Russia says humanitarian ceasefire in Syria 'unrealistic'

People and cars are seen in old town in Aleppo, Syria Feb. 8, 2018.(Reuters)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Russia says humanitarian ceasefire in Syria 'unrealistic'

UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Thursday dismissed as "unrealistic" a UN appeal for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, where four days of government raids have killed scores of civilians.
"That is not realistic," Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters.
"We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of the war, but the terrorists, I am not sure, are in agreement," he said.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria as the death toll from a four-day assault on Eastern Ghouta soared past 200.
Sweden and Kuwait requested the talks after the UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, called for the month-long ceasefire in order to reach civilians in need.
Russia has repeatedly blocked action in the council that would target its Syrian ally.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre called for a strong response from the council, appealing for an immediate ceasefire and unhindered access for aid agencies.
"Eastern Ghouta is experiencing a Middle Ages-style siege. That is totally unacceptable," Delattre told reporters.
"In Syria, we are now back to the darkest period of this conflict, with the highest death toll among civilians over the last year," he deplored.
The United States demanded an end to the air strikes, with the State Department saying in Washington: "These attacks must end now."
UN aid officials accuse the Syrian government of blocking all aid convoys to besieged areas in January.
More than 13.1 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid, including 6.1 million who have been displaced within the country during the nearly seven-year war.


Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

Updated 21 September 2018
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Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid

  • American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday.
  • His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.

JERUSALEM: Israel will cut the tax revenue it transfers to the Palestinian Authority if it pays the family of the killer of an American-Israeli settler, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Friday.
Kahlon said he had instructed that any sum paid to the attacker’s family be withheld from tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) under interim peace deals.
“I will examine other ways to limit the economic activity of the terrorist’s family,” he said on Twitter.
American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday. His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody.
It has not yet been decided whether Jabarin and his family will receive payments, according to a Palestinian official.
Israel has in the past withheld tax funds and in July enacted a law to financially penalize the PA by the amount of stipends paid to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces.
Israel says such stipends are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners’ actions against it. The Palestinian Authority says they are welfare payments to support them and their families.
The PA, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, where Israel retains overall security control, pays stipends that start at 1,400 shekels ($392) after a prisoner has been detained for three months. Amounts differ depending on the length of sentence.
Earlier this year, US lawmakers enacted legislation to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in US aid to the PA unless it took steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime.