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Palestinian issue nowhere to be found in Israel’s election

What impact does Israel elections have on the people of Palestine?
By Elphas Nkosi

Hamas’ aspiration is to free the Palestinian people and pave the way for their self-determination, a member of the group’s Office of International Relations speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online Radio.

In response to repeated questions about the movement’s views on the Israeli elections which are due to be held on April 9, Basem Naim said Hamas does not comment on them because “there is no difference between the Israeli right and left”.

“Many international media asking us about our opinion towards the #IsraelElections, or who we prefer to win the #IsraelElections? Our response was always “. Our choice is the #Freedom & Self determination of our people, and not to change the prison guards”. #Elections2019,” he said.


In the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Netanyahu has engaged in frequent rounds of fighting, but is also conducting behind-the-scenes negotiations with his bitter enemy in hopes of maintaining calm.


He added that the “#Palestinian issue wasn’t entirely part of the debate” during the election, “& if it was only to show how they would deny Palestinian rights & show their brutality in dealing with the #Palestinians.”

Ultimately, the election shows that Israel’s is “a racist democracy, that conceals the true face of a racist & fascist occupation, subjugate another people, occupies its land, and deprives it of its right 2 freedom, independence and a decent life.”

Bassem Naim says they do not expect any change especially in Gaza Strip saying in a charged election campaign that has been heavy on insults and short on substance, Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians has been notably absent from the discourse”.

The Hamas official has called upon all other countries in the world to follow on South African steps to a total boycott of Israel. “I hoped that the downgrading would eventually escalate to a complete boycott of Israel.

“We thank South Africa for the steps it has taken to express its anger at the apartheid policy of the Israeli occupation state.” Said Bassem.

Any party which receives 3.25% or more of the vote is represented in the Knesset. Given historical trends of voter turnout, it is expected that some 4.4 million or so Israelis will take part in this year’s election, meaning that a party must win about 144,000 votes to pass the electoral threshold.

Israel to close its embassy in South Africa

Israel is planning to withdraw its ambassador to South Africa after Pretoria began steps to downgrade its relations with Tel Aviv, Israeli radio reported yesterday.

According to the station, the Israeli embassy in South Africa will be downgraded to a representative office which would deal with consulate issues.

According to Quds Press, Israeli radio reported that that South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu had told journalists in Johannesburg that plans to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel had already started.

South Africa has downgraded its embassy in Tel Aviv, the foreign minister said Sunday, following a decision taken by the ruling party more than a year ago.

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told journalists in Johannesburg that plans to downgrade the embassy in Israel were well underway.

“We will not be putting up a nomination for a representative at the level of an ambassador in Israel,” Sisulu said.

“The office will remain at the level of a liaison and that is how it will operate,” she added.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) resolved to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to liaison office level 16 months ago.

The ANC has in the past voiced its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, which many South Africans see as similar to the struggle against white minority rule in South Africa which was ended in 1994.

Last May South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel after at least 52 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces during protests over the United States moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

Addressing delegates at the South African Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday, Sisulu said the liaison office in Tel Aviv “will have no political mandate, no trade mandate, and no development cooperation mandate. It will not be responsible for trade and commercial activities”.

She added that the office would focus on consular and “people-to-people relations”.

Source : MEMO, AFP, ENCA
Feature Image : RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images

State capture started under Mandela: Helen Zille

Western Cape premier Helen Zille says state capture in South Africa started under former president Nelson Mandela.

Addressing a DA meeting in Kempton Park on Thursday night, Zille said Mandela had a blind eye on cadre deployment, which she believes paved the way for state capture.

“From when Nelson Mandela was still a president and from the negotiations in 1996 which saw … change in the mandate of the Public Service Commission. From 1994 to 1996, from being a body of independent people who would choose senior public servants on the basis of fitness to do the job,” said Zille.

She said the change to give power to the governing party to pick senior public servants was the basis for cadre deployment, which let to state capture.

“One area that he [Mandela] had a blind spot to was the danger of cadre deployment … that set the tone and the trajectory that was inevitable,” said Zille.

She said the change brought to the centre power cronyism, cadre deployment, corruption and criminal capture of the state.

Zille said the critics on this view label her as a racist who does not want to see change in the country, but that those had done very little to fight racism and apartheid as she did.

She said based on the ANC’s list to parliament, it was clear that President Cyril Ramaphosa had lost the internal battle to Ace Magashule and deputy president David Mabuza.

“[The ANC] is totally irredeemable and can not be reformed,” said Zille.

She said those who think they would be voting for Ramaphosa were naive, because they were actually voting for the ANC list.

Zille said the ANC did not understand the distinction between the party and the state and had created a system where it chose who gets tenders.

She called it an ANC economy, which was run by connections to those in power.

