Arab Israelis live in fear amid surging violence

Arab Israelis live in fear amid surging violence
Israeli paramilitary border police stand guard as Jewish right-wing demonstrators demand the release of three Jews arrested in the shooting death of Mousa Hasoona, Lod, Israel in 2021. (AP/File)
Short Url
Updated 08 November 2023
Follow

Arab Israelis live in fear amid surging violence

Arab Israelis live in fear amid surging violence
  • Arab Israelis, roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population, say they have been living in fear because of increasing hate crimes
  • The police told AFP the incident took place after the “circulation of an old publication inciting terrorism, being presented as new”

JERUSALEM: “Death to Arabs!” chanted the angry mob as they encircled the university dormitories of Arab students in central Israel and tried to break down the doors.
“I am still shocked and afraid,” said one of the dozens of terrified Arab Israelis who barricaded themselves inside the Netanya Academic College dorm late last month, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.
As the Israel-Hamas war enters its second month, Arab Israelis — roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population — say they have been living in fear because of increasing hate crimes and attacks against them since October 7.
On that day, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
Aiming to destroy Hamas, Israel responded with a relentless bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 10,500 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
The student said that shortly before the dorm attack, Israeli police came to question them for allegedly throwing eggs at religious Jewish Israelis.
“We denied it and told them ‘The cameras are there. You can check them’,” the student told AFP.
“After that, a group gathered and tried to break down the door and attack us. They cursed us and demanded our expulsion.”
Police escorted the students to the roof for their protection while others stood at the door to prevent the protesters from entering, the student said.
The police told AFP the incident took place after the “circulation of an old publication inciting terrorism, being presented as new,” and that they were working to combat “false publications that sow panic among the public.”
“Instigators will be punished,” the police said.
Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center which documents human rights violations against Arab Israelis, said far-right football fan club “La Familia,” which has ties to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, organized the protest.
He blamed the university, police and Netanya municipality for failing to prevent the attack.
Miriam Feirberg, the city’s mayor, said the rioters should be prosecuted and students currently in the accommodation replaced by Israelis displaced from the south by the Hamas attack.
As well as raising tensions within Israel, the war has worsened relations between Palestinians and Israelis in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.
Even before the war, rights groups frequently highlighted regular discrimination faced by Arab Israelis, despite them holding Israeli citizenship.
“We left all our belongings in the dormitory,” the student said.
“As Arabs, we are afraid to return to college, and some are afraid to return to their rented accommodation.”
Nadim Al-Nashif, director of 7amleh, a non-profit group focused on social media, said they have identified “590,000 violent conversations in Hebrew on platforms like Facebook” and Telegram.
Among the posts were calls for a “second Nakba,” referring to the mass exodus of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 during the war over the establishment of Israel, as well incitements to kill and expel Palestinians.
Nashif said his organization had reported many of the posts to the relevant platforms, leading to the removal of some.
Arab Israeli politician Ahmad Tibi said abuse was not unusual.
“There is no Arab Knesset (parliament) member who has not received threatening messages,” he said, including death threats.
“Why don’t the police take any action despite repeated complaints?“
Israeli labor union organization “Power to the Workers” said it had recorded attacks on Arab drivers, and warned of “increasing acts of violence against them.”
One bus driver was sprayed with gas by a group of passengers after they learned he was an Arab. He was injured slightly when the vehicle then hit an electricity pole, the union said.
Another driver was attacked “by passengers who realized he was Arab and shouted, ‘Terrorist... terrorist!’ They smashed his windshield.”
Dozens of right-wing Israelis demonstrated on Tuesday in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Shaul, mostly inhabited by observant Jews, against a shop that employs Arabs.
They held signs reading “Don’t support terrorists” and “This branch employs terrorists.”
Police prevented the protesters from entering the shop and eventually dispersed them, an employee said. But around 30 Arab workers did not return the next day.
“I didn’t go to work. It’s dangerous,” said an employee identifying herself only as Huda.
“We no longer take Israeli public transportation for fear of racist attacks,” she said. “The store management told us they couldn’t guarantee our safety.”


US and Britain strike Houthi targets in Yemen after surge in shipping attacks

US and Britain strike Houthi targets in Yemen after surge in shipping attacks
Updated 56 min 2 sec ago
Follow

US and Britain strike Houthi targets in Yemen after surge in shipping attacks

US and Britain strike Houthi targets in Yemen after surge in shipping attacks

WASHINGTON: The US and Britain struck 13 Houthi targets in several locations in Yemen on Thursday in response to a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, three US officials said.

