CHILE PRESIDENT REFUSES ISRAELI AMBASSADOR’S CREDENTIALS
Chilean President, Gabriel Boric, on September 15 refused to accept the credentials of new Israeli Ambassador, Gil Artzyeli, due to Israel’s killing of Palestinians. Artzyeli had been scheduled to present his credentials to Boric as a formality, but the Chilean government informed him that the ceremony had been cancelled, before he was instructed to leave. According to Ynet News, the decision was made “because of Israel killing children” in the recent escalation in the West Bank and increased Israeli military activity against Palestinians. It comes as Israeli occupation forces killed yet another Palestinian boy in a dawn raid on September 15. Chile is home to some half a million Palestinian immigrants, most of whom are Christian. Boric, who became President last year, is a known supporter of BDS, after he campaigned for a boycott of goods, services and products from illegal Israeli settlements.
LEBANON ADOPTS STRICT SECURITY MEASURES FOLLOWING BANK RAIDS
Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi has announced that the country will adopt strict security measures following bank raids carried out by depositors. Mawlawi’s remarks came during a press conference at the Interior Ministry, where security agencies were present to discuss measures to keep the country safe and stable. Angry depositors stormed several banks across the country, demanding the withdrawal of their savings. Following this, the Association of Banks in Lebanon announced that all banks would be closed for three days beginning September 19. Lebanon has witnessed an unprecedented financial crisis that has forced banks to place heavy restrictions on depositor withdrawals since 2019.
HAMAS TO MEND TIES WITH SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN
Hamas, which has announced its decision to officially restore relations with the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al- Assad, is trying to mend relations with Saudi Arabia as well. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in an interview with Russia Today on September 15 that Hamas has been working on to restoring ties with Saudi Arabia and Jordan after the group re-established diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime. He said, however, that there are parties working to prevent this from taking place, but did not mention who. Haniyeh urged that Hamas is only looking to create diplomatic channels and will stay away from the politics of the countries they have relations with. Hazem Qassem, spokesperson of Hamas, said, “Hamas believes that it gets its power in resisting the Israeli occupation from the Arab and Islamic depth.” He added, “We (Palestinians) have our main issue of liberating our lands from the Israeli occupation by all means in a bid to establish our state of Palestine on our lands.”
TURKIYE CONDEMNS US LIFTING OF ARMS EMBARGO ON CYPRUS
Turkiye has condemned the United States’ decision to fully lift its embargo on Cyprus from next year, saying that the move could result in an arms race on the island. In a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on September 17, it warned that the US’ decision will “further strengthen the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence and negatively affect efforts to resettle the Cyprus issue.” It added that it “will lead to an arms race on the island, harming peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean.” The ministry called on Washington to reconsider its move and to pursue a balanced policy regarding the ongoing dispute on the island and its division. The US move is conditional, however, on Nicosia continuing to block Russian warships from its ports.
TUNISIANS HEAD TO ITALY AMID POLITICAL, ECONOMIC CRISIS
The number of Tunisian migrants landing on Italian shores jumped to 13,500 in the first eight months of 2022 from the same period last year, a rights group said on September 13, adding Tunisia’s political and economic crisis lay behind the exodus. Videos posted on social media showed entire families embarking on boats this summer amid a sharp rise in the number of sailings from Tunisian coasts as the country’s economic crisis deepened. Tunisia is in the throes of an economic and social crisis which threatens to bankrupt public finances, while inflation has reached 8.6 per cent, its highest in three decades. Meanwhile, two UN experts have called on Tunisian authorities to stop harassing judges who are exercising their right to peaceful assembly. A joint statement issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Clément Nyaletossi Voule, said: “We have received reports that the same social media pages have been harassing judges for several months.”
PROTESTERS RALLY AGAINST SUDAN MILITARY RULE
Sudanese opposition groups on September 13 marched toward the Presidential Palace in Khartoum to protest the ruling military. Protesters marched on Africa Street and the Eldaim area toward downtown raising anti-military slogans and calling for full civilian rule. They also denounced ongoing negotiations between the political coalition of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and the military under the sponsorship of international mediation led by the US, UK, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which is backed by the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan. “We are against both the military and civilians that want to make compromises with the military. So this is why we as resistance committees raising the slogan of the three ‘Nos’ which is no negotiation, no compromise and no partnership with the military. So we come to the street to stress these principles,” Ahmed Hussien, a protester, was reported as saying.
ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST IN TATARSTAN FLEES COUNTRY
A teacher and activist who openly protested Russia’s ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has left his native Republic of Tatarstan for another country. Raushan Valiullin said on September 13 that he, his wife, and their three children are currently in an unspecified former Soviet republic that is now an independent state. Valiullin said that it was not easy for him to make the decision to leave the country with the whole family. “We consider this current place of residence to be a temporary one. How long will we stay here? It will depend on how fast we will be able to find an opportunity to move to a country with the rule of law and democracy, as well as where human rights are respected,” he said. Valiullin also said that he was tired of living in “an atmosphere of permanent fear, total control, and persecution for freely expressed thoughts.” Valiullin was fired from his position as a teacher at a secondary school in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny on September 1 following a long standoff between him and the school’s administration that he attributes to his rights activities.
SAUDI MEGACITY NEOM TO SERVE ALCOHOL ON BEACH RESORT ISLAND
Saudi Arabia’s $500bn megacity Neom is planning to serve alcohol at a beach resort set to open next year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on September 17. Basing on ‘documents’ seen by it, the WSJ said that a premium wine bar, a cocktail bar and a “champagne and desserts” bar will be part of a Red Sea island called Sindalah, set to open in 2023. The consumption, importation, brewing and selling of alcohol is completely banned in the Gulf kingdom, punishable by fines, lengthy imprisonment and flogging. Images in a plan for the beach resort island showed cocktails being poured in front of what appear to be bottles of vodka, whiskey and wine. Other images in the document feature women in bikinis and shirtless men in yachts and swimming pools. In May, Saudi Arabia had denied reports that Neom would have its own special status, akin to a “country within a country”, where the consumption of alcohol would be allowed.