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Arabic press review: Rare Yemeni artefacts to be auctioned in Israel

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian academic slams UAE strategy in Yemen, and Egyptian journalists hold sit-in to demand release of jailed colleagues
A bronze frame from Yemen is expected to be up for auction in Israel in October (Abdullah Mohsen/Facebook)

Yemeni artefacts to be sold in Israel

A Yemeni researcher said a number of rare artefacts from Yemen will be auctioned in Tel Aviv in October, according to a report by the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

Abdullah Mohsen, a researcher specialised in tracing looted antiquities, said that among the exhibits is a bronze frame, out of which the faces of two young men stand out. 

He said details of the items and their source have not been announced yet. 

Years of war in Yemen have led to a significant rise in looting and smuggling of Yemeni antiquities, many of which have been displayed at auctions in European and American cities, according to Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

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The Sanaa-based al-Hudhud Centre for Archaeological Studies said in a report last year that 4,265 smuggled Yemeni artefacts had been sold in several countries from 1991 to 2022, including 2,610 smuggled since the war started in 2015.

Saudi Arabian academic slams UAE over Yemen

Prominent Saudi Arabian academic Muhammad al-Zalfa has attacked the United Arab Emirates over its role in the war in Yemen, sparking widespread criticism in the Gulf country, according to the New Gulf news site. 

Zalfa, a former member of the Saudi Shura Council, said the UAE had focused on issues related to the secession of southern Yemen from its north, before it withdrew its military "in an uncalculated way" and left Saudi Arabia to fight the northern Houthi movement alone.

Criticising Abu Dhabi's agenda in Yemen, including extending its influence over Yemeni islands, Zalfa said: "It seems that the UAE has gone too far in its projects, more than its capabilities."

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During a talk-show on the war in Yemen, Zalfa rejected accusations levelled at the Saudi government that it had made a mistake in entering the war.

Anwar Gargash, a diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, responded to the comments by saying on X (formerly called Twitter) that Abu Dhabi's positions "have always been characterised by courage, authenticity and strategic assessment, which sees the security, stability and prosperity of the region as an indivisible whole".

"This remains our vision even if circumstances and tools changed, and our positions with brothers and friends remain firm and continuous. The UAE does not change and transcends the logic of gossip."

Emirati media also criticised Zalfa and called on Saudi authorities to hold him accountable.

Meanwhile, well-known Emirati academic Abdul Khaliq Abdullah, who is close to the UAE government, wrote on X: "Muhammad al-Zalfa used to praise the UAE and had previously lauded its success in liberating Aden, so what makes him change his positions and turn praise into free criticism?

"A contradiction confirms that Zalfa's position reflects the point of view of others, and not a personal point of view."

Egyptian journalists demand colleagues' freedom

Egyptian journalists on Thursday held a sit-in at the headquarters of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo to demand the release of all journalists held in Egypt's prisons, the New Arab newspaper reported.

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The Egyptian Women Journalists campaign had invited all journalists, both members of the Journalists Syndicate and non-members, to join them in the symbolic move.

It called on them "to join all the voices calling for the freedom of more than 25 journalists who are in pre-trial detention and have final sentences issued against them".

Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power after a coup that toppled president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, at least 170 journalists have been jailed and dozens others have been arbitrarily arrested and interrogated, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The government has secured its hold over the media by gradually taking control of many media outlets, the RSF said in June, adding that access to more than 500 news websites has been blocked in Egypt.

Sisi's government has led an unrelenting crackdown on dissent in the past 10 years. There are an estimated 65,000 political detainees in Egyptian prisons, arrested for their political opposition, according to Egyptian rights groups.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.