MANHATTAN: The United Nations has voiced concern over the passing by the Israeli Knesset of the so-called ‘nationality law’, which critics say discriminates against Arabs and other minorities in the Jewish state.
“We reaffirm the United Nations’ respect for the sovereignty of states to define their constitutional character while emphasizing the need for all states to adhere to universal human rights principles, including the protection of minority rights,” UN Spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.
“We reiterate that a negotiated two-State outcome of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in line with United Nations resolutions and previous agreements, is the only way to achieve enduring peace that resolves all permanent status issues and realizes the national aspirations of both peoples,” he said.
“We call once more on all parties to refrain from unilateral moves that undermine the two-State solution.” The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Thursday narrowly passed the controversial bill that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. It states that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel.
The law also revokes Arabic of its status as an official language alongside Hebrew. Arabs comprise about 20 percent of Israel’s nine million population.
Amnesty International, a leading human rights organization called on the Israeli authorities to repeal the “discriminatory” law, which continues to bar family reunification for thousands of Palestinians.
Nearly 14 years after the law was adopted as a temporary order, the Israeli authorities can no longer continue to use security grounds to justify institutional racial discrimination, it said in a statement.
A relevant piece published earlier: Israel has taken no steps to cease settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory as demanded by a United Nations Security Council Resolution, a senior UN official has said.
“The need to reverse, or at the very least contain the impact of negative trends – especially illegal settlement activity, violence and incitement – is critical not only to preserve hope for a meaningful return to the negotiating table, but also to prevent the escalation of broader regional tensions,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Mladenov presented to the 15-member body the sixth quarterly report on the implementation of Council resolution 2334, covering the period from 26 March to 12 June this year.
“As detailed in the report, no steps were taken during the reporting period to “cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, as demanded by the resolution, he said.
The July 2016 report of the Middle East Quartet “ comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union “ identified Israel’s settlement activity as one of the main obstacles to achieving a two-state solution, which is to establish a viable, sovereign Palestinian state that lives in peace and security with Israel.
In Tuesday’s briefing, Mladenov noted that some 3,500 housing units in settlements in what is known as “Area C” of the occupied West Bank had either been “advanced, approved or tendered.” One-third of those units are in settlements in outlying locations deep inside the West Bank.
Plans for 2,300 units were advanced in the approval process, while 300 units had reached the final approval stage. Tenders had gone out for about 900 units, he said. As in the previous period, no advancements, approvals or tenders were made in occupied East Jerusalem.
“I reiterate that all settlement activity is illegal under international law. It continues to undermine the practical prospects for establishing a viable Palestinian state and erodes remaining hopes for peace,” he said.
During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished or seized 84 Palestinian-owned structures, resulting in the displacement of 67 people and potentially affected the livelihoods of 4,500 others.
The reporting period was characterized by high levels of violence, including rocket attacks from Gaza, Mladenov said.
Since 30 March, during a series of protests in Gaza, 135 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists have acknowledged that a number of their members were among those killed. Two Israeli soldiers were also injured during the protests, with at least five others injured as a result of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza.
Under the cover of the protests, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other militants engaged in violent and provocative acts, Mladenov said.
Hundreds approached and attempted to breach the fence, burned tires, threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli forces, launched incendiary kites and laid improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Palestinian protesters also damaged and looted equipment and installations on the Gaza side of the border at the Kerem Shalom crossing.
“I want to again reiterate the call of the Secretary-General on all to unequivocally condemn, in the strongest possible terms, all actions that have brought us to this dangerous place and led to the loss of so many lives in Gaza,” he said.(Published on 20th June 2018)
Punjab: 358 newly-elected MPAs take oath!
LAHORE: As many as 358 newly-elected members sworn in during a maiden session of 17th Punjab Assembly here today.
Outgoing speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal administered the oath. Prominent among others who took oath include: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Aleem Khan, Hamza Shehbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, Shujaur Rehman, Ayesha Chaudhry, Chaudhry Zaheerud Din, Bilal Yasin, Nadeem Kamran, Irfan Doltana, Murad Ras, Dr Mukhtar Bharat, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Bushra Anjum Butt and Sania Ashiq.
The outgoing speaker felicitated the newly-elected members. Earlier, the first session of new assembly started at10.46 am behind its scheduled time with recitation from the Holy Quran and Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool (SAWW). The members signed the roll of members in the register constituency-wise.
The outgoing speaker read out the procedure for election of speaker and deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly to be held on Thursday (August 16) at 10:30 am. The election will be through secret balloting.
The nomination papers for the slots were filed in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. The PTI nominated Chaudhry Pervez Elahi as a speaker and Dost Muhammad Mazari as deputy speaker while PML-N nominated Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar and Rana Ayyaz as a speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the majority party in Punjab Assembly has nominated Hamza Shehbaz Sharif for the slot of Punjab chief minister. Its rival, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, yet to name its candidate for the position.
PML-N leads with 127 seats in the assembly, while PTI is a close second with 122 seats, as per the ECP’s results of 294 out of 295 total seats.
Interim Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hassan Askari and his cabinet members attended the session and welcomed the newly- elected MPAs.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Assembly staff welcomed the newly-elected members of the assembly with bouquets on their arrival to attend the maiden session of the 17th assembly.
The PA administration had also set up help desks for the members where each member issued his assembly card before joining the oath-taking session.
Prominent leader Chaudhry Nisar did not attend the session. Strict security arrangements were made to avert any untoward incident.
On completion of day’s agenda, the Chair adjourned the session till next morning on Thursday at 10:30 am.
Indonesia expresses support for Turkey, Erdogan
JAKARTA: The Indonesian Council of Ulama on Wednesday expressed strong support for Turkey against the United States’ recent economic attacks.
Head of the council’s external affairs committee, Muhyiddin Junaidi, told Anadolu Agency that they support Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance against the U.S.
Stressing that the U.S. targeted Muslim countries and tried to curb Turkey’s power in the region, Junaidi said that Muslim world must use their own currency in trade among themselves against the U.S. dollar.
Junaidi praised Turkey’s economy and its commercial value and added that Turkey would overcome the U.S.’ attacks.
Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges.
Brunson’s charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.
Malik Rafique Rajwana resigns from the office of Governor Punjab
LAHORE: Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana Wednesday announced to resign from the office.
Talking to media at the Lahore High Court Bar,Rajwana said he sent his resignation to President Mamnoon Hussain. He said that the party (PML-N) leadership entrusted him the responsibility which he tried to fulfill to the best of his abilities.
“Bar is my home and I have returned to it.I started my career with a black coat.Today I will wear it again”, he added.It is pertinent to mention here that Rafique Rajwana served as Governor for more than three years. He was appointed to the post in May 2015.