Correcting ‘historical injustice’ to allow Palestinian state: China

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in Beijing on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Updated 13 April 2017
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Correcting ‘historical injustice’ to allow Palestinian state: China

BEIJING: Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday after meeting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, who pushed Beijing to do more in the Middle East peace process.
Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories, though China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.
Wang told a joint press briefing with Al-Maliki that 70 years after a UN resolution was passed on a plan for a Jewish state, Palestinians are still being prevented from having their own independent country.
“This is unfair. This kind of historical injustice must be corrected. It cannot continue,” Wang said.
It was time to overcome inertia and restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he said.
Maliki said Palestinians appreciated and welcomed China’s efforts to facilitate peace.
“And we do encourage China to do more of this kind of approach, in order to see peace ultimately achieved in our region,” he added.
Beijing has traditionally had a good relationship with the Palestinians.
The Middle East, however, is fraught with risk for China, a country that has little experience navigating the religious and political tensions that frequently rack the region.
China’s President Xi Jinping told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March that peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine would be good for both parties and the region, and that it was favored by the international community.


Indian temple controversy turns political as protests grow

Updated 31 min 8 sec ago
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Indian temple controversy turns political as protests grow

  • Three dozen priests staged a sit-in against the verdict overturning the ban that kept women aged between 10 and 50 out of the temple.
  • Though Hindus form a majority of the Kerala's population of more than 35 million, it is home to millions of Muslims and Christians.

KOCHI/NEW DELHI: A senior leader of India’s ruling party warned on Friday that protesters in the southern state of Kerala would take the law into their hands if officials attempted to let women enter a hill temple at the center of a raging controversy.
A political tinge for the controversy could help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party gain ground in Kerala, where it has never made much headway, and won just one of 98 seats it contested in the last elections to the state assembly in 2016.
Protests against women entering the Hindu temple grew on Friday, with hundreds of hard-liners blocking three women from entering the Sabarimala temple for a third day.
The demonstrators were defying a Supreme Court verdict that overturned a decades-old ruling by a lower court denying entry to women of menstrual age, whom some Hindu communities consider to be ritually unclean.
“If the government is trying to implement its agenda in Sabarimala, we will prevent it, even by taking the law into our hands,” said K. Surendran, the general secretary of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.
“Sabarimala is not a place for anybody to tamper with.”
Surendran accused the state’s Communist Party government, which has tried to implement the verdict, of provoking devotees after police gave protection to some women who sought to reach the remote site.
He did not elaborate on what the party plans to do, however.
Three dozen priests staged a sit-in against the verdict overturning the ban that kept women aged between 10 and 50 out of the temple, where a celibate deity, Lord Ayyappan, is worshipped.
Television broadcast images of scores of police attempting to calm emotional protesters, who consider the verdict a challenge to tradition and interference in religious affairs. The Supreme Court called the tradition patriarchal.
Though Hindus form a majority of the state’s population of more than 35 million, it is home to millions of Muslims and Christians.
The controversy has fired up Hindu religious sentiment, with some residents supporting the view that the temple devotees’ feelings ought to be respected.
Members of Modi’s BJP in the state have also strongly backed those seeking to block the entry of women.
Hindu hard-liners, including members of the BJP’s youth wing, have clashed with police and attacked women, including journalists, who have tried to get to the temple.
Two women who got close were forced to turn back in the face of protests and a threat by the head priest to shut the temple if they entered, senior Kerala police official S. Sreejith told reporters on Friday.
A third woman turned back at the request of police, citing the tension.