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Palestinians disappointed with US policy ahead of Biden’s visit

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 Ahead of US President Joe Biden’s first visit to the Middle East, the Palestinians are disappointed with the US’ failure to present any new peace initiative and fulfill its promises on the Palestinian cause.

Biden is scheduled to visit Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia during his first trip to the region which starts on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the past weeks, the Palestinians ramped up their voices calling on the Biden administration to deliver its promises by reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem and the office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Washington, and removing the PLO from the US terrorism list.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians criticized the US for its silence over the escalation of Israeli unilateral practices in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Ramzi Rabah, a PLO executive committee member, said that within the PLO executive committee, there is widespread criticism of the US policy as its members urged the Palestinian Authority “not to bet on any actual US role in the region”.

The Palestinian leadership “must go to alternative options in dealing with Washington,” Rabah told Xinhua in an interview.

He said that as the US refuses to take any serious steps to stop Israel from escalating its practices against the Palestinians, “there is a need to go to the UN and the UN Security Council to create an international political initiative.”

“I think that the essence of Biden’s visit to the region is to arrange a regional alliance, to secure the American interests and confront Iran,” Rabah noted, expressing the Palestinians’ disappointment at the US inaction to break the protracted stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Wassel Abu Yousef, another member of the PLO executive committee, ruled out major positive results from Biden’s visit on advancing the Palestinian cause, citing that the US has increased support for Israel and its practices against the Palestinians, including confiscating land, demolishing homes and expanding settlements.

The Palestinians “do not expect anything new from Biden’s visit to the region regarding the implementation of the US promises, except that it will result in more support for Israel,” he told Xinhua in an interview.

Frustration and despair are prevailing among the Palestinians as nearly 29 years have passed since the Palestinians signed the Oslo peace agreement with Israel, under the US sponsorship, to end the conflict between them.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been deadlocked since 2014 mainly due to Washington’s refusal to change its biased pro-Israeli policy that ignores the political rights of the Palestinian people, who hope to establish an independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abdulmajid Sweilem, a Palestinian analyst from the West Bank city of Ramallah, said that Biden’s visit to the Palestinian territories is just “a political courtesy”.

Biden is expected to “repeat Washington’s old slogans of adhering to the two-state solution and protecting the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and security, among other cliches,” he told Xinhua in an interview.

“Ultimately, these cliches mean improving the lives of the Palestinians under the framework of Israeli domination and limited Palestinian self-rule,” Sweilem added.

International News

OIC: General Secretariat strongly condemns!!

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The OIC General Secretariat strongly condemns the treacherous attack against the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 27 January 2023, killing the Embassy’s head of security service and injuring two security guards.

The General Secretariat calls for bringing the perpetrators of the heinous attack to justice and underlines the necessity of ensuring the security and safety of diplomatic missions.

The OIC Secretary General, Mr. Hissein Ibrahim Taha, while expressing his solidarity with the Government and people of Azerbaijan, offered his condolences to the family of the deceased and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

(Source: OIC OFFICIAL)

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Crime

Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza in response to rockets firing

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Israeli fighter jets on Friday carried out a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to militant groups in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave, witnesses said.

Israeli army drones and fighter jets were heard buzzing in the air, and several explosions were heard in central Gaza Strip, the witnesses told Xinhua news agency.

They added that more than 14 missiles were fired at a military post that belonged to Gaza militant groups.

Palestinian medical sources said that no injuries were reported during the strikes that mainly targeted posts and facilities that belong to the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The airstrikes were in response to the firing of two rockets at southern Israel, said a spokesman from the Jewish state’s army.

No group has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets, which was a response to the killing of nine Palestinians during an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp, deemed to be the most deadly in nearly two decades.

During the Israeli airstrikes on Friday, militants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave also fired at least five rockets at southern Israeli communities close to the borders with the Gaza Strip and anti-craft missiles were fired at Israeli fighter jets by Hamas militants, sources close to Hamas security told Xinhua.

Media outlets in Gaza quoted an Egyptian source as saying that Egyptian intelligence is in intensive contact with the Palestinian factions to prevent an escalation in Gaza.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions have been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month.

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International News

Armed attack targets Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran

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Armed attack targets Azerbaijan's embassy in Iran

A guard has been killed in an armed attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy compound in Iran, the nation’s foreign ministry has said.

Two people were also wounded in Friday’s attack.

“The attacker destroyed the guard post with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon and killed the head of the security service. Two security guards of the embassy were also injured while preventing the attack,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said.

The ministry said it would evacuate its embassy staff in Tehran.

The Iranian capital police chief, General Rahimi, said the attacker entered the embassy with his two children.

“Preliminary investigation shows that the attacker’s motive was personal and family problems,” Iran’s local Mehr News Agency reported.

Act of terrorism’

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said that an attack on his country’s embassy in Iran was “an act of terrorism” and demanded a swift investigation and punishment of the “terrorist”.

“I fiercely condemn the terrorist attack perpetrated against our Embassy in Tehran today,” Aliyev said on Twitter.

“We demand that this terrorist act be swiftly investigated and the terrorists punished,” he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has condemned the “treacherous attack” in a tweet.

“Azerbaijan is never alone,” Cavusoglu added.

Separately Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement regarding the deadly attack, saying that Türkiye which has been subjected to similar attacks in the past, deeply shares the pain of the Azerbaijani people.

“It is very important that those responsible for this heinous attack should be immediately apprehended and brought to justice,” the ministry said.

Suspect detained

Nasser Kanani, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran also condemned the attack and said the suspect was detained.

“Police and security forces immediately intervened and arrested the assailant, who is currently under investigation,” the spokesman said.

The foreign ministry also noted that the situation is under investigation with dimensions of action and the motive of the assailant.

Azerbaijan borders Iran to its northwest. There have been tensions between the two countries as Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought over the Karabakh region.

Iran in October launched a military exercise near the Azerbaijan border, flexing its martial might amid the nationwide protests rocking the Islamic Republic. 

Azerbaijan also maintains close ties to Israel, which Tehran views as one of its top regional enemies.

(Source: TRT WORLD)

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