Qatar Fund, IRC launch health project for Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp

Qatar Fund, IRC launch health project for Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp
This picture shows a view of the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, about 80km north of the capital Amman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 June 2024
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Qatar Fund, IRC launch health project for Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp

Qatar Fund, IRC launch health project for Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp
  • IRC’s CEO emphasizes severe impact of declining humanitarian funding

AMMAN: The Qatar Fund for Development, and the International Rescue Committee have launched a project aimed at delivering primary healthcare services to over 23,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, the Jordan News Agency reported on Monday.

In partnership with Qatar Charity and the Qatar Red Crescent Society, the IRC will provide reproductive healthcare, treatment for non-communicable and chronic diseases, and vaccination services at the Zaatari refugee camp.

The two-and-a-half-year project will also establish a health information system to manage healthcare data and enhance service delivery across three clinics.

Sultan Al-Aseeri, QFFD’s acting director general, reaffirmed the body’s dedication to ensuring a dignified life for refugees by offering essential healthcare and easy access, which he identified as crucial for developing effective primary health systems.

David Miliband, CEO of the IRC, emphasized the severe impact of declining humanitarian funding for the Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis.

He highlighted how the funding shortfall had led to reduced health service availability in the Zaatari camp, compelling many humanitarian organizations to withdraw.

This situation has left more than 80,000 refugees, half of whom are children, without crucial medical services.

Nivedita Monga, the IRC’s country director in Jordan, said that studies indicated rising health needs within Syrian refugee camps, while primary health services were dwindling. She expressed her gratitude for the QFFD’s financial support, which will help extend essential healthcare services through IRC’s clinics and partner organizations to thousands of refugees in Zaatari.
 


Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen

Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen
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Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen

Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen
HODEIDAH: Firefighting teams on Monday were struggling to contain a massive blaze at Yemen’s Hodeida port, days after a deadly Israeli strike hit oil tanks and a power plant in the rebel-run harbor.
Heavy flames and black smoke were seen spiralling into the sky for a third consecutive day following the strike on Saturday, said an AFP correspondent in Hodeida.
Firefighting teams appear to have made little progress, with the blaze seemingly expanding in some parts of the port, the correspondent said, amid fears it could reach food storage facilities.
High-resolution satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies showed flames consuming a heavily damaged fuel storage area at the Hodeida harbor.
The fuel depot is run by the Yemen Petroleum Company which said late Sunday that the six people killed in the Israel strike were its employees.
The Houthis say more than 80 others were wounded in the attack, many of them with severe burns.
With black smoke billowing overhead, a funeral ceremony was held Monday for the victims of the strikes.
Their coffins were carried through the streets of Hodeida, flanked by crowds and led by a Houthi marching band.
The strike on Saturday was the first by Israel on the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country and came in response to a Houthi drone strike that breached Israel’s air defenses, killing one person in Tel Aviv the day before.
The Houthis, who are fighting Israel as part of a regional network of Iran-backed groups, have pledged a “huge” response to the strikes and threatened to once again attack Tel Aviv.
Yemeni port authorities said Hodeida “is operating at its full capacity,” according to the rebels’ Saba news agency.
“We are working around the clock to receive all ships and there is no concern about the supply chain and supplies of food, medicine, and oil derivatives,” port official Nasr Al-Nusairi was quoted by Saba as saying on Sunday.
But the US-based Navanti Group said the strikes on Hodeida destroyed five cranes and reduced the port’s fuel storage capacity from 150,000 to 50,000 tons.
Hodeida port is a vital entry point for fuel imports and international aid for rebel-held areas of Yemen, a country where the United Nations says more than half the population relies on humanitarian assistance.
“Hodeida port is a vital lifeline for delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen,” the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in an emailed statement to AFP.
“Any impact on this infrastructure jeopardizes the entry of essential goods and hampers aid efforts.”

UAE imprisons 57 Bangladeshis, 3 for life, over protests

UAE imprisons 57 Bangladeshis, 3 for life, over protests
Updated 23 min 26 sec ago
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UAE imprisons 57 Bangladeshis, 3 for life, over protests

UAE imprisons 57 Bangladeshis, 3 for life, over protests

The UAE has imprisoned 57 Bangladeshi, including 3 for life, over protests.


Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16

Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16
Updated 22 July 2024
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Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16

Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16
  • The military said it is planning to begin an operation against Hamas militants who have embedded themselves in the area
  • The area includes the eastern part of the Muwasi humanitarian zone, which is located in the southern Gaza Strip.

