UN bans drinking water for protesters at its Gaza office

The engineers protest UNRWA’s ending their contracts after obliging them to resign from other jobs as it pledged to employ them

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) prevented protesters at its head office in Gaza from receiving drinking water

The workers’ spokesperson, Thamer Shomar, said: “The UNRWA does not have the right to end or refuse to renew contracts of the engineers.”

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip -United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) prevented protesters at its head office in Gaza from receiving drinking water, the Association of Engineers in Gaza Governorates said on Monday.

The Association said that more than 120 Palestinian engineers have staged a protest for the fifth day inside the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, demanding it giving them permanent contracts after they worked on temporary bases for between one and five years.

In a statement, the engineers said that they staged their protest after UNRWA decided to end or not renew the contracts of more than 120 of them.

“We call on UNRWA to start new contracts with us after we succeeded in carrying out several successful projects,” the statement said.

The workers’ spokesperson, Thamer Shomar, said: “The UNRWA does not have the right to end or refuse to renew contracts of the engineers.”

He said that the UNRWA ended the contracts under the pretext of a shortage of support for new projects, noting that many of the engineers were asked to leave ongoing projects. He said that 120 of the 170 engineers working with UNRWA were sent away.

Engineer Ahmed Samra placed full responsibility on the UN organisation. “The UNRWA asked many of the engineers to resign from their previous jobs, promising it would give them permanent contracts.”

“It [UNRWA] prevented drinking water bottles from being brought in for the protesters,” the association said. It published pictures of bottles of water at the main gate of the organisation’s head office in Gaza, saying protesters were unable to them in.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Turkish ambassador says support for Palestine will never cease

Mustafa Sarnıç, Turkish Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority

Mustafa Sarnıç, Turkish Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority

The Turkish ambassador to the Palestinian Authority has said that Turkey will continue to provide economic and political support for the Palestinian people and their cause. Mustafa Sarnıç made his pledge during a conference in Gaza on Monday.

Ambassador Sarnıç pointed out that the government in Ankara has provided nearly $400 million in aid and support to the Palestinian people over the past ten years. He described the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as “unbearable”.

The conference was organised under the ambassador’s patronage. The topic was “Turkey and the Palestinian Cause: Challenges and Aspirations”.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Za’arir: Arresting Sheikh Salah, attempt to end Jerusalem Intifada

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– MP Bassem al-Za’arir said that the arrest of Sheikh Salah aims at muting the free voices defending the Aqsa and Occupied Jerusalem and constitutes an attempt to end Jerusalem Intifada. In a press statement on Monday, Za’arir opined that Sheikh Salah, who is a key figure and key component of Jerusalem Intifada, has become a model for the defense of Occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque as well as other sacred places.  He called for massive support for Occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa holy site after the arrest of Sheikh Salah, saying that his detention will not weaken the determination of the Palestinian people.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

IOF razes Palestinian structures in 1948 Occupied Palestine

NAZARETH, (PIC)– Israeli bulldozers razed on Monday al-Shati’ park in Jisr al-Zarqa town in addition to a wedding hall in Kabol village in northern 1948 Occupied Palestine for lacking construction permits. Local sources revealed that Israeli authorities knocked down the hall regardless of the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision of freezing demolition since the issuance of the structure’s construction permit was under process. For his part, head of the popular committee and member of Jisr al-Zarqa town’s council Sami al-Ali called for supporting Palestinian families affected by the demolition. Al-Ali told Quds Press that the Arab towns in the 1948 Occupied Palestine suffer from a land crisis for development construction and lack public halls and parks due to Israeli discrimination, demolition, confiscation, siege and harassment policies.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Israel obliges Palestinians to raise its flag on Nakba Day

Israeli proposed law is even to oblige Palestinians in cities of Arab majorities to raise the Israeli flag

Israeli Culture, Sport Minister Miri Regev to oblige all culture and sport centres in Israel, including Arabic institutes to raise Israeli flag on Nakba Day.

Zionists occupied Palestine and announced the establishment of their state on the ruins of hundreds of Palestinian villages, cities and thousands of skulls. Now, they want Palestinians to raise their flag.

