Anti-Terror Quartet: Measures taken against Qatar not a blockade but boycott

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is pictured on a screen as he delivers his speech at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
Updated 15 September 2017

Anti-Terror Quartet: Measures taken against Qatar not a blockade but boycott

GENEVA: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates affirmed on Thursday that the measures they have taken against Qatar are “legitimate sovereign decisions”.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the four Arab nations — collectively known as the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — said the measures cannot be considered a “blockade" by any means, but rather “a boycott emanating from the harm caused by irresponsible Doha actions through its support, financing and harboring of terrorist elements.”
The statement was issued in Swiss capital on behalf of the quartet by the UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Obeid Salem Al-Ziaabi, in response to a speech by Qatar’s foreign minister during a panel discussion on the Qatari crisis during the current session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani claimed that the Qatari people have been harmed by the “illegal siege" enforced by the four countries.
Al-Ziaabi refuted the charge, saying that senior Qatari officials had in fact been strutting around with a “business as usual” attitude and projecting the impression that the boycott had little effect on them.
“In our opinion, these contradictions adopted by Qatari policy decision-makers reflecting dualism of speech, explain that there are two tones of address in Qatar, one addressing the domestic public and the other refuting the international viewpoints aiming to unveil the real reasons behind the boycott,” he said.
The quartet severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in early June, accusing it of harboring extremists and supporting or financing terrorist organizations.
Ziaabi said the Qatari delegation’s effort to push forward the matter for the second time on the same day only showed that Qatar “did not have any intention to review and change its policies and positions in support of terrorism and extremism.”
Despite an attempt by the Emir of Kuwait to mediate between his feuding allies, Qatar has repeatedly thumbed its nose on the quartet and flaunted its closer ties with Iran.
Iran has been accused by the quartet of sowing chaos and violence in the Mideast region, supporting militias such as the Houthis of Yemen, the Hezbollah of Lebanon, and the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 47 min 29 sec ago

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.