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip: Israeli strikes killed at least 16 Palestinians in eastern areas of Khan Younis, Gaza health officials said on Monday, shortly after Israel issued new orders to evacuate some neighborhoods after what it said was renewed attacks from those zones.
To allow this, the military said it was adjusting the borders of a humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi to keep the civilian population away from areas of combat.
Palestinian health officials said at least 16 Palestinians were killed in Israeli tank shelling in Bani Suhaila town east of Khan Younis. The area was also bombarded by air, sources say.
The military statement said the new orders were due to renewed Palestinian attacks, including rockets launched from the targeted areas in eastern Khan Younis. The evacuation orders did not include health institutions, Palestinians said.
The Palestinians, the United Nations, and international relief agencies have said there is no safe place left in Gaza. Earlier in July, dozens of Palestinians were killed in separate Israeli attacks in the Al-Mawasi humanitarian-designated areas.
Israel said the attacks were aimed at armed militants, including some top Hamas military chiefs. Palestinian officials called those allegations false and used to justify the attacks.

Displacement
Many Palestinians have been uprooted multiple times in search of safety during Israeli’s punishing air and ground campaign.
Earlier this month, Israel said it estimates at least 1.8 million Palestinians are now in the humanitarian zone it declared covering a stretch of about 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) along the Mediterranean. Much of that area is now blanketed with tent camps that lack sanitation and medical facilities and have limited access to aid, UN and humanitarian groups say. Families live in the midst of mountains of trash and streams contaminated by sewage.
The announcement came during delicate negotiations seeking a ceasefire in Gaza, with US and Israeli officials expressing hope that an agreement is closer than ever, and as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to make a much-anticipated trip to the United States to meet with President Joe Biden and address Congress.
A negotiating team will be sent to continue talks on Thursday, Netanyahu’s office said. Egypt, Qatar and the United States continue to push Israel and Hamas toward a phased ceasefire deal that would stop the fighting and free the hostages.
The war in Gaza has killed more than 38,900 people, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war began with an assault by Hamas militants on southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took about 250 hostages. About 120 remain held, about a third of them believed to be dead, according to Israeli authorities.
The Israeli military said on Monday that it is continuing to operate in central and southern Gaza. On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes killed at least 15 people, including women and children, in Gaza, according to hospital officials and a body count by an Associated Press journalist.
The already precarious humanitarian conditions inside besieged Gaza have worsened with the discovery of the polio virus as water and sanitation services have deteriorated for the territory’s 2.3 million people, most of them displaced. Traces of the virus were found in sewage samples in Gaza. The World Health Organization has said no one has been treated for symptoms caused by the disease.
Israel’s military said soldiers would be vaccinated and it would work with organizations to bring in vaccines for Palestinians.
Netanyahu has vowed to wipe out Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and secure the return of the remaining hostages. Families of hostages and thousands of other Israelis have held weekly demonstrations to urge the prime minister to reach a ceasefire deal that would bring their loved ones home.


Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race

Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race
Updated 22 July 2024
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Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race

Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race
  • Some Democrats will likely demonstrate their anger toward Biden and Netanyahu by skipping Wednesday’s speech

