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After abstaining in anti-Israel vote, Indian official on Palestine visit

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

 New Delhi: Days after India abstained in a UNHRC vote against Israel over the 2014 Gaza conflict, a top Indian official visited Palestine during which he met President Mahmoud Abbas.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, was on a two-day official visit to Palestine on July 8-9.

On Wednesday evening, Wadhwa called on Abbas and discussed bilateral relations and issues relating to the West Asia and the stalled Middle East Peace Process.

Wadhwa also met officials in the ministry of foreign affairs of Palestine, said an official statement on Thursday.

Wadhwa will call on Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, on Thursday.

He is also to inaugurate the Jawaharlal Nehru Secondary School for Girls in Asera Al-Shamalyeh.

The project is a gift from the government and people of India to Palestine. The school is one of the Indian projects in Palestine and a part of India’s capacity building initiatives in Palestine, said the statement.

The other ongoing projects of the Indian government in Palestine include the Jawaharlal Nehru Secondary Boys School in Abu Dees, setting up of the India-Palestine Centre for Excellence in ICT and Digital Learning and Innovation Centre in Al Quds University (with a satellite centre in Ramallah) and supply of technical and vocational education training equipment and training services to seven vocational training centres in Palestine.

On July 3, marking a significant change in stance, India had abstained on a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel over a UN report into the alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza conflict. But India stated that “there is no change in New Delhi’s long-standing position on support to the Palestinian cause”.

India has in the past voted in favour of anti-Israel resolutions in the UN.

India was among five countries that abstained in the vote against Israel.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Israel, Palestine and Jordan this year, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also to visit Israel this year.

(IANS)

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World’s Oldest Board Game Backgammon Being Used by Jerusalem Double to unite Jews and Arabs

Backgammon is acting as a peace maker between Israelis and Palestinians. Every one in Middle-East irrespective of one's religion has an attachment with this game.

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Backgammon- An ancient board game that is acting as a bond to unify Jews and Arabs.
Backgammon- An ancient board game that is acting as a bond to unify Jews and Arabs. Pixabay.
  • An ancient game turning out to be a peace maker between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem
  • Backgammon is a deeply rooted game in the Middle-East, which is uniting segregated neighbors
  • Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world

Jerusalem, September 11, 2017: No one had ever imagined the power of Backgammon. And about how this ancient game could act as a game changer in the Middle-East.

Backgammon is one of the world’s oldest board games that is currently being used to bring back peace in the Middle-East.

Jerusalem Double project is a series of Backgammon tournament that takes place in Jerusalem. It is an inter cultural initiative by Jerusalem Foundation to create more interaction between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel is the only Jewish state in the world which is located just at the east of Mediterranean Sea. Jew is a word used for those people who profess Judaism irrespective of the place they live in.

Palestinians consist of the Arab population that hails from the land which is now controlled by Israel. They want to establish a state by the name “Palestine” on all or part of the land, which is currently controlled by Israel.

“We wanted to bring Jews and Arabs together beyond the daily grind. We wanted to create a joint cultural event in which everyone can share and we wanted to create cross over between neighborhoods that for generations have been completely segregated”, believes Zaki Djemal from Jerusalem Foundation.

Jerusalem Double chose Backgammon as a medium to break the walls between the Jews and Arabs because Backgammon is deeply rooted in the Middle-east. It is highly accessible and inclusive.

Initially, the project Jerusalem Double had faced a lot of resistance from both the communities. But, they went against the wind and left no stone unturned to make this project work. As a result, the Backgammon proved to be a catalyst towards a positive change.

In 2106, when the first Backgammon championship had happened, only 150 people showed up. But this time, 250 people participated in the tournament and competed for a cash prize of 6,000 USD.

Play can create empathy between strangers and apparent enemies and it can give us the confidence that we need to trust in each other and in the world we have been slighted, even after we have experienced pain, suffering, and fear said Zaik Djemal.

Backgammon is an outstanding initiative towards a peaceful morning in the Middle-East.

-prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter handle: @cshivani31

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UNHRC session becomes battleground of Allegations, India and Pakistan allege each other for Human Rights Violations and Nursing Terrorism

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UNHRC
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 2, 2017: The 34th session of UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) in Geneva marked the moment when Pakistan was brutally criticized for its policies which act as a haven for the terrorists.

India brutally criticized Pakistan for cradle cosseting the terrorists by providing favorable environment and aiding cross-border escapes to India, thus, labeling it as ‘creator of terrorism’.

India also countered the allegations of ‘human rights violations’ in Jammu & Kashmir made by Pakistan.

India’s permanent member to UN, Ajit Kumar accused Islamabad of ‘promoting, instigating and glorifying terror’ in the Valley, mentioned India.com report.

In further accusations, India denounced Pakistan for being a facilitator of cross-border terrorism.

