No compromise with Qatar and terror: Emirati tycoon

Emirati businessman and commentator Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, 3rd right, with the panelists at the 4th Open Talk session in Dubai on Wednesday. On extreme left is Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas. (AN photo)
Updated 10 August 2017
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No compromise with Qatar and terror: Emirati tycoon

DUBAI: The Gulf states cannot compromise with terrorism and cannot allow countries such as Qatar to support it, a leading Emirati businessman and commentator said on Wednesday.
“If you support terrorism, you get punished, you are either our friend or foe,” Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor told a discussion forum in Dubai.
“We commend our leaders for their patience with Qatar for more than 20 years, and are waiting for its leaders to get back on the right track. We have to be clear, we are against terrorism and we hope that Qatar comes around to its Khaleeji home.”
The Anti-Terror Quartet, comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in June and imposed a trade and travel boycott to protest at Doha’s support and funding of extremists.
“The boycott against the Qatari government is not against the Qatari people,” Al-Habtoor said. “We don’t have any evil intentions toward the people. We are not trying to harm them, they are our brothers and our neighbors.”
Al-Habtoor is the founder and chairman of Al-Habtoor group of companies, a conglomerate based in Dubai with interests from engineering and construction to hospitals and hotels. He is also a political commentator and Arab News columnist.
The businessman was speaking at a forum at his company headquarters to discuss the Qatar boycott and the output of the Qatar-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera. The panelists were Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News; Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a professor of political science; Dr. Abdullah Al-Mutawa, director of Al Arabiya News in Dubai; Ahmed Al-Jarallah, editor in chief of the Kuwaiti newspapers Arab Times and Al-Seyassah; Dr. Fahd Al-Shelaimi, chairman of the Gulf Forum for Peace and Security; and prominent Egyptian lawyer Khaled Abou Bakr.
“Egypt is the country that suffered the most from Qatar,” Abou Bakr told the forum. “We have shed our own blood because of them. Mothers have lost their sons and this has all been supported by Qatari funds.”
Tarek Al-Zarouni, a former Al Jazeera reporter and the author of “Alone in Al Jazeera,” told the forum via teleconference: “Al Jazeera is Qatar’s Trojan horse, the main supporter of terrorism, shaming Islam by making Yusuf Al-Qaradawi the mufti of the country.
“Al-Qaradawi has a weekly presence on the news channel and he has the Foreign Ministry’s support. He is a symbol of terrorism. We need a strong media apparatus to broadcast facts, a soft power to fight against Al Jazeera.”


Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

Updated 23 September 2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

  • Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead
  • ‘No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force’

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the end of the month to leave.
The fate of Khan Al-Ahmar has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it.
Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead.
Israel says the village was built without the proper permits, though it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to receive such permission in that part of the West Bank.
The notice given to the some 200 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar on Sunday says they have until the end of the month to demolish the village themselves.
“Pursuant to a supreme court ruling, residents of Khan Al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank said.
It did not say what will happen if they refuse to do so. Village residents vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force.”
The village is located in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued settlement building in the area would eventually divide the West Bank in two, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.
Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan Al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.