Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’

Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Sheikh Khalifa presents a sash to US President George W. Bush Jan. 13, 2008 at the Al Mushref palace in Abu Dhabi. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Oman's Sultan Qaboos (R) receives Sheikh Khalifa in Muscat on bin Zayed al-Nahayan Jan. 9, 2005. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip welcome Sheikh Khalifa at Windsor Castle during his state visit to Britain on April 30, 2013. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) meeting with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy at Al-Mushrif presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on May 26, 2009. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Sheikh Khalifa meeting with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 6, 2009. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
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Sheikh Khalifa meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) in Abu Dhabi on April 29, 2007. (AFP)
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Updated 14 May 2022

Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’

Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
  • Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, passed away on Friday aged 73
  • Warm tributes signify the high regard in which the departed leader was held

DUBAI: Messages of condolence have poured in from around the Middle East and the world following news of the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the UAE, at the age of 73 on Friday.

“The Emirates lost its righteous son, the leader of the ‘empowerment stage’ and the trustee of its blessed journey,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said in a tweet. “His stances, achievements, wisdom, giving and initiatives in every corner of the country. May God have mercy on you with his vast mercy and enter you into his paradise.”




Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity". (AFP)

Throughout the day, Gulf leaders offered messages of condolence to Al-Nahyan family and the Emirati people. In a statement published by SPA, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court said the news of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing had been “received with great sadness and sorrow.”

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the government of the United Arab Emirates, the honorable Al-Nahyan family, the brotherly Emirati people, and to the Arab and Islamic nations on passing away of a leader who has given a lot to his people, nation and the world.”

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Declaring three days of national mourning, Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik said: “The Sultanate shares the grief of the leadership, government and people of the brotherly United Arab Emirates in their great affliction.”

Also ordering three days of official mourning, Bahrain’s Royal Court “paid homage to the late UAE president who passed away after a life rich in achievements to serve the UAE people as well as the Arab and Islamic nations.”

 

 

In a statement issued by the Qatari Emiri Court, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said: “We have lost with his passing a great leader who was wise and moderate, who devoted his life and effort to serve his country and nation.”

Speaking for Kuwaitis, Emir Sheikh Nawaf said: “The Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their leaders. The great man who devoted his life to serving his country and people and defending Arab and Islamic causes.”

Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), conveyed his heartfelt condolences, saying Sheikh Khalifa had lived “a life full of giving and giving in the service of his people, his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation.”




Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) receives King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 18, 2005. (WAM / AFP)

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, issued a statement of condolences addressed to the UAE leadership, government and people, adding that the Arab League will observe three days of mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast.

Leaders across the wider Middle East and North Africa also paid their respects. “With sincere sadness and sorrow, I mourn one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi tweeted on Friday.

“He gave a lot to his country and his nation, until the Emirates became a model for development and modernity in our region and the world.”

 

 

Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court likewise offered its condolences. “We have lost a dear brother and an outstanding leader who inherited wisdom from his late great father Sheikh Zayed and dedicated his life to serving his country and the Arab and Islamic nations,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II tweeted.

 

 

Iraq’s President Barham Salih said Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity for the sake of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation,” while Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said: “We are confident that the pioneering path that the late great man took will continue with the efforts of his country’s leadership and people.”

Several Lebanese officials expressed their sorrow via Twitter. “Today, the Arab nation lost one of its most prominent men,” Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister, said.

Arab leaders were not the only Middle East public figures who offered their condolences. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy and tremendous deeds are greatly admired in Israel. The State of Israel stands alongside the United Arab Emirates at this difficult time.”

 

 

Israel and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 2020 — the first of several US-backed normalization agreements between the Jewish state and Arab countries that year known as the Abraham Accords.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called Sheikh Khalifa’s death “a great loss for our friends in the UAE and for the whole region.”

He added: “Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries and is a great legacy for his successors.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered condolences to the UAE leadership and people, noting that Sheikh Khalifa “led the UAE through a significant period of its development, marked by great economic advances and a surge in its regional and global influence.”  

 

 

Meanwhile, in a letter to his UAE counterpart, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “grief and regret” over Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

Messages also arrived from further afield. The Indian government announced a day of mourning on Saturday.

“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, the government of India has decided that there will be one day’s state mourning tomorrow throughout India,” the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted he was “deeply saddened” by the news, saying Sheikh Khalifa “was a great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered.”

 

 

US President Joe Biden paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, calling the departed Emirati leader a “true partner and friend of the United States.”

“We will honor his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” Biden said.

 

 

“Sheikh Khalifa did much to strengthen friendly relations and constructive cooperation,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, while French President Emmanuel Macron said his “thoughts go out to his brother Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, to his whole family and to the Emirati people.”

Italian President Sergio Mattarella also offered his condolences, saying he would remember Sheikh Khalifa for his “tenacity and farsightedness.”

In a message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, now the acting president of the UAE, Mattarella said he “learned with sadness the news of the passing of His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” who, he added, had led his country on “an important path” of growth and development.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “saddened” to learn of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing. “He was a wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously. Through his work as president and sheikh he has made a personal contribution to regional stability and conservation which will long be remembered.

 

 

“I know that the long and deep ties which unite our countries will continue and through our cooperation and friendship, we can ensure peace, prosperity and justice in the world.”

Tony Blair, the UK’s former prime minister, who continues to foster a close relationship with the Middle East and its leaders, shared his “deep sorrow” upon learning of Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

“On this sad occasion I recall the president’s long and distinguished career as a public servant. He was respected not only in his country but throughout the wider region and the world.”

Born in 1948, the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the country’s seven cities and until 1971 an independent emirate.

Sheikh Khalifa led the UAE as it began its rise to become a global oil and commercial power. He leaves behind his wife Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al-Mazrouei and their eight children.

Sheikh Khalifa is likely to be succeeded by Sheikh Mohammed, the crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.


Iranian protests are ‘beginning of the end for regime in Tehran’, says Nobel laureate Ebadi

Iranian protests are ‘beginning of the end for regime in Tehran’, says Nobel laureate Ebadi
Updated 11 sec ago

Iranian protests are ‘beginning of the end for regime in Tehran’, says Nobel laureate Ebadi

Iranian protests are ‘beginning of the end for regime in Tehran’, says Nobel laureate Ebadi
  • Exiled Nobel-winning former judge speaks out
  • Revolution is a ‘train that will not stop,’ she says

JEDDAH: Protests in Iran over the death in custody of a young Iranian Kurdish woman are the start of an irreversible “revolutionary process” that will eventually lead to the collapse of the regime, one of Tehran’s most eloquent critics said on Friday.

Shirin Ebadi, the distinguished Iranian lawyer and former judge who lives in exile in London, said the protests were the boldest challenge yet to the legitimacy of Iran’s clerical establishment.

“This revolutionary process is like a train that will not stop until it reaches its final destination,” said Ebadi, 75, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work defending human rights.

“The protests have taken a different shape, but they have not ended,” she told Reuters in a phone interview from London.

Iran’s clerical rulers have faced widespread unrest since Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police on Sept. 16 last year after she was arrested for wearing “inappropriate attire.”

This image grab from a UGC video posted on Feb. 3, 2023, reportedly shows protesters demanding the release of political prisoners during a march in Iran's southeastern city of Zahedan. (AFP)

Iran has blamed Amini's death on existing medical problems and has accused its enemies of fomenting the unrest to destabilise the regime.

For months, Iranians from all walks of life have called for the fall of the clerical establishment, chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Amini’s death has unbottled years of anger among many Iranians over issues ranging from economic misery and discrimination against ethnic minorities to tightening social and political restrictions.

