Palestinian President Abbas refuses to work with US on peace efforts

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a press conference at the Elysee Palace on Friday, December 22. Abbas met Macron a day after the UN General Assembly resolution denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. (AP)
Updated 22 December 2017
0

Palestinian President Abbas refuses to work with US on peace efforts

PARIS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday urged France and Europe to play a stronger role in peace efforts, insisting he’ll no longer accept any US plans for Mideast peace because of the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris a day after the UN General Assembly resolution denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision.
During a news conference, Macron was careful not to take sides, saying “the American mistake was to want to unilaterally manage from afar a situation whose solution is in the hands of the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Abbas said the United States is “no longer an honest mediator in the peace process.”
“We will not accept any plan from the United States of America because of its bias and violation of the international law,” he said.
Abbas also denounced the US threat to cut financial aid for countries who voted to back the UN resolution. “We call upon countries that did not recognize Palestine yet to do so to preserve the two-state solution before it’s too late,” he added.
Macron reaffirmed his disapproval of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The French president recalled he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month in Paris and urged him to make “courageous gestures” to help revive peace talks, including freezing Israel’s construction of settlements on occupied lands.
EU leaders, including Macron, have reiterated support for establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 with 35 abstentions in favor of the non-binding resolution countering the US recognition of Jerusalem.


Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

Updated 22 April 2018
0

Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

BEIRUT: A family of three was killed late Saturday in a wave of regime shelling on a southern district of Syria’s capital held by Daesh, a monitor said.
Syrian troops are waging an intense bombing campaign against Yarmuk, a Palestinian refugee camp on the edge of Damascus, and nearby districts that are held by Daesh.
A woman, her husband, and their child were killed in the Yarmuk shelling, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.
“This brings to nine the number of civilians killed since the shelling escalated on Thursday,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The bombing and clashes continued into Sunday, Abdel Rahman said, with air strikes, artillery, and surface-to-surface missiles hitting the neighborhood.
Yarmuk was once a densely-populated and thriving district of the capital, but it has been ravaged by violence since Syria’s conflict broke out in 2011.
Syria’s government imposed a crippling siege on it in 2012, and fighting among rebels and rival extremists has exhausted residents.
In 2015, Daesh overran most of Yarmuk, and the small numbers of other rebels and extremists, including from Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate, that had a presence there agreed to withdraw just a few weeks ago.
Simultaneously, the Syrian army was finishing off the last rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that had been the opposition’s main bastion near the capital.
Securing Ghouta has allowed the regime to refocus on Yarmuk, but the escalating shelling has sparked worries among humanitarian organizations.
The UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said it was “deeply concerned about the fate of civilians” and thousands of refugees in and around the camp.