Netanyahu’s call to block creation of Palestinian state sparks fury, condemnation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2-R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem, on June 25, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2-R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem, on June 25, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 26 June 2023
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Netanyahu’s call to block creation of Palestinian state sparks fury, condemnation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2-R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem, on June 25, 2023.
  • PM’s comments show Israel rejects international law, Palestinian presidency spokesperson says
  • Will encourage ‘terrorist elements to commit more crimes,’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs says

RAMALLAH: All settler colonialism in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegitimate and illegal, Palestinian officials said on Monday.

Anger and frustration have been growing in response to Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state

He reportedly told a closed-door meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel must block Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent state and that “we are preparing for post-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”




Arab-Israeli Knesset member Ahmed Tibi (C-R) inspects the damage at the site of an attack by Israeli settlers on the village of Turmus Ayya near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on June 24, 2023. (AFP)

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency, said that establishing an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital was the only solution to achieve security and stability.

The Palestinian state existed, was recognized by more than 140 countries and only needed the end of the occupation to embody its independence, he said.

Netanyahu’s statements showed the world Israel’s true intentions, which reject international legitimacy and international law, and that no Israeli partner wanted to achieve peace based on international legitimacy, Rudeineh added.

BACKGROUND

Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as their capital.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Netanyahu’s statements as official recognition of the Israeli government’s hostile policy toward peace and rejection of the resolutions of international legitimacy and the implementation of the principle of the two-state solution.

The reported remarks provided new confirmation of the absence of a peace partner in the Israeli regime, it said.

The ministry pointed to the deliberate sabotage by Israel of all regional, international and US agreements, understandings and efforts to restore the political horizon for resolving the conflict.

It added that Netanyahu’s refusal to establish an independent Palestinian state was the political explanation for the violations of the occupation army, settler militia and terrorist elements and their crimes against Palestinian citizens, their land, properties, homes, crops and sanctities throughout the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

The ministry added that Netanyahu’s position encouraged “terrorist elements to commit more crimes of stealing Palestinian land, deepening settlements and planting more random outposts to undermine any opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian state.”

It called on the US administration to deal with Netanyahu’s anti-peace position “very seriously” and to take the necessary sanctions, pressures and measures to protect the opportunity to implement the two-state solution principle.

Nasser Al-Kidwa, a former representative of Palestine to the UN, told Arab News that the Israeli government did not want a settlement and would “lead the region to hell.”

“Neither Netanyahu nor the Israeli right nor any power in the universe can deny the Palestinians’ right to an independent state,” he said.

Palestinian political analyst Ghassan Al-Khatib told Arab News that, for the first time, Netanyahu’s words were consistent with his actions and observed behavior, as he had been closing the door to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“Today he is emphasizing his extreme right-wing policy, which refuses to give up Israeli control over any part of the Palestinian territories,” he said.

Netanyahu’s position had created a “new reality” for Palestinians and the international community, Al-Khatib added.

“What is important is what will be the international community’s position on that.”

Hamas joined the condemnation of Netanyahu’s statement, reaffirming its stance that Israel’s occupation is based on genocide, ethnic cleansing and settler-colonialism.

“Such remarks require the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization to reconsider their compromise track and fruitless negotiations with the Israeli occupation authorities and end all security collaboration,” it said.

All forms of normalization had encouraged the Israeli authorities to commit further atrocities, it added.

“We call on the international community, the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to condemn such positions, as they violate the most basic human rights and all relevant resolutions, and threaten peace and security in the region.”

Palestinian officials are also frustrated by Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida and US presidential candidate who said the West Bank “is not occupied lands but rather belongs to the Jews, according to the Torah.”

Al-Kidwa told Arab News that the governor’s position was “immoral, denying the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and their national existence and violating a system of international laws that recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state, and encouraging extremist Israeli groups to deny the rights of the Palestinians.”

He described DeSantis as “an opportunistic person.”

