Hamas arrests Palestinians in Gaza for Zoom video chat with Israelis

Hamas arrests Palestinians in Gaza for Zoom video chat with Israelis
A student takes class online while using the Zoom app at her home as Egypt shut down schools as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Cairo, Egypt April 5, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 April 2020

Hamas arrests Palestinians in Gaza for Zoom video chat with Israelis

Hamas arrests Palestinians in Gaza for Zoom video chat with Israelis
  • Rami Aman and some of his associates had also been arrested
  • he meeting for which he was arrested was held on Monday on the Zoom video conference app

GAZA: Hamas arrested a Palestinian in Gaza on Thursday, saying that he had taken part in a video conference with Israelis and describing his act as “treason.”
The Gaza interior ministry identified the man as Rami Aman and said that some of his associates, whose details were not disclosed, had also been arrested.
Aman describes himself as a freelance journalist and member of a group called The Gaza Youth Committee on his Facebook page. The meeting for which he was arrested was held on Monday on the Zoom video conference app. It appears to have been organized by Israeli peace activists, who could not be reached for comment.
An invitation link to a Zoom conference entitled ‘Meet Gazan Activists’ was posted on a Facebook event page that has since expired. It read: “Finally, an opportunity to speak with Gazans who not only do not hate us but are working tirelessly to open channel of communication between Gazans and Israelis.”
It also named Rami Aman and his group as participants.
“Holding any activity or any contact with the Israeli occupation under any cover is a crime punishable by law and is treason to our people and their sacrifices,” Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad Al-Bozom said in a statement.
Aman’s family could not be reached for comment and two Gaza-based human rights groups contacted by Reuters said they have not been approached by relatives over his arrest.
Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 and has since fought three wars with Israel. Flare-ups along the shared border are relatively frequent. Israel regards Hamas as a terrorist group and keeps Gaza under blockade, saying its aim is to stop weapons from reaching militant groups.
Coronavirus lockdowns have driven a surge in the usage of Zoom in recent weeks because it is free, and users are attracted by its ease of use. But concerns have grown over its lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions, routing of traffic through China and “zoombombing,” when uninvited guests crash meetings.
The incident triggered angry comments on social media by Palestinians in Gaza, with many praising Aman’s arrest.

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Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference
Updated 42 min 26 sec ago

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference
  • Cairo’s ambassador to the US calls for cooperation with the new administration on range of issues
  • Zahran: Many opportunities for cooperation between Egypt and the US in various fields under new administration

CAIRO: Egypt believes that the Iranian nuclear issue is not the only problem with regard to Iran and its position in the region, according to Motaz Zahran, Cairo’s ambassador in Washington. Tehran’s interference and its efforts to destroy the assets of Arab countries throughout the region is another issue that must be confronted, he said.
Zahran said in a virtual interview with the National Council for US-Arab Relations that there is an opportunity for cooperation with the new US administration in light of the Iranian interference in various conflicts in the region, whether in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Yemen, which led to the deepening of their problems.
“The Iranian nuclear issue should not be dealt with separately from Iranian interference in all regional conflicts, and there are discussions between Egypt and the US regarding Iran, with the Republicans and the Democrats,” he added.
The ambassador said Egypt believes that there should not be any unilateral move on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He saw a need for the new US administration to play a constructive role in resolving the dam dispute.
There are, he said, many opportunities for cooperation between Egypt and the US in various fields under the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The meeting was moderated by Ed Royce, former US representative, who chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Answering a question on the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, Zahran said it was sad and shocking for Egypt and the whole world, and he linked what happened in America to what Egypt witnessed when some extremist groups — mainly the Muslim Brotherhood — took advantage of large-scale demonstrations and turned them into violent protests.
He pointed out that in both nations there was a widespread national desire for unity among the people which followed the state of chaos. There are some lessons to be learned, the most important of which is that rights and freedoms, in general, are not absolute, but are linked to guaranteeing others’ rights, as well as achieving order, security and public peace.