In Amman, US state secretary defends Trump's J'lem move

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Israel, Palestinian peace still a US priority

The occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip, along with the more than 20 percent of Israel's population made up of Palestinians who remained after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, have been protesting against Trump's policies for months.

As part of Monday's legal challenge, the rights groups want the court to rule the current rules of engagement governing demonstrations are illegal.

At Sunday's meeting, Kono was joined by Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki and Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Emad Najib Fakhouri.

In a third incident, soldiers spotted two Palestinians trying to breach the border.

Speaker of the parliament Salim Zanoun opened the first session with playing the Palestinian national anthem and hailing the spirit of Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel. The nonviolent protests demanding the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land began on March 30.

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi Monday condemned Israel's decision to permanently revoke the Jerusalem residency rights of three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former minister of Jerusalem affairs. "We urge the Palestinians to return to that political dialogue", he added.

The impact of the permits system reverberates in numerous ways, directly or indirectly affecting the lives of almost all the 4.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A majority stay in or near five tent camps, each set up several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence.

Rioters have burned tires, hurled firebombs and rocks at Israeli troops, flown flaming kites over the border, and repeatedly attempted to sabotage the security fence.

Soldiers, including snipers, are perched behind protective sand berms on the other side of the border. The last round collapsed, in part because Hamas refused to disarm.

Pompeo's visit is also taking place just two weeks before the planned May 14 opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem and expected massive Palestinian protests the following day.

Pompeo pointed out that Trump's landmark December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital had included no reference to the city's sovereign borders, going on to stress Washington's continued support for a "two-state solution" to the conflict.

In its court brief, the army said Gaza militants have planted some two dozen explosives along the fence.

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