Jordan says its pressure halted international flights from Israeli airport

Israel inaugurated the new international airport in its desert south meant to boost tourism to the nearby Red Sea and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport. (AFP/File Photo)
Israel inaugurated the new international airport in its desert south meant to boost tourism to the nearby Red Sea and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 02 September 2022

Jordan says its pressure halted international flights from Israeli airport

Jordan says its pressure halted international flights from Israeli airport
  • No international flights scheduled for the next two weeks
  • Only scheduled departures from airport up to Sept. 16 into Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv

AMMAN: Jordan said its pressure on Israel had halted all international flights from Eilat’s Ramon Airport.

Transport Minister Wajih Azaizeh said the country’s objection to the airport in the Red Sea port city had pushed the facility to only operate domestic flights.

According to the flight departure list on the airport’s website, there were no international flights scheduled for the next two weeks.

The only scheduled departures from the airport up to Sept. 16 were Arkia Israeli Airlines and Israir Airlines flights into Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

Israeli airport authorities had previously announced that Palestinians in the West Bank could travel internationally via the airport, leading Jordan to step up its diplomatic efforts with the Palestinians to cancel the decision.

Before Israel’s announcement, Palestinians wishing to travel abroad had to first enter Jordan through the King Hussein Bridge in the Jordan Valley and then go to Amman for international flights.

Without giving further details, Azaizeh only said that no international flights were operating from the airport thanks to Jordan’s objection.

There was no official reaction from Israeli authorities to his statement.

The Jordanian tourism sector expressed concern about the Israeli decision, saying it would lead to a “sharp drop” in the number of Palestinians traveling abroad through the country.

The Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents had expected a drop of 65 percent in the number of Palestinians visiting Jordan should they decide to travel abroad through Israel.

It called on the government to intervene, solve the problem, and simplify entry procedures for Palestinians traveling to Jordan.

The hospitality sector had also warned of a “significant” profit loss of more than 50 percent because of Israel’s airport decision.

The society said around 500,000 Palestinians entered Jordan through the bridge for tourism, transit tourism, or to visit relatives and friends in Jordan.

The Palestinian-Jordanian Business Forum called on Palestinians to boycott Ramon Airport, citing the consequences for Jordan’s economy.

It said the Israelis’ failure to operate the airport was the reason behind allowing the Palestinians to use it.

A senior Palestinian official, who requested anonymity, told Arab News that the Israelis’ aversion to traveling through Ramon Airport was the reason behind allowing Palestinians to use it.

“They (Israelis) are never generous with us,” the official said. “They erect barriers everywhere in the West Bank and prevent us from working, let alone traveling abroad. This ‘sudden generosity’ had to do primarily with their citizens’ (Israelis’) declination (disinclination) to use Ramon Airport and using us to operate it.”

The King Hussein Bridge has experienced overcrowding, with Jordanians and Palestinians accusing the Israelis of intentionally complicating procedures on the crossing to push Palestinians to travel through Ramon Airport.

During a recent meeting with his Jordanian counterpart in Amman, Bishr al-Khasawneh, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ishtayeh said the Israelis were hindering Palestinians' movement and complicating their travel procedures.

“If (the) Israelis’ point is to facilitate Palestinians’ travel, they should open Jerusalem International Airport,” Ishtayeh said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs previously said the airport’s establishment would violate Jordanian airspace and international law, especially Article 1 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 and the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

In 2019, Jordan submitted an official complaint to the ICAO about Ramon Airport and the violations.


Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests
Updated 07 December 2022

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests
  • ‘Freedom trampled under pretext of protecting security,’ says Mohammad Khatami
  • Former leader calls on regime to meet protesters’ demands ‘before it is too late’

LONDON: Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami has praised anti-regime protests and urged authorities to meet protesters’ demands “before it is too late,” the BBC reported.

The two-term reformist president, who served between 1997 and 2005, described “woman, life, freedom” as a “beautiful slogan,” and said that it showed Iranian society was moving toward a better future.

Khatami also criticized the security forces’ crackdown and arrest of students.

“It should not be allowed that freedom and security are placed in opposition to one another, and that as a result freedom is trampled under the pretext of maintaining security, or that security is ignored in the name of freedom,” he said.

“I advise officials to appreciate this presence and instead of dealing with it unjustly, extend a helping hand to them and, with their help, recognize the wrong aspects of governance and move toward good governance before it is too late.”

