Hajj is the largest annual human gathering in the world. Therefore, it could be a potential hotbed of contagion as millions of pilgrims flock to crowded religious sites. Saudi Arabia recorded more than 170,000 people infected with the virus, of which 1,428 died and more than 117,000 recovered. Analysts believe that reducing the numbers, while necessary, will deepen the kingdom’s economic difficulties.
The Hajj and Umrah are the mainstays of a tourism development plan under Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s campaign. His campaign aimed to increase the number of Umrah performers to 15 million by 2020. But due to the Corona epidemic, the implementation of that plan has been stopped. The campaign also aims to increase the number to 30 million by 2030.
Official data show that the Hajj and Umrah activity generates 12 billion USD in revenue. Pilgrims and Umrah spend on accommodation, transportation, buying gifts, food, and fees. In late July, Saudi Arabia organized and allowed a limited number of pilgrimages for the first time in modern history. A few thousand pilgrims participating in the rites instead of the usual number of nearly three million.
In the vicinity of Al-Haram al-Mikki, hotels were almost empty, and commercial centers were closed hours before Umrah resumed. Dozens of shops and restaurants closed. Economists estimate that the hotel industry in Mecca could lose at least 40% of its income this year.
Mecca and COVID19
Saudi Arabia’s decision to suspend Hajj and Umrah this year was due to the spread of COVID19. As a result, this decision affects the economy of the kingdom. The holy city, where the Haram Mosque and Kaaba, was teeming with life before the outbreak of the virus.
Suspending rites which provide 12 billion USD a year, strikes the heart of the city’s economy where two million people live, as well as the oil-rich kingdom, the largest in the region. On the other hand, the construction boom in recent years which provides a collection of shopping centers, apartments, and luxury hotels, some overlooking the Kaaba, became empty of its visitors coming from different parts of the world due to fears of the virus.
Not only that, Precautionary measures which were held by companies- that rely on Hajj- to protect against the virus have caused many losses. Even the other services which are provides to the pilgrims from travel agents to street barbers, gift shops, and restaurants. Many spoke of large-scale layoffs, cuts, or delays in salaries.
It is not only the inhabitants of Mecca who suffer. Pilgrims, some of whom spend their savings to visit the Kaaba, have also had to cancel their trips, causing great difficulties for the world’s Hajj tour operators.
In a politically and religiously sensitive decision, Saudi Arabia said it would allow only about 1,000 of its residents to perform the rites in the last days of July 2020 compared with 2.5 million in 2019. Saudi Arabia confirmed that the pilgrims will be of different nationalities. However, the selection process will not be an easy matter as the priority may be for Mecca residents.
The economy due to COVID-19
The decision coincides with a sharp decline in oil prices and losses from the virus protection measures, including the closure of airports and a weeks-long curfew, which prompted the adoption of an austerity strategy, an increase in the value-added tax from 5 to 15%
The Saudi Bin Laden group, known for developing mega projects including holy sites, has delayed the payment of salary to thousands of workers for the last few months.
They traded the hashtag #pay_bin_laden on Twitter at a time when the economic downturn is affecting the business of the company, which has taken over huge projects including the hotel skyscraper overlooking the haram Mosque. The company also was seeking to hire a series of planes to deport many of its workers to their countries in South Asia.
The economic slowdown was a burden to the kingdom’s ambitious plans to build a tourism industry from scratch, one of the key plans of the “Vision 2030” program to boost non-oil revenues launched by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
What was next?
Saudi Arabia has decided to allow citizens and residents to perform Umrah on the last October, of about 6000 rituals per day. The kingdom has opened its doors to Muslims from abroad from the first of November.
As the umrah performers circled the Kaaba, officials stood to supervise their commitment to diverge to ensure their safety. Worshippers are no longer allowed to touch the Kaaba.
Israel is hiding crucial demographic facts about Palestinians
For decades, Israel has been hiding crucial demographic data and facts about the Palestinians West of the River Jordan (Israel proper, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip). During this period, Successive Israeli governments consistently sought to inflate the number of Jews while deliberately belittling the number of Palestinians. The purpose of this manifestly racist and still-ongoing policy is to portray the Palestinians as an insignificant and shrinking minority.
“The Palestinian womb is overwhelming Israel”
Demographic facts and data are considered Israel’s best-guarded state secrets.
However, from time to time, Israeli officials make racist statements reflecting Israeli anxiety toward the growing Palestinian population and Palestinian demographic data and facts.
