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Arab League Head Indefinitely Postpones First Official Visit to Ramallah

Nabil Elaraby was slated to meet Palestinian President Abbas on Tuesday, but Israel refused to let him fly directly to Ramallah, Palestinian official says.

Arab League director general Nabil Elaraby has postponed his first official visit to the Palestinian Authority, which was scheduled to start Tuesday. No new date has been set for the visit.
The visit was postponed because of Israel's refusal to allow Elaraby to travel by helicopter directly from Jordan to Ramallah, as originally planned, said a senior official in the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel insisted that Elaraby arrive via the Allenby Bridge from Jordan, and go through all the required checks, said the official.
Elaraby's had planned on updating Abbas about the recent conference in Paris concerning the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, because Elaraby was the most senior Arab diplomat who participated in the Paris meeting, said Palestinian officials.
This was to be Elaraby's first visit to the PA since becoming the head of the Arab League in 2011, and he decided not to visit Jerusalem or the al-Aqsa Mosque because of the sensitivity of coordinating such a visit with Israel. Instead, he was scheduled to pray at the al-Ibrihimi Mosque in Hebron, located at the Cave of the Patriarchs.
"There is no doubt that Elaraby's visit is a form of taking a position in light of the calls and comments made in Israel concerning the Arab Peace Initiative, or leading a regional process bypassing the French initiative, which the Palestinian leadership has explicitly rejects," said a senior official in Abbas' office.
Elaraby's schedule for the planned two-day visit was released on Sunday by Abbas' bureau. He was supposed to land in a helicopter at the Muqata'a in Ramallah on Tuesday for meetings and an iftar meal with Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials at the end of the day's Ramadan fast. On Wednesday he was scheduled to go to Hebron before returning to Amman. The visit was originally scheduled to start Monday, but was delayed by a day due to Elaraby's tight schedule.
The IDF failed to respond to a Haaretz inquiry on the matter.

Jack KhourySchermata 2016 06 14 alle 09.41.38
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.724821

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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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