The British left’s obsession with Israel-Palestine (Saturday Nov 4, 2017)
A short interview (with Tom Gross) while yet another anti-Israel protest takes places in London, with buses organized by the trade unions and others bringing in protestors from all around Britain.
Meanwhile there have been no protests for the 600,000 Rohingya Muslims made refugees in recent weeks by the military in Burma, which has had British arms and training and like Israel is another former British colony, and has been carrying out systematic ethnic cleansing and a scorched earth policy against Rohingya.
Nor for the 160,000 Kurdish men, women and children forced from their homes in the last two weeks by Iranian-controlled Shia militia in Kirkuk.
For over two years now, partly using British weapons, the Saudis and other gulf Arabs have been bombing civilians in Yemen, leading to mass starvation and malaria inflicting millions of people there. There hasn’t been a single protest in London. And the list goes on…
BBC presenter Andrew Marr has claimed in an interview with the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that “a lot of Jewish friends” and “a lot of Jewish community leaders have said that Israeli government policies are feeding antisemitism in Britain.
Mr Marr asked Mr Netanyahu: “Can I ask you about the condition of Jews in this country because I’ve got a lot of Jewish friends and there are a lot of Jewish community leaders who are very worried about your government and they say that particularly the settlements issue has made it much, much harder to defend Israel in this country.” However, Mr Marr then added: “We have always had antisemitism in Britain but it has been quite quiet for a long time and it is back on the rise.”
Mr Netanyahu correctly answered: “Well, you know, I wouldn’t blame Jews for antisemitism any more than I would blame blacks for racial hatred stirred against them, or anti-gay hatred. It’s because of what they are.” Mr Netanyahu appeared to have more to say, but Mr Marr interjected: “There’s a distinction between Jews and policies.” Mr Marr was correct to draw such a distinction, which makes his suggestion that many Jews think that rising antisemitism in Britain has been fuelled by the political positions adopted by the Israeli government so extremely clumsy.
There is no evidence that Israeli government policy, which has not changed terribly markedly in recent years, has had any impact on rising hate crime against British Jews, nor is there any evidence that there is any policy that the Israeli government could adopt to stem the tide of hatred aimed at British Jews by the neo-Nazis of the far-right, the extremists of the far-left, or Islamists inspired by groups such as ISIS.
I am not sure if it just me, but BBC television presenter Andrew Marr comes across as both goofy and smug. And he would not be out of place in a James Bond film as Q, showing Bond the latest gadgets.
Be that as it may, he recently had Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on to discuss the Middle East conflict. He tried to play “bad cop” – much like Tim Sebastian used to do on HARDTalk, and still does on DW’s Conflict Zone.
Bibi always give a good account of himself but I’d venture to say this was one of his most masterful performances.
Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli Palestinian “conflict”.
Melanie Phillips: Our crazy world
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network Britain’s persistent ambivalence towards the Balfour Declaration, Israel’s failure to deal properly with the false claims made about both Balfour’s famous letter and current Israeli policy, and the implications of the resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Archbishop Cranmer: Balfour 100: we are not ashamed of (re-)creating the State of Israel
Israel is central to Jewish religious and national identity: it is both a theological community and a political community. It is the one piece of land historically promised to the Jewish people as recorded in Genesis. . . . Archaeological discoveries continue to confirm the biblical record of a land promised to the Jews, who spoke and wrote Hebrew, and worshiped the God called YHWH in what is now called Israel at least 1,000 years before Jesus was born. . . .
Modern Israel just wants to be like other free nations of the world (cf. 1Samuel 8:7-20), combining the best ideals of the Western world—democracy, liberty, openness to debate and criticism, as well as advances in technology and the pursuit of the arts. Such ideals are much needed in the region, for at times it feels as though plucky little Israel is a candle surrounded by a sea of darkness—especially that which emanates from the jurisdiction of the United Nations. But only Israel seems to understand itself from the wilderness and its destination out of that wilderness, and the British government continues to take pride in the part we played in ending the exile.
God told Abraham to “Go,” and he responded “I will.” God promised Abraham that his descendants would have a land—a geographic entity—and would be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. Israel is a fulfilment of that promise, or the covenant of blessing is as fragile and ephemeral as the desert covenant. Christians and Jews together can thank the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . for the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland, because it was an eschatological promise that He would so. And if that was not a promise, then Jesus may not in fact be the long-promised messiah, and our promised salvation is nullified in a plethora of meaningless metaphors.
