British FM warns Israel against West Bank annexation

An Israeli soldier aims his weapon as a tire burns during a Palestinian protest against the Middle East peace plan, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Jan. 31, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 February 2020

British FM warns Israel against West Bank annexation

  • The US has proposed that Israel annex the Jordan Valley and all of its West Bank settlements as part of the Middle East peace plan that was announced on Tuesday
  • “The United Kingdom is concerned by reports of possible moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel,” Raab said

LONDON: Britain’s foreign secretary warned Israel on Friday against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.
“The United Kingdom is concerned by reports of possible moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel,” Dominic Raab said in a statement.
“Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to re-start peace negotiations, and contrary to international law,” he added.
“Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves.” 
The US has proposed that Israel annex the Jordan Valley and all of its West Bank settlements as part of the Middle East peace plan that was announced on Tuesday. 
Britain has cautiously welcomed the plan. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday in Parliament: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution … It would ensure that Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the US and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting the plan.
Speaking at an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, he said: “We’ve informed the Israeli side ... that there will be no relations at all with them and the United States, including security ties.”
The final communique of the meeting said the ministers affirmed the Palestinian people’s right to create a state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

Updated 30 May 2020

Hard-hit Turkey’s easing of lockdown criticized

ANKARA: Turkey is easing its coronavirus lockdown from June 1, despite the World Health Organization saying it is one of the leading European countries for coronavirus infections. 

The virus has killed 4,461 people in Turkey, and there were 160,979 infections as of May 28. It ranks 10th worldwide in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen from Monday while intercity travel restrictions will be lifted the same day.

Many professional organizations, especially the Turkish Medical Association, find the abrupt restart of business activity to be premature and have called for increased testing, claiming that mass gatherings may trigger further contagion as the first wave of the outbreak is not yet over.

Lebanese security forces began handing out fines to enforce the wearing of face masks, as the country recorded four new cases to bring its tally to 1,172.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia recorded 17 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 458. There were 1,581 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 81,766 people have now contracted the disease. There are 24,295 active cases.

France’s national health agency reported a sudden jump in new infections — just an hour after the prime minister announced a sweeping national reopening plan. The agency clarified that the new figures were the result of a new accounting method, and not linked to a much-feared second wave of the virus.