Palestinian Couple Brace for East Jerusalem Eviction

Palestinian couple Nora and Mustafa Sub Laban pose for a picture in their home in the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which they are set to lose of Jewish settlers after a 45-year legal battle © MENAHEM KAHANA / afp/AFP
Palestinian couple Nora and Mustafa Sub Laban pose for a picture in their home in the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which they are set to lose of Jewish settlers after a 45-year legal battle © MENAHEM KAHANA / afp/AFP
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Palestinian Couple Brace for East Jerusalem Eviction

Palestinian couple Nora and Mustafa Sub Laban pose for a picture in their home in the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which they are set to lose of Jewish settlers after a 45-year legal battle © MENAHEM KAHANA / afp/AFP
Palestinian couple Nora and Mustafa Sub Laban pose for a picture in their home in the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which they are set to lose of Jewish settlers after a 45-year legal battle © MENAHEM KAHANA / afp/AFP

In the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Nora and Mustafa Sub Laban are counting down the last days before a court decision that has hovered over them since 1978 is carried out.

After decades of legal wrangling, they are set to be evicted from their home in the Muslim Quarter to make way for Jewish settlers.

"These days, I'm like a prisoner waiting to be put to death. I don't sleep like other people," Nora Sub Laban told AFP.

The east Jerusalem residents have been embroiled in a 45-year legal battle with authorities and Israeli settlers.

The settlers are part of an organization called Atara Leyoshna and are represented by Eli Attal, according to both the Sub Laban family and Ir Amim, an anti-settlement watchdog.

The Israeli plaintiffs claim that Jews lived in the building before the division of the holy city into Israeli and Jordanian sectors following the proclamation of the Jewish state in 1948.

They invoke an Israeli law from the 1970s that allows Jews to reclaim property owned by Jews before 1948, even if they are not related.

The Sub Labans say they were designated "protected tenants" by Jordan in the 1950s, before Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967 and proceeded to annex it in a move regarded as illegal by the United Nations.

The family showed AFP a Jordanian rental contract dating back to 1953, as well as Israeli court rulings recognizing their status as "protected tenants".

Yet the courts said that the couple do not currently live permanently in the building, so their "protected tenants" status no longer applies and the eviction can go ahead.

Nora said the judgment refers to a period when she was not living in the apartment daily because of a hospitalization.

"Legally speaking, within the Israeli system, nothing more can be done," said Rafat Sub Laban, the couple's son and an employee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

According to Ir Amim, some 150 Palestinian families in Jerusalem's Old City and nearby neighbourhoods are currently threatened with eviction because of "discriminatory laws and state collusion with settler organisations".

The group says such evictions are part of "a strategy to cement Israeli hegemony of the Old City basin, the most religiously and politically sensitive part of Jerusalem and a core issue of the conflict".

Over the years, settlers have opened several yeshivas -- Jewish seminaries -- on the street where the Sub Laban family lives.

Their nearest Israeli neighbour lives just a few steps from their home -- they share a landing.

But it is not a peaceful cohabitation.

"We do not live in freedom and security," said Nora.

Inside the apartment, photos have been taken down and objects of sentimental value removed. The Sub Labans know that when the police come, they will have only a few moments to clear out their things.

"When unfortunately that happens, we will bring our parents to my sister and me" in another neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, their son Rafat said.

"It's the only option."

Messages scribbled on the wall in black marker by their grandchildren are one of the few things left in the almost empty apartment.

"Palestine will be free", "We will return" and "This is our home," they read.

"I lived my childhood in this house, I grew up here, I lost my father and my mother here", said Nora Sub Laban.

"People think that a house is just walls, but it's also memories, it's my whole life," the 68-year-old added.

"But (the settlers) don't care about that."



