UNRWA’s Future Reconsidered
The British Government has given more than £300million to a UN aid programme whose schools teach six and seven years olds the words for ‘martyr’ and ‘attack’, while the textbooks it uses glorify jihad and falsely teach of a Jewish plot to kill the Muslim prophet, Muhammed.
UNRWA, the UN aid body established to support Palestinians, has been dogged by repeated allegations of mismanagement which led to the USA withdrawing all funding in 2018. Following further allegations of misconduct in 2019; Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands froze funding to the body. In contrast, the UK increased its annual contribution by over $25 million between 2017 and 2018.
Despite the UK’s continued support for UNRWA, allegations that educational materials provided by the body include extremism have dogged the organisation. UNRWA blames the disturbing material within its schools on the local authorities whose educational ministries determine curricula within their respective jurisdictions. While UNRWA claims to routinely review its materials, the report argues that the problem is longstanding and measures to end the problem have been subsequently reversed.
The report details other charges against UNRWA, including that:
– In 2012, its staff union elections returned Hamas candidates in 22 of 27 available positions.
– Dozens of UNRWA employees have celebrated the stabbings of Israelis, posting videos of extremists calling for the murder of Jews and for an ‘intifada’ or uprising against Israel. Examples include an UNRWA teacher who posted photographs of Adolf Hitler on Facebook, praising him as “our beloved”.
– In 2005, it was estimated that 46 UNRWA school graduates have gone on to become suicide bombers. In 2002, its Jordanian director admitted that the majority of Palestinian suicide bombers were graduates of UNRWA schools.
– In 2008, after Awad al-Qiq, a science teacher and headmaster of an UNRWA school, was assassinated it was revealed that he was a leading rocket maker for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. One of the founders of PIJ was Mahmud Khawaja, who was an UNRWA worker.
Not only is UNRWA routinely exploited by extremists but the report argues that its structures inhibit steps towards peace. UNRWA’s unique definition of ‘refugees’ has meant that the number of ‘refugees’ eligible for its assistance has ballooned from 711,000 Palestinians displaced in 1948 to 5 million today leading to a culture of victimhood and resentment in ever larger pools of people.
In a blatant capitulation to the BDS movement, the UN Human Rights Council published a list of 112 Israeli businesses linked to Jewish West Bank neighborhoods in an effort to stigmatize those businesses and encourage their boycott. This highly politicized decision will not hurt Israel, as it was intended to do, but will instead undermine the livelihood of the many Palestinians who — due to the lack of sufficient employment opportunities in Palestinian-governed areas — earn their living by working for those very Israeli businesses.
The UN has thus inflicted yet another economic blow in a series of such blows suffered by the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority (PA) declined an invitation to participate in the US-led economic conference in Bahrain in June 2019, and rejected the economic incentives offered in President Trump’s “Deal of a Century” without even hearing them. Trump’s proposal, dismissed by the PA out of hand, included, among many other benefits, plans to naturalize Palestinian refugees currently living in subsistence conditions in surrounding Arab states. The UN only adds to the Palestinians’ suffering by causing harm to one of their sources of income.
The PA’s wholesale violation of the Oslo Accords of the 1990s only worsened the economic position of the Palestinians living in today’s areas A and B. Many of them still reminisce about the more prosperous days when Israelis would come to their villages as well to Gaza to buy Palestinian products. All that changed with the stroke of a pen when the Accords birthed the PA and granted it authority over economic and social policy in areas A and B.
The establishment of Palestinian economic autonomy was intended to improve the prospects for prosperity and significantly improve the Palestinians’ quality of life. Despite good intentions, exactly the opposite came to pass. The PA’s incompetent and corrupt governance led to the deterioration of Palestinian quality of life and increased poverty while allowing cronies to steal public resources and exchange political favors for personal benefit. It’s no wonder that many Palestinians long for the days before Oslo.
Democratic Party contenders for the American Presidency – Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg – have unwittingly given Israel’s Prime Minister – Bibi Netanyahu – an unexpected boost to becoming Israel’s next Prime Minister on 2 March.
During a nationally-televised Democratic Party Presidential contenders’ debate – Sanders made this inflammatory claim:
“I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months. But what I happen to believe is that, right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”
This “reactionary racist” just happens to be Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister – victorious after six election campaigns conducted in fully democratic and openly transparent elections. Sanders’ comment doesn’t say much for his opinion of the majority of Israelis whose votes have kept Netanyahu there.
Bloomberg was motivated to chime in with his take on Israel:
“Well, the battle has been going on for a long time in the Middle East, whether it’s the Arabs versus the Persians, the Shias versus the Sunnis, the Jews in Israel and the Palestinians, it’s only gone on for 40 or 50 years.
Number one, you can’t move the embassy back. We should not have done it without getting something from the Israeli government. But it was done, and you’re going to have to leave it there.
Number two, only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated…”
The conflict between Jews and Arabs in former Palestine has been going on for 100 years – not 40 or 50 years. Brainwashed by Arab propaganda, Bloomberg had erased the origins of the conflict which began with the San Remo conference and Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
Bloomberg – in mentioning the need for a two-state solution – was apparently ignorant of the fact that the Palestinian Arabs had been allocated 78% of Palestine in 1922 – which subsequently became a sovereign state renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 – today called Jordan.
For someone aspiring to be America’s next President, Bloomberg displayed an appalling lack of knowledge about this long-running and unresolved conflict.
Israeli scientists are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus, according to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. If all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days, according to a release.
“Congratulations to MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] on this exciting breakthrough,” Akunis said. “I am confident there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat,” Akunis said, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
For the past four years, a team of MIGAL scientists has been developing a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes a bronchial disease affecting poultry. The effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven in preclinical trials carried out at the Veterinary Institute.
MIGAL is located in the Galilee.
“Our basic concept was to develop the technology and not specifically a vaccine for this kind or that kind of virus,” said Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader. “The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis, causing the body to form antibodies against the virus.”
An Israeli firm said Thursday it has developed a kit to test for the coronavirus, sending its stocks soaring as the world hunts for an effective way to confirm who is carrying the fast-spreading contagion.
Hod Hasharon based BATM said production on the quick diagnostic kit was underway at a facility in Rome owned by Adaltis, which manufactures various medical testing devices.
Health officials have urged the development of rapid testing devices to screen who may have the virus, as questions have arisen about current diagnostic tools’ ability to flag carriers. Health officials have also worried about overtesting and deluging health systems with false positives that will lead to public panic.
The debate over testing has taken on added urgency as the number of cases worldwide has climbed past 82,000, including over 2,800 reported deaths, with cases now present on every continent and dozens of countries.
BATM said in a statement that its test’s ability to successfully screen those carrying COVID-19 had been verified by several labs and hospitals, and that customers in several countries had expressed interest. It did not provide details.
It said the test met criteria set out by the US-based Centers of Disease Control and that it was working with European research institutions to develop “a price point suitable for large scale production.”
The company’s stock rose 16.4% on the London Stock Exchange and 9.3% in Tel Aviv’s boursa Thursday, making it one of the few winners on an otherwise brutal day on the trading floor.
A third Israeli has been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus within Israel, the Israeli Health Ministry reported on Friday afternoon.
Shimon Dahan returned from quarantine in Japan after having having been presumed to be “recovered”, following his infection with the virus on the Princess Diamond cruise ship and subsequent quarantine in Tokyo.
The man flew home to Israel after he was released from quarantine in Japan and is the third to be diagnosed as having the virus of the passengers who were brought back to Israel from the Princess Diamond.
Dahan’s sister, Rachel Biton, was the first to be released from quarantine and sent home to Israel on Tuesday after recovering from the virus.
A spokesperson for the family says they are not currently responding to the issue, as they are still waiting to receive answers to the many questions that came as a result of the report.
“If there is anything to say about the matter, you will be notified after the Sabbath.”
Iran is shipping sophisticated surface-to-air missiles, drones and other missiles to its allies across the Middle East. A seized shipment, revealed by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) on Feb. 19, included drone and cruise missile components reportedly linked to an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility last September. To confront the threat, Israel rolled out a new multi-year plan to transform its armed forces’ ability to both fight a multi-front war and to confront Iran.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is trying to do something unique in history by preparing the army for a potential future war that does not look like any before. Often armies end up planning to face enemies of the past, with disastrous results. This was the case with tactics of the U.S. Civil War, or the French army’s static defenses in World War II. Recent conflicts have revealed how technology is transforming the battlefield. This is illustrated in the counter-insurgency campaigns of the kind the U.S. has faced in the Global War on Terror, and inter-state conflicts such as tensions between Iran and other countries in the Middle East.
Israel dubs its new plan “Momentum,” and it says the concept is to combine all the elements of its armed forces, including land, sea, air, intelligence and cyber. Using one kind of force, such as just the air force or just infantry, is a relic of the past. That means putting more resources into units at the front, and more capabilities such as drones and even high-energy lasers to confront drone threats. It also means using more accurate precision-guided munitions. In a recent briefing by the IDF, the army characterized this as going into “uncharted territory and leading the way. There is focus throughout the world on what we are doing.”
To imagine what the future battlefield might look like, it’s worth looking at a few Israeli technologies. One is called Fire Weaver, which will be integrated into the army in the next several years. It links all the soldiers in an area to a network, sort of like when you play a first-person-shooter video game and see all the other players. It also uses artificial intelligence to optimize which weapon system can be used against threats. For example, if one soldier with an M-16 can’t hit an enemy who is hiding in a building, the system can calculate that a drone or another team on the other side of the village could hit the enemy. The system is supposed to reduce friendly-fire, collateral damage to civilians and give commanders faster intelligence to make decisions. It is a bit like applying management information systems, or efficiency concepts one might find in business, to war.
As Israel’s adversaries equip themselves with growing numbers of advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, the Israel Navy’s Weapons Systems Department must ensure that countermeasures are installed onboard Israeli ships in time.
The department’s technological personnel are soldiers in their early 20s who have completed degrees in electrical engineering, mathematics and physics as part of their enlistment.
Air-defense systems, electronic warfare, radars, sonars, command and control, missiles and other systems must be developed quickly enough to allow Israel to stay two steps ahead of Hizbullah and Iran.
A senior naval officer said their counterparts in Western militaries were shocked at the age of the Israeli personnel.
“We have conducted trials with partners. Their personnel in equivalent departments is made up of people in their 50s or 60s. I show up with a group of ‘kids.’ They used to smile when they saw that, but now they know us.”
One of the key projects of the navy is to develop sensors and command systems that hermetically seal Israel’s sea borders, both on the surface and underwater.
To achieve this, complex algorithms were developed for radar and sonar so that operators could quickly tell the difference between an enemy scuba diver and a sea turtle.
Thank you, Madam President.
This week, in violation of international humanitarian law, Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired over 100 rockets at communities in southern Israel.
Two of these rockets hit a children’s playground in the town of Sderot. Under the Geneva Conventions, these are war crimes.
Children should not have to live their lives in fear of terrorist rockets raining down on them.
The United Nations should condemn these war crimes. It should show its solidarity with Israeli communities now living under imminent risk from rockets and other terrorist threats. This Council should strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself, and its people, against acts of terror.
The report before us today purports to address “all violations of international law” in the Palestinian territories.
Why, then, does the report mention nowhere that Palestinian terrorist groups, in the past year alone, fired more than 1400 rockets at Israeli communities?
The rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad threaten the security of innocent Israelis, and Palestinians.
When fired at Israeli civilians, the rocket attacks are war crimes; when fired from civilian areas in Gaza, using civilians as human shields, they are double war crimes.
Thank you, Madam President.
TODAY: Lord @Byron_Davies reflects on Israeli land for peace offers & infamous Arab League “Three No’s” of 1967. “The greatest obstacle to peace is the continued refusal of Israel’s neighbours to recognise its right to exist and flourish as a Jewish state in any part of the land” pic.twitter.com/R6HLn1JGVD
— CFoI (@CFoI) February 27, 2020
MUST WATCH: In House of Lords debate, Lord @HowardDLeigh raises issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands & urges UK Government to address “despicable” Palestinian Authority textbooks inciting hatred & “denying thousands of years of Jewish heritage to the land” pic.twitter.com/BwyFcFdGr2
— CFoI (@CFoI) February 27, 2020
Israeli aircraft attacked Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights, Syrian state media said late Thursday, as tensions rose along the border following an earlier reported strike.
Helicopters fired missiles at army positions in Quneitra, and the nearby towns of al-Qataniyah and al-Hurriyet, the state-run SANA news agency said.
It said three soldiers were injured in the strikes.
There was no immediate response from Israel, which rarely acknowledges strikes conducted in Syria.
The bombings came hours after SANA reported that an Israeli drone killed one person in southern Syria’s Quneitra province, in the demilitarized zone near the border with Israel.
“A civilian was martyred when his car was targeted by a drone belonging to the Israeli enemy south of the town of Hader,” the SANA news agency reported.
Maybe the final quarter of this chlorox cupcake will turn it around, but I have my doubts. I wish Ezra would hire one person who knows enough to stop letting these idiots embarrass the publication. But the desire for actual knowledge by his team continues to be at zero.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 28, 2020
I’m saying. I really thought it couldn’t be as bad as ppl thought. But I ain’t lying. Practically every syllable is wrong. It’s an astonishing document. https://t.co/k47KLpKcV0 https://t.co/yw2SfKczrc
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 28, 2020
Any Palestinian who sells land to Jews is “a traitor,” according to the Palestinian Authority. This was recently reiterated by a PA governor who instructed the PA police to “take the firmest steps” against anyone who has sold or transferred land to Jews. He emphasized that anyone doing so is “a traitor”:
“Salfit District Governor Abdallah Kmeil… emphasized that it is important to defend the land, cultivate it, and defend it from the occupation and the danger of the settler enterprise. He emphasized that it is necessary to receive a security permit from the district before any land sale, both from within Palestine and from outside of it. He said that he has instructed the [PA] Security Forces to take the firmest steps against anyone who is proven to have secretly sold or transferred lands to the occupation, or to have collaborated in the matter. He also emphasized that anyone who does not follow these instructions will be labeled a traitor.”
[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2020]
PA Chairman Abbas himself in 2014 issued a decision that gives “life imprisonment with forced labor for the clandestine transfer, leasing or selling of lands to a hostile country or its citizens”:
PA TV newsreader: “[PA] Chairman Mahmoud Abbas published a decision on an amendment to the Jordanian penal law and on its previous amendments in the northern districts (i.e., the West Bank). In the new amendment, he instituted life imprisonment with forced labor for the clandestine transfer, leasing or selling of lands to a hostile country or its citizens. The previous penalty for the clandestine transfer of land was temporary forced labor.”
[Official PA TV, Oct. 21, 2014]
Palestinian law signed by PA Chairman Abbas states that one who attempts to sell land to Jews will be sentenced to 5 years of hard labor, and one who actually succeeds in selling land to Jews will be given a life sentence with hard labor.
Salfit District Governor Abdallah Kmeil’s statements echo that of Fatah official Tawfiq Tirawi reported by Palestinian Media Watch earlier this month who suggested that PA Security Forces should not stop Palestinian terrorists targeting Israelis but instead pursue “real estate agents” and “collaborators.”
