(Aggressive US and Israeli posture, Passive Arab and Iranian Response, Unhappy Papacy)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Pope Francis are commiserating with each other:-

From [D]

Jerusalem to dominate Erdoğan's meeting with Pope Francis

The United States' controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is expected to dominate talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pope Francis on the president's first trip to the Vatican on Sunday.

According to presidential sources, Erdoğan will thank Pope Francis for his stance against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision and his efforts to protect the status quo in the holy city.

The Turkish president previously expressed his appreciation to Pope Francis who strongly opposed the bitterly-contested move announced by Trump at the end of last year. The two leaders held several phone calls regarding the issue and voiced their determination to follow developments regarding Jerusalem. . . (Underscored emphasis added.)

If President Erdoğan is sincere in his active concern about the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he appears to be isolated from major Muslim leaders:

Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move

As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

“Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.

But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that currently houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

“How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.

“Exactly that,” agreed one host, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

For decades, powerful Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while privately acquiescing to Israel’s continued occupation of territory the Palestinians claim as their homeland.

But now a de facto alliance against shared foes such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State militants and the Arab Spring uprisings is drawing the Arab leaders into an ever-closer collaboration with their one-time nemesis, Israel — producing especially stark juxtapositions between their posturing in public and private.

Mr. Trump’s decision broke with a central premise of 50 years of American-sponsored peace talks, defied decades of Arab demands that East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, and stoked fears of a violent backlash across the Middle East.

Arab governments, mindful of the popular sympathy for the Palestinian cause, rushed to publicly condemn it.

Egyptian state media reported that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had personally protested to Mr. Trump. Egyptian religious leaders close to the government refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, and Egypt submitted a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of Mr. Trump’s decision. (The United States vetoed the resolution, although the General Assembly adopted a similar one, over American objections, days later.)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia, arguably the most influential Arab state, also publicly denounced Mr. Trump’s decision.

At the same time, though, the kingdom had already quietly signaled its acquiescence or even tacit approval of the Israeli claim to Jerusalem. Days before Mr. Trump’s announcement, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, privately urged the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to accept a radically curtailed vision of statehood without a capital in East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of events.

Saudi Arabia publicly disputed those reports.

The hosts Captain Kholi called all heeded his advice, and most other voices in the state-owned and pro-government news media across the Arab world were also strikingly muted, even unemotional, about the status of Jerusalem. Such a response would have been all but unthinkable even a decade ago, much less during the period between 1948 and 1973, when Egypt and its Arab allies fought three wars against Israel.

Shibley Telhami, a scholar of the region at the University of Maryland and the Brookings Institution, called the Arab states’ acceptance of the decision “transformational.”

“I don’t think it would have happened a decade ago, because Arab leaders would have made clear they wouldn’t live with it,” he said. Instead, he said, preoccupied by concerns about their own stability, the Arab leaders signaled that — while they may not like the decision — they “will find a way to work with it,” and “with a White House that is prepared to break with what had been taboos in American foreign policy.” . . . (Underscored emphasis added.)

This revelation by the New York Times of apparent acquiescence by the Arab leaders to Israel's claim, backed by the United States' government, to sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem is startling! It is strange how quiet Muslim extremists have been since their initial expressions of outrage over the Trump administration action in December, 2017. Hamas initially called for a new Intifada, but has taken no action itself. Turkey and Iran have been major backers of Hamas. As reported above, Turkey is still expressing concern. There are no current reports of statements or action by Iran over the U.S. Jerusalem embassy move. One cannot help but wonder whether the crazy unpredictability of Donald Trump and his Christian Zionist supporters in the U.S. has spooked opponents of the embassy move. This quotation is from the above New York Times article: "We, like all our Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter,” Captain Kholi continued. But, he added, “After that, this thing will become a reality. Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war. . ."

It is worthy of note that Israel is a nuclear power, as of course is the USA - a frightening alliance!

The extreme language used by U.S. Vice President Pence when he addressed the Israeli parliament on January 22, 2018 is alarming:

Mike Pence Says U.S. Embassy Will Open in Jerusalem Next Year

In his speech to the Parliament, Mr. Pence spoke in glowing terms of the long alliance between the United States and Israel, framing it as part of an epic battle.

“We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny,” Mr. Pence said.

Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian, dotted his address with biblical references and spoke of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem in historical and religious terms. . .

Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinians, said that Mr. Pence’s “messianic discourse” was “a gift to extremists.”

“His message to the rest of the world is clear: violate international law & resolutions and the US will reward you,” he said, according to his office’s Twitter account. . .

