Israelis racing to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws as possible

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Hanan Ashrawi. (Courtesy photo)
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In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, a view of the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, some of the holiest sites for Jews and Muslims, is seen in Jerusalem's Old City. (AP)
Updated 03 January 2018

Israelis racing to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws as possible

AMMAN: Israeli legislatures and right-wing party activists appear to be in a race to pass as many anti-Palestinian laws and resolutions as possible as they can in anticipation of a possible indictment of their prime minister and the holding of new parliamentary general elections in 2018.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the Israeli Knesset’s approval of a bill to place Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and to require the approval of 80 Knesset members (out of 120) to return any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
“Such a law severely changes the status of Jerusalem and creates an illegal and extrajudicial Israeli and Jewish exclusivity over all of Jerusalem — a city whose status remains that of “corpus separatum” under the UN General Assembly Resolution 181,” she said in a statement to the press following a meeting with Italian member of Parliament Lia Quartapelle Procopio in Ramallah.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that neither the Israeli Knesset law nor the Trump decision is legitimate.
“The Israelis are trying to take advantage of the US decision to destroy everything and this requires a firm Arab, Islamic and international response to put an end to the Israeli roistering action that is leading the region into the abyss.”
Abu Rudeineh said that the forthcoming meeting of the Palestine Central Council in Ramallah on Jan. 14 will take necessary steps to challenge these acts which are aimed at the Palestinian national identity.
Khalil Tufakji, the head of the Arab Studies Society Map department, told Arab News that Israel is moving quickly to cut off any chance for peace. “They are taking concrete steps to change the demographic balance of the area which will result in some 150,000 Palestinians to be stripped of their connections to the Jerusalem municipality.”
Tufakji said that parts of Jerusalem’s Shufat, Kuf Aqab, Bir Onah, Walajeh, Abu Dis, and Ezzarieh will soon enter a state of legal limbo. “We are calling these locations area X in reference to the fact that they will be in some kind of unknown legal limbo.”
Daniel Seidmann, an Israeli lawyer working on issues regarding Jerusalem, told Arab News that these neighborhoods are in fact entering into an uncharted legal territory.
“This law is recognizing that these Palestinian neighborhoods are untenable but they are replacing their status with yet another untenable and unknown legal future.”
Seidmann rejects the idea that the areas beyond the wall are somehow being held in escrow until there are negotiations to settle where they belong.
“The new law doubles down on occupation, makes arriving on an agreement much more difficult and at the same time makes getting rid of 150,000 residents of Jerusalem much easier.”
Back in 1980, Israel had changed its Basic Law to require 61 out of 120 votes to make any legal change in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, said Seidmann. “Now they need a majority vote without having to cross the 61-member threshold which will make it much easier to redraw the municipal limits of Jerusalem.”
Hanna Issa, a Palestinian who specializes in international law, told Arab News that all Israeli actions since 1967 are null and void according to the international law and UN resolutions.
“Even after passing Israeli laws in the Knesset, these actions regarding Jerusalem including the settlement activities have no place within the international law and signed treaties. Whatever Israeli Knesset passes is null and void.”


Locust invasion in Yemen stokes food insecurity fears

A Yemeni tries to catch locusts on the rooftop of his house as they swarm several parts of the country bringing in devastations and destruction of major seasonal crops. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2020

Locust invasion in Yemen stokes food insecurity fears

  • Billions of locusts invaded farms, cities and villages, devouring seasonal crops

AL-MUKALLA: Locust swarms have swept over farms in central, southern and eastern parts of Yemen, ravaging crops and stoking fears of food insecurity.

Residents and farmers in the provinces of Marib, Hadramout, Mahra and Abyan said that billions of locusts had invaded farms, cities and villages, devouring important seasonal crops such as dates and causing heavy losses.
“This is like a storm that razes anything it encounters,” Hussein Ben Al-Sheikh Abu Baker, an agricultural official from Hadramout’s Sah district, told Arab News on Sunday.
Images and videos posted on social media showed layers of creeping locusts laying waste to lemon farms in Marb, dates and alfalfa farms in Hadramout and flying swarms plunging cities into darkness. “The locusts have eaten all kinds of green trees, including the sesban tree. The losses are huge,” Abu Baker added.
Heavy rains and flash floods have hit several Yemeni provinces over the last couple of months, creating fruitful conditions for locusts to reproduce. Farmers complained that locusts had wiped out entire seasonal crops that are grown after rains.
Abu Baker said that he visited several affected farms in Hadramout, where farmers told him that if the government would not compensate them for the damage that it should at least get ready for a second potential locust wave that might occur in 10 days.
“The current swarms laid eggs that are expected to hatch in 10 days. We are bracing for the second wave of the locusts.”  
Last year, the UN said that the war in Yemen had disrupted vital monitoring and control efforts and several waves of locusts to hit neighboring countries had originated from Yemen.

This is like a storm that razes anything it encounters.

Hussein Ben Al-Sheikh Abu Baker, a Yemeni agricultural official

Yemeni government officials, responsible for battling the spread of locusts, have complained that fighting and a lack of funding have obstructed vital operations for combating the insects.
Ashor Al-Zubairi, the director of the Locust Control Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture in Hadramout’s Seiyun city, said that the ministry was carrying out a combat operation funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Hadramout and Mahra, but complained that the operation might fall short of its target due to a lack of funding and equipment.
“The spraying campaign will end in a week which is not enough to cover the entire plagued areas,” Al-Zubairi told Arab News. “We suggested increasing the number of spraying equipment or extending the campaign.”
He said that a large number of villagers had lost their source of income after the locusts ate crops and sheep food, predicting that the outbreak would likely last for at least two weeks if urgent control operations were not intensified and fighting continued. “Combating teams could not cross into some areas in Marib due to fighting.”
The widespread locust invasion comes as the World Food Programme (WFP) on July 10 sent an appeal for urgent funds for its programs in Yemen, warning that people would face starvation otherwise.
“There are 10 million people who are facing (an) acute food shortage, and we are ringing the alarm bell for these people, because their situation is deteriorating because of escalation and because of the lockdowns, the constraints and the social-economic impact of the coronavirus,” WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva.