Uproar over Israeli FM’s ‘provocative’ visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem

Uproar over Israeli FM’s ‘provocative’ visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem
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Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid visits Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. (@yairlapid)
Uproar over Israeli FM’s ‘provocative’ visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem
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Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid visits Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. (@yairlapid)
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Updated 04 April 2022

Uproar over Israeli FM’s ‘provocative’ visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem

Uproar over Israeli FM’s ‘provocative’ visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem
  • Both sides resisting a new cycle of extreme violence despite rippling tensions across the West Bank and East Jerusalem

RAMALLAH: Palestinians have strongly condemned the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid’s provocative visit to Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem.

Violent clashes erupted after Lapid visited the area on Sunday evening, leading to the injury of 19 youths and the arrest of 11 Palestinians by Israeli police.

Violent clashes occurred at the same place during last year’s Ramadan season, which coincided with evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, with the combined tensions leading to 11 days of conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Following his visit to East Jerusalem, Lapid tweeted in Hebrew: “I participated today in assessing the situation in Jerusalem with the Commissioner, Yaakov Shabtai, and then I patrolled the Nablus Gate. This is a tense period, but we have a police force that can be trusted.”

Lapid added: “We give the security forces full backing; they work professionally. Impossible; we are committed to them and will give them all the necessary resources.

“When we are all with our families on Seder night, about 8,000 police officers will be outside guarding the lives of Israeli citizens; I am proud of our police officers, of the Border Police, of the IDF, of everyone who guards us in these tense days — take care of yourselves.”

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned Lapid’s storming of Bab Damascus Gate, describing his words as an embodiment of the apartheid regime.

The ministry also derided promises made by Lapid to domestic extremists to deploy more forces and police in Jerusalem under the pretext of protecting them during the Jewish holidays.

It said that Lapid’s promises are an incitement against the Palestinians and described Lapid’s actions as an “embodiment of the worst forms of the Israeli apartheid regime that the occupation imposes on the Palestinian citizen by force within the framework of its expansionist colonial system.”

This system restricts and confiscates the freedom of the Palestinian person, as if there are only Jewish holidays that need protection, in complete disregard for the existence of Muslim and Christian holidays, the ministy added.

It said that the Israeli apartheid regime is embodied by Lapid’s actions in Jerusalem, adding that he completely ignores the fact that it is occupied land, and storms it as an occupier to make sure that his security measures have been completed to suppress the Palestinian citizens.

The dozens of police and security forces that Lapid is trying to protect are only conclusive proof that he is an occupier and is afraid to walk on occupied land, the ministry said.

Lapid’s visit also inspired a reaction from Israeli far-right politician MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who tweeted: “Do you remember Lapid, who shouted that I was igniting the Middle East? I set up a bureau in Shimon the Tzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah); there is peace there; I went up to the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque) and passed in peace. 

“He ‘toured’ the Damascus Gate riots all night. The matter is simple: He who shows the determination and courage of the rioters respects him. Those who show weakness — get into it.”

Ben-Gvir added: “I spoke at the (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and said that whoever attacked the police at Damascus Gate should have been shot.”

Meanwhile, with the start of Ramadan, Israeli police turned East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque into military barracks.

They tightened its procedures and restrictions on Palestinian worshipers, coinciding with the approaching Jewish holidays.

Israeli political analyst Yoni Ben-Menahem told Arab News: “I do not think that the clashes between Palestinian youths in Bab Al-Amud Square and the Israeli police are linked to Lapid’s visit to the area, which turned a year ago into an arena of daily clashes between the youth of Jerusalem and the police, where the youths provoke their personnel.”

Ben-Menahem continued: “It was assumed that the Minister of Internal Security and Police Omer Bar-Lev would take that tour yesterday, not Lapid, who went there looking for headlines in the Israeli press.”

Prof. Sari Nusseibeh, former president of Al-Quds University, told Arab News that things will not get out of control, despite the bubbling tensions.

He stressed that the presence of the occupation creates causes for anxiety. Still, it will not be an extraordinary and usual tension this time.

Prof. Nusseibeh added that increased security will help to secure the prosperity of the economic situation for the merchants of the old city, who have been waiting for Ramadan to improve their trade.

“There is a consensus among the Old City of Jerusalem merchants on the necessity of maintaining calm and discipline during Ramadan.”

Hamas spokesperson in Jerusalem Mohammed Hamada said in a statement that:

“The raid by the Israeli occupation Foreign Minister Yair Lapid into the Bab Al-Amud (Damascus Gate) area, which was followed by Israeli occupation forces opening fire toward the Palestinian people in occupied Jerusalem, is strongly evident that the Israeli occupation is insisting on implementing its malicious schemes targeting Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Hamada said the visit was “a grave escalation and a provocation to the feelings of Palestinians and Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan."

He added: “We hold the Israeli occupation leaders fully responsible for the repercussions of this move. We, alongside the Palestinian people, are committed to protecting Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque with all means possible.”

