Tunisia fails to elect High Electoral Commission head again

The Tunisian Parliament yesterday failed to elect the head of the Independent High Electoral Commission to replace Chafik Sarsar who resigned in May. The Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Ennaceur, declared during a public session that “no head for the High Commission has been elected yet, as none of the candidates won the required quorum.” To be elected, a candidate must receive 109 votes. “The candidate Nabil Baffoun received 73 votes, while his competitor Anis Al-Jarboui won 68 votes. 149 deputies, out of 217, participated voted, six didn’t and two votes were cancelled,” Ennaceur said. “We have concluded this session with this negative result and the Chamber of Deputies [the supreme body of the parliament] will meet up to plan […]

Israel demolishes 3 Arab houses in Negev

Israeli occupation bulldozers yesterday demolished three Arab houses in the village of Abu-Grinat in the Negev, Quds Press reported. Activist Ratib Abu-Grinat said Israel demolished the houses under the pretext that they were built without planning licences, noting that the demolition led to the displacement of the residents, including women and children. “The Israeli occupation government recognises the village, which includes 5,000 residents, but it does not have any of the basic services like any other unrecognised villages,” Abu-Grinat told Quds Press. According to a report issued by the Coexistence Club earlier this week, Israel demolished 1,158 Arab homes in the Negev last year. Read: Two states for Israel and none for the Palestinians The village of Abu-Grinat was set up […]

Fatah: It is the time to reconcile with Hamas

This is the time to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, the Safa News Agency reported member of the Fatah Central Committee Muhammad Ishtayeh saying yesterday. He stressed that the reconciliation efforts have Arab support. “It is a Palestinian-Palestinian interest and an Egyptian and Arabic interest,” he said. The Fatah official claimed that local and regional issues forced Hamas to accept the reconciliation, saying that Fatah’s main concern is to “close this black page”. Meanwhile, he said that the government is to hold its meeting in Gaza on Monday and it would take up its responsibilities soon. He also noted that Egypt would send a delegation to monitor the implementation of the reconciliation. Read: Palestinians must reject any conference that brings Arabs together with […]

Israel court gagged, details of ruling on arms sales to Myanmar remain secret

Israel has issued a gag order against the country’s High Court which will now be forced to keep secret details of its ruling on a petition against arms sales to Myanmar. Petition lawyer, Eitay Mack, has been plying pressure on the courts to end the country’s lucrative arms sale to the military junta in Myanmar who have been accused by the UN of carrying out “textbook ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya Muslims. Politicians and state lawyers have resisted the call and brushed aside concerns of the international community over allegations of genocide and massacre. State lawyer and the defence ministry have maintained that the court has no say on the matter. Campaigners were expecting the court to make a favourable […]

Saudi women are the driving force behind Twitter storm

The news took us all by surprise yesterday when Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a royal order that will allow women to get behind the wheel, ending the long-standing ban on women driving in the Kingdom. The decree ordered the establishment of a high-level committee which will be tasked with studying the practicalities of the order within 30 days and ensuring its full implementation by June 2018. While driving is technically not illegal for women in Saudi Arabia, a fatwa, a religious ruling, issued in the early nineties placed a de facto ban on the practice. Being the last country on earth where women are not allowed to drive, unsurprisingly King Salman’s decision to reverse the ban took twitter by […]

In London, West Bank activists mark 50 years of Israeli occupation

Amnesty International and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised a joint event on the Israeli occupation on Monday evening, featuring activists from the West Bank Issa Amro and Farid Al-Atrash. The event marked the start of a new campaign initiated by Amnesty, in which it has called the UK government to ban sales of products from companies based in the occupied West Bank. Baroness Tessa Blackstone, a British peer and academic, chaired the four speaker panel event and welcomed the full house of attendees. She also briefly spoke of her experience in the occupied territories, during which she witnessed Amro being arrested by Israeli occupying authorities, and emphasised the importance of events like this for Palestinian activists to be able to […]

The pro-Israel lobby is losing its grip on Westminster

This has not been a good week for Israel, especially in Britain, where the Zionist lobbyists have spent millions in recent years oiling the cogs in Westminster to persuade politicians of all stripes to give their unconditional support to their favourite state. It has worked rather well for them, with Labour Party leaders like Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband joining their counterparts in the Tory Party as “Friends of Israel” along with the majority of their ministers and shadow ministers. However, after this week’s triumphant Labour Party conference in Brighton it looks as if the pro-Israel lobby has lost its grip on the party led by Jeremy Corbyn. If anyone had any doubt that the Zionist influence has […]

Mauritania in talks to open new crossing with Algeria

The Mauritanian Minister of Culture and Government Spokesman Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh has expressed hope in the possibility of opening its border post with Algeria which is currently designated as a military zone. The idea is to open a new crossing point that will be secured and managed in a regulatory manner in order to ensure the transit of people and goods. For several years, the borders between Mauritania, Algeria and Mali have become a no man’s land of lawlessness in which a multitude of activities related to cross-border crimes including weapons, drugs, cigarettes, migrants and terror activities have become common place. The new crossing talks are likely to antagonise Morocco as there are reported discussions of a closure of […]

IOM: EU resettled 30% of agreed quota

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said yesterday that the European Union has resettled only 30,000 asylum seekers out of 100,000 it was due to accept. In a statement, the organisation called on EU countries to complete the resettlement of the remaining asylum seekers by the end of this year. The statement explained that the resettlement scheme is part of an agreement reached with the European Union two years ago, to resettle 106,000 asylum seekers who came to the EU through Greece and Italy. UN Migration Agency Director General, William Lacy Swing praised the plan and its contribution to easing pressure on the EU front-line countries and helping thousands of stranded asylum seekers. The official urged the EU and its […]

412 Sudanese soldiers killed in Yemen, official confirms

A Sudanese army official confirms the death of 412 soldiers fighting in Yemen, Sputnik Arabic has reported. Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Hamidati confirmed the deaths; however no figures were given regarding the number of soldiers who had been wounded in fighting. Some 14 higher ranked officials were also killed in combat in Yemen. Sudan has been part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen since 2015 in an alleged effort to return control of the capital and northern areas to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi which had been captured by the Houthi group and forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. There is no public record of how many Sudanese soldiers have been deployed in Yemen. Read: British officials […]