Thursday, May 25, 2017
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU-THE TEMPLE MOUNT WILL FOREVER REMAIN IN ISRAELS HANDS.
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH;(JESUS) and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion:(JERUSALEM) he will comfort all her waste places;(FROM NUCLEAR WAR) and he will make her wilderness like Eden,(I BELIEVE THE EZEKIEL 40-48,(4TH) TEMPLE WILL BE BUILT 25 MILES FROM THE CURRENT TEMPLE MOUNT AFTER JESUS RULE FOR THE 1,000 YRS FROM JERUSALEM) and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.(PRAISE TO JESUS IN THE DESERT-COULD BE THE NEW JERUSALEM-4TH TEMPLE BUILT 25 MILES INTO THE DESERT FROM THE CURRENT TEMPLE MOUNT.SINCE EZEKIELS TEMPLE IS WAY TO BIG FOR THE CURRENT TEMPLE MOUNT)
4 Hearken unto me, my people;(ISRAEL) and give ear unto me, O my nation:(ISRAEL) for a law shall proceed from me,(JESUS IN JERUSALEM) and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.(ISRAEL AND THE WORLD)
Netanyahu: Temple Mount will forever remain under Israel’s control-A day after Trump visit, PM says US president’s pilgrimage to the Western Wall holy site ‘destroyed UNESCO’s propaganda and lies’-By Marissa Newman May 24, 2017, 2:50 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog went head-to-head in the Knesset on Wednesday over Jerusalem, with the premier saying Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state and its capital in any borders is the root of the conflict, and pledging that the city, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall, will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.A day after US President Donald Trump concluded a 28-hour visit to Jerusalem, the prime minister vowed the city would not be divided again.During a plenum session marking the passage of 50 years since the Six Day War and the reunification of the city’s western and eastern halves, Netanyahu pointed to the US president’s visit to the Western Wall as having “destroyed UNESCO’s propaganda and lies,” referring to a series of resolutions by the UN cultural body that ignored Jewish ties to the city and Israeli sovereignty.Herzog, meanwhile, implored Netanyahu to seize a “historic” opportunity for peace and downplayed the importance of moving the US embassy to the city, which was a campaign promise made by Trump.“We liberated Jerusalem, we made it one city, imperfect but whole,” Netanyahu told lawmakers, at a session also attended by President Reuven Rivlin and Chief Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor.Before the Jews came to the city, there was “nearly nothing” in it; it was “forsaken and in constant crisis,” the prime minister said. During the 19 years between 1948 and 1967, the city again reached “a low,” he added.“We will never return to that situation” of the city divided, he pledged. “The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty,” he later added.Israel captured the Temple Mount — the holiest site for Jews — and the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, and extended sovereignty there, but it left administrative authority atop the Mount in the hands of the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim trust), and instituted a status quo agreement that sees Jews permitted to visit but not pray there. The Temple Mount is one of the issues at the heart of tension between Israel and the Palestinians, with the latter frequently accusing Israel of changing or planning to change the existing arrangements — which Israel firmly denies.After the prime minister concluded his remarks, Herzog took to the podium, delivering a speech in which he called on Israel to separate the Arab neighborhoods from Jerusalem, urged Netanyahu to seize Trump’s peace offers, and promised to back the prime minister in the “brave, historic” process.Herzog said Trump came with the message that “the region is ready for peace, the region wants peace.”“Mr. Prime Minister, this is the time to go to a brave and historic process to separate from the Palestinians and the implementation of the vision of two states for two peoples. This is the time, 50 years on from the Six Day War, to shake off the heavy burden of millions of Palestinians and ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and homeland of the Jewish people for generations,” he said, vowing his party’s political support for peace talks.“This is the time for leadership, not defeatism, the time to lead and not be led,” he said.“I urge you, Prime Minister, not to miss the opportunity,” Herzog added. “Don’t allow your name to go down in the history books of the State of Israel as the prime minister who missed the greatest opportunity that Israel has known to avoid 50 more years of tears and bereavement.”He also took a dig at efforts to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying the city was desperate for other social and economic reforms and citing poverty and the rapidly growing Arab population threatening to eclipse its Jewish population.“Therefore, will all due respect, it is not the US embassy that is the more important thing the city is lacking, but rather tools and resources and significant decisions on changing directions,” he said.Following Herzog’s speech, the prime minister addressed the plenum again, emphasizing that moving all embassies — but specifically the US embassy — to Jerusalem was “not a trivial matter.”“The current situation is absurd,” Netanyahu said, referring to the fact that nearly all international embassies are in Tel Aviv..The prime minister also defended his comparison of the Manchester bomber to Palestinian terrorists in his response to the deadly attack on Tuesday. He had said that had the attacker been Palestinian, he would have received a stipend by the Palestinian Authority.“The root of the matter is the stubborn, violent refusal of the Palestinian side to accept the Jewish state — and the capital of the Jews — in any borders,” he said. “Everything else is interesting, important, and certainly open for discussion and dialogue. These are the basic facts.”Herzog then returned to the plenum again, reiterating his call for peace talks, before the session was dispersed.The sparring came a day after Trump, in his visit, stressed a unique opportunity for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and Arab world. While he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the US president made no mention of Palestinian statehood or the US embassy move during his visit.
First person / 'They can have all the rest back. Just not our holy city'-An American in war-torn Jerusalem joins the battle for the Temple Mount-Fifty years ago, in the days leading up to the Six Day War, a plucky young journalist from Long Island flew to Israel on his first self-imposed war assignment. Here’s what he saw-By Abraham Rabinovich May 24, 2017, 4:15 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Abraham Rabinovich is an American journalist and author of several books on recent Israeli history. The following is a firsthand account of his experiences in the battle for Jerusalem during the Six Day War.The background murmur of news from the Middle East had suddenly taken on a different pitch. It was mid-May 1967; Egypt was moving its army into the Sinai desert, expelling UN peacekeepers and closing the Tiran Straits to Israel-bound shipping. I had started work a few months before at a new daily on Long Island. On the last Sunday in May, I drove out of New York City and spent an hour walking up and down a country road to think it through. Should I? Could I? What would happen if? The next morning, I told my editor that I had decided to fly to Israel to witness whatever was going to happen. If it were possible to consider my absence as two-week annual leave, I said, I would appreciate it. He agreed, even though I had not been there long enough to be entitled to leave time. “Two weeks,” he said. “War or no war.”On May 31 I flew to Tel Aviv on a two-week ticket. Apart from yeshiva students returning to studies, one of the few passengers on the plane was Mandy Rice-Davies, who had been involved four years before in the Profumo sex scandal that rocked the British government. She was married now to a Tel Aviv nightclub owner. A yeshiva student pointed her out to me and she agreed to a brief interview. When I asked whether she realized that she was flying to a country that might soon be at war, she replied with British pluck. “Yes. That’s where I should be. I live there now.”Five days later, I was in downtown Jerusalem when gunfire began to sputter along the line separating the Israeli and Jordanian halves of Jerusalem. Jordanian artillery soon joined in and I dashed through the only open door in the vicinity. A plaque on the wall read “Jerusalem Municipality.” I asked the guard if the mayor was in the building. He was.“What’s his name?”“Teddy Kollek.”The mayor was waiting outside his office door when the elevator reached the top floor. I stood with him at his window watching shells seemingly blowing the city apart. “I’m going down,” he said. With two aides, he made his way to a tenement (no longer standing) behind City Hall, about 40 meters from the Old City wall. I followed. From time to time, Kollek ducked behind parked cars as the racket of gunfire echoed off surrounding buildings, making it impossible to know where the shooting was coming from. Inside the tenement, residents were sitting on the foyer floor, in the absence of a basement. Kollek’s appearance lifted spirits.“What’s going to be, Teddy?” asked a woman.“Our boys are fighting well in the south,” he said.A sergeant led the mayor to the first floor where a soldier with a bazooka, standing on a bed, nudged aside a curtain to reveal a sandbagged Jordanian position on the crenelated wall of the Old City opposite. As we descended the steps, we heard the whump of the bazooka, and felt a rush of air from the weapon’s backblast.That night, Kollek came up to The Jerusalem Post to dictate a message to the city’s residents for the morning edition. My sister, Malka, was an editor at the paper and it became my base. I used a typewriter there to write a story for my workplace on Long Island. To send it, I had to make my way through pitch dark streets to the censor’s office in the Russian Compound, touching the buildings as I walked, and using my toe to find the curb.From the censor it was a short walk to the central post office where telex operators worked through the night. At one point, I flagged down a slow moving vehicle on Shivtei Yisrael Street with paratroopers inside. They had just brought wounded comrades to hospital in a Jordanian car and were trying to find the crossing point back to the other side. I identified myself and asked if I could come with them but they declined.I spent much of the two days of the Jerusalem battle in the Musrara border area, seeing what I could of the Arab side of the city and talking with people in the shelters. Morale was high despite the furies outside. Israel Radio offered no hint of the progress of the war that first day, permitting Cairo’s claims of victory to go unchallenged.Only after midnight did Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin come on air to announce that Israeli forces were deep in Sinai. He was followed by air force commander Motti Hod who, in a dry and weary voice, let drop the astonishing figure of 400 Arab planes destroyed, mostly on the ground. Israeli losses, he said, were 19 planes. When I emerged from a shelter at dawn, every car on the street rested on flat tires. The vehicles had been turned into sieves by shrapnel and the air was heavy with the smell from punctured gas balloons.By