Sudan’s first nuclear power plant nears completion

Image of a nuclear power plant [Tennessee Valley Authority/Wikipedia]

Image of a nuclear power plant

Khartoum entered discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday about the completion of the first Sudanese nuclear plant which will receive technical support from the IAEA.

“A delegation from the General Directorate of Nuclear Generation, of the Sudanese Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, met in Vienna with officials of the technical projects of the IAEA,” the official Sudanese news agency SUNA said.

According to SUNA, the meeting was attended by the Director General of the Sudanese Atomic Energy Commission, Abde -Ilah Moussa, and the Secretary General of the National Radiological Control Agency, Mohamed El Hassan Abu-Udnin.

“Sudan is progressing well in building the manpower abilities, the governing of technical institutions, and the legal and legislative frameworks that enable it to meet the standards of the IAEA,” according to engineer Nassir Ahmed Al-Moustafa, Director of the General Directorate for Atomic Generation Department of the Ministry of Electricity.

Read more: ‘Sudan will not accept people queuing like beggars for Western aid’

Al-Moustafa has praised the technical support provided by the IAEA to Sudan, which has largely contributed to the development of a roadmap towards the establishment of the first nuclear power plant, according to the criteria set by the agency for the peaceful uses of nuclear and atomic energy.

In September, Sudan was elected, alongside Kenya, as a member of the board of council of governors of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), representing the African continent for the period between 2017 and 2019.

The Sudanese government said that the preliminary surveys to determine the location of the first nuclear plant have been completed and that the start of work on the confirmation and detailed studies plans would begin by the end of 2017.

In December 2016, the Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, Moataz Mousa, announced in a speech before the Sudanese parliament that 2017 will see the construction of the first nuclear plant to generate 1200 megawatts of electricity.

Last year Russia’s energy firm ROSATOM announced that it plans to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in peaceful use of atomic energy with Sudan’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy in 2017.

In May 2016 the governments of Sudan and China signed a framework agreement for the construction of the east African country’s first nuclear power plant.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

UN envoy: This is the last chance to help Gaza

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolai Mladenov attends a press conference in Gaza on 25 September 2017

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolai Mladenov, is keen to help the government in Gaza, as well as cooperate in building the electricity infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and end its crisis.

During a press conference on the current political and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip today, Mladenov said that the government must deal with many difficult matters, especially those concerning the staff and urgent needs.

He also stressed his readiness to help the government carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip and to inform the international community of all developments.

He pointed out that there cannot be economic recovery in Gaza until the export and import of materials is permitted, noting that the UN will be in Gaza when the government returns.

“We must make sure that all the understandings between Fatah and Hamas are implemented on the ground. Egypt, the PA and everyone know that the situation in Gaza may explode at any time,” he added.

Read: Gaza patients’ lives at risk due to medical shortages

Mladenov also stated that the matter of the employees is very complex and that they spent a lot of time discussing and searching for a solution for this issue. According to him, all parties agree that the return of the “legitimate authority” to Gaza is the solution for the crises there.

The current opportunity for reconciliation and lifting the siege imposed on Gaza is the last chance. I do not think there will be a chance later.

He went on to stress the importance of taking advantage of the historic moment of the understandings reached with Cairo.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

53 attacks on mosques and churches in Israel produce seven convictions

St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem was vandalised on 21 September 2017

More than 50 Christian and Muslim sites in Israel and the occupied West Bank have been attacked over the last eight years, but authorities have only filed nine indictments.

According to official data reported by Haaretz, 53 mosques and churches have been vandalised since 2009 (the data goes up to July 2017). Yet only nine indictments have been filed, and only seven convictions handed down. 45 of the cases have been closed, with just eight still under investigation.

The statistics from Israel’s Public Security Ministry shows that 11 investigations were opened in 2013, and five people convicted. 22 Christian and Muslim sites were vandalised in the period 2014-2016, while four such attacks were recorded in just the first half of 2017.

From 2009 through 2012, there were 17 such incidents without a single indictment.

Read: Church leaders condemn Israel for ‘systematically’ undermining Christianity

Many arson attacks on mosques have never been solved, including in West Bank villages such as Kafr Yasif, Luban al-Sharqiya, Beit Fajjar, Hawara and Qusra.

Experts cited by the paper say they only know of two cases that were solved: “an arson attack on a Christian seminary near the Abbey of the Dormition, Jerusalem; and an arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha”.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli forces dig up Muslim graves in Jerusalem

Muslim graves

Israeli forces dug up Muslim graves in Maman Allah cemetery west of Occupied Jerusalem for establishing settlement projects aimed at Judaizing and changing the status quo in the holy city.

Mustafa Abu Zahra, Chairman of the Committee for the Care of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, said that a huge grave including 8 skulls and large skeletons, that belong to Muslims who were buried in the cemetery for hundreds of years, were dug up as a result of the excavations.

He told Quds Press that Israeli settlement projects have ate 70 per cent of the graveyard’s area which was estimated at 200 dunums. He called on competent authorities to intervene in order to halt such Israeli violations.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli authorities to demolish 4 buildings north of Jerusalem

Demolition residential buildings al-Matar

Israeli authorities on Monday raided a number of Palestinian residential buildings in al-Matar neighborhood to the north of Occupied Jerusalem and took their measurements in preparation for their demolition.

Mayor of Kafr ‘Aqab, Emad Awad, told Quds Press that the Israeli authorities in the morning hours broke into the four buildings intended to be demolished for the construction of a new settlement road and took their measurements.

The Jerusalemite activist Raed Hamdan said that the residents of the threatened buildings were assaulted during the raid.

According to Hamdan, one of the four buildings is uninhabited while the three others are homes for 80 Palestinian families consisting of 300 people.

Israeli authorities claim that these buildings are unlicensed and that they are close to the separation wall, meaning that Palestinian youths can mount their rooftops and throw stones at Israeli targets, Hamdan pointed out.

Based on the Israeli plan, a new settlement road where only private vehicles can pass will be constructed following the demolition of the residential buildings.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli court sentences Palestinian prisoner to life

Amjad al-Najjar

Israeli military court of Ofer imposed a life sentence against the Palestinian detainee, Amjad al-Najjar, 37 from Silwad town east of Occupied Jerusalem, after convicting him of allegedly killing a Jewish settler in an anti-occupation shooting attack in June 2015.

The ruling against captive Najjar also stipulated the payment of a fine estimated at 350,000 shekels.

His wife and two children were denied the right to attend the court hearing.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli army destroys car wash west of Salfit

Destroyed car wash Deir Ballout

Israeli occupation forces Monday destroyed a Palestinian car wash in the town of Deir Ballout, to the west of Salfit city in the central West Bank.

Local sources said that Israeli soldiers forced Palestinians to shut down their stores located along the road that leads to the village of Kufr al-Dik, before proceeding to destroy the car wash.

The demolition, which was done at the pretext of lacking construction permission, also included leveling of olive trees as well as an adjacent land.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

PLO to request ICC investigation of Israeli settlement activity

Settl illegal WB

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law, though not by the Israeli government

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) –The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has decided to submit an official request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate illegal Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi told Ma’an on Monday.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency reported on Sunday that the Executive Committee had “asked” the ICC to begin investigations, though Ashrawi said that the committee had only made the decision to move forward with submitting an official investigation request.
According to Wafa, during an Executive Committee meeting on Sunday, the PLO condemned Israel for “ethnic cleansing and racial segregation,” which they highlighted were “considered war crimes that should be investigated by the ICC.”
A PLO statement reportedly accused Israel of carrying out a “silent ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, Hebron, and in other areas of the occupied West Bank particularly exposed to Israel’s settlement project.
As a result of said violations of international law, the PLO “decided to refer the file of settlements as a war crime and the file of ethnic cleansing, discrimination and apartheid to the ICC with an urgent appeal to open a judicial investigation into the war crimes committed by the State of Israel in the Palestinian territories occupied during the 1967 aggression,” Wafa quoted the statement as saying.The PLO also called on the United Nations to take “necessary and speedy measures to inspect (Israel’s) nuclear facilities,” and to “provide protection to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation,” adding that that the international community “cannot continue with its double standard policy and not implement international law and UN resolutions when it comes to Israel.”According to Wafa, the PLO statement went on to say that “Jewish settler groups that have been terrorizing the Palestinian people in the occupied territories… should be considered as terrorist organizations and treated as such,” and accused Israel of protecting violent settlers who carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians and their properties.The PLO reportedly said that international law and UN resolutions “remain the only base for a comprehensive and balanced political settlement that will provide security and stability to all people in the region.”
Reports emerged on Sunday that Israel’s Civil Administration is expected to advance plans within the next few weeks for up to 2,000 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
Separately, four Palestinian human rights organizations submitted a 700-page communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday alleging that Israeli officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli state asks Supreme Court to forcibly transfer Khan al-Ahmar community