Review: ‘Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism’ by Daniel Kupfert Heller
Jabotinsky’s Children is a hatchet job, cloaked in a tone of historical objectivity. The “children” are Betar, the youth movement founded by Zionist leader Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky, which boasted some 65,000 members in the 1930s, most of them in Poland. The book’s thesis is that Betar youth, whom the author says Jabotinsky originally viewed with “a mix of pity, disdain and suspicion,” ultimately shaped his world view, making him open to fascist ideas. The author, Daniel Kupfert Heller, an assistant professor of Jewish Studies at McGill University, further asserts that Jabotinsky deliberately wrote “provocative and ambiguous prose” to allow “Betar activists to interpret their leader’s writings as they saw fit,” in line with what the author views as their own authoritarian and violence-prone ideology.
The first hundred pages are devoted to a tedious setup describing Jabotinsky’s growing interest in Poland’s Jewish youth and an overly detailed examination of the various existing Jewish groups that would eventually coalesce to form Betar. That the book originated as a Ph.D. thesis probably explains the minutia of this section. Although the author attempts to explain why Jews were attracted to Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski’s right-wing government (not hard to understand as the situation of Jews under his regime was better than either before or after), he doesn’t adequately convey the daunting challenges facing Polish Jews—given the growth of anti-Semitic hatred, the escalating economic hardships, and the progressive closing off by Britain of Jewish immigration to Palestine, one of their few avenues of escape. Neither will the reader learn what the Revisionist movement was about or even what issues preoccupied the Zionist leaders of the day.
That some Betar members flirted with fascist ideas is not in doubt. The question is: So what? It is not surprising that youth movements would be influenced by the politics of the day. Early on, Italian leader Benito Mussolini was not considered anti-Semitic which is why as late as 1934, Zionist leader Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the very face of establishment Zionism, could visit Mussolini as part of a diplomatic initiative without raising eyebrows. Heller admits that in the 1920s and part of the 1930s, fascism was not a dirty word. In the 1920s, Churchill himself wrote that Italian fascism had “rendered a service to the whole world.” As late as 1933, Roosevelt expressed his admiration for Mussolini.
What is worth noting—and Heller does not note it—is that Jabotinsky refused to meet with Mussolini when given the chance. The reason: Jabotinsky hated fascism. In a world that still admired it—yes, including some of his followers—Jabotinsky decried the spread of the Leader cult. Indeed, he might have been the first Zionist leader to use the word fascism in a pejorative sense.
The Arabs rejected partition and the creation of any Jewish State. The Jews accepted the principle of partition – but not the borders designated on the map.
Boris Johnson has advanced the resolution of the Arab-Jewish conflict by highlighting that:
· the only viable “two-state solution” is the partition proposed by the Peel Commission with newly-negotiated borders agreed between Jordan and Israel
· Jordan remains the Arab key to resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict – which a naïve and gullible world continues to ignore.
Trying to create two Arab States and one Jewish State in an area where only one Arab state and one Jewish state is warranted by history, geography and demography has been a diplomatic disaster with horrendous consequences for Arabs and Jews.
Jordan and Israel the two successor States to the Mandate – currently exercising sovereignty in 95% of former Palestine – need to sit down and resolve Jewish and Arab claims to the remaining 5%.
Britain’s reaffirmation of Peel’s proposed “two-state solution” is long overdue.
The “two-state solution” posited in 1922 and 1937 – Jordan and Israel – still remains the only viable solution to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict in 2017.
UNESCO is “the Titanic of international organizations,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said, accusing it of deliberately falsifying history to persecute the Jewish people.
In a scathing speech Friday to UNESCO’s 39th General Conference in Paris, Carmel Shama-Hacohen also slammed the United Arab Emirates for having given a gift to all member states but Israel, urging delegates to give it back in protest.
“UNESCO is the Titanic of international organizations, which was hijacked and led by the Arab Group into crashing the iceberg of politicization, and which has been sinking ever since,” Shama-Hacohen said.
Citing UNESCO’s anti-Israel bias, the US administration last month announced its withdrawal from the organization. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to follow suit, though it has yet to formally declare its intention to leave the agency.
Watch: Today’s UN? Americans pay. Terrorists rule.
