How Israel withholds labour rights from the West Bank’s Palestinian workers

Palestinian labourers in the West Bank

As Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories edges towards its 50th year, violent incidents in the West Bank remain fairly sporadic. The political and economic reality of coexistence in the Palestinian territories has made Palestinians and Israelis deeply interdependent – and especially Palestinian workers and Israeli employers and corporations.

That relationship has always been legally tangled, but in recent weeks, there’ve been new developments that could make things even worse.

To begin with, the Israeli National Labour Court found that Israeli law does not apply to Palestinians working for Israelis in the Jordan Valley, an area of the West Bank that has become infamous for child labour.

Meanwhile, the leader of the right-wing party Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett, succumbed to pressure placed by Israeli farmers in the Jordan Valley and stepped back from his previous commitment to apply Israeli labour law in the West Bank.

That spells misery for West Bank Palestinians working for Israeli employers and corporations, and doubles down on a regime of profound legal inequality.

Choked

Tens of thousands of Israelis are moving into existing settlements and establishing new ones (often on private Palestinian land) –not for ideological reasons, but because the costs are lower and the standard of living is higher than in Israel proper. For the same reason, a great many Israeli businesses are moving to the settlements and to industrial zones. Many of these businesses, especially in sectors such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture, rely on cheap Palestinian labour for their profits.

The Israeli government is still choking the development of an independent Palestinian economy through military orders that curb the use of funds, imposes limits on the supply of water and electricity and restricts access to farm land through the permit system and the separation barrier. That means Palestinians are increasingly forced to rely on Israeli employers to make ends meet.

This is not an unwelcome development on the Israeli side. Palestinian workers are especially attractive to Israeli employers because of a very particular legal situation that’s arisen over the past few years.

Heavy load

Until 2007, the assumption was that Palestinians were employed in the settlements and in Israeli-owned industries according to the Jordanian law that was in place when Israel conquered the West Bank – except where that law was modified by the military commander of the region.

This situation was based on the law of occupation, which dictates that the occupier should respect the law in force in the occupied territory. However, as the occupation became a prolonged one, a situation developed that those who drafted the laws of occupation never imagined.

Israelis lived in the territory and conducted their economic life as if under Israeli law (as is their prerogative) while employing Palestinians under Jordanian law in the West Bank and Egyptian law in Gaza. Different laws apply for people doing the same work, who are different only by virtue of their race or nationality.

The result is not mere discrimination. The application of different laws for different sections of people is very close to, if not reaches the core of, apartheid.

Separate and unequal

The Israeli Supreme Court, politically savvy as ever, addressed this issue in 2007. In a landmark decision, it ruled that where Palestinians work side-by-side with Israelis in Israeli “exclaves” created from illegal settlements and industrial zones, then the same Israeli law should apply to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Paradoxically, this was not just a victory for Palestinians and their Israeli supporters. It was also supported by right-wing Israeli nationalists, who advocate the annexation of Palestinian land through the application of Israeli law to Area C, the West Bank’s largest subdivision. But the ruling both created problems for Israeli businesses established in the West Bank and explicitly relied on a law that is already anything but generous to Palestinians.

Since 2007, the situation has evolved on both sides. Some Palestinian workers have taken advantage of the rights the Supreme Court decision guaranteed them, while right-wing members of the Knesset continued their efforts to expand the application of Israeli labour law.

Many Israeli businesses sprung into action and began searching for loopholes in the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision. So Israeli law should apply where the employer is Israeli? No problem, we’ll engage a Palestinian intermediary to sign the cheques. So Israeli law should apply where the employment is based in an Israeli exclave? That’s fine, we’ll move the undertaking out of the industrial zone, meaning the employer’s obligations are eased, but their workers still regulated by the same highly restrictive permit regime.

This issue was looked into by the National Labour Court, but sadly, it gave its stamp of approval to legal trickery and ushered in the shameful state of affairs we see today, where the application of different laws to different people is formally acknowledged.

As for Naftali Bennett, he could have responded with a proud national pronouncement that would indicate that nationalist ideology comes at a cost. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s exactly what he did – only the cost is for the Palestinians to bear.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Legal case against UK for Palestine actions will be successful in Egyptian court: Activists

Displaced Palestinians at a refugee camp in Syria after the establishment of the state of Israel 

(Photo Public Domain)

A legal case to sue the United Kingdom for its role in handling the state of Palestine and the subsequent suffering of the Palestinian people will receive a verdict on 28 September.

