European powers, GCC condemn Israel settlement approvals

European powers, GCC condemn Israel settlement approvals
A Palestinian man confronts an Israeli forces after they intervened in scuffles between Jewish settlers and Palestinian farmers trying to access their lands to harvest olives, in the West Bank village of Burqah, on October 16, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 17 October 2020

European powers, GCC condemn Israel settlement approvals

European powers, GCC condemn Israel settlement approvals
  • The UAE and Bahrain had in mid-September set aside decades of enmity with Israel to sign a US-brokered deal to normalize ties

BERLIN/RIYADH: European powers on Friday condemned Israel’s decision to approve thousands more settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, calling it a “counterproductive” move that undermines regional peace efforts.

“The expansion of settlements violates international law and further imperils the viability of a two-state solution to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said a joint statement from the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain.
“As we have emphasized directly with the government of Israel, this step furthermore undermines efforts to rebuild trust between the parties with a view to resuming dialogue,” they said, urging an immediate halt in settlement construction.
The ministers said pushing ahead with more settlements would be a “counterproductive move in light of the positive developments of normalization agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.”
A day earlier, Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) Secretary General Nayef Al-Hajjraf also deplored Israeli authorities’ approval of building thousands of housing units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

HIGHLIGHT

Pushing ahead with more settlements will be a ‘counterproductive move in light of the positive developments of normalization agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.’

In a statement, Al-Hajjraf affirmed full rejection to the Israeli plans on expanding settlements in the West Bank and imposing its sovereign over it.
He stressed the necessity of halting the settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that building settlements is a big obstacle against reviving peace in the Middle East region.
Al-Hajjraf emphasized the GCC’s support to the brotherly Palestinian people and their legitimate right to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with the Arab peace initiative, the international legitimacy’s resolutions and international laws.
The UAE and Bahrain had in mid-September set aside decades of enmity with Israel to sign a US-brokered deal to normalize ties.
Western powers had hoped the deals would bring regional stability and give a boost to hopes for peace.
But the Palestinians have branded the shift by the Gulf nations as “betrayal.”

 


Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Updated 03 December 2020

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew
  • Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries
  • Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY: New measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip were announced on Thursday by the interior ministry of Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.
Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries, the interior ministry said in a statement.
A night-time curfew was also set to start from Saturday, lasting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 am, while a full lockdown will be imposed on Fridays and Saturdays from December 11 through to the end of the month.
Shops and other premises must close by 6:00 p.m. and people must be home by 6:30 pm, compared to 8:00 p.m. under the previous curfew rules.
Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip, saying the situation was “out of control.”
The enclave, a small, densely populated territory with two million inhabitants under an Israeli blockade, closed its borders early in the pandemic and only allowed a limited number of people to enter, requiring them to isolate for three weeks in quarantine centers.
Up until mid-August, authorities in Gaza had only recorded around 100 Covid-19 cases.
But in the past two weeks, containment of the virus has deteriorated in Gaza, with hundreds of new infections announced per day, resulting in a total of 23,023 cases and 122 deaths.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is among those who have recently been infected by the virus, the movement said Tuesday.