France, OIC flay Israeli bill to legalize settler homes

A general view of the Israeli outpost, a wildcat Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land, of Mitzpe Dani in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2016

France, OIC flay Israeli bill to legalize settler homes

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned a bill by the Israeli occupation government aimed at legitimizing colonial settlement areas in the occupied Palestinian territories including Al-Quds Al-Shareef.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, it stated that these illegitimate measures undertaken by Israel with a view to consolidating its occupation and colonial settlement are null and void by virtue of international law and relevant UN resolutions.
The OIC also strongly condemned the Israeli escalation represented by the endorsement of a bill banning the adhan (call for prayer) in the mosques in the occupied city of Al-Quds and its suburbs, underscoring that these serious measures are part of Israel’s racist practices and continued aggressions on Islamic holy sites. These practices also constitute a grave violation of the freedom of worship and of the inviolability of sacred sites, and a violation of the international humanitarian law.
The OIC warned against the persistence of such Israeli racist practices and aggressions which could fuel religious conflict, extremism and violence in the region. It also called on the international community, particularly the Security Council, to assume its responsibility and put an end to these repeated serious Israeli violations against sacred places.
In an earlier press release, the Muslim body condemned the terrorist attack on the German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, on Friday, leading to the death of at least six civilians.
In a press release, the OIC general secretariat emphasized the inviolability of the premises and members of diplomatic missions, and called on the Afghan authorities to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice.
It extended its condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded quick recovery.
Meanwhile, France said that the Israeli bill was of a matter of deep concern and jeopardized a two-state solution.
“This proposed law, if it were adopted, would once again jeopardize a two-state solution and would contribute in worsening tensions on the ground. France is deeply concerned by it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a daily briefing.

— With agencies

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.