Iraq: 1,000 displaced persons return to Kirkuk

Kirkuk’s Governor Rakan Al-Jubouri said yesterday that 1,000 displaced people had returned to their homes in areas recaptured from Daesh in the province. Speaking during a meeting with international organisations working in the province, Al- Jubouri said the province administration supports the efforts of international and relief organisations working in the area. “Without the support of international organisations we would have faced a humanitarian crisis in the displacement crisis,” he said. The governor called on the international organisations to help alleviate the psychological effects suffered by families who had suffered under the rule of Daesh and to support accelerated education and literacy centres in the province. READ: Poverty rates exceed 45% in Iraq Al-Jubouri said the province needs to cooperate with […]

Jordan-Saudi complete military exercises in Amman

Jordan and Saudi Arabia yesterday wrapped up joint military exercises conducted in the Jordanian capital, according to the Saudi embassy in Amman. The joint manoeuvers, which began on Sunday, were aimed at developing both countries’ military capacities with a view to confronting “terrorist threats”. “The Yarmouk 2 manoeuvers were staged with the participation of Ghazi Al-Sarhan, commander of the Northern Jordanian Military Zone, and Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mutair, commander of the Saudi army’s Northern Region, along with other senior military officers,” the embassy said in a statement. At a closing ceremony, Al-Mutair said the joint exercises would “enhance our military forces and raise the capabilities of our officers, especially given that Jordan participates in Operation Decisive Storm” – a reference […]

Israel legalises confiscating private Palestinian land for settlement use

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit yesterday announced that confiscating private Palestinian land to be used for settlement projects is legal, Israeli media reported. The Israeli TV Channel 7 said that the private lands are to be confiscated for building infrastructure projects, including paving roads for the illegal settlements. Mandelblit’s opinion came after demands from the Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked during a discussion on an access road project, which is currently being paved, for the illegal settlement of Harsha. In a statement reported by the Israeli Ynet News, Shaked said: “The justice minister welcomes this decision that constitutes another stage in the implementation of the rights of hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank].” She […]

500 Palestinian prisoners serving life terms in Israel jails

Some 504 Palestinian prisoners are serving life sentences in Israeli jail, Quds Press reported yesterday. In a statement, the Palestinian Centre for Palestinian Prisoners’ Studies said most recently life terms were handed down to brother Nasser and Akram Badawi from the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The pair was also fined 60,000 shekels ($17,000) after they were accused of shooting an Israeli soldier and wounding others. According to the statement, this is the eighth life sentence that has been issued against Palestinian prisoners this year. Read: Israel arrests 483 Palestinian children this year Life sentence, the statement stated, is a 99-year-prison-term that the Israeli occupation imposes on Palestinian prisoners who are accused of killing Israeli settlers or soldiers. It is […]

US legislation to limit aid to the PA advances

A US House of Representatives committee yesterday approved a bill that would sharply reduce the $300 million in annual US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) unless it halts payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and to the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. As reported by Reuters, the House Foreign Affairs Committee backed the “Taylor Force Act” by voice vote, without opposition, a sign of bipartisan support for the legislation. A previous version of the bill, which “would have completely cut off US economic assistance to the West Bank”, met with opposition from some Democratic lawmakers forcing a compromise. The bill is named after an American citizen killed by a Palestinian assailant last year. To become law, […]

Egypt upholds life term for Brotherhood leader Badie

The Egyptian Court of Cassation upheld a life sentence passed in 2016 against Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leader Mohamed Badie over his participation in deadly clashes in the city of Ismailiya in 2013, Al Jazeera reported judicial sources saying yesterday. According to the sources, the court upheld the life sentence against Badie and seven others in addition to upholding prison terms ranges between three to 15 years against 48 others on the same charges. The clashes took place following the military removal of the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi and three people were killed. This is the second life sentence that the court has upheld against Badie. Read: Brotherhood leader demands Sisi regime be prosecuted In May 2016, the Ismailiya […]

Fatah: Rafah crossing to open soon

The reopening of the Fatah crossing has been postponed because of issues on the Egyptian side, member of Fatah Central Committee, Azzam Al-Ahmad, explained yesterday. Rafah was expected to open yesterday, however this was postponed due to “sensitive circumstances” in Egypt, Al-Ahmad explained, adding that the PA is ready to open the crossing. Under the terms of the Palestinian reconciliation deal, the Kerem Shalom crossing would also be reopened, he added. The Fatah officials, who is in charge of the reconciliation file, claimed that opening the Rafah crossing would be based on the terms of the 2005 agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “We contacted the Egyptians over the past two days to agree on a date to open […]

‘Our people will fight anyone who harms their independence’

Khalil Dewan interviews Salem Thabet Al-Awlaki, spokesman for the Southern Transitional Council and member of the Presidential Council for General Aidarous Al- Zubaidi. The STC has been backed by the United Arab Emirates since its military inception in 2015. As the Southern Transitional Council (STC) expands beyond Aden to neighbouring governorates to realise its political aspiration for independence, it’s time to unravel to what extent the UAE is supporting political shifts in southern Yemen: “[T]he blood of the Emiratis and the Southerners has mixed honour and heroism on the battlefield,” Thabet Al-Awlaki tells me. In 2015 internationally recognised Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi invited the Saudi-led coalition to support a united Yemen and neutralise threats from the Iranian-backed Houthi […]

Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria meet to discuss Libyan crisis

Foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia met today in the Egyptian capital of Cairo to discuss the current situation in Libya and ways to find a solution for the three-year long worsening crisis. Local media sources reported that the three ministers had attended the meeting with different views and objectives, raising fears that the meeting would join a list of two previous similar meetings held this year which have not succeeded in establishing a functional unity government in Libya. Out of the meeting, the Algerian minister Abdelkader Messahel was reported to have aimed to reach a settlement for the Libyan crisis, the Tunisian minister Khemaies Jhinaoui aimed to discuss the next steps to activate the Tunisian President Beji Ceid […]

Barghouti: Israeli settlement activity doubled after election of Trump

According to Mustafa Barghouti MP, and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Israeli “settlement expansion” has increased by more than 100% while Donald Trump has been president. In an interview with Anadolu News Agency, Barghouti stressed that the current Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, has no desire to “allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.” He added: “We are facing a dangerous Israeli project, we must confront this with a strong and effective Palestinian unity.” Barghouti continued by clarifying that the situation in the West Bank has worsened. “There are no areas under the control of the Palestinian security authority. Israel has divided the West Bank into 225 small cut-off islands, through checkpoints, the separation wall and colonial […]