According to the officials, American and British fighter jets and US ships hit a wide range of underground facilities, missile launchers, command and control sites, a Houthi vessel and other facilities. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide early details of an ongoing military operation.

Also struck by the US were eight uncrewed aerial vehicles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen that were determined to be presenting a threat to American and coalition forces.

The strikes come a day after a US MQ-9 Reaper drone went down in Yemen, and the Houthis released footage they said showed the aircraft being targeted with a surface-to-air missile in a desert region of Yemen’s central Marib province. It marked the third such downing this month alone.

Also earlier this week, missile attacks twice damaged a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, with a private security firm saying radio traffic suggested the vessel took on water after being struck. While no group claimed responsibility, suspicion fell on the Houthis.

This is the fifth time that the US and British militaries have conducted a combined operation against the Houthis since Jan. 12. But the US also has been carrying out almost daily strikes to take out Houthi targets, including incoming missiles and drones aimed at ships, as well as weapons that were prepared to launch.

The US F/A-18 fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea, officials said. Other US warships in the region also participated.

The Houthis in recent months have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking some 250 hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat.

US warships, meanwhile, took out a number of missile launchers and drones targeting vessels in the region over the past week.

President Joe Biden and other senior leaders have repeatedly warned that the US won’t tolerate the Houthi attacks against commercial shipping. But the counterattacks haven’t appeared to diminish the Houthis’ campaign against shipping in the region.


Houthi leader says 129 ships attacked during Red Sea campaign

Houthi leader says 129 ships attacked during Red Sea campaign
Updated 30 May 2024
Follow

Houthi leader says 129 ships attacked during Red Sea campaign

Houthi leader says 129 ships attacked during Red Sea campaign
  • US Central Command says its forces destroyed new wave of drones and missiles fired by the militia

AL-MUKALLA: The leader of Yemen’s Houthi militia, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, said on Thursday that his forces had attacked 129 ships in international waters since the start of their campaign in November, claiming that his group has resisted political and economic pressure to cease targeting ships.

“There are no political, economic, or other factors that might influence our activities,” he said in a televised speech. 

The militia has launched 27 ballistic missiles and drones in 12 operations against 10 ships in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean during the last seven days, Al-Houthi said, who disputed previous media reports that the militia had reduced its maritime strikes.

“Our actions have not decreased, but there has been a decrease in navigation and ship movement on the American and British sides, as well as a near-complete absence of Israeli activity.”

The Houthi leader’s threat to continue attacking ships came as the US Central Command announced on Thursday morning (Yemen time) that its forces had destroyed a new wave of drones and missiles fired by the Houthis over the international seas off Yemen, as well as foiled Houthi missile launches by destroying launchers.

The US military said it destroyed two missile launchers in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen on Tuesday night.

On the same day, the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles over the Red Sea from areas under their control, and neither the US-led coalition nor foreign commercial ships were targeted.

Two drones fired by the Houthis in Yemen over the Red Sea were intercepted by US forces before reaching their targets on Wednesday morning.

“It was determined these missiles and systems presented an imminent threat to US, coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region. These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure,” the US military said in a statement. 

Hours before the US military statement, the Houthis claimed on Wednesday night to have shot down another US military MQ-9 Reaper drone over the central province of Marib, shortly after locals shared images and videos on social media of what appeared to be a downed Reaper drone in the province’s desert. 

The drone was engaged in a “hostile mission” above Marib when a “locally made” surface-to-air missile struck it on Wednesday morning, the Houthis said.

This is the sixth time the Yemeni militia has claimed to have shot down an MQ-9 Reaper drone since the start of their Red Sea operation and the third in May.

The Houthis’ Red Sea activities resulted in the loss of one commercial ship, the capture of another, and the targeting of scores more ships in international maritime channels and pushed shipping companies to forgo the Suez Canal via the Red Sea in favor of longer and more costly routes across Africa.

Meanwhile, the Aden-based central bank sanctioned six Yemeni banks on Thursday for failing to follow an earlier directive to relocate their activities from Houthi-controlled Sanaa to government-controlled Aden.

The central bank ordered Yemeni banks and other financial institutions to stop doing business with Tadhamon Bank, Yemen Kuwait Bank, Shamil Bank of Yemen and Bahrain, Al-Amal Microfinance Bank, Al-Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank, and International Bank of Yemen for dealing with the Houthis, which the Yemeni government and other countries consider terrorists, and not relocating their headquarters to Aden.