A new police report has dramatically revived one of the greatest criminal mysteries in Argentine history — the possible murder of a crusading prosecutor that has roused grave suspicions about a president and added to doubts about the probe into the country’s most deadly terrorist attack.
An investigation by the country’s border police agency has concluded that the man who led that terror probe was murdered just four days after he formally accused then-president Cristina Fernandez of covering up the role of former Iranian officials who had been charged in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.
The new report, which was obtained by The Associated Press, bases its conclusions on controversial new evidence and sharply contradicts earlier official findings that Alberto Nisman likely killed himself.
Nisman, 51, was found dead on January 18, 2015, with a bullet in his right temple. A .22 caliber pistol was found next to him.
Coming just days after Nisman challenged Fernandez, the death became a politically charged controversy. Allies of Fernandez suggested Nisman took his own life because he couldn’t back up his allegations. Many other Argentines insisted he had been murdered because of them. It triggered anti-government protests ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
A delegation of MKs from the Joint Arab List arrived in Brussels Monday for a series of political meetings at the headquarters of the European Union (EU).
The move represents an unprecedented political activity on the part of the representatives of the Arab population in Israel in the international arena.
The delegation’s stated aim is to demand that the EU intervene in Israel, in order to stop the enactment of the Nationality Law.
Arab List MKs Dr. Youssef Jabareen, Chairman of the Committee on International Relations, MK Masoud Jana’im, MK Jamal Zahalka and MK Aida Touma-Suleiman, will meet with senior EU representatives and representatives of the various parliamentary factions, as well as the foreign offices of Belgium and France. over the coming week.
The Joint List told Arutz Sheva: “The size and composition of the delegation and the senior echelon of the meetings are unprecedented in an attempt by the elected representatives of the Arab minority in Israel to turn to international elements to block the racist and anti-democratic legislation in the Knesset and the government’s policy against the Arab population.”
Attorney Marc Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas Israel, said the US President Donald Trump still fully intends to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“He is probably the only president since President Clinton in the 1990s who is intending to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” he said.
“He also has to deal with reality as he finds it,” Zell said, explaining why the embassy has not yet been moved. “The reality in the Middle East is that the Iranian threat, both on the nuclear level and on the geopolitical level, is so serious and so dangerous that it requires a coalition of the willing, of Israel and the Sunni Muslim states to resist the Iranian attempts to achieve hegemony over the region.”
“In order for that to happen, in order for that coalition to form and to be effective, we’ve got to give an opportunity for Israel and the Sunni states to get together. For that to happen we don’t need to move – this is what the president has decided, and this is what Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided – we don’t need to move the embassy right now.
“As soon as that coalition is built, I am confident that the President of the United States will carry through on his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, close the consulate general, and finally bring justice and peace to the city of Jerusalem.”
Academics and public figures who under normal circumstances dismiss the early events in Jewish Scripture as non-historical fantasy or metaphor have taken a different attitude toward the portions describing the extermination of the Canaanite population under Joshua because those passages can be used to paint Jews as bloodthirsty conquerors and occupiers.
Campus and political personalities have taken pains in recent decades to play down or deny the historicity of the Biblical account of events in the ancient Levant, in many cases motivated by a desire to sever or challenge the connection between modern-day Jews and their Israelite forebears, and thus undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. This healthy skepticism, however, falls by the wayside if Biblical text can be reinterpreted to cast those ancient Israelites as immoral or evil, characteristics that they can then apply to the descendants of those invaders.
Chief among the evidence adduced to that end is the collection of commandments and narratives in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua calling for or describing annihilation of Canaanite, Emorite, Perizite, Hivite, Hittite, Jebusite, or other peoples from the Promised Land following the Israelite entry, events that the Biblical chronology would place in approximately the thirteenth century BCE. Whereas mainstream archaeologists are hesitant at best to accept, and at worst outright deny, that the archaeological evidence supports the Joshua conquest and genocide narrative, in this case the academics and public figures seize upon the stories as proof of Israelite – and therefore Jewish – bloodthirstiness and foreign origins.
On occasion, arguing for selective acceptance of the Biblical account flies in the face not only of these figures’ otherwise skeptical attitude toward Jewish Scripture, but also in the face of their other assertions regarding the pedigree of today’s Jews. “If they are descended of the ancient Israelites, you can’t go around arguing they’re descended of the Central Asian Khazars of the Middle Ages,” explained Professor Julius Wellhausen. “I mean, not if you want to be consistent. Maybe they don’t care.”
