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Don't appease US: Zawahiri chants jihad on of eve of Jerusalem embassy move

AFP | PTI/Washington 14 May 18 | 07:02 AM

A view of Jerusalem’s old city is seen on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri today said America's decision to shift its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem was evidence that negotiations and "appeasement" have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

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In a five-minute video entitled "Tel Aviv is Also a Land of Muslims," the Egyptian doctor who took charge of the global terror group after its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 referred to the Palestinian Authority as the "sellers of Palestine" while urging followers to take up arms.

US President Donald Trump "was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad," Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

He added that Bin Laden had declared the US "the first enemy of the Muslims, and swore that it will not dream of security until it is lived in reality in Palestine, and until all the armies of disbelief leave the land of Muhammad."

He argued that Islamic countries had failed to act in Muslims' interests by entering into the United Nations, which recognises Israel, and submitting to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions instead of sharia (Islamic law).

Israelis were basking in national pride and pro-American fervour today as tens of thousands marched in Jerusalem, a day ahead of the controversial US embassy move from Tel Aviv to the disputed city.

A day before the inauguration of United States' embassy in Jerusalem, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday expressed his gratitude to US President Donald Trump for recognising the city as country's capital.

Taking to Twitter, the Israel PM said President Trump is "making history".

"President Trump is making history. We are deeply grateful for his bold decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the embassy there tomorrow!" he tweeted.

To inaugurate the embassy, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is leading a 250-member strong delegation, which also includes Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Palestinians readied for their own protests over the embassy's inauguration, including another mass demonstration in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel.

The embassy move will take place on the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, while the following day Palestinians will mark the Nakba, or "catastrophe", commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation.

The event is also held to protest over US relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which US President Donald Trump recognised as the capital of Israel last December.

The national commission of the protests in Gaza called for the largest-ever mass rallies, dubbed "the day of passage," in eastern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel.

Top US officials have meanwhile insisted they could still push forward the troubled peace process despite outrage across the Arab world.

Asked in an interview with Fox News Sunday about whether there was any life left in the peace process, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by saying "the peace process is most decidedly not dead." "We're hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well," said Pompeo whose first two weeks in office have been largely consumed with arranging a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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