Israel to name new train station in Jerusalem after Trump

 

A new train station to be built near the Western wall in Jerusalem would be named after United States President, Donald Trump, an official has said.

Israel’s Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Mr. Katz said he decided to honour Mr. Trump this way following the president’s decision early this month to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to ultimately move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“The Western Wall is the holiest site of the Jewish people and I have decided to name the train station leading to it after the president of the United States, Donald Trump, following his courageous and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel,” the Associated Press quoted Mr. Katz as saying.

Mr. Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has drawn condemnations from leaders across the world. The move was also condemned by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Katz approved the recommendations of an Israel Railways steering committee, which proposed the development of the Western Wall train station at the Cardo, an ancient street in the Jewish Quarter near the Kotel.

Donald John Trump station, as Katz called it, was one of two stations proposed for an extension to a new high-speed line nearing completion between Tel Aviv and the western entrance to Jerusalem via Ben-Gurion International Airport and the city of Modi’in.

Mr. Katz called the rail extension to the Old City, “the Transportation Ministry’s most important national project.”

The cost of the project was estimated at 2.5 billion shekels, approximately, $720 million.

The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray. In May, Mr. Trump was the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall.

Israel ignores UN, begins construction on new West Bank settlement

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Construction of the new West Bank settlement began on Tuesday for the first time in 25 years with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin calling it an “honour” to make good on the promised outpost.

The expansion of existing settlements on the West Bank – territory which Israel occupied during a conflict in 1967, has been a major point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Trump arrives Israel for peace process

Donald and Melania Trump board Air Force One in Riyadh for flight to Israel. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

[Photo Credit: The Guardian]

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Israel on Monday, attempting to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process with visits to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Over two days, Mr. Trump is to meet separately with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and visit holy sites. On Monday in Jerusalem, he will pray at the Western Wall and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Mr. Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and members of the Israeli cabinet, were at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to greet Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania in a red carpet ceremony after a direct flight from Riyadh.

On his maiden foreign tour since taking office in January, Mr. Trump is already showing signs of fatigue from a packed schedule.

He is on a nine-day trip through the Middle East and Europe that ends on Saturday after visits to the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.

During a speech in Riyadh on Sunday in which he urged Arab and Islamic leaders to do their share to defeat Islamist militants, Trump referred to “Islamic extremism,” although advance excerpts had him saying “Islamist extremism.”

A White House official blamed Trump’s fatigue for the switch. “Just an exhausted guy,” she told reporters.

On Sunday night in Riyadh after a long day of events, many of them delayed, he skipped a “tweeps” forum for young people that was to be his last activity of the day, sending daughter Ivanka in his place.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who focused on his desire to crack down on Iran’s influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in the Republican president’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

The reception marked a contrast from his difficulties at home where he is struggling to contain a mushrooming scandal after his firing of former FBI Director James Comey nearly two weeks ago.

Mr. Trump has vowed to do whatever is necessary to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but has given little sign of how he could revive long-stalled negotiations.

When he met Abbas earlier this month in Washington, he stopped shortly of explicitly recommitting his administration to a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, a long-standing foundation of U.S. policy.

Some Palestinians said they were disappointed by the omission.

Mr. Trump has also opted against an immediate move of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a longtime demand of Israel.

A senior administration official told Reuters last week that Mr. Trump remained committed to his campaign pledge to ultimately relocate the embassy but did not plan to announce such a move while on his trip.

“We’re having very good discussions with all parties and as long as we see that happening, then we don’t intend to do anything that we think could upset those discussions,” the official said.

On Sunday, Israel authorised some economic concessions to the Palestinians that a Cabinet statement said “will ease daily civilian life in the Palestinian Authority after (Trump) who arrives tomorrow, asked to see some confidence building steps.”

Mr. Trump used his visit to Riyadh to bolster U.S. ties with Arab and Islamic nations, announce $110 billion in U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and send Iran a tough message.

Dress code prompts protest at Israeli parliament

israel-parliament

An Israeli media on Wednesday reported that about 30 female staffers protesting the Israeli parliament’s dress code were denied entry to the Knesset building for wearing attire deemed inappropriate.

Citing the union representing Knesset aides, Haaretz reported that several female employees were denied entry by security guards in recent days by security guards for wearing items that were too short.

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