Lebanon looks to block Israeli frontier wall

A partial view taken on January 30, 2018 shows buildings of the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp which is situated in East Jerusalem but surrounded by the Israeli controversial separation barrier. (AFP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Lebanon looks to block Israeli frontier wall

BEIRUT: Lebanon on Tuesday pledged a diplomatic push to prevent neighboring Israel’s construction of a dividing wall between the two countries as tensions mount over off-shore exploration for oil and gas.
President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and parliament speaker Nabih Berri pledged to “pursue efforts to mobilize at the regional and international level to block building of the wall by Israel,” a statement said after a meeting.
Israel has been building a wall since 2012 on its volatile frontier with Lebanon — with the two countries still technically in a state of war.
Israel and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah fought a devastating conflict in 2006.
Lebanon says part of the wall follows the UN-demarcated “Blue Line” that was drawn up after Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, and insists some sections will cut into its territory.
Israel has dismissed these claims and said Tuesday that “construction continues as usual.”
“All the works are carried out in sovereign Israeli territory,” the army said.
The renewed focus on the wall comes as the two sides spar over Lebanon’s plans to explore for oil and gas off shore in waters eyed by both sides.
Beirut is set to sign contracts with a consortium including French firm Total, Italian company ENI and Russia’s Novatek to begin looking for energy deposits off its Mediterranean coast in 2019.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman last month said awarding such bids amounted to “provocative behavior” by Lebanon’s government.
The statement from Lebanon’s presidency denounced the Israeli “allegations” and warned against attempts to “usurp” its resources.
Despite the hostility between the two countries, Israeli and Lebanese military officials meet regularly under the auspices of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to discuss border issues.
On Monday a meeting was held and discussions focused on “engineering works south of the Blue Line,” UNIFIL said in a statement.
“Any activity close to the Blue Line should be predictable, with sufficient prior notification to allow for coordination by the parties, so as to avoid misunderstandings and prevent incidents,” it added.


OIC condemns Israel’s nation-state law as racist and illegal

OIC Secretary General Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen. (AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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OIC condemns Israel’s nation-state law as racist and illegal

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the Israeli Knesset’s approval of the “Jewish nation-state” law, which declares that only Jews have the right to self-determination in the country.
The OIC labeled the move as a blatant challenge to the will of the international community, its laws and its legitimate resolutions.
The Secretary-General of the Organization, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, described the law as racist, unlawful and illegitimate.
“It ignores the historical rights of the Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, and represents an extension to the Israeli settlement ideology and occupation policies, based on ethnic cleansing and denial of the existence of Palestinian people and history, highlighted by International resolutions,” he said.
He called on the international community to reject and condemn the racist law and to confront all Israeli racist laws and policies that aim to undermine any possible solution to the conflict.