UN rights expert raps Israel for anti-Palestine policy

Michael Lynk. (Courtesy: ipolitics.ca)
Updated 21 March 2017
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UN rights expert raps Israel for anti-Palestine policy

GENEVA: A UN rights expert issued a blistering criticism of Israel’s policies on Monday, deepening a row over alleged anti-Israel bias within the UN following US pressure.
In a report, Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, charged Israel with “the subjugation of (Palestinians’) humanity” and intensifying a crackdown on human rights campaigners.
Lynk made the claims in a report presented to the UN rights council during the Geneva-based body’s mandated session on Israel, known as Agenda Item Seven.
Israel is the only country targeted with a dedicated rights council agenda item.
Israel and its supporters, notably in Washington, have repeatedly highlighted Agenda Item Seven as evidence of the council’s credibility gap, arguing it cannot be effective while disproportionately targeting Israel.
President Donald Trump’s administration has taken those concerns to the next level, with top diplomat Rex Tillerson publicly threatening to withdraw from the council over its “biased agenda item against Israel.”
The State Department blasted the council again Monday for holding its Israel debate and vowed in a statement “to vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item.”
Washington also boycotted Monday’s event that saw a group of majority Muslim nations repeatedly denounce Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
The European Union condemned the continuing loss of life on all sides but voiced concern that Lynk’s mandate and the Israel debate was one-sided.
Lynk’s scathing findings were issued days after UN official Rima Khalaf resigned over another report in which she accused Israel of being an “apartheid state.”


Cyclone death toll in Oman, Yemen rises to 11: authorities

Updated 27 May 2018
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Cyclone death toll in Oman, Yemen rises to 11: authorities

  • Cyclone Mekunu left a path of distruction, flooding towns and causing extensive damage
  • One of the dead is a 12-year-old girl who was hit in the head with a door that blew open

SALALAH, Oman: The death toll from a cyclone that battered southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra has reached 11, while eight sailors are still missing, authorities said.
Cyclone Mekunu hit Oman’s Dhofar and Al-Wusta provinces on Friday after intensifying from a category one to a category two cyclone, with winds of up to 170 kilometers (over 100 miles) per hour after it made landfall on Socotra on Thursday.
Oman’s civil defense service on Saturday reported two deaths, adding to an earlier toll of a man and a 12-year-old girl.
“The third is an Asian man who was missing but his body was found late Saturday in Dhofar” province, spokesman Lt. Col. Saeed Al-Badaei said at a press conference late Saturday.
“The fourth is a young Omani man who was swept away in his car by flooding,” he added.
Socotra’s governor Ramzy Mahrous said on Sunday that the death toll on the island remained seven — five Yemenis and two Indian sailors. A further eight Indian sailors remain missing.
The southeastern part of the island remains cut off, but authorities are working to access the area and assess damage, Mahrous told AFP.
Around 1,000 families on Socotra, with a population of around 60,000, were evacuated after their homes were damaged.
The main road linking the airport to Hadibo, the island’s main city, has been reopened, Mahrous said.
Oman’s meteorology directorate announced late Saturday that “the direct effects of the tropical system are over.”
Cyclone Mekunu has now been downgraded to the category of “deep depression.”
Late Saturday it struck Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, one of the world’s most arid deserts, with ongoing heavy rains and strong winds.
The Saudi meteorological authority said on Twitter Sunday that winds blew at 60 kilometers (over 35 miles) per hour, kicking up blinding dust storms.
Rains are expected to continue for two more days, drenching the area with more than 100 millimeters (four inches) of rain, almost six times its annual average, Amman-based weather experts WASM said on Twitter.