Egypt, Jordan and Iraq FMs discuss economic, political ties 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry hosts Jordanian and Iraqi counterparts in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UNGA. (@MfaEgypt)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry hosts Jordanian and Iraqi counterparts in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UNGA. (@MfaEgypt)
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Updated 24 September 2023
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Egypt, Jordan and Iraq FMs discuss economic, political ties 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry hosts Jordanian and Iraqi counterparts in New York.
  • Tripartite cooperation includes agreements in the energy, health and education sectors, as well as coordination on Middle East issues

CAIRO: The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq on Saturday discussed ways to activate cooperation between the three countries in several economic and political fields.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry hosted Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Al-Safadi, and Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein, at the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the UN in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said on Sunday that this was the follow-up to a summit in Baghdad in June 2021.

HIGHLIGHT

The ministers touched on many issues, notably the Palestinian issue in the context of the importance of restoring inalienable Palestinian rights.

During the meeting on Saturday, topics agreed on included the importance of completing projects proposed among the countries.

Initiating the introduction of new ideas and projects in electrical connectivity, renewable energy, communications, trade, industry, transportation, health, pharmaceutical industries, housing and construction were discussed, as well as in culture, tourism, youth and sports, and in the areas of security and defense cooperation.

The ministers also discussed the political situation in the region, stressing the importance of achieving security and stability there.

They touched on many issues, notably the Palestinian issue in the context of the importance of restoring inalienable Palestinian rights.

Ministers also discussed efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, especially through the work of the Arab Ministerial Contact Group, in a way that achieved the interests of the Syrian people and ended their suffering.

The foreign ministers agreed to continue coordination among themselves to prepare for the tripartite summit scheduled to be held in Cairo.

Tripartite cooperation between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq includes agreements in the energy, health and education sectors, as well as political coordination on Middle East issues.


Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem

Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem
Updated 12 sec ago
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Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem

Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem
  • Israel has killed at least 37,347 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry

JERUSALEM: Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday, clashing with police near the house of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling for new elections.
Netanyahu once again sits atop one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israel’s history after a wartime unity government fell apart a week ago when two centrist former generals, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, quit.
Netanyahu is now dependent on ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners, whose hard-line agenda caused a major rift in Israeli society even before Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault sparked the war in Gaza.
The often weekly demonstrations have yet to change the political landscape, and Netanyahu still controls a stable majority in parliament.
Following the departures of Gantz and Eisenkot, opposition groups declared a week of street protests that include blocking highways and mass demonstrations.
By sundown, a crowd of thousands had gathered outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, before marching to Netanyahu’s private home in the city.
The demonstration grew rowdy. After reaching Netanyahu’s house, some of the protesters broke off and tried to break through barriers set up by the police, who pushed them back. At one point a bonfire was lit in the street. Police used a water canon to disperse the demonstration.
Many waved Israeli flags. Others carried signs criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of pivotal issues, like promoting a divisive military draft bill that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from otherwise mandatory service, as well as his handling of the war with Hamas in Gaza and fighting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“The healing process for the country of Israel, it starts here. After last week when Benny Gantz and Eisenkot left the coalition, we are continuing this process and hopefully this government will resign soon,” said protester Oren Shvill. 

 


Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’

Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’
Updated 18 June 2024
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Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’

Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’
  • “Tens are alive with certainty,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli negotiator told AFP Monday that tens of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are certainly alive and that Israel cannot accept halting the war until all captives are released in a deal.
Hamas militants seized 251 hostages on October 7, of whom Israel believes 116 remain in Gaza, including 41 who the army says are dead.
“Tens are alive with certainty,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
“We cannot leave them there a long time, they will die,” he said, adding that a vast majority of them were being held by Hamas militants.
US President Joe Biden last month unveiled a three-phase proposal to end the war in Gaza, which includes a ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Biden said the first phase includes a “full and complete ceasefire” lasting six weeks, with Israeli forces withdrawing from “all populated areas of Gaza.”
The official said Israel could not end the conflict with Hamas before a hostage deal because the militants could “breach their commitment... and drag out the negotiations for 10 years” or more.
“We cannot, at this point in time — before signing the agreement — commit to ending the war,” the official said.
“Because during the first phase, there’s a clause that we hold negotiations about the second phase. The second phase is the release of the men and male soldier hostages.”
The official said the Israeli negotiating team had greenlit the Biden plan.
“We expect, and are waiting for, Hamas to say ‘yes,’” the official said.
The Israeli government has yet to publicly approve the Biden plan.
“In the event we don’t reach an agreement with Hamas, the IDF (army) will continue to fight in the Gaza Strip in a no less intense fashion than it’s fighting now,” he said.
“In a different manner, but an intense manner.”
The war between Israel and Hamas broke out after Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza has killed at least 37,347 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347

Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347
Updated 17 June 2024
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Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347

Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347
  • This war has proven even deadlier than the displacement from Israel in 1948, said Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American historian at Columbia University, when 20,000 were killed in what is known as the Nakbah
  • Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza has killed hundreds of family members from the same bloodline, an unprecedented toll on the small community mostly made up of refugees and their descendants

