Abbas in Cairo to discuss Palestine situation

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (R) meets with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on December 11, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 April 2019

Abbas in Cairo to discuss Palestine situation

  • The media is full of rumors and test articles to gauge reactions from the public and officials, and no one knows what is true

CAIRO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo yesterday for an official visit to meet with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
The Ambassador of Palestine in Cairo and Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States Diab Al-Louh told Arab News that Abbas will also participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Arab League on Sunday to discuss the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Arab League said in a statement that there were important developments regarding media reports about the so-called “deal of the century,” and it was these developments that made the Palestinian side call for an emergency meeting of foreign ministers.
Ambassador Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the League of Arab States said in a press statement that the whole situation is not a reassuring one, despite what the media says. He said that the “deal of the century” is worrying and will not be positive, balanced or considerate of the Palestinian rights
“Our information and our understanding is that there is a desire by President ‘Abu Mazen’ to put the issue back on the table for the ministers, which the Palestinians considers extremely important,” he said.

‘Deal of the century’
“The session also serves as a platform for exposing the so-called deal of the century to the world and mobilizing the Arab position in the face of these developments.”
As for how the League of Arab States will deal with the “Deal of the Century,” Zaki said “I do not think anyone has accurate information about what will be put forward; everyone is playing the guessing game.
The media is full of rumors and test articles to gauge reactions from the public and officials, and no one knows what is true.”
Tarek Said, an expert on the Palestinian issue, told Arab News that the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers will have a great impact on what is raised about the deal of the century, especially in light of serious international variables related to the Palestinian issue.
While the US promotes its plan for peace in the Middle East or the so called “deal of the century,” the Arabs will be supported by the calls from senior European officials to refrain from supporting the plan if it does not respect the principle of a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis.”


Iran prepares to bury killed nuclear scientist as it mulls response

Updated 30 November 2020

Iran prepares to bury killed nuclear scientist as it mulls response

  • Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died from wounds sustained in a firefight between his guards and unidentified gunmen near Tehran
  • President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the country will seek its revenge in “due time” and not be rushed into a “trap”

TEHRAN: Debate raged in Iran on Sunday over how and when to respond to a top nuclear scientist’s assassination, blamed on arch-foe Israel, as his body was honored at Shiite shrines to prepare it for burial.
Two days after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died from wounds sustained in a firefight between his guards and unidentified gunmen near Tehran, parliament demanded a halt to international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites while a top official hinted Iran should leave the global non-proliferation treaty.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council usually handles decisions related to the country’s nuclear program, and parliamentary bills must be approved by the powerful Guardians Council.
President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the country will seek its revenge in “due time” and not be rushed into a “trap.”
Israel says Fakhrizadeh was the head of an Iranian military nuclear program, the existence of which the Islamic republic has consistently denied, and Washington had sanctioned him in 2008 for activities linked to Iran’s atomic activities.
The scientist’s body was taken for a ceremony on Sunday at a major shrine in the holy city of Qom before being transported to the shrine of the Islamic republic’s founder Imam Khomeini, according to Iranian media.
On Monday live video from Tehran, shared by national outlet Iran Press, showed uniformed men gathering around images of Fakhrizadeh seemingly ahead of a procession.
His funeral will be held in the presence of senior military commanders and his family, the defense ministry said on its website, without specifying where.
Israel has not officially commented on Fakhrizadeh’s killing, less than two months before US President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office after four years of hawkish foreign policy under President Donald Trump.
Trump withdrew the US from a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and then reimposed and beefed up punishing sanctions as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
Biden has signalled his administration may be prepared to rejoin the accord, but the nuclear scientist’s assassination has revived opposition to the deal among Iranian conservatives.
The head of Iran’s Expediency Council, a key advisory and arbitration body, said there was “no reason why (Iran) should not reconsider the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.”
Mohsen Rezai said Tehran should also halt implementation of the additional protocol, a document prescribing intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilitates.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Saturday for Fakhrizadeh’s killers to be punished.
Parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf called Sunday for “a strong reaction” that would “deter and take revenge” on those behind the killing of Fakhrizadeh, who was aged 59 according to Iranian media.
For Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Fakhrizadeh’s killing was clearly tied to Biden’s arrival in office.
“The timing of the assassination, even if it was determined by purely operational considerations, is a clear message to President-elect Joe Biden, intended to show Israel’s criticism” of plans to revive the deal, it said.
The UAE, which in September normalized ties with Israel, condemned the killing and urged restraint.
The foreign ministry, quoted by the official Emirati news agency WAM, said Abu Dhabi “condemns the heinous assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which could further fuel conflict in the region...
“The UAE calls upon all parties to exercise maximum degrees of self-restraint to avoid dragging the region into new levels of instability and threat to peace,” it said.
Britain, a party to the nuclear accord, said Sunday it was “concerned” about possible escalation of tensions in the Middle East following the assassination, while Turkey called the killing an act of “terrorism” that “upsets peace in the region.”
In Iran, ultra-conservative Kayhan daily called for strikes on Israel if it were “proven” to be behind the assassination.
Kayhan called for the port city of Haifa to be targeted “in a way that would annihilate its infrastructure and leave a heavy human toll.”
Iran has responded to the US withdrawal from the 2015 deal by gradually abandoning most of its key nuclear commitments under the agreement.
Rezai called on Iran’s atomic agency to take “minimum measures” such as “stopping the online broadcast of cameras, reducing or suspending inspectors and implementing restrictions in their access” to sites, ISNA news agency reported.
Iran’s parliament said the “best response” to the assassination would be to “revive Iran’s glorious nuclear industry.”
It called for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to be barred from the country’s atomic sites, said the legislature’s news agency ICANA.
Some MPs had earlier accused inspectors of acting as “spies” potentially responsible for Fakhrizadeh’s death.
But the spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told IRNA on Saturday that the issue of inspectors’ access “must be decided on at high levels” of the Islamic republic’s leadership.