THE indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, a move that threatens his 10-year grip on power, dominated the front page headlines in Friday’s issue of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies.
Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that Netanyahu is officially indicted with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes, which moves him closer to face prosecution.
Al-Ayyam said that Netanyahu holds on to his position and lashes out at the Israeli prosecution and police.
Furthermore, al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the United Nations Security Council members, except for Washington, refuses to legalise Israeli colonial settlements in the West Bank.
Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission’s Legal Department has foiled the fraudulent sale of 207 dunams of Palestinian land to Israeli settler-colonial groups in Masha village, west of the West Bank city of Salfit.
According to al-Quds, Luxembourg urged the European Union to recognise the Palestinian state in response to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration on Israeli colonial settlements.
It said that Russian President Vladimir Putin received Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III in Moscow, and expressed his support for the latter’s efforts to safeguard church property, particularly in Jerusalem.
According to al-Quds and al-Ayyam, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian shack in Khallet Ad-Dabi’ to the east of Yatta in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.
They added that Israeli settlers set fire to a large tract of Palestinian land in Burqa village, northwest of Nablus.
Al-Quds said that Israeli forces seized a Palestinian excavator to the south of the West Bank city of Nablus.
The dailies said that Israeli occupation authorities released Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith, head of the Education Directorate of Jerusalem Samir Jibril and head of the Student Parents’ Council of Jerusalem Ziad Shamali.
Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hands over the mandate with the formation of the new government to the Knesset to prevent third elections.
Al-Quds highlighted the Times report.
It spotlighted US Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments calling for treating the Palestinian people with ‘respect and dignity’.
According to al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida, President Mahmoud Abbas received the former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
Burg was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida stating that there is a Palestinian partner for peace, there has to be an Israeli partner to make peace.
According to al-Ayyam, Israeli forces prevented a Palestinian police force from storming a drug cultivation plant to the east of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Premier Muhammad Shtayyeh was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida commending all states that have slammed US remarks on Israeli colonial settlements.
It said that Palestinians staged sit-ins protesting the closure of several Palestinian institutions by Israeli police in Jerusalem.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida reiterating that the position of the UK on Israeli colonial settlements has not changed, and describing them as illegal under international law.
Al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the UK Labour Party’s manifesto declares that the party will recognise the Palestinian state immediately if it comes to power.
- The Iranian Armed Forces’ joint military drills codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 98’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-98) entered its second day on Friday in the Central province of Semnan, in a bid to boost preparedness in the face of potential threats in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz from the United States.
The Iranian Air Force units started the second day of their large-scale military exercises this morning with various types of state-of-the- art missile and radar systems – designed and built at home – boasting their counteroffensive power against different aerial threats.
The military drill is being held over an area of 416,000 square kilometres in the central province of Semnan, simulating the Persian Gulf general area and the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Speaking on the sidelines of the manoeuvre on Thursday, Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Defence Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi Fard said the first phase of the drill features detecting and identifying enemy targets, while in the next phase radar system will engage airborne targets.
He warned against any violation of Iranian airspace, which he described as the country’s ‘redline’.
The drill is aimed at testing the country’s latest military equipment and to enhance its preparedness in the face of potential threats in the simulated conditions of real war. The drill includes various types of homegrown missile systems and radars countering aerial threats in low, medium and high altitudes.
The first phase of the drill, held on Thursday, featured detecting and identifying enemy targets, while the second phase will involve radar systems engaging airborne targets.
On Tuesday, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of all oil consumed globally passes.
In June, Iran’s air defences shot down a US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which was sent on a spying mission into the Islamic Republic’s skies.
Iran has conducted major military drills in recent years to enhance the defence capabilities of its Armed Forces and to test modern military tactics and state-of-the-art equipment.
Each year, the country inaugurates a host of new projects and hardware developed with reliance on domestic capabilities. The Islamic Republic maintains that its defence power is driven by deterrence and poses no threat to any other country.
In a relevant development on Tuesday, the Ground Force of Iran’s Army started large-scale military drills in the country’s Northwestern region, in a bid to further boost the combat readiness of its units.
Codenamed ‘Zolfaghar-e-Velayat’, the military drills of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces started this morning in a vast strategic area in the Northwestern parts of the country.
Various divisions of the Army Ground Force are participating in the drill, which is focused on practising the transfer of rapid reaction units via ground and air from across the country to operation zones. The enlisted units will also display their efficacy and work to enhance their readiness in responding to operational requirements and threats through day and night.
- The United States must act responsibly to protect the lives of its soldiers in the region. A top IRGC commander is warning that Iran is ready to respond to any threat by using defensive and offensive measures.
‘Washington has to act responsibly in protecting and not endangering the lives of American soldiers by avoiding any mistakes in the region, specifically in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz,’ Major General Gholam Ali Rashid said on Friday.
Rashid, commander of the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Headquarters, added that Tehran did not seek war, but that branches across Iran’s Army and IRGC forces were always prepared to defend Iran’s interests.
He added that Iran’s ability to repel any ‘provocative action’ is increasing in a ‘coordinated manner.’
The senior IRGC commander made the comments on the sidelines of a joint military drill, code-named Guardians of Velayat Sky-98, being held over an area of 416,000 square kilometres in the central province of Semnan.
The military exercise seeks to simulate combat in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz area.
Various types of state-of-the-art missile and radar systems – designed and built at home – will counter different aerial threats during the exercise.
The military drill comes after Washington’s USS Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.
On the same day, US President Donald Trump announced the deployment of the first batch of previously promised troops in Saudi Arabia. There will be a total of 3,000 troops in the ‘coming weeks.’
The troops are being deployed to ‘assure’ Washington’s regional partners and ‘deter further Iranian provocative behaviour,’ Trump said.
Washington, along with its regional allies such as Riyadh, has sought to couple economic sanctions with the prospect of military action as part of a campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ against Tehran.
Speaking regarding the developments on Friday, Rashid said ‘sending messages and words’ were not enough to deter Iran’s enemies.
‘Suitable measures and actions are needed,’ he added.