Meanwhile, on the eve of Eid Al-Adha, Israel’s military authorities launched a campaign of arrests in the West Bank and incursions into the homes of prisoners and ex-prisoners in several towns and neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Committee for the Families of Jerusalemite Prisoners, said Israeli security forces focused on the areas of Silwan, Al-Isawiya, Jabal Al-Mukaber, Al-Sawwana, Al-Tur, the Old City and Beit Hanina.

After searching and destroying homes and their contents, the military seized money and vehicles, he said.

Israeli security forces also handed a notification to the released prisoners after seizing their money worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It said: “The money that the prisoners receive from the Palestinian Authority is money that was obtained as a wage and reward for committing terrorist operations and encourages terrorism.”

Israeli authorities began a campaign to confiscate and seize the funds of Jerusalemite prisoners in 2020.

 


UN Security Council demands halt to siege of Sudan city of 1.8 mln people

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
Updated 59 min 47 sec ago
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UN Security Council demands halt to siege of Sudan city of 1.8 mln people

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
  • Council adopted British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians in Al-Fashir

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir — a city of 1.8 million people in Sudan’s North Dafur region — by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and an immediate end to fighting in the area.
The 15-member council adopted a British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians in Al-Fashir, the last big city in the vast, western Darfur region not under RSF control.
War erupted in Sudan in April last year between the Sudanese army (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), creating the world’s largest displacement crisis. Top UN officials have warned that the worsening violence around Al-Fashir threatens to “unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur.”


Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid
Updated 13 June 2024
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Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid
  • The West Bank has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza
  • Troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said

QABATIYA, West Bank: Israeli forces raided a town in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing three Palestinians and detaining several others in what the army described as an operation to pre-empt militant attacks.
The West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the militant Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
During the raid in Qabatiya, troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said. The two Palestinians were killed and witnesses saw the body of one them being lifted out by an armored bulldozer.
A third Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops elsewhere in the town, medical officials said.
There was no immediate claim of the dead men by any armed Palestinian faction. The army described the two killed in the building as “senior terrorists” without elaborating, and added that weapons were seized in the raid.
Several Palestinians were detained by troops, who also “exposed explosives planted into roads which were intended to be used to attack the forces,” the army statement said.
A soldier was wounded during exchanges of fire, it added.


Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA

Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA
Updated 13 June 2024
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Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA

Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA
  • Tehran is installing more cascades at the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow
  • A cascade is a series of centrifuges, machines used in the process of enriching uranium

VIENNA: Iran is further expanding its nuclear capacities, the UN atomic watchdog said Thursday, one week after the agency’s board of governors passed a resolution criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA.
The International Atomic Energy Agency informed its members that Tehran told it that it was installing more cascades at the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, according to a statement sent to AFP.
A diplomatic source deemed this development as “moderate.”
A cascade is a series of centrifuges, machines used in the process of enriching uranium.
The motion brought by Britain, France and Germany — but opposed by China and Russia — at the IAEA’s 35-nation board last week was the first of its kind since November 2022.
The resolution — which Tehran slammed as “hasty and unwise” — came amid an impasse over Iran’s escalating nuclear activities and as Western powers fear Tehran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, a claim Iran denies.
Although symbolic in nature at this stage, the censure motion aims to raise diplomatic pressure on Iran, with the option to potentially refer the issue to the UN Security Council.
In the past, similar resolutions have prompted Tehran to retaliate by removing surveillance cameras and other equipment from its nuclear facilities and ratcheting up its uranium enrichment activities.
According to the IAEA, Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state to enrich uranium to the high level of 60 percent — just short of weapons-grade — while it keeps accumulating large uranium stockpiles.
The IAEA has said that Tehran has significantly ramped up its nuclear program and now has enough material to build several atomic bombs.
The Islamic republic has gradually broken away from its commitments under the nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015.
The landmark deal provided Iran with relief from Western sanctions in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, but it fell apart after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States under then-president Donald Trump in 2018.
Efforts to revive the deal have so far failed.


Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades

Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades
Updated 13 June 2024
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Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades

Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades
  • Bus driver says the opening of Al-Houban road reminds him of the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Yemeni government military officials urged the Houthis to unlock the seven city entrances that remain closed

AL-MUKALLA: The besieged Yemen city of Taiz was filled with jubilation on Thursday as people crossed into the city from Houthi-controlled areas for the first time in years.

In a surprise move, the Houthis opened a key road, raising hopes of an end to the militia’s blockade of Yemen’s main city after almost a decade.

The arrival of the first car from Al-Houban in Taiz sparked huge celebrations among hundreds of Yemenis, who crowded the government side of the city to wave the national flag and sing patriotic chants.

Abdul Kareem Shaiban, the head of the government’s delegation at talks with the Houthis, told Arab News that the opening of the Al-Houban-Taiz city road would alleviate over nine years of suffering for local residents. The move would connect the city to Taiz, Ibb, Sanaa, and other Yemeni centers, allow food and supplies to be delivered, and reduce travel costs.

“Today, we were relieved that our families, mothers, sisters and brothers arrived and exited Taiz after the opening of this road and that the family finally united after years of separation,” Shaiban said. He also called on the Houthis not to harass individuals who crossed into their area, to open the city’s remaining blocked exits, and to lift their siege altogether.

The Houthi militia laid siege to the city of Taiz in early 2015 after their forces were unable to seize control due to stiff opposition from Yemeni government troops and allied resistance fighters.

The group barricaded the city’s major exits, posted snipers and laid landmines to prevent civilians from leaving or entering. The blockade has forced more than two million civilians to use perilous dirt tracks to leave or enter the city.

Local and international relief and rights organizations have long chastised the Houthis for impeding the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies and products to the besieged city, driving people to starvation.

As well as the Al-Houban road, they have reopened a route connecting Marib with Sanaa via Al-Bayda and have committed to consider lifting blockades on additional restricted highways. 

Responding to the Houthi proposal, the Yemeni government in Taiz sent bulldozers to clear trees, dunes, and barriers, while deminers cleared landmines from its side of the route.

Abu Mohammed, a bus driver from Taiz, said the opening of the road reminded him of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He added that he could now travel to his mother and other relatives in the countryside in one hour instead of seven, the length of his journey while the road was closed.

“This is an extremely significant event. This year’s Eid (Al-Adha) will be very joyful since I’m bringing my family from the city to see my mother in the countryside,” he told Arab News joyfully.

Other Yemenis from Taiz residing overseas, including politicians, journalists, businesspeople, and activists, expressed similar excitement.

“Thanks to the productive efforts of all serious people, smiles returned today to brighten the faces of the residents of Taiz, with the reopening of the major artery,” Shawki Ahmed Hayel Saeed, a prominent businessman from Taiz, said on X.

At the same time, Yemeni government military officials urged the Houthis to unlock the seven city entrances that remain closed and allow large vehicles carrying food and other supplies to enter the city via the newly opened route.

“This is a partial lifting of the siege on Taiz because the militia only allowed small cars and pedestrians to enter or leave Taiz through this road and does not yet allow trucks or food supplies to enter the city,” Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni military official in Taiz, told Arab News.


Short circuit caused fire in Kuwait building housing foreign workers: fire service

A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2024
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Short circuit caused fire in Kuwait building housing foreign workers: fire service

A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
  • Those killed were mostly Indians, and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh was received by his Kuwaiti counterpart on Thursday

RIYADH: Kuwait’s fire service said on Thursday that an electrical short circuit caused the blaze that killed 50 people in a building housing foreign workers on Wednesday.

The fire broke out around dawn on Wednesday at the base of the block housing nearly 200 workers in the Mangaf area, south of Kuwait City.

Those killed were mostly Indians, and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh was received by his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah on Thursday.

Sheikh Fahad expressed his condolences over the tragic incident and Singh thanked Kuwait and its Emir Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah for the help and support extended to the families of those killed and injured in the blaze. 

Kuwaiti authorities said earlier on Thursday that three people had been detained for suspected manslaughter over the fire.