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Temperatures to hit 50 degrees Celsius during Haj season in 2019

Temperature during Haj season this year is expected to reach 50 degrees Celsius on some days.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental protection also expects humidity to reach 85 per cent, making it feel even hotter.

The authority said there was a chance of some rain clouds over Makkah, where pilgrims arrive to circle the Kaaba, and visit nearby holy sites that are visited during the pilgrimage, Arab news reported.

It also expects wind that could lift dust and a chance of rainfall, especially in the afternoon and evening hours, over Makkah.

In 2018, pilgrims were met with heavy rain on the first evening of Haj.

Asphalt may help

Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, Deputy Minister of Haj Saudi Arabia, reportedly told Saudi Newspaper “Asharq Al-Awsat” in an interview that the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Holy City, launched an initiative to alleviate the heat of the holy sites by implementing a project to coat the asphalt, as a way to reduce the temperature by as much as 15 to 20 degrees Celsius.

He said that 3,500 square meters were covered so far and that other sites would be treated over the next year.

He added that the project also included measuring the temperature every 10 seconds through sensors placed under the asphalt.

Ahmed Manshi, the director general of the holy sites and seasons in Saudi Arabia, also said “The project aims to reduce the temperature of the pavement surface in Shaiben area, and there is a possibility to include the Jamarat facilities, and coat several pedestrian pathways at holy sites.”

He explained that the success of this project would be measured through surveys distributed to pilgrims.

Source : Gulfnews

India revokes disputed Kashmir’s special status with rush decree

The Indian government has rushed through a presidential decree to scrap a special status for India-administered Kashmir, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly seven decades.

Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament on Monday that the president had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution that gave a measure of autonomy to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.

“The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state,” Shah said to loud protests from opposition legislators who were against the repeal.

Article 370 of the constitution forbid Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.

The decree, which was issued hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the disputed region, said the measure came into force “at once”. 

Critics of such a measure say that in doing away with Article 370, the government hopes to change India-administered Kashmir’s Muslim-majority demographics by allowing in a flood of new Hindu residents.

Shah said the government also decided to split the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government without a legislature of its own.

Despite the blackout on internet services in the region, Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufi tweeted that the government’s decision is “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

“Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy,” Mufti wrote.

What is Article 370?

Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir had earlier called attempts to revoke Article 370 an aggression against the 7 million people living in the disputed region.

The law dates to 1927, when an order by the administration of the-then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir gave the state’s subjects exclusive hereditary rights.

Two months after India won independence from the British rule in August 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, signed a Treaty of Accession for the state to join the rest of the union, formalised in Article 370 of the Indian constitution.

Further discussions culminated in the 1952 Delhi Agreement, a presidential order that extended Indian citizenship to the residents of the state but left the maharaja’s privileges for residents intact.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety.

The Indian-administered part of the territory has been in the grip of a rebellion for three decades that has left tens of thousands dead.

Article 35A of India’s constitution permitted the local legislature in Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region. The article came into being in 1954 by a presidential order under the constitution’s Article 370. 

On Sunday, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah chaired a meeting of political leaders from the region, who issued a statement, warning “against any tinkering with the special status of the region” as guaranteed under Article 35A of the Indian constitution.

The statement said the region’s political parties “remain united … in their resolve to protect the autonomy and special status” of Kashmir.

Article 35A had been challenged by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its right-wing allies through a series of petitions in India’s Supreme Court.

Last month, a senior BJP leader hinted that the government was planning to form exclusive Hindu settlements in the region.

Lockdown after troop build-up

On Sunday, parts of India-administered Kashmir were placed under lockdown and local politicians reportedly arrested amid growing tensions following a massive deployment of troops by the Indian government.

“As per the order there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed,” a statement by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under the central rule, said on Sunday night.

The order said the indefinite security restrictions will be applicable in the main district of Srinagar.

Indian media reports said some pro-India leaders from the region, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, have been placed under house arrest.

