The Gaza Strip, the small enclave that sees Israel to the north and east of it and that forms part of the occupied Palestine territories (oPt), has been subject to a blockade since 2006, which is facilitated at the border with Egypt. The Hamas controlled area has also more recently been subject to punitive measures by the Palestinian Authority.
While it affects almost all parts of life there is currently a particular urgency to the impact to the health sector which has received a hit when it comes to medicine, medical supplies, lab equipment and blood supply, which is devastating for patients in both accident and emergency situations as well as those suffering from serious diseases.
If medical equipment breaks or becomes obsolete, there is no way to fix it, power cuts from electricity cuts imposed by the PA prevent hospital machines from operating and generators also need spare parts and fuel also lacking in Gaza.
While many patients used to travel outside Gaza for surgery, this option has also diminished for many because of the closure of the Rafah border for long periods of time and exit permits have been in decline.
Past offensives that have resulted in medical facilities being hit has meant that a number of hospitals were irreparable due to construction materials being inadmissible to the country. This has overloaded other facilities. However, as of February 2018, 19 health centres had reportedly closed down because they could not run their electricity generators including major facilities Beit Hanoun Hospital and Al-Durra.
The withholding of salaries by the PA has also hit workers in the health sector. On the brink of collapse, humanitarian actors have taken some action help fund the health sector in Gaza but it needs greater attention from the international community at large.
Focused alleviation of the healthcare crisis
There needs to be a two-fold commitment by the international community:
- An estimated $6.5 million is needed in 2018 to provide emergency fuel to prevent collapse. This requires urgent funding from international donors.
- Political action is required to end the Gaza blockade, which has been ongoing since 2006.
According to theUN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) oPt on 6 February, without support emergency fuel for the most critical services will run out in as little as 10 days. The emergency fuel would enable minimum life-saving health, water and sanitation services.However, for the full functioning of critical services, OCHA estimated the need for $10 million per year and this requires international donor support.
A more sustainable solution however is for the Gaza siege to be completely lifted. This is not only pertinent for the health sector but it is necessary for Gazans to escape poverty by opening the borders and allowing imports and exports to restore its economy and development.
As the occupying state, it is primarily Israel’s responsibility to end the blockade. The siege is a violation of international law. The purpose of the siege has been stated as for reasons of security and to keep out dangerous materials, which could be then used against Israel. However, the measures amount to collective punishment as well as amounting to a breach of fundamental economic and social rights.
Individual states can place pressure on Israel to abide by international law and lift this blockade on Gaza as well as on the PA to refrain from punitive measures.
The siege on Gaza intensified after Hamas gained control of the territory in 2006. Various parts of the international community have had difficulty accepting Hamas as an international political player. However, the party was elected through a democratic process. Therefore, states must accept Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza and continue relations with it in order to facilitate lasting measures to end the suffering of those who live there.
Qatari Labor Minister Leads Fruitful Labor Conference With Key Recommendations
The 111th session of the International Labor Conference successfully concluded under the leadership of Ali bin Sameegh Al-Marri, the Minister of Labor from Qatar. The conference received international praise from representatives of governments, employers, and workers within the International Labor Organization for its achievements in promoting social justice and creating decent job opportunities.
Ali Al-Marri was unanimously elected as the President of the International Labor Conference during its 111th session. This marks the first time an Arab minister has held this prestigious position since the organization’s establishment in 1919. Qatar’s election as the conference’s chair recognizes the country’s significant contributions to labor and development, leading to a safe and healthy work environment.
During his closing speech at the conference, Chairman Ali Al-Marri emphasized that Qatar’s presidency reaffirmed its commitment to supporting collaborative efforts and multilateral cooperation in achieving sustainable development goals. He expressed gratitude to the member states for entrusting Qatar with the conference’s leadership.
Al-Marri highlighted the conference as a crucial platform for governments and social partners to engage in dialogue and joint action concerning contemporary labor issues. Despite facing some challenges, the 111th session successfully fulfilled its ambitious agenda thanks to the collective efforts of all participants.
