In a rare move, India voted in favor of a Israeli motion at a United Nations forum to deny observer status to Shahed, a Palestinian organization based in Lebanon, earlier this month.
According to the Israel’s Foreign Ministry, it had initiated a motion at the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) against a proposal made by Shahed to obtain observer status in the UN.
The motion was approved with a 28-14 vote on June 6.
Maya Kadosh, who is deputy chief of Israeli Mission in India, took to Twitter to thank India for its support.
“Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of terrorist organization “Shahed” to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm,” Maya tweeted late on Monday night.
Shahed works on humanitarian issues. However, Israel recognizes it as a “terrorist organization”.
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to attend US-led Palestinian conference
Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have informed the Trump administration they will attend a U.S.-led conference in Bahrain this month on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy as part of a coming U.S. peace plan, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.Egypt and Jordan's participation is considered especially important since historically they have been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and are also the only Arab states to have reached peace agreements with Israel.However, Palestinian leaders' decision to boycott the June 25-26 conference in Manama has raised doubts about its chances for success. They have shunned a broader diplomatic effort widely referred to as U.S. President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" but which Palestinians see as likely to be heavily tilted in favor of Israel and denying them a state of their own.In a letter dated June 10 to foreign diplomats in the Palestinian areas, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said: "Our presence in Manama would only be used as a legitimization of the initiative that aims at depriving us of our rights."Despite that, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a chief architect of the long-delayed peace plan, is pressing ahead with arrangements for the Bahrain meeting, where the economic components are expected to be unveiled as the first step in the plan's rollout.Acceptance of the invitation to the conference by Jordan and Egypt will bring to the table two countries that border both Israel and Palestinian areas.Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have previously confirmed their attendance, a White House official said.The official declined to say what level of representation the countries would send. U.S. officials have said they were inviting economic and finance ministers, as well as business leaders from the region and around the world, to discuss investment in the troubled Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank also plan to be present.U.S. officials have been vague about the timing for the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.With Israel heading for new elections in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a government, uncertainty is expected to further delay the full release of the plan.Most experts are skeptical the Trump administration can succeed where decades of U.S.-backed efforts have failed.The Palestinian leadership has rejected diplomatic contacts with the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and then moved the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. Palestinians want the eastern part of the city, captured by Israel in the 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally, as their future capital.
Syria says Israel strikes strategic hilltop near Golan, causing damage
Israel carried out a missile attack on a strategic hill in Syria overlooking a frontier zone between the countries early on Wednesday, the Syrian state news agency SANA said.It said damage was caused to Tal al-Hara, in the Daraa governorate near the occupied Golan Heights, and that Syrian air defences shot down several missiles. Israel used "electronic warfare" to disrupt radars during the attack, SANA added.Israeli officials declined to comment on the incident. They have acknowledged past strikes in Syria targeting what they said were deployments or arms transfers by Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces helping Damascus beat back rebels.Israeli media said Hezbollah was suspected of having positioned surveillance equipment on Tal al-Hara."We are denying the enemy capabilities in advance," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech on Wednesday, in an apparent allusion to such operations in Syria."In a methodical and consistent manner, we are acting to prevent our enemies from setting up bases close to us, for attacks upon us."
This is the first time when India, which believed in two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, voted in favor of Israel.
Besides India, the countries which supported the Israeli motion were the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Ghana, Norway, Netherlands, South Korea, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Eswatini, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malawai, Malta, Mexico, Paraguay, Philippines, Andora, Togo and Uruguay.
The countries which voted against the motion were Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belarus, Angola, Morocco, China and Russia.
