Monthly archives: April, 2019

EU move on Palestinian territories angers Israel

Israel has angrily rejected new guidelines from the European Union barring member states from providing financial aid to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.



The new restrictions mean that all funding, scholarships and co-operation from the EU to individuals or organisations in the Israeli settlement zones will cease from next year.


Laura Murphy-Oates has the details.


The guidelines require that in all signed agreements with EU states, a clear distinction must be made between Israel and the territories occupied by the Jewish state in the 1967 Six-Day war.


This refers to the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – including mainly-Arab east Jerusalem.

From next year, only territories within the 1967 borders will be considered eligible for EU funding.


EU representative Maya Kocijancic says the idea is to make a distinction between Israel and the territories it occupies.


“These guidelines were prepared in order to implement the Commission’s commitment to make a clear distinction in relevant legislation between the state of Israel and the occupied territories.”


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes it as external interference with Israel’s borders.


He says the EU should be focusing its efforts elsewhere.


“I would expect from those who really want peace and stability in the region to discuss this issue after they solve problems that are slightly more urgent in the region. Like the civil war in Syria or Iran’s race to obtain nuclear weapons. As Prime minister of Israel I will not let hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Judea and Sumeria in the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem our united capital be harmed. We will not accept any external dictates regarding our borders.”


Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi has welcomed the EU guidelines, which are in line with international declarations that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal.


“This is the beginning of a new era and it seems to me high time. But that Israel should listen very carefully and should understand that this occupation cannot continue without any kind accountability and with nothing but profit for Israel and nothing to lose. It is time that the whole world treats the Israeli occupation this way and it is time that Isreal reaches the conclusion that is has to leave the Palestinians alone.”

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold for nearly three years.


The Palestinians have been refusing to negotiate until certain terms are met.


These include a freeze on settlement activity and Israel’s acceptance of the borders in place before the 1967 war.


Professor Ben Saul of the University of Sydney says the illegality of the Israeli settlements in international law has long been clear.


“Under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 transferring Israel’s citizens or population in to the occupied territories is clearly illegal, It is also regarding as a war crime under the statute of International Criminal Court since 1998. The International Court of Justice has said that the settlements are illegal.”


Professor Saul says he’s not surprised that Israel has reacted angrily to the new EU guidelines.


“It’s really consolidating the position that the European Union has taken for quite some time now. But I think this is concretising what the European Union has said and done and that’s why I think Israel is regarding this as more provocative.”


Moyes would have let Fellaini and Baines leave Everton

Moyes said that although he understood why manager Roberto Martinez, the man who replaced him at Goodison Park, wanted to keep his best players, he would have allowed Belgium international Fellaini and England’s Baines to leave if he was still in charge.


“I definitely do (understand) but I also know that if I’d been Everton manager and Sir Alex had come asking for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, I’d have found it very difficult to keep them because I always felt the right thing to do was what was right for the players,” he told reporters.

United are yet to land a big-name signing during the transfer window, with the deal to recruit Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace having been completed in January.

Martinez said United’s bid lacked “common sense”, but Moyes does not think it was disrespectful.

“The transfer window is open and we can make bids and you can say ‘Yes or no’, it’s as simple as that. You are allowed to bid,” Moyes said.

“That’s not our choice (to make it public). That’s up to them. You need to ask them that question.

“There’s sort of a mixed market at the moment. No one is quite sure where the price is right. It’s a sort of strange market,” Moyes added.

“We’ve had offers for players at this club, which we feel are quite small. I can see it where other clubs might be thinking it’s not enough value for their players as well.”

Moyes also said unsettled United forward Wayne Rooney could start Monday’s game against Chelsea, despite the London club’s interest in signing him.

United have turned down two bids for the 27-year-old and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has not ruled out making a third.

Rooney, who wants to leave, played a limited role in pre-season but came on as a substitute in the 4-1 win over Swansea City last weekend.

“He has got a good chance of playing against Chelsea, a good chance of starting,” Moyes said.

($1 = 0.6413 British pounds)

(Reporting by Josh Reich, editing by Ed Osmond)

Hurrell back to happy hunting ground

Konrad Hurrell will take some confidence-boosting memories with him when the Warriors try to keep their play-off hopes alive against Gold Coast on Saturday.


The rampaging centre will be back at Skilled Park, the ground where he grabbed the first hat-trick of his short NRL career in a 32-14 win over the Titans last season.

He can remember each of the tries he scored before he went off with an ankle injury.

Now-Sydney Roosters half James Maloney created two of them with a big break and then a huge cut-out pass, while the other came from a Nathan Friend short ball.

“It’s still in my head and hopefully I can go out there and do it again,” Hurrell said.

“At the same time, it’s their home ground and they’ll come out firing because they need to win as well.”

The Titans sit eighth on the table, while the Warriors are 13th, but just two points separate them.

With three defeats on the trot, the Warriors accept that they need maximum points from the last three rounds to make it into the finals.

“It’s pressure but it makes us really tight and gets us training harder,” Hurrell said.

