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Saudi King Thanks Trump for His 'Courageous Action' in Syria

The Saudi monarch expresses 'strong support' for the American missile attack on the Syrian airbase. U.S. President Donald Trump spoke over the phone on Friday with King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who became the first leader in the Middle East to hear directly from Trump after the American attack in Syria on Thursday.
A statement released by the White House said that during the conversation, which focused on Syria, the king expressed his country's "strong support" for Trump's decision to strike the airbase that Washington says was used by the Assad regime last week to launch a chemical attack. The king, the statement said, "thanked the president for his courageous action, which both agreed was a necessary response to the horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians."
The statement added that "both leaders underscored their personal commitment to strengthening the longstanding relationship between their two countries and committed to remain in close contact on a range of regional and bilateral issues."
Salman and Trump spoke on the phone at least once prior to this conversation, in late January. Back then, they also discussed the situation in Yemen and Iran's activities across the Middle East. A few weeks later, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House and spoke at length with the president on a range of issues, including Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Saudi Arabia, together with Israel and Jordan, was quick to announce its support for Trump's decision to act in Syria, doing so as early as Thursday night.
The kingdom urged the Obama administration for years to adopt a more active and tough policy toward Assad and Iran, and was disappointed when the previous president chose not to act in Syria, except when targeting ISIS. Trump's harsh rhetoric towards Iran ever since he entered the White House was received very favorably by the Saudi leadership, and the readout of the phone call put out by the White House suggests that the attack in Syria only strengthened the Saudis' optimism.
Amir Tibon
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-…/syria/.premium-1.782356

Schermata 2017 04 10 alle 23.06.28

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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