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Why is Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 9:17 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 1:17 PM

WATCH: Trump Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the U.S. embassy to that city in the near future.

Trump’s decision is likely to incite unrest in the region where for more than 70 years most countries have stayed out of the dispute over who owns one of the most significant religious areas in the world.

Why are some saying the move will cause chaos in the region? Here’s a look at what the decision could mean.

What happened Wednesday?

The president declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the US embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The move will not take place immediately.

In addition, Trump reasserted his commitment to supporting a two-state solution if Israel and Palestine can come to that agreement. 

Why is that causing so much commotion?

Jerusalem is the center of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Israel has called Jerusalem its undivided capital, while Palestine claims the eastern half of the city as its capital.

In 1947, the United Nations worked to create a homeland for Jews in the Middle East with the idea that Jerusalem would be a separate “international city.” However, the war to establish an Israeli state led to the city being divided.

In 1949, the “Green Line” (a border created through negotiations at the end of the war) was established, giving Israel the western half of Jerusalem and Jordan the eastern half.

That arrangement lasted for nearly 20 years until the Six-Day War in 1967 at which time Israel occupied East Jerusalem and has kept it since then. 

In 1980, Israel passed a law stating Jerusalem was the united capital of Israel.

While Israel claims Jerusalem, the rest of the world has refrained from assigning capital status to either side until and unless Israel and Palestine can come to an agreement on who owns what. Resolving that issue is perhaps the most difficult part of finding a peaceful end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The United States keeps its embassy in Tel Aviv, like most other countries. Also, like other countries, the U.S. has a consulate in Jerusalem.

If the United States declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it will be the first country to officially do so since the country’s inception in 1948. Compounding the issue is that Jerusalem is home to key sacred sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Why hasn’t the embassy moved before?

The United States has not moved the embassy to Jerusalem because for 70 years countries around the world have stayed out of the conflict over who owns the city.

In 1989, however, the U.S. began leasing a plot of land in Jerusalem that was to be the spot where a new embassy was to be built. The 99-year lease costs the United States $1 a year. The land remains undeveloped. There is a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

In 1995, Congress passed a law that required the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, saying if Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, then the U.S. should respect that.

Since that law passed, every U.S. president, citing security concerns, has declined to move the embassy and has signed a presidential waiver to keep it in Tel Aviv.

Who would be in favor of the move?

Israel would welcome a declaration from the United States saying Jerusalem belongs to Israel. 

Who would be against it?

Palestine would have the most to lose if Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In May 2017, the Palestinian group Hamas proposed the formation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. 

The announcement would anger the rest of the Arab world as well. Saudi Arabia has called the idea a “flagrant provocation to Muslims.” 

A senior Palestinian official said Wednesday that the decision means “the peace process is finished” because Washington “has already pre-empted the outcome,” The Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, US personnel and their families were ordered to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank. Palestinian factions have called for a “day of rage” over the announcement.

What is the reaction from the rest of the world?

Here is the reaction from some world leaders to Trump’s expected announcement. (From the Associated Press)

  • Speaking to reporters in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the “the situation is not easy.” He said Putin discussed the issue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late on Tuesday and expressed his concern about “a possible deterioration.” Peskov said, however, that the Kremlin would refrain from commenting a decision that has not been announced yet.
  • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is calling on the U.S. administration to present a Mideast peace plan because the decision clearly “makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward.”
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned Trump’s imminent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The state TV’s website quotes Khamenei as saying that “when they (U.S.) claim that they want to declare Jerusalem as the capital of occupied Palestine, it shows their inability. ”
  • China has expressed concerns over “possible aggravation of regional tensions” in response to the expected U.S. announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Geng Shuang, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday the China would monitor developments on the issue.
  • Syria’s Foreign Ministry says Trump’s expected announcement to recognize of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “dangerous step” that will fuel global conflict. The ministry in Damascus issued a statement on Wednesday calling Trump’s imminent move the “culmination of the crime of the seizing of Palestine and the displacement of the Palestinian people.”
  • Two leading Lebanese newspapers have issued front page rebukes to Trump over his expected announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The An-Nahar compares the U.S. president to the late British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who a hundred years ago famously promised Palestine as a national home to the Jewish People, in what is known as the Balfour Declaration. The paper’s Wednesday headline reads: “Trump, Balfour of the century, gifts Jerusalem to Israel.”
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the “whole world is against” Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the U.S. Embassy there. He says that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a “grave mistake.”
  • Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, writing as head of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Al-Quds Committee, also expressed his “deep personal concern” and “the great concern felt by Arab and Muslim states and peoples” over the moves in a letter to Trump Tuesday. “The current step is likely to negatively impact the prospects of a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the letter said.
  • Pope Francis is calling for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict. “I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.”
Sources: The Associated Press; The BBC; Reuters;

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Mother crashed car into pole to prove to kids God is real, police say

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:24 PM

Bakari Warren, 25, is seen here in a mug shot. She’s jailed on a $22,000 bond on two charges of cruelty to children.
Gwinett County Sheriff’s Office
Bakari Warren, 25, is seen here in a mug shot. She’s jailed on a $22,000 bond on two charges of cruelty to children.(Gwinett County Sheriff’s Office)

Police say a mother intentionally crashed her SUV into a pole to prove to her two small children that God is real.

