Abbas insists on settlement freeze before talks



TEL AVIV // US efforts to return Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table were dealt a further blow yesterday after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said he would not resume talks without a settlement freeze that includes East Jerusalem.

Mr Abbas's statements are likely to clash with Israel's demand that any new moratorium on settlement construction exclude most of Arab East Jerusalem. Israel views East Jerusalem as part of its "eternal, undivided" capital - a status not recognised abroad - while the Palestinians want the area as the capital of their future state.

A return to talks is unlikely to be aided, too, by the comments of Israel's national security adviser who late Saturday said it was not clear whether Israel had a Palestinian partner for a peace accord.

Uzi Arad, speaking in an interview with an Israeli television channel, also suggested that Israel would not rule out an interim pact with the Palestinians if it failed to reach a permanent agreement - a possibility the Palestinians have rejected.

Mr Arad's comments are in apparent contradiction with the official stance of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, who called Mr Abbas his "partner in peace" when direct talks between the two sides resumed in early September and declared that he aimed to reach a permanent deal within a year.

Washington is trying to persuade Israel to institute a three-month freeze on new settlement projects to replace the previous 10-month building moratorium that ended on September 26.

Israel's refusal to renew the freeze has prompted Palestinians to refuse to return to the peace talks, which were suspended when Israel's ban expired.

The spat over whether to include East Jerusalem in the US-proposed deal on a renewed settlement moratorium has been one of the key issues delaying the revival of the talks.

Mr Abbas, speaking to reporters in Cairo following a meeting with Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, said when asked if he would resume negotiations with Israel: "If there is no complete halt to settlements in all of the Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, we will not accept it."

Mr Netanyahu, however, has insisted that Jewish construction in East Jerusalem continue in an apparent bid to persuade members of his predominantly pro-settler, right-wing coalition to support the US offer.

Eli Yishai, the head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, has said that he will only back a fresh freeze if it excludes the disputed area.

In a sign of the Israeli right's opposition to any new curbs on building, about 4,000 settlers, many of them teenagers from the West Bank, demonstrated in front of Mr Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem yesterday against the possible freeze.

In a bid to pressure government ministers to vote against the deal, many waved placards that read: "We are looking at your hand - vote against it!" and "Benjamin Netanyahu - yes you can say 'no'!"

Jewish schools and municipal services in the West Bank went on strike yesterday and dozens of pro-settler youngsters protested by blocking the main route into Jerusalem and causing traffic jams.

Washington has offered Israel security and diplomatic incentives aimed at convincing the country to institute the moratorium. The offer includes the US transfer of 20 F-35 warplanes worth US$3 billion (Dh11bn) to Israel.

Aside from the disagreement over East Jerusalem's inclusion in the freeze, the deal has also stalled because the US has been reluctant to supply the list of guarantees in writing, as Mr Netanyahu has demanded.

On Friday, though, the US State Department said it was prepared to provide some commitments in writing, but did not provide further details. Over the weekend, a prominent US figure condemned Washington's offer to Israel as overly generous.

Daniel Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to Israel and Egypt, blasted the proposal as a "very bad idea" that rewards Israel for its "bad behaviour" of expanding settlements.

Mr Kurtzer, in a piece published by The Washington Post, wrote of the pending agreement: "If it goes forward, it will be the first direct benefit that the United States has provided Israel for settlement activities that we have opposed for more than 40 years."

Amid the disputes surrounding the peace talks, an Israeli court decision yesterday is also likely to spur tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

The ruling by an Israeli court-martial handed down suspended three-month prison sentences and demotions to two former soldiers who forced a nine-year-old Palestinian boy to look for suspected booby-traps during the onslaught that Israel launched in Gaza in December 2008.

The sentence, which meant that the ex-conscripts are free but face a minimum three-month jail term if they commit another crime, appeared light as legal experts have previously said the soldiers could face up to three years in jail.

Israeli-Palestinian legislators reacted angrily to the decision. "The message here is that the lives of Arabs are considered inferior," said Ahmad Tibi, a legislator in Israel's parliament. "It's no wonder that hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed by the Israeli army without punishment or even condemnation."

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Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

RESULTS

2.15pm: Al Marwan Group Holding – Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m
Winner: SS Jalmod, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ibrahim Al Hadhrami (trainer)

2.45pm: Sharjah Equine Hospital – Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,000m
Winner: Ghallieah, Sebastien Martino, Jean-Claude Pecout

3.15pm: Al Marwan Group Holding – Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: Inthar, Saif Al Balushi, Khalifa Al Neyadi

3.45pm: Al Ain Stud Emirates Breeders Trophy – Conditions (PA) Dh50,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: MH Rahal, Richard Mullen, Elise Jeanne

4.25pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cup – Prestige Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: JAP Aneed, Ray Dawson, Irfan Ellahi

4.45pm: Sharjah Equine Hospital – Handicap (TB) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Edaraat, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
​​​​​​​Penguin Press

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

As You Were

Liam Gallagher

(Warner Bros)

MIDWAY

Produced: Lionsgate Films, Shanghai Ryui Entertainment, Street Light Entertainment
Directed: Roland Emmerich
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Which products are to be taxed?

To be taxed:

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Not taxed

Freshly squeezed fruit juices, ground coffee beans, tea leaves and pre-prepared flavoured milkshakes do not come under the ‘sweetened drink’ band.

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Best Men's Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski

Top Goal Scorer of All Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Best Women's Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Best Men's Club of the Year: Chelsea

Best Women's Club of the Year: Barcelona

Best Defender of the Year: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Best Goalkeeper of the Year: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Best Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)

Best National Team of the Year: Italy

Best Agent of the Year: Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year: Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)

Player Career Award: Ronaldinho

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

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Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
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KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

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1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

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2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
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Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Origin
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The 10 Questions
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Results

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m; Winner: Gurm, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Al Nafece, Al Muatasm Al Balushi, Mohammed Ramadan

6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Ashton Tourettes, Adrie de Vries, Ibrahim Aseel

6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown – Group 3 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: Ottoman, Adrie de Vries, Abdallah Al Hammadi

7pm: Liwa Oasis – Group 2 (PA) 300,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Hakeemat Muscat, Szczepan Mazur, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Ganbaru, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5