Israel’s assault on Gaza ‘wiping out’ years of development

Israel’s assault on Gaza ‘wiping out’ years of development
Israel bombs northern Gaza, Nov. 9, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 09 November 2023
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Israel’s assault on Gaza ‘wiping out’ years of development

Israel’s assault on Gaza ‘wiping out’ years of development
  • Palestine will ‘go back to 2005’ if conflict continues: UN official
  • Cost to economy, housing proportionally far worse than in Ukraine, Syria, report says

LONDON: Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has destroyed 50 percent of housing in the enclave and threatens to wipe out 16 years of human development if the assault continues into December, the UN has been warned.

The upheaval caused by two months of shelling and a ground invasion would also cause 96 percent of Gazans to face “unprecedented deprivation of all essential services.”

The claims were made in a rapid assessment report on the conflict’s impact on Palestine.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, Rola Dashti, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, said that the “negative spillover” from the conflict was already reaching Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

She was joined by Abdallah Al-Dardari, UN Development Program assistant secretary-general, who said that 390,000 jobs in Palestine had already been lost as a result of the Israeli assault.

“Even more important is the loss of human development. After two months of fighting, Palestine, and not just Gaza, would have lost 16 years of human development, Al-Dardari said.

“Health and education, and infrastructure and economic growth — that would be wiped out. Palestine would go back to 2005.

“All the investments, all the hard work of the international community and the Palestinian people will be lost.”

The toll of the conflict on Palestine goes beyond the death of more than 10,000 people, said Dashti, who added that “the true cost transcends mere numbers.”

Both the Palestinian and Israeli people deserved to live in peace, she said, calling on the international community to broker a sustainable ceasefire.

“In just over four weeks, the number of children killed in Gaza, which is about 4,300, has surpassed the total number of children lost to armed conflict in 22 countries any year since 2020,” Dashti said.

“Moreover, the level of destruction is unimaginable and unprecedented. As of Nov. 3, it is estimated that 35,000 housing units have been totally demolished and about 212,000 units are partially damaged.”

The damage to infrastructure, together with the economic toll, will force the overwhelming majority of Gazans into multi-dimensional poverty, the speakers said.

Al-Dardari cited statistics from the report, “The Gaza War: Expected Socioeconomic Impacts on the State of Palestine,” showing that losses to Palestinian gross domestic product far outstrip those inflicted on Ukraine.

“For a region or an economy like the Palestinian economy, not just Gaza … to lose 4 percent of GDP in one month — that’s not comparable to any conflict you have seen before,” he said.

“The Syrian economy used to lose 1 percent of GDP per month. We have lost already 4 percent of GDP (in Palestine).

“If this fight continues till the end of the second month, the loss will be more than 8 percent of GDP and if it continues till the end of the year, we are going to have a 12 percent loss in GDP.

“Just to bring to you a comparison, Ukraine lost 30 percent of GDP in one and a half years of fighting. To lose 12 percent of GDP in three months — that’s massive and unprecedented.”

The Israeli bombardment of Gaza has also destroyed decades worth of infrastructure set up by organizations like the UN Development Program, which lost 45 percent of its projects in just four weeks, Al-Dardari said.

He said that health centers, solar power stations, water treatment plants, support centers and women-led businesses had all been wiped out by the shelling.

The loss of housing would result in a “long-lasting internal displacement situation” in Gaza “with all its humanitarian, economic developmental and security consequences,” he said.

During a four-week barrage, Gaza lost the same percentage of housing that Syria lost in more than four years of civil war, Al-Dardari said.

He also called for a new model of rebuilding in conflict zones, citing the statistic that just 200 of the 1,700 homes destroyed in Gaza during the 2021 crisis had been rebuilt.

Dashti warned that the “hard-won gains” of economic prosperity and social empowerment among all stakeholders in the conflict would be eroded if the fighting continued.

“History teaches us that without sustainable peace, all stakeholders in this conflict will not only suffer more losses of lives in the future, but their prospects for sustainable development will also be jeopardized,” she said.


Arab League chief to attend China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing

Arab League chief to attend China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing
Updated 9 sec ago
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Arab League chief to attend China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing

Arab League chief to attend China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing
  • The event will be attended by China’s President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
  • The meeting in Beijing aims to provide a platform for the exchange of views on regional and international issues, particularly the Palestinian cause

CAIRO: Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary-general of the Arab League, will on Thursday attend the 10th session of the ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing.
The event will be attended by China’s President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as well as monarchs and political leaders from several Arab countries.
Aboul Gheit’s spokesperson, Gamal Roshdy, said the visit would include a number of meetings with senior Chinese officials, including Wang and Vice President Han Zheng.
The meeting in Beijing — which comes after Aboul Gheit met EU foreign ministers to discuss the Palestinian cause earlier in the week — aims to provide a platform for the exchange of views on regional and international issues, particularly the Palestinian cause, which remains a priority for the Arab League, especially in light of efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, Roshdy said the Arab League had produced a commemorative book that highlighted some of the key milestones in its history.
The forum is a framework for dialogue and cooperation between Arab states and China. Its founding document was signed in September 2004 at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, following a visit by then Chinese President Hu Yintao.
 