Source: TimesLIVE
Feature Image : © David Longstreth/AP Images

Arab states face water emergency, urgent action needed: UN

Arab states are facing a water supply emergency they need to coordinate an urgent response to, with per capita resources expected to fall by 50 percent by 2050, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned.

The Middle East and North Africa have suffered more than any other region from water scarcity and desertification, problems being complicated by climate change, FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva told a meeting of Arab states in Cairo on Thursday.

In response, they needed to modernise irrigation techniques and coordinate water management strategies as a matter of urgency.

The per capita share of fresh water availability in the region is already just 10 percent of the world average, according to the FAO. Agriculture consumes more than 85 percent of available resources.

“This is really an emergency problem now,” Graziano da Silva told the Reuters news agency in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.

The meeting, attended by around 20 states, was the first of its kind at which ministers of both water and agriculture were present, an effort to improve coordination between different branches of government that have often failed to work together.

Egypt criticised

“It’s unbelievable that this region does not have good governance on water management and land management,” said Graziano da Silva.

“[In Egypt] they have 32 ministers. Most probably of those 32 ministers, 30 ministers deal with water – water is a problem for them. And they don’t have ways to coordinate very efficiently.”

Egypt says it has already started working to improve ministerial coordination, for example by reducing rice cultivation to conserve water.

Graziano da Silva said he visited agricultural areas in Egypt’s Nile Delta where farmers were still employing inundation techniques used for centuries to irrigate their land.

“This is a waste of water. We need to move urgently to drip irrigation and other techniques that save water,” he added.

Water scarcity was also displacing rural populations and increasing the region’s dependence on cheap, highly processed food imports that were contributing to rising rates of obesity, he told the conference.

Source : MEE and agencies
Feature Image : AFP


Israel Apartheid Week kicks off in South Africa

The 15th annual Israeli Apartheid Week ,the largest global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) mobilization for Palestinian rights kicks off.
By Elphas Nkosi

Israel Apartheid Week kicked off in Northern Cape, South Africa, yesterday in participation with civil society organisations including the Boycott, Divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and political and trade union leaders.

This year`s theme is, Africa United For Palestine. South Africa visited Lesotho as part of #IsraeliApartheidWeek. They met with the Foreign Minister, leaders of political parties and the University Of Lesotho.

The week, which includes lectures, political seminars, documentaries and artistic performances, aim to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause and the Israeli violations against Palestinian rights.

Speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online Radio,Rashaad Yusuf Dadoo, chairperson of the Palestine Solidarity says (IAW) is to give unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, it looks to play a strategic role with Palestine and the importance of standing with the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation’s racist policies and its continuous violations of human rights.

Member of the Communist Party, Chris Matlhako, also stressed the importance of standing against Israeli apartheid and supporting the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights.

Provincial Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Norman Shushu, said the world should not remain silent about the US pressure including announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

For his part, Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Hashim Dajani, stressed the importance of exposing the repressive Israeli practices against the Palestinian people, noting that the Israeli practices will not undermine the Palestinian people’s determination to achieve their aspirations for freedom, dignity, independence and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.


Iran’s Rouhani: US blocking of aid to flood victims ‘unprecedented crime’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says US harming of humanitarian work in flood-hit areas constitutes “an unprecedented crime.”

“The US move to block international humanitarian aid to those affected by flood is an unprecedented crime,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.

Rouhani called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the country’s legal bodies to pursue the issue through legal channels.

He said even Iranians living abroad were not able to send their aid to their fellow people due to Washington’s sanctions.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more injured in the past days from flash floods after severe rains swept through large parts of Iran.

Iran has announced a state of emergency in several provinces threatened by flooding and ordered tens of thousands to evacuate their homes.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday that the US had frozen the accounts of the Iranian Red Crescent Society as part of its sanctions against the Iranian people, thus preventing other countries from sending humanitarian aid to people in Iran’s flood-stricken areas.

“Given that the accounts of the Iranian Red Crescent Society have been blocked [due to the US sanctions], no foreign citizen or Iranian national living abroad is able to send any relief aid to flood-hit people,” Qassemi told IRNA.

This measure exposes the American officials’ hostile approach towards the Iranian nation and counters all their “ridiculous” claims that the sanctions do not target the people of Iran, he added.

On Monday, Iran’s foreign minister said the US was waging “economic terrorism” against the country by employing restrictive measures that are troubling the relief efforts targeting flood-stricken people across the country.

In a tweet, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US sanctions were “impeding aid efforts by Iranian Red Crescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods. Blocked equipment includes relief choppers.”

The US re-imposed the sanctions against Iran that had been lifted as part of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, weeks after Washington left the international agreement in May 2018.

Back in October 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the US to halt the unilateral sanctions it had re-imposed on “humanitarian” supplies to Iran.

Washington has refused to relieve its bans.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani praised efforts by Iranian officials and relief workers to render assistance to the flood-hit people and pledged that his administration would stand by the people.

