Swirling winds and heavy downpours probably did more than the massive Israeli police presence to dampen Palestinian protests in Jerusalem over the weekend. Dire predictions that a third intifada was about to erupt after the brief closure of the Temple Mount — known to Arabs as the Noble Sanctuary — came to nothing. But the weather could not sweep away the toxic atmosphere in the city.
The London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority has agreed to delay by two months its plan to seek a Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines within three years. The paper quoted Palestinian sources in Ramallah as saying that the PA leadership will give US Secretary of State John Kerry a two-month window to present his own plan for peace. The sources said that the PA leadership was nevertheless determined to proceed with the Security Council bid.
Even as Jerusalem and Washington locked horns earlier this month in a very public spat over construction in Jerusalem, more than three-fourths of the Jewish-Israeli public is opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state if it means dividing Jerusalem, according to a poll released on Sunday. The poll, sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and conducted by the Shvakim Panorama research institute, found that 76 percent of the Jewish public opposed a Palestinian state if it meant dividing the capital, indicating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took no political risks – and indeed reflected a wide consensus opinion – when he publicly sparred with the White House earlier this month over plans to build in Givat Hamatos and allow Jews to move into Silwan. Faced with sharp censure of the move, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem was not a settlement and that not only would Israel continue to build there, but that Jews would be able to buy property throughout the city, just as Arabs are allowed to do.
The Temple Institute’s crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the modern architectural plans for the Third Holy Temple in Jerusalem came to a close on Rosh Hashanah after surpassing its $100,000 goal in 60 days. The initiative began on the first day of the month of Av, when Jews commemorate the destruction of the ancient Holy Temples. Almost 900 pledges have come in from more than 30 countries worldwide.
Last Thursday, Pope Francis and former Israeli President Shimon Peres met for an extended 45 minute private conversation. The focus of this discussion was a proposal by Peres to establish a “United Nations of Religions”. It was the third meeting between the two men in a little more than four months.
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