India also condemned Pakistan for the role it played in Pathankot and Uri attacks.
“The fundamental reason for disturbances in parts of Jammu and Kashmir in India is cross-border terrorism aided and abetted by Pakistan,” Ajit Kumar said.

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Before New Delhi practiced its Right to Reply (RoR), Pakistan propelled a tirade of allegations against India. Aside from fanning the assertions of rights’ infringement in Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad additionally accused India of powering secessionist battles in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Here are the few highlights of the action:

  • “Pakistan has created terrorist outfits against India. This monster is now devouring its own creator,” Ajit Kumar said, referring to the spurt of terror strikes being carried out in Pakistan.
  • “For the last two decades, the most wanted terrorists of the world have found succor and sustenance in Pakistan,” he further added.
  • Replying to the allegation of rights’ violations in Kashmir, the Indian ambassador said, “For many years now, Pakistan carried out an intense campaign to destabilise the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir by promoting infiltration and cross-border terrorism.”
  • India also highlighted the efforts taken by the current ruling dispensation to create normalcy in the region. “Prime Minister of India had announced a $12 billion package which is being fast tracked.  Normalcy has returned as 99% of the students of Jammu and Kashmir had taken their high school examinations and schools have reopened.”

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  • Alok R. Jha, counsellor at the Indian mission to the UN, pointed out before the convention that Pakistan has failed to fulfill its obligations towards the UN in respect to the conflicted region of Jammu & Kashmir. “We also call upon the Council to urge Pakistan to fulfill its obligation under UN Security Council resolutions to vacate illegal occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,” he said.
  • “Pakistan has had territorial ambitions over Kashmir since 1947 that have found concrete expression in the aggression it embarked on in 1947, 1965 and 1999. As on date, Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of approximately 78,000 sq kms of Indian Territory in Jammu and Kashmir,” he further added.
  • Earlier, Pakistan’s Law and Justice Minister, Zaid Hamid, rose before the forum, accusing India of misleading the world on the issue of Kashmir. He accused New Delhi of skilfully using the issue of terrorism to ward away its obligations towards the UN.
  • “The Indian claim that the deteriorating human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir is an internal affair of India is factually incorrect, legally untenable and in violation of the UN Security Council resolution,” he said.
  • Pakistani Consulate official Saima Saleem accused India of aiding armed separatist movements in Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions. “Dossiers of Indian subversive activities in Balochistan and apprehended RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadav have been handed over to the UN Secretary General,” she said, further adding, “Balochistan is Pakistan whereas Jammu and Kashmir, on the other hand, is an internationally recognised dispute under many UN resolutions.”
  • The UNHRC session at Geneva began on February 27. It is scheduled to continue till March 24.

– prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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Hamas says, a Woman must have a protector while Driving with a Male Instructor

The Palestinian territory has been under the rule of an Islamist organization, Hamas, since June 2007

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gaza
  • The presence of a chaperone for a female student taking driving lessons from a male instructor in Gaza is essential
  • While this move is largely rejected by most driving schools, a few see this as an opportunity to increase revenue
  • The matter is taken by religious judges, some of whom believe the policy is not necessary

The Gaza Strip that is lodged between the borders of Israel and Egypt, saw the rise of a new debate that revolved around new regulations for driving lessons taken by women. The Palestinian territory has been under the rule of an Islamist organization, Hamas, since June 2007, whose internal intelligence police want to enforce stricter laws regarding women.

According to Hamas police, women must be accompanied by someone while taking driving lessons if their driving instructor happens to be a man. Gaza is nowhere near as strict on Islamic morality issues regarding women as Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is why many driving schools in the strip are appalled by this new development. Driving instructor Mohammed al-Hattab was perplexed when the cops stopped him in the middle of his lessons because he was alone in the car with a woman.

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Experts believe this new development is totally unnecessary because all reputed driving schools in Gaza exercise a compulsory ‘morality test’ before hiring instructors. Moreover, no school will entertain sexual offences from employees since it will largely mar their reputations. Even against this backdrop, Hamas authorities remain stubborn.

A poster "End Hamas Terror". Image: Wikipedia
A poster “End Hamas Terror”. Image: Wikipedia

This new intention for Hamas authorities to follow the tenets of Islam which dictate that every woman in public must be accompanied by her husband or a male family member is surprisingly welcomed by a few driving schools, who have seized this opportunity for improving business. In Gaza, anyone can suffice as a chaperone for driving lessons, and fathers are more willing to send their daughters to learn driving if their safety is ensured. A few women that were interviewed admit they feel more at ease with the presence of an escort if a male instructor is conducting the lessons.

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Religious judges like Hassan al-Juju against the use of the term mahram for something so inconsequential is a ‘driving school’ chaperone, which the Hamas police loosely employ to enforce the policy. They believe it dilutes the holy sentiment that the word represents. Mahram is any man who serves as a guardian for a woman when she embarks on the religious journey to Hajj, and his job is to protect the woman from any predicament.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter:@saurabhbodas96

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