the second night, the Jordanian shelling had stopped and I lay down to sleep in Independence Park. I was wakened in mid-morning by a piercing wail from an object that left a contrail behind it as it flew south, towards Bethlehem or Hebron. I made my way to The Jerusalem Post where I found Charlie Weiss, the chief copy editor, alone in the news room. There were reports, he said, that Israeli troops were already inside the Old City. I suggested that we see if we could get across.We walked to Mandelbaum Gate, about 15 minutes away, normally the crossing point for diplomats and clergy. It was empty. The soldiers who had taken over the building at the start of the war had left. The police and customs personnel who normally manned it had not yet returned. The Jordanian border post on the far side of the crossing appeared empty too. We crossed no-man’s-land and began walking through the empty streets of Jordanian Jerusalem in the presumed direction of the Old City’s Damascus Gate. At one point, we passed a Jordanian army tender that had been hit by a shell. The dead driver was still behind the wheel, one arm held high in rigor mortis. A block further on we encountered Israeli paratroopers. They said we should avoid the Damascus Gate and enter the Old City through the Lion’s Gate in the eastern city wall.Charlie continued on to the Western Wall but I remained to witness the unfolding drama on the Temple Mount. At the rear of the compound, paratroopers were poking through a stack of weapons in Jordanian army storerooms when they came on a crate of soda. As they sat drinking, they readily responded when I asked about the political implications of the battle they had just fought.“They can have all the rest back,” said one. “Just not our holy city.”Others spoke of keeping all or some of the other territory captured on the West Bank and Sinai. (The attack on the Golan had not yet begun.) One soldier favored returning everything, including Jordanian Jerusalem, in exchange for true peace. Israel’s political agenda for the coming half-century — and counting — was fixed before the last shots were fired in the city.When the war ended four days later, I sat at an outdoor cafe next to the supermarket on Agron Street to make my calculations. I had arrived five days before the war, the war lasted six days so I still had three days for sightseeing before my return flight. Watching the street’s asphalt shimmering in the June heat, however, it seemed to me that the waves rising from the roadway were not just an optical phenomenon. They represented the energy of the historical moment and of the place. I decided that I couldn’t abandon this to return to town board meetings and zoning disputes on Long Island. I sent a telex of apology to the editor, saying that I wouldn’t be returning. It was just too interesting to leave.I had no intention of remaining in Israel any length of time. I just wanted to hang around and watch events take their course and to feel the electricity. After a few weeks, however, my sister’s friends began to ask what I intended to do. It became embarrassing. “Just hang around” didn’t sound good. “Write a book” sounded better. Maybe I would actually start to write one. What kind of book? About the war, obviously. But post-war Israel was swarming with the top journalistic names in the world. I was certain that several teams were already working on the 1967 version of “O Jerusalem.”I thought of a soft niche that others were likely to ignore — a book on how the civilian population had experienced the war. Not very interesting, granted, but a legitimate cover for hanging around. I enrolled in an intensive Hebrew-language course and meanwhile started interviewing people who spoke English.The reservists who fought in Jerusalem had by this time been demobilized; when I called on a family, the husband was usually there and talked about his experience in the war itself. I was soon focusing on them — “Where were you? What unit? Then what happened?” Within a month or so, I knew that this was the way I had to go. I no longer cared if someone else was writing the same book. I was hooked. I wanted to know how battles are fought, particularly this one, and I was ideally placed to do it — footloose, unemployed, and with a whole army ready to talk.My parameters now included the men of the 55th Paratroop Brigade and the Harel tank brigade who had come to the aid of the Jerusalem Brigade, which had held the line. These reservists lived all around the country. Over the next two years, I interviewed men in 35 kibbutzim as well as villages and towns. Many were farmers and I would sometimes be led to my quarry by the sound of a tractor in the field. Wonderful people; salt of the earth. In all, there would be close to 300 interviews. Their stories comprised a massive jigsaw puzzle which could be fitted together into a narrative. It was a life experience.Abraham Rabinovich’s bestselling book “The Battle for Jerusalem” was recently re-released on Amazon as an ebook and paperback, with additional political context and a close-up of the Arab command in the battle. The final chapter is an overview of Jerusalem in the half century since the war.
