OIC urges UN Security Council to thwart Israel's annexation plan

Agencies
July 8,2020

Jeddah, Jul 8: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) writes to the members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), urging the body to come in the way of a plan announced by Israel for annexation of significant portions of the occupied West Bank.

The letter was addressed by the 57-member organization’s Secretary-General Yousef al-Othaimeen to the UNSC’s members as well as the members of the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, Russia, United Nations, and United States— the Arabic-language Rai al-Youm news website reported on Tuesday.

The letter urged the Council to adopt “the necessary measures” that would prevent the annexation and compel Israel to stop all its illegal activities.

The OIC also urged the UNSC to hold an emergency meeting to “salvage the [remaining] opportunities for peace, and revive attempts at reinstatement of the political process under international supervision.” Such meeting, it added, had to enable realization of “the two-state solution, and [creation of] a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem [al-Quds] as its capital.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the plan to annex 30 percent of the occupied Palestinian territory — namely the areas upon which the regime has built its illegal settlements as well as the Jordan Valley — after US President Donald Trump backed the annexation in January.

Trump pledged the support while unveiling details of his Middle East scheme called the “deal of the century.”

The highly controversial scheme allegedly seeks to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but is heavily tilted in favor of the occupying regime. As well as backing the annexation, the scheme re-endorses Washington’s incendiary recognition in late 2017 of al-Quds as “Israel’s capital,” although Palestinians want the occupied holy city’s eastern part to serve as the capital of their future state.

Palestinians have roundly rejected either the American design or the Israeli plan that is rooted in it.

Tel Aviv had previously announced July 1 as the date it sought to start implementing the annexation plan. It, however, is yet to get it off the ground amid far-and-wide international condemnation and speculation that the plan was announced in the first place to deflect attention from a massive corruption scandal involving Netanyahu.

Countries warn Israel of consequences to bilateral ties

Also on Tuesday, Egypt, France, Germany, and Jordan warned Israel against going ahead with the plan, saying that doing so could have consequences for their bilateral relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

In a statement distributed by the German Foreign Ministry, the countries said their foreign ministers had discussed how to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Most other European countries have likewise communicated their objection to the plan.

“We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process,” the European and Middle Eastern foreign ministers said, referring to the year, when Israel occupied the West Bank.

“We would not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict,” they added. “It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel.”

Israel had no immediate response. In a separate statement, however, Netanyahu’s office communicated Tel Aviv’s intransigence on the matter.

The statement said the Israeli premier had told his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Monday that he was committed to Trump’s “realistic” plan.

“Israel is prepared to conduct negotiations on the basis of President Trump’s peace plan, which is both creative and realistic, and will not return to the failed formulas of the past,” the statement alleged.

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Kuwait's 91-year-old ruler 'successfully' undergoes surgery

Agencies
July 19,2020

Kuwait City, Jul 19: Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah has successfully undergone surgery early on Sunday, the emir's office said.

"His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ... has undergone surgery this morning, with thanks to God for its success," the head of the emir's office Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah said, as quoted by state news agency KUNA.

The 91-year-old was admitted to hospital for a medical checkup.

Yesterday, a royal order was issued assigning Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah, the emir's designated successor, "to take over some constitutional jurisdictions of His Highness the Emir temporarily"

In August 2019, Kuwait acknowledged the emir suffered an unspecified medical "setback" that required him to be hospitalised.

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Kuwait bars entry of passengers from over 30 countries including India, Pak

Agencies
August 2,2020

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Kuwait, Aug 2: Kuwait has barred entry of foreign passengers from over 30 countries including India and China.

A circular from the Director General Civil Aviation, State of Kuwait directed all airlines operating at Kuwait International Airport to adhere to the instructions in this regard.

"Based on the decision of the Health Authority in State of Kuwait, no foreign passenger coming from the down listed countries will be allowed to enter the State of Kuwait," the circular read.

These include- India, Iran, China, Brazil, Colombia, Armenia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Syria, Spain, Singapore, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Iraq, Mexico, Indonesia, Chile, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Italy, North Macedonia, Moldova, Panama, Beirut ,Serbia Montenegro, Dominican Republic and Kosovo.

The circular stated that such restriction will also include the passengers were present 14 days before the date of travel until further notice.

The ban was announced the same day Kuwait began a partial resumption of commercial flights according to Khaleej Times, which quoted authorities stating that Kuwait International Airport would run at about 30 per cent capacity from Saturday, gradually increasing in coming months.

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, Kuwait has reported 67,448 cases of coronavirus while the fatalities related to the virus stand at 453.

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Children under 12 unable to fly back alone to UAE from India

Agencies
July 14,2020

Dubai, Jul 14: The UAE-based parents of children under 12 stranded in India are in a tight spot with multiple airlines refusing to accept unaccompanied minors.

Starting July 12, Indians wanting to return to the UAE have been given a 15-day window to travel back on the condition that they have valid residency permits. They also have to produce a negative Covid-19 test result.

But parents of minors said they are feeling helpless as children are unable to avail of the travel opportunity despite having return permits.

"It has been more than three months since my daughter has been stuck in India. We have GDRFA approval for her but the airlines are not accepting her booking, saying she is under 12," Poonam Sapre, a Dubai-based mother, told Khaleej Times.

Her daughter Eva Sapre, 10, is in Hyderabad and is awaiting a reunion with her parents.

"She is just 10 and it has already taken an emotional toll on her. She is eager to come back and is asking me every day about her return. This is so frustrating."

Barring Emirates and Etihad, other airlines including flydubai, Air Arabia and Air India Express are not accepting unaccompanied minors. With India extending the travel freeze till July 31, normal flights are yet to resume and only special flights are allowed between India and UAE under a bilateral agreement.

Sapre said only flydubai is flying the Hyderabad-Dubai route, and the carrier has restrictions on minors travelling alone. "My daughter is too young to fly through indirect routes," claims the mother.

When Khaleej Times reached out to the airlines for comment, they confirmed that such rules on unaccompanied minors were already in place even before Covid-19 travel restrictions came into effect.

Another Dubai-based distressed parent, who did not want to be named, said her eight-year-old son is in Kerala and is unable to fly due to airline policies on unaccompanied minors.

"I called up Air India Express and they said this has been their rule even before the Covid-19 outbreak. I am appealing to them to re-consider and make an exception during these trying times so that our children can come home safely," she said.

Faced with this eventuality, some parents are forced to fly out of the UAE so they can accompany their children on the flight back home.

An Indian mother, who is currently in Mumbai, said she flew out of Dubai on Monday morning solely for the purpose of bringing back her twin daughters, aged 10.

"I had no choice. Ideally, they could have travelled together, but under these circumstances I thought it best to get them with me personally," said the mother.

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