UN Security Council calls for end to Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine

Calls came during the council’s quarterly meeting and debate on the situation in Palestine and the status of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. (Screenshot/UNTV)
Calls came during the council’s quarterly meeting and debate on the situation in Palestine and the status of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. (Screenshot/UNTV)
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Updated 26 April 2023
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UN Security Council calls for end to Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine

UN Security Council calls for end to Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine
  • During their quarterly meeting to discuss on the situation in Palestine, council members reaffirmed their support for a two-state solution
  • Palestine’s foreign minister said the Israelis continue to ignore international law because the international community refuses to hold them to account

NEW YORK CITY: The member states of the UN Security Council on Tuesday called for the Israeli occupation and the building of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land to end, as they reiterated their support for a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

It came during the council’s quarterly meeting and debate on the situation in Palestine and the status of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. It was chaired by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, as Russia holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month and chose to convene it at a ministerial level.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki opened his remarks by commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, or “Catastrophe,” the destruction of the Palestinian homeland in 1948 as a result of the formation of the state of Israel, and the permanent displacement of a majority of Palestinian Arabs. More than 700,000 were forced to flee their homes and became refugees. Then, in 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

Al-Maliki called on the international community to do more to hold Israeli authorities accountable for their repeated violations of international law resulting from the continuing occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the building of illegal settlements for Jewish citizens in occupied territories.

He said that while the international community has been vocal in condemning Israel for failing to adhere to the principles of international law, and for the mistreatment of Palestinians, it has failed back this up with “decisive action on the ground” that might deter such behavior and end the occupation.

Israeli authorities continue to act with “impunity” and total disregard for the norms of international law and diplomacy, Al-Maliki added, and they behave this way because the international community has refused to hold them to account.

“As long as Israel reaps the benefits of its occupation, while we pay the cost, annexation and apartheid are the only reality we are left with” he told council members.

“Make the occupation costly and I can assure you it will come to an end.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, did not respond to Al-Maliki’s comments. Instead, he accused the Security Council of “bias” because it had refused to postpone the meeting to accommodate Israel’s Memorial Day holiday on Tuesday. He then read out the names of Israeli soldiers who died in wars, before promptly leaving the meeting.

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said that both Israelis and Palestinians should refrain from any actions that might escalate the conflict, and called for an end to any provocations or incitements that could prevent a resolution and an end to the occupation.

He highlighted the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces and the demolition of Palestinian homes, and urged Israel to adhere to the principles of international law, preserve the status quo in occupied Jerusalem, and respect Jordan’s Hashemite custodianship of Muslim holy sites in the city.

Lavrov said that Russia supports a two-state solution and is intent on engaging with all powers in the region to help achieve stability and peace in the Middle East.

He said “unilateral steps on the ground” by the Israelis, such as the construction of illegal settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and random arrests of Palestinian civilians, were the main driver of instability in the region.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US permanent representative to the UN, expressed Washington’s continuing support for Israel as she called on “all parties to exercise restraint in action and in rhetoric to prevent further escalation.”

She also condemned recent rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip and from Lebanon against Israeli targets in response to violence against Muslim worshippers in Jerusalem.

Thomas-Greenfield reiterated US support for a two-state solution as she called for an end to violence and the start of “confidence-building measures” between Israel and the Palestinians.

She also stressed Washington’s support for the UN Relief and Works Agency, the UN body responsible for supporting and aiding Palestinian Refugees. She said Washington has provided the agency with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding but warned that the agency might face financial problems soon that could put Palestinian refugees at risk and cause instability in the region.

Council members from France, Ecuador, Ghana and the UAE expressed concern about the recent increase in violence in Jerusalem and urged a “deescalation of tensions.”

They expressed support for Palestinian rights and called for an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people. They also welcomed efforts by authorities in Egypt and Jordan to ease the rising tensions.