CENTOM: More Than 569 Tons of Aid Delivered Across Floating Pier Into Gaza

This handout satellite image courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows tents and shelters for Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas at the Mawasi camp near Rafah in the south of the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024. (Photo by Satellite image 2024 Maxar Technologies / AFP)
This handout satellite image courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows tents and shelters for Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas at the Mawasi camp near Rafah in the south of the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024. (Photo by Satellite image 2024 Maxar Technologies / AFP)
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CENTOM: More Than 569 Tons of Aid Delivered Across Floating Pier Into Gaza

This handout satellite image courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows tents and shelters for Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas at the Mawasi camp near Rafah in the south of the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024. (Photo by Satellite image 2024 Maxar Technologies / AFP)
This handout satellite image courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows tents and shelters for Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas at the Mawasi camp near Rafah in the south of the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024. (Photo by Satellite image 2024 Maxar Technologies / AFP)

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Tuesday more than 569 metric tons of humanitarian assistance has been delivered so far across a temporary floating pier to Gaza, but not all the aid has reached warehouses.

Aid deliveries began arriving at a US-built pier on Friday as Israel comes under growing global pressure to allow more supplies into the besieged coastal enclave, Reuters reported.

The UN said that 10 truckloads of food aid - transported from the pier site by UN contractors - were received on Friday at a World Food Program warehouse in Deir El Balah in Gaza.

But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were cleaned out by Palestinians during the journey through an area that a UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said has been hard to access with humanitarian aid.

The UN did not receive any aid from the pier on Sunday or Monday.


Masam Project Clears over 2,000 Explosives in Yemen in 2nd Week of May

Since the start of the project, a total of 442,077 explosives have been cleared - SPA Photo.
Since the start of the project, a total of 442,077 explosives have been cleared - SPA Photo.
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Masam Project Clears over 2,000 Explosives in Yemen in 2nd Week of May

Since the start of the project, a total of 442,077 explosives have been cleared - SPA Photo.
Since the start of the project, a total of 442,077 explosives have been cleared - SPA Photo.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) Masam Project, dedicated to clearing mines in Yemen, dismantled 2,010 explosives in various governorates during the second week of May 2024.

These included 11 anti-personnel mines, 19 anti-tank mines, and 1,980 unexploded ordnances.
Since the start of the project, a total of 442,077 explosives have been cleared, SPA reported.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through KSrelief, remains steadfast in its commitment to rid Yemeni lands of all explosives. This menace has tragically resulted in the loss of lives and injuries to innocent children, women, and older people.


ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrant for Israeli, Hamas Leaders, including Netanyahu

FILE PHOTO: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
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ICC Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrant for Israeli, Hamas Leaders, including Netanyahu

FILE PHOTO: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their actions during the seven-month war between Israel and Hamas.

Karim Khan said that he believes Netanyahu, his defense minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders — Yehia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The prosecutor must request the warrants from a pre-trial panel of three judges, who take on average two months to consider the evidence and determine if the proceedings can move forward.

Israel is not a member of the court, and even if the arrest warrants are issued, Netanyahu and Gallant do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But Khan's announcement deepens Israel's isolation as it presses ahead with its war, and the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the chief prosecutor's decision to seek arrest warrants against Israel's leaders is “a historic disgrace that will be remembered forever.”

He said he would form a special committee to fight back against any such action and would work with world leaders to ensure that any such warrants are not enforced on Israel's leaders, The AP reported.

Also, the Hamas group has denounced the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request to seek the arrests of its leaders.

In a statement, Hamas accused the prosecutor of trying to “equate the victim with the executioner.”

It said it has the right to resist Israeli occupation, including “armed resistance.”

It also criticized the court for seeking the arrests of only two Israeli leaders and said it should seek warrants for other Israeli leaders.

Both Sinwar and Deif are believed to be hiding in Gaza as Israel tries to hunt them down. But Haniyeh, the supreme leader of the group, is based in Qatar and frequently travels across the region.

Benny Gantz, a former military chief and member of Israel’s War Cabinet with Netanyahu and Gallant, harshly criticized Khan’s announcement, saying Israel fights with “one of the strictest” moral codes and has a robust judiciary capable of investigating itself.

