Israel settler plan ‘slap in face’ of US: Palestinians

Updated 04 November 2014

Israel settler plan ‘slap in face’ of US: Palestinians

JERUSALEM: Israeli plans for roughly 500 new settler homes in occupied east Jerusalem are a “slap in the face” of the United States and the international community, a top Palestinian official said.
Israel approved construction of the homes on Monday as chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat met US Secretary of State John Kerry in the United States, according to settlements watchdog Peace Now.
“With the situation in occupied Jerusalem at boiling point, Israel’s latest settlement announcement is a slap in the face to Kerry, to the international community, to the Palestinian people, and to peace,” Erakat said in a statement.
The US and the international community have condemned repeated plans for new settler homes in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.
Israel usurped the eastern sector of the city in 1967 — a move never recognized by the international community.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office pledged on Oct. 27 to build more than 1,000 new settler homes.
Jewish settlement building in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank has repeatedly derailed peace talks, most recently in April when nine months of US-brokered negotiations broke down.
“The message is clear,” Erakat said.
“The Netanyahu government chooses settlements over negotiations, colonization over the two-state solution, and apartheid over equality and coexistence,” he added.
In the absence of negotiations, which have for decades failed to bring peace, the Palestinians are seeking a UN resolution giving a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.


Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

Updated 26 min 58 sec ago

Egypt urges decisive action against states backing ‘terror’

  • El-Sisi was apparently referring to Turkey and Qatar
  • Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula

CAIRO: Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.
The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.
Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.
“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.
The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the US, Britain and Canada.
The Sahel region is home to Al-Qaeda and Daesh-linked militants. El-Sisi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.
Egypt has for years been battling a Daesh-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Mursi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.
Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.
Since Mursi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.
El-Sisi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi. He did not elaborate.
He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”
El-Sisi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.
El-Sisi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.
Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.
Haftar has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.