Scores of Palestinians hurt as Jerusalem protests rage

from December 7, 2017 at 08:45AM http://bit.ly/2kaFi0D

Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to protest against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a contentious move that has inflamed tensions in Palestine and across the region.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in a handful of cities throughout Thursday.

At least 49 Palestinians were injured in the protests, and 16 were sent to hospital, according to local health authorities in the West Bank.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Ramallah, said the clashes were dissipating after “several hours of quite vigorous confrontation between the youth and the Israeli army”.

Palestinian protesters gathered at the central Al Manara square in Ramallah and marched towards El Bireh, where they were met by Israeli troops firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Protests were also held in Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Jericho in the West Bank, according to Anadolu news agency, as well as in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

At least four Palestinians were injured in Gaza after Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at dozens of demonstrators who assembled east of Khan Younes, in the southern part of the coastal territory, according to Palestinian news agency, Wafa. 

Trump’s ‘escalation’

Trump, ignoring warnings from the international community, announced on Wednesday that the US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.

The decision has been condemned by world leaders who have described it as a “dangerous escalation” and a final nail in the coffin of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel says the city, which is under Israeli occupation, cannot be divided.





Haniya called for a new Intifada, or uprising, in response to the US move [Said Khatib/AFP]

Trump’s “announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in”, said Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs.

In a speech in Gaza City on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the US decision is a “war declaration against Palestinians”, and called for a new Intifada, or uprising.

Haniya said US President Donald Trump‘s recognition “killed” the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“This decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo [accord], has killed the settlement process,” he said.

“The US decision is an aggression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem. We should work on launching an Intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Haniya said.

Days of Rage

Palestinians had called for three days of rage in response to Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, and for the closure of local schools and stores.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from East Jerusalem on Thursday, said a small-scale protest had been ongoing for most of the day outside Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City.

“There has been a good deal of anger and just disbelief at what has happened overnight coming out of the White House,” Fawcett said.

Israeli police, meanwhile, attempted to break up the protest and confiscated Palestinian flags, he reported.

In Ramallah, Al Jazeera’s Abdel-Hamid said “another round of confrontations” between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers was expected on Friday.

“We expect more scenes [of] violence and unrest across the entire occupied West Bank,” she said.

Ignoring warnings

On Thursday, Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Al Jazeera from Ramallah that Trump was “joining Israel in the war crimes and in confirming the annexation of the occupied Palestinian Territories”.

“I hope that the Palestinian Authority will not accept to meet with this American team any more,” he said.

“Israel decided it wants everything. They want everything? Fine. We will also fight for everything,” he said.

“We might be talking about a popular wide uprising but non-violent one, similar to the first Intifada. That’s what we need. Israelis should see the Palestinian resistance everywhere.”

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

‘What approach is this?’: world leaders rebuke Trump over Jerusalem decision – video report

from December 7, 2017 at 06:37AM http://bit.ly/2jx4hM5

Political leaders around the globe have spoken out after Donald Trump announced that the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Trump should ‘seek to make peace’ rather than stir up trouble, while the UK prime minister, Theresa May, said she would speak to Trump about his unilateral actions

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Trump slashes size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments in Utah

from December 4, 2017 at 04:09PM http://bit.ly/2A8wtiF

Donald Trump reversed another Barack Obama action on Monday by significantly shrinking two national monuments in Utah.

The president signed two proclamations modifying designations for Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears.

“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” Trump told a gathering in Salt Lake City, Utah. “And guess what? They’re wrong.”

He added: “You know best how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come.”

The president described it as “a historic action to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens”.

Trump said he had consulted widely with the state’s two US Senators and been assured the step would not be controversial. “I don’t think it is controversial, actually. I think it is so sensible.”

He described the Obama-era designations as a threat to people’s way of life and promised: “Public lands will once again be for public use.”

Earlier, on Air Force One, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters that Bears Ears will be reduced from 1.5m acres to 220,000 acres, while Staircase will be cut from 2m acres to 1m acres. Zinke insisted that this is not an energy issue – there is no oil and gas in Bears Ears – though there is coal in Staircase.

But Trump’s move to shrink the national monuments represents a triumph for fossil fuel industries, ranchers and Republicans, particularly those representing Utah, who have pushed the president to undo protections put in place by previous administrations that curb activities such as oil drilling and cattle grazing.

In April, promising to “end another egregious use of government power”, Trump ordered a review of national monuments declared since the 1990s.

Zinke, who has been a vocal proponent of allowing greater development including mining on public lands, recommended shrinking six monuments and altering the management plans of a further four.

