Downgrading status of US diplomatic mission focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, Friday, The US administration’s decision to downgrade the status of its diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and place it under the authority of the US embassy to Israel dominated the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies on Friday.

Al-Quds reported that Washington decides to close its general consulate ]for Palestinians[ in Jerusalem and merge it with the US embassy to Israel.

Al-Ayyam said that US President Donald Trump’s administration has terminated the status of its general consulate ]for Palestinians[ in Jerusalem as an independent mission, downgrading it to a unit within the embassy.

The dailies also reported Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat denouncing the decision.

He was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Quds stating: The Trump administration is part of the problem, not part of the solution and pledging to take necessary steps in response respectively.

According to al-Hayat al-Jadida, Erekat urged the International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open a prompt investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.

On the other hand, al-Ayyam opted to highlight Israeli threats to launch major strikes against the besieged Gaza Strip.

It explained that Israel is ramping up its forces along the Gaza border as Hamas pledges to probe the firing of rockets to southern Israel.

Furthermore, al-Quds reported that the Egyptian security intelligence delegation continued talks over intra-Palestinian reconciliation and ceasefire in Gaza and Ramallah.

According to al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida, the Egyptian delegation was received by a Fatah delegation in Ramallah.

Additionally, al-Quds and al-Ayyam reported that concrete crosses marking dozens of graves were vandalized and desecrated at the cemetery of the Salesian Monastery at Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem.

Al-Quds printed a photo for Father Antonio Scudu, caretaker of Saint Stephan Church in the monastery, looking at overturned crosses in the cemetery.

Regarding settlers’ attacks, al-Quds and al-Ayyam reported that Israeli Jewish settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The dailies added that several Palestinians were injured as settlers and Israeli forces stormed a Palestinian high school in Urif village, south of Nablus, and attacked students.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida highlighted the spate of demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank.

Israeli forces reportedly demolished seven structures and animal barns in Bardala village in the northern Jordan Valley.

They also demolished a home in Khirbet al-Marajim village, south of Nablus, in addition to a four-storey building that was under construction in the Jabal al-Tawil neighborhood of al-Bireh city.

According to the dailies, President Mahmoud Abbas received a Qatari delegation composed of representatives of institutions and social activists.

Yet, the dailies highlighted Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Masnour’s statements during a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine, in New York.

Mansour was reported demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida also spotlighted the speech delivered by the executive director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad at the UNSC session.

El-Ad was reported in al-Ayyam telling the UNSC that the time has come for action against Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

According to al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida, the European Union (EU) has denied having threatened to cut and divert third of its funds to the Palestinian Authority to Gaza.

Finally, al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmi slamming Hamas statements disavowing the firing of a rocket on Beersheba and accusing the Palestinian Authority of being responsible for the rocket firing.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency