Abbas rival Al-Kidwa launches initiative seeking major political reforms

Abbas rival Al-Kidwa launches initiative seeking major political reforms
Former foreign minister Nasser Al-Kidwa. (AFP/File)
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Updated 27 July 2022

Abbas rival Al-Kidwa launches initiative seeking major political reforms

Abbas rival Al-Kidwa launches initiative seeking major political reforms
  • PLO ‘needs to be lifted out of its crisis and rebuilt,’ proposal says
  • National Rescue Initiative seeks major reforms to political system, institutions

RAMALLAH: A group of 67 prominent Palestinian political figures on Wednesday launched the National Rescue Initiative under the leadership of former foreign minister Nasser Al-Kidwa.
Seeking major reforms to the Palestinian political system and institutions, the initiative said: “The success of this proposed mechanism requires an application of popular, political and legal pressure to mobilize support and effect change.
“It must be affirmed that the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) needs to be lifted out of its crisis and rebuilt to meet the challenges.”
Palestinians, it added, are experiencing a state of decline which is unprecedented since the Nakba (the Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948), an accumulation of the absence of democracy and good governance alongside unbridled Israeli oppression, murder and settler-colonialism.
Palestinians are seeing fragmentation among Arab countries and waning regional and global support, which makes them unable to confront all of this and institute the necessary internal changes, a vital step toward contending with the present decline and averting an even worse situation, it said.
This is the first political initiative adopted and signed by prominent Palestinians to sharply criticize the rule of President Mahmoud Abbas and his unilateral approach to governance.
Al-Kidwa, who is also a former PLO special envoy to the UN and former Fatah central committee member, told Arab News: “We say that there is an accelerating loss of legitimacy because there have been no elections since 2005 and 2006, the 2021 elections were canceled, and because there is the destruction of institutions, the absence of the law, and the deterioration of the living conditions of citizens, and there is a violation of the dignity of the Palestinian citizen.”
He added: “We hope they will respond to this endeavor by the Palestinian factions, including Fatah, and take a clear position. We will work to expand and mobilize popular support as a provisional, transitional framework must be reached through dialogue between parties that accept these principles.
“There must be a collective effort to effect significant and extensive change to the political system, moving beyond what is currently established to find something new.
“Elaborating on this begins with a national dialogue yielding consensus on the composition, remit and duration of a transitional body, followed by consensus within the framework of this body regarding a tangible vision for change. General elections are then convened, the Palestinian National Council is reconstituted, and the remaining clauses of the agreed-upon vision are implemented.”
Al-Kidwa continued: “The national position used to require defending the Palestinian political system and confronting its enemies abroad and at home, and I exercised that role. But now, unfortunately, the national interest and position require serious work to change the political system in a wide and deep way, due to the unprecedented state of decadence and failure that the Palestinian situation has reached.
“It is no longer possible to remain silent on this bitter and painful reality, and it must change under any circumstances.”
A public opinion poll in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah between June 22 and 25, indicated a significant decline in the popularity of the Fatah movement and its leadership, with 73 percent of respondents saying they were dissatisfied with Abbas and 77 percent saying they wanted him to resign.
Palestinian political analyst Ghassan Al-Khatib told Arab News: “It is essential to present to the public and the elite such initiatives that point to the deficiencies and offer ideas for progress.
“However, in terms of the chances of success of such initiatives, they are limited because those in charge of them with good intentions do not have the necessary tools of influence in terms of organized parties and the public.”


Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
Updated 7 sec ago

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
  • ‘Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza’

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Wednesday welcomed the Gaza ceasefire and said that the problems between the Palestinians and Israel “cannot be resolved through violence.”

Following a fierce series of bombings by Israel and a response by Palestinians in Gaza, tensions have grown in the region, although a ceasefire has been agreed to.

“Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza and lead to an improvement of the socio-economic situation locally. We call on all stakeholders to comply with the agreement and call for maximum self-restraint.”

Hayashi said the many casualties amongst the general public that have resulted from the clashes “is a big and deep concern for us, and I’d like to express my condolences to the victim’s families.”

The foreign minister expressed Japan’s official position on the Palestinian cause saying, “Violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East. We believe that it can only be resolved through negotiation and efforts to build confidence between the parties. Therefore, we call on all those involved to make the strongest efforts possible.”

Hayashi made his remarks in reply to Arab News Japan’s question in a press conference at the ministry held right after participating in the inauguration of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Hayashi was retained as Foreign Minister in the new lineup.

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan


Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts
Updated 30 min 54 sec ago

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

DUBAI: Inspectors at Dubai International Airport have seized 3.7kg of marijuana that were found hidden inside air filters used for an engine, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Dubai Customs officers made the discovery after an x-ray of a passenger’s items revealed an “abnormal density,” the WAM report added.
Upon dismantling the auto spare parts, officers said they found the narcotics “skillfully concealed” around the air filters.
The suspect was arrested and an investigation was launched.


Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
Updated 11 August 2022

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
  • Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession

DUBAI: Police in Oman have foiled an attempt to smuggle a large haul of the drug cannabis into the country.

It is the latest in a number of seizures forming part of the government’s efforts to raise awareness and prevent the spread of controlled substances.

The General Department of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control, in cooperation with the Coast Guard Police, arrested two people while they were unloading 73kg of cannabis on a beach in Muscat Governorate,” the Royal Oman Police said in its Twitter account, adding that legal proceedures were underway.

 

 

Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession.

A forum in Dhofar earlier this week discussed the issue of controlled substances in Oman.

The event explored the types of substances being brought into the country, as well as the reasons for the use and the effects of their abuse, viewed from a social and family perspective.


US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security
Updated 11 August 2022

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

KUWAIT: The US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah during an official state visit, Kuwait State Agency (KUNA) reported.

They explored ways to boost cooperation to enhance global food security and health sector.

They discussed bilateral ties and reviewed the latest regional and international developments of common interest.


Palestinian Authority to seek full membership at UN

Palestinian Authority to seek full membership at UN
Updated 11 August 2022

Palestinian Authority to seek full membership at UN

Palestinian Authority to seek full membership at UN
  • President Mahmoud Abbas to make the case for enhanced status at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23

RAMALLAH: Palestinian leaders have launched a new diplomatic drive to obtain full membership of the UN.

The campaign will culminate with a landmark speech by President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, in which he will make the case for enhanced status.

“In the absence of a political path and hope for the Palestinians to end the occupation, they have no choice but to resort to the UN to enhance the status of Palestine as a state and the Palestinians as a people on their land under occupation,” Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem told Arab News on Wednesday.

The UN granted Palestine non-member observer state status at a historic vote in the General Assembly in November 2012, when 138 countries voted in favor, 9 opposed it, and 41 abstained. The resolution included “the hope that the Security Council will consider positively” accepting the request for full membership. Abbas submitted this in September 2011, but it fell in the Security Council because the US threatened to use its veto.

Fatah official Sabri Saidem told Arab News that France had encouraged the Palestinians to demand full membership of the UN, and Sweden and Ireland had expressed their unconditional support for the move. He said the Palestinians would now seek more Arab and international support.

UN membership was “a long-awaited entitlement, especially with the continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, the failure of US President Joe Biden’s administration to implement its vision in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and double standards when it comes to Palestine and Ukraine," he said.