Leaders arrive for SCO summit in Bishkek
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) -- touted as Asian NATO -- is holding its 19th summit, beginning Thursday in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.Among others, the leaders of member states attending the two-day summit, include Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.The summit carries particular significance in the wake of a global trade war between China and the U.S. It will also provide an opportunity for Indian and Pakistani leaders to interact first time, since last February when their armed forces engaged each other in aerial "dog fights". However, New Delhi has clarified that no bilateral meeting is scheduled between Modi and Khan.Briefing about the summit, a senior Indian official said in New Delhi that PM Modi will seek cooperation between the member states to end the menace of terrorism in the region. China on Monday had advised the SCO members to refrain from targeting any country.Iran scrambles to lift petrochemical sales as sanctions hammer oilPakistan: Khan government unveils its first budgetIran, participating as an observer state, will be seeking an audience with Asian countries over crippling sanctions imposed by Washington on its oil market.The summit assumes further significance as it is taking place just a fortnight ahead of the meeting of the heads of G20 countries, scheduled in Japan's province of Osaka on June 28-29. All eyes are also on the bilateral meeting between Russian Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the summit.The outcome at the SCO as well as the bilateral meeting between Russian and Chinese leaders may help Asian nations to put up a common position on various issues at the G20 summit.What is the SCO?Formed in April 1996, the SCO is a China-led political, economic and security bloc comprising eight members -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov is currently heading the organization.The SCO represents around 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area and around 20% of GDP.Russian missile shield long owned by NATO alliesIndia to evacuate thousands as cyclone nears west coastThe Bishkek SummitThe Council of Heads of States is the apex decision-making body in the SCO, which holds annual meetings in one of the member states' capitals.The Council of Foreign Ministers holds regular meetings, where international situation and the SCO's interaction with other international organizations are discussed.Besides, the Council of National Coordinators coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within the framework of the SCO's charter.A delegation-level meeting is also planned with the participation of the four SCO observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.The SCO also recognizes six "dialogue partners”. They are -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey -- the only NATO member in the group.Agenda-settingCritical issues including global security, multilateral economic cooperation and people to people exchanges are discussed at the SCO summits. The agenda is set on the basis of consensus, instead of voting.The organization aims to strengthen cooperation between member states on security-related concerns, resolve border disputes and enhance military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism efforts.Tens of thousands of protesters force delay in Hong Kong extradition bill debateTesla is serious about a possible record quarter, not so serious about a submarine carDefense cooperationDefense ministers also hold annual meetings in accordance with a defense pact among SCO members. The last such meeting was held in Bishkek on April 29-30, 2019.Aside from this, a Tashkent-based Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) also functions under the SCO.The RATS is considered an important body under which member-states cooperate and exchange information related to anti-terrorism operations.SCO-Afghanistan Contact GroupThe SCO signed a protocol with war-torn Afghanistan during the SCO Heads of State summit in Qingdao, China on June 9-10, 2018 to establish the Afghanistan Contact Group.It is a consultative mechanism for developing proposals and recommendations to support government and public efforts to establish a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous Afghanistan free from terrorism and extremism.Suspect released in Russian envoy murder caseUS stops Turkish pilots currently training on F-35s‘Separating terror groups, opposition key in Idlib issue’US, Turkish defense chiefs to discuss S-400 row
India to evacuate thousands as cyclone nears west coast
Authorities in India said they plan to evacuate thousands of people to safer locations with Cyclone Vayu expected to make landfall Thursday morning in the coastal state of Gujarat.“The Gujarat and the Diu administration plan to evacuate about [300,000 people] from the identified vulnerable areas starting in the early morning of June 12, 2019. The evacuated people will be shifted to around 700 cyclone/relief shelters,” the Indian government said Wednesday in a statement, adding the authorities have also been advised on the timely evacuation of people from low-lying coastal and vulnerable areas.Video: India evacuates hundreds of thousands as cyclone Vayu builds furyThe government issued a separate statement quoting a forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) saying Cyclone Vayu is expected to hit the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 110-120 kilometers per hour gusting to 135 km/h Thursday morning.India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has said that 39 teams from the NDRF are being deployed at agreed prepositioning locations identified in Gujarat state and the union territory of Diu.Sixty-four people died last month from Cyclone Fani after it hit Odisha state and caused massive destruction.