The measures came after the Indian government moved about 10,000 troops to the region last week, followed by an unprecedented order asking tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave the Himalayan valley.

Source : Al Jazeera

High-tech ‘smart’ cards to keep Hajj pilgrims safe and secure

Jeddah, (UNA-OIC) – Up to 25,000 Hajj pilgrims in Mina this year will be issued wearable high-tech smart cards in a pilot program being launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The cards will store the pilgrims’ personal information, health status, residence and Hajj tour details.

They will also be fitted with a location tracker to follow individual pilgrims’ movements, managed by a control room in Mina.
“It is the experimental stage of a smart Hajj initiative we are working on, and we will study to what extent it might be advantageous to the pilgrims,”

Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said, according to Arab News.
“The numbers will increase in the coming years to include more pilgrims in the other areas.” The ministry is also issuing up to 200,000 pilgrims ID cards, which will have the same information storage technology but without the location tracking feature.

These cards are scannable, allowing Hajj service providers to quickly identify pilgrims, access their medical history and establish what assistance they may need.

The cards will be complemented this year by a Smart Hajj ID app, Al-Maddah said. “It will offer the same features as the smart ID card, including tracking location, identifying crowded spots on the map, and the transport schedule.”

The smart card and mobile app also enable the ministry to simulate and predict crowd behavior during Hajj. “This new technology will help us collect data through the cards, cameras, and sensors distributed around the pilgrimage sites,” said Al-Maddah.

Source: AG/UNA-OIC/Arab News
Image : hajjumrahplanner.com

AOHR: World must condemn Sisi’s human rights violations

Western governments must stop lending full support to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s military regime and must condemn the widespread human rights violations committed by his government, said a panel of human rights experts and lawyers yesterday.

In an event organised by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR), hosted in the UK’s House of Commons, a group of lawyers and professionals working inhuman rights gathered to discuss the situation in Egypt six years after the military coup in 2013 that toppled the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi.

The experts called on the international community to condemn Al-Sisi’s government for their human rights abuses and to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on the Egyptian government should the human rights violations continue. They criticised governments for their “deafening silence” in addressing the Sisi regime’s human rights abuses, saying that their inaction “further exacerbates the crisis”.

The panel also stressed the urgency of the human rights situation in Egypt, highlighting that it has “reached rock bottom over the past six years and is only getting even worse with a total clampdown on all freedoms and all opposition.”

Since the 2013 coup, there have been several credible reports of mass human rights abuses and international crimes committed, such as mass death sentences and executions, torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions and restrictions on freedom of the press and to free expression.

This meeting came a few weeks after the death of Morsi, criticised by Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson as “sad but entirely predictable” due to his ill treatment by the Egyptian authorities. Human rights advocates had long been concerned about Morsi’s health, as he was suffering from diabetes, liver and kidney disease yet was consistently being denied medical attention, a common punitive measure Egyptian authorities use against political prisoners.

The panel called for an independent and impartial UN investigation into the cause of Morsi’s death, the human rights violations he suffered and how his conditions in prison contributed to his death in custody.

Source: MEMO
Image : eramuslim.com

gas - turkey

Turkey rejects EU claims that drilling off Cyprus is illegitimate

Ankara says EU cannot be impartial mediator amid rising tensions as Turkey sends a second drilling ship to the island.

Turkey’s foreign ministry says it rejects statements by Greek and European Union officials that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off the island of Cyprus is illegitimate.

The ministry said on Wednesday the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus dispute, and that Turkey’s Fatih ship had started drilling activities off the Mediterranean island at the start of May.

Turkey claims having exploring rights off the island, either through its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots.

Cyprus, an EU member, rejects the claim, saying that assertion is not only inconsistent with international law, but that Turkey would not accept any international dispute settlement mechanism where its claims could be put to the test.

Turkey’s Yavuz ship recently arrived to the east of Cyprus to become the second ship to conduct drilling activities there.

