Settlements, first and always

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments on the current government’s contribution to the settlement project in the territories occupied since 1967 are still echoing. Lieberman announced that the settlement construction figures during the first half of 2017 are the highest since 1992. He also added that during the past week alone, the green light was given for the construction of 3,651 new housing units in these settlements. Since the beginning of this year, the construction of 8,345 new housing units was approved, and he described this figure as “as high as it could possibly go.” (Israeli media outlets, 11/6/2017) These statements may suggest that Benjamin Netanyahu’s successive governments since 2009 are the most keen to implement the settlement project in […]

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement halts talks with Khartoum

Malik Agar, the chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N), announced on Saturday that his movement had halted talks and contacts with Khartoum, Masralarabia.com reported. The Egyptian news website reported Russia Today saying the halt of talks came amid differences among the movement’s leaders, which has been fighting against Khartoum in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions since 2011. A couple of days ago the differences escalated when Agar was ousted by his deputy Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, who ousted the movement’s Secretary-General Yasir Arman in March. Read: Sudan proposes joint force to protect border “I will concentrate on rebuilding the movement on new bases,” Al-Hilu said. “We will completely stop talks and contacts with Khartoum,” he added, noting that […]

Sudan warns Haftar against supporting Darfur rebel groups

Sudan has called on Libyan leader, Khalifa Haftar, to stop supporting and providing a safe haven for Darfur rebel groups, the Libyan Observer reported. Speaking publically in Khartoum for the first time about the involvement of Haftar in the Darfur conflict, Ahmed Bilal Othman, Sudanese official spokesperson and minister of information, accused the Libyan eastern forces led by Haftar of attempting to destabilise Sudan and the region. “Haftar is involving Sudanese Darfur rebel groups and mercenaries in conflicts in southern Libya and thus is continuing the same policy that was used by Muammar Gaddafi,” Osman explained. Read: Sudan’s Al-Mahdi calls for a government able to work on ICC ‘genocide’ ruling He said that Sudan was perfectly capable of defending its […]

Houthis and allies block humanitarian aid for Yemen

Yemen’s minister of local administration and head of the official High Aid Committee has revealed that the Houthi rebels and their allies from forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have blocked dozens of aid ships and stolen humanitarian supplies from more than 550 land convoys, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed reported on Sunday. Abdul-Raqib Saif Fath told the media that the militias have prevented the humanitarian and medical aid from reaching several governorates which are in urgent need of assistance. The minister pointed out that the latest outrage was the burning of three trucks loaded with aid on the way to Al-Baydaa Governorate. They were donated by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Aid. Not only do the militias burn […]

Qatari troops ordered to leave Bahrain

Bahrain has ordered Qatari troops serving with a coalition fighting Daesh to leave its territory. The soldiers, part of the US Naval Forces Central Command (Navcent) which is headquartered in Bahrain, have been asked to leave the coalition and may depart within the next 48 hours. Khaleej Times reported a source saying, on condition of anonymity, that the Bahrainis had told the US general in command of the base that Qatari soldiers must leave. “They are still in the base but likely to leave within the next two days,” the source said. Read: Turkey troops arrive in Qatar The news comes as the Gulf faces the biggest diplomatic crisis in recent years, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain suspending […]

Israel begins reducing Gaza electricity supply

Israel began reducing its electricity feed to the Gaza Strip today adding further pressure on the enclave’s humanitarian situation. The cutback, announced last week by the Israeli government, is expected to shorten by at least 45 minutes the daily average of four hours of power that Gaza’s two million residents receive from an electricity grid dependent on Israeli supplies, Palestinian officials said. The Palestinian Energy Authority said the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) had cut by eight megawatts the 120 megawatts it supplies to the Gaza Strip. Read: Timeline of Israel’s anti-Palestinian laws since 1948 An IEC spokeswoman confirmed a cutback had begun, in line with the West Bank-based Palestinian government’s decision to cover only 70 per cent of the monthly […]

Gazans knead Afghan bread this Ramadan

Bakers in Gaza have taught themselves to make tamees, a type of bread which originates in Afghanistan, and introduced it to the market during Ramadan. The severe restrictions imposed by the decade-long siege on the enclave meant bakers could not be taught the skills required from their Afghan counterparts. Baker Ali Mousa told MEMO that this type of bread was not easy to make because “we are unable to bring in experienced bakers. Any mistake in the ingredients ruins the bread, and we had to try numerous times before achieving a good product.” Salameh Yazgi, owner of the Yazgi bakeries, told MEMO that traditional Arabic bread is always on sale, but “as Gazans, we wanted to add our own additions […]

Pressure on Hamas will not turn people against it, insists Israeli academic

A professor of Middle East Studies at the Moshe Dayan Centre in Tel Aviv has said that increasing the pressure on Hamas will not turn people against the movement, Al-Resalah reported on Sunday. Eyal Zisser gave his opinion in an article for Israel Today, a newspaper close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nevertheless, he pointed out that previous experience should teach Israel that continuous pressure on Hamas will necessarily lead to ousting it or helping the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Egypt to grab control of the Gaza Strip. “It is true that the Israeli policy towards Gaza is not ideal, but it has proved itself during the past few years,” he added. Read: Former Israeli minister calls for dialogue with […]

Syrian refugee becomes youngest Unicef Goodwill Ambassador

A 19-year-old Syrian refugee has become the first official with refugee status to become an Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). Muzoon Almellehan has been appointed as the international organisation’s newest and youngest goodwill ambassador. Announcing Muzoon’s appointment on the eve of World Refugee Day, Unicef Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said: “Muzoon´s story of bravery and fortitude inspires us all. We are very proud she will now become an Ambassador for Unicef and children around the world.” Read: Syrian refugees head home on foot from Turkey for Eid Muzoon fled the conflict in Syria along with her family in 2013. She lived as refugee for three years in Jordan before being resettled in the United Kingdom. It […]

Syrian refugee becomes youngest Unicef Goodwill Ambassador

A 19-year-old Syrian refugee has become the first official with refugee status to become an Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). Muzoon Almellehan has been appointed as the international organisation’s newest and youngest goodwill ambassador. Announcing Muzoon’s appointment on the eve of World Refugee Day, Unicef Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said: “Muzoon´s story of bravery and fortitude inspires us all. We are very proud she will now become an Ambassador for Unicef and children around the world.” Read: Syrian refugees head home on foot from Turkey for Eid Muzoon fled the conflict in Syria along with her family in 2013. She lived as refugee for three years in Jordan before being resettled in the United Kingdom. It […]