Israel puts Golan, Nevatim, Dimona, Eilat residents on impact standby

Israel puts Golan, Nevatim, Dimona, Eilat residents on impact standby
Updated 4 sec ago
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Israel puts Golan, Nevatim, Dimona, Eilat residents on impact standby

Israel puts Golan, Nevatim, Dimona, Eilat residents on impact standby
  • Israel has a nuclear reactor on the outskirts of Dimona

JERUSALEM: Israel’s military put the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights as well as Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat on standby for possible impact from Iranian drone launches early on Sunday, instructing residents to stay close to bomb shelters.
The Golan was captured from Syria in a 1967 war. Nevatim is the site of an Israeli air base. Israel has a nuclear reactor on the outskirts of Dimona. Eilat is Israel’s southern Red Sea port, which has come under repeated attack by Yemen’s Houthis.

 


US shoots down Iranian drone aircraft bound for Israel — US officials

US shoots down Iranian drone aircraft bound for Israel — US officials
Updated 5 min 27 sec ago
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US shoots down Iranian drone aircraft bound for Israel — US officials

US shoots down Iranian drone aircraft bound for Israel — US officials

WASHINGTON: The US military has shot down Iranian drone aircraft headed toward Israel on Saturday, three US officials said, without disclosing how many drones were shot down or the precise locations.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in an attack that may trigger a major escalation between the regional archenemies.


Iran’s UN mission: attack on Israel is a conflict between Iran and Israel

Iran’s UN mission: attack on Israel is a conflict between Iran and Israel
Updated 6 min 54 sec ago
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Iran’s UN mission: attack on Israel is a conflict between Iran and Israel

Iran’s UN mission: attack on Israel is a conflict between Iran and Israel
  • ” Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus

DUBAI: The United States must stay away from the conflict between Iran and Israel, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on social media platform X on Sunday, warning Tehran’s response would be more severe if Israel retaliates.
” ... Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded,” the mission said on X.
“However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the US MUST STAY AWAY!.”

 


23-hour ordeal ends for 175 holidaymakers stranded in Turkiye cable car

23-hour ordeal ends for 175 holidaymakers stranded  in Turkiye cable car
Updated 58 min 19 sec ago
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23-hour ordeal ends for 175 holidaymakers stranded in Turkiye cable car

23-hour ordeal ends for 175 holidaymakers stranded  in Turkiye cable car
  • The stranded people had been stuck on the Tunektepe cable car, just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya, since 5:30 p.m. on Friday
  • The cable car carries tourists from Konyaalti beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-meter Tunektepe peak

ISTANBUL: The last of 174 people stranded in cable cars high above a mountain in southern Turkiye were brought to safety Saturday, nearly 23 hours after one pod hit a pole and burst open, killing one person and injuring seven when they plummeted to the rocks below.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced the successful completion of the rescue operation on X Saturday afternoon.
A total of 607 search and rescue personnel and 10 helicopters were involved, including teams from Turkiye’s emergency response agency, AFAD, the Coast Guard, firefighting teams and mountain rescue teams from different parts of Turkiye, officials said. Helicopters with night-vision capabilities had continued rescuing people throughout the night.
The stranded people had been stuck on the Tunektepe cable car, just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya, since 5:30 p.m. on Friday, when the accident occurred.
Istanbul resident Hatice Polat and her family were rescued seven hours into the ordeal. Speaking to the Anadolu agency, she said the power went out and the pod flipped four or five times.
“The night was awful, we were very scared. There were children with us, they passed out,” she said. “It was torture being up there for seven hours. It is swaying every second, you’re constantly in fear. ... It was very traumatic, I don’t know how we’ll get over this trauma.”
State-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. Those injured included two children and were six Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz national. They were all rescued by Coast Guard helicopters soon after the crash and sent for treatment. Images in Turkish media showed the battered car swaying from dislodged cables on the side of the rocky mountain as medics tended the wounded.
Yerlikaya also announced that 13 people rescued from other cars were also taken to hospitals for checkups.
Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkiye marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which sees families flock to coastal resorts.
The cable car carries tourists from Konyaalti beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-meter (2,010-foot) Tunektepe peak. It is run by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality. The cable car line was completed in 2017 and receives a major inspection around the beginning of the year, as well as routine inspections throughout the year.
Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation. An expert commission including mechanical and electrical engineers and health and safety experts was assigned to determine the cause of the incident.


