GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Palestinian phone company Jawwal on Sunday reopened its offices and showrooms across the Gaza Strip less than a week after they were closed by Hamas over accusations of tax dodging.Official sources told Ma’an that Ismail Jabir, the attorney-general for the coastal enclave’s de facto leader Hamas, had given orders that Jawwal reopen.They said that the decision came after an agreement was reached between Hamas and Jawwal, although no further details were given.Hamas security forces shut down Jawwal’s offices and showrooms last Tuesday on orders from Jabir for allegedly dodging taxes.An executive from Jawwal, one of the principle telecoms providers in the occupied Palestinian territories, insisted that “the company is not avoiding any of its (payment) commitments.”However, business analyst Omar Shaaban said it was likely Jawwal was paying taxes to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and not the Hamas authorities in Gaza.Ammar al-Iker, executive director of the Palestinian Telecommunication Company, which owns Jawwal, said that the company followed lawful procedures instituted by the PA for companies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including tax obligations.The closure could have resulted in the cessation of all mobile phone services in Gaza, with few alternatives to the services provided by Jawwal.The PA slammed the closure as “aggravating division” and “a flagrant violation of Palestinian law.”
GENEVA (AFP) — Both Israel and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes during last year’s Gaza war, a widely anticipated United Nations report said Monday, decrying “unprecedented” devastation and human suffering.The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced it had gathered “substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.”
ATHENS, June 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Freedom Flotilla III, a third initiative organized by international pro-Palestine activists to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip for eight years, is expected to set off from Greece to the coastal enclave within hours, said Isam Yousef, coordinator of the Miles of Smiles convoys.
Former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, as well as athletes, academicians, parliamentarians of different levels, diplomats, journalists and a Catholic nun, are among the activists on board of the flotilla.
The first flotilla, which set sail on May 31, 2010, was attacked by Israeli forces who boarded the flotilla from speedboats and helicopters and killed nine activists, all of whom were Turkish.
The Gaza Strip has been under a tight Israeli naval, land, and aerial blockade for eight years, since Hamas faction won the 2006 parliamentary elections.
Israel, taking firm control over three major checkpoints with Gaza’s borders, continues to prohibit the entry of hundreds of basic material, including food items, construction material, medical supplies, and pharmaceuticals.
Last August, Israel and the Palestinian factions inked a ceasefire deal, ending the latest 2014 summer deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which claimed the lives of over 2,200 people, overwhelmingly civilians.
The ceasefire deal stipulated that Israel would immediately ease the blockade imposed on the strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually. Israel has nonetheless continued the blockade.
However, Israel did not commit the ceasefire deal and continued its targeting of Palestinian fishermen and farmers in farmlands along the borders.
RAFAH, June 8, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Monday closed Gaza’s sole commercial crossing located southeast of Rafah; Karam Abu Salem Crossing, shortly after allowing the entry of material and aid into besieged Gaza in the early morning, which came following three days of closure.
Head of coordinating committee in charge of entry of goods in Gaza Raed fatooh told WAFA that the crossing terminal was opened in the morning hours to allow the entry of 620 truckloads of reconstruction material and aid before being closed by Israeli authorities.
To be noted, Gaza still suffers from the repercussions of the Israeli aggression which took place in the summer of 2014; the infrastructure along with thousands of homes were completely destroyed, displacing thousands of families who up until the moment live in caravans on the rubble of their homes.
Israel has maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2006, crippling the Gaza’s economy.
Arab and world countries pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild the damage that Israel has caused to the infrastructure of Gaza. Half of the money will be allocated to the reconstruction of Gaza, while the other half is allocated to support Palestinians needs.
Meanwhile, a joint statement from some 30 international aid agencies stated that, “Reconstruction and repairs to the tens of thousands of homes, hospitals, and schools damaged or destroyed in the fighting has been woefully slow.”