If Trump follows through with all those recommendations, protected areas in Nevada, Oregon and California would be resized, as well as two vast marine monuments in the Pacific ocean. The areas could be remodeled to allow activities such as timber production, grazing or commercial fishing.

Zinke told reporters on Air Force One that “no one loves public land more than I do” and he is a “steadfast believer in public lands for public use” but added: “When a monument is used to prevent rather than protect, the president is right to take action.”
In the case of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Zinke said the whole Utah congressional delegation supports Trump’s move, as well as the governor and commissioner that represents the Navajo districts

But while the Trump administration has touted an economic boon from an influx of development, opponents point out that the tourism and local business stimulated by monument declarations is often far more valuable. Companies such as Patagonia, the clothing firm, have railed against Trump’s plan.

In Utah, the president’s decision prompted protests before his arrival to announce it. On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators converged on the steps of the Utah state capitol.

“There’s nothing in our data that’d say, politically, that this is popular,” Lori Weigel, a Republican pollster in Denver, told the Associated Press of efforts to trim monuments.

“I can’t say why Utah elected officials have taken this on more than in other states. But we see widespread recognition that designation of protected land is valued.”

The monuments provide a bulwark for intrinsic values such as natural beauty, endangered species and, importantly to local tribes, heritage. Bears Ears, named after two towering buttes in the heart of the protected area, has around 100,000 archaeological sites, including native American ceremonial grounds, graves and rock art.

The five Native American tribes that form the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition say legal action is likely against Trump’s decisions on monuments in Utah. Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe business committee, told the Guardian this week Trump’s policy was “another slap in the face in the overall relationship between the federal government and the tribes, and local people”.

US presidents are given sweeping power to protect land and waters under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which was signed by Theodore Roosevelt, an avowed hunter and conservationist. Since then, more than 150 sites have been unilaterally designated monuments by presidents, including the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.

Barack Obama frequently wielded this power amid Republican howls about executive overreach, creating or expanding 34 national monuments, including Bears Ears in December.

The Trump administration’s attempt to scale back this legacy will almost certainly encounter a thicket of legal action from enraged environmental groups.

“This is a shameful and illegal attack on our nation’s protected lands,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service now head of Defenders of Wildlife. “Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave. We’ll be seeing President Trump in court.”

Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate energy and natural resources committee, said: “Veterans, sportsmen, climbers, hikers and the outdoor economy all depend on open space.

“‎Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante have been driving a vibrant outdoor economy for years. Now President Trump is using unlawful authority to pollute these special places. His administration deserves an ‘F’ for stewardship.”

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Israel turns West Bank into a ‘garbage dump’

from December 4, 2017 at 11:57PM http://bit.ly/2AxtbCn

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has released a scathing new report detailing Israel’s transferral of waste to treatment facilities in the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law.

According to the report, released on Tuesday, Israel has established at least 15 waste treatment facilities in the West Bank to recycle waste largely produced inside Israel.

Six of the facilities process hazardous waste that poses serious health and environmental risks for surrounding Palestinian communities, the group stated.

The report details five Israeli facilities in the West Bank treating waste from Israel, four of which handle hazardous waste, including biological and medical waste, solvent waste from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, oil waste and electronic and metal waste.

“Israel has turned the West Bank into a garbage dump,” Adam Aloni, a B’Tselem researcher and author of the report, told reporters at a news conference.

‘Sacrifice zones’

Israel produces some 350,000 metric tonnes of hazardous waste each year, according to B’Tselem.

Environmental regulations inside Israel can make the operating costs of waste treatment facilities high, encouraging Israel “to seek sacrifice zones” – areas “irrevocably impaired by environmental damage or neglect” – to absorb the costs and risks of managing hazardous waste, the report noted.

Israel found what it needed in the occupied West Bank and has been “abusing its status as an occupying power” in a territory where Palestinians have no rights to oppose Israeli policies that directly affect them, B’Tselem said.

“While Israel increases the amount of waste it creates, it diverts the risks and pollutants onto the Palestinian environment and land,” Aloni said.

In the West Bank, which has been ruled by Israeli military law since 1967, Israel can loosen its environmental policies to allow waste facilities to operate more cheaply.

“Since these plants are exempt from recording or reporting their external impact, no information is collected at all regarding the type and quantity of pollutants, how they are treated, the destination of wastewater pumping, or the quantity and destination of hazardous by-products,” the report stated.

De-facto annexation

At the same time, Israel has largely prohibited Palestinian communities from developing essential infrastructure, including waste treatment facilities.

“Israel uses the territory as if it was their own. It’s de facto annexation,” Aloni told Al Jazeera, noting that Palestinian development has simultaneously been “paralysed” by the Israeli occupation.