Mr. Pence has spoken of protecting Christian minorities in the Middle East, but he has been widely shunned by those same Christians for his embrace of the Israeli position on Jerusalem.

No Arab Christian leaders have agreed to meet with him during his visit, and he is not scheduled to visit Christian holy sites like the city of Nazareth, the West Bank town of Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified. (Underscored emphasis added.)

Pence says U.S. Embassy to make Jerusalem move next year on faster timetable

Speaking in Israel’s parliament, or Knesset, Pence looked notably more at ease than during earlier meetings in Egypt and Jordan, where he has been forced to defend the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He voiced his wholehearted support for Israel.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital — and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said to applause. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year.” . . .

Pence, an evangelical Christian, was a driving force behind the administration’s decision on Jerusalem and flanked Trump as he made the announcement. In his own past statements, he has gone further than Trump, describing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

The messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists and has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution,” said the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat. “His message to the rest of the world is clear: Violate international law and resolutions, and the U.S. will reward you,” he said. . .

During a news conference with Abbas on Monday, the E.U.’s chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, told reporters that the 28-member bloc is committed to a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital. Abbas is also pressing for recognition. Slovenia has submitted a draft resolution to its parliament on the recognition of a Palestinian state, according to Rahim al-Farra, the Palestinian Ambassador to the E.U.

Hanan Ashrawi, one of the longtime Palestinian negotiators, said that billing Pence’s visit to the region as support for the peace process was “ridiculous.”

“The American side cannot talk about the peace process after it undermined it by declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Ashrawi told the official Voice of Palestine radio station Monday. (Underscored emphasis added.)

The E.U. position is worthy of close watching. This has the potential to be the Vatican's avenue to stand up to the Trump Administration and exert pressure on Israel.

U.S. Embassy in Israel to move to Jerusalem by end of 2019: Pence

Pence, who visited Egypt and Jordan before traveling to Israel, said that with its policy shift on Jerusalem, “the United States has chosen fact over fiction - and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace”.

It was the highest-ranking visit by a U.S. official to the region since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and gave Pence and Netanyahu an opportunity to highlight their own warm relationship for a conservative Christian American community that serves as a power base for the U.S. administration.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, drew parallels between Jewish history dating back to biblical times and the European pilgrims who founded the United States. He was greeted with ovations by Israeli legislators throughout his speech.

Noting that Israel will in May mark 70 years since its founding - in a war Palestinians mourn as a catastrophe - Pence switched to Hebrew to recite a Jewish prayer of thanksgiving. (Underscored emphasis added.)

US to open Jerusalem embassy sooner than expected, says Pence

Speaking during a two-day visit, Pence said Donald Trump had “righted a 70-year wrong” by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. . .

In a speech filled with biblical references, Pence, an evangelical Christian, said America stood with Israel “because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, your fight is our fight”. . .

The chairman of the Joint Arab List alliance, Ayman Odeh, had before [said] of the speech that his group would boycott it, saying Pence was a “dangerous man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region”. . .

While Pence spoke in Israel on Monday, Abbas was in Brussels where the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, assured him that the EU supported a solution in which two states share Jerusalem.

Abbas urged EU member nations to recognise Palestine’s statehood immediately.

In his speech, Pence called for the Palestinian leadership “to return to the table” and said the US would support a two-state solution, but only if both sides supported it.

The extreme statements made by Vice-President Pence confirm that he is a right-wing Christian Zionist. They also confirm the mad apocalypticism associated with the right-wing evangelical movement in the USA. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was precisely on point in describing Pence’s speech as a “messianic discourse;” which is consistent with reports describing the menacing ideology of the Evangelical Christian Right, frantically applauded by their counterparts in Israel. A troubling question is whether they can be relied on to draw back from provoking the apocalyptic wars that they crave? Time will tell.

It should never be overlooked that Rome's regional power plays are complex, and sometimes seem to be in conflict with each other. Such is the case between her relentless pursuit of a religio-political presence in Jerusalem versus her manipulation of propaganda and politics in the United States. In America she created and advanced the Roman Catholic-White Evangelical alliance which has almost completed the destruction of liberal democracy and ushered in a theocratic dictatorship. However, this catapulted into power the very Christian Zionist Evangelicals who are enabling the Israeli government to block the papal policy on Jerusalem. Without a knowledge and acceptance of the relevant Bible prophecies (Dan. 11:45; Isa. 14:13-14) it would seem to be impossible for Rome to achieve her objective for Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Zionism must give way to the fulfillment of these prophecies which usher in the final "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation," at which time "thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan. 12:1.)