As they have done in the past in the face of protests in the past four decades, Iran’s hard-line rulers have cracked down hard. Authorities have handed down dozens of death sentences to people involved in protests and have carried out at least four hangings, in what rights activists say is a crackdown aimed at intimidating people and keep them off the streets.

BACKGROUND

The crackdown has stoked diplomatic tensions at a time when talks to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers are at a standstill.

The rights group HRANA said 527 protesters had been killed during unrest, of whom 71 were children, and nearly 20,000 protesters had been arrested.

However, protests have slowed considerably since the hangings began. Videos posted on social mediashowed people chanting “Death to Khamenei” from rooftops in some cities, but nothing on the scale of past months.

Ebadi said the state’s use of deadly violence would deepen anger felt by ordinary Iranians about the clerical establishment because the their grievances remain unaddressed. “The protests have taken a different shape, but they have not ended,” she said.

The crackdown has stoked diplomatic tensions at a time when talks to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers are at a standstill.

To force the regime from power, Ebadi said the West should take “practical steps” such as recalling their ambassadors from Tehran, and should avoid reaching any agreement with Iran, including the nuclear deal. 

With deepening economic misery, chiefly because of US sanctions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear work, many Iranians are feeling the pain of galloping inflation and rising joblessness.

Inflation has soared to over 50 percent, the highest level in decades. Youth unemployment remains high with over 50 percent of Iranians being pushed below the poverty line, according to reports by Iran’s Statistics Center.

(With Reuters)


Satellite photos: Damage at Iran military site hit by drone

Satellite photos: Damage at Iran military site hit by drone
Updated 7 min 6 sec ago

Satellite photos: Damage at Iran military site hit by drone

Satellite photos: Damage at Iran military site hit by drone
  • Video taken of the attack showed an explosion at the site after anti-aircraft fire targeted the drones, likely from one of the drones reaching the building’s roof. Iran’s military has claimed shooting down two other drones before they reached the site

TEHRAN: Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press on Friday showed damage done to what Iran describes as a military workshop targeted by Israeli drones, the latest such assault amid a shadow war between the two countries.
While Iran has offered no explanation yet of what the workshop manufactured, the drone attack threatened to again raise tensions in the region. Already, worries have grown over Tehran enriching uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, with a top UN nuclear official warning the regime had enough fuel to build “several” atomic bombs if it chooses.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose earlier tenure as premier saw escalating attacks targeting Iran, has returned to office and reiterated that he views Tehran as his country’s top security threat. With State Department spokesperson Ned Price now declaring Iran has “killed” the opportunity to return to its nuclear deal with world powers, it remains unclear what diplomacy immediately could ease tensions between Tehran and the West.
Cloudy weather had prevented satellite pictures of the site of the workshop since it came under attack by what Iran described as bomb-carrying quadcopters on the night of Jan. 28. Quadcopters, which get their name from having four rotors, typically operate from short ranges by remote control.
Video taken of the attack showed an explosion at the site after anti-aircraft fire targeted the drones, likely from one of the drones reaching the building’s roof. Iran’s military has claimed shooting down two other drones before they reached the site.
Images taken on Thursday by Planet Labs PBC showed the workshop in Isfahan, a central Iranian city some 350 km south of Tehran.
An AP analysis of the image, compared to earlier images of the workshop, showed damage to the structure’s roof. That damage corresponded to footage aired by Iranian state television immediately after the attack that showed at least two holes in the building’s roof.
The Iranian state TV footage, as well as satellite photos, suggest the building’s roof also may have been built with so-called “slat armor.”
The structure resembles a cage built around roofs or armored vehicles to stop direct detonation from rockets, missiles or bomb-carrying drones against a target.
Installation of such protection at the workshop suggests Iran believed it could be a drone target.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in July claimed to have broken up a plot to target sensitive sites around Isfahan.
A segment aired on Iranian state TV in October included purported confessions by alleged members of Komala, a Kurdish opposition party that is exiled from Iran and now lives in Iraq, that they planned to target a military aerospace facility in Isfahan after being trained by Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.
It remains unclear whether the military workshop targeted in the drone attack was that aerospace facility.
Iran’s mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the satellite images and other questions about the workshop.
The attack comes Iran’s theocratic government faces challenges both at home and abroad.
Nationwide protests have shaken the country since the September death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman detained by the country’s morality police.
Its rial currency has plummeted to new lows against the US dollar.
Israel is suspected of launching a series of attacks on Iran, including an April 2021 assault on its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged its centrifuges.
In 2020, Iran blamed Israel for a sophisticated attack that killed its top military nuclear scientist.
Israel has not commented on this drone attack.
However, Israeli officials rarely acknowledge operations carried out by the country’s secret military units or the Mossad.
A letter published Thursday by Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, said that “early investigations suggest that the Israeli regime was responsible for this attempted act of aggression.”
The letter, however, did not elaborate on what evidence supported Iran’s suspicion.