“The State of Israel is waging one of the just wars fought in modern history following a reprehensible massacre perpetrated by terrorist Hamas on the 7th of October,” he said. “The prosecutor’s position to apply for arrest warrants is in itself a crime of historic proportion to be remembered for generations.

The United Nations and other aid agencies have repeatedly accused Israel of hindering aid deliveries throughout the war on Gaza. Israel denies this, saying there are no restrictions on aid entering Gaza and accusing the United Nations of failing to distribute aid. The UN says aid workers have repeatedly come under Israeli fire, and also says ongoing fighting and a security vacuum have impeded deliveries.

Of the Hamas actions on Oct. 7, Khan, who visited the region in December, said that he saw for himself "the devastating scenes of these attacks and the profound impact of the unconscionable crimes charged in the applications filed today. Speaking with survivors, I heard how the love within a family, the deepest bonds between a parent and a child, were contorted to inflict unfathomable pain through calculated cruelty and extreme callousness. These acts demand accountability.”

After a brief period of international support for its war, Israel has faced increasing criticism as the war has dragged on and the death toll has climbed.

Israel is also facing a South African case in the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide. Israel denies those charges.

Khan’s request for warrants in the Israel-Gaza conflict comes 14 months after the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for abductions of children from Ukraine.


Israel Intends to Broaden Rafah Sweep, Gallant Tells Washington

An injured Palestinian boy stands next to the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah in southern Gaza on May 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
An injured Palestinian boy stands next to the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah in southern Gaza on May 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Israel Intends to Broaden Rafah Sweep, Gallant Tells Washington

An injured Palestinian boy stands next to the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah in southern Gaza on May 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
An injured Palestinian boy stands next to the rubble of a family house that was hit overnight in Israeli bombardment in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah in southern Gaza on May 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Israel intends to broaden its military operation in Rafah, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday told US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Israel describes Rafah, which abuts the Gaza Strip's border with the Egyptian Sinai, as the last stronghold of Hamas whose governing and combat capabilities it has been trying to dismantle during the more than seven-month-old war.
After weeks of public disagreements with Washington over the Rafah planning, Israel on May 6 ordered Palestinian civilians to evacuate parts of the city and began troop and tank incursions.
"We are committed to broadening the ground operation in Rafah to the end of dismantling Hamas and recovering the hostages," a statement from Gallant's office quoted him as telling Sullivan.
Israel believes dozens of hostages from the cross-border Hamas rampage on Oct. 7 are being held in Rafah.
Western powers and Egypt have voiced concern for the fate of hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians sheltering there, despite Israeli assurances about humanitarian safeguards.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said on Monday that it estimated 810,000 people had fled Rafah since May 6 - potentially more than half of the city's wartime population.
The statement from Gallant's office said he presented to Sullivan “the provisions Israel implemented for evacuating the population from the Rafah area and for setting up the appropriate humanitarian response.”
 


Ireland's Top Diplomat Concerned over Slow Pace of Justice in Peacekeeper's Killing in Lebanon

28 April 2024, Lebanon, Borj El Mlouk: Vehicles from the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrol the village of Burj al-Muluk on Lebanon's southern border with Israel. Photo: STR/dpa
28 April 2024, Lebanon, Borj El Mlouk: Vehicles from the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrol the village of Burj al-Muluk on Lebanon's southern border with Israel. Photo: STR/dpa
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Ireland's Top Diplomat Concerned over Slow Pace of Justice in Peacekeeper's Killing in Lebanon

28 April 2024, Lebanon, Borj El Mlouk: Vehicles from the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrol the village of Burj al-Muluk on Lebanon's southern border with Israel. Photo: STR/dpa
28 April 2024, Lebanon, Borj El Mlouk: Vehicles from the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrol the village of Burj al-Muluk on Lebanon's southern border with Israel. Photo: STR/dpa

