Palestinian children demonstrate with signs at the Erez crossing with Israel near Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on July 24, 2018 against Israel's blockade on the enclave.  / AFP / MAHMUD HAMS
Palestinian children demonstrate with signs at the Erez crossing with Israel near Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip. AFP

UN envoy: ‘Devastating’ Israel-Hamas clash averted in Gaza



The UN Mideast envoy said on Tuesday that Israel and Hamas were "minutes away" from another "devastating confrontation" in Gaza on Saturday – a clash averted after UN and Egyptian diplomatic efforts got both sides to "step back from the brink."

Nikolay Mladenov warned that “unless we begin in earnest the crucial work required to change the current deteriorating dynamics, another explosion is almost a certainty.”

He told the Security Council that he just returned from Gaza and “the situation is calming down although tensions remain,” warning that the still “perilous” face-off could lead to the fourth war in a decade between Hamas and Israel.

“Only through the repeated, collective efforts of all sides has another catastrophic escalation been averted over the past weeks,” Mr Mladenov said.

The latest outbursts of violence followed months of near-weekly border protests organised by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the protests began March 30.

The protests were aimed at ending the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza that has brought severe economic hardship to the territory and demanding a ‘right of return’ for descendants of Palestinian refugees to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel’s creation, and two-thirds of Gaza’s two million residents are descendants of refugees.

Israel says it is defending its sovereign border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as a cover for attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said flaming kites sent across the border by Hamas have destroyed over 7,400 acres – "that is half the size of Manhattan."

Mr Danon said it is time that the Security Council declares Hamas a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, saying it is "holding hostage the entire population of Gaza" and its goal is to destroy Israel.

Mr Danon again urged Hamas to release two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers. “One cannot demand humanitarian assistance to Gaza, which we support, while refusing to ensure the basic humanitarian rights of returning our captives and our fallen,” he said.

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said the “dire humanitarian situation has placed an explosive pressure on the infrastructure and caused loss of livelihood among the entire population of the Gaza Strip.”

He accused Israel of persisting “with its willful killing of Palestinian civilians and disregard of human life,” and said it is “imperative” that international protection be provided for Gaza’s civilian population.

Mr Mansour said it is also imperative to mobilise funds for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), "given its vital role in Gaza and beyond."

UNRWA is facing a funding crisis following the Trump administration's decision to cut some $300 million to the agency this year. It is now reviewing some $200 million (Dh740mn) in assistance for the Palestines.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made no mention of the cuts to UNRWA in her speech, but called for Arab and Islamic nations to do more in support of the Palestinians and not just generous with their words.

She said Iran, Algeria and Tunisia gave nothing to UNRWA last year and Pakistan and Egypt gave just $20,000.

Since 1993, Ms Haley said, the United States has provided more than $6 billion in assistance to Palestines.


Saudi Arabia's ambassador, Abdallah Al Mouallimi, had a sharp reply, though he did not mention the United States, which is a close ally.

He said Saudi Arabia gave $100 million to UNRWA over the past year, $1 billion to UNRWA over the last two decades, "and more than $6 billion, to the Palestinian people over the last two decades in the form of humanitarian development."

"Saudi Arabia strongly believes in actions, not words," Al Mouallimi said.

Israel also drew sharp criticism at the council’s monthly Mideast meeting from many countries over last week’s approval by its parliament of a bill defining it as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Mr Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, said the new law “has transformed a situation of de-facto apartheid into a situation of apartheid by law.”

Iran's deputy Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib said the law means the legalisation of “racism and apartheid, and ultimately, it means legitimising exclusion, segregation and systemic inequality.”

He recalled the General Assembly’s 1975 resolution calling Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination” that was revoked in 1991. Nearly 30 years later, Al Habib said, “it is crystal clear that by doing so, the UN General Assembly has only emboldened Israel to legalise racism.”

The specs

Price, base / as tested Dh100,000 (estimate)

Engine 2.4L four-cylinder

Gearbox Nine-speed automatic

Power 184bhp at 6,400rpm

Torque 237Nm at 3,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined 9.4L/100km

The specs: 2018 Audi Q5/SQ5

Price, base: Dh183,900 / Dh249,000
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder /  3.0L, turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic / Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252hp @ 5,000rpm / 354hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 370Nm @ 1,600rpm / 500Nm @ 1,370rpm
Fuel economy: combined 7.2L / 100km / 8.3L / 100km

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A Dog's Journey 

Directed by: Gail Mancuso

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott

3 out of 5 stars

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
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Cycling
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Dir: Guy Nattiv

Starring: Jamie Bell, Danielle McDonald, Bill Camp, Vera Farmiga

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

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1. Send EU border guards to Balkans

2. €40 million for training and surveillance

3. Review EU border protection

4. Reward countries that fund Balkans 

5. Help Balkans improve asylum system

6. Improve migrant reception facilities 

7. Close gaps in EU registration system

8. Run pilots of faster asylum system

9. Improve relocation of migrants within EU

10. Bolster migration unit in Greece

11. Tackle smuggling at Serbia/Hungary border

12. Implement €30 million anti-smuggling plan

13. Sanctions on transport linked to smuggling

14. Expand pilot deportation scheme in Bosnia 

15. Training for Balkans to deport migrants

16. Joint task forces with Balkans and countries of origin

17. Close loopholes in Balkan visa policy 

18. Monitor migration laws passed in Balkans 

19. Use visa-free travel as leverage over Balkans 

20. Joint EU messages to Balkans and countries of origin

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

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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)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Yuval Noah Harari, Jonathan Cape
 

SPEC SHEET

Display: 10.9" Liquid Retina IPS, 2360 x 1640, 264ppi, wide colour, True Tone, Apple Pencil support

Chip: Apple M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 64/256GB storage; 8GB RAM

Main camera: 12MP wide, f/1.8, Smart HDR

Video: 4K @ 25/25/30/60fps, full HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps

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Audio: Stereo speakers

Biometrics: Touch ID

I/O: USB-C, smart connector (for folio/keyboard)

Battery: Up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi; up to 9 hours on cellular

Finish: Space grey, starlight, pink, purple, blue

Price: Wi-Fi – Dh2,499 (64GB) / Dh3,099 (256GB); cellular – Dh3,099 (64GB) / Dh3,699 (256GB)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 48V hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 325bhp

Torque: 450Nm

Price: Dh359,000

On sale: now

Mercedes V250 Avantgarde specs

Engine: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic

Power: 211hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 350Nm

Fuel economy, combined: 6.0 l/100 km

Price: Dh235,000

MATCH INFO

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Kings XI Punjab 214/8 (20 ovs)

Kolkata won by 31 runs

The specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: eight-speed PDK

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 820Nm

Price: Dh683,200

On sale: now

Panipat

Director Ashutosh Gowariker

Produced Ashutosh Gowariker, Rohit Shelatkar, Reliance Entertainment

Cast Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kriti Sanon, Mohnish Behl, Padmini Kolhapure, Zeenat Aman

Rating 3 /stars

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

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Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


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