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Lebanon blames Israel for exacerbating climate crisis

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Lebanon blames Israel for exacerbating climate crisis



Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati asserted on Saturday that Israel was responsible for exacerbating a climate crisis in the country through bombings and the deployment of white phosphorus.

He was speaking at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), the United Nations climate conference, where several countries condemned the Israel-Hamas conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire.

“The severe environmental deterioration in Lebanon is one of the effects of the Israeli aggression,” Mikati said.

“The Israeli use of indiscriminate weapons, such as white phosphorus weapons, causes the irreparable damage of more than 5,000 square kilometers of agricultural land and forests, which is destroying the livelihoods and revenue sources of our people,” the prime minister claimed, stressing the need to “recognize the disastrous consequences of war on the environment.”

He also appealed for Arab support in reconstructing a sustainable green economy in Lebanon, according to a statement issued by Lebanon’s Council of Ministers.

President Isaac Herzog meets with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at COP28 (credit: Courtesy)

On October 31, Amnesty International accused Israel of firing artillery shells containing white phosphorus in operations along Lebanon’s southern border between October 10 and 16. Israel denied the claim.

The Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post it had no comment on Mikati’s statements, which were made a day after President Isaac Herzog left Dubai and the climate conference to return to Israel.

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Herzog stood in the traditional “family photo” with other world leaders, but did not give his scheduled address on Friday.

No other Israeli ministers attended COP28 this year in light of the ongoing war against Hamas.

Comments from Arab leaders 

During his less than two days in the United Arab Emirates, which began late Thursday evening, Herzog convened a series of strategic meetings with the primary objective of facilitating the safe return of the remaining hostages from Gaza to Israel.

The president started his meetings Thursday night with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Herzog pleaded with the sheikh to employ his total political weight to promote and speed up the return home of the hostages, according to his office.

The next day, Herzog met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Qatar has used its influence to help secure the release of the majority of the Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas and other terrorist groups on October 7 – while harboring some of the terrorist group’s leaders within its borders.

The president also met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Britain’s King Charles III. In his meetings, Herzog emphasized the humanitarian duty of releasing the hostages and appealed to world leaders to join this effort. He also said it is Israel’s “right and duty” to defend itself against the security threat posed by Hamas to bring safety back to Israel.

Silva told Herzog that he had spoken with the leaders of South American nations and called on them to support the return of the hostages.

All the leaders Herzog engaged with unequivocally denounced the act of terror perpetrated by Hamas against the Israeli people on October 7. However, with the collapse of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas over the weekend, certain world leaders leveraged their platforms at COP28 on Friday to advocate for an immediate end to the ongoing war.

The war’s prominence in speeches at the Dubai event highlighted international divisions over the bloodshed and presented a distraction for a summit where nations try to find consensus on the shared threat posed by climate change.

“While discussing the climate crisis, we cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Palestinian territories right beside us,” Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told leaders during his formal speech at the COP28 conference.

“The current situation in Gaza constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity; those responsible must be held accountable under international law,” he said.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed the sentiment.

“South Africa is appalled by the cruel tragedy that is underway in Gaza. The war against the innocent people of Palestine is a war crime that must be ended now,” he said in his address.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said it was difficult to focus on global warming while the fighting was going on.

“This year’s conference of the parties must recognize even more than ever that we cannot talk about climate change in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us,” he said.

Iran’s delegation left the Leaders’ Summit on Friday in protest of Israeli officials’ presence, state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian said the participation of Israeli representatives was “contrary to the goals and aims of the climate-change conference,” IRNA reported.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid also called to end the war.

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro linked environmental issues with the war.

“If Palestine could be free today, then tomorrow, humanity will escape alive out of the throes of the climate crisis,” he said.

Although before October 7, Israel had deemed 2023 the year to deal with the climate crisis and had plans to invest NIS 9 million ($2.42m) in a pavilion and top-level delegation at COP28, the country ultimately sent only around 20 ministry professionals. A handful of climate-tech companies from Israel’s South also joined the official delegation.

Reuters contributed to this report.





