Middle-east

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Israel soldiers force Palestinian family to halt authorised construction

Israeli occupation forces demanded a Palestinian family halt rooftop construction work despite the family having the required paperwork, according to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). According to ISM, the Sharabati family, who live on Shuada street in Hebron, “were hard at work constructing a metal frame for a roof covering on top of their house”, which is overlooked by an illegal Israeli settlement. As they were working, “settlers arrived at a gate adjacent to the Sharabati rooftop and began swearing in Arabic, banging on the gate and trying to provoke a response.” After the settlers were ignored, 12 Israeli soldiers “arrived and ordered the Palestinians to halt construction”, falsely claiming “they did not have proper permission”. “After one hour of […]

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Israel courts have backed state’s position on Gaza blockade ‘almost blindly’

Israeli courts have backed the state’s position on the blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip “almost blindly” over the last decade, a new report has found. According to Israeli NGO Gisha, which focuses on access issues for Palestinians under occupation, the Israeli court system has “persistently disregard[ed] international law and the legal framework it provides for the protection of their [Palestinians in Gaza] human rights”. The compilation, and analysis, of key judgments compiled in “10 Years, 10 Judgments – How Israel’s courts sanctioned the closure of Gaza” “paints a bleak picture”, says Gisha. In repeatedly affirming the state’s position, “the courts have sanctioned severe violations of Palestinians’ rights, primarily, the right to freedom of movement”. One of the crucial points […]


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Iran told to recover cost of war in Syria

Special adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, has called on his country to recover the price it has paid in Syria. Speaking at a seminar in Tehran, Safavi pointed out that Russia has concluded long term agreements in Syria adding that “Iran has to recover what it has paid in the war from the Syrian oil, gas and phosphate”. “The Russians have signed agreements for 49 years in Syria, through which they obtained a military base and political and economic privileges, and Iran can conclude long-term agreements with the Syrian government,” he said. The Iranian adviser said his country is currently exporting phosphate from Syria. Remarking on Turkey and the Free Syrian Army’s “Operation Olive […]


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Sweden grants citizenship to Iran scientist accused of espionage

Sweden has granted citizenship to a Stockholm-based scientist being held in Iran under sentence of death, the country’s foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday. Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital, was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage, having been accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists. Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in December and Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Djalali had “confessed” to meeting agents of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to deliver information on Iran’s nuclear and defence plans and personnel. “We know that he has been granted citizenship by the Migration Board. We continue in our […]


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Khashoggi warns of ‘changes’ to religious establishment

Renowned Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi warned of what he described as the “enormous changes” witnessed by the religious establishment in the Kingdom. Speaking at a seminar hosted by Rwaq Istanbul on Friday evening, Khashoggi said: “One of the most prominent manifestations of change witnessed by the religious establishment in the Kingdom is the abolition of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Yes, the body still exists, but is no longer influential.” “The Saudi people are now enjoying the atmosphere of freedom and openness, but I think that euphoria is a passing phase. The reality is that the Saudi people are conservative,” he said. Remarking on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s talk about moderate […]


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Senior Fatah official criticises Egypt for ‘adoption’ of Dahlan

A senior member of Fatah’s Executive Committee, Jibreel Al-Rajoub, has criticised Egypt severely over what he called the “adoption of [Mohamed] Dahlan,” Quds Press reported on Sunday. Dahlan was a former senior official within the movement. He was dismissed over personal differences with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. “Cairo’s adoption of Dahlan is not good for Egypt,” said Al-Rajoub. “Egypt was part of Fatah’s decision to sack Dahlan, who was dismissed after discussions with most of the Arab countries.” He claimed that Dahlan rallied regional leaders against Fatah and was accused of killing Palestinians. “I do not have a problem to disappear from the political arena if my appearance reinforces the division between Fatah and Hamas,” insisted Al-Rajoub, “but I reject […]


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Algeria, Morocco reinforce security, military presence on borders

The armies of Morocco and Algeria are reinforcing their presence on the border area. Moroccan Al-Masa newspaper reported on Saturday that “the number of border guards will be increased to provide security information, control the movement of smuggling networks and counter terrorist threats from the Sahel area and Sahara, which seek to penetrate the region.” Earlier the Algerian authorities announced that they would increase the number of border surveillance posts on the Algerian-Moroccan borders by building ten new posts. The escalations on the land border between the two countries coincided with Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel’s meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler in Berlin, which took place on Thursday. Read: Algeria reinforces its surveillance over […]


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Iran FM: Netanyahu’s speech in Munich a ‘cartoonish circus’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Munich Security Conference as a “cartoonish circus”. Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbours Zarif said, adding that it commits illegal incursions to Syria and Lebanon on a daily basis. Zarif said some at the conference “resort to cartoons to justify strategic blunders or maybe avoid domestic crisis.” The conference saw Netanyahu wave what he alleged was wreckage of an Iranian drone shot down over Israel. “The entire speech was trying to evade issue. What has happened is the so-called invincibility has crumbled,” Zarid added. “It’s the problem of aggression,” Zarif said. “Domestic corruption is another problem, I’m not talking about that.” […]


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Sudan denial of Brotherhood deportation claim

A leader of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) denied media claims on Saturday that senior Muslim Brotherhood officials have been told to leave the country. “There are no Egyptian Islamists in Sudan,” insisted Abd El-Sakhi Abbas, a member of the NCP’s political section. “If there were, Egypt would name them and demand their extradition.” He described the claim that Sudan has requested the Brotherhood members to leave the country as a “media brainchild”. Abbas stressed that there are no political or organisational links between the NCP and the movement in Egypt. Earlier on Saturday, Sudanese and Arab media reported that Khartoum had asked the leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to leave the country within hours, otherwise Sudan would […]


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New checkpoint will cut off Palestinians from park built on their land

Israeli authorities in Jerusalem have begun construction of a new checkpoint on the edge of Al-Walaja, in what has been described as “the final step in blocking the village’s access to a national park built on land confiscated from its residents”. According to Israeli NGO Ir Amim, the Jerusalem municipality initiated the construction on 14 February, some weeks after Mayor Nir Barkat and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin inaugurated the Emek Refaim National Park. “The new checkpoint will replace the one now in operation between Al-Walaja and Gilo [settlement], bringing it directly to the edge of the village…in order to block resident’s access to 1,200 dunams of national park land between the village and the Green Line,” the NGO […]