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EU's Tusk Pledges 'Unprecedented' Support for Israeli, Palestinian Peace

After talks in Brussels with Israel's President Rivlin, Tusk said 'a lasting peace in the region remains a top priority' for the EU.

The European Union stands ready to provide Israel and the Palestinians with massive political, economic and security support as part of any peace agreement between them, a top official said Tuesday.
European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU will "back up a peace deal with an unprecedented package of cooperation and support to both Israel and the future state of Palestine."
Tusk said after talks in Brussels with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin that "a lasting peace in the region remains a top priority" for the EU.
EU foreign ministers expressed determination on Monday to throw the bloc's weight behind Middle East peace moves and a possible international conference before the end of the year.
They invited EU agencies to present proposals "including on economic incentives, without delay."
Later Tuesday, Rivlin visited the headquarters of the NATO defense alliance for talks with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The visit follows a May decision by NATO's 28 member nations to allow Israel to open a mission to the alliance.
Violent Islamic extremism is considered one of the main security threats to NATO countries and their partners, and Stoltenberg said the alliance and Israel have begun discussions on how to better cooperate. For more than 20 years, the Jewish state has been an active participant in the Mediterranean Dialogue, a security forum that brings it, NATO and Arab countries together.
"It is vital that countries that share the same values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law stand united against hate and terrorism, and that we stand as one in defense of our open societies," Stoltenberg said following the talks.
"Today the whole free world faces the threat of extremism, of hatred and of terrorism and violence," said Rivlin. "It makes our close cooperation not just important but essential."

The Associated Press
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.726325

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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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