Ireland’s top diplomat in a visit to Lebanon on Monday expressed his concern over the slow progress in criminal proceedings against several Lebanese men charged with the killing of an Irish peacekeeper in 2022 in the tiny Mediterranean country.
Micheál Martin, Irish foreign and defense minister, said he was “very, very concerned” about the case. He met with Irish peacekeepers in south Lebanon and with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib and a representative of the Lebanese defense ministry, The Associated Press said.
Lebanon’s military tribunal last June charged four men with the killing of Pvt. Seán Rooney, 24, of Newtown Cunningham, Ireland, following a half-year probe. Rooney was killed on Dec. 14, 2022.
Only one of the suspects, Mohammed Ayyad, was arrested. However, he was released on bail in November, with officials citing his medical condition. The four others facing charges — Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman, and Mustafa Salman — remain at large.
All five are allegedly linked with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Hezbollah has repeatedly denied any role in the killing.
On the fatal night, Rooney and several other Irish soldiers from UNIFIL were on their way from their base in southern Lebanon to the Beirut airport. Two UN vehicles apparently took a detour through Al-Aqbiya, which is not part of the area under the peacekeepers’ mandate.
Initial reports said angry residents confronted the peacekeepers, but the indictment concluded that the shooting was a targeted attack. The UN peacekeeper vehicle reportedly took a wrong turn and was surrounded by vehicles and armed men as they tried to make their way back to the main road.
“We want justice to be done” and for the killers to be “brought to justice,” Martin told reporters. “We understand the separation of powers. But we are concerned at the slow pace of the trial. And the Irish people want justice”
UNIFIL was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after Israel’s 1978 invasion, and its mission was expanded following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Relative calm prevailed in the border region after that war until the beginning of Israel’s war against Hamas, a Hezbollah ally, in Gaza in October. For more than seven months, Hezbollah and allied groups have clashed near-daily with Israeli forces, with no apparent immediate prospects for a halt to hostilities.


Gulf, Arab Leaders Express Condolences over the Death of Iran's President

FILE - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after taking his oath as president in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran on Aug. 5, 2021.  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
FILE - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after taking his oath as president in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran on Aug. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
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Gulf, Arab Leaders Express Condolences over the Death of Iran's President

FILE - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after taking his oath as president in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran on Aug. 5, 2021.  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
FILE - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech after taking his oath as president in a ceremony at the parliament in Tehran, Iran on Aug. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Several Gulf and Arab leaders on Monday reacted to the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi who was killed in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain near Azerbaijan border.
Raisi, a hardliner long seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. Raisi was 63.
Several Arab leaders reacted to his death, the following are reactions to the news:
UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement: "Our hearts are with you in this difficult time. Our prayers are that God will cover them with His vast mercy and dwell them in His spacious Paradise”.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, said on X: "Sincere condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian, and the accompanying officials in the painful helicopter accident, asking God Almighty for mercy and forgiveness for them and for their families with patience and solace. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return."
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-sudani said in a statement: “With profound sadness and deep sorrow, we received the tragic news of the passing of the President of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and their companions, due to the unfortunate plane crash incident in northern Iran.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, and to the nation of Iran, its government and people. We express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and the officials of the Islamic Republic during this painful tragedy."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad affirmed Syria's solidarity with Iran and the families of the dead, adding that Raisi's dedication to his work and duties had taken him to East Azerbaijan to inaugurate a vital project for his country, where he was martyred in the line of duty.
Assad added that Syria had worked with the late president to ensure strategic ties between Syria and Iran remained prosperous, recalling Raisi's important visit to Syria as part of enhancing ties for the benefit of both nations.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi mourned the death of Raisi and other senior officials in a helicopter crash. In a statement, Sisi expressed his country’s solidarity with “the leadership and people of Iran in this great loss.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah said on X: "My deepest condolences to the brothers, leadership, government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of Brother President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Brother Hossein Amir Abdullahian and those accompanying them, may God have mercy on them all.
"We stand in solidarity with our brothers in Iran in this difficult circumstance”.
The Palestinian Hamas movement conveyed “deepest condolences and solidarity" to Khamenei, the Iranian government, and the Iranian people for "this immense loss."
It praised the deceased Iranian leaders for supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran's "deep-rooted institutions" will enable it to overcome "the repercussions of this great loss."
Head of Yemen’s Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Alo al-Houthi said on X platform: “Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership, and the families of President Raisi and the accompanying delegation... We ask God to grant their families patience and solace. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Iranian people will remain adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God's will."
In a statement, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group also expressed condolences to Khamenei over the death of Raisi.
The country's foreign minister announced a three-day national mourning.


