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.

 


Afghan Taliban government says to attend third round of UN-hosted Doha talks

Afghan Taliban government says to attend third round of UN-hosted Doha talks
Updated 16 June 2024
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Afghan Taliban government says to attend third round of UN-hosted Doha talks

Afghan Taliban government says to attend third round of UN-hosted Doha talks
  • Mujahid told local media on Sunday the decision had been made to send a delegation, the members of which would be announced later, because it was deemed “beneficial to Afghanistan”

KABUL: Taliban authorities will attend the third round of United Nations-hosted talks on Afghanistan in the Qatari capital, a government spokesman told AFP on Sunday, after snubbing an invitation to the previous round.
“A delegation of the Islamic Emirate will participate in the coming Doha conference. They will represent Afghanistan there and express Afghanistan’s position,” Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said of the talks, which are scheduled to start June 30.
The participation of the Taliban authorities in the two-day conference of special envoys on Afghanistan had been in doubt after they were not included in the first round and then refused an invitation to the second round in February.
Mujahid told local media on Sunday the decision had been made to send a delegation, the members of which would be announced later, because it was deemed “beneficial to Afghanistan”.


Hamas response to Gaza ceasefire proposal ‘consistent’ with principles of US plan, leader says

Hamas response to Gaza ceasefire proposal ‘consistent’ with principles of US plan, leader says
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hamas response to Gaza ceasefire proposal ‘consistent’ with principles of US plan, leader says

Hamas response to Gaza ceasefire proposal ‘consistent’ with principles of US plan, leader says
  • Egypt and Qatar said on June 11 that they had received a response from the Palestinian groups to the US plan

CAIRO: Hamas’ response to the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal is consistent with the principles put forward in US President Joe Biden’s plan, the group’s Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised speech on the occasion of the Islamic Eid Al-Adha on Sunday.
“Hamas and the (Palestinian) groups are ready for a comprehensive deal which entails a ceasefire, withdrawal from the strip, the reconstruction of what was destroyed and a comprehensive swap deal,” Haniyeh said, referring to the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.
On May 31, Biden laid out what he called a “three-phase” Israeli proposal that would include negotiations for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza as well as phased exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
Egypt and Qatar — which along with the United States have been mediating between Hamas and Israel — said on June 11 that they had received a response from the Palestinian groups to the US plan, without giving further details.
While Israel said Hamas rejected key elements of the US plan, a senior Hamas leader said that the changes the group requested were “not significant”.


Red Sea crisis intensifies economic strain on Yemenis ahead of Eid

Red Sea crisis intensifies economic strain on Yemenis ahead of Eid
Updated 16 June 2024
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Red Sea crisis intensifies economic strain on Yemenis ahead of Eid

Red Sea crisis intensifies economic strain on Yemenis ahead of Eid
  • Sales have decreased by 80 percent
  • Over 1.2 million civil servants have not received salaries in eight years, and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs

DUBAI: Yemen, suffering from nearly a decade of civil war, now faces an additional challenge: a crippled economy further strained by the escalating crisis in the Red Sea.

Market vendors in Sanaa’s Old City, the Al-Melh, claim that sales have decreased by 80 percent, according to a report by Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Shopkeepers attribute this decline to recent increases in sea shipping costs, which have driven up wholesale prices.

This situation reflects the broader economic crisis in Yemen, where rising sea shipping costs have increased prices across the board, making basic Eid essentials unaffordable for many. 

To help ease financial strain, an exhibition was organized in Al-Sabeen Park, where families were able to sell homemade goods. 

Despite these efforts, Yemen’s economic problems persist. According to the UN, the decade-long war has pushed millions into poverty. Over 1.2 million civil servants have not received salaries in eight years, and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. The Norwegian Refugee Council reports that four out of five Yemenis face poverty, and over 18 million people urgently need humanitarian aid.


Water crisis batters war-torn Sudan as temperatures soar

Water crisis batters war-torn Sudan as temperatures soar
Updated 16 June 2024
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Water crisis batters war-torn Sudan as temperatures soar

Water crisis batters war-torn Sudan as temperatures soar
  • The country at large, despite its many water sources including the mighty Nile River, is no stranger to water scarcity
  • This summer, the mercury is expected to continue rising until the rainy season hits in August