Moreover, the toxically racist Israeli media normally resort to “Statistical manipulation” to ensure the pathologically insecure Jewish citizens that Jews are still a large and growing majority of the population.
This week, a senior doctor at the Soroka hospital in Beir Sheva in Southern Palestine was quoted as saying that “the Arab womb is overwhelming the Jewish public” in the country.
The doctor, Gideon Saar, a cardiac surgeon, was recorded on video, saying the remarks during an election gathering to promote the notoriously racist former Justice minister Ayelet Shaked.
Short is the robe of lying!
As we all know, mendacity has always been and continues to be Israel’s modus operandi and ultimate lifeline. Israel lies about almost everything, from how it came into being to its possession of nuclear weapons. So, we shouldn’t be surprised a bit to discover Israeli efforts to cover up demographic realities in occupied Palestine.
Indeed, lying rather obscenely is simply an integral part of being Zionist.
Honesty and being Zionist are eternal oxymorons and shouldn’t be used in the same line. Israel lies as often as Israelis breathe.
In 2014, the Head of the Military Administration in the West Bank, euphemistically called the Civil Administration, made a rare admission when he pointed out that the number of Palestinians between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean exceeded the number of Jews.
The admission has since been confirmed by many Israeli scholars, including Sergio Della Pergola, an Italian-Israeli demographer and statistician.
Some irate right-wing officials dismissed the shocking demographic revelations as “spurious and distorted.” But Della Pergola, a Hebrew University Professor, dismissed these right-wingers as “delusional.”
Three out of four Russian immigrants are “non-Jewish”
According to the Israeli media, it has been revealed by official Israeli circles that hundreds of thousands of “Jewish” immigrants from the former Soviet Union are actually “nom-Jewish” according to the so-called “Law of return.” The Ynet English website on 17 November, 2002, reported that in 2020, three out of every four Russian immigrants were actually non-Jewish.
The “shocking” report came after leaders of the religious and fascist Jewish parties, which won the recent elections in Israel, expressed intention to amend the Law of Return and reopen the sensitive question of who counts as Jewish according to Jewish law or Halacha. According to the Jerusalem Post, only 28% of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union were actually Jewish. The same source reported that between 1990-2020, the percentage of truly Jewish immigrants didn’t exceed 36%.
Palestinians have a clear majority
Today, data shows that the existence of a Palestinian demographic majority west of the River Jordan (Israel and the occupied Territories) is a clarion fact that only the willfully blind refuses to see. In fact, if we deduct around 500,00-600,00 non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union from the projected Jewish population, the Palestinian majority becomes an axiomatic fact that even the most dishonest Israeli politicians wouldn’t deny.
According to Palestinian and Israeli experts, the Palestinian population today exceeds the Jewish population by at least 300,000 people.
However, some hot-tempered Israeli leaders and pro-settler circles keep indulging in prevarication, statistical sophistry and outright lies to produce an otherwise rosy outlook.
Apartheid to make “them” out of sight and out mind”!
Israel, especially the so-called “deep state,”e.g., the hawkish security establishment, has been using a variety of criminal tactics to neutralize the problem. These tactics include the following:
1- Denial and concealing crucial Palestinian demographic data and facts, classified as “top secret” from the general public, while making the classified data available to top politicians, like the Prime Minister, the President, and Mossad Chief. Moreover, military censorship has been barring the normally-liberal Israeli media from discussing the matter or making “harmful” Revelations.
2- Maximizing systematic persecution, repression and state sponsored-terrorism against the Palestinians for the purpose of coercing them to emigrate as the Zionist gangs did in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave following the perpetration by Jewish terrorists of genocidal massacres like Dir Yasin, Tantura, Dawaymeh, etc. Indeed, for decades, Israel claimed the refugees were not expelled but left voluntarily.
3- Confining as many Palestinians as possible to the smallest possible territory.
4. Refusing to grant non-Jews building licenses to construct a home in (Area C) of the West Bank, which constitutes more than 65% of the occupied territory.
5- Demolishing Palestinian homes in the contiguity of Jewish colonies or in areas coveted or slated for settlement expansion. It is estimated that Israel demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes in Gaza and the West Bank since 1967.
6- Applying two sets of laws, one lenient, another harsh and draconian, to Jews and Arabs living in the same area, even the same neighbourhood.
