Archive for March 27th, 2015

Popular protests against electricity crisis in Gaza

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Hundreds of Palestinians from all levels of society have taken to the streets several times this week in protest at the severe electricity crisis hitting the Gaza Strip, QudsNet reported on Tuesday. Most of the demonstrators headed for the headquarters of the sole electricity plant in the center of the coastal enclave, which has been targeted several times by the Israel Defense Forces since 2006.

The protesters called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamadallah to take responsibility for solving the problem of severe electricity shortages. They also called for the PA to deal with the Gaza Strip in the same way that it deals with the occupied West Bank.

According to the Head of Rafah municipality, Sobhi Abu-Ridwan, the shortages affect the work of local councils across the whole territory. “We are unable to run the sewage plants and water wells to fulfill the need of the residents,” he said. “This has led to massive problems in the service sector, and a lot of vital equipment has stopped working.”

Abu-Ridwan called for Abbas to step in immediately to put an end to the electricity crisis. He stressed that Gaza has been the victim of several Israeli wars and has been living under siege for eight years. “As such,” he insisted, “fuel for the electricity plant must be exempt from taxes.”

Representatives of several Palestinian factions were among the protesters. Fatah official Jalal Sheikh Al-Eid said that he took part to register his protest at the 20-hour electricity cuts every day in Gaza.

The leader of the Democratic Front, Nafeth Ghoneem, added: “If there is a political problem between Egypt and Gaza, its effect must not be extended to the livelihood of the people.”

The Egyptian city of Rafah supplies Gaza’s Rafah with a small amount of electricity. Last week, though, the Egyptian authorities cut the power line, only to reconnect it a few days later.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17699-popular-protests-against-electricity-crisis-in-gaza.

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Qassam Brigades marks 11th anniversary of Sheikh Yassin’s assassination

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Hamas military wing Al-Qassam Brigades organised a military parade in the center of the Gaza Strip on Monday to mark the 11th anniversary of Israel’s assassination of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Felesteen newspaper reported.

Hundreds of Al-Qassam fighters took to the streets holding pictures of Sheikh Yassin, while Gaza residents watched the parade.

The anniversary was also marked with the launch of the official Hamas website. Deputy Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh announced the launch of the Arabic website from the former home of Sheikh Yassin, which is now a small museum.

Hamas is to launch an official English website on 18 April, to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Hamas leader Abdul-Aziz al-Rantisi.

Sheikh Yassin was born in 1936 in Al-Jorah Village in Askalan, which is now known as the Israeli city of Ashkelon. He was forced to flee to Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza.

He began his anti-occupation activities in the 1960’s and was sent to prison on many occasions as a result.

Yassin and a group of his close friends founded Hamas in 1987, the start of the first Palestinian Intifada.

On March 22 2004, the Israeli military targeted the elderly and wheelchair bound Yassin with three rockets just 70 meters away from a mosque. The attack also killed around 12 other residents.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17682-qassam-brigades-marks-11th-anniversary-of-sheikh-yassins-assassination.

Hamas seizes spying Israeli electronic insects in Gaza

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas have seized electronic insects that were flying the skies of the Gaza Strip, according to Al-Majd, a security website close to Hamas.

Al-Majd reports that the devices are used by the Israeli authorities for spying and monitoring the positions and bases of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

It is also believed they are being used to search for Israeli soldiers reportedly kidnapped during the latest Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

An informed source told Al-Majd that Hamas electronic security units disassembled these insects and found pictures of the soldiers kidnapped during the war stored in their memories. They also revealed that they are being run and monitored via satellites.

“The electronic insects are the size of small birds and look as birds from far distances,” the informed source said. “They can easily fly and enter into buildings and other facilities through very small holes and fly easily inside them.”

The Israeli military launched a wide-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip last summer which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians. Around 73 Israelis were also killed, including six non-combatants. Two Israeli soldiers are reported to have been kidnapped by Hamas fighters in Gaza during the ground operation. However, the Israeli military have said that they were killed.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17681-hamas-seizes-spying-israeli-electronic-insects-in-gaza.

Jordan and Russia sign $10 billion agreement for nuclear power plant

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Jordan and Russia signed a framework agreement on Tuesday for the construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant in the kingdom at a cost of $10 billion. The deal, which came after nearly a year and a half of talks, is “important” because it constitutes the legal and political framework of support for the kingdom’s nuclear power plant project and determines the general principles of cooperation between Amman and Moscow in this regard, said the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

The agreement was signed by the President of the JAEC, Khaled Toukan, and the General Manager of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom Company, Sergei Kiriyenko. The two sides had initialed the agreement in late November, and it was approved by the Jordanian cabinet recently.

Jordan chose Rosatom in October 2013 as the best placed company among those who had tendered for the contract. When built, the power plant will produce 2,000 megawatts. The JAEC statement revealed that Rosatom will pay 49.9 per cent of the total cost; the Jordanian government will pay the remaining 50.1 per cent. The two 1,000-megawatt reactors will be built in Amra, in the north of Jordan.

Toukan said that the agreement preserves Jordan’s sovereignty, and Jordanian law will be in force during the 60 years expected lifespan of the plant. He stressed that the agreement protects the state investment, ensures the supply of fuel for the reactor, and gives a future option for the Jordanian government to return the used fuel to Russia. The deal will be submitted to the cabinet in Amman before being presented to parliament.

According to Kiriyenko, the Russians will employ their 70 years of experience in the field of nuclear power in the project. He referred to the high degree of professionalism employed by Jordan’s nuclear experts, which has won the respect of Russian technicians. He added that Russia is currently training Jordanian staff to work in the nuclear program which will pave the way for strategic cooperation and scientific research.

Russian technology is currently being used to construct at least 20 nuclear reactors, around half of which are in Russia itself. Kiriyenko stressed that they are built with the capability to withstand the devastating earthquakes which affect the region.

Russia was among the first countries with which the Jordanian government signed a nuclear cooperation agreement. Amman and Moscow signed a deal on 22 May 2009 for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In an earlier statement, Toukan said that the total amount spent by Jordan since the start of the project in 2008 up to 2013 was $93.2 million. Just under half of the $98.7 million borrowed from South Korea for this purpose was spent between 2001 and 2013.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17697-jordan-and-russia-sign-10-billion-agreement-for-nuclear-power-plant.

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