Palestinian local elections might give a small boost to Fatah

Special Palestinian local elections might give a small boost to Fatah
A woman registers to vote at a polling station during Saturday’s municipal elections in the village of Dura Al-Qar, east of the city of Ramallah. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 13 December 2021

Palestinian local elections might give a small boost to Fatah

Palestinian local elections might give a small boost to Fatah
  • Local elections for the major cities in A and B areas are scheduled to be held on March 26, 2022

AMMAN: Saturday’s Palestinian local council elections produced a much higher turnout than they did in 2017, according to the head of the Elections Commission Hanna Naser.

Naser told the media on Sunday that 66 percent of eligible voters (405,687) cast their vote in elections for local councils in C areas.

Local elections for the major cities in A and B areas are scheduled to be held on March 26, 2022.

Independent lists (mostly family/tribal oriented) won 71 percent of the vote, while party lists won 29 percent, he said.

In the 2017 elections, only 53 percent of the electorate voted in local council elections.

Naser added that all complaints that were filed were investigated and dismissed as they would not have changed the results in any location.

Rima Nazzal, a member of the secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women and an elections expert, told Arab News that the elections gave Fatah a boost that will help them.

“Although the separation of election dates is contrary to the law, the poll results most likely will give Fatah a boost that will help it overcome the loss of support that occurred due to the cancellation of the legislative elections last April 30.”

Nazzal said that Fatah, the Palestinian national movement, won 123 out of the 162 uncontested council lists.

In other lists, it is hard to determine politically who won because most rural communities run local candidates that are not necessarily affiliated or loyal to any particular political movement.

Suheir Ismael Farraj, director of the Bethlehem-based Women and Media Development, also known as TAM, told Arab News that the local council elections were largely tribal in nature.

“In most communities, the winners belong to large family tribes rather than political movements.”

Farraj conceded that in many communities the same person who is a tribal leader is also connected to one of the Palestinian factions.

“For example, in my home village of Khader, the head of the winning list is a tribal leader from the Musa family and he is also connected to the left-wing Fida party. Had he run just on the left-wing party, he would have lost,” she said.

While Fatah fielded by far the largest number of lists, the Democratic Front had 25 lists, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine had six lists, the left-wing People’s Party had five lists and the Palestinian Struggle faction fielded a mere two lists.

According to the head of the Elections Commission, the next stage of local elections will begin with voter registration on Jan. 8, 2022. Electoral lists will be accepted starting Feb. 8, and elections for 66 city councils in areas A and B in the West Bank as well as all 25 councils in Gaza will take place on Feb. 26.

It is not clear yet if Hamas, which is in control of the security situation in Gaza, will agree to hold elections.

Nazzal also told Arab News that she does not expect that women will occupy much more than 20 percent of the allotted seats even though women made up 26 percent of the lists that were presented for the elections.

Palestinian law stipulates that at least 20 percent of any council must be made up of women.


UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan
Updated 02 July 2022

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan
  • The dispatched field hospital includes 75 beds and two operating rooms

The UAE has sent three planes of medical supplies, including a 1,000 square-meter-field hospital, to aid the injured of Afghanistan's earthquake that killed over 1,000 people and wounded scores more, Emirates new agency (WAM) reported on Saturday.
The dispatched hospital includes 75 beds and two operating rooms equipped with medical supplies and devices, the WAM statement read.
The planes also carried 16 metric tonnes of equipment and a medical team to operate the hospital and provide urgent medical services.
The UAE earlier established an air bridge to transport aid in the wake of the disaster.
The relief efforts come as Afghan authorities reported a shortage of food, shelter and medical supplies for the victims of the country’s deadliest earthquake in decades.

Last week, the country dispatched a plane carrying 30 tons of urgent food supplies to Afghanistan as aid continued to pour in from different parts of the world.


Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists
Updated 02 July 2022

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists
  • Minister holds talks with tourism chief during visit to Rome

CAIRO: Khaled El-Anany, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, has held talks with Ivana Jelinic, president of the Federation of Italian Tourism Companies, as part of efforts to attract more Italian tourists to Egypt.