The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of the Islamic Awqaf and Religious Affairs Hatem Al-Bakri said that Israel desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque through 20 invasions throughout March. He said that Israeli authorities allowed the entry of more than 4,200 Jews, including officers, soldiers and students of biblical institutes, who intended to perform Talmudic prayers in the mosque while a Jewish cleric performed.

The staff of the temple servants, in their priestly attire, performed Talmudic rituals in front of the Dome of the Rock, while some of them chanted the “Israeli national anthem” in the mosque, as part of their attempts to confirm that the mosque is under Israeli sovereignty.

Ben-Gvir was among the participants in the raids on March 31, which the Palestinians described as a provocation.

Despite the waves of small acts of violence and tension rippling across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both sides are resisting a new cycle of mass violence.


Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
Updated 7 sec ago

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
  • Navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel

BEIRUT: The crew of a Lebanese Army speed cruiser that was taking part in a security operation off Al-Saadiyat coast on Thursday had to be rescued after their vessel caught fire, according to a statement by the army.
Other navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel and help put out the fire. No casualties were reported.


UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
Updated 11 August 2022

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
  • Part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery

DUBAI: The UAE will issue a new generation of Emirati passports from Sept. 1, authorities said on Thursday.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) said the new passports, equipped with the latest technologies, will have advanced security features.

 

 

The new-generation passports are part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery or fraud, according to Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi, Chairman of ICP, in a report from state news agency WAM.

The complex security specifications feature a polycarbonate introduction page, laser technologies and “three-dimensional tangible elements.”

Authorities said holders of the current passports can still use their travel document until expiry.


Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
Updated 11 August 2022

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
  • Cairo, Khartoum fear it will reduce their share of Nile waters
  • Egypt says it will take all necessary measures to protect national security

CAIRO: In a letter to the UN Security Council, Egypt has warned of cracks in the concrete facade of the sub-dam linked to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Cairo said this is particularly alarming due to Ethiopia’s failure to comply with its duty to conduct the required environmental and socioeconomic impact studies.

The letter, sent to the UNSC president, said Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aty had received a message about Ethiopia’s intention to unilaterally resume filling the GERD during the current rainy season.

Abdel-Aty said Ethiopia’s decision comes in the absence of an agreement between it and Egypt and Sudan on the rules governing the filling and operation of the dam, constituting a violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries.

He stressed that Cairo holds Ethiopia fully responsible for any significant harm that may be caused to Egypt by these repeated violations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the country reserves its right guaranteed in the UN Charter to take all necessary measures to ensure and protect its national security, including against any harm that Ethiopia’s unilateral measures may cause.

The GERD has raised tensions between Ethiopia on one hand and Egypt and Sudan on the other.

The latter two countries are demanding a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam, which they fear will reduce their share of the Nile’s waters.

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UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
Updated 11 August 2022

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
  • 4-year-old George Jack Temperley-Wells visited Antalya with his mother to see his father

LONDON: Police in the UK have asked for help to locate a 4-year-old boy who is thought to be missing after traveling to Turkey.

George Jack Temperley-Wells is believed to have gone to visit his father Scott Nigel Wells in the city of Antalya on June 29 with his mother Brogan Elizabeth Temperley. Antalya is a popular summer holiday destination for Britons.

Durham Police said anyone in contact with Temperley should notify authorities in Turkey or the UK immediately with information on her whereabouts, adding that they have serious concerns for the welfare of her son.

The police said the boy has red hair, a pale complexion and dark eyes, while his mother is described as being slim with long dark hair and dark eyes.

The force released two images of the trio dining in the area at a restaurant recently, where they were seen smiling together.

People in Turkey with information should visit their nearest police station or call 112/115. Anyone in the UK with information should contact Durham Constabulary on 101, and quote the incident number 325 for June 30.


UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs
Updated 11 August 2022

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs
  • Italian Embassy: Project will improve housing for vulnerable people affected by port blast

LONDON: The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the UN Program for Human Settlements have signed an agreement in Beirut to finance the rehabilitation of the public park of the Mar Mikhael train station in the Lebanese capital.

The program will also restore some of the housing damaged by the Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4, 2020.

The Italian Embassy in Beirut reported the signing, hosting a ceremony at the Italian diplomatic headquarters in Baabda. It was attended by Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere.

The project, titled “Ensuring safe public spaces and adequate housing for all within the city of Beirut,” is being funded by the agency and will be implemented by the UN program alongside Lebanese authorities.

The embassy said the project will improve “housing conditions for vulnerable populations affected by the explosion of the port of Beirut, in particular in the vicinity of the old Mar Mikhael railway station.”

It added that the project intends to increase “access to safe and inclusive public spaces within the railway station, also revitalizing the urban fabric of the city.”

Bombardiere said: “This project will allow the citizens of Beirut to rediscover the old Mar Mikhael railway station and its historical relevance.

“At the same time, we continue our commitment to respond to basic needs, such as social housing, restoring the cultural and social fabric of the districts most affected.”