Visiting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday that his country is expecting major economic cooperation with Syria in the future.
Larijani made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Hammoudeh Sabbagh in the capital Damascus following their meeting in the Syrian Parliment.
"We underscore the importance of cooperation between the Syrian and Iranian businessmen and we see that these businessmen will definitely pave the way for a future busy with economic cooperation between the two countries," Larijani said.
Meanwhile, Sabbagh said he believes the future of the economic cooperation between the two countries will be "prosperous."
"As the brothers in Iran have had a role in supporting Syria in the unjust war against it, Iran will also have a role in the reconstruction process," he noted.
During the Syrian war, Iran has emerged as a key regional ally of the Syrian government which has repeatedly said friendly countries like Iran will have a role in the Syrian reconstruction.
Palestine said on Sunday that the Israeli plan to build a new electricity grid in the West Bank aims at "consolidation of illegal occupation."
"The plan will consolidate Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and support illegal settlements on our lands," said the Palestinian Energy Authority in a press statement.
"We will do everything possible to foil this plan and establish an independent electricity system for Palestinians," it added.
Israeli media reported that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz had approved a plan to boost the electricity network in the occupied West Bank to reach settlements and Palestinian towns.
Palestinians pay about 72 million U.S. dollars monthly to the Israeli electricity company for approximately 1,100 megawatts of electricity provided for the West Bank and some 250 megawatts for the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military on Sunday said it has thwarted an attempt by the Hamas militant group to hack soldiers' phones by posing as young, attractive women on social media, striking up friendships and persuading them into downloading malware.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters that the phones of dozens of soldiers had been infected in recent months, although he said the army detected the scam early on and prevented any major secrets from reaching the Islamic militant group.
"We do not assess there is any significant breach of information," the military spokesman said.
Conricus said this was the third attempt by Hamas to target male soldiers through fake social media accounts, most recently in July 2018. But he said this latest attempt was by far the most sophisticated.
He said Hamas used a number of social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram, to make contact with unsuspecting soldiers. Posing as young women on social media, the group struck up friendships with the soldiers, sending photos, texts and voice messages to them.
The "women" claimed to be new immigrants to explain their poor Hebrew, and even claimed to be deaf or hard of hearing as an excuse for texting, instead of speaking directly on the phone, Conricus said. The profiles appeared on multiple platforms, and he said the photos were disguised to make it difficult to "reverse track" them, giving the accounts additional authenticity.
"We see that the level of social engineering is much higher and much more advanced and sophisticated when compared to previous attempts done by Hamas," he said. "We see that they're of course learning and upping their game."
Eventually, they sent the soldiers links to "seduce" them into downloading what they said was a Snapchat-like app to exchange photos that could quickly disappear, Conricus said. In reality, the links were to three malware programs — Catch&See, ZatuApp and GrixyApp — that allowed Hamas to gain access to the soldiers' phones.
He said it was "very clear" that Hamas was behind the effort. He said the malware linked to known Hamas servers and at least one of the profiles had been used in a previous Hamas scam. There was no immediate comment from Hamas
Conricus declined to say how many soldiers had been targeted. But he said that dozens had downloaded the malware. He said soldiers had reported the suspicious activity relatively early on, allowing the army and the Shin Bet internal security service to monitor their phones. It is now in the process of removing the malware, he said.
Israel and Hamas, an Islamic movement that seeks Israel's destruction, are bitter enemies that have fought three wars and numerous skirmishes since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The enemy sides have been holding indirect talks through Arab and U.N. mediators aimed at reaching a long-term truce under which Israel would ease a blockade on the Gaza Strip in exchange for Hamas assurances to maintain quiet.
But low-level fighting has persisted. Early Sunday, Israel carried out a number of airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the firing of two projectiles from Gaza into southern Israel. No casualties were reported on either side.
The Palestinian prime minister lashed out Sunday at US President Donald Trump's proposal to end the Mideast conflict, saying it would be "buried very soon."
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Shtayyeh said the U.S. plan was "no more than a memo of understanding between (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and Trump."
Shtayyeh criticized the fact that the proposal would leave a future Palestinian state fragmented and with "no sovereignty," allowing Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank. He urged other countries to reject the Trump proposal while maintaining that Palestinians "are open to serious negotiations."