Yet Zionist Jews bark furiously and uncontrollably like rabid shipyard dogs whenever someone calls the racist entity apartheid? Do they want the world to celebrate with them their “exemplary egalitarianism” and the kosher savagery meted out to the helpless and virtually abandoned Palestinians whose only “crime” is their being goyem and therefore un-kosher? Is this the way Jews are supposed to pay back for Muslim protection for many centuries in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and many other places?
I advise doubting Jews to read “the Jew and the Cross” to realize the huge difference in the treatment Jews received under Islam and Christendom. ( see The Jew and the Cross – Dagobert David Runes).
Exercising some honesty and rectitude is always beneficial and rewarding.
7- Israel has been manipulating statistical data and demographic facts to give the impression that the Palestinians are not actually a nation, but a cacophonic set of sects and tribes with very little common bonds.
Thus, Israeli statisticians divided Palestinians into Muslims, Christians, Bedouins, Jerusalemites, Israeli Arab citizens, and Circassians. Samarians, etc.
This sort of statistical mutilation is not met with a reciprocal sub-categorization when dealing with the Jewish community which has far more ethnic and religious heterogeneity. For example, the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate doesn’t consider a majority of American Jews (Reform and Conservative Jews) to be bona fide Jews. Orthodox Jews, who are in control in Israel, routinely quarrel and scuffle with Reform and Conservative Jews at the Western Wall esplanade, shouting obscenities at them and calling them abusive epithets like “Goyem” (non-Jews) and “Notsrim” (Christians).
One might wonder how Israel would deal with its demographic dilemma in the medium and distant future. Some Israeli leaders, especially within the jingoistic religious messianic circles don’t hesitate to use far-fetched explosive terms like “demographic holocaust” to describe the Palestinian demographic advantage.
The scandalously corrupt analogy between one of the greatest tragedies in the history of mankind on the one hand, and the survival and growth of the Palestinian people in its own ancestral homeland on the other, cheapens the holocaust and seriously corrodes international efforts to combat true, virulent anti-Semitism. It also exposes the brutal ugliness of the Zionist mindset.
Unfortunately, we Palestinians have learnt that nothing can be dismissed as unthinkable as far as the depraved Zionist mentality is concerned. Indeed, a state that shamelessly argues that Jews have an inherent right to be racist “because they are a special people” can do anything, however ghoulish and nightmarish or diabolic it may be.
That is why, the Rabbis of Gush Emunim, who represent religious Zionism, declare openly that the solution for the Palestinian problem is a combination of three measures: Transfer or collective deportation; a tight, humiliating apartheid regime; and\or a war of extermination. Frankly, I prefer to believe these evil rabbis rather than notorious pathological liars like Netanyahu, Lapid, and Biden.
Delhi Air Pollution: 18 Million People at the Risk of Severe Health Problems
Delhi Air Pollution: Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the most polluted cities in the world. But winter is especially cruel here. Each year, October, November, and December bring together an exceptionally dirty environment, where over 18 million people are forced to live with a quilt of smog covering the capital and nearing cities.
2022 is nothing different. With the Air Pollution Index (API) at 337, the condition of Delhi’s environment is worsening.
The big question now is: what causes such disastrous air pollution in Delhi? What are the inferno reasons that pollute the air of entire northern India? And how are Delhites coping with the pollution?
An Overview of the Problem: Delhi Air Pollution
According to an India Today Web Desk article, Delhi has topped the list of the most polluted cities worldwide for the fourth consecutive year. The survey was initiated by SoGA, where the organization listed 20 polluted cities around the world in which Delhi ranked in the first position.
The air quality here in Delhi gets so bad in winter that the government needs to declare a public health emergency in response to exacerbating air pollution.
Like every year, the state government shut down schools, stalled all construction and industrial activities, and implemented an odd-even scheme traffic rotation to prevent air pollution.
“We can’t see the skyline. The air is unbreathable and traveling to work is extremely dangerous as you can see anything after 2 meters in the smog. This is not severe! This is an emergency—the next level of severity.”Abhishek singh, a Delhi resident told mzemo
This condition happens every year when Delhi experiences a massive spike in air pollution—unfortunately, initiating the reason for two deaths in the country “EVERY MINUTE.”
What is Behind Delhi Air Pollution?
The unfortunate thing about the population of Delhi and the Delhi government is that they are not entirely responsible for the severe air pollution in their state.