Khatami’s comments came in a statement to mark Student Day on Wednesday, with students having been at the forefront of the wave of protests that are now into their fourth month.

Protests were sparked by the September murder of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.

Her death ignited pent-up frustrations over falling living standards, and discrimination against women and minorities.

Protests have spread to more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces, and are now considered the most serious challenge to the regime since it took power in the 1979 revolution.

Iran’s leadership has sought to portray the protests as “riots” instigated by “foreign enemies.”

Despite the brutal crackdown by security forces, which have led to the deaths of 473 protesters and the detention of more than 18,000 people, demonstrations show little sign of abating, with Khatami describing student involvement as “perhaps unprecedented.”

Iran’s judiciary also sentenced five protesters to death on charges of “corruption of the Earth” on Tuesday, with 11 others, including three children” handed long prison sentences.

Director of Iran Human Rights Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam told AFP News: “These people are sentenced after unfair processes and without due process. The aim is to spread fear and make people stop protesting.”

A total of 11 protesters have now been sentenced to death, with the country’s judiciary chief saying on Monday that executions will be carried out “soon.”


Iran executions up more than 50% this year

Iran executions up more than 50% this year
Updated 07 December 2022

Iran executions up more than 50% this year

Iran executions up more than 50% this year
  • Over 500 people killed, says rights body
  • ‘Crackdown led by President Ebrahim Raisa’

LONDON: Iranian authorities have executed more than 500 people this year, according to data released by Iran Human Rights.

Up more than 50 percent on 2021’s figure of 333, the spike in executions marks a dramatic shift following years of decline, with numbers only likely to climb amidst the government’s brutal response to protests in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody.

Five further death sentences were handed out to protesters yesterday, for killing a member of the security forces, bringing to 11 the total number arising from the protests.

Meanwhile nine people have been charged over the killing of Iran’s nuclear weapons chief, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020. Israel’s security agency, Mossad, has been blamed for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

Newly elected president and former prosecutor, Ebrahim Raisi, played a central role in the 1980s killing spree that resulted in the execution of thousands of opposition supporters.

His election last year, combined with the surging number of death sentences, are considered reflective of the increasing dominance of hardliners over Iranian politics.


New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission
Updated 07 December 2022

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission
  • Initial launch date was delayed several times to allow for additional pre-flight checks

DUBAI: The UAE’s moon rover is set to blast off “no earlier than Dec. 11” after a series of tests were conducted on the SpaceX rocket.

In a statement, ispace inc., the Japanese firm that built HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lander carrying the UAE’s Rashid rover, said the initial launch date was delayed several times to allow for additional pre-flight checks on the rocket.

The Emirati-made Rashid rover will launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, at 7:38 a.m. GMT on Dec. 11, embarking on a five-month journey to the moon in the Arab world’s first lunar mission.

 

 

“ispace’s Mission 1 lunar lander was integrated into the SpaceX Falcon 9 fairing and battery charging operations for the lander will continue,” said the firm.

“No issues with the lander itself have been identified. As of today, no major operational changes are planned, with lunar landing scheduled for the end of April 2023.”

If the rover lands successfully, the UAE will be the fourth country to reach the moon.


Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country
Updated 07 December 2022

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country
  • Abdul Shakour’s comments were made on the sidelines of a conference held on Wednesday at the Arab League headquarters

DUBAI: Abdul Rahman Abdul Shakour, Somalia’s special envoy for the President for Humanitarian Affairs and Drought, praised the UAE on Wednesday for its relief efforts in the drought-stricken country. 
“The UAE is a pioneer in providing the necessary support to Somalia in this crisis, as it was the first country to respond to the appeal launched by the Somali government to provide urgent relief to those affected by drought,” said Abdul Shakour.
He noted that the UAE fulfilled the needs of approximately 2.5 million people after it airlifted supplies and sent a ship carrying more than 1,000 tons of food and relief items to Somalia. 
Abdul Shakour’s comments were made on the sidelines of a conference held on Wednesday at the Arab League headquarters, which was jointly sponsored by the Arab League and United Nations.
The conference included several of senior officials from Arab philanthropic organizations and UN humanitarian bodies that aim to coordinate actions plans that will help address the worsening food situation in the African nation.


UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense
Updated 07 December 2022

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum met with Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense during his official visit to the country.

The leaders discussed bilateral ties and areas of potential cooperation with Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob in two separate meetings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, reported state news agency (WAM).

They also reviewed issues of mutual interest.