Activists involved with the campaign, which is currently going through the Egyptian legal system, say they believe the court will rule in their favour.

A South Cairo court is overseeing the case initiated by the ‘Popular Palestinian Campaign to Sue the United Kingdom’ and who say they are attempting to “restore the right of the Palestinian people to their land, robbed from them in the infamous Balfour Declaration”. In May, the court decided that it had the authority to make a ruling on the case.

The lawsuit calls on the defendants to recognise their responsibility for the suffering and loss of the Palestinian people and pay symbolic compensation to the Palestinian people of EGP 1m.

Awani Selim Habet, leader of the campaign, told Daily News Egypt that the legal opinions they have consulted on the case believe that a ruling will be made in the campaign’s favour.

The 1917 Balfour Declaration was a letter from the UK’s then-foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to the Zionist movement in Britain. In the letter, he stated the government “favour[s] the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”.

Despite Balfour’s statement that the rights of Palestinians should not be harmed, the subsequent transfer of the Jewish diaspora to Palestine resulted in the collapse of Palestinian communities, massacres, and displacement.

Commenting on the case to Daily News Egypt earlier this year, a British Embassy spokesperson said that they were aware of the case, but denied that they had sent any legal representative to an earlier session.

“Britain is proud of the role it has played over many years pursuing peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Egyptians should be in no doubt about Britain’s enduring commitment to this goal,” the spokesperson said.

“We want return and compensation,” Habet told Daily News Egypt, referring to the campaign to give long displaced Palestinian communities the right of return to family homes on land now claimed by Israel.

“One of the reasons for this case is that the UK claims to be the vanguard of freedoms; this is a test to prove if they are really a democracy-supporting country or not,” Habet continued.

In April, Palestine was admitted to the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority has stated they hope to take Israel to court for war crimes they hold the government responsible for.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki reported the deadly firebombing attack that killed a baby and his father to the ICC earlier in August. The report covered wider attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians, in addition to the arson attack on the Dawabshe family.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Al-Aqsa preacher calls for unity, lifting Gaza siege

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher Sheikh Youssef Abu Sneineh called during Friday prayers sermon for activating Palestinian national unity and lifting the siege on Gaza.

Sheikh Abu Sneineh hailed in the same time the Palestinian prisoners’ strong steadfastness in face of Israeli brutal measures, calling for their release.

He strongly denounced the Palestinian Authority’s continued silence over the Israeli escalated Judaization policy in occupied Jerusalem and settlers’ provocative break-ins into al-Aqsa Mosque under police protection.

Palestinian officials are responsible for putting an end to these provocative break-ins and attacks, he added.

He stressed the urgent need for providing protection to al-Aqsa Mosque and defending it from Israeli almost-daily attacks and Judaization schemes.

On Friday, nearly 300 Gazans over the age of 50 years were allowed to pass through Israeli-controlled Erez crossing to offer Friday prayers in al-Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Anonymous Hacks Israeli Government, Officials Blame Hamas So They Hack It Again To Prove It Was Them

Anonymous Hacks Israeli Government, Officials Blame Hamas So They Hack It Again To Prove It Was Them.

This past week we reported on a new wave of #OpIsrael attacks by Anonymous on the State of Israel. A new attack, being termed #OpBurnedAlive was reported on in an article entitled Anonymous Hacks Israel After Police Release Terrorist Who Murdered Toddler.

How did we know it was Anonymous who carried out this attack? We know the same way we did about all previous #OpIsrael attacks? Because Anonymous told us that they carried them out to protest not only the rampant State-sponsored and encouraged terrorism against the Palestinian people, but also the corruption of the police and the courts that let these terrorist walk free.

But The Times of Israel decided to cover up the both the reason for the attacks and who carried them out. Their report reflects that Israeli officials have taken this opportunity to blame “Hamas and Iran” for the attacks, which we can confirm were neither carried out from Palestine, nor from Iran.

The attempted hack attack against the Defense Ministry that was revealed this week is only manifestation of the ongoing cyber-war that Israel faces every day. In an exclusive interview, an IDF major who insisted on anonymity for security reasons said that Israel has been attacked by enemies of all kinds – and in all kinds of ways.

“While we’ve had cyber attacks all along, it really picked up last year, during Operation Protective Edge, when we were faced with new challenges that we have not faced before,” he said. “Attacks were conducted by all the players – Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian hacker groups, and Iran, and they displayed strong capabilities that have gotten considerably better over the years.”

The “cyber attacks all along” refers to any number of #OpIsrael attacks that have been downing IDF and government and law enforcement sites over the past year. A simple search of our archives will reveal more articles on these attacks than it would possibly make sense to delineate here.

But the Israeli government and police never passes up a good opportunity to blame the Palestinian people for anything and everything. Additionally, by fingering Hamas and Iran, Israel hopes to garner sympathy. If they are being “cyber” attacked by “terrorists” rather than by Anonymous, then the hearts of the world will turn in solidarity with the corrupt regime.

Many of the attacks against IDF servers, and Israeli networks in general, are DDOS (denial of service) attacks, where hackers try by sheer quantity of Internet connections to slow or halt operations on systems. But the past year especially has seen some very sophisticated attacks. Some of those attacks, said personnel in the C4i corps, were true zero-day attacks – brand-new viruses or Trojan horses – and were apparently designed specifically with the intent of attacking Israeli defense servers.

How close hackers got to taking down a crucial server is a secret the army would never reveal, but when a usually tight-lipped figure in the IDF’s C4I telecommunications corps admits that Israel faces a cyber-security problem, it stands to reason that the threat is a substantial one. And indeed it is, said the IDF major – but fortunately, the army has been able to defend its systems.

Notice where they talk about in the past year especially, they have “seen some very sophisticated attacks.

That’s when #OpIsrael kicked into high gear, in response to the bombing of Gaza. It must have been Hamas though – not Anonymous Red Cult and other groups who joined forces with them.

From what we have seen and reported on, Red Cult has been very busy over the past year. In addition to an array of operations against the State of Israel, the Anonymous group also initiated #OpISIS, which has been a highly successful and popular operation against the extremist, terrorist organization.

We have also been the first source briefed on these attacks. You can find a full list of each #OpISIS and #OpIsrael attack in our archives.

Now, Red Cult has responded to Israeli officials pointing the finger at Gaza and Iran instead of Anonymous. Watch the video they just sent us below…

Red Cult is calling this #OpBurnedAlive 2, to underline and emphasize the fact that it was Anonymous who was responsible for the attacks in the aftermath of police in the State of Israel releasing all of the terrorists who had been held in connection with the firebombing of a Palestinian home saw an 18-month-old baby and his father burned alive.

Our contacts with Anonymous Red Cult have been responsible for a number of serious attacks against the State of Israel, throughout the bombing campaigns on Gaza civilians and other war crimes committed by the State. They have also been the key driving force behind most anti-ISIS #OpISIS attacks, which later spread to other Anonymous secs.

Red Cult tells us that this attack came for the following reasons:
Because the Palestinian toddler’s voice was not heard
and because the world’s wicked silence was all over heard
and because we decided to be the toddler’s voice and pain
and because Israel, the criminal state, decided to set the Jewish Extremist settler who burnt the toddler alive, free
we decided this OP.

Far from targeting Jews, Red Cult has emphasized that they have Jews, Muslims, Christians and Atheists within their ranks. Their targets are extremists and terrorists, regardless of their religion – as #OpISIS has proven as well.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Police moves to break up protests over garbage crisis in Lebanese capital

Riot police in Lebanon have clashed with protesters in the capital city of Beirut over the country’s mounting garbage crisis.

On Saturday, police used tear gas and water cannon against the protesters, who were chanting slogans against government officials and parliament members, calling on them to resign.

The angry protester demand that the government take immediate measures to gather the garbage that has been accumulating on the capital’s streets over the past month.

Beirut’s main landfill has been closed down, leaving the city and its suburbs without a solution to the escalating problem. Garbage from Beirut used to be disposed at the Naameh landfill in the mountainous region southeast of the capital.

Since its closure, garbage collectors have stopped taking the garbage away, saying they have no place to dispose it.

The stench of uncollected garbage has filled the streets of Beirut, prompting the country’s Health Ministry to warn that the country will be on the brink of a “major health disaster” if the problem is not quickly resolved.

Garbage has been left to rot on the streets in the Lebanese capital since July 17.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

‘Israel’ displaces 19 Palestinians in Jordan Valley

Some 19 Palestinians became homeless after Israeli occupation had demolished their homes in Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank.

The two houses had been built before 1948 Israeli occupation of Palestine and establishing the Zionist Israeli occupation state

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Some 19 Palestinians became homeless after Israeli occupation had demolished their homes in Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli Civil Administration, Israeli occupation arm in the occupied Palestinian territories, demolished on Thursday several homes in Jordan Valley.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that the Civil Administration and the Israeli military forces demolished the homes of two families in Khirbet Einun, causing 11 people, including 7 to become homeless.

