Prince Philip and the Gulf: The story of an enduring friendship

Picture taken on September 26, 1952 in Balmoral castle park showing Queen Elizabeth II walking along with her daughter Princess Ann (2nd R), Prince Philip (R), King Faisal II of Iraq (2nd L) and the regent of Iraq. (AFP/File Photo)
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Picture taken on September 26, 1952 in Balmoral castle park showing Queen Elizabeth II walking along with her daughter Princess Ann (2nd R), Prince Philip (R), King Faisal II of Iraq (2nd L) and the regent of Iraq. (AFP/File Photo)
The British Royal Family walk in the park of Balmoral castle along with King Faisal II of Iraq, on September 26, 1952. (AFP/File Photo)
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The British Royal Family walk in the park of Balmoral castle along with King Faisal II of Iraq, on September 26, 1952. (AFP/File Photo)
King Hussein of Jordan (2nd L) and his wife Queen Dina (R) pose with Queen Elizabeth II (L),  Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne on June 19, 1955 at Windsor Castle. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Hussein of Jordan (2nd L) and his wife Queen Dina (R) pose with Queen Elizabeth II (L), Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne on June 19, 1955 at Windsor Castle. (AFP/File Photo)
The Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip pose with Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife Farah Pahlavi during their state visit, March 1961 in Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
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The Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip pose with Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife Farah Pahlavi during their state visit, March 1961 in Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L-R) with King Abdullah ll and Queen Rania of Jordan and the Duke of Edinburgh pose before attending a State Banquet at Windsor Castle 06 November 2001. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L-R) with King Abdullah ll and Queen Rania of Jordan and the Duke of Edinburgh pose before attending a State Banquet at Windsor Castle 06 November 2001. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) and Prince Philip (L) welcome King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (2nd L) to Buckingham Palace in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) and Prince Philip (L) welcome King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (2nd L) to Buckingham Palace in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) and Prince Philip (2nd R) greet Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa (2nd L) and Sheikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (3rd L) at Windsor Castle on May 18, 2012. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) and Prince Philip (2nd R) greet Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa (2nd L) and Sheikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (3rd L) at Windsor Castle on May 18, 2012. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said welcomes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (C) upon their arrival at Muscat on November 25, 2010 following her trip to the UAE. (AFP/File Photo)
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Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said welcomes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (C) upon their arrival at Muscat on November 25, 2010 following her trip to the UAE. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh (L) are welcomed by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at an official welcoming ceremony ceremony on November 26, 2010, in Muscat. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh (L) are welcomed by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at an official welcoming ceremony ceremony on November 26, 2010, in Muscat. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain’s' Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) attends an equestrian show which included the Omani Royal Cavalry in the presence of Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at Madinat al-Hidayat on November 27, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain’s' Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) attends an equestrian show which included the Omani Royal Cavalry in the presence of Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at Madinat al-Hidayat on November 27, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)
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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 13 April 2021

Prince Philip and the Gulf: The story of an enduring friendship

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
  • The royal couple attached special importance to maintaining Britain’s historic relationship with Gulf monarchies
  • In February 1965 Prince Philip flew to Riyadh as guest of King Faisal, and returned with the queen in 1979 on a state visit

LONDON: The death on Friday of Britain’s Prince Philip, the “strength and stay” of Queen Elizabeth II through the long years of her reign, is being mourned throughout the world, and nowhere more so than in the Gulf states, with which the royal couple had such an enduring and warm relationship.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman sent messages of condolence to the queen.

From the UAE, cables were sent by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai; and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

In his condolence message to the queen, the British government and the people, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa lauded Philip’s efforts to serve the UK and its friendly people. An Oman News Agency statement said “Sultan Haitham bin Tarik sent a cable of condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the President of the Commonwealth.”

Born on June 10, 1921, the Duke of Edinburgh’s death — he had recently spent a month in hospital — came just two months short of his 100th birthday. His was a remarkable century.

PRINCE PHILIP: KEY DATES

* June 10, 1921 - Born on Greek island of Corfu.

* Dec 5, 1922 - Family flees to Paris when King Constantine I is overthrown.

* 1939 - Joins the Royal Navy.

* 1947 - Renounces Greek, Danish royal titles, becomes naturalized Briton.

