MPs Pass Bill on Al-Quds as Capital of Palestine
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The Iranian parliament approved Sunday a draft legislation recognizing Jerusalem Al-Quds as "eternal capital of Palestine".
Some 187 out of 233 MPs in attendance voted in favor of the draft. They decided to carry out further discussions on the draft within the upcoming 48 hours before referring the paper to parliament for final approval.
The Iranian step came in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem Al-Quds as the so-called capital of the occupying regime of Israel and to move the American embassy to the holy city.
Iran has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and called on Muslims across the world to unite against the occupying regime of Israel which it does not recognize.
On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by a decisive vote of 128 to 9 to urge Trump to reverse his contentious decision.
The Zionist regime lays claim to the whole Jerusalem Al-Quds, but the international community views the ancient city as occupied land and the Palestinians consider it their future capital.
An analysis on the Israeli daily, Haaretz said Trump’s failure to rally support at the United Nations for his decision amounted to a "gift to Iran".
The UN vote on December 21, in which a resounding majority of member states declared Trump's move to be null and void, constituted "a worldwide vote of no confidence" in the U.S. president, "from which Israel will suffer the next time it seeks to draft the international community to some joint effort against Iran or any other enemy," stated the analysis, published on the weekend.
"Hostility between the European Union, Russia and China and the United States regarding the sanctions and fear over a major breach in the nuclear agreement also impacted the vote on Jerusalem's status, generating negative momentum in which any new American proposal on Iran could encounter international opposition just by the fact that it was Trump who proposed it, and that's the danger to Israel," the Haaretz article stated.
"From Iran's perspective (and that of the Arab countries), there could be no happier outcome, despite the vote's declarative and non-binding nature."
The U.S. decision has triggered a series of protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and around the world.
A Palestinian teenager died on Sunday, nine days after being wounded by Israeli fire during a Gaza protest, the health ministry said.
Muhammad Sami al-Dahduh, 19, from Gaza City was shot on December 15 during a demonstration, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
His death brought to 12 the number of Palestinians killed since Trump announced his decision.
Ten protesters have died after clashes with Zionist troops, two of them on Friday. Two others were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza earlier in the month.
Among the Gazans killed was Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, who had lost his legs in an Israeli attack a decade ago.
The health ministry in Gaza said the 29-year-old was shot in the head by a sniper, with the UN’s human rights chief saying he was "truly shocked” by the death, demanding an "independent and impartial investigation”.
Zionist forces on Saturday and Sunday clashed with Palestinians demonstrating against the new U.S. policy on Jerusalem Al-Quds in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Israeli troops used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the protesters who had gathered outside a military tower of the occupying regime.
Holding Palestinian flags, some of the demonstrators were dressed as Santa Claus.
Bethlehem resident Muhammad al-Lahham said the Santa costumes send a message to Palestinian children "that we are on the path to freedom, to Al-Quds. Papa Noel (Santa Claus) distributes gifts and the occupation distributes bombs today. These are the bombs that the Israeli occupation is distributing today, at Christmas."
At this time of year, Bethlehem is normally flooded by pilgrims and tourists from across the world as well as local Christians who want to celebrate Christmas Eve at the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said "dozens" of groups had cancelled their planned visits to Bethlehem after Washington's controversial decision on Jerusalem Al-Quds that sparked violence in the occupied territories.
"Of course this created a tension around Jerusalem and this diverted attention from Christmas," he added.
Separately, scores of pro-Palestinian protesters condemned Trump's recognition of Jerusalem Al-Quds as the Israeli "capital" in the central German city of Gottingen.
They chanted slogans, waved Palestinian flags and held signs reading, "There is no country called Israel in order for it to have a capital."
Tunisians also held a similar rally in the capital, Tunis, calling on the parliament to pass a law on criminalizing any normalization of relations with the Zionist regime.
They demanded the freedom of Palestine from the Israeli occupation and called Al-Quds Palestine's eternal capital, Arabic-language daily Alquds Alarabi reported.