Israel accepts 3,000 additional housing units for settlers

Israel accepts 3,000 additional housing units for settlers

JERUSALEM – Israel on Wednesday approved about 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a day after the United States issued its toughest rebuke to date against such construction. This was the biggest announcement of settlement plans during the Biden administration.

The plans were approved by a Defense Ministry committee, according to a security official who was not authorized to speak in public and did not provide details. The anti-settlement group Peace Now also confirmed the approvals.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to take a “decisive position” on the Israeli decision, which he said amounted to a “message of contempt for the efforts of the US administration.”

The Trump administration had tolerated settlement growth and abandoned the decades-long US position that settlements were illegitimate. Israel embarked on an aggressive wave of colonization during the Trump years, advancing plans for more than 12,000 settler homes in 2020 alone, according to Peace Now, the highest number since it began collecting data in 2012.

4 policemen, 2 Islamists killed in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan – Violence at an anti-France Islamist rally in eastern Pakistan on Wednesday killed at least four police officers and two protesters, officials said. The government has deployed paramilitary troops to restore order.

Thousands of supporters of a banned radical Islamist party gathered on a highway in the town of Sadhuke as they marched towards the capital, Islamabad. They demanded the expulsion of the French envoy to Pakistan for publication in France of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam.

The violence began a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government said it would not accept the Islamists’ demand to close the French embassy and expel the French envoy. Khan’s decision infuriated supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party, who this weekend suspended their march to Islamabad to give the government three days to consider their demands.

Also on Wednesday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference that Saad Rizvi’s TLP party would now be treated as a militant organization. He said the violent activities of Rizvi’s party would not be tolerated and the TLP cannot blackmail the government. Rally fans have also called for Rizvi’s release from prison. He was arrested last year in previous protests against France over the cartoons.

Unregistered toddler accepted by Spain

A child born during its mother’s journey from Cameroon to Europe must be registered in Spain to prevent the child from being declared stateless and to ensure their full rights under Spanish law, a judge ruled.

According to court documents consulted on Wednesday, the birth of the young girl on March 27, 2020, in a hospital in Oran, Algeria, was never registered by the Algerian authorities.

The mother and daughter arrived in Spain when the child was 1 year and 2 days old. The couple have since lived in a humanitarian reception center in the southern province of Cordoba. A DNA test confirmed that the woman is the mother of the toddler.

Judge Francisco Ortega said that “registration is directly required by the international standard which obliges states, including Spain, to immediately register any child born who has not previously been registered in another state”.

Lorena Garcia, a lawyer who advised the prosecutor’s office in the case, said the judge’s order was a first for Spain. “If you don’t exist, you have no rights and no one can protect you,” she said.

Iran to resume nuclear talks in weeks

ISTANBUL – Iran has agreed to resume nuclear talks in Vienna by the end of November, Tehran’s top negotiator said on Wednesday, signaling the possible resumption of talks to restore the stalled 2015 nuclear deal for months and surrounded by uncertainties.

In a message posted on Twitter, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri, who met with European diplomats in Brussels, said the exact date for the negotiations would be announced next week.

Bagheri said he had initiated a “very serious and constructive dialogue” with Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary General of the European Union for Political Affairs, “on the essential elements for the success of the negotiations”.

Iran suspended negotiations in June after the election of its new president, Ebrahim Raisi, a die-hard cleric. For months, his government said it would return to the negotiating table but refused to set a date, fueling growing pessimism and alarm over whether a reinstatement of the nuclear deal was still possible.

President Joe Biden has vowed to reinstate the deal and negotiations began in April. Iran refused direct talks with the United States, and European partners acted as intermediaries for the two delegations.

FILE – In this file photo from Monday, October 25, 2021, Palestinian workers work on the construction of new houses in the Jewish settlement of Bruchin in the West Bank, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, on Monday, October 25, 2021. An Israeli controller of the settlement said Wednesday that Israel has approved about 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank. The decision of a government committee came a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation to date of the proposed construction. (AP Photo / Ariel Schalit, file)