The IDF on Sunday said it was in possession of the remains of five of the 12 Islamic Jihad terrorists who died in last week’s tunnel explosion, after finding their bodies inside Israel.
The IDF Southern Command and Gaza Division found the missing bodies while carrying out additional operations on the tunnel, an IDF statement said.
The tunnel was detected using newly implemented advanced technology and destroyed last week in a controlled explosion inside Israeli territory.
Seven other terrorists, including two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and two Hamas members, were killed in the tunnel that Islamic Jihad on Saturday said it had been building “for years.”
Initially, seven bodies were found in Gaza. On Thursday, the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav ‘Poly’ Mordechai rejected appeals to enable searches for the five sets of remains before the remains of two IDF soldiers killed three years ago were retrieved and other missing Israelis accounted for.
One day after Israel announced it is in possession of the bodies of five Gaza terrorists, killed in the demolition of an attack tunnel last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that Israel would leverage the situation to secure the release of Israeli captives.
Calling them “our boys,” Netanyahu referred to the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, held in Gaza since 2014, and two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, believed to be held captive by Hamas after wandering into the territory.
“The government has two major tasks,” Netanyahu said at an event in northern Israel Monday. “The first is to defend the country and the other is to build the country. We are doing both of these things.”
“To defend the country we use a simple rule of thumb: Anyone trying to attack us, we attack them. Secondly, we don’t hand out gifts for nothing. We will bring our boys home, there are no free gifts,” he said.
According to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit on Sunday, “In the past few days, forces from the IDF Southern Command and the Gaza Brigade have finished uncovering and dismantling the attack tunnel. During the work, Israel uncovered the bodies of five terrorists.”
Israeli politicians championed their government’s decision Sunday to hold the bodies of terrorists who were killed in last week’s tunnel blast, arguing they should be used as bargaining chips to trade for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hamas.
“The bodies of these terrorists are bargaining chips,” said Likud MK and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter. “Those terrorists bodies should not be handed over until the boys are returned to us.”
Hamas is believed to be holding the bodies of missing IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, as well as three other Israeli citizens — Avraham Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Abu Anima.
Internal Security Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said “Israel must treat the Gaza Strip as a single entity and make it clear that until we receive our loved ones, they will not receive a single body.”
“The Israeli government must speak to Hamas in a clear voice and say that the bodies of the terrorist will not be returned until the [fallen] soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul are brought back to Israel,” Opposition leader Avi Gabbay said.
Two residents of the town of Ofra in Samaria finally received their weapons back, five months after they survived a stone-throwing attack near their hometown.
The two residents were attacked by a mob of Arab stone-throwers as they drove from Ofra to the town of Shiloh. Fearing that their lives were in danger, they used their personal firearms to drive off their attackers and make their escape. One of the attackers was reportedly injured.
The security forces who arrived at the scene after the incident supported and even praised the residents’ response. However, the residents were later taken in for questioning at the Binyamin police station. While they were released after several hours, their weapons were confiscated.
Their weapons were finally returned to them after a lengthy, five-month legal battle. The request for the return of the weapons states that “the applicant is married and has six children, is a veteran of military combat service, and is an active reservist.” In addition, the applicant serves as an ambulance driver in the community, who rushes to life-saving incidents, including terrorist attacks.”
It also states that “holding the applicant’s personal weapon in the hands of the respondent seriously harms the applicant, his right to property, and security of the applicant and his family.”
An indictment was filed against Palestinian man Muhammed Safaren on Monday for plotting a truck-ramming terror attack against Israeli soldiers.
The 40-year-old suspect from Ramallah had planned to use a truck to run over soldiers at a bus stop near a military base in central Israel.
On Oct. 19, the suspect stole a truck in the central Israeli city of Holon and began driving in the direction of the base. The owner of the truck noticed his vehicle being stolen, ran towards it and was nearly run over by Safaren.
The truck’s owner then called the police, who pursued the Palestinian suspect in a high-speed chase, which nearly resulted in several severe accidents on public roads. The suspect was eventually arrested by police after the truck broke down.
Safaren was charged with plotting a terror attack involving the murder of soldiers, endangering the lives of motorists on public roads, auto theft and entering illegally into Israel.
