Netanyahu proposals dangerous: Abbas adviser

Nabil Shaath, Adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Updated 12 September 2019

Netanyahu proposals dangerous: Abbas adviser

  • Israeli PM says will annex Jordan Valley after upcoming elections

JERUSALEM: Nabil Shaath, senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has said it would be a mistake to belittle suggestions Israel could take control of new areas in the West Bank. On Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped to annex the Jordan Valley and land north of the Dead Sea following upcoming elections, should he be able to form a government.
“It would be a mistake to look at this only as electioneering,” Shaath said in an exclusive interview with Arab News. “While this is not new to Netanyahu it is important to know that he is not different from his opponents, he is simply pushing the Zionist ideology with support from the Trump administration.”
Shaath explained that what Netanyahu is proposing is the heart of Zionist ideology: “They want the land without the people.”
The Palestinian president, and other senior Palestinian, Arab and international leaders have denounced Netanyahu and his pledge to annex the Jordan Valley.
“All signed agreements with Israel will have to end, if Israeli sovereignty is applied over the Jordan Valley, the northern part of the Dead Sea or any part of the occupied Palestinian territories,” Abbas said, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

FASTFACT

Senior PLO official has called for major unified efforts to stand up to the latest Israeli annexation threats.

Shaath, a former foreign minister, told Arab News that Israel required a strong response. “We need a unified effort and effective strategy. We need the Arab world, Muslim countries, Europe and others to stand with us to stop this effort destroying the two-state solution.”
Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), said that Palestinian support for the two-state solution was down — just 39.3 percent of respondents to a recent JMCC poll considered it a viable solution, with people in Gaza (46.4 percent) more optimistic than those in the West Bank (34.5 percent).
Furthermore, 28.8 percent said they preferred a bi-national state over all of historical Palestine.
“In Gaza, where there are no (Israeli) settlements, there is higher support for the two-state solution whereas in the West Bank Palestinians see the dangers that the settlements pose,” Khatib told Arab News.
“If this threat if executed, there will be more distancing between the two sides. Israelis and Palestinians will pay the price for this policy because it will become a de facto apartheid situation.”


Sudan’s Bashir awaits his fate in corruption trial

Updated 14 December 2019

Sudan’s Bashir awaits his fate in corruption trial

  • Khartoum court is expected to hand down its verdict today
  • If found guilty, Sudan’s ex-president Omar Al-Bashir could be sent to prison for up to 10 years

KHARTOUM: A verdict in the corruption trial of Sudan’s ex-president Omar Al-Bashir is expected Saturday, eight months after the military deposed the strongman during unprecedented mass protests against his three-decade rule.
Bashir is charged with illegally acquiring and using foreign funds.
If found guilty, he could be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
The Khartoum court is expected to hand down its verdict at 10:00 a.m.
Bashir was toppled by the army on April 11 after months of mass demonstrations triggered by an acute economic crisis.
He has attended several hearings since the trial began in August, appearing in a metal cage wearing the traditional Sudanese white jalabiya and turban.
At the start of the trial, judge Sadeq Abdelrahman said authorities had seized 6.9 million euros as well as $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds ($128,000) from Bashir’s home.
While the former president admitted to having received a total of $90 million from Saudi leaders, the trial centers on the $25 million received from Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Bashir said the money seized from his home came out of the $25 million.
The funds, he said, formed part of Sudan’s strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were “not used for private interests but as donations.”
Bashir’s lawyer Mohamed Al-Hassan told reporters the ex-president’s defense does not see the trial as a legal case, but as “a political” one.
The trial does not relate to charges Bashir faces at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bashir has been wanted by the ICC for years for his role in the Darfur war that broke out in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against his Arab-dominated government which they accused of marginalizing the region.
Rights groups say Khartoum applied targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.
The Darfur conflict left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
After Bashir was toppled, ICC prosecutors requested he stand trial for the killings in Darfur.
Army generals who initially seized power after the president’s fall refused to hand over the 75-year-old.
But Sudan’s umbrella protest movement, which now has significant representation on a sovereign council that in August became the country’s highest executive authority — recently said it has no objection to his extradition.
Separately, on November 12, Sudanese authorities filed charges against Bashir and some of his aides for “plotting” the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
In May, Sudan’s attorney general said Bashir had been charged with the deaths of those killed during the anti-regime demonstrations that led to his ouster, without specifying when he would face trial.