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Archive for January 18th, 2021

How can we implement UN resolution 1559?

Posted on October 24, 2008 and written in March 12, 2005

Note: The UN has declared in October 2008 that resolution 1559 has been satisfied! Mind you that this report was written in 2005. 15 years later, the State of Lebanon is in shambel and totally bankrupt, politically, economically and financially.

The Prime Minister Omar Karame was forced to resign under popular pressure and then was re-appointed by a majority of the deputies. Karame asserted that he will refuse to form a government unless it includes the opposition parties because this volatile state of affairs demands a unified front in order to proceed with the investigations, divulge the truth of the assassins of Rafic Hariri, prepare for a fair election for the chamber of representatives and the execution of all the articles in the Taif agreement.  

The opposition insists on its terms for participation in the government and the critical condition is the resignation of all the heads of intelligence and security services which President Lahoud refuses to accept.

We are practically beyond the phase of Syrian troops withdrawal and intelligence units across the borders of Lebanon because they are executing the articles of 1559 in a timely fashion.

So what about Lebanon?  

The Syrian might get off the pressures of resolution 1559 by satisfying the articles attached to its part of withdrawing all its troops out of Lebanon but what about Lebanon?  How could Lebanon disarm Hezbollah and the Palestinian refugee camps?  

President Lahoud refused 1559 in a lengthy television talk and refused to personally accept the preconditioned demands of the opposition on the basis that it will confirm that we have a presidential political system instead of a parliamentary one as the new Constitution was agreed upon in Taef.  

In the new Constitution the real power is in the government as a whole and thus the President acceptance of the pre conditions would be unconstitutional.  

The opposition responded by organizing a large gathering of over a million from most religious sects and from the four corners of the country.  This gathering was a practical response from a unified Lebanon on their demands for “freedom, self determination and independence” from any foreign tutelage, meaning from “Syria” and Not from colonial powers States.

Certainly, the articles in the UN resolution 1559, especially those related to Lebanon, cannot be resolved in the near future but they do give directions to every Lebanese government in the future to continue discussions with Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority in order to reach a satisfactory resolution.

This resolution is reason enough for every Lebanese government to confront the “Arab” and international community to press Israel into providing the guarantees for non aggression against Lebanon and facilitating the application of the remaining articles of 1559 resolution by speeding up the creation of the independent Palestinian State, Israel to withdraw from the Shabaa area in South Lebanon an from the Golan Heights in Syria.  

These are long term values for resolution 1559 that President Lahoud has to grasp.

One of the main opposition leaders, Deputy Walid Jumblatt, is adamant on the necessity of evicting the President since he is a de facto head of all the intelligence and security services responsible for the reign of humiliation that Lebanon had to succumb to.

Jumblatt claims that the prolongation of the presidency term for another 3 years is the crux of the problems; either the President resigns or there will be no unified front in any government and no reprieve for any political stability.

Jumblatt is keen at repeating his father’s feat of deposing President Bechara Khoury in 1953.  Former prime minister and an opposition leader in exile in Paris, General Michel Aoun, wants to return after all the Syrian troops are out of Lebanon and personally to participate in the election.

A few politicians have voiced their desires for the heads of the intelligence and security services to resign by themselves and allow the dialogue between the President and the opposition forces to resume because they are the remaining cards in the President hands.  

We are caught in a vicious circle between the notions that the people has spoken and how the Constitution could be applied for the continuation of power transfer.

Saying that the people has spoken is not completely correct: there is another large chunk in the population that do not agree with the opposition stands, although everybody has been raising the Lebanese flag and chanting the national anthem.

I think we are in big trouble for years to come.

The euphoric show of the opposition cannot last after the Syrian withdrawal and Hezbollah is not about to let down the President who has supported them through the difficult resistance period.  

Any how, Hezbollah is not about to trust the rhetoric of the opposition that they are ready to participate in dialogue without preconditions.  May be another round of civil war is not highly probable but the international involvement and pressures do not augur well in the coming months.

The fact is the international community did get involved before in our affairs and retracted from their commitments after their first failures and gave up easily.  

The UN and the USA undersigned the Taif agreement and promised substantial economic and political contributions to set Lebanon on its feet.  Unfortunately, they forgot Lebanon completely for 15 years.

The international community did not help Lebanon in its development and reconstruction plans and left Lebanon under the Syrian tutelage who shouldered the burden of reunifying and rearming the Lebanese army.  

The bottom line is the Lebanese people who paid dearly for every semblance of a regular and routine life for the return of electricity, telephone communication, the airport, the highways and the reconstruction of Downtown Beirut.

The only interests of the US in Lebanon are directly linked to its predicaments in Iraq.

France has lost its prestige as a colonial undertaker in Lebanon and Syria and will not recover without the direct support of the USA; which means never!  

The people are dreaming of a stable life within months:  how about many years before the new world powers sort out their interests and settle for what kind of tiny and complicated Lebanon they can suffer to live with.

Note 2: For the next 15 years, the 6 civil war militia/mafia “leaders” ruled and controlled Lebanon. And they never budged from retaining power. The chief of the Parliament Nabih Berri is still dominating the Parliament for 23 years, and I consider him as the chief Caponi of the mafia.

