Saudi Arabia denounces Israeli president’s visit to West Bank holy site

Saudi Arabia denounces Israeli president’s visit to West Bank holy site
Herzog’s visit drew widespread criticism from Palestinians and left-wing Israelis. (AFP)
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Updated 30 November 2021

Saudi Arabia denounces Israeli president’s visit to West Bank holy site

Saudi Arabia denounces Israeli president’s visit to West Bank holy site

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia denounced the visit of Israel’s president to Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank, calling the act a flagrant violation of its sanctity.

Saudi Arabia called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to stop the Israeli government and its officials’ continuous practices towards Islamic sanctities, according to a Saudi foreign ministry statement. Saudi Arabia called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to stop the Israeli government and its officials’ continuous practices towards Islamic sanctities.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited the site on Sunday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, sparking scuffles between Israeli security forces and protesters.

Herzog said he was visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque,  in Hebron to celebrate the ancient city’s Jewish past and promote interfaith relations. But his visit to the city, known for its tiny ultranationalist Jewish settler community and difficult living conditions for Palestinians, drew widespread criticism from Palestinians and left-wing Israelis.

— With Reuters


Minister of Saudi National Guard inaugurates air base in Dirab

Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar inaugurates the National Guard Air Base in Dirab. (SPA)
Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar inaugurates the National Guard Air Base in Dirab. (SPA)
Updated 15 sec ago

Minister of Saudi National Guard inaugurates air base in Dirab

Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar inaugurates the National Guard Air Base in Dirab. (SPA)

RIYADH: Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar on Monday inaugurated the National Guard Air Base in Dirab, south of the capital, Riyadh, the ministry said.
He listened to a briefing about the base, and watched a video presentation of the facilities and training services it offers in support of the National Guard units.
President of the Aviation Authority Maj. Gen. Fahd bin Saedan praised the base, which he said was designed to the highest standard modern facilities.
Maj. Gen. Turki Al-Tasan, the commander of the National Guard Air Base, gave a speech on the aviation base, which he said would serve as “an impregnable shield for the country, with protective hawks in its skies, becoming a military force comparable to nations.”
The minister of National Guard also toured the base’s aviation institute and listened to a briefing about the courses it offers to hone and enhance skills in various military actions.
He then toured the aviation simulators, modern simulators and advanced technologies that are used in training National Guard aviation officers and personnel in various aviation specializations for pilots and technicians.
Prince Abdullah also watched an integrated system of National Guard aircraft and their crews, including pilots and technicians, who performed a military salute to him.


Saudi city dwellers get back to nature on Riyadh floriculture tour

Saudi city dwellers get back to nature on Riyadh floriculture tour
Updated 45 min 15 sec ago

Saudi city dwellers get back to nature on Riyadh floriculture tour

Saudi city dwellers get back to nature on Riyadh floriculture tour
  • ‘We decided to design this experience to showcase the beauty of floriculture in the desert of Najd’

RIYADH: Saudi city dwellers are being offered the chance to get back to nature by delving into the world of plants.

The opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of life in Riyadh has been made available at a flower plantation just a 40-minute drive from the center of the capital.

Tour agency Maalim — that runs specialist trips to destinations throughout the Kingdom — has been operating trips to a farm in Al-Muzahimiyah where visitors can discover floriculture, learning how to plant and grow all kinds of flowers. 

Exotic plants are also featured among flower varieties including lilium, chrysanthemum, Casablanca, spray roses, and tulips and visitors are invited to pick and sample fresh vegetables along the way. (Photo by Saad Aldossari)

As well as offering cultural, agricultural, and tourist trips, the travel firm plans to introduce factory tours to help promote and support Saudi businesses and products.

The popular floriculture experience has been running every Friday and Saturday since August for groups of 18 to 20 people or private parties and trips will come to a seasonal close at the end of January. 