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Israel’s High Court rejects petition of east Jerusalem family facing eviction

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Israel’s High Court rejects petition of east Jerusalem family facing eviction



Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected on Sunday a petition by an east Jerusalem family seeking to challenge a previous court decision – which ruled that the family must vacate their home in Silwan in favor of Jewish residents,  the Israeli NGO Peace Now reported. 

The Shhadeh family, from Batan al-Hawa in Silwan, challenged Judge Noam Solberg’s ruling, which rejected their appeal request. However, the Shhadeh family claimed that the court did not seek their response to the Jewish buyers’ applications in the case, leading to a flaw in the court’s decision-making process. Their voices were not heard before the decision – contrary to procedural rules. 

However, on Sunday, the High Court rejected the petition. 

Peace Now, an Israeli NGO working to promote a two-state solution, made a statement on the ruling, saying, “This is a political move, under the guise of legal proceedings, for the forcible displacement of a Palestinian community and its replacement by settlers in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.” 

Palestinian children stand outside an apartment in the Silwan district of East Jerusalem in Jerusalem, May 15, 2024. (credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

“The responsibility to prevent the injustice lies with the government,” Peace Now added. “It must determine that if settlers have rights to properties from before 1948, they should be compensated for them, not to have the right to evict families who lawfully purchased the property and lived there for decades.”

Currently, all legal paths have reportedly been exhausted, and the family will need to evict its four-floor home by June 1. If they do not leave willingly, the Jewish buyers can file a procedure that would see police forcefully evict residents. 

Background on the case

In November 2022, the District Court rejected the Shhadeh family’s appeal and ruled that they must vacate their home. The family then filed a request to appeal to Israel’s High Court. Solberg, the judge who received the case, decided in 2023 to wait for the position of the Attorney General in a similar eviction case.

In the months that passed, while waiting for the Attorney General’s decision, the Jewish buyers’ lawyer submitted six requests to the court to expedite the decision and rule on the case. 

Following their sixth request in April 2024, Judge Solberg decided not to wait for the Attorney General’s decision and determined that the family must vacate their home. The family submitted a motion for reconsideration, which was also rejected by the judge. Last week, the family filed a petition to the High Court against the decision, which was rejected on Sunday. 

Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing group, was involved in the case and has filed numerous eviction lawsuits against some 84 Palestinian families in Silwan, Peace Now stated. Since 2015, 14 families have been evicted from Batan al-Hawa. 





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FM Katz severs connection between Spain’s representation in Israel and Palestinians

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FM Katz severs connection between Spain’s representation in Israel and Palestinians



Israel will bar the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem from servicing West Bank Palestinians to protest Madrid’s decision this week to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood.

“I have decided to sever the connection between Spain’s representation in Israel and the Palestinians,” FM Israel Katz wrote in a post on X on Friday.

Spain has an embassy in Tel Aviv that services Israelis and a consulate located in east Jerusalem that acts as a de facto embassy to the Palestinian Authority.

Most countries similarly split their missions, with an embassy in the Tel Aviv area that services sovereign Israel and a second mission located either in east Jerusalem or Ramallah for West Bank Palestinians.

Flags of Spain, Norway and Ireland seen as Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations (illustrative) (credit: REUTERS, WIKIPEDIA COMMONS)

Decision came after recognition of Palestinian statehood

Katz wrote Friday that he would “prohibit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank.”

He ordered the measure two days after Spain, Ireland and Norway announced they would unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, a measure that officially goes into effect on May 28.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry immediately recalled its envoys from those three countries and severely reprimanded the ambassadors of those three countries at a meeting in Jerusalem.

Israel also plans to take additional measures against those three countries. Katz focused in particular on Spain because the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz used the phrase “from the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” in a video message this week.

The slogan which calls for the borders of a Palestinian state to stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, is seen as a call for the elimination of the state of Israel, which is located din that territory.

Katz wrote, “If this ignorant, hate-filled individual wants to understand what radical Islam truly seeks, she should study the 700 years of Islamic rule in Al-Andalus—today’s Spain.”