 


Head of Lebanese Kataeb Party hits out at Hezbollah

Head of Lebanese Kataeb Party hits out at Hezbollah
Updated 04 February 2023

Head of Lebanese Kataeb Party hits out at Hezbollah

Head of Lebanese Kataeb Party hits out at Hezbollah
  • Party chief threatens to disrupt election over militant menace
  • MP Rifi: ‘Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into terror camp, Captagon lab, murder scene’

The head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, Sami Gemayel, has threatened to disrupt presidential elections if the other parties try to elect a president who would provide cover for Hezbollah’s weapons.

Speaking at the party’s general conference on Friday, Gemayel — a fierce opponent of Hezbollah — said that what was happening was an attempt to change the face of Lebanon.

The opening session of the general conference was attended by anti-Hezbollah political figures, who also expressed opposition to the party’s recent actions.

Gemayel’s parliamentary bloc is the third largest Christian bloc following the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces Party.

They are trying to kill our country by killing freedom, cooperation, democracy, a strong and free economy, and Lebanon’s openness to the world.

Sami Gemayel

“They are trying to kill our country by killing freedom, cooperation, democracy, a strong and free economy, and Lebanon’s openness to the world,” he said.

Gemayel added that the battle today was not against a certain category of Lebanese people, but rather over Christian and Muslim coexistence.

“However, there is a huge group of Christian and Muslim Lebanese, and of all denominations, who believe that Lebanon is a message of civilization and development.

“They also believe in freedom and were born clinging to this freedom.

“Whoever is trying to eliminate the Lebanese spirit is not a group of Lebanese, but rather an armed party that is taking its sect hostage and trying to turn the conflict in Lebanon into a sectarian one,” he said.

Gemayel talked about suspicious land purchases, demographic change, institutional crippling and a systematic attack on free media.

He said: “We could not force the Syrian army to withdraw until we stood hand-in-hand in Martyrs’ Square. Today, we will not be able to preserve Lebanon unless we all unite again.”

Gemayel said that the ruling class handed over the country to Hezbollah under the pretext of defending Christians.

“We had warned against handing over the country to Hezbollah,” he added.

“We warned against economic collapse and international isolation. Some are clearly trying to kick us out of the economic, diplomatic, and political equations, but the true will of the Lebanese people was expressed in the Cedar Revolution and the Oct. 17 Revolution.”

Gemayel added: “Today, there are two states in Lebanon, the Lebanese Republic, and another state, which is the Islamic Republic of Hezbollah, and each state has its own funding, army, and foreign policy.

“The Islamic Republic is trying to put its hand on the pluralistic Lebanese Republic, and we need to fight such attempts. We cannot continue to deal with the dictatorial practices in a traditional manner; compromising with the Islamic Republic has dragged us into this catastrophic situation. We kept making one concession after the other, one settlement after the other.

“From this moment on, we refuse to submit to Hezbollah’s will."

Gemayel continued: “We call on all the Lebanese to assume their responsibilities, and we want Hezbollah to know that we will no longer accept this status quo.

