Erdogan's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to visit Saudi Arabia in February, at the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. The announcement came in Erdogan's answer to a Turkish businesswoman's question about the undeclared Saudi ban on Turkish goods and her demand that this problem be solved. The president will also visit the UAE capital next month, as he announced after the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Ankara in December. It is expected that Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia will come immediately after his visit to the UAE and before his return to Turkey. The rapid restoration of relations between the UAE and Turkey following the visit of the Emirati National […]

Palestinian prisoners enter 40th year in Israel detention

The two longest-serving Palestinian freedom fighters incarcerated in Israel have entered their 40th and last year behind bars, Palestinian Wafa news agency reported citing the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) yesterday. According to PPS, Karim Younis, 63, and his cousin, Maher Younis, 64, both from the Arab-Israeli town of Ara in northern Israel, were detained on 6 January 1983 for their resistance of the Israeli occupation and sentenced to life in prison, which was later commuted to 40 years. PPC said the Younis cousins were supposed to have been freed in 2014 in a deal brokered by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry in which Israel was supposed to free all Palestinian prisoners detained before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords that launched the […]

Iran ready to restore ties with Saudi Arabia at any time

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Tehran is ready to restore relations with Saudi Arabia at any time. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdollahian described dialogue with Saudi Arabia as “positive and constructive”, adding that within days Iranian representatives to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will return to Jeddah, which is a “positive step”. He stressed that Tehran believes in the importance of having a broad regional dialogue that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey to solve the region's problems, explaining that Saudi Arabia wants a dialogue with Tehran, which only focuses on bilateral relations. On 3 January, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said in a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the capital, Amman, […]

Morocco groups reiterate rejection of normalisation deal with Israel

The Moroccan Front in Support of Palestine and Against Normalisation has reiterated its rejection of all forms of normalisation with Israel, calling to immediately revoke the agreements signed with the Israeli government, despite the passage of a year since their announcement. The group, which includes a number of civil society organisations, noted the great response by Moroccans to the protest movements called for to mark the one-year anniversary of this “ominous deal”. It warned that normalisation encourages the Zionists to continue their crimes against Palestinians, and constitutes a violation of the constitution, the law and Morocco's obligations, stressing that it will continue to fight all forms of normalisation. Morocco announced the normalisation of ties with Israel last year in return […]

Iran says US sanctions cannot justify Seoul's freezing of assets

Iran says South Korea is “obliged” to release its frozen assets, and that US sanctions cannot justify debt non-payment, Anadolu News Agency reports. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri, made these remarks on Thursday during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Choi Jong-kun, on the sidelines of the ongoing nuclear deal talks in Vienna, according to state-run media citing the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. Bagheri, who is heading Iran's 40-member delegation in the Vienna talks, told the senior South Korean diplomat that they are obliged to release the blocked money,, “irrespective of the outcome” of ongoing nuclear deal talks. Relations between the two countries have frayed in recent years, with Tehran accusing Seoul of freezing more than $7 billion […]

Turkey condemns Israel's approval of new settlements in East Jerusalem

Turkey, on Thursday, condemned Israel's approval of new plans to construct over 3,500 additional illegal settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports. “The settlements built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories contravene international law, including UN resolutions,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “These new illegitimate acts are aimed at rendering a contiguous State of Palestine physically impossible, while also seriously damages the vision of a two-state solution and the ground for lasting peace,” said the Ministry. The statement came after the approval of five settlement plans containing 3,557 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem by a local Israeli planning committee. Israel has, in recent years, intensified its settlement activities in East Jerusalem. […]

Is the US guilty of putting alliance with Israel over justice in 36-year murder case?