The central bank also instructed Yemen’s public and financial institutions to deposit all banknote denominations issued before 2016 at the central bank and other commercial banks in government-controlled areas of Yemen within 60 days.

The economic war between the Yemeni government and the Houthis has escalated since 2016 when the government shifted the central bank’s offices from Sanaa to Aden.

The Houthis replied by ceasing to pay public workers in regions under their control, banning the circulation of banknotes printed by the Yemeni government in Aden, and targeting oil terminals in government-controlled Shabwa and Hadramout. 


Israeli airstrike on Rafah kills 12 Palestinians, Gaza medics say

Israeli airstrike on Rafah kills 12 Palestinians, Gaza medics say
Updated 30 May 2024
Follow

Israeli airstrike on Rafah kills 12 Palestinians, Gaza medics say

Israeli airstrike on Rafah kills 12 Palestinians, Gaza medics say
  • Israel says more fighting in central, northern and southern Gaza
  • Head of UNRWA calls for end to Israeli attacks on staff and buildings

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians in a dawn airstrike on Rafah in southern Gaza on Thursday and fighting raged in several other areas of the coastal enclave, Gaza medics said.
Israel pressed on with its offensive on Rafah a day after saying its forces had taken control of a buffer zone along the nearby border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, giving it effective authority over Gaza’s entire land frontier.
It said the buffer zone’s capture had cut off a route used by the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas to smuggle arms into Gaza during more than seven months of war, which has laid waste to much of the territory and raised fears of famine.
Gaza medical sources said the 12 Palestinians, whom it said were civilians, had been killed and an unspecified number of others wounded in an Israeli airstrike as they tried to recover the body of a civilian in the center of Rafah.
Another Palestinian civilian was killed in an airstrike on Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City in the north of the densely populated enclave, the medics said.
Israel reported clashes in southern, central and northern Gaza but did not immediately comment on the reported deaths in Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians took refuge earlier in the war.
Israel has kept up raids on Rafah despite an order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the top UN court, to halt its attacks. Israeli forces say they are trying to root out Hamas fighters and rescue hostages being held there, and the ICJ also called for the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas.
More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and land war in Gaza, with 53 of those killed in the past 24 hours, the Hamas-run enclave’s health ministry said.
Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza into southern Israel on Oct. 7 last year, killed 1,200 people and abducted more than 250, according to Israeli tallies.
The Israeli military said a soldier had been killed in fighting in northern Gaza, bringing to 292 Israel’s combat losses since its first Gaza ground incursion on Oct. 20.

TUNNELS, ARMS AND EXPLOSIVES
In an overnight call with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant underlined the continuing importance of Israeli operations in the Rafah area “due to concrete information regarding hostages held there.”
“Minister Gallant detailed IDF activities in the Rafah area where 20 terror tunnels have been identified,” the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement on the overnight call.
The Israeli military also said in a statement that tunnels used by Hamas for smuggling and moving fighters underground had been discovered during the latest raids, as well as large amounts of arms and explosives.
The Israeli statements did not say where the smuggling tunnels ran from. An Israeli official said on May 15 there were 50 tunnels connecting Rafah to the Sinai in Egypt, and voiced concern that Hamas could use them to smuggle senior operatives or hostages into Egyptian territory. Egypt on Wednesday denied the existence of any such tunnels.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, reiterated its opposition to a major ground offensive in Rafah on Tuesday but said it did not believe such an operation was under way.
The US has, with Egypt and Qatar, been involved in efforts to mediate indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on arranging a ceasefire and the release of the remaining hostages. Those talks have stalled, with both sides blaming the other for the lack of progress.
As the war drags on, malnutrition has become widespread in Gaza as aid deliveries have slowed to a trickle, and the United Nations has warned of incipient famine.
Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), also called for an end to what he said were Israeli attacks on UNRWA staff and buildings in Gaza.
In article for the New York Times, he said Israeli officials were “delegitimizing UNRWA by effectively characterizing it as a terrorist organization,” and he described a “dangerous precedent of routine targeting of UN staff and premises.”
His comments followed allegations by Israel in January that 12 of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff in Gaza took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Israel did not immediately respond to his remarks.
The Gaza war has also stoked violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, another territory where Palestinians seek statehood.
Israel said two soldiers were killed in an overnight hit-and-run by a Palestinian motorist in the West Bank city of Nablus. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Palestinian factions.


