Hamas arrests 5 over Palestinian government media raid

Employees check the damage in a studio after a raid by gunmen on the offices of a Palestinian broadcasting corporation in Gaza City, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. (AP)
Updated 05 January 2019
0

Hamas arrests 5 over Palestinian government media raid

  • Five armed men attacked the offices of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Gaza City on Friday
  • They trashed equipment worth thousands of dollars

GAZA CITY: Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip arrested five men Saturday over a raid at the Palestinian Authority's media headquarters, in which valuable equipment was destroyed.
Five armed men attacked the offices of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Gaza City on Friday, trashing equipment worth thousands of dollars.
The media centre is funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian government and houses Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.
Staff and a PA official initially blamed the raid on Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, but the movement said disgruntled PA employees were responsible.
All five arrested are "employees of the Palestinian Authority whose salaries have been cut recently," the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza said.
"It turned out that one of them was a Palestine TV employee whose salary was cut last month."
Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PA in 2007, a year after winning parliamentary elections that were rejected by much of the international community.
Despite losing power in the enclave, the PA continues to pay tens of thousands of civil servants there.
But it has reduced salaries in recent years due to financial shortfalls, causing much ire among its employees.


Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 18 March 2019
0

Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon
  • Jan Kubis: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”