UNRWA: Israel Arrested, Tortured Our Employees

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini during a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman (EPA)
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini during a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman (EPA)
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UNRWA: Israel Arrested, Tortured Our Employees

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini during a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman (EPA)
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini during a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman (EPA)

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said on Sunday that aid is hardly arriving to the Gaza Strip, noting that the agency's employees have been arrested and tortured by Israel, and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit.

In a joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Lazzarini said that despite the international community's calls, Israel invaded and attacked the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah on May 6, with half of Gaza's population forced to flee.

He pointed out that the two main crossings in the south, Rafah Crossing and Kerem Shalom Crossing, have turned into conflict zones, and there are currently no crossings to transport aid across the borders.

Lazzarini noted that “198 UNRWA employees were killed, 160 sites were completely or partially destroyed, and employees were arrested, tortured, and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit.”

In January, Israel alleged that 12 UNRWA employees had participated in the October 7 Hamas attacks against Israel.

Later in April, an independent review for the United Nations said Israel failed to support its claims.

Safadi said UNRWA continues to play its role in the Gaza Strip despite all the pressures, affirming that Jordan is committed to supporting the UN Agency.

“The UNRWA role is indispensable and cannot be replaced by any other party because no other party has the ability, knowledge or capabilities that this agency possesses to help the Palestinian people who are facing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

The Minister added that “the situation in Gaza is still catastrophic and is still worsening at all levels, even if enough food is brought into Gaza, which is not the case.”

Safadi noted that accusations levelled at 12 out of 13,000 UNRWA staff were refuted, “and the attempt to assassinate UNRWA politically failed.”

He said, “The report issued by the independent committee headed by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna confirmed that the agency has all the tools to ensure that what it does is in line with all principles of conduct, ethics and UN charters and regulations.”

Despite all the pressures, the Jordanian Minister affirmed that UNRWA is doing everything it can “to provide aid to 2.3 million Palestinians who are now suffering from this brutal war and its inhumane consequences of killing, destruction and the absence of food, medicine, treatment and education.”

But the Agency is still facing major financial challenges, according to Safadi, who said 16 countries stopped funding UNRWA after the Israeli accusations first surfaced.

He noted that 14 of them reversed their decision and announced the resumption of support for the UN agency.

Safadi also said the kingdom demanded an international investigation into what it said were many war crimes committed during Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

He added that those responsible for documented crimes should be brought to justice.


Airstrike Kills 27 in Central Gaza, Fighting Rages as Israel’s Leaders Get Increasingly Divided

Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where the World Food Program says a famine is underway (File photo)
Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where the World Food Program says a famine is underway (File photo)
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Airstrike Kills 27 in Central Gaza, Fighting Rages as Israel’s Leaders Get Increasingly Divided

Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where the World Food Program says a famine is underway (File photo)
Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where the World Food Program says a famine is underway (File photo)

An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged across the north on Sunday as Israel's leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the other members of his War Cabinet, with main political rival Benny Gantz threatening to leave the government if a plan is not created by June 8 that includes an international administration for postwar Gaza. His departure would leave Netanyahu more reliant on far-right allies who support full military occupation of Gaza and rebuilding of Jewish settlements there.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Netanyahu, and the his office said in a statement they focused on Israel's military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, humanitarian aid and hostages held in Gaza.

Netanyahu opposes Palestinian statehood, saying Israel will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

The US said Sullivan said Israel should “connect its military operations to a political strategy” and proposed measures to ensure more aid “surges” into Gaza.