Renewed interest in the murder of Palestinian-American civil rights activist, Alex Odeh, has fuelled speculations that the US-Israel alliance has blocked justice and hindered the criminal investigation into the killing. No one has been formally arrested for the murder of Odeh, despite strong leads indicating that his killers were three members of the terrorist group, the Jewish Defence League (JDL). Before his untimely death in October 1985, Odeh was on course to becoming a prominent figure within the Palestinian American community. Born to a Christian Palestinian family in 1944 in the West Bank village of Jifna, near Ramallah, Odeh immigrated to the US in 1972, where he served as West Coast regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The […]

Have Israeli airstrikes reduced Iran's influence in Syria?

Iran has, in recent decades, succeeded in building a network of allies and proxies among Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, that advance Iranian interests against those of other rivals particularly the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Despite being slapped with US and UN sanctions, the Shia-majority country has made milestone achievements in military industrialisation, developing its long-range missile capabilities and relying on allies within its traditional areas of influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. So Tehran has been gradually posing a threat towards the decades-old American strategy of protecting Israel and ensuring the latter's military edge over all countries in the region. Iran has become increasingly confident of its ability to confront and harm Israel, […]

Abbas and his 'optimism' spell danger for Palestinians

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is arguably more partial to fairy tales than politics. His latest address to the Fatah Revolutionary Council sums up all that is wrong with his leadership: incompetence; collaborative complicity with Israel and any other political entity that offers the PA a shard of security; and, above all, complete dissociation from the realities which Palestinians are facing as a result of Israel's settler-colonialism and the PA's repression and exploitation of the people's legitimate anti-colonial resistance. “Despite the difficulty of the conditions we live in,” Abbas rambled on, “I am more optimistic today about the establishment of the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.” He gave no reason for his optimism, other than that Jerusalem […]

The Netherlands stops funding Palestinian NGO 

The Netherlands has stopped funding the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), one of the six Palestinian human rights organisations designated as “terrorists” by Israel last year. According to Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz at the time, the organisations take orders from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is also designated as a “terrorist” entity by the apartheid state due to its resistance against the occupation. The move by the Dutch government comes despite an external review showing no evidence of financial flows between the UAWC and the PFLP. In a joint letter by Foreign Minister Ben Knapen and Foreign Trade Minister Tom de Brujin they acknowledge that, “No proof has been found of organisation unity between […]

Israeli tanks fire warning shots across Syrian border in Golan Heights

Israeli tanks opened fire across the Syrian border yesterday, in an attempt to give a warning to several suspicious and identified figures spotted manning military posts on the Syrian side. The incident took place during a military operation in the occupied Golan Heights, when Israeli troops identified a number of figures who were guarding or conducting activity at “military posts” across the Syrian side of the border. According to the Israeli military, forces then fired flares and warning shots from tanks towards the posts, causing them to flee the area. Israeli helicopters and other aircraft then reportedly hovered overhead in the area. The Syrian radio station, Sham FM, also reported that the tank shots struck a number of sites in […]

The Abbas-Gantz meeting broke the deadlock without any major promises

A week after the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Benny Gantz at the Israeli Defence Minister's home, reactions are ongoing. Opinions vary: some approve, others oppose; some think that the meeting could help achieve a political breakthrough with the Palestinians; and yet others believe that the meeting held personal and partisan interests for Gantz, who seeks to improve his position in the government. It is true to say that most Israeli reactions were not enthusiastic about the meeting, given that Abbas is no longer relevant to political developments and that the US administration does not want to go down the political path due to its many other preoccupations. However, those who oppose the meeting in public do […]

Employer assaults migrant worker in Lebanon, igniting debate on kafala system

A video showing a Lebanese man assaulting a foreign worker in a town in Lebanon has gone viral on social media, raising concerns of the lack of foreign workers' rights within the country and prompting activists to double down on their opposition to the infamous kafala system. In the video clip, the man – who is the employer – can be seen dragging the woman by her hair onto the road and beating her while she screams. The incident took place in the town of Jouret el-Ballout, a predominantly Christian locality in central Lebanon. هيدا نظام الكفالة! هيدا الاستبعاد…الفيديو من جورة البلوط.pic.twitter.com/dGqaDURGML — Adham Hassanieh أدهم الحسنية (@AdhamMG) January 5, 2022 Following the circulation of the footage, the man was […]