* 1947 - Marries Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, becomes Duke of Edinburgh.

* 1952 - Wife Elizabeth becomes queen.

* 1956 - Founds Duke of Edinburgh Award, a youth self-improvement scheme.

* 1961 - Becomes first president of the World Wildlife Fund UK.

* 2017 - Steps back from royal duties, age 96.

* April 9, 2021 - Dies at Windsor Castle, age 99.

Born in Corfu as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1939 he joined the British Royal Navy and served with distinction during the Second World War, seeing action in the North Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, where he took part in the Battle of Crete.

He was mentioned in despatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan, which also earned him the Greek War Cross, and on board the HMS Wallace he took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily.

On board the destroyer HMS Whelp with the British Pacific Fleet, he was present in Tokyo Bay to witness the formal surrender of the Japanese on Sept. 2, 1945, and the end of the Second World War.

As Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, he had first met Princess Elizabeth, Britain’s future Queen, in 1934. At the outbreak of war, Philip, then 18, and the 13-year-old Princess began writing to each other. As he sailed the world with the Royal Navy, and she served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army, and braved the bombs of the Blitz, their letters raised each other’s spirits and they became firm friends.

INNUMBERS

* 143 - Countries visited by Prince Philip in official capacity.

* 22,191 - Solo engagements as longest-serving consort in UK history.

In July 1947, two years after the cessation of hostilities, they became engaged.

Before the engagement was announced, the prince renounced his Greek and Danish titles, adopted his maternal grandparents’ name, Mountbatten, and became a naturalized British subject.

With his dashing good looks and outstanding military record, the queen’s fiance immediately won the hearts of the British public.

On the eve of the wedding — a glittering ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London on Nov. 20, 1947, that raised the spirits not only of the British, but also a war-weary British Empire — Philip was appointed Duke of Edinburgh by the princess’s father, King George VI, and granted the title His Royal Highness.




King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)

On Feb. 6, 1952, a few days after the prince and the princess had set out on their first tour of the Commonwealth, the couple received the news that Elizabeth’s father, the king, had died.

They flew straight home and from that moment on the man who had served Britain so valiantly throughout the Second World War had a new, vitally important role to play.

For the next 69 years, the great, great-grandchild of Queen Victoria would never be far from Queen Elizabeth’s side, supporting her in everything she did, from entertaining visiting heads of state to making state visits around the world.




The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)

A terrific conversationalist, with a quick wit, dry sense of humor and mischievous disregard for stuffy protocol, it was often Philip who put a human face on the potentially intimidating countenance of monarchy, lightening the mood and putting at ease all those daunted by the prospect of meeting the Queen.

Throughout those years both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attached a special importance to maintaining Britain’s special relationship with the monarchies of the Gulf.

State visits by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Arab countries

* Kuwait: Feb. 12-14, 1979.

* Bahrain: Feb. 14-17, 1979.

* Saudi Arabia: Feb 17-20, 1979.

* Qatar: Feb. 21-24, 1979.

* UAE: Feb. 24-27, 1979.

* Oman: Feb. 28-March 2, 1979.

* Tunisia: Oct. 21-23, 1980.

* Algeria: Oct. 25-27, 1980.

* Morocco: Oct. 27-30, 1980.

* Jordan: March 26-30, 1984.

* UAE: Nov. 24-25, 2010.

* Oman: Nov. 25-28, 2010.

In one early solo visit to the region, in February 1965 Prince Philip flew to Riyadh as the guest of Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal. Two years later, King Faisal renewed his acquaintance with the prince when he made a state visit to London.

For over 150 years Britain had had the closest ties, sealed by treaties signed in the 19th century, with what it termed the Trucial States, but on Dec. 1, 1971, those treaties were revoked.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)

Led by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Trucial States became the United Arab Emirates. However, the bonds between Britain and the Gulf states, and between the monarchy of Britain and the crowns of all the Gulf states, remained strong, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the royal couple.

Key Britain-Saudi royal visit dates

* May, 9-17, 1967: King Faisal makes UK state visit.

* Feb. 17-20, 1979: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Saudi Arabia.

* June, 9-12, 1981: King Khalid makes UK state visit.

* March 24-27, 1987: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd makes UK state visit.

* Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2007: King Abdullah makes UK state visit.

In 1979 Prince Philip was by the queen’s side when she visited the UAE, entertaining Sheikh Zayed on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, which had sailed to the Gulf for the occasion.

Thirty-one years later, there was a poignancy to the occasion when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip returned to Abu Dhabi in 2010, to visit Sheikh Zayed’s tomb and Grand Mosque in the company of his son, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)

Some of the photographs in the album of Prince Philip’s many meetings with the states and leaders of the Middle East are overshadowed by the events that followed.

A black-and-white photograph taken on Sept. 26, 1952, for example, shows Philip, holding the hand of his daughter, Princess Ann, walking in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland with the Queen and their guests, the young King Faisal II and Prince Abdullah, the regent of Iraq. Both men, along with members of their family and staff, were brutally murdered in July 1958 when Faisal was overthrown in a bloody coup.

In March 1961, the royal couple flew to Iran for a state visit to a country that 18 years later would undergo a shocking transformation. Photographs of the visit show Prince Philip and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi grinning broadly alongside the queen and Farah Pahlavi at a state occasion. In 1979 the Iranian monarchy would be swept aside by an Islamic revolution that would send shockwaves around the region.

State visits by Middle East and North African leaders to the UK

* July 16-19, 1956: Iraq’s King Faisal II.

* May 5-8, 1959: Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

* July 19-28, 1966: Jordan’s King Hussein I and Princess Muna.

* May, 9-17, 1967: Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal.

* June, 9-12, 1981: Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid.

* March, 16-19, 1982: Oman’s Sultan Qaboos.

* April, 10-13, 1984: Bahrain’s Emir Sheikh Isa.

* Nov. 12-15, 1985: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Khalifa.

* March 24-27, 1987: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd.

* July 14-17, 1987: Morocco’s King Hassan II.

* July 18-21, 1989: UAE’s President Sheikh Zayed.

* July 23-26, 1991: Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and First Lady Suzanne Mubarak.

* May 23-26, 1995: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Jaber.

* Nov. 6-9, 2001: Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.

* Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2007: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

* Oct. 25-28, 2010: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad.

* Nov. 27-29, 2012: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah.

* April 30-May 1, 2013: UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa.

But in the main, the photographic record of Prince Philip’s long relationship with the region evokes only happy memories — such as of the honeymoon visit to Britain in 1955 of King Hussein of Jordan and his wife Queen Dina, the four-day state visit to Britain in 2001 of King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan, and the state visit of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2007.

The happy, laughing faces in so many of the photographs taken of Prince Philip over the years, whether on state visits or during walkabouts, also captured something of the essence of the man and the part he played in maintaining the bonds between royal families, and helping to make the monarchy accessible.

Queen Elizabeth, in a speech to mark the couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1997, put it this way: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”

----------------

Twitter: @JonathanGornall


Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise
Updated 34 min 14 sec ago

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise
JERUSALEM: Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians and wounded a third after the men opened fire on a base in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the latest in a series of violent confrontations amid soaring tensions in Jerusalem.
Dozens of Palestinians in an east Jerusalem neighborhood are at risk of being evicted following a long legal battle with Israeli settlers, and Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police in the city on a nightly basis since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The tensions have radiated across the region, with neighboring Jordan warning Israel against further “provocative” steps, and Iran seizing on the sensitivities around Jerusalem and encouraging the violence.
Israeli police said three attackers fired on the base near the northern West Bank town of Jenin. The Border Police and an Israeli soldier opened fire in response, killing two of the men and wounding a third, who was evacuated to a hospital.
Some 70,000 worshippers attended the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the site said. Thousands protested afterwards, waving the green flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans before dispersing peacefully.
Israelis and Palestinians are bracing more more violence in the coming days.
Sunday night is “Laylat Al-Qadr” or the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshippers will gather for intense nighttime prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, a flashpoint holy site sacred to Muslims and to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions.
This year, Ramadan has coincided with an uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence focused on Jerusalem, where Palestinian protesters have repeatedly clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on outdoor gatherings at the Damascus Gate leading into the Old City.
On Thursday, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting earlier this week in the West Bank that killed an Israeli and wounded two others.
On Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian during a confrontation near the West Bank city of Nablus. The military said several Palestinians had thrown firebombs toward soldiers.
In recent days, protesters have scuffled with police and settlers over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with Israeli settler groups trying to acquire property in the neighborhood north of the Old City.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital.
The Palestinians view east Jerusalem — which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict.
Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Al-Aqsa, weighed in on Friday, saying “Israel’s continuation of its illegal practices and provocative steps” in the city is a “dangerous game.”
“Building and expanding settlements, confiscating lands, demolishing homes and deporting Palestinians from their homes are illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is a regional and international necessity,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi tweeted.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has egged on the violence, and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired rockets in support of the protesters.
Earlier this week, the shadowy commander of Hamas’ armed wing, Mohammed Deif, released his first public statement in seven years, in which he warned Israel it would pay a “heavy price” if it evicts Palestinians from their homes.