On Tuesday, the US State Department urged Turkish authorities to halt drilling operations, a day after Cyprus protested against the Yavuz dropping anchor there.

“The United States remains deeply concerned by Turkey’s repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus,” the State Department said in a statement.

“We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region,” it said.

The discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has set off a race to tap underwater resources, sparking a dispute between Turkey and European Union member Cyprus.

Second ship deployed

The Yavuz dropped anchor just northeast of the Karpasia peninsula, a jutting panhandle which is in territorial waters.

The other Turkish vessel, the Fatih, is anchored some 37 nautical miles off the western coast of the island in an area Cyprus claims is its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the maritime zone in which it has rights over its natural resources.

The EU said on Monday the latest move by Turkey was an “unacceptable escalation”, having warned Ankara to stop its “illegal” activities or face sanctions.

Cyprus is divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state set up after the 1974 Turkish occupation, following a coup sponsored by the military government then ruling Greece.

Earlier this month, Cyprus said it has launched legal proceedings against three firms that it accuses of supporting illegal Turkish oil and gas exploration in its waters.

It also issued arrest warrants for Fatih’s crew, accusing the ship of breaching the republic’s sovereign territory.

Sources : Al Jazeera and news agencies

oil tanker burning

US wants military coalition to patrol waters off Iran, Yemen

The move comes after the Trump administration blamed Tehran and its proxies for attacks on tankers in Gulf region.

The United States says it is working to form a military coalition to protect commercial shipping off the coast of Iran and Yemen amid heightened tensions in the region following attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

Under the proposal, a coalition of nations would patrol strategic waters in the Gulf area and the sea between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.

“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford said the Pentagon had developed a specific plan, and that he believed it would be clear within a couple of weeks which nations were willing to join the effort.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has blamed Tehran and its proxies for several attacks on tankers in the Gulf in the past few months.

A fifth of the world’s oil exports passes through the area.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Washington DC, said that Trump has said “the US should not pay for this, it should be an international military force”.

“But the move presents the potential for conflict with Iran. After all it’s only weeks after the US almost launched military strikes on Iran,” Hendren said.

War of words

The downing of a US surveillance drone by Tehran almost brought the two foes to the brink of war. Trump had authorised military strikes on Iran in retaliation but pulled back from launching them.

Washington slapped new sanctions on top Iranian leaders, including the supreme leader, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, in the wake of the drone shootdown.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have grown since last year when Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal that put a cap on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

The crisis has escalated in recent days as Washington and Tehran have engaged in a war of words over Iran’s decision to pass the uranium enrichment limit set by the 2015 accord.

Tehran has asked the other parties to the nuclear deal – France, Britain, China, Russia, the European Union and Germany – to find ways to export its oil, a major source of revenue for its crippled economy that has been choked off by the new sanctions, or it will scale up its nuclear programme.

Trump has said the US will not allow Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons, with its close ally in the region, Israel, threatening to bomb Iran.

“We want to deny this regime the revenue it needs to export revolution, to run an expansionist foreign policy that drives a lot of the sectarian violence that we see in the Middle East,” Brian Hook, the US special representative to Iran, told Al Jazeera.

‘US position not softened’

Al Jazeera’s Hendren said the US position had not softened, as Iran announced it would violate the nuclear enrichment levels it agreed to under the nuclear deal.

“So the standoff intensifies and the potential for conflict only increases,” he said.

Mark Esper, the acting secretary of defence, raised the issue last month with allied officials at NATO headquarters, but no nations were ready to commit to participating. Esper said at the time that the plans would have to be further refined.

Dunford said he discussed the matter on Tuesday with Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that plans were coming together.

“We’re getting ready now to move out,” Dunford told a small group of reporters at Fort Myer, Virginia. “We have a pretty clear concept of what we want to do.”

He suggested that the project could begin with a small coalition.

“This will be scalable. So with a small number of contributors we can have a small mission and we’ll expand that as the number of nations that are willing to participate identify themselves,” he said.