“The boys really want to finish strong.”

Hurrell’s hat-trick against the Titans helped him end his debut NRL season as the Warriors’ equal-top try-scorer with Shaun Johnson and Manu Vatuvei on 12.

He’s again co-leading the club’s list for 2013, his late touchdown in the 28-24 defeat to Penrith last weekend taking him to a dozen and level with Vatuvei.

While Hurrell is a handful to stop with ball in hand, opponents have targeted his defensive frailties and it’s something he’s been doing extra work on.

The 22-year-old Tongan said having veteran Jerome Ropati back from injury this weekend and playing outside him at wing would be a huge plus.

“I’ve looked up to him and he’s been helping me in defence,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to having him in the side. He’ll be talking to me throughout the 80 minutes.”

Keary can be Souths’ JT, says Asotasi

South Sydney veteran Roy Asotasi believes Luke Keary can play the same role for the Rabbitohs that Johnathan Thurston did for Canterbury during the Bulldogs’ grand final winning season in 2004.


The 21-year-old, who made his first start against Melbourne last week, has been named on the bench for Souths’ vital clash with Manly on Friday in Gosford after John Sutton made a quicker-than-expected recovery from an ankle injury.

But the Queensland-born playmaker is viewed as the Rabbitohs’ long-term five-eighth with the club in negotiations with his management about extending his contract beyond next season.

Asotasi, along with Thurston and Sonny Bill Williams, formed part of arguably the strongest bench ever seen in an NRL grand final in the Bulldogs’ 16-13 win over the Roosters.

And the 32-year-old, who’ll head to English club Warrington at the end of the season, said Keary has all the credentials to be a top-class NRL half.

“He reminds me so much of what Johnno did in 2004, he comes off the bench and offers that extra spark,” Asotasi said.

“They are definitely similar players, both Queenslanders, and Johnno has played the same way throughout his career, worked hard then got his big opportunity at North Queensland.

“Keary is definitely a star of the future and we will be hearing a lot more of him – hopefully Souths can keep him.”

Keary’s rise to a place in one of the NRL’s strongest squads has been a rapid one.

Only three years ago he was the fullback for the Australian schoolboys rugby team having moved to Sydney from north of the Tweed when he was eight where he attended Oakhill College in Castle Hill.

After spending time with NSW Waratahs academy in 2011 he got the opportunity to play with Gold Coast side Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup.

He was looked at several times by the Titans, but no offers were forthcoming for his services and Souths’ then recruitment manager Mark Hughes stepped in.

“I played a bit of league and union when I was little, but when I got to high school all my mates played rugby,” Keary said.

“I did play a little bit of SG Ball with Manly, but my focus was very much on union.

“I was with the Waratahs academy, but my heart was always with league and I really wanted to give it a crack so I had to choose.

“At the start of 2012 Souths gave me a chance to come back to Sydney and here I am.”

Keary’s on-field confidence against the premiers was impressive as he showed no nerves in barking orders to his more senior players.

However, the business undergraduate, who’s still studying for his degree one night a week, said his on-field education received a huge step forward when he faced Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.

“I took a lot out of the game watching Cam and Coops running around and it really helped me,” he said.

“We’d watched video before the game but I pulled a lot from what they’ve done.

“I’ve looked up to those blokes throughout my football career and it was a privilege to play against the them.”

Vela saves point for Sociedad, defeat for Valencia

Valencia, expected to challenge Sociedad for a top-four finish next May, lost 3-1 at Espanyol despite having taken an early lead though Helder Postiga.


Sociedad impressed in their 2-0 Champions League playoff first leg win at Olympique Lyonnais in midweek but were second best for much of the game at Elche.

Playing their first home game back in the top-flight, the hosts took the lead after two minutes when a corner flashed across the area and Ferran Corominas stabbed the ball in at the back post.

Sociedad were lucky not to concede again and struggled to get into the game until Elche’s earlier efforts started to take their toll in the second half.

A cross from the right found Vela unmarked in the area after 74 minutes and the Mexico forward scuffed a shot inside the far post.

Former Arsenal striker Vela then curled a long-range effort against the crossbar near the end.

Sociedad play their return match at home to Lyon this Wednesday.

Espanyol made a strong start against Valencia and had already missed three gilt-edged chances to score when, against the run of play, the visitors took the lead in the 10th minute.

Jonas laid the ball off for Postiga and the Portugal striker, brought in to replace Tottenham Hotspur new boy Roberto Soldado, netted his first goal for the club.

Espanyol levelled when David Lopez nodded in a corner in the 32nd minute and Cristian Stuani put them in front with a header which flew in off the far post past a stationary Diego Alves two minutes into the second half.

The hosts were lucky to still have 11 men on the pitch after Simao caught Adil Rami in the face with his elbow but they successfully foiled a Valencia side struggling to click under new coach Miroslav Djukic.

With two minutes to go French forward Thievy Bifouma thundered a shot into the top corner for Espanyol.

(Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Rex Gowar)