Egypt to host Sudan peace conference next month

Egypt to host Sudan peace conference next month
Updated 41 min 44 sec ago
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Egypt to host Sudan peace conference next month

Egypt to host Sudan peace conference next month
  • The ministry said it was part of Egypt’s “unremitting efforts and endeavors” to put an end to the ongoing war in Sudan
  • The conference will be held in the presence of relevant regional and international partners

CAIRO: Egypt will next month host representatives of Sudan’s civil and political groups in a bid to bring peace and stability to the country, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.
The offer to hold the event stemmed from the belief that the “current conflict in Sudan is basically a Sudanese issue and that any future political process should include all national stakeholders on the Sudanese scene, and within the framework of respecting the principles of Sudan’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, non-interference in its internal affairs, and preserving the state and its institutions,” the ministry said.
The conference will be held in the presence of relevant regional and international partners and seek to achieve consensus among Sudanese forces on ways to build a comprehensive and lasting peace.
The ministry said it was part of Egypt’s “unremitting efforts and endeavors” to put an end to the ongoing war in Sudan and within a framework of cooperation and integration with the efforts of regional and international partners, especially Sudan’s neighboring countries, the parties to the Jeddah talks, the UN, African Union, Arab League and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country trade bloc in Africa.
Egypt looked forward to the effective participation of all and concerted efforts to ensure the conference succeeded in achieving the aspirations of the Sudanese people, it said.


Brazil recalls ambassador to Israel: diplomatic source

Brazil recalls ambassador to Israel: diplomatic source
Updated 54 min 5 sec ago
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Brazil recalls ambassador to Israel: diplomatic source

Brazil recalls ambassador to Israel: diplomatic source
  • Relations between Brazil and Israel have soured over the conflict

BRASILIA: Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel and will not immediately appoint a replacement, a diplomatic source told AFP Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries over Israel’s war in Gaza.
Relations between Brazil and Israel have soured over the conflict, with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in February accusing the Israeli government of “genocide.”
Israel reacted furiously, declaring the Brazilian leader “persona non grata.”
Israel had previously summoned the South American country’s ambassador Frederico Meyer to a meeting at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem, which the Brazilian source said “was a humiliation to which (Meyer) was subjected.”
In response, Brazil recalled Meyer for consultations, and in turn summoned Israel’s representative in Brasilia.
The source said conditions had not been met for Meyer “to return” to Israel.
The Brazilian representation in Israel in the meantime will be led by diplomat Fabio Farias.


Lebanon backtracks on ICC jurisdiction to probe alleged war crimes

Lebanon backtracks on ICC jurisdiction to probe alleged war crimes
Updated 29 May 2024
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Lebanon backtracks on ICC jurisdiction to probe alleged war crimes

Lebanon backtracks on ICC jurisdiction to probe alleged war crimes
  • Lebanon has accused Israel of repeatedly violating international law since October
  • Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib never filed the requested declaration

