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PA faces backlash after slashing Gaza salaries

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets recently to decry a Palestinian Authority (PA) decision to slash its employees’ salaries in the Gaza Strip by 30-50%. The move is prompting a meeting that could change the relationship between PA rival political parties Hamas and Fatah — for better or …

Will Hamas respond to leader’s assassination?

Ever since unknown gunmen assassinated Hamas military leader Mazen Faqha on March 24, the movement has been threatening to retaliate against Israel, which it accused of being behind the assassination. Threats came from inside and outside of the Palestinian territories, from both political and military leaderships. The Palestinians have been …

Hamas to allow UN, Red Cross workers to leave Gaza

Hamas said on Saturday it would allow foreign UN and Red Cross workers to leave Gaza after previously closing the only foot crossing with Israel. Hamas shut the Erez crossing on March 26 after it blamed Israel for the assassination two days earlier of one of its military officials. “In …

In rare move, Hamas closes Erez crossing over investigation into assassination

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in Gaza closed the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Sunday morning, denying residents of the besieged coastal enclave passage in both directions. Spokesperson for the ministry Iyad al-Buzm said in a …

Gaza court sentences 2 Palestinians to death for drug dealing

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A military court in Gaza City sentenced two men to death on Sunday after they were found guilty of alleged drug dealing. It reportedly marked the first time that the death penalty was used in Gaza for a drug-related offense, though a number of Palestinians have …

Can a harbour for Gaza prevent a war?

ISRAEL’S border with the Gaza Strip is tense at the best of times. But tempers are especially frayed after weeks punctuated by sporadic exchanges of fire. Israeli security chiefs are wondering how they can avert another conflict in an area that has seen, on average, a big one every two …

Why Iran wants Palestine back on regional agenda

Fatima Navab Safavi is the daughter of Mojtaba Navab Safavi (1924-1955), an Iranian cleric and one of the first to mobilize Iranian masses against Israel back in the early 1950s. Donning the traditional black chador, Safavi told Al-Monitor in an interview, “Years before the [1979] Islamic Revolution, my father was …

Gaza court sentences 8 Fatah members to prison, including 3 for life, for spying

GAZA (Ma’an) — A Gaza military court sentenced eight Palestinians affiliated to the Fatah party — three of whom to life in prison — for gathering information about Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza for intelligence forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The court, which only identified the defendants by their …

How Hamas is looking to boost foreign ties

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Hamas’ foreign relations chief Osama Hamdan revealed that several weeks ago in Qatar, the movement’s leadership met a delegation of high-ranking European diplomats. He expressed optimism about a European decision to strike Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations. In a telephone interview from Beirut, Hamdan, one of Hamas’ emerging political …

Hamas blames Israel for killing drone expert in Tunisia, threatens retaliation

The Palestinian Hamas group in Gaza blamed Israel on Saturday for the killing in Tunisia this week of a Tunisian national it described as one of its drone experts, and threatened retaliation. Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said Mohammed Zawari, who was gunned down near the city of Sfax …