“What warms the cockles of our heart as we make efforts to deliver aid to [those affected by flood] and counter the massive flood crisis in the country’s provinces is the moral of people,” he said.

“The government will be serving those affected and hit by flooding with its full force and we well do our utmost to compensate for the damage caused,” he added.

Iran’s Army and the so called Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have also stepped up ongoing relief efforts in several provinces hit by the flooding.

The military forces have mobilized efforts to help people trapped in the flood-affected areas. They have also helped evacuate residents in the regions with an emergency situation.

Iran’s petroleum minister urges oil firms to assist flood relief

Meanwhile, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh urged local oil and gas firms to do more to help with providing aid to the flood victims.

The pain and damage caused to people in the flood-hit areas require that all forces and equipment in the oil industry have the active presence in full coordination with the country’s crisis management headquarters in order to assist and provide services to the people, Zangeneh said in a letter to the subsidiary companies of his ministry on Wednesday.

He also hailed Iranian drilling companies and other energy firms for using their pumps to remove water in flooded areas.

Source : PressTV
Feature Image : IRNA

Mother ‘burnt children because they ate her KFC’

A Randfontein mother has spent the night behind bars for allegedly burning her two children, aged five and seven, with an iron, West Rand police said on Wednesday.

“We found that this was all because the children ate her KFC. She had looked for it and the kids said they ate it and she burnt them on the hands and thighs with the iron,” said Sgt Carmen Hendricks.

The horrific incident was first uncovered by the teacher of the children as they returned to school on the first day of the new term on Tuesday.

She noticed the children’s burnt hands and called their stepfather to the school.

He arrived and clarified that he had separated from the children’s 27-year-old mother.

“Upon his arrival [the stepfather] spoke to the teacher who informed him that the children do not cope at school and are very scared. It was said that the mother burnt the children with an iron during the school holidays. The children, who were staying with the mother at that time, could not talk to anyone until they got to school,” Hendricks said.

The children were handed over to social workers while their mother was taken in for questioning.

Hendricks said while the woman was yet to be charged, she would most likely face a charge of child abuse and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The teacher revealed that this was unfortunately not the first time she had noticed injuries on the children.

“They said they had previously spoken to the mother about this,” said Hendricks.

Source : Timeslive

Yemen’s Houthis deny UN access to Hodeidah mills food aid: Sources

Houthi forces have denied the United Nations access to a grain storage site in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter said, hindering efforts to increase food aid to millions facing severe hunger.

Hodeidah is the entry point for most of Yemen’s humanitarian aid and commercial imports.

World Food Programme (WFP) grain stores there have been cut off in the conflict zone for six months, putting the contents at risk of rotting.

A WFP technical team was scheduled to cross the front line between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition fighting on the side of the Yemeni government on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah to fumigate the wheat stored in the Red Sea Mills.

More than 100 workers were denied access to the Red Sea mills warehouse, according to a coalition source.

“Unfortunately, the Houthis have decided to once again renege on a previous commitment, denying the team access to the mills,” the source told the AFP news agency.

The Reuters news agency reported that Houthi rebels had told the WFP team they could not leave Houthi-held areas inside Hodeidah city for “security reasons,” asking the UN instead for a way to investigate attacks on the mills.

“The Houthis argued that government forces will target the UN and then they will be blamed for it,” one source aware of the discussion told Reuters. “[But] if the wheat is not fumigated, it will be lost.”

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel also told AFP on Tuesday that the mission planned by the UN agency to the Red Sea mills was postponed due to “security reasons”.

Infested with insects

In February, a team from the WFP visited the Red Sea mills warehouse for the first time since September, when they became inaccessible due to the conflict.

The WFP said laboratory tests confirmed the wheat had been infested with insects and had to be fumigated to feed million of people.

Before the UN lost access in September the Red Sea mills held 51,000 tonnes of grain, which was enough to feed more than 3.7 million people for a month.

The latest developments come after an agreement was struck in Sweden in February, in which Yemeni rivals agreed to redeploy their fighters outside the ports and away from areas that are key to the humanitarian relief effort.

The ports are in the rebel-held west of the country, and the agreement especially set out free access to the Red Sea mills warehouses, under control of the Saudi-backed government forces.

Yemen’s war escalated in March 2015, when a Saudi-backed coalition intervened against the Houthis who have seized the capital Sanaa.

Since then, the conflict has killed around 10,000 people, most of them civilians, and has left more than 60,000 wounded, according to the World Health Organisation

Source : MEE
Feature Image : Reuters

Committee: Israel testing medicines on Palestinian prisoners

Mohammad Baraka, Head of High Follow up Committee for Arabs in Israel, has warned that Palestinians being held in Israeli jails are being used as guinea pigs for new medical trials.