“If a divorce between the two states is inevitable, then so be it. Hezbollah ought to announce it, but we will not accept living like second-class citizens. We will not submit; we will resist.

“The Kataeb Party is not a fan of war. We support the state and the army, but if anyone dares approach our homes, we will defend ourselves,” he added.

On the second anniversary of the assassination of researcher Lokman Slim, who was known for his outspoken opposition to Hezbollah, Gemayel noted: “We know that no trial will ever be held to shed light on Slim’s assassination.”

He added: “We thus know the extent of intimidation to which the Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah are subjected.”

Slim’s family and friends commemorated the second anniversary of his assassination on Friday in the absence of an indictment from the Lebanese judiciary.

Slim had told the public that he was receiving death threats from Hezbollah prior to his assassination in southern Lebanon.

MP Ashraf Rifi said: “They are trying once again to impose a president and government by taking advantage of the vacuum and making threats.

“Lebanon was an icon in the East, but the axis of evil turned it into a terror camp, a Captagon lab, and a murder scene. They are now seeking to elect a puppet to continue controlling the country.”

 

 


Egyptians hope to bag bargains at book fair as crisis bites

Egyptians hope to bag bargains at book fair as crisis bites
Updated 03 February 2023

Egyptians hope to bag bargains at book fair as crisis bites

Egyptians hope to bag bargains at book fair as crisis bites
  • To incentivize readers, Egypt’s publishers’ association has encouraged sellers to give the option of buying books in instalments through popular buy-now-pay-later services

CAIRO: Thousands of Egyptian bibliophiles weave through a labyrinthine display of books, reviving an annual tradition at the Arab world’s largest book fair, but this year it comes at a steep cost.
The 54th Cairo International Book Fair was overshadowed by a punishing economic crisis that has seen Egypt’s currency, the pound, halve in value and prices skyrocket in the past year.
Organzers say the fair lured more than half a million visitors on its opening weekend alone — but with publishing houses already struggling to cover the rising cost of printing, many fear this will not translate to sales.
“We expected a much smaller turnout this year than we had,” said Wael Al-Mulla, one of more than 800 publishers at the fair.
Budgets are tight in Egypt, where inflation hit 21.9 percent in December, forcing many to dip into their savings to cover ever-rising daily costs.

BACKGROUND

Egypt’s robust publishing industry — historically a key exporter of Arabic literature, to which readers would flock for the region’s cheapest volumes — has already shown signs of trouble.

“Books are a luxury product,” said Mulla, who heads the Masr El-Arabia publishing house. “They’ll inevitably be less of a priority when people need to budget for the basics.”
A steep currency devaluation has compounded costs for import-dependent publishers, leading many to hike the price of books by up to double.
“You could once come with 2,000 pounds (now $66) and fill a suitcase with books,” said Mohamed El-Masry, CEO of El-Rasm Bel Kalemat Publishing.
“You can’t do that any more,” the 38-year-old lamented.
To incentivize readers, Egypt’s publishers’ association has encouraged sellers to give the option of buying books in instalments through popular buy-now-pay-later services.
State-owned publishers have also offered heavily discounted Arabic classics for under 30 pounds, or $1.
According to sellers, readers — eager for their annual haul despite the crisis — are deploying new methods to lessen the burden.
“We see most people coming with their friends as a group. They’ll decide what they want, divide the books among themselves and then pass them around,” said Abdallah Sakr, 33, a publishing manager at El-Mahrousa.
“Everyone’s surprised when they see the prices, but there’s still a desire to read. So instead of buying five books they’ll get two, or one instead of two,” he added.
To survive the crisis, publishing houses have grown more selective.
As the pound plummeted, the price of basic paper stock — all imported — quadrupled, forcing publishers to “decrease commissions and print fewer books per edition”, Mulla said.
“I have to be very careful with my choice of books, only picking the titles I’m really sure will be popular.”
Egypt’s robust publishing industry — historically a key exporter of Arabic literature, to which readers would flock for the region’s cheapest volumes — has already shown signs of trouble.
“Some publishing houses have had to downsize to the bare minimum, or halt activities until the economic landscape is a little clearer,” Mulla said, noting some had already had to shut down their presses permanently.
In a corner of the fair, vendors from the city’s well-known Azbakeya second-hand book market appeared unfazed by the economic downturn.
Nestled against the walls of the historic Azbakeya Garden, the stalls have for over a century sold used books, as well as pirated prints, for a fraction of the prices elsewhere.
As in past years, the booksellers have carted their innumerable volumes from the bustling market in central Cairo to the polished new exhibition centre on the city’s outskirts.
Like hundreds of thousands of loyal readers, 39-year-old Mohamed Shahin “made a beeline” for the Azbakeya booksellers with his family in tow, he said.
“This is the most popular place at the fair, even though the good books sell out quick because there aren’t a lot of copies,” 18-year-old engineering student and volunteer Malak Farid said.
Mohamed Attia, an imam in his 40s, travels to Cairo for the fair every year from his hometown of Dakahlia, some 150 km north of the capital.
With most volumes going for less than one dollar, the Azbakeya market has long been a treasure for Attia, and now it has become a necessity.
“Books are so much more expensive this year,” he said.
But, he added with relief, “prices in Azbakeya have remained the same” — a rare boon in today’s economic climate.