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -Israeli Culture, Sport Minister Miri Regev to oblige all culture and sport centres in Israel, including Arabic institutes to raise Israeli flag on Nakba Day.

Israeli news website YnetNews reported informed sources saying that “personal judgment should not factor in here [raising the Israeli flag].”

Regev has instructed the ministry’s Director General Yossi Sharabi, YnetNews reported, to prepare the initiative, which includes all places built by the state. The initiative is to be discussed by the Knesset in the upcoming meeting.

According to the Israeli news website, if Regev’s proposal was approved, it would impose raising the flag at sensitive locations such as the Arabic-speaking Al-Midan Theater in Haifa and the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin, whose population is predominantly Arabs.

Returning back to her first day when she took office, YenetNews said that Regev promised to promote the Israeli flag’s prominence through legislation and regulations.

It added: over the last few days, the Ministry has conducted a legal assessment of the issue, and is due to put forth a proposal that is expected to pass without legal difficulties during the Knesset’s summer session, which will begin later in May.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Just how independent is Egypt’s parliament?

A general view shows members of Egypt’s new parliament meeting during their inaugural session in Cairo, Jan. 10, 2016

Egypt’s parliament hotly debated the government’s policy agenda before it was approved on April 20. During the sessions, several parliament members made scathing comments against statements released by the government and some ministers. They were answered in a warning by parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, who described their words as offensive and abusive to the government and the Egyptian state.

During the debate on the government’s program, Abdel Aal said that he would use all of his strength to prevent any abuse against the government. He noted that Egypt is going through a tough period, and “In tough times there is no [individual] legislative or executive authorities. Rather, all of them should act as a single authority.”

According to Abdel Khabir Ata, a political science professor at Assiut University, Abdel Aal’s statement is a clear violation of the constitution and parliament’s internal regulations, stressing that the constitution guarantees the legislative branch’s independence, granting it powers to monitor the government’s performance.

Article 5 of Egypt’s current constitution bases the political system on political and partisan pluralism, a peaceful rotation of power, a separation and balance between powers, the responsibility that comes with power and respect for human rights and freedoms.

Moreover, Article 101 of the constitution stipulates that parliament holds the legislative power, with the right to pass the general policies of the state, the general plan for economic and social development and the state’s general budget, and shall also exercise control over the executive.

Ata told Al-Monitor that even times of crisis should not be an excuse for states to neglect the separation of powers, stressing that during such times, perhaps emergency ministries could be formed upon parliament’s approval rather than combining the powers of all branches in the hand of one or prohibiting criticism of the executive.

He warned against what he called the domination of the executive power over the legislative and judiciary in the absence of parliamentary oversight.

“The executive branch is seeking to control the powers of the parliament and the judiciary. This can be considered political corruption, amounts to collapse of the state and neglects the people’s right to a legislature and supervision of the government’s performance,” said Ata.

He also stressed that failing to apply and abide by the constitution will not only undermine Egypt’s stability, but lead to the complete collapse of its institutions, including the executive branch.

Ramadan Battikh, a professor of constitutional law at Ain Shams University, does not see Abdel Aal’s statements as a violation of the constitution. He explained that the parliament speaker was talking about the need for the state institutions to work together and be integrated to work toward the common good. He stressed in his statements to Al-Monitor that the survival of the state is more important than strictly applying the constitution and the law. Should the state be in real danger, all authorities should come under one banner, a custom he believes is in line with others adopted by most of the world’s constitutions.

“Since its first session in January, the current parliament has been preoccupied with passing laws for the transitional phase and internal regulations, as well as forming higher presidential committees and bodies. Therefore, the parliament did not fulfill its monitoring role over the government’s performance,” Battikh said.

Yasser al-Hudaybi, another constitutional law professor at Ain Shams University, told Al-Monitor, “The current Egyptian constitution has granted the parliament new powers that did not exist before, whereby the parliament has become stronger than the president and the prime minister. The people and their representatives at parliament are considered to be above all the state’s authorities.”