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Ireland & Palestine – A brief history

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Ireland & Palestine – A brief history



Ireland is set to announce the recognition of a Palestinian state on Wednesday, following a similar move made hours earlier by Norway. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also plans to announce Spain’s recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the same day.

“Today, Ireland, Norway, and Spain are announcing that we recognize the state of Palestine,” said Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris at a press conference. “Each of us will now undertake the necessary national steps to give effect to that decision. I’m confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.”

Ireland and Palestine have maintained official relations since 2000, with Ireland establishing a representative office in Ramallah and Palestine maintaining one in Dublin. Both nations are members of the Union for the Mediterranean.

However, the relationship between Ireland and Palestine dates back much further. The Irish nationalist movement has long viewed the Palestinian cause through a similar lens of seeking to overthrow what they see as oppressive colonizers and achieve independent statehood, particularly aligning the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO.)

By the late 1960s, Ireland grew increasingly concerned about Palestinians displaced by the Six-Day War. In 1969, Irish Foreign Minister Frank Aiken highlighted this issue as a top priority in Ireland’s Middle East policy. Since then, Ireland has supported UN resolutions calling for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the territories captured during the war.

Flags of Palestine and Ireland flutter next to each other over the International Wall in support of Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 29, 2024 (credit: Clodagh Kilcoyn/Reuters)

‘IRA-PLO one struggle’

The connection between the Northern Ireland-based IRA and the PLO was most evident in the 1970s and early 1980s, often depicted in murals in nationalist areas. A notable example in Belfast showed armed IRA and PLO members with the slogan “IRA-PLO one struggle.” Sinn Féin linked its political strategy with movements like the ANC and PLO to provide a broader political context for its efforts. This alignment was regularly featured in the Sinn Féin newspaper An Phoblacht and grew stronger under Adams’ leadership in the 1980s.

In 1980, Ireland became the first EU member state to support the establishment of a Palestinian state. In 1999, then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern visited Gaza, meeting PLO chief Yasser Arafat and touring the Jabaliya refugee camp, becoming the first national leader to fly directly from Palestine to their home country. In 2001, Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen also visited Gaza to meet Arafat.

Despite significant support for Palestine within Ireland, the government has yet to implement the 2014 decision to formalize diplomatic relations, preferring a coordinated EU approach. However, in April 2024, Foreign Minister Micheál Martin announced plans to recognize a Palestinian state within weeks.

Former Irish PM Leo Varadkar acknowledged differing views between the US and Ireland regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, particularly concerning Israeli actions in Gaza.

In 2009, Northern Ireland’s Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ meeting with Hamas highlighted the longstanding ties between Irish Republicanism and Middle Eastern groups. This relationship began in the early 1970s with Libya’s support for the IRA. The IRA’s connections extended to Hezbollah, influencing tactics used in both Lebanon and Northern Ireland. The most enduring relationship was with the PLO, which trained IRA operatives.

Since the official end of the IRA’s armed campaign in 2005, mainstream Republican support for Palestine has been political. While Sinn Féin remains critical of Israel, accusing it of human rights violations, leaders like Gerry Adams publicly adopt a more moderate tone. Sinn Féin calls for EU sanctions against Israel and supports the Palestinian cause through various platforms.

Irish Republicanism’s anti-Israel stance has sometimes been accused of antisemitism. Historically, figures like Arthur Griffith and elements within the IRA expressed antisemitic views. Although overt antisemitism has decreased since the late 1960s, anti-Israel rhetoric sometimes crosses the line, reflecting an underlying historical bias.

Graffiti and murals in Republican areas during the second intifada often glorified Palestinian terrorism, and some Republicans suggested arming Palestinians with decommissioned IRA weapons. While modern Irish Republicanism may not be inherently antisemitic, its century-old undercurrent persists, influencing its stance on Israel and the Jewish people.

In January 2011, Ireland granted diplomatic status to the Palestinian delegation in Dublin. Later that year, Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister indicated that the country might lead efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood, contingent on the Palestinian Authority gaining full control over its territories. In 2014, both houses of the Irish Parliament passed motions urging the Government to recognize the State of Palestine.

Today, this has finally come to fruition. 





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