13:22 GMT +322 September 2019
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    Iranian Foreign Minister: US Cannot Decide Jerusalem's Fate

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has affirmed his government's position that Jerusalem belonged to the Palestinians and stressed that the United States was not entitled to decide the disputed Holy City's fate.

    "Al-Quds (Jerusalem [in Arabic]) is neither America's to give away nor Israel's to take. And NOT for brutal accomplices to try to buy. Quds belongs to Palestine & Palestinians: history shows that whomever ignores this is condemned to ignominious failure. Iran stands with Palestine. #QudsDay", Zarif tweeted.

    Quds Day is an annual celebration that was launched by Iraq in 1979 as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinians. This days falls on the last Friday of Ramadan, which this year is 31 May.

    The statement comes as the United States is going to unveil its highly-anticipated Middle East peace plan in the coming weeks. The US-led conference in Manama in June, aimed to focus on economic incentives for Palestine Authority's development, is widely expected to mark the release of the economic part of the plan.

    READ MORE: BBC Accused of Playing Down Palestinian Anti-Semitism, Mistranslating Word 'Jew'

    For decades, Israel and the Palestinians have been in conflict as the latter continues to seek diplomatic recognition for their state on the territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are partially occupied by Israel. The Israeli government has refused to recognise the Palestine Authority as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the international community.

    The situation worsened in May 2018 after the United States decided to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, provoking a huge backlash in Palestine, the Arab world and many US allies, including the EU opposing any unilateral moves with regard to the holy city's status.

    The Palestinian Authority remains only partially recognised as a state and claims the territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In 1947, the United Nations worked out a plan to put an end to the conflict, giving most of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinians.

    Israel occupied the territories 20 years later but claims to have withdrawn all its forces from Gaza in 2005, but the United Nations still considers some of the Palestinian territories to be occupied by Israel.

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    Tags:
    conflict, Quds day, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Palestinian Authority, Iran, Israel
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