PORT SUDAN, Sudan: War, climate change and man-made shortages have brought Sudan — a nation already facing a litany of horrors — to the shores of a water crisis.
“Since the war began, two of my children have walked 14 kilometers (nine miles) every day to get water for the family,” Issa, a father of seven, said from North Darfur state.
In the blistering sun, as temperatures climb past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), Issa’s family — along with 65,000 other residents of the Sortoni displacement camp — suffer the weight of the war between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
When the first shots rang out more than a year ago, most foreign aid groups — including the one operating Sortoni’s local water station — could no longer operate. Residents were left to fend for themselves.
The country at large, despite its many water sources including the mighty Nile River, is no stranger to water scarcity.
Even before the war, a quarter of the population had to walk more than 50 minutes to fetch water, according to the United Nations.
Now, from the western deserts of Darfur, through the fertile Nile Valley and all the way to the Red Sea coast, a water crisis has hit 48 million war-weary Sudanese who the US ambassador to the United Nations on Friday said are already facing “the largest humanitarian crisis on the face of the planet.”
Around 110 kilometers east of Sortoni, deadly clashes in North Darfur’s capital of El-Fasher, besieged by RSF, threaten water access for more than 800,000 civilians.
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Friday said fighting in El-Fasher had killed at least 226.
Just outside the city, fighting over the Golo water reservoir “risks cutting off safe and adequate water for about 270,000 people,” the UN children’s agency UNICEF has warned.
Access to water and other scarce resources has long been a source of conflict in Sudan.
The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded that the siege of El-Fasher end.
If it goes on, hundreds of thousands more people who rely on the area’s groundwater will go without.
“The water is there, but it’s more than 60 meters (66 yards) deep, deeper than a hand-pump can go,” according to a European diplomat with years of experience in Sudan’s water sector.
“If the RSF doesn’t allow fuel to go in, the water stations will stop working,” he said, requesting anonymity because the diplomat was not authorized to speak to media.
“For a large part of the population, there will simply be no water.”
Already in the nearby village of Shaqra, where 40,000 people have sought shelter, “people stand in lines 300 meters long to get drinking water,” said Adam Rijal, spokesperson for the civilian-led General Coordination for Displaced Persons and Refugees in Darfur.
In photos he sent to AFP, some women and children can be seen huddled under the shade of lonely acacia trees, while most swelter in the blazing sun, waiting their turn.
Sudan is hard-hit by climate change, and “you see it most clearly in the increase in temperature and rainfall intensity,” the diplomat said.
This summer, the mercury is expected to continue rising until the rainy season hits in August, bringing with it torrential floods that kill dozens every year.
The capital Khartoum sits at the legendary meeting point of the Blue Nile and White Nile rivers — yet its people are parched.
The Soba water station, which supplies water to much of the capital, “has been out of service since the war began,” said a volunteer from the local resistance committee, one of hundreds of grassroots groups coordinating wartime aid.
People have since been buying untreated “water off of animal-drawn carts, which they can hardly afford and exposes them to diseases,” he said, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Entire neighborhoods of Khartoum North “have gone without drinking water for a year,” another local volunteer said, requesting to be identified only by his first name, Salah.
“People wanted to stay in their homes, even through the fighting, but they couldn’t last without water,” Salah said.
Hundreds of thousands have fled the fighting eastward, many to the de facto capital of Port Sudan on the Red Sea — itself facing a “huge water issue” that will only get “worse in the summer months,” resident Al-Sadek Hussein worries.
The city depends on only one inadequate reservoir for its water supply.
Here, too, citizens rely on horse- and donkey-drawn carts to deliver water, using “tools that need to be monitored and controlled to prevent contamination,” public health expert Taha Taher said.
“But with all the displacement, of course this doesn’t happen,” he said.
Between April 2023 and March 2024, the health ministry recorded nearly 11,000 cases of cholera — a disease endemic to Sudan, “but not like this” when it has become “year-round,” the European diplomat said.
The outbreak comes with the majority of Sudan’s hospitals shut down and the United States warning on Friday that a famine of historic global proportions could unfold without urgent action.
“Health care has collapsed, people are drinking dirty water, they are hungry and will get hungrier, which will kill many, many more,” the diplomat said.


UAE, Iran discuss bilateral relations

UAE, Iran discuss bilateral relations
Updated 16 June 2024
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UAE, Iran discuss bilateral relations

UAE, Iran discuss bilateral relations

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirats Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, had a phone conversation on Saturday with Iran's acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Bagheri Kani, to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries.

During the call, they exchanged Eid Al-Adha greetings and explored ways to enhance cooperation that would serve the mutual interests of their countries and peoples, contributing to regional security and stability.

They also reviewed several issues of common interest, as well as recent developments in both regional and international arenas.