Sabri Saidam, the PA official in charge of “education,” said on Saturday that protecting the educational curricula in Jerusalem would remain a top priority for the PA.
At an event at a school in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina in eastern Jerusalem marking “World Environment Day,” Saidam said that the PA would continue to act to thwart Israeli attempts to “Israelize” the Arab educational system.
Senior PA officials have instructed principals, teachers and students in eastern Jerusalem schools not to use the curricula prepared by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
Saidam, who reviewed projects prepared by the students, said that he was satisfied with the achievements in the field of education that will affect the future of “Palestine” and Jerusalem, achievements that refute the Israeli narrative of the “occupation,” according to which, he mendaciously claims, “a [good] Palestinian is a dead Palestinian.”
A Palestinian challenge against FIFA’s handling of a complaint against the Israeli soccer federation will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month.
CAS said its panel will hear the Palestinian Football Association’s appeal on November 27. A verdict is expected weeks later.
The court date was announced 10 days after FIFA President Gianni Infantino said his organization would not intervene after years of attempted mediation between its two member federations.
According to Hebrew media reports FIFA views the matter as a political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians and has thus elected not to intervene.
The Palestinians’ appeal to CAS followed Infantino steering the soccer body’s annual congress in May to delay debate on a FIFA-appointed task force’s report. It could have stopped West Bank settlement clubs from playing in the Israeli league.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Egos Insist Israel Wants Control Over Cesspool That Is Gaza (satire)
Residents of this coastal territory on the Mediterranean have decided to ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and to accept the narrative that Israel seeks to possess the crowded, polluted, poverty-stricken, unemployment-rife sinkhole of misery that it has become, rather than face the reality that they live in a place with the same real estate desirability as a pit of fecal sludge.
As part of their efforts to shore up the bruised egos of people who have failed, numerous times, over the past century, to eliminate the emerging Jewish sovereign body in their midst, the leaders of the Gaza Strip have convinced themselves and many of those they govern that Israel, having removed thousands of its citizens and soldiers from the territory in 2005, going as far as to exhume the dead and rebury them elsewhere, covets the human and literal cesspool that is now the Gaza Strip.
Israel, whose economy dwarfs those of its neighbors combined and consistently ranks high among the nearly 200 countries in the world in life expectancy, quality of life, and happiness, must be seething it does not possess the almost-not-metaphorical-hellhole of Gaza, they reason, since admitting no one is actually interested in that dependent, backward, self-inflicted dump would present Gazan egos with too great a challenge to bear.
“We are the vanguard of the Resistance,” trumpet Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as if Israel has any interest in Gaza beyond getting the people there to stop firing rockets and civilians and digging tunnels by means of which to kill civilians.
“We will lead the Resistance to liberate Al Aqsa,” they chant, a further indication that a firm grip on reality is not what characterizes their assessment of the situation.
JPost Editorial: Lebanese crisis
It would be unfair, however, to claim that the Saudis alone have initiated the crisis in Lebanon. The truth is that Iran, via Hezbollah, has been pushing for a confrontation. Hariri’s government was losing control over its foreign policy and security issues, as he was serving as a cover for a Hezbollah-dominated government.
With all their losses, Iran and Hezbollah have emerged victorious from the war in Syria, which is now winding down. If in the past Iran and Hezbollah were unable to devote attention and resources to influencing events in Lebanon because of their commitments in Syria, today with the war there essentially over, the two can now refocus efforts. The Saudis hope to prevent continued Iranian encroachment by precipitating a domestic crisis in Lebanon.
Iran is attempting to put the blame for the crisis on the Saudis. To delegitimize these efforts, it is claiming the Saudis are in cahoots with America and the Zionists.
“Repeating the baseless allegations of Zionists, Saudis and Americans against Iran… proves this resignation is a new scenario to create fresh tensions in Lebanon and the region,” Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. In coming days, Iran will undoubtedly double down on its efforts to delegitimize the resignation by claiming it is a “Zionist plot.”
Whatever the reasons for the timing of the resignation, however, Israel must be careful not to be dragged into a military confrontation that does not serve its interests.
The Hariri resignation signals a new era of instability in the North. But it is also an example of how Israel’s interests dovetail with Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan against Iranian influence. Israel should do its best to take advantage of this situation.
