Saudi Arabia at UN rejects calls for deportation of Palestinians from Gaza

Saudi Arabia at UN rejects calls for deportation of Palestinians from Gaza
Wounded Palestinians arrive to Al-Shifa hospital, following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (AP)
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Updated 17 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia at UN rejects calls for deportation of Palestinians from Gaza

Saudi Arabia at UN rejects calls for deportation of Palestinians from Gaza
  • Kingdom’s representative urges immediate ceasefire as he condemns targeting of civilians
  • Palestine still the top priority in Saudi foreign policy: Prince Faisal bin Khalid

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, condemned the targeting of civilians, rejected calls for “the deportation of Palestinians from Gaza,” and said the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine, and its “repetitive and systematic” provocations against holy sites, have perpetuated the conflict.

Prince Faisal bin Khalid, second secretary at the Saudi UN mission in New York, also called for the lifting of sanctions and the blockade on Gaza, as well as the provision of essential humanitarian aid, emphasizing that depriving Palestinians of these basic human needs is a violation of international humanitarian law.

He was speaking at a plenary meeting in the General Assembly of the Economic and Financial Committee to discuss the “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.”

Prince Faisal began by aligning Saudi Arabia with the statements made by Jordan on behalf of the Arab group, and Oman representing the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as well as Cuba speaking for the Group of 77 and China.

He expressed the Kingdom’s concerns regarding the Israeli occupation and its economic impact on the lives of Palestinians and of Syrians in the Golan Heights.

“The Palestinian cause was, and still is, the central cause for the Arabs and Muslims, and it is on top of the priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when it comes to its external policy,” Prince Faisal said.

He added that the Kingdom has consistently stood by the Palestinian people in their pursuit of their land, legitimate rights, and the establishment of an independent sovereign state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international decisions, the Arab Peace Initiative and globally recognized resolutions.

He strongly condemned unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution, calling for an immediate halt to such actions.

Prince Faisal stressed that achieving sustainable development in the Occupied Territories is intrinsically linked to the pursuit of justice, peace and security.

A just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue is essential to fulfilling the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people and Syrians in the Golan, including full sovereignty over their lands and resources, in line with international decisions, he said.

Prince Faisal highlighted Saudi Arabia’s substantial support for the Palestinian people through humanitarian aid and development programs.

The Kingdom recently donated $1.2 billion to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and $27 million last year.

Moreover, the Kingdom backs developmental projects in Palestine through the Saudi Fund for Development, providing close to $109 million for infrastructure projects, electricity, sanitation, communication and road construction.

Prince Faisal again called on the international community to uphold its responsibility to achieve peace and sustainable development in the region.


Drone attack targeted US forces in Iraq, US official says

Drone attack targeted US forces in Iraq, US official says
Updated 47 min 34 sec ago
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Drone attack targeted US forces in Iraq, US official says

Drone attack targeted US forces in Iraq, US official says

BAGHDAD: US forces stationed at Iraq’s Ain Al-Asad air base were targeted in an armed drone attack that caused no damage or casualties, a US official said, in the second attack on US troops in the region in less than 24 hours.
The attacks follow a near-three month pause in the targeting of US forces in Iraq and Syria after months of near-daily rocket and drone strikes by Iran-backed Shiite Muslim armed factions over US backing of Israel’s Gaza campaign.


Review says UNRWA has ‘robust’ neutrality steps, issues persist

Review says UNRWA has ‘robust’ neutrality steps, issues persist
Updated 50 min 51 sec ago
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Review says UNRWA has ‘robust’ neutrality steps, issues persist

Review says UNRWA has ‘robust’ neutrality steps, issues persist
  • The report said Israel had yet to provide evidence for its claim that a significant number of UNRWA staff were members of terrorist organizations

UNITED NATIONS: A review of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has found that it has robust frameworks to ensure compliance with humanitarian neutrality principles though issues persist.
The report, which could prompt some donors to review funding freezes, also said Israel had yet to provide supporting evidence for its claim that a significant number of UNRWA staff were members of terrorist organizations.
The United Nations appointed former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to lead the UNRWA neutrality review in February after Israel alleged that 12 of UNRWA staff had taken part in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel which triggered the Gaza war.
In a separate investigation, a UN oversight body is looking into the allegations against the 12 UNRWA staff.
Reuters reviewed a copy of the Colonna-led review’s final report, which is due to be officially released later on Monday.
The report said Israel had made public claims based on an UNRWA staff list provided to it in March that “a significant number” of UNRWA staff were “members of terrorist organizations.”
“However, Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this,” it said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier accepted the recommendations from an independent review of UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA’s ability to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations of breaches, his spokesperson said on Monday.
“He has agreed with Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini that UNRWA, with the Secretary-General’s support, will establish an action plan to implement the recommendations,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. “Moving forward, the Secretary-General appeals to all stakeholders to actively support UNRWA, as it is a lifeline for Palestine refugees in the region.”
 