BEIRUT: Lebanon has reversed a move to authorize the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged war crimes on its soil, prompting a prominent rights group to deplore what it called the loss of an “historic opportunity” for justice.
Lebanon has accused Israel of repeatedly violating international law since October, when the Israeli military and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah began trading fire in parallel with the Gaza war. Israeli shelling has since killed around 80 civilians in Lebanon, including children, medics and reporters.
Neither Lebanon nor Israel are members of the ICC, so a formal declaration to the court would be required from either to give it jurisdiction to launch probes into a particular period.
In April, Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet voted to instruct the foreign ministry to file a declaration with the ICC authorizing it to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes on Lebanese territory since Oct. 7.
Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib never filed the requested declaration and on Tuesday the cabinet published an amended decision that omitted mention of the ICC, saying Lebanon would file complaints to the United Nations instead.
Lebanon has regularly lodged complaints with the UN Security Council about Israeli bombardments over the past seven months, but they have yielded no binding UN decisions.
Habib did not respond to a Reuters question on why he did not file the requested declaration.
A Lebanese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the initial cabinet decision raised “confusion” over whether a declaration would “open the door for the court to investigate whatever it wanted across different files.”
The official said the request to revisit the decision came from George Kallas, a cabinet minister close to parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who heads the Shiite Muslim Amal movement that is allied with the politically powerful Hezbollah.
Hezbollah and Amal have both fired rockets into Israel, killing eight civilians and displacing around 60,000 people from towns near the border since October.
Contacted by Reuters, Kallas confirmed he requested a review of cabinet’s initial decision but denied it was out of fear Hezbollah or Amal could become subject to ICC arrest warrants.
Human Rights Watch condemned the cabinet’s reversal.
“The Lebanese government had a historic opportunity to ensure there was justice and accountability for war crimes in Lebanon. It’s shameful that they are forgoing this opportunity,” said HRW’s Lebanon researcher Ramzi Kaiss.
“Rescinding this decision shows that Lebanon’s calls for accountability ring hollow,” he told Reuters.
Information Minister Ziad Makary, the government spokesman, said that he had backed the initial decision and would “continue to explore other international tribunals to render justice” despite the reversal.
Lebanon backtracked a few days after the ICC requested arrest warrants over alleged war crimes for Israel’s prime minister and defense minister and three Hamas leaders.
The initial push to file an ICC declaration came from MP Halima Kaakour, who holds a PhD in public international law. She recommended the measure to parliament’s justice committee, which unanimously endorsed it. Cabinet approved it in late April.
“The political parties that backed this initiative at first seem to have changed their mind. But they never explained the reason to us or the Lebanese people,” Kaakour told Reuters.
“Lebanon’s complaints to the UN Security Council don’t get anywhere. We had an opportunity to give the ICC a period of time to look at it, we have the documentation — if we can use these international mechanisms, why not?”


Ancient Egyptians skulls reveal ‘extraordinary’ cancer surgery, study suggests

Ancient Egyptians skulls reveal ‘extraordinary’ cancer surgery, study suggests
Updated 29 May 2024
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Ancient Egyptians skulls reveal ‘extraordinary’ cancer surgery, study suggests

Ancient Egyptians skulls reveal ‘extraordinary’ cancer surgery, study suggests
  • Discovery gives ‘new perspective in our understanding of the history of medicine,’ says researcher
  • Ancient civilization may have broken ‘medical knowledge frontier’ with precise treatment

LONDON: Ancient Egyptians may have discovered the existence of cancer and practiced surgery to treat it, a new study has found.

A team of international researchers studied two human skulls, discovering “extraordinary” evidence that places the already distinguished medical practices of Ancient Egypt in a new light.

Historical texts documenting medicine in Ancient Egypt already revealed tremendous knowledge, including the ability to treat disease, traumatic injury and dental issues.

But researchers say that the civilization may have broken through a “medical knowledge frontier” in treating cancer, Sky News reported.

Lead author Prof. Edgard Camaros, a paleopathologist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, said: “This finding is unique evidence of how ancient Egyptian medicine would have tried to deal with or explore cancer more than 4,000 years ago.

“This is an extraordinary new perspective in our understanding of the history of medicine.”

Scientists in the study examined two skulls held at the University of Cambridge’s Duckworth Collection.

The first, of a man estimated to be 30 to 35 years of age, was dated to between 2687 and 2345 B.C.

The second skull is of a woman older than 50, dated to between 663 and 343 B.C.

Microscopic viewing of the male skull showed a “big-sized lesion,” resulting in likely tissue destruction and about 30 metastasized lesions, said Tatiana Tondini, a researcher at the University of Tubingen.

But researchers later discovered cuts around the lesions, suggesting the precise medical use of a metal instrument.

“When we first observed the cutmarks under the microscope, we could not believe what was in front of us,” added Tondini, the first author of the study in the “Frontiers of Medicine” journal.

“We see that although ancient Egyptians were able to deal with complex cranial fractures, cancer was still a medical knowledge frontier.

“We wanted to learn about the role of cancer in the past, how prevalent this disease was in antiquity and how ancient societies interacted with this pathology.”

The female skull that was examined also featured a large lesion “consistent with a cancerous tumour that led to bone destruction,” Sky News reported.

The discovery may also lead to reappraisals of the proliferation of cancer and carcinogens throughout human history.

However, researchers cautioned against making definitive statements based on the study.

Prof. Albert Isidro, the study’s co-author and a surgical oncologist at the University Hospital Sagrat Cor, said: “It seems ancient Egyptians performed some kind of surgical intervention related to the presence of cancerous cells, proving that ancient Egyptian medicine was also conducting experimental treatments or medical explorations in relation to cancer.

“This study contributes to a changing of perspective and sets an encouraging base for future research in the field of paleo-oncology, but more studies will be needed to untangle how ancient societies dealt with cancer.”