Taiseer Hussein of Hizb ut-Tahrir America in a Glendale Heights, IL Conference : We Will Conquer Rome and Liberate India and Spain pic.twitter.com/WLqAgYCjm2
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 28, 2020
Turkey, faced with a possible new wave of Syrian migrants and dozens more dead Turkish soldiers in Idlib, will no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, a senior Turkish official said as President Tayyip Erdogan chaired an emergency meeting.
An air strike by Syrian government forces in Syria’s northwest Idlib region killed 29 Turkish soldiers and seriously wounded others, the local governor in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hatay said separately early on Friday.
The US said that it supports Turkey following the reported attack. “We stand by our NATO Ally Turkey and continue to call for an immediate end to this despicable offensive by the Assad regime, Russia, and Iranian-backed forces,” a State Department representative said in a statement.
Nearly a million civilians have been displaced in Idlib near the Turkish border since December as Russia-backed Syrian government forces seized territory from Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, marking the worst humanitarian crisis of the country’s nine-year war.
The threat to open the way for refugees to Europe would, if executed, reverse a pledge Turkey made to the European Union in 2016 and could quickly draw Western powers into the standoff over Idlib and stalled negotiations between Ankara and Moscow.
In anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Idlib, Turkish police, coast guard and border security officials have been ordered to stand down on refugees’ land and sea crossings, the Turkish official told Reuters.
“We have decided, effectively immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “All refugees, including Syrians, are now welcome to cross into the European Union.”
The burden of hosting refugees “is too heavy for any single country to carry,” the official said.
Refugees in Turkey headed towards European frontiers on Friday after an official declared that borders had been thrown open in response to the escalating war in Syria, a day after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by Russian-backed Syrian government troops.
European officials rushed to respond to a direct threat to reverse an agreement with Turkey that halted the migration crisis of 2015-2016, when more than a million people arrived by sea in Greece and crossed the Balkans on foot.
Moscow and Ankara traded blame over the strike in northwest Syria, the deadliest attack suffered by the Turkish army in nearly 30 years. Turkish financial markets plunged over the prospect of the country being plunged far more deeply into a new escalation of the nine-year-old war across the border in Syria.
“We have decided, effectively immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“All refugees, including Syrians, are now welcome to cross into the European Union,” the official said, adding that police and border guards had been stood down.
Within hours, a column of dozens of migrants was heading on foot towards the European frontier in the early morning light. A man carried a small child in his arms. Others rode in taxis.
“We heard about it on the television,” said Afghan migrant Sahin Nebizade, 16, in a group packed into one of three taxis parked on a highway.
“We’ve been living in Istanbul. We want to go to Edirne and then on to Greece,” Nebizade said before the taxis headed for the northwestern province of Edirne and border crossings with Bulgaria and Greece, 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Istanbul.
The Turkish army is retaliating with artillery fire at Syrian government targets in Syria after an airstrike killed 22 Turkish soldiers in the northwestern Idlib province, two Turkish security officials said on Friday.
“All known” Syrian government targets are under fire by Turkish air and land support units, Turkey’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said separately on Friday, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. Turkey has decided to “respond in kind” to the attack by the Syrian government, Altun added.
At least 309 Syrian soldiers were killed early Friday in attacks by the Turkish military on more than 200 Syrian army targets, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency. The Turkish army released video footage of the alleged attacks.
Akar said the Syrian soldiers had been “neutralized” after Turkey on Friday raised the death toll from a Syrian government airstrike on its forces in northwestern Syria the previous night to 33 Turkish troops, the highest number of Turkish soldiers killed in a single day since Ankara first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2016.
According to the Anadolu report, 55 tanks, three helicopters, 18 armored vehicles and six ammunition depots belonging to the Syrian regime were destroyed.
The deaths of the Turkish troops, which came in an attack late Thursday, were a serious escalation in the direct conflict between Turkish and Russia-backed Syrian forces that has been waged since early February. The earlier reported death toll was 29 troops.
Ambassadors from NATO countries were holding emergency talks on Friday at the request of Turkey, a member of the alliance.
