Violence in Jerusalem as far-right Jewish extremists attack Palestinians

Violence in Jerusalem as far-right Jewish extremists attack Palestinians
Tensions were fueled by the arrival of far-right Jews at the end of a march. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 April 2021

Violence in Jerusalem as far-right Jewish extremists attack Palestinians

Violence in Jerusalem as far-right Jewish extremists attack Palestinians
  • The violence flared outside one of the entrances to the walled Old City, after police had barred access to some areas where Palestinians usually gather
  • Tensions were fueled by the arrival of far-right Jews at the end of a march during which they harassed Palestinians and chanted “death to Arabs”

AMMAN: At least 105 Palestinians were injured in East Jerusalem on Thursday night as they confronted around 300 far-right Jewish extremists who had marched towards the Old City chanting “Death to Arabs” and reportedly threatening to burn the city. Twenty-two of the injured were hospitalized.

Police made an effort to keep the groups apart, but used stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons only against Palestinian protesters. There were no reports of any of the Israeli ultra-nationalists being detained.

Fadi Hidmi, Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs, denounced the Jewish extremists’ attacks and called for international protection for Jerusalemites.

“The intention of the extremists was known beforehand, yet the Israeli police failed to provide the most basic of protection to the Palestinian people of East Jerusalem,” Hidmi said.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called the anti-Palestinian violence in Jerusalem “state terror.”

Prof. Sari Nusseibeh, former president of Al-Quds University and the number-two candidate on the Mustaqbal (future) election list, told Arab News that the issue of Jerusalem is a struggle over land between two peoples and is central to the national cause.

“The Ramallah authority committed a major error by not placing Jerusalem at the top of its political and financial agenda. As the capital of occupied Palestine, Jerusalem should be given priority on all Arab, Muslim and international platforms,” he said.

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Israeli deputy mayor of Jerusalem, told Arab News that she believes the violence started due to a TikTok video showing Arab men assaulting an ultra-orthodox man.

She praised other Arabs for defending the man, but said the video “caused an escalation that has brought Jewish and Arab extremists to riots.”

Hassan-Nahoum called the Jewish group, Lahava, “a bunch of extremists” who were making it difficult for police to quell the rioting and insisted that rioters on both sides are treated equally by the Israeli police. She urged community leaders on both sides to appeal to young people to stay home.

Regarding the extremists’ calls for the murder of Arabs and arson, she said: “All Jews have come out against the racist statements.”

Hassan-Nahoum was unable to confirm whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or any other Israeli political or religious leaders would issue a statement denouncing the death threats against Arabs.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Daifallah Al-Fayez issued a statement denouncing the “incitement and provocations” of extremist Jewish groups and held the Israeli government responsible for “allowing the extremists to get to the Old City and attack Jerusalemites.”

The US Embassy in Israel issued a statement expressing concern about the violence in Jerusalem. “We hope all responsible voices will promote an end to incitement, a return to calm, and respect for the safety and dignity of everyone in Jerusalem,” the statement said.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human-rights organization, blamed the Israeli police for their decision to bar Palestinians from using the staircase at the entrance of Damascus gate during evening hours in Ramadan.

“The incidents of friction and confrontation in the area stem from the closure of the Damascus Gate steps and unprovoked police aggression and use of excessive force toward Palestinians, which disrupt the peace and lead to escalation,” it said.

Multiple videos were posted on social media including one showing Jewish youths attacking an Arab home just inside the Old City. Children’s cries can be heard as an unseen woman shouts “Stop” in Arabic, while several Jewish youths throw objects at the home.

Orthodox priest Atallah Hanna, archbishop of Sabastia, told Arab News that the incitement by Jewish extremists against Jerusalemites is part of a racist policy intended to force Palestinians from the city.

“They want the people of the Old City to live in terror — especially at a time when Christians are fasting for lent and Muslims are fasting in Ramadan — but these terrorizing actions will not deter us,” he said.

IfNotNow, a movement of Israelis calling “to end Israel’s occupation and to transform the American Jewish community,” issued a blistering statement calling what happened in Jerusalem a “pogrom” and blaming Israeli leaders for inciting the violence.

“Make no mistake: The anti-Arab riots in Jerusalem are the result of decades of incitement from Israeli leaders who have more and more power,” the statement said.

 


Netanyahu says Israel firmly rejects pressure not to build in Jerusalem

Netanyahu says Israel firmly rejects pressure not to build in Jerusalem
Updated 39 min 50 sec ago

Netanyahu says Israel firmly rejects pressure not to build in Jerusalem

Netanyahu says Israel firmly rejects pressure not to build in Jerusalem
  • Pope Francis has also called for an end to the violence in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: Israel “firmly rejects” pressure not to build in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday following spreading international condemnation of planned evictions of Palestinians from homes in the city claimed by Jewish settlers.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis expressed his concern at the unrest in Jerusalem, saying: “Violence only generates violence. Let’s stop these clashes.”
“I pray so that this might be a place of encounter and not violent clashes, a place of prayer and of peace. I invite everyone to seek shared resolutions so that the multireligious identity and multiculture of the holy city might be respected and so that fraternity might prevail,” he said after reciting the Regina Caeli prayer.


