Arab group at UN condemn Israel’s decision to destroy Palestinian village

The Arab group at the UN rejected and condemned Israel’s decision to demolish the Palestinian village in East Jerusalem. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Arab group at UN condemn Israel’s decision to destroy Palestinian village

  • The Arab group at the UN thanked the 8 EU nations that opposed Israel’s planned demolition
  • UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace also condemned the continued demolition and confiscation of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israel

DUBAI: The Permanent Representative of Oman to the United Nations, Khalifa Al-Harthy, has rejected and condemned Israel’s decision to demolish the Palestinian village in East Jerusalem.

“I would like to say that we in the Arab Group reject and condemn the Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Khan Al-Ahmar,” Al-Harthy said.

Al-Harthy, who also holds the rotating presidency of the Arab group, also thanked the eight European Union nations that opposed Israel’s planned demolition of the village and urged its government to reconsider the decision.

“We would like to express our gratitude for the statement read out by the Dutch ambassador on behalf of the European Community and the support from the international community in these difficult days,” he added.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour also expressed the Palestinian government and Palestinians’ appreciation to the European community.

“Their principled stance on their position against the Israeli government’s decision to demolish or attempt to demolish the homes of the Bedouin community in Khan Al-Ahmar is very good and commendable,” Ambassador Mansour, who is Palestine’s envoy to the UN, said.

“We hope that the international community will stand with them in their position and that of the Secretary-General to stop Israel, the occupying power, from demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar,” he added.  

Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi has reiterated that Israel must comply with Security Council Resolution 2334 and stressed that the Kuwaiti delegation was doing its utmost to ensure that the Security Council, of which Al-Otaibi is a member, would continue to pressure Israel to comply with all its resolutions.

Meanwhile, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov condemned the continued demolition and confiscation of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli occupation authorities throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Mladenov told the UN Security Council on Thursday that 117 buildings have been destroyed and confiscated in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing 145 Palestinians including 82 children, and affected the livelihoods of 950 people. Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected several petitions from the residents to prevent demolition.

Mladenov stressed that all settlement activities violate international laws and constitute a major obstacle to peace.

The international official also expressed concern over the continued deterioration of the humanitarian, security and political situation in Gaza.

The UN has exhausted its funding for emergency fuel, threatening the closure of vital health, water and sanitation facilities, while the levels of essential medicines have been critically reduced.


Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

Since protests began in December, Iranians have had their internet access disrupted and have lost access to the messaging app Telegram. (Reuters)
Updated 18 February 2019
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Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

  • The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government

GENEVA, LONDON: In early January, labor activist Esmail Bakhshi posted a letter on Instagram saying he had been tortured in jail, attracting support from tens of thousands of Iranians online.
Bakhshi, who said he was still in pain, also challenged the intelligence minister to a public debate about the religious justification for torture. Late last month, Bakhshi was rearrested.
Sepideh Qoliyan, a journalist covering labor issues in the Ahvaz region, was also rearrested on the same day after saying on social media that she had been abused in jail.
Bakhshi’s allegations of torture and the social media furor that followed led Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to call for an investigation, and the intelligence minister subsequently met with a parliamentary committee to discuss the case, a rare example of top officials being prompted to act by a public backlash online.
“Each sentence and description of torture from the mouths of #Sepideh_Qoliyan and #Esmail_Bakhshi should be remembered and not forgotten because they are now alone with the torturers and under pressure and defenseless. Let us not forget,” a user named Atish posted on Twitter in Farsi on Feb. 11.
“When thousands of people share it on social media, the pressure for accountability goes up,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director at the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. “Sham investigations won’t put it to rest. Social media is definitely becoming a major, major public square in Iran.”
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said last month, without naming Bakhshi, that allegations of torture online constitute a crime.
His comments follow growing pressure from officials to close Instagram, which has about 24 million users in Iran. Iran last year shut down the Telegram messaging app, which had about 40 million users in the country, citing security concerns.
“Today you see in cyberspace that with the posting of a film or lie or rumor the situation in the country can fall apart,” Dolatabadi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. “You saw in recent days that they spread a rumor and announced the rape of an individual or claimed suicide and recently you even saw claims of torture and all the powers in the country get drawn in. Today cyberspace has been transformed into a very broad platform for committing crimes.”
The arrests of Bakhshi and Qoliyan are part of a crackdown in Ahvaz, center of Iran’s Arab population. Hundreds of activists there pushing for workers’ and minority rights, two of the most contentious issues in Iran, have been detained in recent weeks.
The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government.