According to SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), 48% of Delhi’s air pollution is responsible for stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.
Delhi’s AQI has been in the severe zone (401-500) for seven days between October 20 and November 14 this year. The percentage of farm fires that contributed to Delhi’s PM 2.5 on each of these days ranged from 26% to 48%.
The primary contributors to the dangerous situation in Delhi include
Stubble Burners – The Deed Owners
Though stubble burning has been an agricultural practice for centuries, the combined mechanical harvesters leave behind the stalk of the crop in the soil, which is around 2 feet high.
Therefore, to save money and time, farmers, instead of cutting the remaining stalk, set fire to the entire field so that a new batch of crops could be grown as soon as possible.
After the year 2009, stubble burning became even more popular when the governments of Haryana and Punjab passed a law order to conserve water.
However, despite the concerning issue of air pollution in the past few years, the stubble-burning culture still continues.
The Himalayan Cool Winds Worsen the Delhi Air Pollution
The stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP creates fumes that blow away toward Delhi due to the strong winds during winter.
Combined with the cold winds coming from the Himalayas, this smoke gets trapped in Delhi’s air due to temperature inversion. The Himalayan mountain acts like a kind of barrier for Delhi, directing the smoke towards the capital.
Additionally, the weather also plays a significant role in worsening Delhi’s pollution. During the winters, cold mountain air rushes down from the Himalayas towards Delhi. Arriving cold air from the Himalayas beneath a layer of warm lowland air creates a dome over the state.
The warm air keeps pollution trapped on the ground with nowhere to go. So when stubble fire smoke reaches Delhi, it blends with urban pollution and forms toxic smog.
All these reasons combined, Delhi experiences dangerous air pollution that is so high that even air quality meters cannot accurately gauge its level.
The Co-Partners of Stubble Burners
During October-November, India celebrates their premier festival of Diwali, where lighting crackers worsen the situation in Delhi.
When the weather was considered, the survey discovered increases in PM2.5 concentrations, one of the most dangerous particles for human health, to approximately 40% high on the second day of the festival.
The Delhi government, however, made significant efforts to reduce the effects of burning crackers in Delhi pollution but failed to implement it thoroughly.
Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana peaks in October end- and November. While the contribution of Diwali crackers significantly affects the air quality of Delhi.
Nevertheless, the contribution of stubble burning is Delhi’s primary cause of air pollution.
Delhi Air Pollution: The Solution
The unique geographical location of Delhi, coupled with its huge population, puts the state in a fragile position. In the interview with Mzemo, Abhishek said that the condition is getting worse every year.
However, there are a few solutions.
The controllable thing for Delhi is to use public transport, the Metro, or trains to travel. Secondly, reduce the waste or bifurcate the plastics and dry waste from wet. Third, implement strict rules and regulations against the Punjab and Haryana governments.
And most importantly, the government needs to come up with policies that to restore quality air in Delhi, especially when the life of 18 million people are at risk.
Palestine is Entrenched In the Heart of Qatar World Cup
Almost every match of the Qatar 2022 World Cup has witnessed signs of having Palestine entrenched in the heart of World Cup’s fans by either raising the Palestinian flag, wearing a Palestinian kufiyah or chanting slogans in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Palestine is a kind of country that is physically absent but spiritually present in the heart of the World Cup in Qatar. There is hardly a match, event, or promotional activity without the presence of the Palestinian flag, even though its team does not participate in the tournament. This edition of the World Cup tournaments is, by all means, different and holds significant importance since its beginning 92 years ago for the Arabs and the Palestinians. Since the beginning of the tournaments, Palestinians have been looking forward to spreading awareness about their suffering and getting their voice heard on a large scale.
What is in the heart, is in the heart
Arabs’ unity at its best in supporting Palestinians is present in a chilling way in the Mondial. This is almost the first time for Muslims, Arabs, and especially Palestinians to have their powerful platform to speak aloud. They need to speak loudly about their suffering in the largest gathering ever. The Palestinian flag has been flown with pride at stadiums across Doha since the tournament kicked off.
The unifying power of football has been unmistakably displayed, with Palestinians eager to throw their support behind Arab teams upsetting football’s international elite. On the other hand, Arabs have also shown signs of solidarity with the Palestinians during the tournaments. “My friends and I have been exchanging videos posted online showing Arab people waving the Palestinian flag, it’s a testament that we are one and Palestine is alive in the hearts and minds of all Arabs,” a fan said. Furthermore, Arab activists on “Twitter” launched a campaign to boycott companies supporting the “Israeli” occupation, and widely raised Palestinian flags during the World Cup Qatar 2022. Beautifully, Tunisian fans chanted for Palestine and raised the Palestinian flag outside the stadiums beautifully displaying Palestine entrenched in the heart of the World Cup.