2 Palestinians killed by Israel, settlers in West Bank

Two Palestinians were killed this morning by Israel in separate occasions in the occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency. Bakir Hashash, 21, was shot in the head after the Israeli occupation forces conducted a raid on the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus, Palestinian medical and security sources confirmed. Hashash's mother, relatives and friends gathered at Rafidia Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. He was the first Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in 2022. Israel claims that the raids it carries out are essential for intelligence purposes, but rights groups have slammed the practice, insisting that the goal is to oppress and intimidate the Palestinian population and increase state control. Like checkpoints and the illegal Separation Wall, the raids […]

Has Turkey abandoned Assad's departure as a condition for progress?

The four Turkish conditions for the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, as reported in the media, have raised questions about the reality of Turkey's position on the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and whether Ankara has changed its position of refusing to recognise its legitimacy. In what appeared to be a response to the Russian envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet cited unnamed sources and reported on 24 December that the four conditions are that all parties agree on the new constitution to protect the rights of all groups of the Syrian people; establish an electoral system in which all groups can participate freely; form a legitimate government after the elections; and for this government to eliminate […]

France-Morocco ties remain damaged by Israel spyware claims

French-Moroccan relations have been strained for months in the wake of claims that Rabat used Israel's Pegasus spyware to gather information from the phones of French officials including President Emmanuel Macron. Last July, French prosecutors said they opened a probe into allegations that Moroccan intelligence services used the Israeli-made malware Pegasus to spy on several French journalists. The probe came after a ground-breaking collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organisations in ten countries found that as many as 50,000 phone numbers were said to have been selected by numerous states for surveillance using the Israeli snooping technology. Macron, former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 French ministers were targeted for potential surveillance on behalf of Morocco in the Pegasus spyware case, the investigation […]

Venezuela's President Maduro: 'No one dares to ask us to abandon Palestine'

Under the presidencies of Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) and now Nicolas Maduro (2013-present), Venezuela has expressed strong solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It was the first country in Latin America to recognise the State of Palestine on the 1967 nominal borders. In 2009, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority established diplomatic relations and announced the opening of a Palestinian embassy in Caracas. Diplomatic ties remain close, and Venezuela has supported the Palestinian cause at the UN. They have also established and economic ties, including oil deals, emergency aid and scholarships for Palestinian medical students. Venezuela was the first country to grant free travel and movement to the Palestinians without a prior visa, and grants residence rights to Palestinians. According to President Maduro, […]

Pakistan-Turkey train arrives in Istanbul, first in a decade

The first train carrying goods from Pakistan to Turkey arrived in Istanbul yesterday, completing the first such journey in a decade. The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) cargo train – made up of eight wagons with a capacity of 22 tonnes – started its journey from Islamabad on 21 December and travelled 5,981 kilometres. It is hoped the new link will boost trade between the three countries. Turkey's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu, Member of Pakistan National Assembly Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi, and Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Mohammad Farazmand attended the ceremony held in Istanbul to mark the locomotive's arrival. “It will save time and cost compared to sea transportation between Pakistan and Turkey, which takes 35 days, and will lead to […]

Turkey condemns Israeli attack on journalist

Deputy Chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, Numan Kurtulmus, yesterday condemned an attack carried out by a far-right Israeli against an Anadolu Agency cameraman, Faiz Abu Rmeleh, in Tel Aviv. “I condemn this perfidious assault which shows the real face of the unlimited racist Zionist ideology in Israel,” Kurtulmus said. Abu Rmeleh was attacked by a far-right Israeli protester in Tel Aviv in front of a hospital where a Palestinian prisoner, who had been on hunger strike for 141 days, is undergoing treatment. Journalists were covering the events outside the hospital where far-right Israelis had been called to protest against Israel's decision to release 40-year-old Hisham Abu Hawash on 26 February after holding him in administrative detention – without charge or trial – since 27 October 2020. “One of them came up to me and asked who I […]