On Sept. 13, during the inauguration of Youth Week at Suez Canal University, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said, “The current Egyptian constitution has been drafted in good faith, but states are not built on good faith,” a statement observers believed was an implicit declaration of his intention to amend the constitution.

Hudaybi stressed the potential for conflict between the three authorities, noting that Egypt’s constitution provided for the separation of powers in order to promote integration among state institutions and ensure the state functions smoothly.

Although he acknowledged that the Egyptian state is suffering from major internal and external pressure, Hudaybi warned against losing sight of the meaning of the parliament speaker’s attempt to dissuade parliament members from criticizing the government. He stressed that the speaker has no right to deny parliament one of its inherent powers in a clear violation of the constitution.

“The authorities should make better use of what is guaranteed by the constitution to ensure the stability of the political system on which the state is based and managed,” Hudaybi said. He warned against undermining the role of the parliament in monitoring the government and against the legislative control of parliamentary powers, as mixing the powers of the three branches would adversely affect all the state’s institutions.

He also said that parliament members are bound to maintain the parliamentary powers granted to them by the constitution, noting that voters have the right to hold parliament members accountable should they fail to achieve the tasks they were elected to perform.

Parliamentarian Haitham al-Hariri believes that Abdel Aal’s statements could be interpreted in two ways. First, they could be interpreted as meaning that the legislative, judiciary and executive branches are all responsible for making the necessary decisions and taking measures to extract Egypt from its crises. Another interpretation is that he was dissuading parliament members from criticizing the government while the state is plagued with crises.

“Even in a time of crisis, the parliament’s role is to set forth the government’s policies and monitor its performance,” Hariri told Al-Monitor. “The parliament’s role and right to monitor the government’s performance does not conflict with the state’s endeavors and efforts to get out of the crises,” he added, stressing that the state institutions’ work should be integrated to better run Egypt’s affairs.

He also stressed the parliament members’ efforts to preserve their role in monitoring the government aim to uphold the people’s right to run their state. He talked about what could be described as a “honeymoon” between the government and parliament, a period that could negatively affect the parliament’s role in monitoring the government’s performance and holding it accountable.

He added, “The constitution requires that the parliament take specific actions — such as briefing requests and questioning — against the government officials, should their performance and general policies not be approved by parliament.”

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Israeli court convicts Palestinian boy of attempted murder

Israeli court refused to release any CCTV video for the incident except the one released by Israeli authorities

Israeli District Court in Jerusalem convicted Palestinian boy Ahmed Manasrah, 14, of attempted murder and possession of a knife.

Ahmed’s uncle told Days of Palestine and Middle East Rising that specialised doctors proved he was hit in the head so that he lost his memories.

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -Israeli District Court in Jerusalem convicted Palestinian boy Ahmed Manasrah, 14, of attempted murder and possession of a knife.

The boy was allegedly accused of attacking Israeli settlers in the illegal Israeli Jewish settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in occupied East Jerusalem on October 12, 2015.

Ahmed was seen in a video suffering serious wound after an Israeli drive ran over him and other Israelis insulting him, preventing medical aid for him and shouting: “Die, son of a whore.”

Hassan Manasrah, Ahmed’s cousin who was with him, was shot dead by the Israeli border guards, claiming he had a knife and attempted to stab them.

Based on a CCTV camera videos, which a Canadian investigator hired by Middle East Rising proved they were doctored, and a violent interrogation conducted by several harsh Israeli interrogators, the Israeli court convicted Ahmed of stabbing an Israeli settler of his age and carrying a knife.

The teen was hospitalised in an Israeli hospital and was handcuffed and leg-chained to his bed during his treatment. Israeli authorities claimed he received decent treatment, but his father reiterated that office of the Israeli PM published fake pictures for him being served decently.

Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee (PPC) Tariq Barghouth said the decision is appealable. “We hope the Supreme Court will view this humanitarian case differently,” he said.

“Once again, the Israeli court proves its racist treatment of the Palestinians,” the lawyer said, noting the “double standard” of the Israeli justice system when it comes to punishing Palestinians accused of committing crimes against Israelis, compared to cases of settlers attacking Palestinians.