Syria says fire erupts in main Homs refinery

Syria says fire erupts in main Homs refinery
Updated 09 May 2021

Syria says fire erupts in main Homs refinery

Syria says fire erupts in main Homs refinery
  • The fire erupted in a distillation unit due to a leak in a pumping station
  • There was a large fire and blast at Homs in January this year
AMMAN: Syrian authorities are working on extinguishing a fire that erupted in its main Homs refinery in the west of the nation, state media said on Sunday.
The fire erupted in a distillation unit due to a leak in a pumping station, it said without elaborating.
State television showed live footage of fire engulfing parts of the refinery with black smoke plumes in the distance as firefighters tackled the flames.
There was a large fire and blast at Homs in January this year involving a nearby crude oil loading station and dozens of trucks that transport petroleum products across the country.
Both Homs refinery and Banias on the Mediterranean coast have faced supply shortages in recent months due to erratic supplies of Iranian crude oil to the sanctions-hit country that relies mainly on Tehran for its energy needs.
Syria has over the past year two years faced months of gasoline and fuel shortages, forcing it to ration supplies distributed across government-held areas and to apply several rounds of steep price hikes.

UAE administers over 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

UAE administers over 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses
Updated 09 May 2021

UAE administers over 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

UAE administers over 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses
  • UAE announced 1,735 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases to 534,445

DUBAI: The UAE has administered 11,126,889 COVID-19 vaccine doses so far with an additional 78,342 jabs provided to residents overnight, bringing the country’s distribution rate to 112.50 doses per 100 people.

Health officials have embarked on a rapid vaccination campaign to stem the spread of coronavirus, and the country has one of the highest proportions of the population inoculated

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the vaccination program was in “line with plan to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all members of society and efforts to reach acquired immunity resulting from the vaccination,” a report from state news agency WAM said.

This will help reduce the number of cases and control the COVID-19 virus, the reported added.

Meanwhile, the UAE announced 1,735 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases to 534,445, as well as three new deaths overnight.

The number of coronavirus-related fatalities is now at 1,610.

The MoHAP also noted that an additional 1,701 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 514,769.


Algeria remembers victims of French rule

Algeria remembers victims of French rule
Algerian youths pose beneath a street name plaque honouring an Algerian lawyer killed by the French during the 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence in Algiers. (AFP file photo)
Updated 08 May 2021

Algeria remembers victims of French rule

Algeria remembers victims of French rule
  • The crackdown led by French General Raymond Duval left as many as 45,000 dead, according to Algerian official figures

ALGIERS: Algeria on Saturday honored thousands killed by French forces in 1945, as the North African country waits for Paris to apologize for its colonial era crimes.
Pro-independence protests broke out after a rally on May 8, 1945 marking the allied victory over Nazi Germany.
The rioting triggered two weeks of bloody repression in which French troops massacred thousands of mostly unarmed Muslim civilians, a key chapter in Algeria’s long independence struggle.
On Saturday, thousands of people took part in a march of remembrance following the same route through the northeastern city of Setif as the May 8 rally 76 years ago, official media reported.
Led by scouts, participants laid a wreath at a monument to Bouzid Saal, a 22-year-old man shot dead by a French policeman in 1945 for refusing to lower his Algerian flag — the first casualty of the violence.
The crackdown led by French General Raymond Duval left as many as 45,000 dead, according to Algerian official figures.
French historians put the toll at up to 20,000, including 86 European civilians and 16 soldiers killed in revenge attacks.
The killings had a transformative impact on the nascent anti-colonial movement, setting the scene for a full-blown independence war nine years later that finally led to independence in 1962.
Algerian officials have continued to call for a full apology from France for its colonial era policies, and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has described the 1945 killings as “crimes against humanity.”
Government spokesman Ammar Belhimer repeated that demand on Saturday, calling for “the official, definitive and comprehensive recognition by France of its crimes (along with) repentance and fair compensation.”
He also called for help dealing with the toxic waste left behind by 17 nuclear tests France carried out in the Algerian desert in the 1960s.

 


Militias briefly take over Tripoli government headquarters

Militias briefly take over Tripoli government headquarters
Members of the Tripoli Protection Force, an alliance of militias from the capital city, patrol an area south of the Libyan capital. (AFP file photo)
Updated 09 May 2021

Militias briefly take over Tripoli government headquarters

Militias briefly take over Tripoli government headquarters
  • The takeover underscored the tough road ahead for the interim government, which has been tasked with steering Libya through general elections due at the end of the year

CAIRO: In a show of force, armed militiamen briefly took over a hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli that serves as headquarters for the interim government, officials said Saturday.
Friday’s development came after the three-member presidential council earlier this week appointed a new chief of the intelligence agency, Libya’s version of the CIA. The militias, which control Tripoli, were apparently unhappy with the choice of Hussein Khalifa as the new spy chief.
Presidential council spokeswoman Najwa Wheba said no one was hurt in the takeover of Hotel Corinthia, in the heart of Tripoli. The hotel was mostly empty on Friday, the Muslim weekend.
After a while, the militias left the hotel, according to an official at the Interior Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations. Khalifa and the militia leaders were not immediately available for comment on Saturday.
The takeover underscored the tough road ahead for the interim government, which has been tasked with steering Libya through general elections due at the end of the year. The government has struggled to unite the conflict-stricken nation ahead of the vote.
Wheba said the presidential council has no permanent headquarters and that the hotel is one of the places where the council convenes. Videos circulating on social media show militiamen at the entrance of the hotel.
On Monday, Najla Al-Manqoush, the foreign minister of Libya’s interim government called for the departure of all foreign forces and mercenaries, including Turkish troops, from the oil-rich North African country. That was seen as a rebuke to Turkey and angered pro-Turkey factions in western Libya.
UN Security Council diplomats say there are more than 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, including Syrians, Sudanese, Chadians and Russians.
Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi, who was later killed.