Jordan says Gaza ‘famine’ can be tackled quickly if Israel opens crossings

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint press conference with his counterparts, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, at Tahrir palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 30, 2024. (AP)
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Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint press conference with his counterparts, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, at Tahrir palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 30, 2024. (AP)
Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (REUTERS file photo)
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Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (REUTERS file photo)
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Updated 31 March 2024
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Jordan says Gaza ‘famine’ can be tackled quickly if Israel opens crossings

Jordan says Gaza ‘famine’ can be tackled quickly if Israel opens crossings
  • Israel has said that after the war, it will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with Palestinians who are not affiliated with the Palestinian Authority or Hamas
  • Israel has killed over 32,705 Palestinians in Gaza, two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry

CAIRO: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Saturday that “famine” in Gaza can be dealt with in a short time if Israel opened the land crossings for aid to enter.
Safadi made the comments at a press conference with his Egyptian and French counterparts in Cairo.
The UN and partners have warned that famine could occur in devastated, largely isolated northern Gaza as early as this month

A three-ship convoy left a port in Cyprus on Saturday with 400 tonnes of food and other supplies for Gaza as concerns about hunger in the territory soar.
World Central Kitchen said the vessels and a barge were carrying ready-to-eat items like rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables, and proteins, enough to prepare more than 1 million meals. Also on board were dates, traditionally eaten to break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
It was not clear when the ships would reach Gaza.

BACKGROUND

An Open Arms ship inaugurated the direct sea route to the Palestinian territory earlier this month, carrying 200 tonnes of food, water, and other aid.

An Open Arms ship inaugurated the direct sea route to the Palestinian territory earlier this month, carrying 200 tonnes of food, water, and other aid.
Humanitarian officials say deliveries by sea and air are not enough and that Israel must allow far more aid by road. The top UN court has ordered Israel to open more land crossings and take other measures to address the humanitarian crisis.
The US has welcomed the formation of a new Palestinian autonomous government, signaling that it would accept the revised Cabinet lineup as a step toward political reform.

The administration of President Joe Biden has called for “revitalizing” the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in the hope that it can also administer the Gaza Strip once the Israel-Hamas war ends.
It is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who tapped US-educated economist Mohammed Mustafa as prime minister earlier this month.
But both Israel and Hamas — which drove Abbas’ security forces from Gaza in a 2007 takeover — reject the idea of it administering Gaza, and Hamas rejects the formation of the new Palestinian government as illegitimate.
The authority also has little popular support or legitimacy among Palestinians because of its security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank.
The war began after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage.
More than 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank or east Jerusalem since Oct. 7, according to local health authorities.
Dr. Fawaz Hamad, director of Al-Razi Hospital in Jenin, told local station Awda TV that Israeli forces killed a 13-year-old boy in nearby Qabatiya early Saturday. Israel’s military said the incident was under review.
A major challenge for anyone administering Gaza will be reconstruction. Nearly six months of war has destroyed critical infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and homes, as well as roads, sewage systems, and the electrical grid.
Airstrikes and Israel’s ground offensive have left 32,705 Palestinians dead, local health authorities said on Saturday, with 82 bodies taken to hospitals in the past 24 hours. Gaza’s Health Ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its toll but has said the majority of those killed have been women and children.
Israel says over one-third of the dead are militants.
However, it has not provided evidence to support that, and it blames Hamas for civilian casualties because the group operates in residential areas.
The fighting has displaced over 80 percent of Gaza’s population and pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine, the UN and international aid agencies say. Israel’s military said it continued to strike dozens of targets in Gaza, days after the UN Security Council issued its first demand for a ceasefire.
Aid also fell on Gaza. During an airdrop on Friday, the US military said it had released over 100,000 pounds of aid that day and almost a million pounds overall, part of a multi-country effort.
Israel has said that after the war, it will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with Palestinians who are not affiliated with the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Who in Gaza would be willing to take on such a role is unclear.
Hamas has warned Palestinians in Gaza against cooperating with Israel to administer the territory, saying anyone who does will be treated as a collaborator, which is understood as a death threat.
Hamas calls instead for all Palestinian factions to form a power-sharing government ahead of national elections, which have not taken place in 18 years.

 


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.


Islamic Jihad says only way to free Israeli hostages is Gaza withdrawal, prisoner deal

Islamic Jihad says only way to free Israeli hostages is Gaza withdrawal, prisoner deal
Updated 15 June 2024
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Islamic Jihad says only way to free Israeli hostages is Gaza withdrawal, prisoner deal

Islamic Jihad says only way to free Israeli hostages is Gaza withdrawal, prisoner deal
  • The spokesman of Al-Quds Brigades made the remarks in a video posted on Telegram
  • Islamic Jihad is a smaller ally of Hamas

CAIRO: The armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad said on Saturday the only way to return Israeli hostages is through Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, ending its offensive and reaching a deal for exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.
The spokesman of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian group, made the remarks in a video posted on Telegram.
Islamic Jihad is a smaller ally of the militant Islamist group Hamas, which led a rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza, although at least 40 have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.
At least 37,296 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military campaign to eliminate Hamas, according to the Gaza health ministry.


Erdogan says Biden faces a test of sincerity in handling of the Gaza war

Erdogan says Biden faces a test of sincerity in handling of the Gaza war
Updated 15 June 2024
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Erdogan says Biden faces a test of sincerity in handling of the Gaza war

Erdogan says Biden faces a test of sincerity in handling of the Gaza war
  • Biden expected to demonstrate that the Gaza ceasefire plan is not a calculated electoral tactic but a sincere effort to end the war

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that US President Joe Biden is undergoing “a test of sincerity” in his handling of the Gaza war.
In an interview with reporters on his way back from the G7 Summit in Italy, Erdogan said Biden is expected to demonstrate that the Gaza ceasefire plan is not a calculated electoral tactic but a sincere effort to end the war.
He also said that Germany has softened its stance on sales of Eurofighter jets to Turkiye. In November, Turkiye said the country was in talks with Britain and Spain to buy Eurofighter Typhoons, though Germany objected the idea.
“Eurofighters are important to us,” he added.
Erdogan also said that inflation will be put on a more favorable position in the final quarter with the steps to be taken on interest rates.
“Policies aimed at rebalancing the economy are bearing fruit,” Erdogan said.


France, Germany, Britain condemn Iran’s steps to expand nuclear program

France, Germany, Britain condemn Iran’s steps to expand nuclear program
Updated 15 June 2024
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France, Germany, Britain condemn Iran’s steps to expand nuclear program

France, Germany, Britain condemn Iran’s steps to expand nuclear program
  • The three allies said Iran’s moves were undermining a landmark 2015 deal on its nuclear program

PARIS: France, Germany and Britain on Saturday condemned Iran’s “latest measures,” after the United Nations atomic watchdog said the country was expanding its nuclear capacities.

The three allies said Iran’s moves were undermining a landmark 2015 deal on its nuclear program, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday said the country was strengthening enrichment facilities at two sites.

“These measures will again increase Iran’s stock of enriched uranium and enrichment capacity, whose levels have already surpassed the limits set” by the 2015 deal, the French, German and British foreign ministries said in a joint statement.

The condemnation came more than a week after the countries tabled a resolution at an IAEA board of governors meeting criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the nuclear watchdog, the first such move since November 2022.

Iran condemned the resolution as “hasty and unwise.”

It denies seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, saying its atomic program is for peaceful and civilian purposes.

Germany, France and Britain said it was unacceptable that Iran presented its measures as a reaction to the resolution.

They reiterated their commitment to a diplomatic solution preventing Tehran developing a nuclear weapon.

According to the IAEA, Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state to enrich uranium to the high level of 60 percent — just short of weapons-grade — while it continues accumulating large uranium stockpiles.

The IAEA has said Tehran has significantly ramped up its nuclear program and now has enough material to build several atomic bombs.

The Islamic republic has gradually broken away from its commitments under the 2015 deal it struck with world powers.

The accord provided relief from Western sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s atomic program.

It fell apart after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States under then-president Donald Trump in 2018.

Efforts to revive the deal have so far failed.