Manasra’s trial was postponed several times until he turned 14 in January, the age of legal liability for only the Palestinians in the Israeli law. For Israelis, legal liability is 16.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Hijab: Immediate Implementation of UNSC Resolutions Key to Resumption of Political Process

General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee Riad Hijab said that for the political process to continue it is essential to immediately and unconditionally implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions; most importantly those related to the cessation of violence, ending the suffering of the Syrian people, lifting the sieges, delivering aid to those in need, the release of detainees, and stopping executions and other arbitrary measures practiced against civilians by the Assad regime.

In a statement issued earlier today following his meeting with the Friends of the Syrian People Group in Paris on Monday, Hijab underscored the importance of “adopting a new strategy by the United Nations to push the peace process forward through employing a more strict policy to address the violations perpetrated by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its allies.”

Hijab warned that the latest escalation of violence by the Assad regime and its allies “will have severe implications both on the ground and at the humanitarian level, as the brutal shelling is aggravating the refugees’ crisis in the neighboring countries.”

Hijab talked about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and other Syrian provinces as a result of the escalation of aerial and artillery bombardment by the Assad regime against civilian populated areas. He called upon the international community to put an end to the hostilities and address the horrific violations perpetrated against civilians all over Syria by the regime and its allies.

Hijab also warned of “the gravity of the humanitarian situation in several Syrian provinces, especially Aleppo, where the regime and its allies have committed a number of appalling massacres in the past few days.”

Moreover, Hijab referred to “the deliberate intentions of the regime to escalate hostilities evidenced through the mobilization of more sectarian militias and mercenaries to support regime forces in their bloody campaign against the city.”

Hijab said that “the serious violations of the truce, which has actually collapsed on the ground, committed by the regime and its allies prove that the regime seeks to bring the political process to failure and evade its obligations.”

He called on the international community to exert an effort to end the suffering of the Syrian people through lifting the blockades on the besieged areas; granting the humanitarian agencies access to all those in need; releasing all detainees, stopping aerial and artillery bombardments and attacks against civilians; putting an end to enforced displacements; and stopping all executions in accordance with articles 12, 13 and 14 of UNSC Resolution 2254 (2015).

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 10.05.2016)

IOF storms Palestinian journalist’s home, arrests his son

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested at dawn Tuesday a university student from Kafer Qalil town south of Nablus to the north of occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian journalist Nawaf al-Amer told the PIC reporter that Israeli forces stormed and violently searched his house at 2 a.m. before arresting his son. His 20-year-old son Baraa, a student at al-Najah University, was arrested only one day before the final exams, Al-Amer elaborated. Mobile phones, laptops, cameras, and an amount of money were stolen during the Israeli raid into the house, he added. The journalist Nawaf al-Amer is a former political detainee who was jailed last year in PA jails.

(Source / 10.05.2016)

Youssef calls for global action against the siege of Gaza

LONDON, (PIC)– Dr. Essam Youssef, head of the Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip, called for a popular internal and global action to end the siege on Gaza before it is too late, calling on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing to Gaza Strip residents; “as a fulfillment to the duty and the right of the neighborhood” with Gaza. Youssef said in a written press statement on Sunday that: “the Israeli siege on Gaza has gone beyond reason,” stressing that the blockade is “a crime of collective punishment that was never implemented on an entire nation before”. He pointed to the incident of the death of three children of al-Hindi family in a huge fire that broke out in their house because of a candle they used for lighting purposes due to the worsening power crisis, calling for rapidly providing alternatives for power to ensure a safe substitute for lighting than candles that claim the lives of the children of Gaza under siege. He wondered “are not the three unjust devastating wars against Gaza enough for the vindictive Israeli occupation? Or is it Israel’s desire to murder and destruction against the Palestinian people?” He urged the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing, saying: “Egypt can establish a constant human outlet for providing the needs of the Strip; Egypt can establish a free trade zone with Gaza.” He called also on the Palestinian Authority to bear the legal responsibility of providing the Strip with the essential needs for living, “and to seek the success of the reconciliation efforts and the national unity to stand up firm against the Israeli encroachment and the destructive occupational project against Gaza and the West Bank.”

(Source / 10.05.2016)