Palestinian shot dead in West Bank clashes with Israeli army: ministry

The mother of Palestinian Mosab Al-Tamimi, who was killed during clashes with Israeli troops, kisses his body at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Palestinian shot dead in West Bank clashes with Israeli army: ministry

RAMALLAH: A Palestinian teenager was shot dead in clashes with the Israeli army on Wednesday near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Musab Firas Al-Tamimi, 17, was shot in the village of Deir Nizam north of Ramallah, it said.
His death took to 14 the number of Palestinians killed in unrest since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said dozens of Palestinians took part in a riot in Deir Nizam and soldiers spotted one with a gun before firing in his direction.
An investigation has begun into the incident, the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops arrested 22 Palestinians in various West Bank cities on Wednesday, according to a Palestinian source.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement that Israeli soldiers stormed the cities of Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah, El-Beira and Bethlehem and arrested 22 citizens.
The number of child arrests has substantially increased in the month following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the accountability program director of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), said that between Dec. 6 and Dec. 19, 77 children under the age of 18 had been imprisoned, double the numbers from the previous month.
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) prisoners’ affairs commission said in a report released at the end of December that the youth arrests were concentrated in Hebron, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The commission said that Israeli forces particularly targeted young “men and boys under the ages of 18” and that dozens of youths detained in Ofer were “subject to barbaric attacks and brutality during their detention and interrogation process.”


Tunisia’s premier unlikely to push reform as polls loom

Chahed has gathered enough support in Parliament to stave off a possible vote of no confidence. (Reuters)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Tunisia’s premier unlikely to push reform as polls loom

  • By surviving for more than two years, Chahed has become the longest-serving of Tunisia’s nine prime ministers since the Arab Spring in 2011
  • Western partners see him as the best guarantee of stability in an infant democracy that they are desperate to shore up

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has survived attempts by his own party and unions to force him out but, with elections looming, looks less and less able to enact the economic reforms that have so far secured IMF support for an ailing economy.

Last week, the Nidaa Tounes party suspended Chahed after a campaign by the party chairman, who is the son of President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Chahed has gathered enough support in Parliament to stave off a possible vote of no confidence by working with the co-ruling Islamist Ennahda party and a number of other lawmakers including 10 Nidaa Tounes rebels. But his political capital is now badly depleted.

By surviving for more than two years, Chahed has become the longest-serving of Tunisia’s nine prime ministers since the Arab Spring in 2011.

In that time, he has pushed through austerity measures and structural reforms such as cutting fuel subsidies that have helped to underpin a $2.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial support.

Western partners see him as the best guarantee of stability in an infant democracy that they are desperate to shore up, not least as a bulwark against extremism.

Yet the economy, and living standards, continue to suffer: inflation and unemployment are at record levels, and goods such as medicines or even staples such as milk are often in short supply, or simply unaffordable to many.

And in recent months, the 43-year old former agronomist’s main focus has been to hold on to his job as his party starts to look to its ratings ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls in a year’s time.

The breathing space he has won is at best temporary; while propping him up for now, Ennahda says it will not back him to be prime minister again after the elections.

And, more pressingly, the powerful UGTT labor union on Thursday called a public sector strike for Oct. 24 to protest against Chahed’s privatization plans.

This month, the government once more raised petrol and electricity prices to secure the next tranche of loans, worth $250 million, which the IMF is expected to approve next week.

But the IMF also wants it to cut a public wage bill that takes up 15 percent of GDP, one of the world’s highest rates.