‘Day of Rage’ protests against Israeli annexation to hit Europe, US

Agencies
June 29, 2020

Protests condemning the Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank are set to take place in the United States and Europe on the same day prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to begin the process.

The demonstrations will be held on Wednesday in Chicago, San Diego, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Other Western cities will also witness similar protests, including Toronto, Madrid and Valencia.

Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and American Muslims for Palestine are among the pro-Palestinian groups organizing the protests.

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, one of the organizers, urged "direct actions and popular mobilizations in [Palestinian] refugee camps, cities and villages," and professed "loyalty to the martyrs" on its call for the events.

Another group, Al-Awda or the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, decried "72 years of genocide, ethnic cleansing and dispossession" of Palestinians.

It also tied their demonstrations to the protests against anti-black racism in the US and beyond.

"We demand the defunding and dismantling of US police alongside the defunding and dismantling of Zionist colonialism and racist Israeli apartheid," Al-Awda said on its website.

Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date for the start of cabinet discussions on the annexation plan.

He has been driven ahead by US President Donald Trump, who unveiled a “peace” plan for the Middle East in January that effectively sidelines the Palestinians altogether.

The plan, which Trump himself has described as the “deal of the century,” envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The plan also denies Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homeland, among other controversial terms.

The Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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News Network
June 19,2021

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Tehran, June 19: Principlist politician and jurist Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi has won Iran’s 2021 presidential election by a landslide, according to preliminary results by the Interior Ministry.

Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Jamal Orf said 28.6 million Iranians participated in the election, and with around 90% of the votes counted, Raeisi garnered over 17.8 million votes, followed by Mohsen Rezaei who secured 3.3 million.

Nasser Hemmati garnered 2.4 million votes, and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi won almost one million votes.

Orf said he was not offering precise figures because vote counting was still ongoing and said he was merely providing preliminary updates.

Raeisi has been the chief of Iran’s Judiciary since 2019. He is mainly associated with the Principlist camp, but he says he is contesting the June 18 presidential election as an independent candidate.

The Muslim cleric has formerly held several other posts in Iran’s judicial branch since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Raeisi is associated with the Principlist camp, but he introduced himself as an independent when he announced his presidential bid last month.

He was campaigning with the slogan “Popular Administration, Strong Iran” on a platforming of uprooting corruption in the executive branch, fighting poverty, creating jobs, containing inflation and rising housing prices.

Three candidates in Iran’s 2021 presidential election have been quick to offer congratulations to Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi on his sweeping victory in the four-man race.

In separate messages issued prior to the release of the preliminary results on Saturday, Seyyed Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi, Nasser Hemmati, and Mohsen Rezaei conceded defeat and wished fellow candidate Raeisi success in his four-year term.

Details awaited.

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News Network
June 14,2021

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Tel Aviv, June 14: Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as Israeli prime minister has come to an end, as the country’s parliament on Sunday approved a new coalition government led by right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett.

Bennett, the head of an ultranationalist party that controls six seats in the 120-seat Knesset, was sworn in as prime minister after the parliament backed the new coalition government by a razor-thin margin of 60 votes to 59.

Bennett will lead an unlikely alliance of left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties, as well as a party that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for 21 percent of the country’s population. The parties have little in common apart from a desire to unseat Netanyahu.

Under a rotational agreement, Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years, after which he will be replaced by centrist leader Yair Lapid, the chief architect of the new government.

They plan largely to avoid sweeping moves on issues such as policy towards Palestinians in the occupied territories while they focus on domestic reforms. But with little to no prospect of resuming any sort of fair peace negotiations, many Palestinians are unmoved by the change of administration, saying Bennett will likely pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.

Senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara, described the event as a “family feud”, saying that there are no ideological differences between the old and new prime minister.

“They are basically all belonging to the same right-wing Zionist family,” Bishara said, referring to Netanyahu and Bennett.

The differences between them have been personal, vindictive,” he said.

End of an era

Netanyahu, who served for 12 years as prime minister, sat silently during the vote on Sunday. After the new government was approved, he stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking Bennett’s hand. A dejected Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then briefly sat in the opposition leader’s chair before walking out.

Netanyahu, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, failed to form a government after Israel’s March 23 election, its fourth in two years.

The 71-year-old is loved by his hard-core supporters and loathed by critics. His ongoing corruption trial, on charges he denies, has only deepened the chasm.

He remains the head of the largest party in parliament and is expected to vigorously oppose the new government. If just one faction bolts, it could lose its majority and would be at risk of collapse, giving Netanyahu an opening to return to power.

His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric, underhanded political tactics and subjection of state interests to his political survival.

The country’s deep divisions were on vivid display earlier on Sunday as Bennett, a former settler leader and hard-right religious nationalist who has called for the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, addressed parliament ahead of the vote.

He was repeatedly interrupted and loudly heckled by supporters of Netanyahu, several of whom were escorted out of the chamber.

More anti-Iran rhetoric

Bennett’s speech mostly dwelled on domestic issues, but he expressed opposition to efforts by the United States to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

“Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” Bennett said, vowing to maintain Netanyahu’s confrontational policy. “Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action.”

Bennett nevertheless thanked President Joe Biden and the US for its decades of support for Israel.

Netanyahu, speaking after him, promised to return to power and predicted the incoming government would be weak on Iran and give in to US demands to make concessions to the Palestinians.

“If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country in our way,” he said.

Both Netanyahu and Bennett’s remarks did not mention the plight of millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. 

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News Network
June 19,2021

Dubai, June 19: The government of Dubai in the UAE Saturday announced relaxation of travel restrictions from countries including India. The UAE, in late April, had closed its borders for travellers from India. This had come in the backdrop of the surge in number of Covid-19 cases in India during the second wave of the pandemic.

What are the conditions?

The Dubai government has relaxed restrictions for travel from India, Nigeria and South Africa with effect from June 23. With regard to travel from India, only passengers with a valid residence visa who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine, are allowed to travel to Dubai. There are four vaccines approved by the UAE government — Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

RT-PCR needed?

Eligible passengers travelling from India to Dubai should also present a negative test certificate from an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure; UAE nationals are exempted from this requirement. Furthermore, passengers travelling to Dubai from India are required to undergo a rapid PCR test four hours prior to departure to Dubai. They must also undergo another RT-PCR test on arrival in Dubai. In addition, following arrival, passengers from India should undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their PCR test result, which is expected within 24 hours. UAE citizens and diplomats are exempted from institutional quarantine. Notably, only QR-coded negative PCR test certificates are accepted.

Key points

>> Entry will be permitted to residents who have received two doses of UAE-approved vaccines.

>> All travellers are also required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens are exempted.

>> Only QR coded PCR test result certificates are accepted.

>> All passengers must take a rapid PCR test 4 hours prior to flight departure.

>> All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

>> Passengers should undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their PCR test result, which is expected within 24 hours. UAE citizens and diplomats are exempted.

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