Iran has denied it was behind the recent attacks on commercial tankers in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday a commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard issued a new threat against US bases and aircraft carriers stationed in the region, saying they would be destroyed if they made a mistake.

Source : Al-Jazeera News Agencies

Nelson Mandela’s grandson says Trump wants to reinforce apartheid Israel’

Zwelivelile Mandela slams US president’s Israel-Palestine deal as ‘Hoax of the Century’ during speech at Palestine Expo

By Elphas Nkosi

Nelson Mandela’s grandson has slammed US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” calling it a way to “fortify apartheid Israel” during a speech in London on Saturday.

The situation in Palestine is dreadful. The United Nations warns that the Gaza Strip will be incapable of supporting human life by 2020. Palestinians in the occupied territory have been demonstrating every week since March 2018 against the loss of basic service provision due to Israel’s land, air and sea blockade which now enters its 12th year. Over the course of these demonstrations, 190 ordinary Palestinians were killed and 28,000 were injured. The United Nations has said that Israel may have been guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting unarmed civilians with live ammunition.

Zwelivelile Mandela, whose grandfather led South Africa out of apartheid, also told an audience at Europe’s largest Palestine event, Palestine Expo, that the boycott movement against the Israeli occupation “is the most painful thorn in the side of apartheid Israel”.

Israel and many of its allies have vehemently opposed the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement (BDS), including by passing legislation against it, and the event’s support for a boycott fuelled calls by some pro-Israel groups for it to be cancelled.

Recalling the words of his grandfather Nelson Mandela during a visit to Gaza in 1995 in which he declared “that our struggle is yet incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people,” Mandela told Markaz Sahaba Online Radio that the struggles in South Africa and Palestine were linked, and referred to the boycott of the apartheid state that brought pressure against the government there.

“They [Israel] cannot stomach its worldwide popular appeal and success and will do all in their power and might to obstruct, hinder or stand in the way of any forum that advances the principles that BDS stands for,” said Mandela, who is an MP in the ruling African National Congress.

Mandela also stressed that South Africa should be a leading country in supporting the plight and struggle faced by Palestinians.

“Apartheid South Africa and its imperialist allies too underestimated the power of the people but today we stand before you free from centuries of colonization and free from decades of apartheid brutality and discrimination.”

Mandela derided Trump’s plan for Israel-Palestine, calling it the “Hoax of the Century” and accused the US of being a biased partner to negotiations.

“Since coming to power he [Trump] has cut development aid to Palestinian refugees and literally severed the pipeline that provides hope and much needed medical care for children, some as young as one or two year old,” he said. 

“He has defied international law and disregarded the global outcry against his announcement of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.”

The two-day Palestine Expo involved panels on discussing life under occupation as well as Palestinian food and cultural shows.

There were also virtual reality tours of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and exhibits on the struggles of providing healthcare under Gaza’s blockade.

Sri Lanka: Govt complicit in violence against Muslims

Muslims in Sri Lanka are facing abuses, according to a global human rights body, which has accused the Sinhalese government of complicity in excesses against the community.

In a statement this week, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said members of the Muslim community are facing arbitrary arrest and other abuses and called on the government to protect the community from violence.

Following a series of interviews with members of the community, HRW said in a report that ever since the Easter bombings on April 21 this year, “Sri Lankan Muslims have faced an upsurge in violations of their basic rights and assaults and other abuses from Buddhist nationalists.”

“Sri Lankan officials and politicians should stop endorsing, ignoring, or exploiting hate speech and mob violence directed at Muslims by members of the Buddhist clergy and other powerful figures,” HRW’s statement said.

At least 250 people were killed and more than 500 others injured in a series of bombings in April which targeted churches and hotels in and around the capital Colombo when Christians were observing Easter mass.

“The Sri Lankan government has a duty to protect its citizens and prosecute those responsible for the terrible Easter Sunday bombings, but it shouldn’t be punishing the Muslim community for this crime,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asian director at HRW.