Survey reveals a hawkish Israel immediately after Six Day War-Majority wanted to keep conquered territories, few willing to make major concessions for peace amid hostility to Arabs-By Sue Surkes May 24, 2017, 4:59 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
In the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967, an overwhelming majority of Israelis thought the country should hold onto the territories just conquered and very few favored major concessions for peace, according to survey material released Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute to coincide with the country’s marking of Jerusalem Day.Four in ten people thought Israel should rule the newly conquered Palestinians by military law, polls indicated, while 28 percent favored transferring them to other Arab countries.The figures come from a series of surveys carried out by the IDI’s Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research (then the Guttman Center) just before, during and after the war, which saw Israel conquer the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — from the Jordanians, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. and the Golan Heights from Syria.Wednesday’s celebration of Jerusalem Day marked 50 years since the reunification of the city in 1967, according to the Hebrew calendar.According to the Western calendar, Israeli paratroopers advanced through the Old City and took the Temple Mount and Western Wall — Judaism’s most venerated sites — on June 7, 1967.Jews had been banned from visiting these sites, under Jordanian rule, since 1948.During surveys carried out between June 11 and June 16 after the war ended on June 10, 94% of respondents thought that Israel should continue to hold on to Jerusalem’s Old City, 81% felt that Israel should hold on to the West Bank, 72% wanted the country to retain Gaza, but only 33% were interested in maintaining the Sinai Peninsula.On questions of possible peace, 62% were in favor of small concessions, with only 9% willing for the country to make large concessions.Respondents were almost evenly split on whether they thought the Arab countries would be willing to talk about peace.The survey also revealed considerable anti-Arab feeling among Israelis, more than half of whom (54%) had never visited an Arab home in Israel.Only a quarter of those polled thought Arab citizens of Israel should integrate into the life of the country, with the same rights and responsibilities as Jews.More than two-thirds (67%) were unwilling to live in a mixed neighborhood, and 53% did not want to have Arabs living in the same building.Regarding Palestinian Arabs living in land just occupied by Israel, only one in 10 respondents favored allowing them to create a state of their own.The war began in the wake of mounting tensions between Israel and its neighbors which included Egypt’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and to mobilize forces along its border with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula.Israel launched preemptive strikes against Egyptian airfields, wiping out nearly the entire Egyptian air force.Israel ceded the Sinai Peninsula for peace with Egypt in 1979, after the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords.It withdrew unilaterally from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but is still fighting the terror group Hamas which rules the enclave and which is committed to destroying the Jewish state.The Golan Heights was annexed by Israel, though this has not been recognized internationally.Israel’s continued control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem has deeply divided Israeli public opinion.Supporters of “Greater Israel” advocate strengthening Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria — the area’s biblical names — to bolster security and to express the Jewish people’s historical right to the biblical Land of Israel.Those who favor withdrawal from the territories taken in 1967 believe territorial compromise is a prerequisite for peace and fear that continued Israeli rule over a reluctant Palestinian population that will soon overtake Israel’s population in size constitutes a threat to Israel’s democratic character.