Aggression against Gaza represents a turning point in history of region: Arab League chief

Arab League chief speaks at a press conference during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum
Arab League chief speaks at a press conference during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum
Updated 30 May 2024
Follow

Aggression against Gaza represents a turning point in history of region: Arab League chief

Arab League chief speaks at a press conference during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum
  • Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League was committed to making all efforts to build a promising future for both Arab and Chinese societies

CAIRO: Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the aggression against Gaza for more than eight months “marks a turning point in our region’s history.”

He said that there was “a deep sense of frustration over the international community’s inability to halt this massacre.”

Aboul Gheit was speaking at the opening session of the 10th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing.

The forum —  founded in 2004 in Cairo — includes members of the Arab League. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony.

Leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and the UAE were also present.

Aboul Gheit said: We value China’s role and steadfast support for the just cause of the Palestinian people, their right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent state.”

He urged China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to play a more significant role in reinforcing the global consensus on the two-state solution, leading to a reliable and irreversible path to establishing an independent Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League and its member states aimed to enhance regional stability by working to contain existing crises, settle them peacefully, and reduce escalation through balanced relations with neighboring countries based on non-interference in internal affairs and mutual respect.

He reaffirmed the league’s support for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintaining a firm commitment to the one-China principle.

Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League was committed to making all efforts to build a promising future for both Arab and Chinese societies.

“We aim to advance the strategic partnership between the Arab countries and China for a better future, strengthening cooperation mechanisms and finding political solutions to issues of mutual concern on regional and international fronts.”

Aboul Gheit said that China had “an illustrious presence in world history that we deeply respect and appreciate. Its profound influence on the world’s present and future is evident and highly valued. Moreover, China’s experience achieving renaissance and progress is greatly admired in our Arab world.”

The Arab League chief said: “Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of establishing the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. 

“This forum marked a significant milestone in the history of relations between the two sides, placing these relations within a comprehensive institutional framework, thus ensuring their development and future potential.

“Since its inception, the forum has become a success story in international multilateral cooperation, evidenced by the various mechanisms, memorandums and frameworks it has produced to facilitate collaboration across political, economic, social and development fields.” 

Aboul Gheit said that the first Arab-Chinese summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2022 marked a qualitative shift in Arab-Chinese relations.

This summit signaled the beginning of a pivotal phase in the history of relations between the Arab world and China.

“The outcomes and agreements from this summit laid a strong foundation for mutual benefit, and we are committed to continuing efforts to implement them,” Aboul Gheit said.

He called for institutionalizing the Arab-China summit and holding regular sessions to enhance progress and allow for continuous monitoring and development of cooperation programs.


Child malnutrition at ‘emergency levels’ in Sudan: UN

Child malnutrition at ‘emergency levels’ in Sudan: UN
Updated 30 May 2024
Follow

Child malnutrition at ‘emergency levels’ in Sudan: UN

Child malnutrition at ‘emergency levels’ in Sudan: UN
  • “The lives of Sudan’s children are at stake and urgent action is needed to protect an entire generation from malnutrition, disease and death,” the UNICEF, WHO and WFP said
  • “The ongoing hostilities are worsening the drivers of child malnutrition“

ROME: Three UN agencies warned Thursday of a “significant deterioration” in the nutrition situation of children and mothers in war-torn Sudan, calling for “urgent action.”
“The lives of Sudan’s children are at stake and urgent action is needed to protect an entire generation from malnutrition, disease and death,” the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Food Program (WFP) said in a statement.
Sudan has been in the throes of conflict for over a year between the regular army led by de facto ruler Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the RSF led by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, including up to 15,000 in a single West Darfur town, according to UN experts.
Nearly nine million people have been forced from their homes.
“The ongoing hostilities are worsening the drivers of child malnutrition,” the agencies said.
“These include a lack of access to nutritious food, safe drinking water and sanitation, and increased risk of disease,” they added.
“Sudan is facing an ever-increasing risk of conflict-induced famine that will have catastrophic consequences including the loss of life, especially among young children.”
The agencies said the conflict “is also severely impacting the delivery of humanitarian supplies, leaving countless women and children without access to vital food and nutritional support... (while) growing violence and bureaucratic procedures impede access to conflict affected areas.”
Child malnutrition in Sudan is “at emergency levels,” the statement said.
In Central Darfur, acute malnutrition is estimated to be at 15.6 percent among children under five, while at the Zamzam camp for displaced people in North Darfur state it is close to 30 percent.
“We need immediate and safe access to deliver the humanitarian assistance that they so desperately need,” said WFP head Cindy McCain.
“Millions of lives are at stake and the international community must act now or we risk losing an entire generation of children,” she said.
The agencies warned: “The window to avert the worst is rapidly closing.”