Khan al-Ahmar transfer

Photo of Khan al-Ahmar, taken on Sep. 20 during a visit by UN officials

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli state has called on the Israeli Supreme Court to approve plans to demolish an entire Palestinian Bedouin community and forcibly transfer its residents to the town of Abu Dis, which human rights groups say would amount to a war crime.

The state submitted its response to the court on Sunday regarding 46 demolition orders threatening the community of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, saying the village should be demolished by the middle of 2018.
Another petition has also been submitted by Israeli settlers asking for the demolition of the school in the community, which was established in 2009 and serves more than 150 children between the ages of six and fifteen — some of them from neighboring communities.
No date has yet been scheduled for the court to rule on the case.
Israeli NGO Peace Now, which monitors settlement expansion, stressed in a statement Monday that “This type of forceful evacuation of protected persons constitutes a severe violation of international humanitarian law.”
“While the government argues that the residents of Khan al-Ahmar will receive alternative housing, they will in fact be evicted against their will for the benefit of settlers, and placed above a garbage dump in Abu Dis,” the statement said.
The group further accused the Israeli government of advocating for the forcible displacement of Khan al-Ahmar’s residents as “compensation” to right-wing Israelis, ahead of the evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost called Derech HaAvot that the Supreme Court ordered to be demolished.
While settler outposts constructed in occupied Palestinian territory are considered illegal by the Israeli government, each of the some 196 government-approved Israeli settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have also been established in direct violation of international law.
“It is shameful that settlers from Kfar Adumin, who received their lands for free from the government, are fighting for the evacuation of their Palestinian neighbors, who resided in the area longer before them,” Peace Now’s statement concluded, referring the the illegal settlement located adjacent to Khan al-Ahmar.
Hagai El-Ad, director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, also emphasized in a statement that the Israeli state was asking the court to authorize a war crime: “No sanctimonious language about a ‘planning, proprietary and realistic’ alternate, or ‘time to prepare’ can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons, and forcible transfer is a war crime.”
Two weeks ago, B’Tselem said in a letter addressed to the Israeli prime minister, defense minister, justice minister, chief of staff, that they would bear responsibility for the war crime if the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is carried out.
According to updated data cited by B’Tselem, Khan al-Ahmar, which is situated on land Israel has earmarked for illegal settlement expansion in the area, is home to 32 families — about 173 individuals, including 92 minors.
Israeli forces notified Khan al-Ahmar’s residents last week that they are at risk of imminent forcible transfer from their lands, weeks after Israeli Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly announced that plans were underway to expel them within a few months.
Earlier this year, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s school.
The demolition notices were issued on the basis of the community lacking almost impossible to obtain Israeli building permits, which the United Nations has said results from the discriminatory zoning and planning regimes implemented in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control.
Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 Palestinian Bedouin villages comprising of a population of 7,000 — 70 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees — in the central West Bank that are considered by the UN as being at risk of forcible transfer by Israeli authorities to alternative sites.
(Source / 25.09.2017)

Israeli Soldiers Photograph Residential Buildings, And A Mosque, In Jerusalem

25 SEP
11:40 AM

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday before noon, the al-Matar neighborhood, near Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, and photographed residential buildings and a mosque, in preparation for demolishing them.

The threatened buildings, including vacant and occupied flats, and the mosque, are facing demolition by the Israeli army under the pretext of being built without permits.

The City Council in occupied Jerusalem is also planning to pave a road parallel to the Annexation Wall in the area, an issue that placed the building under direct threats of demolition.

The issue is still being discussed in Israeli courts, and the demolition notices have been served even though, so far, no final verdict has been reached.

(Source / 25.09.2017)