This is according to a report by Arab48.

“This is a clear war against humanity and international rights groups must take Israel to the ICC over its crimes against prisoners,” Baraka said.

He added: “There are reports that the Ministry of Health issued licenses to several international companies to carry out medical tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails without their knowledge.”

He concluded: “This crime is added to the record of crimes against the Palestinians, mainly the prisoners inside Israeli jails, who are being denied their basic rights.”

In February, Israeli Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities had issued permits to large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners.

Source : MEMO
Feature Image : Al Jazeera


South Africa joins the International Community in expressing concerns on the United States Administration’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Heights.

Golan Heights recognition suggests political implications


South Africa joins the International Community in expressing concerns on the United States Administration’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Heights

South Africa joins the international community to express its concerns on the recognition by the United States (US) of the Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory.

The Golan Heights region was seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967. In 1981, Israel passed a law that effectively annexed it – a move that remains unrecognised internationally. A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution of 1981, states that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”

As such, the US’ unilateral decision of 25 March 2019, represents a serious violation of UN Charter, International Law and applicable UN Security Council resolutions, particularly 497 (1981). Such unilateral declarations constitute a severe setback to the Rule of Law and international norms.

The Government of the Republic of South Africa will not support any unilateral action by the US government that undermines efforts of creating peace and stability in the Middle East region.

South Africa calls upon the UNSC to exercise its mandate in preserving international peace and security. It further calls upon the UNSC to implement its relevant Resolutions, supported by International Law, to restore the Syrian Golan Heights, an integral part of the Syrian Arab Republic, from Israeli occupation.


Antonio Guterres


His remarks came during a speech at Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, where he met Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb.

UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday against growing hatred of Muslims, less than a month after a deadly attack on mosques in New Zealand killed at least 50 people.

His remarks came during a speech at Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, where he met Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb.

“Around the world, we are seeing ever-rising anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia,” the UN secretary general said.

He cited the 15 March New Zealand mosque attacks by a white supremacist as well as a 2018 synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people and is believed to be the deadliest against Jews in US history.

Guterres warned of a surge in hate speech he said was “entering the mainstream, spreading like wildfire through social media”.

“We see it spreading in liberal democracies and as well as in authoritarian states.”

Guterres is on a two-day trip to Egypt, Following his visit to Al-Azhar, he was scheduled to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

On Sunday, he attended an Arab League summit in Tunisia.


Turkey local elections: Setback for Erdogan in big cities

Turkey’s main opposition party appeared poised to win mayoral races in Ankara, the capital, and several
other cities in local elections on Sunday, dealing a significant setback to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
after he campaigned relentlessly for his party’s candidates but faced a voter backlash over his
management of the economy.

Erdogan’s ruling party claimed victory Sunday in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, even as official tallies
showed a razor-thin margin in the contest. (Later on Sunday, though, Erdogan appeared to suggest that his
party may have lost Istanbul’s mayoral race.) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the main opposition
Republican People’s Party, said its candidate was ahead as he urged supporters to stay at the polls.

Erdogan, speaking to reporters on Sunday night, said his Justice and Development Party and an allied
party had captured the majority of votes in the nationwide contest a continuation, he said, of his party’s
electoral dominance since 2002. At the same time, he appeared to acknowledge the symbolic weight of
the losses in Ankara and other cities.

Speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online, Political Analyst, Ahmed al-Burai is a lecturer at Leicester
University and a Political Analyst at TRT World says this is a major blow to Erdogan and his Justice and
Development Party.

“This is a major los for President Erdogan but on the other hand in terms of the other cities in Southern
part of Turkey, the mostly populated with Kurdish people they have won lots of the provinces they have
lost major cities and this is a lesson to President Erdogan”.

Al-Burai added that “The vote, considered a verdict on Mr. Erdogan's rule, has been taking place during
an economic downturn. The currency, the lira, has been losing value recently and the economy went into
recession in the last three months of 2018”.

In Ankara, the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) won more than 50 percent of votes while the
AKP trailed on around 47 percent, state news agency Anadolu said. It is the first time in 25 years that the
Islamist party has lost its grip on the capital.

In Istanbul, the result was too close to call on Monday. CHP received 48.79 percent of votes, narrowly
ahead of the AKP with 48.51 percent. Turkey's Supreme Election Council said that the results from 84
ballot boxes have not yet been included in the final count as there were objections.

The loss of Ankara as the capital and Istanbul as the big city poses serious challenges to president
Erdogan and his party in addition to many other challenges including political challenges.
“The people have voted in favor of democracy. They have chosen democracy," said Ahamed al-Burai.

The elections were widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan and his party ahead of the results. In a speech
on Sunday evening, Erdogan said lessons would be learned.

By Elphas Nkosi, Markaz Sahaba Online Radio
Featured Image : Associated Press

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