Scrolling news:

Iraq: US seeks verification of ‘Islamic State’ beheading of journalist James Foley

Japan: Torrential rains unleash deadly landslide killing a dozen people in Hiroshima

Palestine: Three Palestinians killed, incl 3 year-old child, in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City

Palestine: Dozens Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army demolishes cave housing family near Bethlehem

Palestine: Several Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank, Israeli settlers attack cars

Palestine: Israel bombs Gaza, withdraws negotiators from Cairo

Pakistan: 18 suspected militants killed in fresh NWA, Khyber airstrikes

US: Ferguson curfew lifted, Obama appeals for restraint

Iraq: Obama says Mosul Dam retaken from extremists with US help

Palestine: Palestinian female detainee denied family visits since her arrest in 2012

Palestine: Nine Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli soldiers from West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army detonates two homes in Hebron, seals one with concrete blocs

Palestine: Six Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank

Syria: Airstrikes kill 31 terrorists in Raqqa city

Palestine: Body recovered in Shujaiyya a month after ‘massacre’ by Israel

Palestine: Hamas says Israel stalling on agreement as Gaza death toll hits 2016

US: Curfew imposed for second night in Ferguson, Missouri

Palestine: Palestinian arrested filming Israeli settlers throwing stones in W Bank

Israel: 5 of 64 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza invasion were killed by ‘Friendly Fire’

Palestine: Israel bars UN investigators from visiting Jerusalem

21st May 2013

Israel on Monday barred a UN commission from visiting Jerusalem to investigate ongoing violations of religious freedom against Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land.

“Israel has cancelled the delegation,” which was due to have arrived the same day, a foreign ministry official told AFP.

Israel in late-April agreed that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization could assess the state of the Old City of Jerusalem, the first such monitoring mission since 2004.

Palestinians had urged for the visit after an escalation of Israeli attacks on non-Jewish worshippers in the Old City in recent weeks.

Israel said it decided to cancel the visit because it feared Palestinians wanted to “politicize” the issue.

“The Palestinians were not respecting the understandings. The visit was supposed to be professional, (but) they were taking measures that showed they were politicizing the event and not letting the delegation focus on professional sides of it,” the official said.

Israeli forces as recently as Saturday used tear gas and rubber bullets to attack a demonstration after right-wing Israelis raided al-Aqsa mosque two days earlier.

Tensions have been high around the mosque in recent weeks, as Israel has limited access to Palestinian worshipers while allowing Israelis to tour the compound under armed guard.

And earlier this month religious groups condemned Israel for attacking Orthodox Christians celebrating their easter in the Old City.

Tens of thousands of Orthodox Christians had gathered in the streets around the holy sites where clashes erupted after police blocked them from entering certain areas.

The Palestine Liberation Organization last week denounced Israel for causing “countless difficulties” for Palestinian Christians and Muslims to reach their holy sites.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki on Thursday announced that the UNESCO would spend five days in Jerusalem before returning to its headquarters in Paris to submit a detailed report.

Maliki said that Israeli assaults against holy places in Jerusalem were part of a systematic policy crystallized recently.

(AFP, Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)



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