UNESCO votes to condemn Israeli activity in East Jerusalem

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee yesterday condemned Israel’s occupation activity in East Jerusalem. The Jordanian-sponsored resolution called Israel the “occupying power” and said that the UN “regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunnelling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law,” the Times of Israel reported, citing the resolution. Israeli officials reacted angrily to the vote with the Foreign Ministry stating: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and no decision by UNESCO can change that reality.” Read: UNESCO to vote on adding Ibrahimi Mosque to World Heritage list Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin panned UNESCO […]

Knesset gives green light for phone taps on security officials

Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) Defence Committee has given the green light for the Shin Bet internal security agency to install phone taps to monitor the calls of its own officials in possession of sensitive intelligence information, local media reported on Tuesday. The committee approved a bill allowing the head of the agency to monitor telephone usage by senior security officials and others. Apps such as WhatsApp, text messages, social media and emails are also being covered in an attempt to prevent the leak of sensitive information. Read: Israel approves bill to block websites The bill allows such infringement of privacy on two occasions for a month. If further time is required, then the approval of the government’s judicial advisor must be sought.

Sudan rejects claims of supporting armed groups in Libya

Claims made by a Libyan military spokesman that Sudan, in collusion with Qatar, has been supporting armed opposition groups, including the militant group Daesh, are “lies and fabrications”, the Sudanese foreign ministry said. In a statement released prior to yesterday’s press conference by Colonel Ahmed Al-Mismari held in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Sudan’s foreign ministry said Al-Mismari’s claims included “clear mistakes in the names and titles of Sudanese officials” and exposed the ignorance of those making such claims. Speaking to media outlets, Al-Mismari repeated the allegations made in an interview with the “Cairo Time” television programme in which he produced a 30-page document allegedly written in 2014 by Sudan’s Armed Forces detailing its involvement in the supply of weapons and […]

Fire kills girl at Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

A fire caused by an electrical malfunction killed a girl at a Syrian refugee camp in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley overnight, a medical source said yesterday, in the second lethal blaze in a camp in the area in three days. Fifteen of the 140 tents in the camp were destroyed and four partly burned in the fire, according to an assessment by Save the Children Lebanon, a non-governmental organisation that assists refugees. Read: Fire destroys Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon, kills one On Sunday, a fire destroyed a Syrian refugee camp near Qab Elias, some seven kilometres away from Bar Elias, also killing one person. Initial reports indicated that fire was caused by a cooking stove. That camp was home […]

Israel targets Waqf land in Jerusalem

The Israeli-run municipality in Jerusalem has targeted a plot of Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) land just metres from Al-Aqsa Mosque and started to level the ground, Quds Press has reported. The land is next to Al-Yousefiyeh Cemetery and has apparently been used by the Israelis as a landfill site. According to the head of the committee charged with looking after Muslim cemeteries in Jerusalem, Israel’s moves have been made against the will of the local Palestinians. Mustafa Abu Zahra pointed out that the committee has been working to change the use of the land as the landfill has a negative effect on residents and visitors to the historic site. Read: 100 Israeli attacks on Palestinian places of worship in May “This […]

Hamas slams PA move to force early retirement on Gaza employees

The de facto government run by Hamas in the Gaza Strip has slammed the decision of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to force early retirement upon more than 6,000 state employees in the enclave, Safa news agency reported on Tuesday. The Islamic Resistance Movement described the move by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamadallah as “unethical and inhumane” and insisted that it has nothing to do with the internal division between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum insisted that PA President Mahmoud Abbas must step in and cancel the plan, and carry out his duty toward the residents of the Gaza Strip. “Such measures reinforce the Palestinian division and target the unity and resistance of the Palestinians ahead of a plan […]

Israel approves bill to block websites

Israeli Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday approved a bill giving police power to block websites that they claim publish “criminal” or “offensive” content, Hebrew news sites reported. The bill, which was approved in its second and third readings, was proposed by the Israel Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, and Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked. According to the law, the judge of the district court is authorised to order the full or partial blocking of a website if the police or Public Prosecution suspect “criminal violations” are being committed or “terror” is being encouraged. Read: The PA’s blocking of media sites Shaked said: “When the internet is used to harm human life, take advantage of people or simply for […]

PA forces 6,145 civil servants in Gaza into retirement

Some 6,145 Palestinian civil servants from Gaza are being given early retirement, Quds Press reported the Palestinian Authority announcing yesterday. In a statement, the PA spokesman Yousif Al-Mahmoud said the decision as well as “previous procedures and any possible future procedures in this regard” were only temporary moves seeking to pressure Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, into relinquishing its control over the small coastal enclave and reconciling with the PA. Hamas has been the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip since 2007 after it won an overall majority in the general elections in 2006. Since it took control of the Strip Israel has imposed a stifling siege on the enclave. Egypt and the PA have further […]

Remembering Algeria’s Independence Day

What: Algeria gains independence from France after 132 years Where: Algeria When: 5 July 1962 What Happened? Algeria’s war of independence against colonial France, which had occupied the country for 132 years, began on 1 November 1954 and was led by the National Liberation Front (FLN). The guerrilla warfare adopted by the Algerians to end France’s torturous presence lasted nearly eight years and shook the foundation of the unstable Fourth French Republic which would be replaced by a fifth republic in 1958 lead by President Charles de Gaulle. During 1956 and 1957, the FLN began hit-and-run tactics aimed at military targets, army patrols, military encampments, police posts and colonial transportation and communications facilities. They were encouraged by the call from […]

Remembering Algeria’s Independence Day

What: Algeria gains independence from France after 132 years Where: Algeria When: 5 July 1962 What Happened? Algeria’s war of independence against colonial France, which had occupied the country for 132 years, began on 1 November 1954 and was led by the National Liberation Front (FLN). The guerrilla warfare adopted by the Algerians to end France’s torturous presence lasted nearly eight years and shook the foundation of the unstable Fourth French Republic which would be replaced by a fifth republic in 1958 lead by President Charles de Gaulle. During 1956 and 1957, the FLN began hit-and-run tactics aimed at military targets, army patrols, military encampments, police posts and colonial transportation and communications facilities. They were encouraged by the call from […]