Karem Jubaren, the head of field research at B’Tselem, told Al Jazeera that nearby Palestinian communities have not been told what kind of waste is being treated in these industrial zones.

Palestinians residing near the industrial zones have complained of a perpetual bad smell and respiratory illnesses, Jubaren said, although he acknowledged that further research was needed to directly connect these issues with Israel’s waste treatment plants.

A resident of one of these communities told Al Jazeera that he was “too scared to talk” about the alleged effects.

Israel’s diversion of the environmental and health risks of treating its own hazardous waste to Palestinian communities “is part and parcel of the policy of dispossession and annexation it has practiced in the West Bank for the past fifty years,” the report stated.

“Israel is exploiting the West Bank for its own benefit, ignoring the needs of the Palestinians almost entirely, and harming both them and their environment.”

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

Honduras: police refuse to obey government as post-election chaos deepens

from December 4, 2017 at 03:09PM http://bit.ly/2ATBds6

More than a week after a fiercely contested presidential election, Honduran voting authorities have drawn back from naming a winner, after days of deadly violence and mounting pressure to investigate opposition allegations of fraud.

Early on Monday, the government-controlled electoral commission found that US-backed incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez was ahead of opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, by 42.98% to 41.39%, after a recount of suspicious votes from just over 1,000 polling stations.

But the Supreme Electoral Commission, known as the TSE, refrained from declaring a winner and hinted that a wider recount could still be possible.

The delay comes after days of confusion, following delays in the vote count and a sudden reversal of initial exit polls. The string of irregularities has fulled growing frustrations that have boiled over onto the streets and caused many people, including international observers, to question the legitimacy of TSE’s results.

As negotiations continued on Monday, Nasralla’s Alliance party repeated calls for a recount of results from more than 5,000 polling stations which were tabulated after an alleged glitch in the TSE’s vote-counting system on Tuesday – and ultimately reversed a trend that showed he would be the winner. Protestors accuse Hernandez of manipulating votes and “stealing” the election.

“We a going to demand they review the votes from 5,179 stations. If not, we will protest,” spokesperson Rodolfo Pastor wrote to the Guardian.

The TSE’s decision to delay the announcement comes after election monitors from Organization of American States and the European Union called for the commision to honor the opposition’s request to ensure a fair and transparent vote count that all parties will respect.

TSE magistrate Marco Lobo agreed that the votes in question should be recounted and all other allegations of fraud investigated, telling the Guardian that “otherwise the opposition and many Hondurans won’t respect the announcement”.

But late on Monday afternoon, Lobo said that the TSE had still not met to decide whether or not to announce a winner – and had not discussed whether or not it plans to widen the vote count.

Since Sunday, Hondurans have taken to the streets across the country, facing off against security forces clad in riot gear, who used tear gas and water canons. A night-time curfew imposed on Friday has curbed protests, but not put an end to the violence.

On Monday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that they have received preliminary information on the deaths of 11 Hondurans during the protests that have gripped the streets since the election crisis began.

“We condemn all forms of repression (and) regret all the deaths. In a democracy, it’s normal that people have the right to peacefully protest,” said Marisa Matias, head of the EU mission. The United States’ top official, Heide Fulton, congratulated the TSE for the “orderly count” of votes it conducting on Sunday night.

Hernandez is a close ally of the United States, and his government has closely cooperated with Washington on border security, counternarcotics operations and migration policy.

On Monday, Reuters reported that the US state department had certified that Honduras has been supporting human rights and fighting corruption. The certification will allow the Hernandez government to receive millions in US security assistance. In 2017, the US provided 17.3 million in security assistance to Honduras.

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Supreme court allows enforcement of Trump travel ban as appeals proceed

from December 4, 2017 at 01:57PM http://bit.ly/2AMf9zA

The supreme court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices say in an order Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts.

The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a bona fide relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place.

More to come…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Rohingya women sold as sex slaves in Bangladesh

from December 3, 2017 at 02:39AM http://bit.ly/2BHBtrE

Rohingya girls and women in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar are being sold as sex slaves, according to a victim and aid agencies.

Fifteen-year-old Khartoun* told Al Jazeera she was sold into sex slavery after she arrived in Bangladesh by boat to escape a brutal military crackdown.

She was alone – her mother, father and sister had been killed by a mortar shell fired by the Myanmar military during a sweeping crackdown against Rohingya people. Upon Khartoun’s arrival in September, two women approached her on the beach and told her they would help her.

“They told me if I went with them they would look after me and help me find a husband,” Khartoun said.