Rhami Dogan, the governor of Turkey’s Hatay province bordering Syria’s Idlib region, said 32 wounded troops were being treated in hospitals. Turkey has had 54 soldiers killed in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province since the beginning of February, including the latest fatalities.
Iran said on Thursday its death toll from coronavirus had risen to 26, the highest number of fatalities from the virus outside China, and the total number of infected people now stood at 245, including several senior officials.
The outbreak prompted authorities to call off Friday prayers in several cities including Tehran, state TV later reported, while state news agency IRNA said Iran has banned Chinese citizens from entering the country.
Those infected include Masoumeh Ebtekar, the vice president for women and family affairs, and the country’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi. Ebtekar’s case was said to be mild and she has not been hospitalized.
“In the last 24 hours, we have had 106 (new) confirmed cases … The death toll has reached 26,” Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, calling on Iranians to avoid “unnecessary trips inside the country”.
Jahanpur said there were plans to impose some restrictions at Shi’ite Muslim holy sites and cancel some sermons on Friday, the Islamic Republic’s traditional day of public prayer.
“But it needs the approval of the president before being carried out,” he said, adding that hundreds of those suspected of being infected by the virus had recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Four days after the February 21, 2020 elections for Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, veteran Saudi journalist Tareq Al-Homayed, former editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, published an op-ed in the Saudi daily ‘Okaz headlined “The Virus of the Khomeini [Regime].” In it, he criticized Western media, leftist organizations and U.S. Democrats for hypocritically turning a blind eye to “the farce of the Iranian parliamentary elections” in advance of which thousands of reformist and moderate candidates had been disqualified by the regime.
Attacking the Iranian regime for its destructive activity in Iran and in the countries of the region, Al-Homayed warned that this “deadly virus” is wiping out all progress and reform. He added that the West’s puzzling lenience vis-à-vis Iran’s activity endangers not only Iran but the entire region.
The following are excerpts from Al-Homayed’s op-ed:
“The farce of the Iranian parliamentary elections ended without [sparking] a commotion in the West… There was no media uproar and no articles in the major press outlets in recent days.
“This is despite the fact that the [Iranian] Guardian Council, whose 12 members are appointed by the Iranian Supreme Leader, prevented 6,850 Iranians from running for election for 290 parliamentary seats, on various [false] claims including ‘disloyalty to Islam!’ The regime of the ayatollahs has done all this, yet we have seen no storm of criticism or of [newspaper] editorials in the West. Even the [U.S.] Democrats did not protest – not even as much as they [protested] after the Trump administration assassinated the terrorist Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the destruction in Iran and in the region…
“I am not talking here about the hypocrisy of the left, or of the Democrats, or of some media institutions and organizations in the West – but about the risk of ignoring the Iranian danger that threatens not only the Iranians but also the region, and of underestimating it.
As diagnosis of the first case of coronavirus was announced in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Saudi Arabia on February 27 suspended the entry of “umrah” pilgrims to the kingdom, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
Umrah is the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that, in contrast to the hajj, can be undertaken at any time of the year. The statement explained that the decision was a part of international efforts by governments and organizations, in particular the World Health Organization, to stop the spread of the virus. The decision, the statement said, was taken “to provide the utmost protection for the safety of citizens and residents, and whoever intends to come to the kingdom’s lands to perform umrah, or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque, or for the purpose of tourism.”
Suliman al-Ogaily, a member of the board of directors of the Saudi Society for Political Science, told The Media Line that the Saudis took these measures to protect pilgrims, as well as the Saudi people and residents in the kingdom, from infection. “The two most important factors in the spreading of this epidemic are traveling and joining crowds of human gatherings,” al-Ogaily said. “These are temporary measures to prevent spread of this dangerous virus, which is exacerbated by the gathering of people and their movement from one place to another.”
He further clarified that the Saudi leadership regularly adheres to the recommendations of public health experts and the World Health Organization and would cooperate with international efforts “to achieve full control of the epidemic and its containment and eradication, God willing.”
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