 


UN urges end to ‘illogic of escalation’ between Israel, Palestinians

UN urges end to ‘illogic of escalation’ between Israel, Palestinians
Updated 03 February 2023

UN urges end to ‘illogic of escalation’ between Israel, Palestinians

UN urges end to ‘illogic of escalation’ between Israel, Palestinians
  • Turk criticised Israel for measures that "can only lead to further violence and bloodshed"
  • Since the start of this year, the conflict has killed 36 Palestinians

GENEVA: UN rights chief Volker Turk on Friday called for an end to the “illogic of escalation” between Israel and the Palestinians, amid a spike in deadly violence between the two.
Turk criticized Israel for measures that “can only lead to further violence and bloodshed,” following a surge in attacks and fighting that have drawn calls from the international community for calm and restraint.
Since the start of this year, the conflict has killed 36 Palestinians — including attackers, militants and civilians — as well as the six Israeli civilians, including a child, and one Ukrainian.
“Rather than doubling down on failed approaches of violence and coercion... I urge everyone involved to step out of the illogic of escalation that has only ended in dead bodies, shattered lives and utter despair,” Turk said in a statement.
“Recent measures being taken by the Government of Israel are only fueling further violations and abuses of human rights law,” he continued.
“We know from experience that the proliferation of firearms will lead to increased risks of killings and injuries of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
The UN rights chief was referring to measures to ease access to firearms announced by Israel’s government last week following a shooting by a Palestinian in east Jerusalem that killed six Israelis and one Ukrainian.
The following day, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and injured two Israelis the in Silwan neighborhood just outside the walled Old City in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem attacks followed the deadliest Israeli army raid in the West Bank in almost 20 years that on January 26 left 10 Palestinians dead in Jenin, including armed militants.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, complained that the UN rights chief’s statement “does not even have the decency to describe the attacks last week for what they were, acts of Palestinian terrorism targeting the Jewish people.”
“It does not even have the courage to condemn the death of innocent worshippers,” she added.
In his statement, Turk urged “all those holding public office or other positions of authority — indeed everyone — to stop using language that incites hatred of ‘the other’.”
He added that other measures announced by Israel in response to the Jerusalem attack, including “punitive forced evictions and house demolitions” may amount to “collective punishment.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the region last week, urging deescalation following the deadly upsurge in violence.
The latest uptick follows the deadliest year in the West Bank since the United Nations started tracking fatalities in the territory in 2005.
Some 235 people died in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last year, with nearly 90 percent of the fatalities on the Palestinian side, according to AFP figures.