Iran launches drones at Israel, airspace closed and defenses poised

Iran launches drones at Israel, airspace closed and defenses poised
Updated 14 April 2024
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Iran launches drones at Israel, airspace closed and defenses poised

Iran launches drones at Israel, airspace closed and defenses poised
  • “Wing of Zion,” Israel’s version of US “Air Force One,” airborne
  • Israeli army spokesman said would take several hours for drones to arrive

JERUSALEM: Iran launched drones toward Israel late Saturday, the Israeli military announced, and Iran’s state-run media reported that dozens had been fired.
The Israeli army’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said it would take several hours for the aircraft to arrive and that the country was prepared. Iran had been threatening to attack Israel since an airstrike last week killed two Iranian generals in Syria. Israel has not commented on that attack, but Iran accused it of being behind it.
Israeli aviation authorities said they were closing the country’s airspace to all flights as of 12:30 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m. EDT).
The drone attack late Saturday marked the first time Iran had ever launched a full-scale military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard acknowledged launching “dozens of drones and missiles toward the occupied territories and positions of the Zionist regime.” The statement did not elaborate.
The White House said it would provide unspecified support for Israel’s defense against the ongoing attack. “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
President Joe Biden was set to convene a principals meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the unfolding attack, the White House said. Biden had cut short a weekend trip to his beach house in Delaware to return to the White House and monitor the situation.
Earlier Saturday, the Israeli military said it was canceling school and limiting public gatherings to no more than 1,000 people as a precaution.
Hagari said Israel is “prepared and ready” with defensive and offensive actions. He also said there was “tight” cooperation with the US and other partners in the region.
The head of the US Central Command, Gen. Erik Kurilla, has been in Israel in recent days to coordinate with Israel about the Iranian threats.
Israel has a number of layers of air defense capable of intercepting everything from long-range missiles to UAV’s and short-range rockets. Hagari said Israel has an “excellent air defense system” but stressed it is not 100 percent effective and urged the public to listen to safety announcements.
For days, Iranian officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have threatened to “slap” Israel for its Syria strike.
Iran has largely avoided directly attacking Israel, despite its targeted killings of nuclear scientists and sabotage campaigns on Iran’s atomic sites. Iran has targeted Israeli or Jewish-linked sites through proxy forces.
Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip has inflamed decade-old tensions in the Middle East, and any new attack threatens to escalate that conflict into a wider regional war.
Flight-tracking data showed the airspace over Jordan empty, while few flights continued on their north-south routes over Iraq. A sole Middle East Airlines flight from Dubai to Beirut remained airborne over Syria.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported heavy Israeli airstrikes and shelling on multiple locations in south Lebanon following the launch of drones from Iran. The Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has been clashing with Israeli forces in the border area for more than six months.
Earlier Saturday, commandos from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard rappelled from a helicopter onto an Israeli-affiliated container ship near the Strait of Hormuz and seized the vessel.
Iran’s state-run IRNA said a special forces unit of the Guard’s navy carried out the attack on the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime.
Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. Zodiac declined to comment and referred questions to MSC. Geneva-based MSC acknowledged the seizure and said 25 crew members were on the ship.
“We are working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure their wellbeing, and safe return of the vessel,” MSC said.
White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the crew was made up of Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, Russian and Estonian nationals and urged Iran to release them and the vessel.
IRNA said the Guard would take the vessel into Iranian territorial waters.
A Middle East defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, provided video of the attack to The Associated Press in which Iranian commandos are seen rappelling onto a stack of containers on the vessel’s deck.
The video corresponded with known details of the MSC Aries. The commandos rappelled from what appeared to be a Soviet-era Mil Mi-17 helicopter, which both the Guard and the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen have used before to raid ships.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on nations to list the Guard as a terrorist organization. Iran “is a criminal regime that supports Hamas’ crimes and is now conducting a pirate operation in violation of international law,” Katz said.
The US, Israel’s main backer, has stood by the country despite growing concerns over Israel’s war on Gaza killing more than 33,600 Palestinians and wounding over 76,200 more. Israel’s war began after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage.
The Pentagon said Saturday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart “to discuss urgent regional threats ... and made clear that Israel could count on full US support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies.” National security adviser Jake Sullivan also spoke with his counterpart to reinforce Washington’s “ironclad commitment to the security of Israel.”