19 | 09 | 2019

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey as guarantors of the Astana format:

1. Reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter;

2. Reaffirmed in this regard the respect for universally recognized international legal decisions, including those provisions of the relevant UN resolutions rejecting the occupation of Syrian Golan, first and foremost UN Security Council resolution 497;

On August 1, the UN Secretary-General announced his decision to “establish an internal United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry to investigate a series of incidents that have occurred in north-west Syria since the signing of the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey on 17 September 2018.”

August 1, 2019 — CODEPINK is thrilled that Saudi Arabia has announced today they will be abolishing part of their male guardianship system, finally granting women the right to obtain passports and travel (if 21 years of age or over), report births and deaths, and obtain family identification cards without the need for male authorization. Women will still need the permission of a male guardian to marry or divorce. 

We applaud the Saudi women who worked tirelessly and sacrificed for this change and call on Saudi Arabia to drop the charges against, and release, the Saudi women’s rights activists who campaigned for these rights and the right to drive. In 2018 Saudi Arabia did away with its ban on women drivers, but afterwards arrested the very women who had campaigned for the right. Many of these women are still languishing in prison, enduring torture. 

Moscow has noted with great concern the persisting tensions when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which became hostage to Washington’s one-sided approaches as confirmed once again by the recent discussion of the Middle East agenda by the UN Security Council. On July 25, the United States blocked the approval of a draft press statement, proposed by Kuwait, Indonesia and South Africa, condemning the demolition of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem. Under international law, Israel’s actions in the occupied Palestinian territories were illegal.

Hadash and two Arab parties, Ta’al and Ra’am, announced on Saturday, July 27, that they are reforming the Joint List in a bid to increase turnout among Arabs voters in Israel’s September election. The three parties said they would be running together and that they await the decision of Balad in the next few days whether it will also participate in the union.

Speaking at a press conference, Hadash MK and the leader of the new Joint List, Ayman Odeh, said the alliance is imperative. “These elections are a second chance for us to reunite in the face of hatred… in the face of racism, in the face of incitement,” he said. “We are back, united and strong.”  He said the new Joint List would seek to bring down the far-right and racist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak apologized on Tuesday, July 23, for the killing of 12 Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel by security forces in October 2000, during a wave of protests that began following a controversial visit by then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the Al-Aqsa Compound (Temple Mount). Twelve Arab-Palestinian citizens and a Palestinian resident of Gaza were killed by Israeli forces in three days of clashes (October 1-3, 2000) in Arab communities in the north of the country in the immediate wake of Sharon’s provocative visit.

The Tel Aviv Labor Court ordered nurses to end their two-day strike on Wednesday, July 24, and return to work while carrying on their negotiations with the Health Ministry to reduce their workload. However, the court decision does allow the nurses to continue with a partial strike by, for example, refusing to perform non-essential tests or computerize information.

The Ministers of the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on Palestine, meeting on July 20, 2019, in Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in the framework of the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement Coordination Bureau, taking into account the prevailing need to address the decisive events in the international arena and the continuing deterioration of the situation on the ground, which are dangerously undermining the inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people and the expectations for a peaceful and fair solution for the Palestinian issue.

The police officer who shot and killed Ethiopian Israeli teenager Solomon Teka in northern Israel on June 30 is expected to be charged with reckless homicide, instead of the more serious crime of manslaughter, the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers announced Monday, July 15.

Education Minister and far-right religious leader from The Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) political party, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, ignited a firestorm of protest Saturday night, July 13, when he told a Channel 12 television interviewer that he believes the obscurantist practice of “gay conversion therapy” – trying to change a gay individual’s sexual orientation – is effective. Peretz said that he himself has participated in providing such “treatment” to gay individuals in the past.

On Sunday, July 7, far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Britain, France and Germany to impose severe sanctions on Tehran after the Iran announced that it is about to exceed its uranium enrichment limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. Netanyahu shockingly likened Iran’s move to Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Rhineland in 1936.

This was just the latest in a long line of the warmongering rhetoric from the Israeli Prime Minister, who has been stoking tensions with Tehran since he came into power in 2009. During his campaign at the time, he said he would do “everything necessary” to stop Iranian scientists developing a nuclear weapon.

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