New Jerusalem embassy cost could top $1 billion
International | Clashes in the West Bank continue amid furor over President Trump’s announcement
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/08/17, 12:59 pm
ISRAEL: Protesters in the West Bank clashed with Israeli security forces in a third day of demonstrations protesting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In a careful speech, President Donald Trump called the move a “long overdue step” and said the United States was “not taking a position on any final status issues,” presumably meaning the city under a future peace agreement could be home also to a Palestinian government. The president also reaffirmed the current status of religious sites: “Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The cost of the move to U.S. taxpayers likely will top $1 billion, as security concerns will be paramount and a large facility will be expected. The new U.S. Embassy in Lebanon is expected to run $1 billion. Ten years ago, Americans were staggered by the $750 million price tag for the embassy in Baghdad.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, a U.S. ally and custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy sites in the city, said in a statement the move would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region.”
Jerusalem’s leading Christian clergy in a letter sent on Wednesday to Trump, called on him to continue to recognize the international status of the city (which he appeared to do).
The move may not be urgent, but it is not inherently wrong, the Philos Project’s Robert Nicholson said in a statement.
IRAQ: At a meeting in New York this week on reconstruction and stabilization in areas liberated from Islamic State (ISIS), retired Gen. Jack Keane, former U.S. Army vice chief of staff and a Trump candidate for secretary of defense, said he would support a joint training center led by the United States in Nineveh Plain. The proposal, put forward by the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee and others, would provide local stability and security to those returning to predominantly Christian areas.
The founder of Mosul Eye, a blog chronicling the three-year ISIS occupation of Iraq’s second-largest city, revealed himself in the wake of the city’s liberation as 31-year-old Omar Mohammed. (I thought he was at least three people.) His story is a important read. Among many revelations, Mohammed documents how ISIS forced Yazidi women to have abortions and tubal ligations.
AUSTRALIA: Parliament on Thursday legalized same-sex marriage, following a nationwide government survey that gave 61.6 percent support to the measure.
POLAND: Prime Minister Beata Szydlo easily survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament, followed by a greeting from her party’s leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, who kissed her arm, handed her flowers, and told her to resign. Amid questions about her downfall, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) said it will have a new government in place by next week.
HUNGARY: The European Union is upset that the Hungarian government doesn’t like George Soros.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.