Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s policies discriminating against Palestinians

Palestinian youths challenge Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a raid on December 10, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 January 2019

Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s policies discriminating against Palestinians

  • Saudi UN envoy reiterates need for political solution in Syria, Yemen
  • Envoy also demands the withdrawal from Syria of all foreign forces and foreign fighters

Saudi Arabia rejected all Israeli policies, practices and plans that attempt to perpetuate racial discrimination against the Palestinian people and obliterate their national identity and to undermine their legitimate rights, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Addressing the UN Security Council, the Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Maalami called on the international community to intervene and stop settlement projects by Israel.

“The Palestinian people continue to witness further tragedies,” he said.

 “70 years ago, Palestinians suffered the greatest human tragedy the world has ever seen. The tragedy of the displacement of the landowners, the tragedy of giving the right to those who do not have the right, and the denial of the right of its owners,” he continued.

The Israeli occupation must be committed to implement international resolutions, lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and open the crossings immediately and permanently, he said. The humanitarian and economic crisis affecting the Palestinian people.

“My country stresses the importance of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East as a strategic option to end the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he said. 

“The Syrian people, too, are still living the worst humanitarian crisis of the century,” he added. 

The former UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, “completed his duties without achieving the desired results... because of the intransigence of the Syrian regime and its unwillingness to reach a just political solution to end the tragedy of the Syrian people,” Al-Mouallimi said.

He congratulated Geir Pedersen on succeeding de Mistura, and stressed the support of the Saudi government for his efforts in achieving a political solution.

Al-Mouallimi said his government stresses the importance of reaching a just political solution in order to end the suffering of Syrians worldwide.

The Saudi government also demands the withdrawal from Syria of all foreign forces and foreign fighters, especially Iranian forces and their militias, he added.

Al-Mouallimi condemned any use of chemical weapons in Syria, and urged the international community to punish those responsible.

He questioned the Houthis’ sincerity in seeking a resolution of the conflict in Yemen. Al-Mouallimi urged the Security Council to continue pressuring Iran to abide by the council’s resolutions on Yemen. 

He stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive political solution that guarantees state sovereignty throughout Yemen and a unified national army.

Saudi Arabia will continue to support the Yemeni people and their legitimate leadership, and respond to their humanitarian needs, Al-Mouallimi said.

Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

Updated 10 min 28 sec ago

Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

  • FM said Israel’s behavior violates international law
  • He also criticized Europe for not calling out Israel and US for illegal behavior in the region

MUNICH: Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the United States were increasing the chances of a clash in the region. Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also criticized the US administration after Vice President Mike Pence this week called on European powers to pullout of the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif urged France, Germany and Britain to do more to save that accord.

“Certainly, some people are looking for war ... Israel,” Zarif said. “The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”

Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.

“Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, US behavior is putting international law on the shelf,” he said.

Speaking to his cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iranian belligerence was the main destabilizing factor in the entire Middle East.

“We must deny Iran nuclear weaponry and block its military entrenchment in Syria. We will continue taking constant action to ensure Israel’s security,” he said in remarks broadcast on Israeli media.

Europe falling short

Vice President Pence on Friday accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Zarif said the US had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and accused Pence of trying to bully his allies.

“All in the name of containing Iran, the US claims, and some blindly parrot, that it is Iran that is interfering in the region, but has it been asked whose region?” Zarif said.

“Look at the map, the US military has traveled 10,000 kilometers to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran that put itself in the middle of US bases.”

Zarif, who said Iran was committed to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.

These three countries this month set up the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid US sanctions. But diplomats say it is unlikely to allow the big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat.

Washington’s major European allies opposed last year’s decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the deal, which also includes China and Russia, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.

“INSTEX falls short of commitments by the E3 (France, Germany, Britain) to save the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of US unilateralism.”