The United Nations described Tuesday’s demolition in the community of Khirbet Humsa as “the largest forced displacement incident in over four years.”
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which administers the occupied West Bank, said seven tents and eight pens were destroyed because they were built illegally in a firing zone in the Jordan Valley.
“We will note that the enforcement was carried out in accordance with the authorities and procedures, and subject to operational considerations,” COGAT said in a statement.
Yvonne Helle, a senior UN Development Programme official in the Palestinian territories, criticized COGAT’s reasoning for demolishing the structures, some of which had been donated as humanitarian aid. “The lack of Israeli-issued building permits is typically cited as a reason, even though, due to the restrictive and discriminatory planning regime, Palestinians can almost never obtain such permits. Demolitions are a key means of creating an environment designed to coerce Palestinians to leave their homes,” she said.
Ethiopia’s military operations stoke fears of civil war
Abiy accused the TPLF on Friday of “criminal hubris & intransigence” in a message on Twitter, claiming they rejected the federal government’s efforts at “mediation, reconciliation, dialogue.” He said that the ongoing military operations in northern Ethiopia “have clear, limited & achievable objectives.”
The president of Tigray, Debretsion Gebremichael, blames the federal government for the current escalation, saying the region is acting in self-defense.
On Wednesday, the federal government announced a six-month state of emergency in Tigray, which gives them broad security powers. Internet and communications lines have been blacked out in the region according to local reporters.
Ethiopia’s military said on Thursday that it was at “war” with the ruling party of the Tigray region.
The current round of tensions in Tigray started in August when Abiy’s government delayed scheduled elections because they said the risk of Covid-19 was too high.
Officials in Tigray cried foul and held their own election in September anyway, with more than 2 million people turning up to vote.
The TPLF was the dominant political force in Ethiopia’s multi-ethnic ruling coalition for decades, but quit after Abiy, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, took office two years ago and reorganized the coalition into a single party.
Foreign observers and diplomats are increasingly worried that the situation could significantly escalate within Tigray and beyond. Sudan has closed its border with Ethiopia, citing “security tensions.”
Trump administration moves forward with $2.9bn drone sale
The department also informed Congress the administration intends to sell approximately $10 billion in ordnance, including precision-guided munitions, so-called “dumb” bombs, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground missiles, said the aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss the details of the intended sales.
Tanzania’s President was sworn in after a disputed vote
Earlier this week, opposition coalition leaders had called for protests against the outcome, which returned Magufuli to office with 84% of the vote.
On Monday, Tanzanian police arrested Freeman Mbowe, the leader of the main opposition party Chadema, along with four other opposition leaders who had called for the demonstrations. They were released from police custody on Tuesday.
The elections took place simultaneously both in Tanzania and in the country’s semi-autonomous state of Zanzibar, where the opposition presidential candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, was arrested along with other leaders of his ACT-Wazalendo party after calling for protests.
In Zanzibar, the CCM ruling party’s presidential candidate, Hussein Mwinyi, was declared the winner after securing 76% of the vote.
“Detaining opposition leaders is not the act of a government confident in its electoral victory,” US Ambassador to Tanzania Donald Wright said.
One of India’s best-known news anchors was arrested
The case reflects the country’s increasingly fraught and politicized media environment.
In a video posted online in May and shared widely by Indian social media users, Naik’s wife Akshata alleged that Goswami contributed to the suicide by failing to pay Naik for designing his television studio. Naik’s suicide note — which CNN has independently verified with his daughter — claimed that Goswami and two other people owed him $726,000.
But Goswami and Republic TV deny those allegations, saying in a statement Wednesday that 90% of the money was paid to Naik’s company over two years ago. The official court document on the case does not specify whether the money was paid before or after his death.
According to Goswami’s statement, police previously investigated him for his alleged role in the suicide, was closed in April last year after police found “no proof of any illegality.”
Republic TV said that the pro-government anchor’s arrest was made “as part of a larger vindictive exercise against an independent journalist and an independent news organization” and claimed it was an “attack on the fourth estate.”
In Russia, new legislation could give former presidents lifelong immunity
Russian lawmakers submitted a draft bill that would grant former presidents lifelong immunity from criminal prosecution, state-run news agency TASS reported Thursday.
Under current Russian law, presidents cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office. The proposed change seeks to extend that immunity in perpetuity.
“This order acts as a guarantee against unjustified persecution of the former head of state and recognizes the importance of his role in the general system of public authority,” Senator Andrey Klishas, the group’s co-chair, told TASS.
The legislation has to go through three readings in the lower house of the Russian parliament, a review in the upper house, and then be signed by Putin, to come into force.
The new bill also makes the process of revoking a former president’s immunity more difficult.
The latest legislation comes a week after Putin submitted another bill under his constitutional reforms which would give ex-presidents a lifetime seat in the upper house of the Russian parliament — the Federation Council.
Oren Liebermann and Abeer Salman reported from Jerusalem, Bethlehem Feleke reported from Nairobi, Jennifer Hansler reported from Washington, Tamara Qiblawi reported from Beirut, Esha Mitra and Manveena Suri reported from New Delhi and Mary Ilyushina reported from Moscow. Julia Hollingsworth, Ryan Browne, Zachary Cohen, Kylie Atwood, David McKenzie, Brent Swails and Eoin McSweeney also contributed to this report.