Jordan presses Israel to vaccinate Palestinians

Palestinian health workers register samples for coronavirus testing in the West Bank village of Dura, southwest of Hebron, as part of efforts to contain the disease. (AFP/File)
Palestinian health workers register samples for coronavirus testing in the West Bank village of Dura, southwest of Hebron, as part of efforts to contain the disease. (AFP/File)
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Updated 29 January 2021

Jordan presses Israel to vaccinate Palestinians

Jordan presses Israel to vaccinate Palestinians

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Thursday Israel’s failure to provide vaccines to Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank or blockaded in the Gaza Strip was counterproductive for the Jewish state.
“The Israelis have had a very successful rollout of the vaccine, however the Palestinians have not,” Abdullah told the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“You cannot vaccinate one part of your society and not the other and think that you are going to be safe,” he said via videoconference. “That is the No. 1 lesson that COVID-19 taught us.”
Israel launched its vaccination drive a month ago. Since then nearly 2.8 million of its 9-million population have received a first jab, with half of that number already getting the second dose too.
And although Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank are being inoculated, Palestinians are not, prompting sharp criticism from human rights groups and the Palestinians themselves.
Earlier this month the Palestine Liberation Organization urged the international community “to hold Israel to account” and ensure that it provides vaccines to all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
King Abdullah said on Thursday that the novel coronavirus “does not care about borders, the rich or the poor or whoever.”
“We have got to look at the practicalities and the challenges that are ahead of us, to be able to communicate with each other and realize that we are one world, one small village,” he said.
Some 2.8 million Palestinians live under occupation in the West Bank while 2 million pack the impoverished, Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.
In mid-January, under pressure from rights groups, the Israel Prison Service said it had begun vaccinating all its detainees, including the estimated 4,400 Palestinians held in its jails.
Jordan, which is home to Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees, launched its own vaccination campaign earlier this month.
It says it hopes to provide free vaccines to a quarter of the country’s 10 million population, including foreign residents.


Israel says sanctions relief for Iran could mean ‘terror on steroids’

Israel says sanctions relief for Iran could mean ‘terror on steroids’
Updated 16 sec ago

Israel says sanctions relief for Iran could mean ‘terror on steroids’

Israel says sanctions relief for Iran could mean ‘terror on steroids’
  • Warning against world powers easing sanctions against Tehran as they seek a new nuclear deal
JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said funding for Iran could lead to “terror on steroids” on Tuesday, in an apparent warning against world powers easing sanctions against Tehran as they seek a new nuclear deal.
“The last thing you want to do ... is pour tens of billions of dollars into this apparatus. Because what will you get? Terror on steroids,” Bennett said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks $1.6 billion

UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks $1.6 billion
Updated 42 min 21 sec ago

UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks $1.6 billion

UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks $1.6 billion
  • UNRWA’s funding suffered a blow in 2018 when former US president Donald Trump cut support to the agency

JERUSALEM: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, announced a $1.6 billion funding appeal Tuesday to help counter “chronic” budget shortfalls.
It is the latest in a series of warnings from UNRWA on possible deep cuts if the international community fails to provide more support.
“Chronic agency budget shortfalls threaten the livelihoods and well-being of the Palestine refugees that UNRWA serves and pose a serious threat to the agency’s ability to maintain services,” agency head Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.
UNRWA’s funding suffered a blow in 2018 when former US president Donald Trump cut support to the agency.
His administration branded UNRWA as “irredeemably flawed,” siding with Israeli criticisms of the agency founded in 1949, a year after Israel’s creation.
President Joe Biden’s administration has restored some support, but UNRWA has said it is still struggling.
In November, it warned it was facing an “existential threat” over budget gaps.
The agency has a staff of 28,000 and provides services such as education and health care to more than five million Palestinians registered in the Palestinian territories, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.


Coalition targets Houthi strongholds in Sanaa

Coalition targets Houthi strongholds in Sanaa
Updated 18 January 2022

Coalition targets Houthi strongholds in Sanaa

Coalition targets Houthi strongholds in Sanaa
  • The drone attack targeted oil tankers in the Abu Dhabi, killing three people and wounding six others

DUBAI: The Coalition announced on Tuesday a series of airstrikes against Houthi militia strongholds and camps in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, a day after the group launched a rare and deadly attack on the United Arab Emirates.

The drone attack targeted oil tankers in the Abu Dhabi, killing three people and wounding six others.

In a statement, the Coalition said it destroyed warehouses and communications system for drones in Jabal al-Nabi Shuaib. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led pro-government coalition fighting the Houthi militia.


Iranian-Swedish dissident’s ‘terrorist’ trial to open

Iranian-Swedish dissident’s ‘terrorist’ trial to open
Updated 18 January 2022

Iranian-Swedish dissident’s ‘terrorist’ trial to open

Iranian-Swedish dissident’s ‘terrorist’ trial to open
  • Habib Chaab is accused of ‘planning and carrying out a number of terrorist acts, including bomb attacks in Khuzestan province’
TEHRAN: The trial of an Iranian-Swedish dissident held in Iran for over a year accused of carrying out “bomb attacks” for an Arab separatist group opens Tuesday, the judiciary said.
Habib Chaab disappeared during a visit to Turkey in October 2020 and a month later appeared in a video broadcast by Iranian state television, in which he confessed to launching attacks.
In December that year, Turkish authorities announced the arrest of 11 people suspected of spying and involvement in the alleged kidnapping of Chaab on behalf of Iran.
Iran accuses Chaab of leading the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), which Tehran has designated as a terrorist group.
“The first hearing in the case of Habib Farjollah Chaab, also known as Habib Asyud, the leader of the terrorist group ASMLA, opens tomorrow (Tuesday) before Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online agency said.
Chaab is accused of “planning and carrying out a number of terrorist acts, including bomb attacks in Khuzestan province,” the agency said.
Khuzestan, an oil-rich southwestern province, has a large Arab population that has regularly complained of being marginalized.
Chaab is also accused of “destroying public property with the aim of opposing the Islamic republic,” Mizan said.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality for its nationals, and Sweden had been denied consular access to Chaab.
Turkish police say Chaab was kidnapped in Istanbul before being taken him to Van, on the Iranian border, before he was handed over to authorities in Tehran.
In a video broadcast by state television in Iran after his arrest, Chaab claimed responsibility for an attack in September 2018 on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz that killed at least 29 people.
Such videos are common in Iran, and are frequently condemned by rights groups arguing that confessions are often forced through torture.

Abu Dhabi requires COVID-19 booster shots to enter emirate

Abu Dhabi requires COVID-19 booster shots to enter emirate
Updated 18 January 2022

Abu Dhabi requires COVID-19 booster shots to enter emirate

Abu Dhabi requires COVID-19 booster shots to enter emirate
  • People entering the UAE capital must show a ‘green pass’ on gov’t app

DUBAI, UAE: Facing a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant, Abu Dhabi is requiring people entering the city to show proof of booster shots.
The government’s health app said earlier this week that people entering the capital of the United Arab Emirates must show a “green pass,” confirming their vaccination status. The app says that visitors are no longer considered fully vaccinated unless they have received a booster at least six months after their second dose.
Those wishing to enter Abu Dhabi also must have have tested negative for the virus within the last two weeks to maintain their “green” status.
Abu Dhabi requires that residents show their green pass before entering public places or government buildings.
The UAE boasts among the world’s highest vaccination rates per capita. The country has fully vaccinated more than 90 percent of its population, health authorities have said. Although infections had plummeted in December, cases recently have skyrocketed to heights unseen in months.