Public employees strike in Gaza over unpaid salaries

The Ministry of Education offices are closed during a general strike for government ministries in Gaza City. (AFP)
Updated 26 February 2018
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Public employees strike in Gaza over unpaid salaries

GAZA CITY: Public sector employees in the Gaza Strip went on strike Monday over unpaid salaries, amid a dispute between the two major Palestinian factions.
All government institutions closed their doors in the morning as the union of public employees called for a strike — the second in a month.
The union said the strike is necessary as staff have only received 40 percent of their salaries for five months.
Khalil Hamada, a spokesman for the union, said the strike was “part of protest activities that will continue until the government responds to the rights of the staff in full.”
The two major Palestinian factions, Islamists Hamas and the secular Fatah, signed a reconciliation agreement in October that was supposed to see Hamas hand back control of Gaza a decade after seizing the enclave.
Under the agreement the Fatah-dominated Palestinian government was meant to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants employed by Hamas until a final solution could be found.
But they have failed to implement the agreement, with the two sides trading blame over responsibility.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing it from Fatah it in a near civil war in 2007, after a dispute over the result of parliamentary elections Hamas won.
Separately the fishermen’s union in Gaza also observed a strike on Monday, to protest the death of one of its members who was shot dead by Israeli forces the previous day.
Israel said the boat traveled outside Gaza’s designated fishing zone and ignored orders to stop, prompting naval forces to fire warning shots before shooting toward the vessel.
The union disputed this version of events.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and the territory has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years.
Fishing off the northern part of the strip, adjacent to Israel, is limited to six nautical miles offshore and the Israeli navy regularly fires warning shots or at Palestinians who breach it.
Such incidents rarely result in deaths.


Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

Mazen Al-Tarazi has been living in Kuwait for a long while. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

  • The businessman has a publishing and advertising company in Kuwait
  • He is blacklisted in the EU

KUWAIT CITY: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP.
He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest.
Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.
But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.
A longtime resident of Kuwait, Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah.
Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees.
Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.