US hails coalition statement on bus incident in Yemen as ‘important first step’ towards full transparency

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State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington. (AFP)
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The coalition has expressed regret on the August air strike on a bus in Saada and said it will review rules of engagement and those responsible would be punished. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2018
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US hails coalition statement on bus incident in Yemen as ‘important first step’ towards full transparency

  • ‘The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition’s ‎announcement … as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability’
  • The coalition’s Joint Forces Command has expressed regret over the mistake

The US has hailed the announcement from the Arab Coalition to Restore the Legitimacy in Yemen that it will review rules of engagement, hold those at fault accountable and compensate victims of last month’s airstrike that targeted a bus. The announcement came following intelligence reports indicating the vehicle was carrying Houthi leaders, but killed civilians instead. “The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition’s announcement … as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability,” Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the US State Department, said in a statement.
“We continue to call on all sides to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict, to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, and thoroughly investigate and ensure accountability for any violations. It is imperative that all parties work toward a comprehensive political solution to avoid further harm to the Yemeni people.”
Mansour Ahmed Al-Mansour, the legal adviser to the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), earlier said that while the Saada strike was based on intelligence, the delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order must be investigated.
“The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance...” Al-Mansour said.
The coalition’s Joint Forces Command has expressed regret over the mistake and accepted the JIAT’s results and findings, reaffirmed its commitment to international humanitarian laws and pledged to continue “applying the rules of engagement in accordance with the highest international standards and practices, which will guarantee respect of the law and the preservation of civilian lives and possessions.”
Meanwhile, the State Department reiterated its full support for Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, who is preparing to convene warring factions in Geneva for a first round of consultations to end conflict in the war-torn country.
“We fully support UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths as he prepares to convene parties in Geneva. All sides must engage constructively and in good faith in order to work toward a secure, stable, and peaceful Yemen,” Nauert said a statement.


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.