“It’s crucial for the authorities to act swiftly to stop mob violence, threats, and discrimination against Muslims,” she added.

HRW noted that since the bombings, the authorities have arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of people under counterterrorism and emergency laws.

Sri Lankan lawyers said their clients “had often been arrested without any credible evidence of terrorist involvement, for reasons including having the Quran or other Arabic literature in their possession during searches”, the HRW statement added.

The rights group said the Sinhalese government-appointed Human Rights Commission had found in May that the government had failed to protect Muslims during communal rioting.

“Police have repeatedly failed to act properly or prosecute perpetrators. For instance, the manager of a Muslim-owned business who was attacked said the police did not make any arrests ‘despite plenty of CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators’,” the statement said.

The rights watchdog observed the complicity of the Sinhalese government and officials in the excesses against the Muslim community.

“Officials have made little effort to discourage public campaigns by religious figures that put the Muslim community at greater risk. On May 15, Gnanarathana Thero, one of Sri Lanka’s most senior Buddhist monks, called for the stoning to death of Muslims and propagated an unfounded allegation that Muslim-owned restaurants put ‘sterilization medicine’ in their food to suppress the majority Sinhalese Buddhist birthrate,” the statement added.

“Government leaders, instead of fulfilling their duty to protect Muslim citizens, have at times appeared to associate themselves with Buddhist nationalist elements…On May 23, President Maithripala Sirisena pardoned Gnanasara Thero, the leader of the nationalist Bodu Bala Sena (organization), who has long been associated with instigating deadly anti-Muslim violence, freeing him after he had served less than a year of a six-year prison term for contempt of court,” it added.

HRW further said that the Sinhalese government has invoked the criminal law to arrest peaceful critics of Sri Lankan Buddhism in violation of their rights to free expression.

“The situation has caused mounting international alarm for the safety of Muslims and other minorities,” it stressed.

“The ethnic violence and human rights violations that many Sri Lankans have suffered are now being directed against Muslims,” Ganguly said.

“The Sri Lankan government needs to take a stand against discrimination and intolerance, use the law to punish those responsible for abuses and protect, rather than target, vulnerable people.”

Source : muslimnews
Feature Image : AP Photo/Chamila Karunarathne

Saudi Ministry of Hajj increases the quota for South Africans by 500

Saudi Ministry of Hajj has increased the quota for South Africans for this hajj season from 3500 to 4000 hujaaj for the year 1440.

However the good news also presents a challenge to the South African Hajj and Umrah Council.

The organisation has to fast track processing the accreditation.

The waiting period for first time hujaaj is around 4 years.

There are limited choices available for potential pilgrims. Hajj operators are also gearing up to accommodate last minute hujaaj.

s400

Turkey will not bow to US sanctions over S-400: Vice president

Fuat Oktay says US concerns over the Russian-made defence system are not reasonable, adding Ankara will not back down.

Turkey will never bow to US sanctions over its agreement to buy Russian S-400 defence systems, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Sunday in reference to a deal that has strained ties between the NATO allies.

Washington has said the S-400s could compromise the capabilities of its F-35 fighter jets – for which it has a separate deal with Turkey – and warned of possible US sanctions if Ankara pushed on with the Russian deal.

Ankara has said the S-400s and F-35s would not affect each other and that it will not abandon the former.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7, Oktay said United States concerns on the issue were not reasonable and added that Turkey would not back down.

Oktay’s comments come after Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan warned Friday that the Pentagon will halt manufacturing support for the F-35 in Turkey if Ankara buys a Russian missile defence system.

“If Turkey decides that the S-400 is a decision they want to go forward with, then we have to move work out of Turkey,” he said.

Shanahan noted that he had met delegations from US aerospace manufacturers Lockheed Martin and United Technologies to discuss options if Turkey refuses to forego the S-400.

As a member of NATO, Turkey is taking part in the production of the fighter jet for use by members of the treaty and has plans to buy 100 of the jets itself.