Instead, she was locked up for three weeks and sold to a Bangladeshi man, who she said, raped her and sexually abused her for 12 days.  

“He said I will choke you, I will stab you. I will kill you … Do you want to be killed the way the military kill people in Myanmar? I won’t let you go,” Khartoun told Al Jazeera.

The UN and aid agencies said labour and sex trafficking in refugee camps have gotten worse with the recent influx of more than 620,000 Rohingya.

The military unleashed a campaign of mass murder, rape and arson against the persecuted community after army bases came under attack from Rohingya fighters. The UN has said the army offensive amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Olivia Headon of the International Organisation for Migration said urgent action was required to keep women and girls safe in Bangladesh’s refugee camps.

“There’s been recruiters here in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, previous to this influx and we know they are getting more business,” she told Al Jazeera. “And we know that new criminal networks have kicked into action.”

A local aid agency that led Al Jazeera to Khartoun said its staff working with trafficking victims have received death threats from criminal gangs.

The organisation, which did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, said some girls as young as 13 have been abducted by the traffickers.

The man who bought Khartoun returned her to the women who sold her after 12 days. They left her at a refugee camp, where she now lives.

In 2015, Thai authorities uncovered extensive networks which trafficked Rohingya and held them for ransom in jungle camps after discovering 36 bodies in shallow graves along the Thai-Malaysian border.

An army general in Thailand and dozens of others were convicted over the case in July. 

*Name changed to protect the victim

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

Australian Senators approve same-sex marriage law

from November 29, 2017 at 06:51AM http://bit.ly/2j4Muvt

A big step has been taken towards same-sex marriage in Australia.

The country’s Senate has passed legislation on the issue, dismissing conservative efforts to let religious objectors refuse to provide wedding services to gay couples.

Senate opposition leader Penny Wong told the chamber: “Every day it is a great privilege to stand in this place. But there are some days which are of great moment, which change our country for the better. This is such a day.”

 “This day has been a long time coming,” said Wong. “A day for which many of us have worked in our parties, a day for which many in the Australian community have worked. A day many of us have hoped for. 

“It was not long ago in this country that gay and lesbian Australians were targeted by the criminal law for who they were. It wasn’t that long ago it was legal to discriminate against us simply for who we are. 

“But equality is a remarkably persistent principle, it is a defining principle. A principle that springs from the simple and powerful precept of the inherent dignity of every individual, of every human being and so it has been through human history. The aspiration for equality is the hallmark for our progress.”

The bill has now been forwarded to the lower house of parliament where it is expected to be passed next week.

Australians overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage in a postal survey run by the national statistics agency.

Read more at: News | Euronews RSS http://bit.ly/1SYzMbo

Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore accused of sexually assaulting teen girl

from November 9, 2017 at 11:21AM http://bit.ly/2jhhhYK

Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama, has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.

In a statement, the Moore campaign claimed that the Washington Post – which reported the woman’s accusation – had waged “systematic campaign to distort the truth” and that “this garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation”.

He told the paper: “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”

The Post reported that Moore took Leigh Corfman to his house in 1979, stripped down to his underwear and made her touch his genitals. Under Alabama law, such conduct would be sexual abuse in the second degree, although the statute of limitations would have long passed.

Corfman told the Post: “I wasn’t ready for that – I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one.”

The story also details allegations from three other women about Moore dating them when they were underage. Although one told the Post that Moore had ordered her cocktails when she was below the legal drinking age, there were no other accusations of illegal behavior.

The report comes five weeks before Moore faces off against Democrat Doug Jones in the fiercely competitive special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became US attorney general. He won the Republican nomination in September besting appointed incumbent Luther Strange by a margin of 55%-45% despite Strange’s support from Donald Trump and the entire machinery of the Republican party. Moore though did receive the support for former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Shortly before the Washington Post article was published, Breitbart, the conservative website run by Bannon, published an article featuring the Post’s request for comment to the Moore campaign, which detailed the accusations against him, and the Alabama Republican’s response to the allegations.

Moore has long been a controversial figure in Alabama politics. He has been twice removed as chief justice of the state supreme court, first for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the grounds of his courthouse and more recently for refusing to implement the US supreme court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

Moore also has a long history of incendiary comments on social issues. He has argued that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal, said the United States could be described as “the focus of evil in the world” for promoting “bad things” like gay marriage and that a Muslim congressman should be prohibited from serving in the House of Representatives.