Nasrallah questioned the credibility of Hariri’s announcement of the resignation, which was issued in Saudi Arabia. Nasrallah heavily hinted that the message was dictated to Hariri by Saudi Arabia and that the words the Hariri used did not reflect the language of the Lebanese prime minister. This was Saudi and not Lebanese rhetoric, Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah ignored the published reports that there was a plan to assassinate Hariri in Lebanon. Nasrallah stressed that he had no information that could explain what was behind Hariri’s resignation at this time. Nasrallah revealed that after Hariri returned from a previous visit to Saudi Arabia, he told the members of his government that Saudi Arabia supports stability, security in Lebanon, and the continuation of the government under his leadership. Therefore, everyone, including in his own party, was surprised by his resignation announcement. Moreover, there have been no recent indications that Hariri prepared or planned to resign, Nasrallah said. All of Hariri’s statements attested to the continuation of his future plans as prime minister.
Therefore, Nasrallah stressed, the decision to resign was a Saudi one imposed on the Lebanese prime minister. Nasrallah wondered if Saudi Arabia was holding Hariri against his will and whether Hariri was not permitted to return to Lebanon. All this maneuvering was part of the power struggle occurring within the Saudi royal court, a struggle in which the Lebanese prime minister found himself – against his will, Nasrallah asserted.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday warned Tehran the kingdom would not tolerate “any infringement” on its national security, following a weekend missile attack on Riyadh by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighboring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.
“The kingdom reserves the right to respond in a timely manner to the hostile actions of the Iranian regime,” he added, echoing earlier warnings by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia said the unprecedented missile attack, intercepted near Riyadh international airport on Saturday, “may amount to an act of war.”
The coalition on Monday sealed off air, sea and land borders in Yemen, where it has been battling rebels in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government since 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen closed off the land, sea and air ports to the Arab world’s poorest country early Monday after a rebel-fired ballistic missile targeted Riyadh, blaming the launch on Iran and warning it could be “considered as an act of war.”
The coalition’s statement ramps up tensions between the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom and its Shiite rival Iran, both of which have interests in Yemen’s yearslong conflict. The bloodshed continued Sunday as an Islamic State-claimed militant attack in Aden killed at least 17 people.
In a statement, the coalition accused Iran of supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels and their allies with the missile launched Saturday toward the Saudi capital’s international airport.
Iran has backed the rebels, but denies arming them. The Houthi militants have said their Volcano-variant ballistic missile is locally produced.
The Saudi-led coalition’s statement said the closures would be temporary and “take into account” the work of humanitarian and aid organizations. The war has claimed more than 10,000 lives and driven the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Saudi Arabia unexpectedly on Monday to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, with the Gulf kingdom at the height of a major crackdown on members of the royal family.
Abbas had been in Egypt, where he was scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, when he was summoned to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi rulers, according to the official PA news site Wafa.
The Palestinian ambassador in Riyadh, Bassam Agha, said the meeting would address bilateral contacts and efforts to strengthen relations between the two sides, as well as “developments on the Palestinian issue.”
Saudi Arabian Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was killed on Sunday afternoon when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed, state television reported.
Bin Muqrin served as deputy governor of Saudi Arabia’s Asir province.
It is not clear what caused the crash, which occurred near the country’s border with Yemen.
At the time of the crash, bin Muqrin was traveling with seven other officials. Reports say none of these aboard survived.
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Washington told NBC that bin Murqin was “performing an inspection in remote parts of the government” at the time of the crash.
Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes, senior military officers, businessmen and top officials, including a well-known royal billionaire with extensive holdings in Western companies, as part of a sweeping purported anti-corruption probe that further cements control in the hands of its young crown prince.
A high-level employee at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. told The Associated Press that the royal— who is one of the world’s richest men— was among those detained overnight Saturday. The company’s stock was down nearly 9 percent in trading Sunday on the Saudi stock exchange.
Reports suggested those detained were being held at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, which only days earlier hosted a major investment conference with global business titans from the U.S., Japan and other countries. A Saudi official told The Associated Press that other five-star hotels across the capital were also being used to hold some of those arrested.
The surprise arrests, which also reportedly include two of the late King Abdullah’s sons, were hailed by pro-government media outlets as the greatest sign yet that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is keeping his promise to reform the country, long been plagued by allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government.
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