Kerry Suggests International Control Of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites
Secretary of State John Kerry quietly presented a U.S. plan for eastern Jerusalem that calls for an international administrative mandate to control holy sites in the area, according to informed Palestinian and Israeli diplomatic sources.
The exact composition of the international mandate is up for discussion, the sources said, but Kerry’s plan recommended a coalition that includes the Vatican, together with a group of Muslim countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The international arrangement is being proposed as a temporary solution for about two to three years while security arrangements in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians are finalized, said the sources.
Israel, the sources said, was not receptive to the particulars of Kerry’s plan, especially the concept of Turkish participation in Jerusalem. Kerry told the Israelis he would hold talks with the Kingdom of Jordan about its playing a leading role in the proposal in the place of Turkey, the sources added.
Kerry was in Jerusalem last week as part of an Obama administration effort to reach a deal for a Palestinian state by April, a timeline that is still on track, Kerry told reporters.
Why Did The U.S. Sabotage Its Own Raid?
More information is emerging that a puzzling decision by the Obama administration likely sabotaged the effort to capture one of the most important terrorist figures charged with carrying out the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Questions surround the timing and manner in which the U.S. in October seized wanted militant Abu Anas al-Libi, who was living openly in his home in Libya and likely could have been captured at a different time.
It is now becoming increasingly clear the decision to capture al-Libi all but thwarted an operation by covert U.S. operatives who were potentially just hours away from grabbing Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a senior leader of the Ansar Al-Sharia militia wanted for the Benghazi attack.
The Libyan government reportedly granted the U.S. permission in October to seize both al-Libi and Khattalah.
Due to al-Libi’s capture, the Libyan government has clamped down on any further U.S. raids, making it more difficult to go after the Benghazi suspects.
Last week, the Washington Post reported it is increasingly unlikely the U.S. will have another opportunity to capture Khattala in the foreseeable future.
Reported the Post: “Law enforcement officials said that the United States might have missed its best chance to arrest Khattala earlier this year. The U.S. intelligence community hatched a plan to snatch Khattala and…al-Libi. The planning took months, requiring coordination between the FBI, the CIA and the Army’s elite Delta Force.”
The paper quoted American officials claiming that another raid to seize Khattala could “lead to the toppling of Zeidan’s government and increase the chaos in a country that the United States would like to see stabilize.”
The claim that a new raid can topple the Libyan government is largely based on reports Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly kidnapped in retaliation for allowing the U.S. to act on Libyan soil to capture al-Libi.
However, it was the Obama administration that first leaked the details of the al-Libi capture, leading to the alleged kidnapping, as highlighted in a previous Washington Post opinion piece by Mark Thiessen. The leak came in the form of a New York Times front-page story titled “U.S. Officials Say Libya Approved Commando Raids.”
Al-Libi was accused of playing a role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Al-Libi was seized by U.S. Special Forces on Oct. 5 in a daylight raid outside his home. His whereabouts for years was so well known that he had given scores of news media interviews in public places in Libya.