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

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.

US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 24 May 2019

US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters