Jubeir: ‘Jerusalem Summit’ confirms Arab world’s dedication to Palestinian cause

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that naming this year’s Arab League Summit also as the “Jerusalem Summit” was due to the strong desire to promote the Palestinian cause. (SPA)
Updated 16 April 2018

Jubeir: ‘Jerusalem Summit’ confirms Arab world’s dedication to Palestinian cause

  • Jubeir said that the Palestinian people have suffered the longest conflict in the region, which has led into the displacement of millions
  • In response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he said “We have declared our clear position to the United States that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that naming this year’s Arab League Summit also as the “Jerusalem Summit” was due to the strong desire to promote the Palestinian cause, which was a central and fundamental issue for Arabs.

In a joint press conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit following the conclusion of the summit, Jubeir said: “The Arab and Islamic countries feel the need to highlight this issue in light of the urgent need to help the Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights, foremost of which is the establishment of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Jubeir said that the Palestinian people have suffered the longest conflict in the region, which has led into the displacement of millions. He emphasized the need for Palestinians to have their own state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, so that they can live a decent life and build their country, adding that Arab and Islamic nations feel the pain of their Palestinian brothers.

“There is a desire to highlight the issue on the agenda of the Arab League and in the mind of the Arab and Islamic world, and in light of the conflicts and crises witnessed by the Arab world, we must not forget that it is the fundamental issue,” Jubeir said, and added that Saudi Arabia’s position was permanent and firm on the Palestinian issue and remained supportive on the peace initiative announced in 2002.

In response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he said: “We have declared our clear position to the United States that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine and that no decision should be taken that violates this balance in this region.”

However, Jubeir reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s “close relations” with the US.

“We have a strategic relationship and are stronger now. As friends, we continue dialogue and understanding on matters that we disagree with the administration of US President Donald Trump and this administration has also been positive in seeking help and reaching a dialogue on this matter.”

The foreign minister pointed out Saudi Arabia’s support to Palestine and contributions to achieving a decent life for the Palestinian people and enabling the Palestinian government to strengthen its economy.

During the 29th Arab League summit, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman announced that the Kingdom will donate $150 million to the Endowment Support Program in Jerusalem and $50 million to support the UNRWA program.

Meanwhile, Jubeir said that the Arab summit supported the operation and the military strike carried out by the United States in cooperation with Britain and France on Syrian regime sites that carried out attacks against unarmed Syrian civilians through the use of weapons containing poison gas banned internationally.

He stressed the position of the Member States of the League of Arab States and the belief that stability in Syria would only be achieved through a peaceful solution based on the Geneva Declaration, Security Council resolution 2254 and the Riyadh II Conference of the Syrian opposition held in November last year.


Revealed: How Iran smuggles weapons to the Houthis

Updated 01 October 2020

Revealed: How Iran smuggles weapons to the Houthis

  • Captured gang tells of route to Yemen through base in Somalia

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A captured gang of arms smugglers has revealed how Iran supplies weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen through a base in Somalia.

The Houthis exploit poverty in Yemen to recruit fishermen as weapons smugglers, and send fighters to Iran for military training under cover of “humanitarian” flights from Yemen to Oman, the gang said.

The four smugglers have been interrogated since May, when they were arrested with a cache of weapons in Bab Al-Mandab, the strategic strait joining the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

In video footage broadcast on Yemeni TV, gang leader Alwan Fotaini, a fisherman from Hodeidah, admits he was recruited by the Houthis in 2015. His recruiter, a smuggler called Ahmed Halas, told him he and other fishermen would be based in the Somali coastal city of Berbera, from where they would transport weapons and fuel to the Houthis. 

In late 2015, Fotaini traveled to Sanaa and met a Houthi smuggler called Ibrahim Hassam Halwan, known as Abu Khalel, who would be his contact in Iran. 

This is a complex network that requires constant monitoring, hence the focus on maritime security.

Dr. Theodore Karasik, Security analyst

Pretending to be relatives of wounded fighters, Fotaini, Abu Khalel, and another smuggler called Najeeb Suleiman boarded a humanitarian flight to Oman, and then flew to Iran. They were taken to the port city of Bandar Abbas, where they received training on using GPS, camouflage, steering vessels and maintaining engines.

“We stayed in Bandar Abbas for a month as they were preparing an arms shipment that we would be transporting to Yemen,” Fotaini said.

On Fotaini’s first smuggling mission, his job was to act as a decoy for another boat carrying Iranian weapons to the Houthis. “The plan was for us to call the other boat to change course if anyone intercepted our boat,” he said.

He was then sent to Mahra in Yemen to await new arms shipments. The Houthis sent him data for a location at sea, where he and other smugglers met Abu Khalel with a boat laden with weapons from Iran, which were delivered to the Houthis.

Security analyst Dr. Theodore Karasik said long-standing trade ties between Yemen and Somalia made arms smuggling difficult to stop. “This is a complex network that requires constant monitoring, hence the focus on maritime security,” Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC, told Arab News.

“The smuggling routes are along traditional lines of communication that intermix with other maritime commerce. The temptation to look the other way is sometimes strong, so sharp attention is required to break these chains.”