Striking for their first substantial raise in decades. Palestinian workers at the Yamit factory Nitzanei Shalom in a West Bank settlement near the city of Tulkarm

Danny Zaken Jan 14, 2021

The story of Israeli factories in the legally ambiguous West Bank industrial zones is one of economics and politics, and the coronavirus crisis has thrown its dynamics into stark relief as Palestinian laborers fight for the same salaries as their Israeli counterparts.

Israel Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that Israeli law applies to Palestinian laborers employed in Israel and in West Bank settlements.

Nine judges decided unanimously that the nationality of the workers could not be used as an excuse for employers to offer them working conditions that differ from those afforded to their Israeli counterparts.

The ruling applies to all Palestinian laborers working in Israel and in the settlements. Excepting:

It does not apply to the Nitzanei Shalom industrial park, built in the 1990s, soon after the signing of the Oslo Accords, near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm and along the separation fence.

The Yamit plant, which manufactures water filters for agriculture and home use, is located in this industrial zone and therefore not subject to the ruling or Israeli law in general.

Some 80,000 Palestinian workers enter Israel every day.

According to data provided by the Israeli Civil Administration, a branch of the Ministry of Defense that serves as a liaison between the Palestinians and the Israeli authorities, the workers earn an average of 6,000 shekels a month ($1,800).

While this amount is roughly the minimum wage for Israeli workers, it is about four times the average wage in the Palestinian territories.

Another 30,000 Palestinians work in the West Bank, mainly in industrial zones adjacent to Israeli settlements. A few more thousand work in construction.

According to the Civil Administration, the salaries of these working in West Bank settlements are only slightly lower than those of Palestinians working in Israel proper, averaging about 5,500 shekels ($1,750) per month. They are also eligible for the conditions and benefits provided by Israeli law such as pensions, sick pay and paid vacation time.

al-monitor Palestinian workers wearing masks against COVID-19 line up for a security check at the entrance to Israel’s Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Maale Adumim settlement in the West Bank east of Jerusalem, on July 1, 2020. Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images.

A senior Civil Administration official told Al-Monitor that the income of these 120,000 workers amounts to more than a quarter of the total income in the West Bank in 2019.

That figure is even higher this year because of the pandemic, which has devastated the Palestinian economy. As Israel relies heavily on Palestinian laborers, particularly at construction sites, even at the height of infection waves, workers who would otherwise be in lockdown were allowed to enter Israel.

Never miss another story

The factory employs 80 Palestinians who earn between 5,000 and 6,000 shekels ($1,600 and $1,900) per month. Some of those workers have been at the factory for two decades or more and now that they have considerable professional experience, they want raises. They even organized as a union with the Israeli labor organization Maan.

Negotiations with the factory began last year, but they dragged on for months because of the coronavirus. Finally, the factory’s owner Ofer Talmi informed them that he could not meet their demands because of the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19. But the workers refused to concede.

On Dec. 31, 2020, they declared a strike. Surprised, Talmi sent an angry email to the head of Maan, Assaf Adiv, saying that he meets all the legal obligations to his workers. Then he added, “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. As a result, I am unwilling to have Palestinian workers with any connection to the state of Israel whatsoever.”

Furious about his response, the striking workers released the email to the Palestinian and Israeli media.

Halil Shihab, one of the striking workers, said, “We’ve been working for years for minimum wage. We are professionals and we get minimum wage. Now he says that he doesn’t want to give his employees basic conditions because they are Arabs — not because he can’t afford it.”

Realizing the magnitude of his mistake, Talmi released a letter in Arabic apologizing to his workers and warning that if the strike continues, he will be forced to close the factory. He promised them 1,000 shekels ($320) each if they returned to work and said that he would renew negotiations over pay.

“I want to apologize and take back what I wrote in my previous email about the right to the Land of Israel. It was written in a moment of extreme duress. … It is very hard for me to see the gates of our factory closed, since this could have serious implications on all of our livelihoods. We are in a difficult period and the strike hurts all of us. It threatens our very existence.”

According to the factory’s management, Adiv shared the first letter with anti-Israel organizations like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has used it to attack Israel.

His motives, they say, were entirely political. Meanwhile, the factory’s owner told Al-Monitor, “Yamit has employed Palestinian workers for over 35 years now. It operates according to the law and grants them all sorts of rights and benefits, including better pay, pensions, sick pay and worker’s compensation.

Assaf Adiv of Maan is making cynical use of this difficult time, knowing that Yamit is contending with enormous difficulties because of the coronavirus, like so many other factories and industries in Israel and around the world. This attempt to interfere, supposedly on behalf of some ideology or other, causes enormous damage to the otherwise healthy working relations and genuine coexistence that has been a hallmark of this factory for years. ”

Adiv denied the accusation. In a conversation with Al-Monitor he said that all he wanted was to obtain better working conditions for experienced professionals.

If Talmi had just declared his willingness to raise their salaries once the crisis was over, the whole situation would have been resolved. Adiv also claimed that by never contributing to the workers’ pension fund, Talmi has saved millions over the years.

Ali, another worker at the factory, spoke to Al-Monitor about the conflict. Asking that his full name not be used, he said, “I am willing to forgive Ofer Talmi, but he needs to realize that we deserve more. If he really supports coexistence, let him show us that he is prepared for it. We would then help him get the factory through this crisis.”

If that happens, the industrial zone model could survive. If not, it may be in serious danger.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/01/israel-palestinians-west-bank-nitzanei-shalom-oslo-accords.html#ixzz6jplOHHcN


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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