Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months
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A disabled Palestinian uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland at the Israel-Gaza border, in Gaza August 17, 2018. (Reuters)
Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months
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TOPSHOT - Palestinians check an impact crater at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip December 26, 2019. / AFP / SAID KHATIB
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Updated 27 December 2019

Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months

Hundreds join final Gaza-Israel border protests for three months
  • At least 348 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since the marches began
  • Demonstrators have hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosives at the Israel soldiers along the border

GAZA: Hundreds of Palestinians took part in protests along the Gaza-Israel border Friday, the last of the Hamas-backed demonstrations until March.
Amid heavy rain and wind, the rallies had the lowest turnout in months, with tensions far lower than in previous weeks and no live fire by the Israeli army, an AFP correspondent said.
The often violent weekly protests began in March 2018, calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and for Palestinians to be allowed to return to their ancestral homes inside the Jewish state.
Israel contends that any return of Palestinian refugees or their descendents would mean an end to its status as a Jewish state and accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of orchestrating the protests as a cover for attacks.
At least 348 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since the marches began, the majority during the demonstrations, according to an AFP toll.
A further 7,800 people have been wounded by gunfire, according to the World Health Organization.
Demonstrators have hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosives at the Israel soldiers along the border.
Organizers announced Thursday the protests would halt until March 2020 amid dwindling turnout.
Hamas has over the last year shaped a precarious informal truce with Israel, which has slightly eased its blockade of the enclave in exchange for calm along the border, despite intermittent flare-ups.
As part of the agreements, Israel has allowed Qatar to bring millions of dollars worth of fuel and cash into Gaza every month, easing a humanitarian crisis.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.