Trump to launch peace push within a month – Arab report-US president planning series of incremental deals over a ‘limited period of time,’ leading up to a final agreement, al-Hayat says-By Stuart Winer May 24, 2017, 2:27 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
In the coming month, US President Donald Trump will announce a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative aimed at securing a series of deals ahead of a final status arrangement, the pan-Arabic daily al-Hayat reported on Wednesday.Citing a Trump administration official who was not identified by name, the report said details of the plan are still being hammered out but that it is based on “the launch of a political process for a limited period of time during which there will be separate negotiations for final-status issues.”Trump plans to make individual deals on the final status issues leading up to a final peace agreement, the official told the London-based paper.The report came a day after Trump wrapped up a visit to the region, first in Saudi Arabia and then in Israel. In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he traveled to Bethlehem in the West Bank for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.On Tuesday, a senior White House official who gave a press briefing aboard Air Force One en route from Israel to Italy told reporters that the US was working on building strong relationships in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbors that will build momentum for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. On Wednesday Trump met with Pope Francis in the Vatican.The official said that “the first step [toward peace]… is to bring relationships that are warm and strong privately and bring them more public and also set forth a common set of principles that everyone wants to abide by.”While not providing details on what these common principles may be, the official said efforts should be “quiet and discreet.”Trump has repeatedly said he was looking to broker the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians and was convinced he could do so. Trump has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt with charting a course forward. Still, White House officials had downplayed the prospects for a breakthrough on his trip, saying it was important to manage ambitions as they wade into terrain that has tripped up more-experienced diplomats.In a speech Tuesday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the president heaped praise on Israel while calling on both sides to make compromises toward peace. He urged them to put aside the “pain and disagreements of the past” and declared that both sides were ready to move forward.The president notably avoided all of the thorny issues that have stymied peace efforts for decades. He did not mention Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the US would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory.In a meeting with opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, Kushner said Washington intended to move fast to advance a renewal of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a spokesman for Herzog said, with Greenblatt reportedly set to return next week so as not to leave a “diplomatic vacuum.”Talks between Israelis and Palestinians have been in limbo since April 2014 when US-sponsored negotiations ground to a halt.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
Police ‘fully deployed’ in capital as Jerusalem Day march sets off-Netanyahu says Trump pledged $75m more in military aid during Israel visit, asserts Western Wall, Temple Mount will remain under Israeli control ‘forever’-By Tamar Pileggi May 24, 2017, 2:14 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
17:07-UK deploys 1,000 soldiers to protect key sites after bombing-Britain deploys hundreds of soldiers to secure key sites across the country, including Buckingham Palace and the British Parliament at Westminster in the wake of Monday’s suicide bombing in Manchester that killed at least 22 people.The government says nearly 1,000 soldiers and not police are guarding in high-profile sites in London and other locations.As soldiers replaced armed police at Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Parliament, London Police Commander Jane Connors says the goal is to “make our city as hostile an environment as possible for terrorists to plan and operate.”— with AP-16:28-Police ‘fully deployed’ across capital ahead of Jerusalem Day march-Jerusalem readies itself for a series of 50th annual celebrations of Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel’s reunification of the city in the 1967 Six Day War.At around 4:30 this afternoon, thousands are expected to take part in the annual “flag dance” in which primarily religious teenagers march through the Old City decked in white and blue, the colors of the Israeli flag.Amid fears that the nationalist demonstration could inflame tensions with local Arab residents, police in a statement say officers are “fully deployed” throughout Jerusalem.An official Jerusalem Day official ceremony will take place at Ammunition Hill later in the evening.In a statement, police announce a number of road closures in central Jerusalem starting from 4 this afternoon until 9 p.m., including Bezalel, King George, Keren Hayesod, Agron, Shmuel Hanagid, Khativat Yerushalayim, Sultan Suleiman, Ma’ale HaShalom and Route 1 southbound starting from the National police headquarters.Police say all public transformation will be operational throughout the evening, though alternative routes may be used.
Palestinians, Israel police clash at Jerusalem Old City gate-[Associated Press]-YAHOONEWS-May 24, 2017
JERUSALEM (AP) — Clashes have broken out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces as Israeli demonstrators march through the Old City of Jerusalem to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's capture of the city's eastern half.Several dozen young Israeli men, some holding Israeli flags, were marching through the Old City's Damascus Gate on their way to the Western Wall on Wednesday when they encountered a group of Palestinian protesters.Israeli forces moved in, and clashes ensued with the Palestinian protesters. No injuries were reported.Earlier Wednesday, police arrested two Islamic Waqf guards who allegedly assaulted a group of Israelis who entered a contested Jerusalem shrine. The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is holy to both faiths.
