Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israel ‘terror state’

Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israel ‘terror state’
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce whether Israel had nuclear bombs or not. (SPA via Reuters)
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Updated 15 November 2023
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Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israel ‘terror state’

Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israel ‘terror state’
  • Reiterates his view that Palestinian militant group Hamas is not a terrorist organization

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Israel was a “terror state” committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza, sharpening his repeated criticism of Israeli leaders and their backers in the West.

Speaking two days before a planned visit to Germany to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Erdogan said Israel’s military campaign against Palestinian militant group Hamas included “the most treacherous attacks in human history” with “unlimited” support from the West.

He called for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and repeated his view — and Turkiye’s position — that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a political party that won past elections.

Britain, the US, EU and some Arab states deem Hamas a terrorist group, unlike Turkiye. Ankara hosts some members of Hamas and supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“With the savagery of bombing the civilians it forced out of their homes while they are relocating, it is literally employing state terrorism,” Erdogan said of Israel in parliament. “I am now saying, with my heart at ease, that Israel is a terror state.”

He said: “We will never shy away from voicing the truth that Hamas members protecting their lands, honor, and lives in the face of occupation policies are resistance fighters, just because some people are uncomfortable with it.”

Erdogan’s trip to Germany would be his first to a Western nation since Israel began bombarding Gaza on Oct. 7 in response to Hamas’s attacks. 

Germany has expressed strong solidarity with Israel, while urging a focus on limiting the impact of military operations on Gaza’s civilian population.

“The West, namely the US, is unfortunately still seeing this issue backwards,” Erdogan said.

He called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce whether or not Israel had nuclear weapons, and added that Netanyahu would soon be a “goner” from his post.

He likened the conflict between Israel, a Jewish state, and the Palestinians to a war between the Christian and Muslim worlds, saying the fighting was “a matter of cross and crescent.”

Ankara would take steps to ensure Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories are recognized as “terrorists,” he added.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged Israel to end the “indiscriminate killing of Palestinians” in Gaza, in his sharpest criticism of Israel since war against Hamas broke out over a month ago.

“We demand an immediate ceasefire on the part of Israel in Gaza and strict compliance with international humanitarian law, which today is clearly not respected,” he said during a debate in parliament ahead of a vote in confidence on Thursday in which he is poised to be re-appointed for another term.

“Let there be no doubt, we stand with Israel in rejecting and its response to the terrorist attack that this country suffered in October,” the socialist premier added before calling for the “immediate release” of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

“But with the same clarity we reject the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank,” he said. Shortly after he spoke the leader of far-left party Podemos, acting social rights minister Ione Belarra, reiterated on social media her call for Spain to break diplomatic ties with Israel and impose economic sanctions on the country.

“We need much more than words in an investiture debate to halt the planned genocide that Israel in carrying out in Palestine,” she wrote on X.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the killing “of women, of children, of babies” in the Israel-Hamas war must stop, sparking a strong rebuke from Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The world is watching, on TV, on social media, we are hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents,” Trudeau said at an event in British Columbia province.

“The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop.”

Netanyahu hit back at Trudeau’s criticism. “It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu posted on X.

Trudeau said Hamas “needs to stop using Palestinians as human shields” and that they “need to release all the hostages immediately and unconditionally.”

Referring to Gaza’s main hospital, which has in recent days become one of the focal points of the Israel-Hamas war, he said: “The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al-Shifa Hospital.”

Trudeau urged the government of Israel to “exercise maximum restraint.”


UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 

UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 
Updated 5 sec ago
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UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 

UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 
  • UNICEF spokesman James Elder said such denials are “consistent and relentless,” with hundreds of similar incidents documented

LONDON: UNICEF has reported that one of its aid convoys was denied entry to northern Gaza this week, despite possessing all the necessary documents, in what the organization’s spokesman described as a common occurrence.

In an interview with the BBC’s “Today” program, UNICEF spokesman James Elder, who was in one of the aid lorries attempting to travel from southern to northern Gaza on Wednesday, said that despite having all the required paperwork it took the convoy 13 hours to travel approximately 40 kilometers (30 miles). After spending eight hours at checkpoints, they were ultimately denied entry to northern Gaza, he said, “so 10,000 children who were going to benefit from nutritional supplies, medical supplies, did not.”

Elder said the reasons behind the decision were unclear, but noted that such denials are “consistent and relentless,” with hundreds of similar incidents documented.

The Israeli army responded by claiming that the documentation for the UNICEF vehicle in the convoy was incorrectly filled out and accused Elder of presenting a “partial picture.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by James Elder (@james_unicef)

While waiting at one of the checkpoints, Elder said he witnessed a group of around eight men attempting to catch fish with a single net. “Suddenly we heard a tank coming down, we heard... automatic fire,” he said. “We saw two fishermen fleeing, one was shot in the back, one in the neck.”

The UN spokesman added that the WHO, which had paramedics in the convoy, requested permission from the Israeli Defense Forces to provide medical support to the injured men, but this request was denied. He later saw the fishermen’s wounds when their colleagues were allowed to retrieve their bodies.

Elder, who had last been in Gaza six weeks previously, said the situation is far worse now. “It’s the first time I’ve seen a real level of despondency,” he said. “They’re so despairing, they’re so broken, they’ve lost so many family members. They have nothing left.

“It’s very unsettling to see a child when their parent can’t protect them, it’s heartbreaking when a parent can’t protect their child,” he continued. “Increasingly I’m hearing people say, ‘I just want this over, I’m happy if there’s an airstrike on me tonight.’”
 


UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute

UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute
Updated 14 min 52 sec ago
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UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute

UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute
  • Israeli government’s claims appear as “sponsored links” at the top of Google search results for UNRWA

LONDON: The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees has rejected claims made against it in Israeli advertisements on Google as “unrealistic.”

The Israeli government’s claims appear as “sponsored links” at the top of Google search results for UNRWA, Anadolu Agency reported.

These advertisements from the Tel Aviv administration’s website contain unsubstantiated allegations, including accusations of UNRWA employees’ involvement in the Oct. 7 attacks and that the agency has been infiltrated by Hamas and other groups.

UNRWA spokesman, Jonathan Fowler, said that the allegations of infiltration were baseless. Fowler noted that the agency had conducted repeated investigations and taken corrective actions when allegations of neutrality violations had arisen, both during and before the war in Gaza.

He stressed that there was no evidence linking any of the agency’s employees to the Oct. 7 operation on settlements adjacent to Gaza.

Earlier in April, an independent review headed by the French former foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, found that Israeli authorities had yet to provide any evidence to back up their allegations that a dozen people worked for UNRWA.

The wide-ranging 48-page report, seen by Arab News, also found that Israel had not previously expressed concerns about any individuals named on the agency staffing lists that it had been receiving since 2011.
 


UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa

UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa
Updated 39 min ago
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UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa

UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa
  • “The spillover effect of the conflict in the Sudan has significantly affected the situation in the Central African Republic,” said the expert committee
  • This “continues to constitute a security threat to civilians and an impediment to humanitarian activities in the area“

UNITED NATIONS: Sudanese paramilitary forces are using the Central African Republic as a “supply chain,” including for recruitment of fighters, according to a report published Friday by UN experts, who are concerned about a “spillover effect.”
Sudan descended into war in April 2023 when the generals in charge of the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took up arms against each other in a fight for control, rejecting a plan to integrate.
“The spillover effect of the conflict in the Sudan has significantly affected the situation in the Central African Republic,” said the expert committee, formed by the UN Security Council to monitor sanctions on Central Africa.
They highlighted in particular the humanitarian situation, as the country sees an influx of millions of Sudanese refugees, as well as incursions by the two warring Sudanese parties — plus air raids by the Sudanese army in and around the Umm Dafog border post, where the RSF is present.
This “continues to constitute a security threat to civilians and an impediment to humanitarian activities in the area,” the experts said.
They insist the paramilitaries are also using the Am Dafok area in the Central African Republic on the border “as a key logistical hub.”
Because the RSF can “move between the two countries easily through a long-standing network” they have been able to recruit “from among armed groups in the Central African Republic.”
“Opposition armed groups from the Central African Republic have been reported to have actively recruited for, and sent members of their own groups to fight in, the Sudan under RSF,” the experts said.
They noted in particular fighters in Sudan since as early as August 2023 from the Central African rebel group Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa (FPRC).
The experts said they are aware that this armed group and others “are still able to cross between the Sudan and the Central African Republic at will and use Sudanese territory to launch attacks.”
The experts thus called on Central African authorities to “counteract the surge in arms trafficking from neighboring countries, particularly given the current conflict situation in the Sudan.”
They also asked the leaders to combat “the infiltration of foreign fighters into the Central African Republic, which poses a significant long-term threat to the region.”


UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit

UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit
Updated 15 June 2024
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UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit

UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit
  • Sheikh Mohamed, Sunak discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with UK Prime Minister Sunak on Friday on the sidelines of the G7 Summit session on artificial intelligence and energy in Apulia, Emirates News Agency reported.

During the meeting, the two leaders talked about how to strengthen and expand bilateral relations in a variety of areas, including economics and development.

The two leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest, emphasizing the importance of laying the groundwork for peace, stability, and security in the Middle East.


Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death

Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death
Updated 15 June 2024
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Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death

Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death
  • Hezbollah said Saturday that it targeted the Meron base in northern Israel with “guided missiles,” and sent “attack drones” toward another Israeli base
  • The Israeli army said “two projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the IDF (army) Aerial Control Unit in the area of Meron in northern Israel“

BEIRUT: Hezbollah on Saturday kept up retaliatory attacks on military positions in northern Israel, and one person was killed in Lebanon, days after an Israeli strike hit a senior commander from the Iran-backed group.
Senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah was killed in an Israeli strike in the village of Jouaiyya on Tuesday, alongside three comrades, a source close to the group had told AFP.
Hezbollah said Saturday that it targeted the Meron base in northern Israel with “guided missiles,” and sent “attack drones” toward another Israeli base “as part of the response to the attack and assassination carried out by the enemy in Jouaiyya.”
Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, 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 Israeli army had confirmed it carried out the strike targeting Abdallah, describing him as “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon.”
On Saturday, the Israeli army said “two projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the IDF (army) Aerial Control Unit in the area of Meron in northern Israel,” reporting “no injuries or damage to the unit’s capabilities.”
It also said “several aerial targets were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory” and falling in the Goren area, adding there were no reported injuries but that “a fire broke out.”
“Aircraft struck a Hezbollah terrorist” in south Lebanon’s Aitarun area, the military said, adding that “artillery fired to remove a threat,” also in the Aitarun area.
A source close to Hezbollah and rescuers affiliated with the group said a non-Lebanese man was killed in Aitarun, without providing further details.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency had reported unspecified casualties in an “Israeli drone” strike on a motorbike on the road between Aitarun and Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.
On Wednesday, top Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would “increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” while speaking at Abdallah’s funeral.
A Lebanese military source said Abdallah was the “most important” Hezbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.
The cross-border violence has killed at least 471 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 91 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country’s north.