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Washington on Monday, leaving behind a brutal war to make a politically precarious speech before Congress at a time of great uncertainty following Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the presidential race.
With efforts ongoing to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, rising concerns about the war spreading to Lebanon and Yemen, and the US in the midst of a dizzying election campaign, Netanyahu’s speech has the potential to cause disarray on both sides of the ocean.
The risks only increased with Biden’s decision Sunday to drop out of the race for president, especially since the choice of a replacement Democratic nominee — and the potential next American leader — are still up in the air.
A person familiar with Biden’s schedule confirmed Sunday that the president will host Netanyahu at the White House. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly, said the exact timing of the meeting has not been established because Biden is recovering from COVID-19.
Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday. He is also expected to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
An official in Netanyahu’s office confirmed that the Israeli leader was set to travel to Washington on Monday. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement.
Netanyahu will deliver his congressional address with an eye on several audiences: his ultranationalist governing partners, the key to his political survival; the Biden administration, which Netanyahu counts on for diplomatic and military support; and Donald Trump’s Republican Party, which could offer Netanyahu a reset in relations if he is reelected in November.
His words risk angering any one of those constituencies, which the Israeli leader cannot afford if he hopes to hold on to his tenuous grip on power.
“There are a few land mines and pitfalls on this trip,” Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israel relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said before Biden’s withdrawal. “He is thought of as a political wizard who knows how to escape from traps. I am not sure he still knows how to do that.”
It is Netanyahu’s fourth speech to Congress — more than any other world leader. During his address, his far-right governing partners will want to hear his resolve to continue the war and topple Hamas.
The Biden administration will look for progress toward the latest US-backed ceasefire proposal and details on a postwar vision. Republicans hope Netanyahu besmirches Biden and bolsters the GOP’s hoped-for perception as Israel’s stalwart supporter.
Upon receiving the invitation, Netanyahu said he would “present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us.”
The war, which was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, has tested Israel’s ties with its top ally as never before.
The Biden administration has stood staunchly beside Israel. But it has grown increasingly alarmed about the conduct of the Israeli military, the continued difficulties of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, especially after the short-lived US military pier off Gaza coast, as well as Israel’s lack of postwar plans and the harm to civilians in Gaza. Similar concerns will likely persist if Americans elect a new Democratic president.
Biden earlier this year froze the delivery of certain bombs over fears they would be used in Israel’s incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which at the time sheltered more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million.
The US abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote in March that called for a ceasefire and the release of hostages but did not link the two. Netanyahu called the decision a “retreat” from a “principled position” by Israel’s ally.
Biden has had to walk a fine line of his own. He has faced harsh criticism from progressive Democrats and many Arab Americans. Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking elected US Jewish official, lambasted Netanyahu in March for his handling of the war.
Some Democrats will likely demonstrate their anger toward Biden and Netanyahu by skipping Wednesday’s speech. Netanyahu is also likely to be hounded by pro-Palestinian activists during his trip.
The last time Netanyahu spoke to Congress in 2015 was at the invitation of the Republican Party. The trip drove Israeli-American politics deep into the partisan divide as Netanyahu railed against then-President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
Netanyahu has not shied away from making Israel a partisan issue. With his nationalist conservative ideology, he has been perceived as throwing his support behind Republican candidates in the past, rankling Democrats and Israelis who want to keep the US-Israel relationship bipartisan.
It’s unclear if he will meet Trump. If there is a meeting, it could expose Netanyahu to accusations that he is once again taking sides. But if he doesn’t meet with Trump, the former president could feel slighted.
The speech also offers Netanyahu opportunity. He will be able to show Israelis that despite the tensions with the Biden administration, US support for him remains ironclad.
“He wants the Israeli public to believe that he is very much still very welcome in the United States. And this shows that the American people are with him,” said David Makovsky, director of the program on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
For critics of Netanyahu, that embrace is unacceptable and grants legitimacy to a deeply polarizing leader whose public support has plummeted. Netanyahu faces widespread protests and calls to resign over the failures of Oct. 7 and his handling of the war.
In a letter to Congress, 500 Israeli writers, scholars and public figures expressed their dismay over the invitation to Netanyahu, saying he will use the platform to advance misguided policies that align with his far-right governing partners.
“His only interest is preserving his own power,” they wrote. “Does the United States Congress wish to support such a model of cynical and manipulative leadership in these times?”
Israeli media reported that Netanyahu will be joined by rescued hostage Noa Argamani and her father. But for many of the families of hostages held in Gaza, the trip is an affront.
“This is not the time for trips,” Ayelet Levy Shachar, whose daughter Naama was kidnapped on Oct. 7, told reporters.
“Netanyahu: First a deal, then you can travel.”


Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port

Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port
Updated 22 July 2024
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Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port

Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah port
  • Kanani added that Israel and its supporters, including the United States, were “directly responsible for the dangerous and unpredictable consequences of the continued crimes in Gaza, as well as the attacks on Yemen”

TEHRAN: Iran has condemned Israel’s deadly retaliatory strike on the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah in Yemen that the rebels say killed six people and wounded dozens more.
Late on Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani “strongly condemned” the attack saying it was “an expression of the aggressive behavior of the child-killing Israeli regime“
Israeli warplanes on Saturday struck the vital port of Hodeidah in response to a deadly drone attack by the Iran-backed Houthis on Tel Aviv, which killed one civilian.
The Houthi rebels have since threatened a “huge” retaliation against Israel.
Kanani added that Israel and its supporters, including the United States, were “directly responsible for the dangerous and unpredictable consequences of the continued crimes in Gaza, as well as the attacks on Yemen.”
Regional tensions have soared since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, drawing in Iran-backed militant groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, along with the Hezbollah group in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza are part of a Tehran-aligned “axis of resistance” against Israel and its allies.
The Islamic republic has reiterated support for the groups but insisted they were independent in their decision-making and actions.