GAZA STRIP: The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Monday that at least 37,347 people have been killed in the territory during more than eight months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The toll includes at least 10 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that a total of 85,372 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Dire shortages of food and other essentials in the Gaza Strip have been exacerbated by overland access restrictions and the closure of the key Rafah crossing with Egypt since Israeli forces seized its Palestinian side in early May.
Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza has killed hundreds of family members from the same bloodline, an unprecedented toll on the small community mostly made up of refugees and their descendants.
An Associated Press investigation analyzed 10 strikes across the Gaza Strip between October and December that killed over 500 people.
Nearly every Palestinian family has suffered grievous, multiple losses.
But many have been decimated, particularly in the first months of the war.
AP geolocated and analyzed the strikes; consulted with weapons investigators; open data-analysts and legal experts; and drew on data by Airwars, a London-based conflict monitor.
They hit residential buildings and shelters with families inside. In no case was there an obvious military target or direct warning to those inside. In one case the family said they had raised a white flag on their building in a combat zone.
This war has proven even deadlier than the displacement from Israel in 1948, said Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American historian at Columbia University, when 20,000 were killed in what is known as the Nakbah
“I don’t think anything like this has happened in modern Palestinian history,” said Khalidi.
In Gaza City, medics at Al-Ahli Hospital said on Saturday at least five people were killed in two separate airstrikes, and witnesses reported tank shelling in the southern neighbourhood of Zeitun.
At least one strike hit Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, residents said.
Palestinian officials in the far-southern city of Rafah reported tank shelling early on Monday.
Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA, called for “further concrete measures by Israel to address longstanding issues” on humanitarian needs.
Gazans “urgently need food, water, sanitation, shelter, and healthcare, with many living near piles of solid waste, heightening health risks,” Laerke said.

 


US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV

US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV
Updated 17 June 2024
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US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV

US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV
  • Despite reprisals from US-British coalition, Houthis have in recent months escalated campaign of attacks in Red Sea

CAIRO: US and British forces have carried out at least six airstrikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah International Airport and four strikes on Kamaran Island near the port of Salif off the Red Sea, Al-Masirah TV, the main television news outlet run by Yemen’s Houthi movement, said on Monday.
The strikes on Kamaran mark the first time US-led coalition forces have targeted the island since airstrikes on Houthi targets began in early February.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized government believes Houthi fighters in the past have used Kamaran Island and Port Salif as a site to launch their Red Sea attacks as well as hide stockpiles of missiles and drones in its salt mines, two military sources within the government told Reuters.
The 10-kilometers of water that stretch from the port of Salif to Kamaran Island are also part of the route that ships must transit through to reach their next port of call.
The Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital and most populous areas, have attacked international shipping in the Red Sea since November in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
Despite reprisals from the US-British coalition and other navies, the Houthis have in recent months escalated their campaign of attacks on commercial vessels in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.


Displaced Lebanese return to southern border to mourn, pray over Eid

Displaced Lebanese return to southern border to mourn, pray over Eid
Updated 17 June 2024
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Displaced Lebanese return to southern border to mourn, pray over Eid

Displaced Lebanese return to southern border to mourn, pray over Eid
  • Israel and Hezbollah have traded near-daily cross-border fire since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack

NAQURA, Lebanon: Some displaced residents of southern Lebanon returned Monday to their towns for a key Muslim holiday to pray and mourn loved ones killed in months of cross-border violence between Israel and Hezbollah.
“Today is Eid Al-Adha, but it’s completely different this year,” said teacher Rabab Yazbek, 44, at a cemetery in the coastal town of Naqura, from which many residents have fled.
Every family has lost someone, “whether a relative, friend or neighbor,” Yazbek said, adding that two people she had taught had been killed.
Israel and Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese movement allied with Hamas, have traded near-daily cross-border fire since the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel which triggered war in the Gaza Strip.
The violence has killed at least 473 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 92 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli authorities say at least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country’s north.
At the cemetery, women in black chadors consoled each other at the shiny new graves adorned with flowers and large pictures of the dead, including Hezbollah fighters.
The Naqura municipality said it had coordinated with the Lebanese army so that residents could safely visit the cemetery and mosque for two hours for Eid Al-Adha, which for many Shiite Muslims in Lebanon began on Monday.
Residents reportedly returned to a number of south Lebanon border villages on Monday morning as part of similar initiatives.
Yellow Hezbollah flags and green ones belonging to the group’s ally the Amal movement flew at the recently established cemetery near the sea, located just a stone’s throw from the United Nations peacekeepers’ headquarters.
Lebanese soldiers accompanied the residents as they entered the town.
The army coordinates with the UN peacekeepers, who in turn communicate with the Israeli side as part of efforts to maintain calm.
In Naqura, a damaged sign reading “thank you for your visit” lay along the highway.
Amid the concrete rubble and twisted metal of one building, the shattered glass of a family photo lay scattered on the ground.
Nearby, potted plants hung from the veranda rails of another devastated structure, with a pink child’s toy car among the debris.
Rawand Yazbek, 50, was inspecting her clothing shop, whose glass store front had been destroyed, though the rest remained largely intact.
“A thousand thanks to God,” she said, grateful that not all was lost.
“As you can see... our stores are full of goods,” she said, pointing to shelves and racks of colorful clothes.
Hezbollah stepped up attacks against northern Israel last week after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander from the movement.
The Iran-backed group has not claimed any attacks since Saturday afternoon.
Lebanese official media reported Israeli bombardment in the country’s south over the weekend, as well as a deadly strike on Monday. Hezbollah said later that one of its fighters had been killed.
Like other residents who support the Hezbollah and Amal movements, Naqura municipality head Abbas Awada called attacks on the town “cowardly.”
Last week, a strike there blamed on Israel killed an employee of the area’s public water company.
More than 95,000 people in Lebanon have been displaced by the hostilities, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
Tens of thousands have also been displaced on the Israeli side of the frontier.
Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Ezzedine, among a large crowd that attended prayers at the Naqura mosque, said the turnout was a message that “this land is ours, we will not leave it.”
“We support this resistance (Hezbollah) because it’s what protects us, it’s what defends us,” he said.