Lebanon president welcomes Hariri’s plan to return home

Lebanese President Michel Aoun yesterday welcomed the announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri that he was returning to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia within days. “The national and diplomacy campaign that Lebanon has waged in order to clear the ambiguity regarding Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s status in Saudi Arabia yielded positive results,” the president said in a statement. “The state of cohesion shown by the Lebanese during the past days in the wake of Hariri’s resignation from abroad, increased national unity,” he added. “Lebanon is a sovereign and independent state and its decision is free, which made countries around the world renew their concern for maintaining security and political stability in it,” he added. Lebanon: What’s after Hariri’s resignation? In […]

Scottish police thwarted Palestinian activists’ right to protest in peace

Scotland’s Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has warned Police Scotland over its conduct towards pro-Palestinian campaigners, saying that officers’ actions risked violating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including the rights to protest in peace and to privacy. The PIRC upheld three complaints from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) after “officers in Aberdeen visited one man at home to warn him off attending a rally, barred activists from entering a court and used an activists’ meeting to gather intelligence”. In addition, PIRC concluded, “officers investigating the SPSC’s complaints about the highly unusual incidents then misrepresented what the force had done”. Police Scotland has been instructed “to appoint independent officers to entirely reexamine two of those complaints from […]

‘You choose apartheid’, Netanyahu told in Knesset session

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of choosing “apartheid” and permanent military occupation of the Palestinians during a special session of the Knesset yesterday. The debate focused on “the Israeli government’s political challenge in light of new opportunities that have been created”, and was initiated by opposition party Meretz. Speaking at the session, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh stated that “we are at a crossroad where it is clearer than ever that we have only two options: peace or apartheid”. Odeh accused Netanyahu of “time and again” refusing to take the route of peace, “choosing instead to continue the occupation and military control of another people”, adding: “We choose peace and you choose apartheid.” Other politicians, meanwhile, claimed that […]

Likud calls for Israeli law in occupied West Bank

Some 800 members of Israel’s Likud party have called for a general meeting to approve a proposal to implement Israeli law in Jewish settlements across the occupied West Bank, Quds Press reported on Monday. The Central Committee of Likud, the party headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to call for free building in the settlements, all of which are regarded as illegal under international law. One Israeli news website said that the Head of the Committee, Haim Katz, is likely to object to holding such a meeting, fearing that it would cause “political embarrassment” for Netanyahu. According to Quds Press, decisions taken by the Likud Central Committee are mandatory for the party’s representative in parliament as well as […]

Official: Saudi Aramco to spend $300bn on energy projects

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said the company plans to spend nearly $300 billion over the next ten years on oil and gas projects. Nasser made the remarks on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) yesterday. He explained that the spending will be on joint projects inside and outside the Kingdom, noting that a decision will be made soon regarding the location for listing the company’s shares. The Saudi government plans to list five per cent of Aramco’s shares in 2018. According to the oil giant, the company contributes 12.5 per cent of world oil production and has 261.1 billion barrels of proven oil. Over the past two years, Aramco has been engaged in […]

Qatar Petroleum to search for oil off Oman coast

Qatar Petroleum (QP) today signed an agreement to participate in exploration and production activities in Oman. The company said in a statement that it would become a partner in 30 per cent of the contractor’s share of exploration and production participation in the 52nd offshore area off the Sultanate of Oman. Under the agreement, the parties to the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement will be the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar Petroleum, Italy’s ENI with a 55 per cent stake and Oman Oil Company (OOC) with a 15 per cent stake. “The Contracting Parties, through ENI, the Italian company that will be the operator under the Exploration and Production Sharing Contract, will start implementing an exploration programme that […]

Israel cancels permits for Gazan families to visit imprisoned relatives

Israeli authorities reportedly cancelled the permits of Palestinians from Gaza to visit their imprisoned relatives inside Israel’s Nafha prison for the remainder of November. Spokeswoman of the Red Crescent in Gaza, Suheir Zaqqout, told Ma’an that the permits were scheduled to be issued yesterday, adding that the cancellation was allegedly due to reparations inside the jail and the visitors’ hall. Zaqqout added that out of the 6,198 Palestinians inside Israeli prisons, some 300 are from the Gaza Strip. The majority of the more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border. Read: Israel to move Palestinian prisoners […]

Israelis to enter US without visas, announces minister

Israel’s Justice Minister announced on Monday that the plan to cancel US entry visa requirements for Israeli citizens is nearing completion, local media have reported. Ayelet Shaked said that there is an agreement to be implemented soon, which will include permission for the US authorities to access Israel’s biometric fingerprint database. “[We are] completing the agreement to cancel the visas,” Shaked tweeted. “Since I began my post, we have been working with the Americans in order to join the select group of countries whose citizens are exempt from obtaining an entry visa to the US.” She added that a balance has been found between maintaining the privacy of Israeli citizens and the American demands. According to one Israeli news website, […]

Gaza between the carrot and the stick

Gaza is suffering from an early onset of frustration with the results of the “reconciliation” project, as the signs suggest overwhelmingly that President Mahmoud Abbas is not serious about accomplishing what was agreed upon in the recent Cairo agreement. There is evidence that the leader residing in Ramallah is trying to turn the Gaza Strip into an arena to reproduce his authority’s miserable experience in the occupied West Bank. This evidence includes clear hints that the President’s main objective behind the “reconciliation” is to liquidate the resistance structure in Gaza. There is no doubt that the most dangerous action by Abbas and his team indicates that their demands for “empowering” the Palestinian Authority in Gaza means completely drying up the […]