Thursday, 6 March 2014

Gaza workers protest against ban on construction material imports

By iGaza's correspondent in Gaza Hazem Zatma
Palestinian workers held a protest Wednesday to lift the ban on construction materials and the eight-year siege on Gaza, calling on the international community to support the workers' cause.

During the protest, which was organized by the supreme national committee and the General Association of Palestinian Workers' Syndicates. Workers at the protest hoisted banners such as, "what is our sin to be deprived from building our homes and renovating our streets", "Gaza tests the Arab chivalry and humanitarian justice" and chanted: "Lift the siege on Gaza, eight years of construction materials ban"

MP Marwan Abu Ras said that work in many professions has been halted due to the construction materials ban, in addition to a large number of other related activities that play a significant role in promoting the process of reconstruction in the besieged territory, calling on the Muslim and Arab world to take a serious stand to support Palestinian workers.

Sami el-'amassi, President of the General Association of Palestinian Workers' Syndicates, said that maintaining the stranglehold and effective control over the Gaza Strip has resulted in a high unemployment rate of 45, stating that all this is crystal clear to those in the Muslim and Western worlds that do anything to support Gaza.

Regarding the workers' suffering in Gaza, el-'amassi said that the continuing crises have made 30,000 workers jobless in the construction sector and another 40,000 in other related sectors.

El-'amassi added that the siege forced 97% of industrial facilities to close with 35,000 workers being laid off, among them 7,000 workers in the mineral industries, in addition to prolonged suffering of more than 40,000 farmers and the closing of 100 tailoring factories that resulted in a further 1000 layoffs. more

Egypt to 'revoke citizenship' of thousands of Hamas members

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Egyptian security services have started to collect information about thousands of Hamas members who were granted Egyptian citizenship during the rule of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, according to Egyptian media.

Egypt's Day Seven news website reported that Egyptian authorities plan to revoke the citizenship of 13,757 Hamas members for being "affiliated to an offshoot of the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood."

Egyptian authorities are investigating whether Hamas members have been involved in what they describe as "terrorist attacks," adding that the prime minister has the right to revoke the citizenship of Hamas members without a court ruling if it is deemed that they endanger public security.

The Egyptian news site blamed Mursi for facilitating the entry of Hamas supporters into Egypt and granting them citizenship.

On Tuesday, an Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas and ordered its assets seized. more

Egypt bars Gaza-bound Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Maguire

CAIRO (AFP) -- Egypt detained and deported Northern Irish Nobel Laureate and peace activist Mairead Maguire on Wednesday and held up others who had been planning to go to neighboring Gaza, the activists and officials said.

Maguire had intended to join a delegation of women activists going to the blockaded Palestinian enclave on Thursday.

The group could embarrass the military-installed government, which is at odds with Gaza's Hamas rulers, yet does not want to be seen as party to a siege of Palestinians, blockaded by Israel.

On Tuesday, airport police had already detained and deported American anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, also part of the delegation, who told AFP police broke her arm.

Maguire said she arrived at Cairo airport on Tuesday night with fellow activist Ann Patterson.

"We were taken to the detention center and questioned and held for eight hours, and were told we would not be allowed entry into Cairo and would be put on a plane," she told AFP by telephone from Britain after her expulsion.

She said police were polite but gave no reason for barring her, while an airport official told AFP she had been blacklisted. more