to enter including many known radicals and extremists he said."

Answering questions from the "Rotarians", Kuttab said that "by going public with their attempts to blackmail Palestinians into submission Trump has done Palestinians a big service. Even if any Palestinian leader would be willing to consider making a concession by going public, Trump has given the kiss of death to any possible retraction of the Palestinian position on Jerusalem and on other issues."

In his conclusion, Kuttab noted that the key to Jerusalem is the need to preserve and support the presence of Palestinians in the holy city.

"There are 330,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem today and that constitutes nearly 40% of the population of the two sectors of the city. As long as they are steadfast in Jerusalem, no power on earth will affect them or the status of Jerusalem," he concluded.
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