The forces then demolished a home in the nearby Khirbet Al-Deir community that housed an eight-member family, including three children. All became homeless.

Israeli occupation forces claimed that the Palestinian structures, including the two homes, which were destroyed, were built illegally.

However, the two houses had been built before 1948 Israeli occupation of Palestine and establishing the Zionist Israeli occupation state.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Why The US Turns A Blind Eye To Saudi Arabia’s Troublemaking

Medea Benjamin explains why Saudi Arabia, one of the most oppressive dicatatorships in the world, has America’s undying support.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, right, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center, and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, left, stand together prior to a group photo

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, right, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center, and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, left, stand together prior to a group photo before a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, March 31, 2012

NOTHING gets US Republican Party politicians fired up like Iran.

In the first televised debate for candidates competing to lead the Republicans in the 2016 presidential election,Scott Walker promised that he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal on day one of his presidency. Carly Fiorinablamed the country for “most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East.” Mike Huckabee vowed to topple the “terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”

Oddly, when the candidates complain about the “evil forces of radical Islam” or trouble in the Middle East, they never seem to mention Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s no democratic paradise. But on many counts, Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse. The Saudi royals crush dissent with an iron fist, spread extremist ideology, and invade their neighbors with impunity.

Domestically, the Saudi regime oppresses women, religious minorities, and millions of foreign workers. And it brutally represses criticism from human rights activists, prompting condemnation from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, for example, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes just for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Hundreds of political prisoners languish in prison — including Badawi’s lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years for his role as a human rights attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism.

Saudi women aren’t permitted to appear in public without adhering to a strict dress code. They need the approval of a male guardian to marry, travel, enroll in a university, or obtain a passport, and they’re prohibited from driving.

The penalties for defiance are steep.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, killing scores of people each year for a range of offenses including adultery, apostasy, drug use, and sorcery. It has conducted over 100 public beheadings this year alone.

Meanwhile, the Saudi monarchy has used its military and financial might to impose its will throughout the Middle East.

In 2011, Saudi tanks invaded neighboring Bahrain and brutally crushed that nation’s budding pro-democracy movement. Two years later, the Saudis backed a coup in Egypt that killed over 1,000 people and saw over 40,000 political dissidents thrown into squalid prisons.

In their latest military intervention, the Saudis have used American-made cluster bombs and F-15 fighter jets in a bombing campaign over Yemen that’s killed and injured thousands of civilians and created a severe humanitarian crisis.

All the while, they’ve helped export an extremist interpretation of Islam around the globe. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, as well as Osama bin Laden himself.

Despite all these abuses, Saudi Arabia has been a key US ally for decades. Why?

One reason is oil: Saudi Arabia is the world’s second largest producer, trailing only the United States itself.

Another is the arms trade: The country is the largest purchaser of American-made weapons. In 2010, the US government concluded a $60.5 billion arms deal with the Saudis — the largest in history. This means that for years to come, US weapons will be used by the Saudis to maintain their repressive rule and impose their will on neighboring countries.

A third reason, ironically, is Iran. Since 1979, Washington has pursued a policy of building up the Saudi military as a counterweight to Iran’s revolutionary government.

For Republican presidential candidates, this primary season is all about vilifying Iran. While they beat up on the White House for making peace with America’s enemies, maybe voters should ask them more questions about America’s friends.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

ISRAEL ORDERS DEMOLITION OF VILLAGE THAT’S RECEIVED AUSTRALIAN AID MONEY

Susiya

Israel has ordered the demolition of an entire village that is home to hundreds of Palestinians and that’s received Australian aid money, prompting international condemnation.

