Saudi Arabia condemns eviction, forced displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters look on during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, on May 7, 2021. (AFP)
Palestinian protesters look on during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, on May 7, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 11 May 2021

Saudi Arabia condemns eviction, forced displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia condemns eviction, forced displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem
  • Kingdom reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and rejected Israeli violations of their rights
  • The Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency session

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated that it rejects Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinians, and strongly condemns its plans, and evacuation operations, for the forced displacement of families in East Jerusalem.
The Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, said the Israeli violations flagrantly contravene the principles of international humanitarian law, and defy UN Security Council resolutions.
He added that the “Kingdom’s continued support for the Palestinian people stems from its deep belief in the importance of the just Palestinian cause, and the need to intensify international efforts to end this long-running conflict in order to restore their legitimate rights and establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
His comments came during an emergency session of the OIC, chaired by Niger — which currently holds the rotating presidency of the organization’s Foreign Ministerial Council — to discuss Israeli attacks on occupied Arab land, especially Jerusalem.
Al-Suhaibani said the Kingdom rejects and condemns Israeli plans and operations that aim to remove, forcibly, Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem and impose sovereignty, and the consequences this could have.
He also condemned “any unilateral measures and any Israeli violations of international legitimacy resolutions, and anything that undermines the chances of resuming the peace process and international efforts to achieve regional security and stability.”
Saudi Arabia will continue to defend the cause of the Palestinian people in regional and international forums, the foremost of which is the UN Security Council, he added.
“At a time when Muslims all over the earth are preparing to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr and complete the obligation of fasting with joy and pleasure, we find that our Palestinian brothers are being exposed to attacks and provocations by the Israeli occupation forces with the aim of carrying out evictions and forced displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem,” said Al-Suhaibani.
“This is a flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law, and UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2334 which affirms that east Jerusalem is Palestinian land, and the establishment of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and an obstacle to achieving permanent and comprehensive peace.”
Saudi Arabia reiterates its complete support for the Palestinian people, their legitimate rights and all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue in a way that enables them to establish an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 border agreement, with East Jerusalem as its capital, he added.
The Kingdom also calls on the international community to take immediate action to compel Israel to halt all practices that violate the rights of the Palestinian people, “who have suffered greatly and are still struggling to obtain their most important legitimate rights to establish security and safety, achieve economic growth, and improve their conditions,” Al-Suhaibani said.


Saudi Arabia announces 16 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 450,255
  • A total of 7,606 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 16 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,269 new infections on Tuesday.
Of the new cases, 402 were recorded in Makkah, 262 in Riyadh, 186 in the Eastern Province, 105 in Asir, 79 in Madinah, 77 in Jazan, 31 in Najran, 27 in Al-Baha, 25 in Tabuk, 19 in Hail, 14 in the Northern Borders region and two in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 450,255 after 1,014 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,606 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


More than 450,000 people apply to perform Hajj during first 24 hours of registration

More than 450,000 people apply to perform Hajj during first 24 hours of registration
Updated 15 June 2021

More than 450,000 people apply to perform Hajj during first 24 hours of registration

More than 450,000 people apply to perform Hajj during first 24 hours of registration
  • Of those registering, 60 percent were men and 40 percent were women
  • No priority will be given to those who apply early and registration will be open till June 23

RIYADH: More than 450,000 people in Saudi Arabia applied to perform Hajj this year during the 24 hours since registration opened, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Tuesday.
Of those registering, 60 percent were men and 40 percent were women.
No priority will be given to those who apply early and registration will be open till June 23, the ministry added.
Vaccinated citizens and residents in the Kingdom between the ages of 18 and 65 who do not have chronic diseases and have not performed Hajj in the last five years are able to apply.
Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that this year’s Hajj will be limited to 60,000 pilgrims from within the Kingdom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Saudi minister Jubeir meets US climate envoy John Kerry

Saudi minister Jubeir meets US climate envoy John Kerry
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi minister Jubeir meets US climate envoy John Kerry

Saudi minister Jubeir meets US climate envoy John Kerry

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met on Tuesday US Climate Secretary John Kerry.

Kerry was on his first visit to the Kingdom after assuming the position of US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

Since President Joe Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, he has made several moves to emphasize the importance of mitigating global warming and reinstating America's role as a leader in that battle. This included appointing former Secretary of State Kerry to be the country's first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, making him the administration's global face on the issue.

Biden also recommitted the US to the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change through which 196 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 


AlUla can become important aspect of local life, source of pride for Saudis, experts say

AlUla can become important aspect of local life, source of pride for Saudis, experts say
Updated 15 June 2021

AlUla can become important aspect of local life, source of pride for Saudis, experts say

AlUla can become important aspect of local life, source of pride for Saudis, experts say
  • AlUla is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy, increase tourism and raise its international profile

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s AlUla has the opportunity to become a crucial aspect of local and regional life and an area for all Saudis to take pride in, a panel discussing how the ancient valley can foster change heard.

“AlUla, in my opinion, has the opportunity to become one of the most important aspects of local and regional life, and also an area for all Saudis to feel so proud of,” President Emeritus of the Guggenheim Foundation Jennifer Stockman told the panel discussion, “At the crossroads: The living museum as a barometer of social change.”

“The change will dramatically happen when the world realizes that this is a brand-new discovery and fills in that white spot on the map. An interest in tourism will absolutely follow,” Stockman said.

AlUla is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy, increase tourism and raise its international profile.   

The city, in the Kingdom’s Madinah region, is home to 200,000 years of still largely unexplored human history, and plays a central role in its tourism strategy.

The panel discussed ways to ensure that the living museum fosters the changes that the Kingdom desires.

Director of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery Eike Schmidt agreed that there was an opportunity to discover the ancient city and its wonders that many people did not yet know about.

“If we look at AlUla, I think we have a huge opportunity here because it is still for many people . . . a relatively white spot on the map that needs to be filled,” Schmidt said.

The director praised the Kingdom’s dedicated efforts to make the cultural site a center of scholarship and to place the people of AlUla at the core of the city.

“I already know about this wonderful project to make it a center of scholarship and of the communication of arts, and not just of the time period but far beyond that. So I think I can only congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to have undertaken this wonderful project and to bring it along,” Schmidt said. 

Scientific Director at the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula) Jean Francois Charnier was also keen for the world to learn about the “regional and international hub of influence” and place it back on the world’s map.

“This small city of AlUla was a door, a crossroad of cultural civilization around the world. We have to talk about that, we have to replace AlUla on the map of the world’s history,” Charnier said.

“The living museum is a wonderful gathering of exceptional assets. AlUla is already a living museum, an open-air living museum,” the scientific director said. “Currently more than 100 archaeologists are working on the site and it’s now the biggest archaeological cluster of the Middle East.”

Charnier detailed the scale of expertise involved in bringing alive the history of the cultural city. “There are not only archaeologists, there are anthropologists, biologists, archaeozoologists, archaeobotanists. We are here writing the narratives, writing the history of the place, and this narrative will also be the roots and the narrative of the assets and the museum.”

Director of EPFL Pavilions Professor Sarah Kenderdine highlighted the significance of the archaeological programs at AlUla and the Kingdoms Institute.

The Kingdoms Institute is dedicated to the study of the history and prehistory of the Arabian Peninsula and is committed to becoming a world-class scientific center for archaeological and conservation research.

“The archaeological programs at AlUla and the Kingdoms Institute are so important; already the archaeological surveys are vast and complex and they cover 22,000 square kilometers of archaeological materials, including the oldest dog in the world. Researchers have found this dog’s bones in the burial site and that’s one of the earliest monumental tombs identified in Arabia,” Kenderdine said. 

“Therefore, AlUla plays this really pivotal role in the development of humankind across the Middle East and a global team is working at the Kingdoms Institute to give us the bridge that allows us to walk into deep time. The essence of historical consciousness is not just remembering what we see of their past, but also what we see in the present, and this link with the present is so vital at AlUla and it’s embodied in this rich vision for the living museum,” she said.


Young winners of Saudi tech challenge receive awards from Makkah governor

Young winners of Saudi tech challenge receive awards from Makkah governor
Updated 15 June 2021

Young winners of Saudi tech challenge receive awards from Makkah governor

Young winners of Saudi tech challenge receive awards from Makkah governor
  • As part of the Makkah Region Projects Digital Exhibition, students were tasked with developing ideas for projects to support digital transformation in Kingdom and beyond

JEDDAH: Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the governor of Makkah region, on Monday presented awards to six winners of the Makkah Days for Programming and Artificial Intelligence contest.

The two-day event, which began on Sunday, is one of the leading initiatives of the Makkah Cultural Forum’s current season. It brought together more than 90 male and female students in 30 teams from 11 universities and colleges in the region.

Saad Al-Qarni, CEO of the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA) Academy, said that in recognition of the winners’ abilities, and in an effort to encourage and promote young talent, the authority will offer them support, training and jobs.

He added that the SDAIA is proud to be a strategic partner of a competition that aims to motivate young people to enhance their knowledge and make the most of their studies by developing innovative ideas for projects that can serve their country.

Under the theme of how to set an example in the digital world, the students were tasked with developing ideas for applications and programs to support digital transformation in the Kingdom and beyond in the fields of Hajj and Umrah, tourism, entertainment and other services.

The contest was part of the week-long Makkah Region Projects Digital Exhibition which opened on June 9 at the Jeddah Super Dome. To help them develop their ideas, the teams of students took part in panel discussions and seminars with experts covering a variety of topics.

For example, the session E-commerce: From Idea to Implementation looked at ways to introduce and enhance e-commerce, and increase its use as part of the shift toward virtual shopping.

Another session offered an introduction to the use of the Python programming language, which has become a popular option because it is considered easier to learn and use than many other languages.