UK slams Israeli move to build 1,122 new settlements

The British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt condemned the advancement of plans by Israel for 1,122 new settlements in the West Bank. (Reuters)
Updated 12 January 2018

UK slams Israeli move to build 1,122 new settlements

LONDON: The British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt condemned the advancement of plans by Israel for 1,122 settlements across the West Bank.
Burt said that “The UK strongly condemns the advancement by the Israeli authorities of plans and tenders for settlement units across the West Bank. We call on Israel to reconsider these proposals. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution.”
Israel approved on Tuesday 1,122 new settlement units throughout the West Bank, and published tender announcements for 651 units, Israeli NGO Peace Now said.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday: “President (Donald) Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not only disqualify the US from playing any constructive role toward achieving peace, but it provided the extremist Israeli government with an opportunity and the green light to speed up its plans for the dispossession of the Palestinian people.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, told Arab News: “This is settler colonialism on the rampage. Israel is sealing the fate of the West Bank and Palestinian statehood unilaterally while the world seems to be helpless and hapless. Israeli arrogance of power and impunity is shameful indeed.”


Philippine, Kuwaiti officials meet amid labor ban

Updated 2 min 52 sec ago

Philippine, Kuwaiti officials meet amid labor ban

  • The meeting took place days after the Philippines announced a complete ban on the deployment of new workers to Kuwait

MANILA: Philippine and Kuwaiti officials on Sunday held talks in the wake of a ban imposed by Manila on Filipinos working in the Gulf state.

Abdullah D. Mama-o, President Rodrigo Duterte’s adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) concerns, met with Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah to discuss bilateral ties and how to overcome the crisis.

The meeting took place days after the Philippines announced a complete ban on the deployment of new workers to Kuwait following the killing of Jeanelyn Villavende.

A forensic examination conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on Villavende’s body showed “clear indications of sexual abuse,” and signs of physical abuse dating back weeks before her death.

Villavende’s employer and his wife, allegedly the perpetrators in the Filipino maid’s killing, are now behind bars in Kuwait.

During the meeting between Mama-o and Al-Jarallah, “the Filipino official praised Kuwait for the legal procedures the country has taken to address the issue,” Kuwait’s official news agency KUNA reported.

Officials from both countries are scheduled to hold further meetings next month to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait rescued another Filipino maid, Delia Solomon, who accused her employers of mistreatment.

“While a distressed OFW’s plea was going viral (on) social media yesterday, our Kuwait PE (Philippine Embassy) worked quietly on extracting her,” Foreign Undersecretary Brigido Dulay tweeted on Sunday.

“We are happy to report that she is now sheltered in our embassy and we’re working on reuniting her with her loved ones next week.”

Prior to his talks with Al-Jarallah, Mama-o on Saturday met with more than 100 members of the Filipino community in Kuwait.

Issues discussed included the Philippine government’s contingency plan amid tensions in the Middle East, and the decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s governing board to impose a ban on the deployment of newly hired OFWs bound for Kuwait.

Mama-o, who was accompanied by other Philippine officials, said the Duterte administration will exert all efforts to safeguard the welfare of all Filipinos in the Middle East.

During the Filipino community meeting, Chargé d’Affaires Noordin Pendosina Lomondot assured Filipinos in Kuwait that the embassy is preparing for any scenario in case the situation in the region does not improve.

The official gave Filipino community leaders details of the embassy’s contingency plan, such as possible evacuation routes and the names of area coordinators.