The status of the city goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world.
Jerusalem is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the area in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords its final status is meant to discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries, including Israel’s closest ally the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv, the country’s commercial capital.
Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
If the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will put it out-of-step with the rest of the international community and reinforce Israel’s position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.
The move would also raise a question over how the US will treat resolutions dealing with East Jerusalem at the UN. The US has a power of veto and could use this to block future motions critical of Israeli policy in the east.
There is growing anger towards Washington among its allies in the Middle East.
Jordan, the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, has warned of “grave consequences” if President Trump goes ahead, and has called for an emergency meeting of key regional and Islamic blocs the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to discuss the issue.
Arab League chief Abul Gheit warned such a move would “nourish fanaticism and violence”.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has contacted world leaders urging them to intervene, saying “such a US decision would destroy the peace process and drag the region into further instability”.
The US has brokered decades of on-off peace talks, and the Trump administration is formulating fresh peace proposals – but recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would compromise Washington’s neutrality in the eyes of the Palestinians.
It remains unclear though whether President Trump will recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
The White House has neither confirmed nor denied the president’s intention, and in a rare public speech on December 3 his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner refused to be drawn on the issue.
An American female hostage has been killed in a Jordanian air strike in Syria, Islamic State (ISIS) militants have said.
ISIS named the woman as aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller in statements online.
The group provided no other proof for the claim beyond pictures of the alleged site of the air strike, in Raqqa, the group’s stronghold in Syria.
The White House said it was “deeply concerned” by the reports but that it has yet to verify them. Jordan has questioned the ISIS claims.
A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Kayla Jean Mueller, 26, first came to the Turkish/Syrian border in 2012 to work with refugees.
She was abducted while working in Aleppo, Syria the following year.
The ISIS statement said she was killed in the building where she was being held. It did not provide images of a body.
If Kayla Jean Mueller’s death is confirmed, she would be the fourth American to die while being held by ISIS. Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig were beheaded by the group.
The Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh tweeted that the ISIS claims were: “An old and sick trick used by terrorists and despots for decades: claiming that hostages [and] human shields held captive are killed by air raids.”
Jordan said it carried out aerial bombardments on ISIS targets in Syria on February 5, including on Raqqa.
The strikes were carried out in response to the killing of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by ISIS militants.
A video of Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive in a cage was posted online by ISIS earlier this week.
Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by militants in December after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. The video is believed to have been filmed on January 3.
Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Thursday’s strikes were “upping the ante” against ISIS.
Thousands rallied in Jordan’s capital, Amman, on February 6 in support of their government’s military response. Among those marching was Jordan’s Queen Rania.
Jordan’s warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (ISIS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
On their way back, the planes flew over the village of Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot’s family.
King Abdullah II has vowed to the step up the fight against ISIS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants.
Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by the militants last year after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. ISIS this week released a video showing the pilot being burned alive in a cage, sparking outrage and calls for revenge in Jordan.
State television pictures on February 5 showed the king sitting somber-faced with Saif al-Kasasbeh, the pilot’s father, at a gathering in Aya village, near the city of Karak, south of the capital Amman.
The king gestured to the skies as the warplanes flew overhead, the Associated Press news agency said.
Saif al-Kasasbeh told mourners that the aircraft were returning from a raid on Syria’s Raqqa, the de facto capital of the militants’ self-declared caliphate, which spans territory in Iraq and Syria.
While Jordan did not specify the location of the air strikes, a security official quoted by Reuters said they had targeted ISIS in Syria.
However, anti-ISIS activists in Raqqa said there were no coalition air strikes in the city on February 4.
“The response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe,” King Abdullah said, after cutting short a trip to the US this week.
Jordan responded to the release of the gruesome video, which depicted the caged pilot engulfed in flames, by executing two convicts, including Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed female suicide bomber.
Jordan had earlier sought to secure the pilot’s release in a swap involving Rishawi.
However, it is now believed that IS had killed the pilot a month ago.
Saif al-Kasasbeh praised the king and condemned the militants.
“You are a wise monarch,” the Reuters quotes him as saying.
“These criminals violated the rules of war in Islam and they have no humanity. Even humanity disowns them.”
Abu Qatada has been found not guilty of terrorism offences by a court in Jordan.
A panel of civilian judges sitting at Amman’s State Security Court cleared the radical Muslim cleric of being involved in a thwarted plot aimed at the Millennium celebrations in 2000.
The ruling comes after Abu Qatada was acquitted in June of conspiring in a 1998 bombing campaign in Jordan.
Abu Qatada was deported from the UK in July 2013.
The verdict follows a long legal battle by ministers in the UK to force Abu Qatada to face trial in his home country.
The trial was conducted at Jordan’s state security court, housed in a military base in Marka, a suburb of the capital Amman.
Abu Qatada was accused of providing spiritual support through his writings to men alleged to have planned a series of atrocities aimed at Western and Israeli targets in Jordan on Millennium Eve.
Jordanian and American investigators had the cell under surveillance and launched raids on homes in Amman in the weeks leading up to New Year.
Abu Qatada has been found not guilty of terrorism offences by a court in Jordan
Prosecutors said that books by Abu Qatada were found and they accused him of supplying funds to the plotters.
He denied the allegations in a trial which was punctuated by a number of outbursts by the accused.
Although Abu Qatada will soon be free, he will not be returning to London.
The radical cleric, whose real name is Omar Othman, was granted asylum in the UK in 1994 but the security service MI5 increasingly saw him as a national security threat.
More than a decade ago Abu Qatada issued rulings justifying suicide bombings. By 2005 the Home Office said he was giving religious legitimacy to those “who wish to further the aims of extreme Islamism and to engage in terrorist attacks”.
While he was in the UK, Abu Qatada had been convicted in Jordan of conspiring in the two Jordanian plots. However, the convictions were eventually thrown out because they had been based on evidence which may have been acquired by torturing his co-defendants.
A treaty signed in 2013 by Jordan and the UK banned the use of such evidence from trials in Jordan involving British deportees.
That removed the final obstacle to deporting Abu Qatada described by British judges as a “truly dangerous individual … at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda”.
Iraq’s government has lost control of its western borders after Sunni militants reportedly captured crossings to Syria and Jordan.
Officials said the rebels took two key crossings in Anbar on Sunday, a day after seizing one at Qaim, a town in the province that borders Syria.
The strategically important airport in the northern town of Tal Afar has also reportedly fallen to the rebels.
ISIS-led militants have cut a swathe through parts of Iraq.
Iraq’s government has lost control of its western borders after Sunni militants captured crossings to Syria and Jordan (photo AP)
Since the fall of Mosul in early June, ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – have helped win large areas in the west and north.
They have taken four strategically important towns in the predominantly Sunni Anbar province – Qaim, Rutba, Rawa and Anah – in the last two days.
Gunmen reportedly captured the border posts of al-Waleed, on the Syrian frontier, and Turaibil, on the Jordanian border, on Sunday after government forces pulled out.
The capture of frontier crossings could help Isis transport weapons and other equipment to different battlefields, analysts say.
The funeral of a senior army officer who was killed in the fighting for Qaim on Friday was targeted by a suicide and car bomb attack in Ramadi. At least six people were killed as they gathered to mourn Brig. Gen. Majid al-Fahdawi.
Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Cairo, singled out ISIS whose “ideology of violence and repression”, he said, “is a threat not only to Iraq but to the entire region”.
Calling it a “critical moment”, John Kerry urged Iraq’s leaders “to rise above sectarian motivations and form a government that is united in its determination to meet the needs and speak to the demands of all of their people”.
Jordanian MP Mohammad Shawabka threw one of his shoes at political opponent Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad during a television debate before pulling a gun on him.
The incident occurred after the debate between MP Mohammad Shawabka and political activist Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad on the private satellite channel Jo Sat became heated, with the pair trading insults.
“You’re a Mossad agent,” said the activist, to which MP Mohammad Shawabka replied: “You’re a big crook.”
Jordanian MP Mohammad Shawabka threw one of his shoes at political opponent Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad during a television debate before pulling a gun on him
Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad stood up and began shouting at the activist. The host, Mohammad Habashneh, who was sitting between them, urged his guests to “calm down”.
But the MP took off his right shoe and threw it before pulling out a silver pistol and pointing it at the activist.
The opponents left their seats and tussled with one another while the host tried to separate them.
The two men continued to struggle as the show ended and the credits ran.
Crystal Lagoons, the Chilean company that creates immense crystalline lagoons as Guinness world record-holding swimming pool San Alfonso del Mar, and real estate company Sama Jordan inaugurated Dead Sea Lagoon, the first resort that brings idyllic beach paradise to Jordan.
Dead Sea Lagoon is located at 31 km of Amman and has an investment of $160 million. It includes a 3-hectare lagoon surrounded by white-sand private beaches, palm trees and 1,000 home units, and is the first of a real estate revolution that Crystal Lagoons is developing in Jordan, including more than 40 projects in the entire Middle East region.
Dead Sea Lagoon will give an unprecedented turn to local tourism that until now was only focused on the therapeutic benefits of the Dead Sea, which is 10 times more salty than any other ocean and doesn’t have the necessary conditions for developing beach life.
Crystal Lagoons, the Chilean company that creates immense crystalline lagoons as Guinness world record-holding swimming pool San Alfonso del Mar, and real estate company Sama Jordan inaugurated Dead Sea Lagoon near Aman
Crystal Lagoons brings Idyllic beach paradise to the region thanks to its unique concept that allows to develop unlimited sized crystal clear water lagoons with cutting edge technology patented in 160 countries that provides the ideal conditions for bathing and practicing water sports, by ensuring the quality and clarity of large bodies of water at very low construction and maintenance costs.
Crystal Lagoons is developing several projects in the Middle East region as $5,500 million real estate project City of Stars Lagoons developed together with Citystars Holding and Pyramids Plaza in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. This project includes 30,000 home units, 6 five star hotels, museum, golf courses, shopping center and 10 giant crystalline lagoons that bring together 100 hectares of crystalline water in the middle of the desert. This project will exceed San Alfonso del Mar, in Chile, which has 8 ha of surface area and 1 km in length.
The company, which has offices in USA, Egypt, Dubai and Chile is developing other projects in the region in places as Egypt, Pakistan, UAE and Oman. Currently, Crystal Lagoons is present in 180 urban, recreational and public developments in 45 countries which an associated investment of $100 billion.