EU boycotts Israel’s 50th occupation anniversary celebration

The European Union Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, said yesterday that he won’t attend an Israeli national celebration that will be held to mark 50 years of the Israeli occupation and settlement activities in the West Bank. According to the Israel’s Channel 7, the event, entitled “The Jubilee Celebration of the Liberation of Judea, Samaria [the West Bank], the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights,” will be held on Wednesday in the West Bank. The ceremony will be attended by various senior foreign diplomats, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ministers and Knesset members. “We declined the invitation in line with long-standing EU policy not to attend official events in occupied territory,” head of the political and press section at the […]

UAE Consul in Kurdistan visits referendum polling station

The UAE Consul in Kurdistan, Rashid Al-Mansouri, visited a polling station in Erbil yesterday where Kurds voted in a referendum to separate the northern Kurdistan region from Iraq, Al-Araby Al- Jadeed newspaper quoted an Iraqi official in Baghdad as saying. According to the unnamed source, Al-Mansouri and other diplomats visited the polling station in the Ain Kao district and met with the station director and took pictures with the citizens who were voting. “The consul’s visit is very strange and we do not know whether it is personal or official, but in any case it is considered a violation and a confirmation of the UAE’s [intention] to divide Iraq,” the source said, pointing out that the Iraqi Foreign Ministry will […]

Israel is struggling to adapt to the end of the Syrian conflict

As the Syrian conflict gradually winds down it is becoming easier to identify the winners and the losers. At a global level the conflict is seen widely as a big win for Russia, and by extension a loss for the United States. However, despite their significant differences, Russia and the US have established an uneasy accommodation in Syria, as demonstrated by a succession of local ceasefire deals. The same logic applies to Turkey and Iran, two major regional powers which are setting aside their differences to focus on the bigger picture in post-conflict Syria. However, there is one clear loser in the conflict which is unable to reach an accommodation with its regional foes: Israel. The Zionist state has failed […]

British trade delegation explores business opportunities in Egypt

The UK Trade Envoy to Egypt, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, arrived in Cairo on Saturday with a delegation of UK companies seeking to explore various business opportunities in Egypt, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced yesterday. The delegation consists of 14 multi-sector British companies, including infrastructure, defence, healthcare and agriculture. The companies include London International Patient Services, Rolls Royce and Bombardier, with 70 per cent of those involved being new investors in Egypt. The delegation is due to meet with a number of Egyptian officials, including the Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Admiral Mohab Mameesh, as well as the ministers of investment, housing, trade, transport and petroleum. They are also expected […]

Israel to evacuate Bedouins in Khan Al-Ahmar by mid-2018

The Israeli government informed the High Court on Sunday that it intends to evacuate the residents of the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar in East Jerusalem by the middle of 2018, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported. The Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar is strategically significant for Israel because it lies in the area between Jerusalem and the settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim, East of Jerusalem. The Israeli Supreme Court is considering two petitions, the first was filed by settlers in the area demanding the village is demolished and the second was filed by the villagers in protest to the demolition orders against their homes. Read more: British MPs urge intervention to stop Israeli demolition of Palestinian village In its response to the […]

Israel is censoring Palestinians, and the social media giants are complicit

There is a relatively-new “Cyber Unit” within the Israeli government which is censoring Palestinians on social media. Its existence was publicised earlier this month by Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel. The unit is part of the Attorney General’s office and is putting pressure on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to purge their platforms of content critical of Israel, especially that which is posted by Palestinians. According to the unit’s own figures, 69 per cent of its requests to remove content were agreed to by the social media giants in question. The Attorney General’s office claims that 1,554 cases of “incitement” were removed as a result of the unit’s operations, out of 2,241 such […]

Proposed Israeli law would make it easier to deport Palestinian residents

An Israeli parliamentarian is planning to submit a new law for consideration that would make it easier to revoke Palestinians’ residency status. According to The Jerusalem Post, the proposed bill by MK Amir Ohana (Likud) will “expand the interior minister’s authority to revoke permanent- residence status for security reasons”. Ohana said he is drafting the law as a response to a Supreme Court decision earlier this month, which stated that the Interior Minister had no authority to revoke the residency status of four Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem, who were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Ohana said his bill is designed to “circumvent the controversial ruling”, adding: “The High Court needed 139 pages to hide the simple truth that […]

Another Palestinian village to be ‘emptied’ within months, Israeli media reports

A senior Israeli “security official” has told Haaretz that the authorities intend to expel all the residents of Susiya, a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank, “within a few months”. The report comes a day after the Israeli state informed the Supreme Court that Khan al-Ahmar, a Palestinian community in the central West Bank, would be destroyed by mid-2018. The source told the paper the Israeli government has made it clear that with regards to Susiya, “we’ll do the same thing [as Khan al-Ahmar]”. “We’re no longer willing to postpone – we’ll ask the court for eviction”. Read: Israel issues 13 demolition orders to Qalqiliya village Susiya is near to an Israeli settlement of the same name, and has been […]

Turkey threatens to close Kurdish oil pipeline in response to referendum

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to close the Kurdish oil pipeline and prevent the Kurdish region from exporting its oil in response to a referendum to separate from Iraq, news agencies reported yesterday. According to Bloomberg, the Kurdish region can ship as many as 700,000 barrels of oil a day through the pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. Bloomberg said that Erdogan’s comments were a reminder to the Kurdish region that it depends on good relations with neighbouring Turkey, which opposes the referendum, for most of their oil sales and revenue. “Let’s see where the regional government will flow its oil, through which channels and where it will sell it,” Erdogan said in Istanbul […]

Israel’s new alliance with Arab regimes is catastrophic for Palestinians but won’t last

Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gloat too many times about the rising warmth and cooperation between his government and Arab states. The latest occasion was two weeks ago at a Jewish New Year event at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, where he said, “What is actually happening with the Arab states has never happened in our history.” He revealed that the cooperation between Israel and Arab states now exists “in various ways and different levels.” The quasi-alliance that Netanyahu is talking about started post-Arab Spring due to a mutual fear of the revolutions and Iranian expansion. At that time, Arab monarchies and dictatorial regimes rushed towards Israel for the sole purpose of self-preservation […]