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Arabic press review: Palestinians welcome UK Labour Party support for sanctions on Israel

Meanwhile, prominent Egyptian journalist goes on hunger strike, Saudi Arabia sees 8.5% fall in foreign workers and hundreds of Kuwaitis fall victims to cyber
Audience voting at the UK Labour Party's conference in Brighton on 26 September 2021 (Reuters)

Abbas says Labour Party resolution a strong message to Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday welcomed a vote by the British Labour Party backing sanctions on Israel and recognising that it has implemented an apartheid system.

The decision “is a strong message to the Israeli that the world no longer accepts the continuation of this occupation, and that it is moving towards adopting steps to contain, isolate and punish the occupation,” Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

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“It is also a message of hope to the Palestinian people and a moral support for their rights, confirming that this occupation will eventually come to an end."

The Labour conference backed a motion urging the party to back sanctions against Israel for its illegal actions under international law, to stop the UK’s arms trade with Israel, and end trade with illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. 

Members of the Labour Party on Monday voted by a large majority in favour of a resolution condemning "the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel's militarised violence attacking al-Aqsa Mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah, and the deadly assault on Gaza".

Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, also praised the resolution, describing it as historic, stressing that it had passed despite the tireless attempts made to disrupt the vote, shorten the debate and withdraw the draft resolution. 

"The truth has triumphed, and the party members voted with an overwhelming majority to consider Israel an apartheid state and to call for economic and military sanctions," he wrote on Facebook, calling the vote victory for the martyrs, prisoners, and wounded and for the Palestinian struggle.

Shortly after the resolution passed, Labour’s shadow foreign minister Lisa Nandy repudiated the motion, telling the Jewish News that “we cannot support this motion".

She condemned the pro-Palestine stance of the conference saying that “we owe it to the people of Palestine and Israel to take a fair and balanced approach that recognises there can only be peace through a safe and secure Israel existing alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state".

Detained Egyptian journalist goes on a hunger strike 

Egyptian journalist Abdel-Nasser Salama has gone on a hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions of his detention in the notorious high-security Scorpion Prison, according to Arabi21 news website.

Salama, one of the most prominent journalists in Egypt, was editor-in-chief of the government al-Ahram newspaper, the largest and oldest newspaper in the country.

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Salama is protesting his ongoing solitary confinement in a small cell, where he has not seen the sun since his arrest last July, in addition to prohibiting his family from visiting him.

Salama started his strike on Saturday to protest the solitary confinement he’s been in since his arrest in July and the ban on his family from visiting him, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights said

Salama was arrested on 18 July after he published an article criticising President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and calling on him to resign.

The public prosecution accused Salama of "aiding a terrorist group in achieving its goals, and publishing and broadcasting false news.”

Salama believed that Sisi's moves to relinquish the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in 2016, the gas fields in the Mediterranean to Israel, and Nile waters by signing the document of the Declaration of Principles for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), deserve to be put trial.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers left Saudi Arabia

The number of foreigners working in the Saudi private and government sectors has fallen by 8.5 percent between the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, according to the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper.

The number of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia at the end of June stood at 6,135,126 expatriates, compared to 6,706,459 expatriates in June 2020.

According to the data of the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) and the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI), the number of Saudi and non-Saudi subscribers in the social insurance system working in the public and private sectors decreased by 474,382 subscribers.

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The drop was 5.4 percent in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same quarter of last year, according to Al-Watan.

The newspaper did not provide the reasons behind the decline. 

Cyber gangs target Kuwaitis

Kuwait has recently recorded an increase in cyber fraud and theft by organised gangs abroad using various online "scam methods", according to a report published by the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper.

A source told the newspaper that the gangs are very adept at convincing people to invest in “profitable projects” through online money transfers, only for the victims to later discover that it was all a scam. 

“The public prosecution has received hundreds of complaints by citizens who have been subjected to cyber fraud and are shocked that their money cannot be recovered,” the source said.

The source added that the least affected by these operations was someone who had paid 5,000 dinars ($16,600), while most had paid amounts exceeding 20,000 dinars ($66,360).

“The last victim was a woman who paid 85,000 dinars ($282,500), but unfortunately these complaints will never be dealt with,” the source said, adding that the only solution to confront the issue is raising awareness against online scams. 

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.