Shtayyeh suggested the Palestinians would seek to increase pressure on Israel through international organizations, citing the recent release by the U.N. human rights office of a list of more than 100 companies allegedly complicit in violating Palestinian human rights by operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Referring to the upcoming Israeli election, Shtayyeh said the difference between Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz and Netanyahu was "not more than the difference between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola."
Ivanka Trump lauded Sunday a handful of Mideast countries, including close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for embarking on "significant reforms" to advance women's rights, while speaking at a gathering of women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai.
The daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Global Women's Forum held in an opulent resort overlooking the city's Persian Gulf coastline.
"We know that when women are free to succeed, families thrive, communities flourish and nations are stronger," Trump said.
The theme of the forum in Dubai was "The Power of Influence." It was an apt theme for Trump, whose loyalty and support for her father's presidency saw her and her husband, Jared Kushner, take up formal roles in the White House as his advisers.
The 38-year-old mother of three has positioned herself as an Oval Office confidante while spearheading initiatives that broadly back women's empowerment. Her husband has become a top adviser on U.S. Mideast policy.
Once the owner of an eponymous fashion line, Ivanka Trump has wielded her proximity to the president to promote policies affecting women and deliver speeches around the world about women's economic empowerment. She meets with world leaders as a key White House official. Some of her efforts even have some bipartisan support in Washington, standing in sharp contrast to the level of controversy and political division surrounding her father's presidency.
In her keynote speech at the women's forum in Dubai on Sunday, Trump touted what she said was the progress of women in the United States.
"Today, American women are leading in every aspect of society. Last year, there were more women than men in the United States workforce, with women securing over 70% of new jobs," she said in her address.
Trump made no mention, however, of legislative obstacles in the U.S. around paid family leave, which she and the U.S president support. Currently, just a few U.S. states offer paid leave.
While questions continue to swirl over just how much influence she wields with her father, the U.S. president gave a glimpse into their relationship in 2017 when he wrote on Twitter: "She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing!" She's previously said that when she disagrees with her father, "he knows it".
During her speech in Dubai, Trump congratulated Saudi Arabia for recent changes in the law that allow women to travel abroad and obtain a passport without the permission of a male relative. In 2018, a ban on women driving cars was lifted. The changes are part of a wide-ranging push to transform the Saudi economy, attract greater foreign investment and ease international criticism.
Trump pointed to changes in other Mideast countries, as well. She said Bahrain had introduced legislation against discrimination in the workplace; Jordan had eliminated legal restrictions on women's ability to work at night; Morocco had expanded women's land rights; and Tunisia had introduced laws to combat domestic violence.
She said, though, more work needed to be done. She noted that across the region, women on average still have only half the legal rights of men.
The audience for her speech in the UAE included Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, World Bank President David Malpass and International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva.
The Dubai ruler is wildly popular at home and is seen as a modernizing force. He has, however, faced some criticism abroad concerning women's rights following reports that one of his daughters tried to flee the country and was forcibly returned. In previous years, Jordanian Princess Haya, with whom Sheikh Mohammed has two children, would have attended a forum of this kind by his side, but she too has reportedly fled the country and is seeking custody of their children in a British court.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have worked to cultivate close ties with the Trump administration and were early supporters of the Women's Empowerment Fund, a World Bank initiative to help female entrepreneurs that Ivanka Trump strongly backs. During the first trip abroad of her father's presidency to Saudi Arabia, the two Gulf countries pledged $100 million to the fund.
In her speech at Sunday's forum, Trump lauded Emirati leaders for "removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognizes that women are central to sustainable growth."
She noted that although 70% of Emirati university graduates are women, only 10% of the UAE's total national income is derived from women.
"We know that this going to grow and flourish in the years ahead," she said.
During her two-day visit to the UAE, Trump met with women entrepreneurs and discussed a U.S. government project she's leading that's aimed at helping women in developing countries. The Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative was launched last year with backing by her father.
On Saturday, she toured Abu Dhabi's grand mosque, visited Abu Dhabi's branch of the Louvre Museum, and met privately with the country's day-to-day ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.