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise
Updated 38 min 18 sec ago

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise

Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian attackers as tensions rise
  • Dozens of Palestinians in an east Jerusalem neighborhood are at risk of being evicted following long-legal battle with Israeli settlers
  • Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police in the city on a nightly basis since Ramadan started

JERUSALEM: Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians and wounded a third after the men opened fire on a base in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the latest in a series of violent confrontations amid soaring tensions in Jerusalem.
Dozens of Palestinians in an east Jerusalem neighborhood are at risk of being evicted following a long legal battle with Israeli settlers.
Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police in the city on a nightly basis since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan started.
The tensions have radiated across the region, with neighboring Jordan warning Israel against further “provocative” steps, and Iran seizing on the sensitivities around Jerusalem and encouraging the violence.
Israeli police said three attackers fired on the base near the northern West Bank town of Jenin. The Border Police and an Israeli soldier opened fire in response, killing two of the men and wounding a third, who was evacuated to a hospital.
Some 70,000 worshippers attended the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the site said. Thousands protested afterwards, waving the green flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans before dispersing peacefully.
Israelis and Palestinians are bracing more violence in the coming days.
Sunday night is “Laylat Al-Qadr” or the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshippers will gather for intense nighttime prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, a flashpoint holy site sacred to Muslims and to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions.
Israel’s archenemy Iran was meanwhile marking its own Quds (Jerusalem) Day on Friday. The national holiday typically features anti-Israel protests and fiery speeches by Iranian leaders predicting Israel’s demise.
“The downward and declining movement of the Zionist regime has begun and will not stop,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised address. He called for continuing armed “resistance” in the Palestinian territories and urged Muslim nations support it.
This year, Ramadan has coincided with an uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence focused on Jerusalem, where Palestinian protesters have repeatedly clashed with Israeli police over restrictions on outdoor gatherings at the Damascus Gate leading into the Old City.
On Thursday, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting earlier this week in the West Bank that killed an Israeli and wounded two others.
On Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian during a confrontation near the West Bank city of Nablus. The military said several Palestinians had thrown firebombs toward soldiers.
In recent days, protesters have scuffled with police and settlers over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with Israeli settler groups trying to acquire property in the neighborhood north of the Old City.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital.
The Palestinians view east Jerusalem — which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict.
Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Al-Aqsa, weighed in on Friday, saying “Israel’s continuation of its illegal practices and provocative steps” in the city is a “dangerous game.”
“Building and expanding settlements, confiscating lands, demolishing homes and deporting Palestinians from their homes are illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is a regional and international necessity,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi tweeted.
The Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has egged on the violence, and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired rockets in support of the protesters.
Earlier this week, the shadowy commander of Hamas’ armed wing, Mohammed Deif, released his first public statement in seven years, in which he warned Israel it would pay a “heavy price” if it evicts Palestinians from their homes.


