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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Qatar’s amir says committed to halting Israeli attacks on Palestinians


While a ceasefire came into effect on Friday to end the 11-day deadly offensive on Gaza, Israeli attacks on Palestinians continue.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani pledged to help stop Israeli attacks against Palestinians and the Al-Aqsa mosque during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, Doha’s state news agency [QNA] reported.

The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Palestine and current efforts to rebuild Gaza following the 11-day bombardment of the city that ended with the Qatar and Egypt-brokered ceasefire.

Amir Tamim reiterated his country’s support to the “brotherly Palestinian people and their just cause” while expressing his commitment to continue working with Arab and Muslim countries “to stop the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

President Abbas also expressed his appreciation of Qatar’s continued efforts to support Palestinians.

The call came just days after a Qatar and Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Friday, following deadly attacks that killed 248 Palestinians including 66 children.

The ceasefire has been praised by leaders around the world for ending days of brutal violence in Gaza.

“I commend Egypt and Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close coordination with the UN, to help restore calm to Gaza and Israel”, said Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement to reporters at United Nations [UN] Headquarters in New York, calling on all sides to observe the ceasefire.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also thanked Qatar for its efforts in bringing the situation in Gaza to a much needed calm.

I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza & #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence & their loved ones. I commend #Egypt & #Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close contact w/ the @UN, to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start,” he tweeted.

Since May 10, Israeli air raids have destroyed fifty schools in Gaza according to Save the Children. 

Read also: UN, EU thank Qatar for facilitating ceasefire in Gaza Strip

The Qatar Red Crescent Society Office was also destroyed as was the Al Jalaa building which housed Qatar-based Al Jazeera offices, the Associated Press offices and residential units.

The Sheikh Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Artificial Limbs, Gaza’s only prosthetic and disability rehab centre, also saw significant damage after targeted attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s biggest library was also destroyed.

The indiscriminate bombardment also caused destruction to the Strip’s main Covid-19 testing centre, as well as at least 15 other hospitals and health clinics.

Ongoing attacks against Palestinians

Despite the truce in Gaza, occupying Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at worshippers who were performing Friday prayers as well as unarmed people celebrating the ceasefire.

The Palestinian Red Crescent has not disclosed figures on the number of injuries reported in the Friday attacks.

Meanwhile, Israel has also been accused of unlawfully blocking entry to the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, placing cement barricades at its entrances while banning press and non-residents to enter.

Israeli forces also regularly ask Palestinians living in the neighbourhood for their IDs while allowing Israeli settlers in without any proof.

The latest flare-up in Israeli aggression started in Sheikh Jarrah after Palestinians protested what they described as attempts to ethnically cleanse the East Jerusalem neighbourhood to make way for Jewish settlers.

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