UN ‘concerned’ about jailed Palestinian hunger-strikers

Updated 15 February 2013
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UN ‘concerned’ about jailed Palestinian hunger-strikers

JERUSALEM: A UN official expressed concern about the well being of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons and in particular about the condition of hunger striker Samer Issawi.
A UN statement said that Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley met in Ramallah with Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe, where Rawley “expressed the UN continued concern about Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody.”
“They discussed the situation of four Palestinian detainees currently on hunger strike and, in particular, the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days,” it said.
Palestinian prisoner support group Adameer says six prisoners held by Israel are currently on hunger strike. The longest serving are Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh who have been fasting for months to demand their release from imprisonment without trial.
Under what Israel calls “administrative detention,” suspects can be imprisoned without trial by order of a military court. The order can be renewed indefinitely for six months at a time. Rawley called for an end to the practice. “The Humanitarian Coordinator reiterated the position of the UN secretary-general, namely that those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or released without delay,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, suspected Jewish extremists scrawled anti-Arab graffiti on the headstones in an ancient Muslim cemetery in west Jerusalem, police and witnesses said yesterday.
“The words ‘price tag’ and Stars of David were scrawled on around a dozen tombs in the Muslim cemetery in Mamilla in central Jerusalem,” a police spokeswoman told AFP, saying an inquiry had been opened.
Price tag is a euphemism for hate crimes carried out by Israeli extremists who generally target Palestinians or Arabs and their property.


UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

Updated 23 April 2018
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UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

  • UAE donates over $50mn to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri
  • The five-year project aims to give hope to Iraqi youths

BAGHDAD: The United Arab Emirates and Iraq on Monday launched a joint effort to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret, ravaged last year during battles to retake the city from militants.
During the ceremony at Baghdad’s National Museum, UAE Culture Minister Noura Al-Kaabi said her country would put forward $50.4 million (41.2 million euros) for the task.
“The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” she said.
“The millenia-old civilization must be preserved.”
The deal was signed by Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, in the presence of UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen.
“This is an ambitious, highly symbolic project for the resurrection of Mosul and Iraq,” said Haxthausen.
“The work has already begun, the site is now protected... we must first clear the site, remove the rubble (and) document, before we can begin reconstructing the mosque and its minaret.”
The famed 12th century mosque and its leaning minaret — dubbed “the hunchback,” or Al-Habda, by locals — was destroyed in June 2017.
The Iraqi army accused Daesh militants of destroying it with explosives as Iraqi forces steadily retook ground in the embattled city.
It was in this mosque in 2014 that Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliph,” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, made his only public appearance as leader. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Kaabi, the Emirati minister, called on the international community “to unite to protect universal heritage sites, especially those in our Arab region” in theaters of conflict.
The Al-Nuri mosque is named after Nureddine Al-Zinki, who once ruled over Aleppo and Mosul and ordered the construction of the mosque in 1172.
Al-Habda, which maintained the same structure for nine centuries, was one of the only remnants of the original construction.
Decorated with geometric brick designs, the minaret was long a symbol of the city.
It was printed on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknotes before it became a symbol of Daesh rule, when the militants planted their black flag at the top of its 45-meter spire.
“This is a historic partnership, the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
The first year of reconstruction will focus on documenting and clearing the site, UNESCO said.
The following four years will focus on the restoration and “faithful reconstruction” of the mosque, its minaret as well as the city’s historic gardens and open spaces.