German report reveals how Iran uses proliferation to smuggle illegal goods

German report reveals how Iran uses proliferation to smuggle illegal goods
Updated 07 May 2021

German report reveals how Iran uses proliferation to smuggle illegal goods

German report reveals how Iran uses proliferation to smuggle illegal goods
  • The report states that Iran creates state-controlled “neutral” companies to hide the true nature of the purchase from buyers
  • Iran also uses “detour deliveries over ‘third states’ in order not to identify the final buyer”

DUBAI: An intelligence report from Germany revealed on Friday details of how the Islamic Republic uses proliferation techniques to smuggle illicit technology for deadly weapons.
“Proliferation-relevant countries such as Iran, North Korea and Syria, but also Pakistan, try to circumvent safety precautions and legal export regulations and to disguise illegal procurement activities. To do this, they turn to mostly conspiratorial means and methods,” wrote the intelligence agency in northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein,” the report explains.
“Proliferation is still one of the central tasks of counter-espionage in Schleswig-Holstein,” the report adds.
According to the agency, proliferation is the “spread of weapons of mass destruction (ABC weapons) and the necessary know-how, as well as the products used for their manufacture and associated carrier technologies.”
ABC commonly refers to atomic, biological and chemical weapons.
The report states that Iran creates state-controlled “neutral” companies to hide the true nature of the purchase from buyers and establishes “illegal procurement networks which belong to the front companies and middlemen.”
Iran also uses “detour deliveries over ‘third states’ in order not to identify the final buyer” and “the use and misuse of inexperienced freight deliverers and transporters,” the report added.
Iran also breaks down the deliveries of illegal deliveries into several “individual non-suspicious deliveries to avoid exposing the entire business.” 
The report also said that Iran “conceals the end user” and the “individual, company or institution with which the goods ultimately remain.”
The report cited Iran 19 times in the 218-page report, covering security threats to the state’s democracy.
It also said that states such as Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria and Russia strive to acquire dual-use goods, items which have both civil and military use.
“Proliferation is a serious threat to security in many regions of the world, including the Federal Republic of Germany and thus for the state of Schleswig-Holstein. The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the most important export nations in the world. The export of military as well as civilian goods are subject therefore to special control,” the report added.


French FM says Lebanon needs saving from ‘collective suicide’

French FM says Lebanon needs saving from ‘collective suicide’
Updated 07 May 2021

French FM says Lebanon needs saving from ‘collective suicide’

French FM says Lebanon needs saving from ‘collective suicide’
BEIRUT: France’s top diplomat wielded the threat of more sanctions in Beirut Friday to prevent what he described as a “collective suicide” organized by members of Lebanon’s ruling political class.
Lebanon’s leaders had promised reform in the aftermath of a deadly explosion at Beirut port last year but, nine months on, they have yet to form a government.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country has spearheaded international efforts to assist Lebanon’s moribund economy, said there was no sign of a breakthrough.
“It is indeed urgent to find a way out of the political deadlock,” he told reporters just before wrapping up a two-day visit to Beirut.
“To this day, my observation is that the political players have not lived up to their responsibilities and have still not seriously started working on the country’s recovery.”
Le Drian held talks on Thursday with President Michel Aoun, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and prime minister-designate Saad Hariri.
“If they do not act now in a responsible surge of effort, they will face the consequences of this failure,” he said.
Le Drian, who had last year already compared Lebanon to “the Titanic minus the orchestra,” accused those responsible for the deadlock of leading the country to its death.
“I am here precisely to prevent this kind of collective suicide organized by some,” he said.
France announced late last month it had started imposing entry restrictions on certain figures for their role in the political crisis and in corruption.
Le Drian refused to provide names but warned that the sanctions could be made tougher and extended to other politicians.
“It is up to the Lebanese officials to decide whether they want to break out of the deadlock hey have organized,” he said.
Le Drian’s official meetings on Thursday were not followed by joint press conferences. His appointment with Hariri was short and kept under wraps until the last minute.
The French minister also held a meeting with representatives of opposition parties which was welcomed by their leaders as a sign that the international community was increasingly open to political alternatives.

Moroccan FM: Iran is working to destabilize North and West Africa

Moroccan FM: Iran is working to destabilize North and West Africa
Updated 07 May 2021

Moroccan FM: Iran is working to destabilize North and West Africa

Moroccan FM: Iran is working to destabilize North and West Africa

DUBAI: Iran is working through its proxies to destabilize North and West Africa, Al Arabiya reported on Friday citing the Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Iran threatens our territorial integrity and is training its militias to attack us, the Moroccan minister said, adding that Tehran was expanding its sphere of influence through Hezbollah.