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Churches for Middle East Peace

Egypt to Security Council: Ethiopian Dam an ‘Existential Threat’

A look at discussions over important resources, the continuing problems of displacement, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: An aerial view of the Nile River is seen on May 14, 2021, on the northern outskirts of Egypt's capital, Cairo, and shows the 2019 Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Bridge (at top left of photo) that crosses to the Nile island of Warraq. (Amir Makar/AFP via Getty Images)

Nile Dam

Image: An aerial view of the Nile River is seen on May 14, 2021, on the northern outskirts of Egypt's capital, Cairo, and shows the 2019 Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt) Bridge (at top left of photo) that crosses to the Nile island of Warraq. (Amir Makar/AFP via Getty Images)

Egypt to Security Council: Ethiopian dam an ‘existential threat’


“Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry didn’t mince words in making his case Thursday (July 8) to the UN Security Council that the dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). ‘Egypt — a nation of over 100 million souls — is facing an existential threat,’ Shoukry told the council. ‘A grand structure of mammoth proportions has been constructed across the artery that bequeaths life to the people of Egypt.’ Egypt depends on the Nile River for more than 90% of its water. The dam has the potential to disrupt the supply of water to Egypt and Sudan, which have sought a mediated solution, with international guidance and supervision, to help manage and guarantee the flow of water to their countries."

Learn more about the issues facing Egypt on CMEP’s issue page.

Assyrian villagers volunteer to fight fires

Image: Assyrian villagers from the Nahla Valley region work to put out flames caused by Turkish airstrikes. Iraq, July 6. (Abger Adwar Sarona)

Turkish airstrikes ignite Assyrian lands, villagers organize firefighting response

“A Turkish airstrike July 6 ignited agricultural fields of Assyrian villages in the Nahla Valley of the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq. As flames burned for hours at night and well into the next day, authorities never arrived to help extinguish the blaze. The fire and lack of emergency response is endemic in the region as Turkish attacks routinely impact communities in Iraq’s north. Kurdistan authorities cannot enter villages during fires, a representative told Rudaw, because of fears of continued Turkish bombings. Another source told Al-Monitor that when an area is hit by Turkish airstrikes, authorities do not have permission to act until at least 24 hours have passed in case there are additional strikes."

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian house

Image: Palestinians collect their usable wares from ruins after Israeli forces demolished their house in the West Bank on 17 June 2021. (Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency)

EU: Israel displaced 595 Palestinians since beginning of 2021

“The European Union (EU) announced on Tuesday (July 13) that Israel had displaced 595 Palestinians, including 320 children, since the beginning of 2021, representing an increase of 50 percent compared to last year. The EU Mission in Jerusalem issued the remarks on its official Twitter account, explaining that in the last demolition on 7 July in Humsa, in the northern Jordan Valley, as many as 42 people, including 24 children, had been displaced and remain in desperate need of humanitarian aid. According to the statement, in the past two days, three Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, including Silwan, had been forced to demolish their homes.”

Read more about the history of settlements and displacements.

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Lebanon power outages

Image: Lebanon's financial crisis has led to acute electricity shortages, and many rely on private generators. (AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanon struck by power cut as major plants shut down

“The shutdown - caused by the two plants running out of fuel - worsens a crisis that has seen people receive just two hours of electricity a day. A lack of foreign currency has made it hard to pay overseas energy suppliers. Pharmacies have also gone on strike over medicine shortages caused by the failure to pay foreign importers. Lebanon's two biggest power stations, Deir Ammar and Zahrani - which together provide about 40% of the country's electricity - shut down on Friday, their owner Electricite Du Liban (EDL) said. Ships loaded with gas oil had refused to offload the fuel before money was transferred to their owners' accounts in dollars.”

Israel plans to build villas

Image: Lifta, last month. Was one of hundreds of villages left abandoned after the Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. (Emil Salman)

Israel plans to build villas on the ruins of a village that has become a symbol of the Nakba

“A decade after the previous battle to prevent construction on the remnants of the village of Lifta in northwestern Jerusalem, the Israel Land Authority now plans to issue a tender for the construction of an affluent neighborhood in the area of the abandoned village that has become a symbol of the Nakba for Palestinians. Former Jerusalem City Council member Yair Gabbay (who ran for Knesset on the Likud slate) claims the competitive bidding tender was unfrozen at his request, in honor of Jerusalem Day, and is a “harsh blow to the right of return” – the idea, in this case, that descendants of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from land now in Israeli territory should be able to resettle there. The Jerusalem municipality is taking no responsibility for the authority’s plan; it says the tender is being issued without approval and must be reexamined. In the meantime, activists working to preserve the village are already preparing for a legal battle.”

Samantha Power on US aid to Palestine

Image: Power called for the release of $75m in aid, blocked by a Republican senator (Reuters/File photo)

USAID chief Samantha Power defends US funding for Palestinians
Middle East Eye

“Samantha Power, chief of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), on Wednesday (July 14) defended Washington's economic assistance to Palestinian agencies, arguing that despair in the occupied Palestinian territories did not benefit anyone. At a Senate hearing discussing the agency's budget proposal, Power faced several questions from Republicans about President Joe Biden's push to restore Palestinian funding, which had been slashed by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Power stood by the aid programme and assured lawmakers that the aid would not benefit Hamas, and was accompanied by a stringent vetting process that ensured it did not violate US legal restrictions. The United States has several laws on the books, including the Taylor Force Act, which prohibit funding going to the Palestinian Authority.”

Gaza has been in the news a lot recently, but how much do you actually know? Learn more using CMEP’s resources on Gaza.

CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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