A number of Turkish manufacturers are making parts and equipment for the F-35, including internally carried Standoff Missiles, airframe assemblies and wiring, leaving the NATO programme partially dependent on them.

Washington has placed a freeze on the joint manufacturing operations with Turkey and has suggested that Turkey might be able to obtain a US missile defence system if it forgoes the one on offer from Moscow.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted he will buy the Russian system.

SOURCE: AL-JAZEERA

South African sisters held in Saudi prison speak of ordeal at UN testimony

Two South African sisters imprisoned in Saudi Arabia without charge spoke of their ordeal at the UN yesterday.

Yumna Desai, a former English teacher at the University of Ha’il in northern Saudi Arabia, and her sister Huda Mohammad, who had been married to a Saudi national, were imprisoned for a year without being informed of the charge for which they were being detained, Reuters reported.

“We were never given an explanation as to why we were arrested,” Desai said while giving testimony at an event on the side-lines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland. “Detainees are left for unknown periods in solitary confinement. They are threatened with arrests and detentions of family members if they did not confess.”

Desai said that she had been held at Dhaban prison in Jeddah from 2015 to 2018. She wasn’t made aware of the reason for her arrest until a year later, when she found out she had been charged with unspecified “cybercrimes”.

During Desai’s testimony, representatives from member states heard about the suffering of children that were held with their mothers and of four women that had to give birth while in custody.

“I stand here today to give a voice to the voiceless, those detainees who have been physically and psychologically tortured, sitting there for years without trial, denied visits, phone calls, medical aid,” Desai went on to say.

Desai also informed the meeting that she had seen some of the dozen or so leading female women’s rights campaigners rounded up a year ago being held in the same prison wing. Their plight has been the focus of a worldwide campaign led by human rights groups, the UN and EU, as well as those British MPs following widespread allegations of torture and abuse.

While these campaigns have focused on some famous names among female activists in Saudi Arabia, Desai said that the fate of less-famous women also needed to be publicised.

“It is not just people like Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef or Samar Badawi, all of them who were in the same prison wing as me, that we should feel outraged about,” said Desai. Pointing out that their detention was “entirely arbitrary and illegal,” she also drew attention to all the women that were detained.

Her sister, Huda added: “Our arrest, like of many in the country, was violent and to this day remains a mystery.” She continued by saying “today we have submitted an official complaint on Saudi treatment to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.”

The sisters were held with their two brothers, who were later released. The four siblings had been working in Saudi Arabia and have now returned to South Africa

Source : MEMO

Gaza sees mass protests denouncing Bahrain workshop

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets this morning and gathered in front of the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City to protest against the ongoing US-led Bahrain workshop.

Another rally was held in Khan Younis, in the centre of the besieged Gaza Strip.

The protesters called for boycotting the workshop, which took place yesterday and today in Bahraini capital Manama to discuss the economic aspects of the US “deal of the century”.

Demonstrators held a variety of signs saying “down with the Bahrain workshop!” while others shouted “no to normalisation with Israel!”

Ahmad Ali, an elderly resident of Gaza, said: “I participated in this day of rage to show my rejection of the conspiracy against my Palestinian cause.”

Shouting “down with the Bahrain workshop of shame!” student Ayman Asali added: “Palestine is not a problem of economy. It’s a problem of ongoing, oppressive [Israeli] occupation. End the occupation and our problems will be solved.”

Meanwhile Fawziyyah Judah, a representative of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), stated that “the main aim of the ‘deal of the century’ is to eliminate the Palestinian cause – the workshop in Bahrain is suspicious.”

Several activities were organised by governmental and non-governmental institutions to highlight the dangers of the so-called “deal of the century”, which makes no mention of political issues like the creation of a future Palestinian state. For the first time, Palestinians across Gaza and the occupied West Bank united against the workshop, observing a general strike across the territories.

Source : MEMO
Feature Image : Wafa Aludaini

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