Haniya Meets Euro-Med Human Rights Commission

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PALESTINIAN Prime Minister, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya met a delegation from the Euro-Med Human Rights Committee at his office in Gaza last Saturday.

Haniya spoke about the January 2000 elections and the sweeping victory for Hamas that allowed it to form the government, noting that Israel imposed an economic embargo and political isolation and escalated its military measures on Gaza while many on the domestic front were unable to accept the results of the elections.

Haniya affirmed that what took place in Gaza recently was necessary and was directly linked to the circumstances in the field and has no political dimensions.

He added: ‘We do not seek to establish an independent entity or what some people call an Islamic emirate.

‘On the contrary, we emphasise Palestinian territorial integrity and the Palestinian people’s unity.’

Haniya stressed that dialogue and respect for legitimacy are the only way for solving problems on the Palestinian domestic level, stressing that legitimacy is indivisible and we respect the legitimacy of the head of the authority Abu-Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) and the legitimacy of the Legislative Council must also be respected.

Haniya explained that over the past period that lasted approximately one month, the government has been seeking to correct some manifestations like ending security lawlessness, the chaos in the carriage of weapons, the release of Journalist Johnston and Engineer Khalil Sabrah, stalking drug traffickers, regulating traffic and market activities, lifting road barriers from all streets, and facilitating the movement of people on all roads.

Mistakes and violations were committed while carrying out these major tasks, stressing that these were individual mistakes and do not reflect a political course.

Legal measures were taken against those who committed them and many have been detained.

Haniya said that the government now runs the Gaza Strip with the help of officers who rejoined their positions, the members of the Executive Force, some 500 members from the security forces and around 2,700 staff from the judiciary.

He added that there is a problem with the number of public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors, many of whom resumed work.

We are currently seeking to remedy this situation. Haniya emphasised that the government is committed to the sovereignty of the law and the judiciary, human rights, social solidarity, and entrenchment of justice and equality.

He emphasised that this commitment is an ethical and religious commitment and this applies to politics, security, respect for political pluralism, and entrenchment of democracy.

All these yardsticks do not become highlighted within a short period of time but we are committed to entrenching them in the coming days and weeks.

Haniya commented during the meeting on many issues like the Rafah Crossing crisis, not allowing industrial raw materials from going in, the shortage in medicines and basic staples, the suspension of any Arab and international contacts with the Gaza Strip inhabitants, and not allowing families and employees to spend their holidays abroad, not to mention the ongoing Israeli attacks, the latest the one that was carried out today.

Haniya said that from last month and until now, 40 were martyred, including 14 in the Central Governorate, noting that the claim that the Rafah Crossing has been closed because of the presence of Hamas at the crossing is not true.

With respect to the crossing, Haniya said: ‘We respect the agreement and we call for the presence of the relevant ministries at the crossing and the national security forces and the police must reassume the management of the crossing and all the employees who are not implicated in financial corruption and the European observers should return and we have no problem with this.

‘We have made another proposal to allow the Red Cross to manage the crossing to end the crisis of those stranded and allow them to cross.

‘We also made a third proposal to have the private sector manage the crossing, particularly Al-Mintar Crossing and the private sector should have the right to contact all the Israeli, US, and European quarters.

‘We hope that this ordeal will end soon.’

Meanwhile Hamas is to pay all employees fired by the Palestinian ‘caretaker government’.

The head of the Palestinian public employees union declared on 28 July that the Hamas government has started paying the salaries of newly-appointed civil servants and those registered as unemployed.

Alaa Ad Din Batta, the head of the union, declared that the payments will include all employees hired by the Hamas government throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking to a Ma’an correspondent in Gaza, Batta called on all public employees who may have been fired by the caretaker government, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to go to the post offices and banks on 29 July to receive their salaries.

He expressed gratitude to the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya for finding the funds to pay the salaries.

According to the public employees’ union, there are 10,000 Gaza Strip workers who have not been payed by the Fayyad government, including 7,000 members of Hamas’ Executive Force security service.

As well the Al-Nasir Brigades have threatened to target the ‘traitorous’ premier Fayyad, appointed by President Abbas.

The spokesperson of Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Brigades, Abu-Abir, on Saturday threatened to target caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and presidential adviser, Nimir Hammad, whom he described as the ‘traitorous group in the Muqata’a’.

The spokesperson of the brigades, which is the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, said that these Palestinian figures could be treated like the Israeli occupation.

At a press conference in Gaza City, Abu-Abir pledged to set limits to what he called ‘US-led figures’, due to their criticism of the Palestinian resistance and because they ‘side with the enemy’.

Abu-Abir asserted that the An Nasser Brigades do not recognise the caretaker government of Fayyad, which eradicated armed resistance from its government programme.

Moreover, Abu-Abir affirmed that the brigades solely recognise the deposed government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.

At the same time, Abu-Abir rejected any alternative to the Rafah Crossing as the main crossing point for Palestinians into Gaza.

He said that suggestions to use other Israeli-controlled crossings are ‘traps set to ambush Palestinian resistance fighters’. He urged the Palestinians stranded at Rafah Crossing to defy the decisions of the ‘illegal government’.