Palestinian farmers sound alarm over foot-and-mouth outbreak

Mohammed Basheer tours his farm in the village of Wadi Al-Faraa after major foot-and-mouth outbreak hit West Bank. (AFP)
Mohammed Basheer tours his farm in the village of Wadi Al-Faraa after major foot-and-mouth outbreak hit West Bank. (AFP)
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Updated 06 June 2022

Palestinian farmers sound alarm over foot-and-mouth outbreak

Mohammed Basheer tours his farm in the village of Wadi Al-Faraa after major foot-and-mouth outbreak hit West Bank. (AFP)
  • Palestinian Authority blamed for halting a vaccine drive that had proven essential in protecting livestock

NABLUS: An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the West Bank early this year has killed thousands of livestock, pushing Palestinian farmers already living under occupation to the brink of bankruptcy.

Mohammed Basheer said he had to incinerate hundreds of his dead lambs after the outbreak devastated livestock across the West Bank, leaving him with more than just a stinging financial loss.
For Basheer, the ordeal underlines the unique challenges facing farmers in the occupied Palestinian territory, who complain that they are underserved by the Palestinian Authority and face constant threats from Jewish settlers.

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A new strain of foot-and-mouth disease, which causes potentially lethal fevers and blisters in young animals, was detected in livestock last November in Jordan.

“I got no help from the PA, not even a telephone call,” Basheer, who owns thousands of livestock near the city of Nablus, said, voicing frustration over what he described as inaction from the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry.
Palestinian farmers blamed the PA for halting a vaccinations program that had proven essential in protecting livestock against an endemic disease.
And with animals absent from large stretches of grazing land, farmers fear land grabs from Jewish settlers who have repeatedly set up illegal outposts on West Bank land they claim is unused.
The PA “should protect us because we protect the land,” Basheer said. “The farms protect the land ... If you remove the farmers, Israel takes the land.”
A new strain of foot-and-mouth disease, which causes potentially lethal fevers and blisters in young animals, was detected in livestock last November in Jordan.
It soon spread across the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and heavily reliant on agriculture.
But the PA’s Agriculture Ministry has not carried out a regular vaccination drive since 2019. A ministry official, who requested anonymity, said a normal year sees 60 to 70 percent of goats and sheep in the West Bank vaccinated against the disease.
That figure dropped to 20 percent in 2020 and 2021, the official said.
The ministry blamed the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the disease vaccines were harder to source as vaccine-makers worldwide pivoted operations to meet demand for COVID-19 jabs.
The ministry also blamed Israel, claiming it obstructed the PA from procuring sufficient supply.
The Israeli Defense Ministry body responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories said the allegation was false.
“There has been no formal request from the Palestinian Authority for the import of such vaccines,” the body said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, considering the health requirement that has arisen, the State of Israel has transferred vaccine doses that were in its possession to the Palestinian Authority.”
The Palestinian ministry has officially confirmed around 2,000 animal deaths as a result of the FMD strain this year.
But farmers and the agriculture ministry official said livestock deaths were likely far higher than the acknowledged toll.
Basheer said FMD losses had cost him $150,000 and accused Israel of hoarding vaccines.


UN Yemen envoy expresses regret after truce expires without being extended

UN Yemen envoy expresses regret after truce expires without being extended
Updated 12 sec ago

UN Yemen envoy expresses regret after truce expires without being extended

UN Yemen envoy expresses regret after truce expires without being extended

RIYADH: The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg expressed regret on Sunday that an agreement to extend and expand the truce in the country had not been reached.

“The truce that began on April.2, 2022 has offered a truly historic opportunity for Yemen. Building on the positive outcomes of the past six months, I submitted another proposal to the parties on Oct.1 to extend the truce for another six months, with additional elements,” Grundberg said in a statement.

The ceasefire has twice been renewed since April. 2 but expired on Sunday without being extended.

The proposal included the payment of civil servant salaries and pensions, the opening of specific roads in Taiz and other governorates, additional destinations for flights to and from Sanaa airport, unhindered entry of fuel ships into Hodeidah port, strengthening deescalation mechanisms, and a commitment to urgently release detainees, the envoy said.

It also included the initiation of negotiations for a ceasefire, the resumption of an inclusive political process, and economic issues.

The envoy said that the extended and expanded truce would provide additional critical benefits to Yemen’s population.

He thanked the Yemeni government for engaging positively with his proposal and said he will continue to work with both sides to find solutions.

“I am grateful for the constructive engagement at the leadership level from both sides over the past weeks. And I appreciate the position of the government of Yemen on engaging positively with my proposal. I will continue to work with both sides to try and find solutions,” Grundberg said.

The envoy urged the parties to maintain calm and refrain from provocations or any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence in the war-torn country.

“I urge them to fulfil their obligation to the Yemeni people to pursue every avenue for peace. Ultimately, Yemenis need an end to the conflict through an inclusive political process and a negotiated settlement. I will continue my relentless efforts to engage with the parties to quickly reach an agreement on a way forward,” he said.


King Abdullah II to make official visit to Oman

King Abdullah II to make official visit to Oman
Updated 8 min 10 sec ago

King Abdullah II to make official visit to Oman

King Abdullah II to make official visit to Oman
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Sultan Haitham bin Tarik will meet in Muscat

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah II, accompanied by Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, will arrive in Oman on Tuesday for an official visit.

The king’s trip comes after an invitation from Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, Jordan News Agency reported.

During the two day visit, the two leaders will hold talks in Muscat about their deep bilateral ties as well as the most recent regional and international developments.

 


Jordan, Qatar discuss security cooperation

Jordan, Qatar discuss security cooperation
Updated 16 min 13 sec ago

Jordan, Qatar discuss security cooperation

Jordan, Qatar discuss security cooperation
  • Jordanian official noted its keenness to support Qatar during the World Cup

AMMAN: Jordan’s Director of the Public Security Directorate and the Qatari Ambassador to Jordan met on Sunday to discuss strengthening security and police cooperation, particularly in training, Petra News Agency reported.

Brig Gen Obaidullah Maaytah spoke with Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al-Thani about Jordan’s deep ties with Qatar, noting that the PSD was eager to support Qatar during the World Cup.

In turn, Al-Thani praised the PSD and emphasized the level of cooperation between Jordanian and Qatari police, urging continued efforts to expand bilateral cooperation.

 


Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal launches first edition of Arab Climate Forum

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal launches first edition of Arab Climate Forum
Updated 48 min 37 sec ago

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal launches first edition of Arab Climate Forum

Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal launches first edition of Arab Climate Forum
  • AGFUND president says Arab countries are among most vulnerable to climate change

RIYADH: Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal, president of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), launched the first edition of the Arab Climate Forum on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The forum, titled “Together to Strengthen Civil Society’s Contribution to Climate Action and Sustainability,” will assess the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change.

Over two days, the agenda will include six axes: Climate change and sustainability, climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable groups, encouraging innovation for the benefit of adaptation and mitigation, climate change and fragile economic activities, integrating citizens and local communities in climate action, and the role of systemic change in green transformation.

As part of the ongoing preparations for COP27 in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in November, the forum is being held in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the League of Arab States, AGFUND, the Arab Council for Childhood and Development and the Arab Network for NGOs.

Egyptian Minister of Environment Dr. Yasmine Fouad and Head of Social Affairs at the Arab League Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh are also taking part in the forum.

In his opening speech, Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal said that the world’s unprecedented climatic phenomena were not a coincidence. He argued that climate change should be fought by increasing the use of renewable energy sources as well as adaptation through proactive transformations.

The AGFUND president added that Arab countries are among the most vulnerable and affected regions in the world as a result of climate change and that effective climate action has become a common moral commitment for all, urging all development parties to take their responsibilities seriously and responsibly in order to keep the planet fit for sustainable living.

He lauded efforts to address climate challenges, including the Prince Talal International Prize for Development 2021, which has four branches dedicated to climate change. He noted that the four winners would be honored at COP27.
 


Hundreds protest in Turkey in support of Iranian women

Hundreds protest in Turkey in support of Iranian women
Updated 02 October 2022

Hundreds protest in Turkey in support of Iranian women

Hundreds protest in Turkey in support of Iranian women
  • In Istanbul, many Iranians were among the hundreds of people who chanted slogans against the Tehran regime and in support of Iranian women
  • Women held red roses, Iranian flags and signs bearing the words “women, life, freedom”

ISTANBUL: Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Turkey on Sunday to condemn Iran’s crackdown on women-led demonstrations sparked by a young woman’s death after her arrest by the country’s notorious morality police.
In Istanbul, many Iranians were among the hundreds of people who chanted slogans against the Tehran regime and in support of Iranian women.
Women held red roses, Iranian flags and signs bearing the words “women, life, freedom,” the battle cry of the protest movement that has rocked Iran and was triggered last month by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd.
In Diyarbakir, a southeastern city with a majority Kurdish population, around 200 people gathered brandishing photographs of Iranian women killed in the crackdown and a large banner with the slogan “women, life, freedom” in Kurdish, an AFP correspondent reported.
A demonstration in solidarity with Iranian women attended by hundreds of people was also held in the western city of Izmir on Saturday evening, according to images published on social media and verified by AFP.
At least 92 people have been killed in Iran since the start of the protests two weeks ago, Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights said on Sunday.