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Investigators say Bakari Warren, 25, told officers after the crash that she did it on purpose to show her kids that if they believe, God would protect them.

The crash and the 5- and 7-year-old kids’ explanation were all caught on camera. 

Police say Warren was driving northbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when she crossed into the southbound lanes and drove head on into a concrete pole.

Sitting in a police car, her children explained what happened before the crash.

“You think she did it on purpose?” the officer asked.

>> Related: 12-year-old boy missing after getting on wrong school bus found near his home

“Yeah because she turned. Her eyes was closed and she was saying, blah, blah, blah, ‘I love God,’” one daughter said. “She didn’t want us to just have a car accident. She wanted us to know that God is real."

Police said Warren told her children to buckle up their seat belts just before she accelerated into the pole. Warren was frisked and handcuffed right after she got out of the SUV.

“When the officers asked the driver of the vehicle what had happened her first statement was to check her Facebook, and it would explain what happened,” Norcross police Sgt. Eric Butynski said.

>> Related: Missing Iowa family of 4 found dead in Mexico 

Nothing was found directly referencing the incident on what appeared to be her Facebook page, but police say she later gave the same reasons as her kids -- to prove that God will protect them. 

No one was hurt in the accident, but officers say it could have been much worse.

“It could have been a lot worse. It could have been heavier traffic at the time, she could have hit the pole at such an angle that she did more damage to the car,” Butynski said.

Warren remains in jail on $22,000 bond. She is charged with two counts of child cruelty. 

>> Related: College student seriously injured while on spring break in Cancun 

The children are now with their grandparents

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Justice Dept. announces proposal to ban bump stocks ahead of anti-gun rally in DC

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 10:25 PM

What is a Bump Stock?

The Department of Justice announced a proposal Friday to ban bump stocks, device that essentially convert semiautomatic weapons into machine guns. The announcement came just a day ahead of the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington.

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Thousands of young people are expected to converge on the nation’s capital to demand gun control following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month that left 17 people dead.

President Donald Trump announced the new proposal on Twitter. “We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns,” the president tweeted.

>> Related: What is a bump stock, how does it work and is it legal?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement on the proposed ban, referring to the Las Vegas massacre in October that left 58 people dead. The shooter used bump stocks on a number of weapons to increase their firepower.

“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence,” Sessions said.

>> Related: Trump sends memo to DOJ asking for bump stock ban after Parkland massacre

On Feb. 20, Trump issued a memorandum instructing Session to ban bump stocks. The proposal announced on Friday is a response to that memorandum.

A bump stock is installed on an AK-47 and its movement is demonstrated at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah. The bump stock is a device when installed allows a semi-automatic to fire at a rapid rate much like a fully automatic gun. (George Frey/Getty Images)

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs year-round daylight saving time measure

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:58 PM


Florida Gov. Rick Scott is signing off on a measure that would let Florida stay on daylight saving time all year long.

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Scott on Friday signed 74 bills into law, including the "Sunshine Protection Act." The measure won't take effect unless Congress also changes federal law.

But if Congress were to go along, Floridians would no longer set back their clock an hour each November.

>> Related: Florida Senate passes bill approving year-round Daylight Saving Time

That would translate into later sunrises and sunsets from November to March.

Scott in a statement said he supported the move because it would help the state's tourism industry. He said it would allow residents and visitors to "enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer later in the day."

>> Related: Sen. Rubio files federal legislation to make daylight saving time permanent

The Florida PTA had asked for a veto because more children would go to school in the morning in the dark.

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Missing Iowa family of 4 found dead in Mexico

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 4:47 PM

Missing Iowa Family Found Dead In Mexico

A Creston, Iowa, family of four that was previously reported missing in Mexico has been found dead.

KCCI reported that 41-year-old Kevin Sharp, his wife, 38-year-old Amy Sharp, and their children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna were found dead on a tourist condo complex in Tulum, Mexico, a tourist area. The Associated Press reported that the developer of the complex declined to comment.

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“The Sharps have been located. They were found last night in their condo deceased,” a relative named Ashli Peterson wrote on Facebook, according to The Des Moines Register. “There was no foul play! At this time that is all the information we have. 

“Please respect the family at this time as they go through the grieving process. Thank you for all the posts, shares, and kind words,” the post said

Tulum is in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. A March 16 travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State said there was a level 2 advisory in the state due to crime. There were no restrictions on U.S. government employees for travel in that state, which has other tourist areas, such as Cancun and Cozumel.

On Thursday, relatives filed a missing persons report through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, KCCI reportedAccording to Peterson’s original post, the family had not been in contact with relatives after letting them know they made it to their condo safely.

Related: U.S. issues level 4 ‘do not travel’ advisory for 5 states in Mexico

Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer said the family had not boarded their flight from Cancun, Mexico, back to the U.S.

“It’s a very sad day for the Sharp family and the city of Creston as a whole,” Ver Meer said. “We’ll work through this together.”

Ver Meer said there was no sign of traumatic injury and autopsies are being conducted in Mexico. Results are pending.  

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