Qatar encapsulates timeless universal solidarity with Palestine
It is not surprising to see the Qatari fans’ support for the Palestinians in the Mondial. On top of all supporting countries, Qatar has always shown solidarity with the Palestinian question whether spiritually or financially. Significantly, Qatar has seized the chance not only to spread Islamic culture and history but also the Palestinian question as well. Likewise, a Qatari man filmed a video on social media showing him distributing Palestinian armbands.
Several Qataris wore armbands featuring a pro-Palestinian design at the Mondial, according to photos posted on Twitter. The armbands bore the black-and-white design of the kufiyah scarf that is synonymous with the Palestinian cause. They were an apparent response to players and officials protesting FIFA’s players who wear the gay armband on the pitch. On top of all of that, Winterhill Hospitality, the official Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup hospitality-booking site, has put ‘Occupied Palestinian territories’ as a country option, without mentioning ‘Israel’ on its list. Moreover, it launched a popular campaign called “The Palestinian Dream” in Qatar. It aims to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause and the crimes of the occupation. It also has another aim: taking advantage of the major global event “World Cup”.
In addition, a Qatari man appeared in a video refusing to talk to an Israeli reporter as a way of showing solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Not only him, but also many Qataris showed refusing to interact with Israeli reporters. They also held the Palestinian flags high in every street, car, and stadium.
Israel is hopelessly isolated as Palestine is entrenched in the heart of the masses
As a sign and a result of showing solidarity with Palestinians, the masses have hopelessly outcasted and isolated Israeli media in front of the world. The Israeli media appeared isolated amidst large numbers of Arab fans. Whenever knowing their Israeli identity and hear their broken Arab accent, pro-Palestinians rally around them with dozens of Palestinian flags. For more, click here. “We feel hated, surrounded by hostility and unwanted,” an Israeli journalist said. Another Israeli reporter interviewing a Saudi fan burst into anger shouting that “Israel stays for doomsday.” This is a sign of covering up the distress and anger in which he is. This Mondial has proved the hatred of Arabs, Muslims, and some Westerners worldwide for the Israelis. A Saudi fan was overwhelmed in a video telling an Israeli reporter that he is not welcome here.
As a result, Israeli media started to flounder for being a redundant intolerable guest. “After a while, we decided to claim we were Ecuadorian when someone would ask us where we were from,” an Israeli reporter said. Read more on this: Is anti-Semitism essential for the survival and growth of Zionism and Jewish peoplehood?
The Yemeni, Saudi, and Tunisian masses gave a harsh lesson to the Israeli journalist Jay Hochmann. This happened when he stood among their groups to impose himself among them, so they cheered “Palestine”. Furthermore, Yediot Ahrnot said that their coverage of the World Cup showed the magnitude of the Arabs’ hatred of Israel. It also noted that Iranian, Qatari, Jordanian, Moroccan, Syrian, Lebanese, and Egyptian fans were looking at them with hate looks.
Summing up, it is the instinct of Arabic peoples to show such solidarity with Palestinians. All the presented signs show that Palestine is entrenched in the heart of World Cup fans. Through their unity and awareness, the Palestinian question is strongly dominant in the scene. Most importantly, let us not forget the enormous efforts of Qatar of supporting Palestinians in all circumstances. One of the most critical factors to make full benefit of the Qatar World Cup in support of the Palestinian cause is to communicate directly with match commentators, presenters, and influencers. This can be via television, radio channels, or social media sites to highlight, talk about, and address the Palestinian issue during their comments on the games.
In addition to the need to interact on social media sites via several tags, most notably Palestine in the World Cup, to get the issue to the extreme and the most significant gatherings. This interaction proved that the question of Palestine is still alive and still entrenched in the hearts of all Arabs and Islamic peoples in the World Cup. Qatar World Cup FIFA has become the main platform to convey the Palestinian question to the whole world. On the other hand, negligence and outcast, at least, are what Israelis got due to their bloody deeds against Palestinians. From our platform, we announce our support for Qatar and the Palestinian question as well.
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