– See video here –

Transcript

SABRA LANE, PRESENTER: Israel has ordered the wholesale demolition of a village that was developed with help from Australian foreign aid funding. The decision is attracting international attention, with the US State Department saying the evictions would be harmful and provocative. Israel claims Susiya, home to hundreds of Palestinians in the occupied territories, is an illegal development because it’s never been granted planning permission. But the families who’ve lived there for decades claim it’s next to impossible for them to obtain those permits. Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill reports.
SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Life is harsh in the Palestinian village of Susiya in the West Bank. But for over 300 Palestinians, this ramshackle collection of tents, sheds and small brick buildings is home.
Village elder Abu Mohamad Nawaja says his family first settled in these hills when they fled their villages inside what became Israel after World War II.
ABU MOHAMAD NAWAJA, SUSIYA RESIDENT (voiceover translation): That was the original location of the village Susiya, where I was born and raised for so many years.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: In 1986, they were uprooted again when Israel declared the nearby ancient ruins of a synagogue an archaeological site. Now, these families stand to lose their homes once again.
ABU MOHAMAD NAWAJA (voiceover translation): They will confiscate this farming land for settlers so they can expand their settlements and live comfortably. They want to destroy us, our lives and our kids’ lives.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Like more than 60 per cent of the Palestinian West Bank, Susiya is under the full control of Israeli authorities and they say they never gave planning permission for these structures to be built. A demolition order for the whole of Susiya has been granted.
Today this small-time sheep farmer is hosting the British Consul General and dozens of EU officials.
The village has secured an impressive list of international backers to try to stop Israel from carrying out the demolition.
JOHN KIRBY, US STATE DEPARTMENT: We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Over the years, Australian foreign aid has helped Susiya grow.
Australian Moira O’Leary is the director of ActionAid in the occupied Palestinian territories. For the last four years, the organisation has received funding from the Australian Government to work in Susiya.
MOIRA O’LEARY, ACTIONAID AUSTRALIA: The Palestinians in Area C have very limited access to healthcare, to education, to running water, to electricity and other services like garbage collection. This is their land, it’s their home, it’s where they want to be, so people live in those conditions because really they don’t have a choice.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: To try and improve living conditions here, Australia-funded livelihood programs for women, including buying sheep and beehives. Australia also paid for ActionAid to build two small structures here. One serves as a clinic and the other a kindergarten. They have both been slated for demolition.
MOIRA O’LEARY: We’ve been regularly in contact with the Australian representative in Ramallah about the situation in Susiya and they are also following closely.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Over in Jerusalem, we find the man leading the Israeli legal campaign to demolish Susiya and he was born in Sydney. Australian Ari Briggs has been living in Israel for the past 22 years. He’s the spokesperson for the Israeli pro-settler organisation Regavim.
ARI BRIGGS, SPOKESPERSON, REGAVIM: I mean, there are standard definitions of what a village is anywhere round the world. What you’re looking at when you look at Arab Susiya today is just a collection of tents and encampments that’s been set up there and under no-one’s definition could it be called a village. The ancient Jewish community of Susiya with its ancient synagogue really ties the Jewish people to the area. I mean, today, it’s called the West Bank. We call it Judea. Jews in Judea makes a lot of sense.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Ari Briggs can’t believe the Australian Government is supporting Susiya.
ARI BRIGGS: I have sent information both to the ambassador here in Israel and to the Foreign Ministry back in Australia, information that we used in court, information that stood up in court and we believe that these facts are the facts.
TOM WILSON, AUST. REP., WEST BANK (subtitle translation): How are you? My name is Tom Wilson. I am the Australian representative.
ABU MOHAMAD NAWAJA (subtitle translation): Is this your first visit here?
TOM WILSON (subtitle translation): No, no, it’s not the first time.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Today, the Australian representative to the West Bank, Tom Wilson, is here to express his support for Susiya.
TOM WILSON (subtitle translation): I haven’t been to Susiya for so long and I decided to come and say hello. And we heard a lot on the news about the threat of demolition here.
ABU MOHAMAD NAWAJA (subtitle translation): All of the diplomats and representatives who come today, we ask them to pressure Israel to cancel this demolition and to give us permits to build just like the settlements. Of course this is our land, we have registrations. We have the deeds, we have everything.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: The Department of Foreign Affairs told the ABC they are concerned Israeli authorities intend to proceed with demolitions in Susiya and they have raised those concerns with Israel.
And what will Australia do if this village is demolished?
TOM WILSON: I came here today to Susiya to speak with the community leaders and I’m not here to do media interviews, but thank you very much.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Over the years, the villagers of Susiya have tried to get planning approval for their homes, but it was rejected.
MOIRA O’LEARY: Most Palestinians are not successful in getting planning permits from Israel, so the only alternative is that people have to move or they build – have to build illegally.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: What makes the demolition of Susiya even more harrowing for its inhabitants is that Israeli settlers were given permission to establish their own town just on the next hill, which they also called Susiya. It’s complete with electricity, running water and even a pool. But under international law, all Israeli settlements like this one in the Palestinian West Bank are illegal.
The Israeli High Court is due to hear Susiya’s appeal against its demolition next week.
MOIRA O’LEARY: The international community in Australia have a lot of influence in being able to support communities like Susiya and to really urge Israel not to continue with demolitions.
SABRA LANE: Sophie McNeill reporting there from Susiya.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Hamas sets conditions for truce with Israel

Khaled Meshaal, the political bureau chief of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas (Photo by AFP)

Khaled Meshaal, the political bureau chief of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas

The political bureau chief of Hamas says an infinite extension of a truce reached with the Israeli regime last year is possible provided that Tel Aviv meets five conditions set by the Palestinian resistance movement.