In recent weeks, Hamas militants have regrouped in parts of northern Gaza that were heavily bombed in the war's early days.

The airstrike in Nuseirat, a built-up Palestinian refugee camp in central Gaza dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, killed 27 people, including 10 women and seven children, according to records at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, which received the bodies.

A separate strike on a Nuseirat street killed five people, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service. In Deir al-Balah, a strike killed Zahed al-Houli, a senior officer in the Hamas-run police, and another man, according to the hospital, The AP reported.

Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where the World Food Program says a famine is underway.

The Civil Defense said strikes hit several homes near Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, killing at least 10 people. And in the urban Jabaliya refugee camp nearby, residents reported a heavy wave of artillery and airstrikes.

Abdel-Kareem Radwan, 48, said the whole eastern side has become a battle zone where the Israeli fighter jets “strike anything that moves."

Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for the Civil Defense, said rescuers had recovered at least 150 bodies, more than half of them women and children, since Israel launched the operation in Jabaliya last week.

The war on Gaza has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians have been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.

“We need a decent life to live," said Reem Al-Bayed, who left Gaza City and shelters with thousands in the gritty coastal Muwasi camp in the south without basic facilities like wells. "All countries live a decent life except us.”

She took a quick mouthful of bread before tearing the rest into pieces for half a dozen children, then poured them a can of beans.

Netanyahu faces pressure from Israel's closest ally, the United States, which has provided military aid and diplomatic cover for the offensive while expressing growing frustration with Israel's conduct of the war and the humanitarian crisis.

President Joe Biden's administration recently held up a shipment of 3,500 bombs and said the US would not provide offensive weapons for a full-scale invasion of Rafah, citing fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

But last week, after Israel launched what it called a limited operation in Rafah, the Biden administration told legislators it would move forward with the sale of $1 billion worth of arms, according to congressional aides.

The Palestinian Crossings Authority in a statement said humanitarian aid has not entered through the vital Rafah border crossing with Egypt since the military operation began almost two weeks ago.


Libya Begins Operating Pipeline from North Hamada Oilfield

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
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Libya Begins Operating Pipeline from North Hamada Oilfield

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)

Libya has begun operating the new pipeline from its North Hamada oilfield with initial transfer capacity expected at 2,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday.

The North Hamada field, which is operated by Nafusah Oil Operations, is expected to increase transfer capacity through the line to 25,000 bpd before eventually reaching 10,000 bpd in September as part of the field's first development stage, NOC's statement said, Reuters reported.

The 50km pipeline to Mellitah port has design capacity of 70,000 bpd, NOC added.


Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
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Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Hundreds of people rallied Sunday in downtown Tunis in support of President Kais Saied amid the recent arrests of journalists, lawyers, and other public figures in Tunisia.

The rally came days after an international backlash over the flurry of arrests, which the UN and the EU said were unlawful.

President Saied on Thursday blasted the international criticism as foreign "interference" and ordered the Tunisian foreign ministry to summon the ambassadors of several countries.

"No to foreign interference, because we are a sovereign state," said Saber Rzigue, a protester on Sunday, AFP reported.

"We support the Tunisian leadership, particularly President Kais Saied."

"We are against foreign interference and against traitors, even if they are Tunisian," said Mohamed Hentati, another protester.

"Today, we want to contribute to history and stand against anyone who wants to occupy our country and try to change its social fabric," he added.

Sunday's rally also came after a significant protest and strike by lawyers earlier in the week over police raids and arrests in the national bar association.

The head of the bar, Hatem Meziou, called for an end to "the abuse of power" and for President Saied to intervene.

But Saied, who seized sweeping powers in 2021, replied on Thursday by saying the arresting of two lawyers was "in full respect for Tunisian law, which guarantees equality and the right to a fair trial".

Demonstrators on Sunday defended the president.

"Kais Saied is above all of us," said Mahmoud, a protester who chose not to give his full name.

"It is in him that we trust. He brought us security and peace."