We can use peace': Trump and Pope Francis meet-[Associated Press]-JONATHAN LEMIRE, NICOLE WINFIELD and JULIE PACE-YAHOONEWS-May 24, 2017
VATICAN CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.Trump, midway through a grueling nine-day, maiden international journey, called upon the pontiff in a private, 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol. The president, accompanied by his wife and several aides, arrived at the Vatican just after 8 a.m. local time.Upon completing their meeting, the pope gave the president a medal featuring an olive branch, a symbol of peace, among other gifts."We can use peace," the president responded.The visit began with a handshake after each man arrived, Trump in a lengthy motorcade, Francis in a Ford Focus. The president was heard thanking the pope and saying it was "a great honor" to be there. They posed for photographs and then sat down at the papal desk, the pope unsmiling, as their private meeting began.It ended a half hour later when Francis rang the bell in his private study. The pontiff was then introduced to members of Trump's delegation, including his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino.Smiling for the staff, Francis had a light moment with the first lady, asking via translator, "What do you give him to eat, potica?" referring to a favorite papal dessert from her native Slovenia.The first lady laughed and said "Yes." She and Ivanka covered their heads in a sign of papal respect, a gesture they did not partake in Saudi Arabia.As is tradition, the pope and president exchanged gifts. Trump presented the pontiff with a custom-bound, first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.'s works, an engraved stone from the King memorial in Washington and a bronze sculpture of a flowering lotus titled "Rising Above.""I think you'll enjoy them. I hope you do," Trump said.The pope presented Trump with the medal, a message of peace and three bound papal documents that to some degree define his papacy and priorities, including the family and the environment. The pope told Trump he signed the message "personally for you." Trump said he would read the books.When Trump departed, he told the pope: "Thank you, I won't forget what you said."Afterward, as he met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump said of the pope: "He is something.""We had a fantastic meeting," the president said. "It was an honor to be with the pope."Hours later, Trump tweeted the meeting was the "honor of a lifetime." A statement released by the Vatican later said "satisfaction was expressed" at their "joint commitment in favor of life" and that there was hoped-for collaboration on health care and assistance to immigrants and protection of Christian communities in the Middle East.In recent days, Francis and Trump have been in agreement on a need for Muslim leaders to do more against extremists in their own communities. But there are few other areas where their views align.The president's prior anti-Muslim rhetoric — including his musing that Islam "hates" the West — is the antithesis of what the pope has been preaching about a need for dialogue with Muslims. Francis also differs sharply with Trump on the need to combat climate change and economic inequality.Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, had a private audience with Francis at the Vatican in 2014 that lasted 50 minutes. But the timing Wednesday was tight as Francis had his weekly Wednesday general audience. The thousands of pilgrims on hand forced Trump's motorcade to enter Vatican City from a side entrance rather than the grand entrance through St. Peter's Square.The meeting, which concluded Trump's tour of the world's largest monotheistic religions, comes after the president and pope collided head-on early last year, when Francis was sharply critical of Trump's campaign pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the United States should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees."A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," Francis said at the time. The pontiff has been a vocal advocate for aiding refugees, particularly those fleeing the violence in Syria, deeming it both a "moral imperative" and "Christian duty" to help.Trump then called Francis "disgraceful" for doubting his faith.Though both Trump and Francis are known for their unpredictability, papal visits with heads of state are carefully arranged bits of political and religious theater that follow a specific program, with little room for deviation or unwanted surprises. Trump, the 13th president to visit the Vatican, was also given a tour of the Sistine Chapel.Trump's visit to the Eternal City follows two stops in the Middle East where he visited the cradles of Islam and Judaism. In Saudi Arabia, he addressed dozens of Arab leaders and urged them to fight extremists at home and isolate Iran, which he depicted as menace to the region. And in Israel, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to strong ties with the nation's longtime ally and urged Israelis and the Palestinians to begin the process of reaching a peace deal. No details or timetable have yet to be established for negotiations.But while Trump received extravagantly warm welcomes in Riyadh and Jerusalem, the reception could grow much now that he's reached Europe, site of widespread protests after his election. Climate change activists projected the words "Planet Earth First" on the massive dome of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Tuesday night and protests are expected later in the week when Trump travels to Brussels for a NATO meeting and Sicily for a G-7 gathering.___Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire , Winfield at http://twitter.com/@nwinfield and Pace at http://twitter.com/@JPaceDC___This story has been corrected to reflect the pope asked about potica, not pizza.
Trump arrives in Brussels, ahead of EU, NATO talks-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-May 24, 2017
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Brussels from Rome on Wednesday ahead of meetings on Thursday with other NATO leaders and the heads of European Union institutions.Having met Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier in the day, Trump will meet Belgium's King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels later on Wednesday on the fourth leg of his first foreign trip since taking office.(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)
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