middle east

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Grants to Israeli settlements could breach UK law, Charity Commission warns

The Charity Commission has warned that making grants to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) could potentially constitute a breach of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, in a significant hardening of the Commission’s approach to the issue. It is understood to be the first time that the Charity Commission has specifically cited the 1957 Act in communication with a charity regarding Israel and oPt. The new statement from the Commission comes in response to questions about UK Toremet, a charity which, as revealed by Middle East Monitor in September 2015, is acting as a conduit for donations to Israeli settlements in the oPt. Settlements are considered a serious violation of international law, a position held by the […]


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Rights group condemns Lebanese Maronite Patriarch’s remarks on refugees

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights – UK (AOHR) has condemned remarks made by the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi about Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In a statement, the organisation said: At a time when the countries of the Middle East need to work seriously to end civil wars, the highest religious figure in Lebanon delivers irresponsible and ominous remarks that could trigger civil war in Lebanon. The Patriarch described the Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon as a “massive burden and a demographic, economic, political, cultural and security danger.” Such remarks from someone who represents a major religious community, the organisation said, could cause a civil war, recalling past bloody clashes in Lebanon which […]


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Kuwaiti Emir praises parliament speaker who expelled Israeli representative

The Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah praised the Speaker of the Kuwaiti parliament, Marzouq al-Ghanim, who expelled a representative of the Israeli parliament from a recent meeting of the Inter-Parliament Union (IPU) held in Russia. Al-Sabah sent a letter to Al-Ghanim stressing that his stance represents the official Kuwaiti position towards the Palestinians and their cause. “We followed with much interest and appreciation your firm response to the representative of the Israeli Knesset at the final session of the IPU’s assembly in Saint Petersburg in Russia,” the Emir said. That was in response to a comment made by a female Tunisian MP who accused the Israeli occupation of arresting and torturing Palestinian MPs and preventing them from attending this […]


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Hamas delegation arrives in Tehran on official visit

A Senior Hamas delegation headed by Deputy Chief, Saleh al-Arouri, arrived in Tehran on Friday to meet with Iranian officials, Quds Press reported. The delegation included Izzat al-Reshiq, Zaher Jabarin, Osama Hamdan, Sami Abu-Zuhri and Khalid al-Qadoumi – Hamas representative in Tehran. According to Quds Press, the Hamas delegation will discuss the latest developments in Palestine with Iranian officials. They would also discuss the recent reconciliation agreement with Fatah, as well as bi-lateral relations with Iran. Read: US says Iran shows ‘true colours’ by restoring Hamas ties In August, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. These visits came after a period of frosty relations between the two sides due to the […]


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Turkey banks could face big US fines over Iran

Six Turkish banks face billions of dollars of fines from US authorities over alleged violations of sanctions with Iran, the Haberturk newspaper reported on Saturday, citing senior banking sources. Two senior Turkish economy officials told Reuters that Turkey has not received any notice from the United States about such penalties, adding that US regulators would normally inform the finance ministry’s financial crimes investigation board. Turkish authorities are expected to issue a statement to issue the address the issue soon, the senior economy officials said. The report comes as relations between Washington and Ankara have been strained by a series of diplomatic rows, prompting both countries to cut back issuing visas to each other’s citizens. Haberturk did not name the six […]


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Israel says it will intensify response to Syrian fire

Five projectiles from Syria set off air raid sirens in Israeli towns on Saturday, prompting the Israeli military to say it would step up its response to stray fire from the civil war that has repeatedly spilled over the border. The projectiles crossed into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the military said it targeted three Syrian artillery guns in response. No damage or injuries were reported in Israel. The Syrian military said it came under attack in Quneitra province, which sits near the Golan Heights territory that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War. “The Israeli enemy assaulted one of our military positions this morning, which led to material damages,” it said. During Syria’s more than six-year-old […]


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Death toll from Egypt gun battle rises to 52 killed

At least 52 Egyptian police and conscripts were killed and six more wounded in a gun battle on Friday during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the western desert, three security sources said. Sources had said late on Friday at least 30 police were killed. Egypt is battling a militant insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including a Daesh affiliate, that has killed hundreds of security forces since 2013. The interior ministry released a statement on the operation on Friday but has so far not given any details on casualties. At least 23 police officers were killed and the other victims were conscripts, the sources said. Security sources on Friday said authorities were following […]


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Iranian commander issued stark warning to Iraqi Kurds over Kirkuk

A senior Iranian military commander repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to withdraw from the oil city of Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, Kurdish officials briefed on the meetings said. Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, travelled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to meet Kurdish leaders at least three times this month before the Baghdad government’s lightning campaign to recapture territory across the north. The presence of Soleimani on the frontlines highlights Tehran’s heavy sway over policy in Iraq, and comes as Shia Iran seeks to win a proxy war in the Middle East with its regional rival and US ally, Sunni Saudi Arabia. Soleimani met leaders […]


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US House to vote on non-nuclear Iran sanctions next week

The US House of Representatives will vote next week on new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia, senior House Republicans said on Friday, seeking to take a tough line against Iran without immediately moving to undermine the international nuclear deal. “It is Congress’ responsibility to work with the executive branch on a clear-eyed strategy to stop Iran’s reckless behavior,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the number two House Republican, and Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a joint statement emailed to Reuters. They said: Immediate action towards this goal will come from the House next week as we vote on legislation that furthers sanctions on Hezbollah and Iran’s missile […]


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Israeli official confirms: Bin Salman visited Tel Aviv last month

An Israeli official told AFP on Friday that Saudi Crown Prince Emir Mohammed bin Salman secretly visited Tel Aviv in September. The official, who requested that his identity remains anonymous, refused to reveal the nature of bin Salman’s meetings in Tel Aviv, the people he met, as well as the results of his discussions with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli official’s statement confirmed the accuracy of what the official Hebrew radio broadcast earlier, when it revealed that “an emir from the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly on 7 September and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of ​​pushing forward regional peace.” During that time, journalist Ariel Kahana, who works for the nationalist and right-wing […]