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Saudi siege on Yemen: ‘Hundreds will die within a week’

from November 9, 2017 at 11:33AM http://bit.ly/2zCOSAr

Hundreds of sick and elderly Yemenis “will die within the next week” unless Saudi Arabia lifts its blockade and allows urgently needed medical supplies into the country.

Doctors in the capital told Al Jazeera pharmacies across Sanaa that were already struggling with a critical shortage of specialist drugs, would be unable to treat cancer, diabetes and renal failure patients by the start of next week.

“We’re running dangerously low on medical supplies and won’t have anywhere near the necessary vials of pain-relief medication, insulin, and other specialist medicines for our patients,” said Abdulrahman al-Ansi, a doctor at Sanaa’s al-Mutawkil hospital.






WATCH: ‘Saudi Arabia’s blockade is a death sentence for all Yemenis’ (3:03)

Ali, a two-year-old boy with acute lymphocytic leukaemia died last month as a direct result of the absence of cancer medications, he said.

“Unless Saudi Arabia eases its restrictions and allows food and medical supplies, I could end up losing all of my cancer patients – even those suffering from diabetes – [a treatable disease] will die. Hundreds will perish in the next week alone.”

Saudi Arabia, which has been at war with Yemen since 2015, tightened its air, land and sea blockade of the country on Sunday, after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The Houthis, a group of fighters that controls the capital and large expanses of the country, justified the missile attack, blaming Saudi-led air strikes – which have killed thousands of people – of ravaging large parts of north Yemen. 

The kingdom has defended the blockade, which bars aid groups like Doctors without Borders, Oxfam and UN agencies from delivering aid, claiming it is aimed at preventing weapons being smuggled into Yemen by its regional rival, Iran.

Tehran has rejected allegations of arming the Houthis, calling them “malicious, irresponsible, destructive and provocative”.

The Saudis have taken a page from [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s playbook. They think this siege will break us and we’ll accept their plan for the country. I may not live to see the end of this war, but I pray the Saudis lose.

Mohamed Aboubakr, 62-year-old chemotherapy patient

‘Fatal consequences’

Aid organisations in Yemen said they were “greatly alarmed” by Saudi Arabia’s decision, warning it could “bring millions of people closer to starvation and death”.

“The current stock of vaccines in the country will only last one month. If it is not replenished, outbreaks of communicable diseases, such as polio and measles, are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five years of age and those already suffering from malnutrition,” said Oxfam, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and 19 other aid groups in a joint statement. 


The 22 humanitarian groups also warned Yemen had only six weeks of food aid remaining for about seven million Yemenis who are facing “famine-like conditions”.

“The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely fragile and any disruption in the pipeline of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines has the potential to bring millions of people closer to starvation and death,” they added.

Since the start of Sunday’s siege, the country’s already inflated food and fuel prices have skyrocketed, while flights delivering much-needed humanitarian aid have been prevented from landing.

‘Assad’s playbook’

“I haven’t received my salary in months,” Mohamed Aboubakr, a 62-year-old civil servant, who was undergoing chemotherapy at the hospital, told Al Jazeera.

“How am I going to pay my medical bills?” he asked. “Prices have soared since the start of the siege – what am I supposed to do?”

Aboubakr said he had borrowed more than $2,000 from friends and family to pay for the treatment, but with the tightening of the siege, suggested it could have all been in vain. 






WATCH: ‘Situation is catastrophic’ as Saudi tightens blockade on Yemen (1:59)

“The Saudis have taken a page from [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s playbook. They think this siege will break us and we’ll accept their plan for the country. I may not live to see the end of this war, but I pray the Saudis lose.” 

The streets of Sanaa were almost free of cars on Thursday due to a fuel shortage, with locals saying public transport fares have doubled.

Azzubair Abdullah Hasan, a medic at a cholera centre in Sanaa’s Aljiraf neighbourhood, said even wealthy Yemenis were beginning to feel the pinch.

“Everything has gone up in price,” Hasan told Al Jazeera.

“Cooking gas has spiked and filling up my car with petrol now costs YR10,000 ($38) [it cost YR6,000 before the start of the siege], how can people continue with their lives. The situation is unbearable.”

Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthi rebels took over the capital, Sanaa, and forced Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.

Together with a coalition of other Arab states, and with logistical support from the United States and other western powers, Saudi Arabia has pushed the Houthis from the southern port city of Aden, but has failed to dislodge them from Sanaa and their northern strongholds.

According to the UN, the conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and left over seven million in need of food assistance.

Millions of others do not have adequate access to health, water and sanitation services.

The country has also been hit by a cholera outbreak, with some 900,000 suspected cases since April.






WATCH: How can the world’s ‘worst’ famine in decades be stopped? (24:59)

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B