The meeting was held at the Egyptian Embassy in Rome during El-Anany’s visit to the Italian capital.

Egypt’s plans to attract more tourists from various markets, including Italy, were reviewed at the meeting, which also discussed organizing a number of introductory visits for leading Italian tour operators and media representatives.

These visits will include Sharm El-Sheikh and other tourist cities in South Sinai in preparation for the coming winter season.

Joint advertising campaigns in Italy were also discussed, amid a growing interest among Italians in Egyptian cities and tourist destinations.

 


Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran
Updated 02 July 2022

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran
  • Mohsen Akhavan was targeted in the city of Isfahan
  • He was returning home after leading the morning prayer when the attack occurred

TEHRAN: A Shiite cleric in central Iran was injured on Saturday morning after an assailant on a motorcycle shot at him, Iranian state media said.
Mohsen Akhavan, who holds the clerical rank of hojatoleslam, was targeted in the city of Isfahan, according to the website of state broadcaster IRIB.
Akhavan, who was the imam of a mosque in the city, was returning home after leading the morning prayer when the attack occurred, IRIB reported.
The report added that the cleric, who had earlier been working at the Isfahan Islamic seminary, was “not seriously injured” and was being treated in hospital.
In early April, a Sunni extremist of Uzbek origin stabbed two Shiite clerics to death and injured a third in the courtyard of the main shrine of the northeastern holy city of Mashhad.
Abdolatif Moradi, 21, was hanged on June 20 in the same city after being convicted over the attack, according to the judicial authority.
Moradi “was accused of moharebeh (’war against God’, in Persian) using a weapon to terrorize the population in the shrine and even outside it,” judicial authorities said.
The attack in Mashhad came days after two Sunni clerics were shot dead outside a seminary in the northern Iranian town of Gonbad-e Kavus.
The three suspects in that case, also Sunnis, were arrested in late April but were said to have “no connection with terrorist groups,” state media reported at the time.


Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port
Updated 02 July 2022

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port
  • For over two months Iranian-flagged Lana has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia

ATHENS: An Iranian-flagged tanker seized by Greece in April, part of whose cargo was confiscated by the United States, was being towed to the port of Piraeus on Saturday, Greek coast guard officials said, after Greek authorities approved its release.
For over two months the Iranian-flagged Lana, formerly Pegas, has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia in a diplomatic impasse which has strained Athens’ relations with Tehran amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.
“It left Karystos at 0630 am (0330 GMT) and is expected to reach Piraeus around 1000 pm,” one official said.
Greek authorities in April impounded Lana and its oil cargo with 19 Russian crew members on board near the coast of Evia, due to sanctions following a legal action by the United States.
The ship was later released due to complications regarding its ownership, but part of the Iranian oil cargo had already been transferred to another ship, Ice Energy, which was hired by the United States and is moored off Piraeus port.
The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces last month to seize two Greek tankers in the Arabian Gulf and sail them back to Iran after Tehran warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens.
Following an appeal by an Iranian company on June 7, a Greek judicial panel overturned the initial court order that allowed the confiscation of the cargo on behalf of the United States.
That decision has cleared the way for Lana to retrieve the cargo that was transferred to Ice Energy.
Until last week however Lana, which still has engine problems, was being detained by another company due to debts owed for towing services. It was officially released after the amount owed was paid off, legal sources told Reuters.


Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
Updated 02 July 2022

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
  • Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the 2011 civil war
  • Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks

An Israeli strike on Syria’s western coast wounded two civilians on Saturday, the Syrian defense ministry said.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an air strike” at about 6:30 am near the town of Al-Hamidiyah, the ministry said in a statement, identifying the locations hit as poultry farms, without elaborating.
The strike was conducted from the Mediterranean Sea, west of Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, and “led to the injury of two civilians, including a woman,” the statement said.
Since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against its northern neighbor.
The raids have targeted Syrian government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks.
Besides the extensive damage caused to civilian and military runways, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the strikes had targeted nearby warehouses used as weapons depots by Iran and Hezbollah.
The Syrian war has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes.