Israel’s Defence Ministry Ehud Barak has ordered the destruction of eight Palestinian villages in the southern region of Hebron for being “illegal dwellings in a fire zone,” despite proof that the villages have been located there since 1830. The area is to be used by Israeli Defence Forces for military training, including live-fire exercises, and the residents are to be relocated to the nearby city of Yatta. The area is classified as “Area C,” which is defined by the Oslo Accords as being under full Israeli control. The villages of Majaz, Tabban, Sfaye, Fahit, Halawa, Al Marqaz, Jinba and Kharuba – together with four other locations in the Hebron Hills – have been under threat of demolition since 1999, according to the Association for Human Rights in Israel. Many residents feel that this is simply another excuse to acquire more settlement land. In total 1500 residents are being moved out of their homes.
According to a report published by Project on Middle East Democracy, Yemen’s President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi has called for the release of all prisoners which had been arrested for their involvement with last year’s uprising. Mansour Hadi also ordered a full investigation into human rights abuses that occurred during their imprisonment. There are currently over 100 people, mainly youth, who are being held for participating in the uprising. The decision to release the prisoners, which are being held in national security prisons, comes after a wave of demonstrations led by youth groups managed to apply sufficient pressure on Mansour Hadi. The call to release the prisoners has been in deliberation for some time and Mansour Hadi has repeatedly been vocal about this issue.
A Yemeni diplomat, Rasheed Mohammad Al-Qadasi, has reportedly been killed in the Syrian capital of Damascus. According to the Yemeni newspaper The Yemen Post, a group of armed men entered killed him in their attempt to steal his car. This latest incident comes as the Yemeni embassy in Syria faces a lot of criticism with the way they treat Yemeni citizens living in Syria, particularly students. The Yemen Post reports that various Yemeni citizens who have been arrested in Syria are discontent with the amount of aid that the embassy has provided them. At the time of writing, no official Yemeni sources have confirmed Al-Qadasi’s death.
Sudan has rejected South Sudan’s proposal of a higher oil transit fee and an $8.2 billion financial deal. The rejection comes just nine days before a deadline imposed by the African Union and the United Nations is set to expire. Both sides are being urged to reach an agreement on various issues, which include border demarcation and oil transit fees by 2 August. South Sudan’s chief negotiator hoped to secure a deal which would allow them to pay up to $9.10 per barrel of oil to be allowed to be transported through Sudan. The offer was refused by Sudan who believed that there were bigger issues to settle first, such as South Sudan’s alleged backing of rebels. “We think security is a prerequisite,” a member of Khartoum’s delegation told reporters, ruling out the possibility of a settlement by 2 August by saying that certain issues “need more time to be discussed and be resolved.”