In an interview with al-Araby al-Jadid daily, which was published on Saturday, Khaled Meshaal said the Tel Aviv regime will have to meet five conditions if it seeks a permanent extension of the truce that was reached at the end of the latest Israeli war on the Palestinian enclave in 2014.

He said the demands comprise the reconstruction of the besieged Gaza Strip in the wake of the war last year; ending the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territory; addressing the employment issues of some 50,000 individuals in Gaza; the construction of sea and air ports in the Strip; and addressing the problems of Gazan infrastructure, including water and electricity supplies, and the road and sewage systems.

A picture taken on August 3, 2014 shows a Palestinian man standing at the morgue of a hospital in Rafah over the bodies of some of the nine members of the same family killed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip

He said, however, that the potential extension of the truce between Hamas and the Israeli regime will have no impact on the state of resistance in the West Bank, where resistance will continue to be a necessity in the face of such Israeli practices as jailing Palestinian activists, the Judaization of Palestinian lands and violations of al-Aqsa Mosque.

Gaza has been struggling to recover from the 50-day war Israel launched against the strip in early July last year. The offensive ended on August 26 with a truce that took effect after indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in Israel’s 50-day onslaught. Over 11,100 others, including nearly 3,380 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were also injured.

A Palestinian girl plays in the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50-day 2014 Israeli war in Gaza City, July 21, 2015

Apart from the tremendous loss of life, the war also destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings.

Gaza has also been under an Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade has significantly affected life in the Palestinian territory.

In his Friday interview, the political bureau chief of Hamas also rejected allegations that Hamas is after establishing a state separate from the West Bank, saying the settlement of the Palestinian issue will involve all groups and factions.

(Source / 22.08.2015)

Syrian Coalition: International Community Still Evades Facing Core of the Problem

In a statement released today, the political committee said that many answers to questions and inquiries raised during the meeting with de Mistura’s team fell short of dispelling concerns about many of  outstanding issues.

The political committee welcomed the team of  UN envoy to Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura. The team explained the course of implementing the points contained de Mistura’s July 29th UN report, also explaining the presidential statement issued by the UN Security Council on August 17.

The political committee outlines its reservation about Mr. de Mistura’s plan, summarized in the following points:

“First, it is clear that the proposed course of action will be lengthy and cannot be adopted due to ongoing bloodshed and destruction by the Assad regime. Assad will continue to benefit throughout this period and stay afloat by consolidating  its gains on the ground, as we are currently witnessing and continue to witness.”

“Secondly, the draft of the plan does not meet the objective of the Geneva I communique and the UN Security Council resolution 2118 calling for the formation of a transitional governing body with full powers which will expedite the adoption of an executive plan for the Geneva I communique and to unify the teams to meet all objectives.”

The political committee also stated that “the international community continues to evade facing the core problem, namely how to achieve a radical and comprehensive political transition without the presence of Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle in the transitional period and beyond.”

“Thirdly, while there are no longer any doubts about the legitimacy of the forces that represent the revolution and the opposition, there have been attempts to distort the will of the Syrian people through selectivity in choosing its representatives, like what happened during consultation meetings in Geneva in May. Indeed, a political process cannot be successful unless it demonstrates integrity, impartiality and credibility regarding the issue of Syrian representation, eliminating all outside influence and objectives.”

Moreover, the political committee stresses that the majority of documents laid out by forces of the revolution and the opposition agree on a unified vision for a political solution and on the need to achieve a radical and comprehensive political transition that refuses the continuation or the return to tyranny.

The Syrian Coalition’s political committee maintains contact with the United Nations to clarify outstanding issues. It will adhere to the letter and spirit of the decisions approved by the Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly reflecting the aspirations of various components of Syrian people. Moreover, the political committee will discuss the outcomes of these meetings and will present the political situation to the General Assembly’s upcoming meeting to approve a mandate.

While it reaffirms its adherence to the United Nations’ role in bringing about a political solution in Syria, it emphasizes the need for UN to play its natural role in bringing war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity to account.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 22.08.2015)