The statement said that, “Since July, the situation has deteriorated dramatically. Approximately 100,000 Palestinians remain displaced this winter, living in dire conditions in schools and makeshift shelters not designed for long-term stay.”
The center reported on the agencies stating that “the international community is not providing Gaza with adequate assistance. “Little of the $5.4 billion pledged in Cairo has reached Gaza. Cash assistance to families who lost everything has been suspended and other crucial aid is unavailable due to lack of funds.”
To be noted, the terminal crossing has been closed since Friday, a measure which Israel alleged came in response to a rocket that was fired from Gaza toward southern Israel.
A number of Israeli military units, including bulldozers, today infiltrated east of the neighborhood Shaje’iya east of Gaza City, in a leveling operation on agricultural border lands.
Eyewitnesses reported that 4 military bulldozers entered the eastern lands in Shaje’iya neighborhood.
Gazan farmers have been repeatedly targeted on their lands by the Israeli occupation.
On Wednesday morning, one farmer was injured by indiscriminate firing from Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the border of Khuza’a town east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Palestinian movie being screened at Cannes festival is sharply critical of Hamas, Palestinian society
A Palestinian movie sharply critical of Hamas is not commonplace, but the Cannes Festival actually features such a film that provides a stinging rebuke to Gaza’s current way of life – between Israeli military oppression and the wild and uncontrollable violence on its streets.
“Degrade” is the latest movie by twin brothers Ahmed and Mohammed Abu-Nasr, better known as film makers Terzan and Arab Nasser, and it was picked to be screened at the Cannes’ Critics Week, the festival’s sidebar dedicated to first and second films from up-and-coming artists. Judging by the presence at the first three screenings on Monday, the audience seems curious and pleased. And the Nasser brothers may be in line for some prizes.
Heading the Critics Week judges panel is Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz, whose political views are well known, as is her feminist attitude – and that is exactly where the Nasser Brothers direct their surprising film.
This is a small film that takes place at one location – a Gaza beauty salon frequented by women of various ages and walks of life. This is a colorful sliver of paradise populated by a future bride, a cynical divorcee, a young pregnant woman, a religious woman veiled and covered from head to toe, as well as the owner of the establishment, who hails from Russia, a militant hairdresser and a bitter, older woman portrayed by Nazareth-born Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas.
Together they create a complex microcosm reflected in conversations about such issues as politics, religion and men, of course – unlike men, who deal with their disputes by letting off Kalachnikov rounds on the street. This gender-based difference is honed when the hairdresser’s lover, son of a local family, steals a lion from Gaza’s infamous zoo. This is a slap in the face of the Hamas leaders and they declare war on him and his family, which turns the street into a dangerous and especially very noisy place.
The Nasser Brothers say the film is based on a true story. “There was a very powerful family which owned the lion and the government attacked the family in order to take ownership,” Tarzen explained in an interview. When Hamas assumed power in 2006 they decided to take control of all the big families and looked for excuses to do so. On their way to achieving their goal, they killed 15 of the family members.”
All these events are experienced by the film’s characters and by us in the audience from inside the salon, where the women want to hang out until such time as calm is restored. But the violence goes on for hours, and with the sounds of shooting and explosions as a backdrop, the women share intimate experiences – almost contrived, talking about love affairs, their attitude toward life, a religious way of life versus a secular one, as well as Gaza’s deterioration. True, Israel is mentioned quite often in a negative fashion, but at the center of the debate is the Hamas rule and Palestinian society being torn apart under its auspices.
“Women in Gaza are like other women in the world, although their suffering is very unique,” the 26-year-old brothers said in media interviews. “We need women in order to bring about change in Gaza. They are our heroes because despite the ongoing war, they represent life. The movie shows battles outside the beauty salon, but inside they continue with their love stories. They want to remain beautiful, hoping for a date or marriage. While men are shooting at each other on the street, putting on lipstick becomes an act of protest: holding on to life no matter the circumstances, keeping hope alive.”