Exotic plants are also featured among flower varieties including lilium, chrysanthemum, Casablanca, spray roses, and tulips and visitors are invited to pick and sample fresh vegetables along the way. (Photo by Saad Aldossari)

Hessah Alajaji, founder of the Maalim agency, said: “Citizens and visitors of Saudi Arabia have never heard of this huge flower farm in Saudi Arabia. Yet it was established in 1991 and used to export produce internationally. But due to high demand in the Kingdom, it became locally distributed.

“We decided to design this experience to showcase the beauty of floriculture in the desert of Najd.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The tour is suitable for families, couples, friendship groups, and individuals and starts with an optional short bicycle ride passing by the farm’s glasshouses and wells.

• A guide then leads an indoor plantation walking tour through up to six glasshouses where visitors can watch farmers nurturing crops and learn about watering and growing methods.

“We seek opportunities and design experiences in different locations in the Kingdom for everyone to enjoy. We care about preserving nature and culture and we put a lot of effort into protecting the authenticity of the locations and tailor experiences accordingly.

“If you told me that there would be a place in Riyadh that has unique flower planting, I wouldn’t believe it,” she added. 

Exotic plants are also featured among flower varieties including lilium, chrysanthemum, Casablanca, spray roses, and tulips and visitors are invited to pick and sample fresh vegetables along the way. (Photo by Saad Aldossari)

The tour is suitable for families, couples, friendship groups, and individuals and starts with an optional short bicycle ride passing by the farm’s glasshouses and wells. A guide then leads an indoor plantation walking tour through up to six glasshouses where visitors can watch farmers nurturing crops and learn about watering and growing methods.

Exotic plants are also featured among flower varieties including lilium, chrysanthemum, Casablanca, spray roses, and tulips and visitors are invited to pick and sample fresh vegetables along the way.

In addition, the chance to create a bouquet is available at a flower arranging session, run by Loverda Academy. A floral-themed brunch brings the tour to a climax.


Who’s Who: Faisal Al-Maghlooth, general director of Made in Saudi program 

Who’s Who: Faisal Al-Maghlooth, general director of Made in Saudi program 
Updated 20 January 2022

Who’s Who: Faisal Al-Maghlooth, general director of Made in Saudi program 

Who’s Who: Faisal Al-Maghlooth, general director of Made in Saudi program 

Faisal Al-Maghlooth has been the general director of the Saudi Export Development Authority’s Made in Saudi program since July.

The initiative, aimed at locally and globally promoting national products and services, was launched to support Saudi Arabia’s national high-quality products and reinforce their competitiveness.

Al-Maghlooth, an experienced digital media strategist with a background in leading company marketing campaigns, is also the spokesman for, and a member of, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s digital media committee.

He started his career in 2010 as a senior sales executive at the Saudi Basic Industries Corp., where he was responsible for agricultural nutrient sales, after-sales support, and drafting marketing reports. He also provided recommendations to improve clients’ services and revenue generation capabilities.

Two years later, he became a sales executive with SABIC South Africa where he closely worked with an international client base from the African continent.

Through his ownership of Meraki, a digital content service provider, and his position as its digital marketing manager, he gained experience working across digital platforms and managing marketing campaigns, including major government-to-public campaigns and initiatives.

His digital strategy skills came into focus as he monitored competitors’ activities and played a significant role in strategizing, planning, and analyzing social media campaigns.

In 2018, he began his journey with mass media campaigns at the STC Channels as manager of external communications. He utilized multiple media channels to implement print, broadcast, digital, and face-to-face communication strategies on behalf of the company. He then moved on to become a director at Mobily, where he was responsible for the telecom firm’s digital content.

Al-Maghlooth dedicated his social media presence to promoting the national product, which led to him taking up his current job with the Made in Saudi program, where he is developing a unified national industrial brand.

For four consecutive years from 2013, he was listed on Twitter among the top 50 most influential Saudis, and he has also served as head of digital communications and production at the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in technical marketing from Weber State University, in the US, in 2007, and a master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma City University in 2009.


Saudi Arabia signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research

Saudi Arabia signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research
Updated 19 January 2022

Saudi Arabia signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research

Saudi Arabia signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research
  • This collaboration will include research and development initiatives in the field of diabetes in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with French healthcare company Sanofi to collaborate on research and development initiatives in the field of diabetes in the Kingdom.

Dr. Suleiman Al-Shehri, director general of Saudi Diabetes Center, which represented the council, said: “This collaboration will serve as a great impetus in offering efficient healthcare initiatives to develop the ecosystem of diabetes management in the country.

“Sanofi and SHC will collaborate on building the nucleus of scientific research and generating local data supported by a comprehensive diabetes research network. 


Coalition not responsible for alleged Yemen airstrike violations: JIAT

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
Updated 19 January 2022

Coalition not responsible for alleged Yemen airstrike violations: JIAT

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
  • JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that an investigation concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition were “proper and safe”

RIYADH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen found that the Arab military coalition was not responsible for alleged human rights violations in several airstrikes conducted in recent years.

It responded on Wednesday to four claims that were reported by media and rights groups surrounding the coalition’s alleged operational misconduct in the conflict.

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that an investigation concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition were “proper and safe,” and took into consideration the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law.

The first claim surrounded an alleged attack on a sanitation facility in Zabid district that occurred between July 26-28, 2018.

On July 26 that year, coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the Zabid district in Al Hudaydah province, Al-Mansour said, adding that the closest air mission to the location of the attack on that day was on a military target in the Bajil district, 88 kilometers from Zabid.

The JIAT spokesman said that a day later on July 27, coalition forces also did not carry out any air missions in Zabid. The closest air mission to the location of the attack that day was on a military target in Al-Tuhayta district, 15 kilometers from Zabid.

The JIAT specialists found that the airstrikes conducted over those three days — all outside Zabid — had hit their intended targets. As a result, the JIAT concluded that coalition forces did not target the sanitation facility in Zabid on those dates.

The coalition was also accused of targeting a navigation tower at Sanaa Airport on November 14, 2017.

The JIAT examined the incident and reviewed all relevant documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedules, after-mission reports, mission video recordings, satellite images, and provisions and principles of international humanitarian law.

The joint team found the following:

Sanaa airport is divided into a civilian section on the eastern side of the runway and a military part on the western side, where Al-Dailami Airbase is. Coalition forces received intelligence regarding the electronic capabilities of the Houthi militia in several locations, including a radar at Al-Dailami Airbase that was used to track coalition aircraft for the purpose of engaging them with air defense systems.

Reconnaissance reports confirmed the existence of a radar site at the airbase.

At 8:00 a.m. on November 14, 2017, coalition forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target — the radar located at Al-Dailami Airbase.

Coalition forces took all feasible precautions to avoid inflicting casualties or incidental damage to civilians and civilian objects during the planning and execution of the military operation. It did so by deploying a single guided bomb proportional to the size of the military target, with a successful direct hit.

Al-Mansour added that the coalition’s actions were in line with the Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law.

The JIAT said that coalition forces did not target the commercial navigation tower in question and validated the measures taken by personnel in dealing with the legitimate military target.

Al-Mansour discussed another case dating back to 2015, where children were allegedly bombed by coalition warplanes in the Ahmadiyya neighborhood in the Khor Maksar district of Aden.

The joint team found that coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the Khor Maksar district, with the closest target being a military site in Lahj, 18.5 kilometers away from the site in question.

The JIAT visited the site to inspect the location of the attack in the Ahmadiyya neighborhood, but found no evidence of damage resulting from an airstrike.

The JIAT also conducted thorough investigations into claims made on Jan. 28, 2021, by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator concerning alleged civilian casualties and damage to homes and farms in Hays and Al-Durayhimi from Jan. 20-27 last year.

Hays and Al-Durayhimi, located in Al-Hudaydah, are 63 kilometers apart.

The joint team found that coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the entirety of Al-Hudaydah during this period, concluding that it could not be held responsible for civilian casualties and damage to homes and farms in the two districts.