Israeli military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Oct. 7 attack

Israeli military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Oct. 7 attack
Updated 22 April 2024
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Israeli military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Oct. 7 attack

Israeli military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Oct. 7 attack
  • Aharon Haliva becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over Hamas’ attack
  • Hamas fighters rampaged through Israeli territories unchallenged, killing 1,200 on Oct. 7

TEL AVIV: The head of Israel’s military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday over the failures surrounding Hamas’ unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel’s history.

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva’s resignation sets the stage for what’s expected to be more fallout from Israel’s top security brass over Hamas’ attack, when militants blasted through Israel’s border defenses, rampaged through Israeli communities unchallenged for hours and killed 1,200 people, most civilians, while taking roughly 250 hostages into Gaza. That attack set off the war against Hamas in Gaza, now in its seventh month.

The military said in a statement that Haliva had asked to end his service “following his leadership responsibility.” Shortly after the war, Haliva had publicly said that he shouldered blame for not preventing the assault at the head of the military department responsible for providing the government and the military with intelligence warnings and daily alerts.

The military said in the statement that the military chief of staff accepted Haliva’s request to resign and thanked him for his service.

Haliva, as well as other military and security leaders, were widely expected to resign in response to the glaring failures that led up to Oct. 7 and those that made it such a devastating attack.

But the timing of the resignations is unclear because Israel is still fighting Hamas in Gaza and battling the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the north. Tensions with Iran are also at a high following attacks between the two enemies.

While Haliva and others have accepted blame for failing to stop the attack, others have stopped short, most notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said he will answer tough questions about his role but has not outright acknowledged any responsibility for allowing the attack to unfold.


Iran says nuclear weapons have no place in its nuclear doctrine

Iran says nuclear weapons have no place in its nuclear doctrine
Updated 22 April 2024
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Iran says nuclear weapons have no place in its nuclear doctrine

Iran says nuclear weapons have no place in its nuclear doctrine
  • Tehran’s nuclear program banned the development of nuclear weapons in a fatwa

DUBAI: Nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s nuclear doctrine, the country’s foreign ministry said on Monday, days after a Revolutionary Guards commander warned that Tehran might change its nuclear policy if pressured by Israeli threats.
“Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program only serves peaceful purposes. Nuclear weapons have no place in our nuclear doctrine,” ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said during a press conference in Tehran.
Following a spike in tensions with Israel, the Guards commander in charge of nuclear security Ahmad Haghtalab said last week that Israeli threats could push Tehran to “review its nuclear doctrine and deviate from its previous considerations.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last say on Tehran’s nuclear program, banned the development of nuclear weapons in a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.


Two injured in Jerusalem car ramming attack: police

Two injured in Jerusalem car ramming attack: police
Updated 22 April 2024
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Two injured in Jerusalem car ramming attack: police

Two injured in Jerusalem car ramming attack: police
  • incident occurred on Techelet Mordechai street in Jerusalem on a day when Israeli Jews marked the start of the Passover holidays

Jerusalem: Two civilians were injured in a car ramming attack in Jerusalem on Monday morning, the Israeli police said, adding that they were searching for suspected assailants who fled on foot.
The incident occurred on Techelet Mordechai street in Jerusalem on a day when Israeli Jews marked the start of the Passover holidays.
“A short time ago, a report was received that two civilians had been run over on Techelet Mordechai Street in Jerusalem, resulting in minor injuries,” the police said in a statement.
“Two terrorists fled the scene on foot and an improvised weapon... was found on their escape route,” it said, adding security forces were searching for the suspects.
Medics from the Magen David Adom emergency service said the two injured were aged 18 and 22.
Footage from security cameras posted on several Israeli news websites showed a white car ramming into a group of people at a street corner.
The car later hits another parked vehicle after which two men step out, with one of the assailants seen attempting to fire a gun.
Seconds later, the two are seen walking away from the site.
Several car ramming attacks have been reported since last year in a number of Israeli cities and in settlements in the occupied West Bank.