The conference and its committees produced important outcomes that will contribute to the organization’s efforts, as well as member states, in improving the world of work. The Committee on Apprenticeships, in particular, showcased the power of social dialogue and achieved significant results through vibrant negotiations, cooperation, and the exchange of experiences.
— وكالة الأنباء القطرية (@QatarNewsAgency) June 16, 2023
Recognizing the importance of quality apprenticeships in addressing the evolving world of work, Al-Marri stressed their role in promoting social justice, decent living conditions, and poverty eradication. The conference’s discussions emphasized the significance of protecting workers and their essential contribution to gender equality, social justice, and the reduction of inequalities. Furthermore, such protection leads to sustainable enterprises, productivity gains, and economic development.
Al-Marri commended the International Labor Organization’s guidelines for a just transition toward environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, considering them as a fundamental reference for policy-making and actionable steps.
The conference’s approval of the organization’s program and budget for the 2024/2025 period was met with praise. Al-Marri lauded the spirit of cooperation and flexibility that facilitated a consensual solution, demonstrating the ILO’s commitment to constructive dialogue.
Al-Marri also commended the World of Work Summit, themed “Social Justice for All,” which took place alongside the conference. The summit saw the participation of 16 heads of state, government officials, ministers, representatives from international organizations, and social partners from various regions. It discussed various issues related to social justice, including the proposal to form a global coalition for social justice by the organization’s Director-General.
During the closing session, representatives acknowledged the challenges posed by recent global crises and emphasized the significance of the equal apprenticeship recommendation in advancing the just transition of economies.
The conference’s final session featured speeches from Gilbert Hongbo, the Director-General of the International Labor Organization, Henrik Montai, Vice-President of the Conference representing the Employers’ Team, Mohamed Zuhour, Vice-President of the Conference representing the Workers’ Team, and Corina Ajdar, Vice-President of the Conference representing the governments. They expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Minister of Labor Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri for his effective leadership and successful attainment of the conference’s objectives.
Strategic Twinning of Rabat And Madrid: A Defense Against Mediterranean Tension
Rabat – The writer-journalist, Abdelhamid Jmahri believes that the wish today of Morocco and Spain, after the clarification of the foundations of their cooperation, is to establish a geostrategic twinning that goes beyond the limits of close cooperation and privileged partnership, thus blocking the way to maneuvers aimed at exacerbating tensions in the Mediterranean region.
Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”
In an editorial to appear in the Saturday edition of the Arabic-language daily “Al Itihad Al Ichtiraki”, he notes that this ambition is clearly displayed through the will of HM King Mohammed VI in His call to inaugurate “a new unprecedented stage ” and also that of King Felipe VI of Spain calling for weaving partnership relations for the 21st century.
He maintains that the High Level Meeting (RHN) held last Thursday in Rabat is the bearer of strategic partnerships specific to countries concerned with a perfect understanding of their common interests and also sharing the same conception of the interactions of international action, at the present time. as in the future.
While emphasizing that the two Kingdoms have set a living example on the priority nature of the conciliatory diplomatic approach and its supremacy in the settlement of disputes, he observes that the agreements signed during this High Level Meeting relate to key sectors targeted , in support of a common understanding of priorities.
This article is originally published on msn.com
Spain-Morocco Reconnection: Post-Crisis Efforts
After a deep diplomatic crisis, Spain and Morocco cemented their reconciliation on Thursday in Rabat, despite criticism in Madrid over too many concessions from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Mr. Sanchez, accompanied by a dozen ministers, co-chaired a “high-level meeting” (RHN) with his counterpart Aziz Akhannouch, the first since 2015.
“Today we are consolidating the new stage in relations between Morocco and Spain that we have opened,” he said, praising “the enormous unexplored potential of this relationship”.
Before his arrival in Rabat on Wednesday, the Socialist Prime Minister spoke by telephone with King Mohammad VI who invited him to return “very soon” to Morocco for an official visit “in order to reinforce this positive dynamic”, according to the royal cabinet.
Mr. Sanchez ended last March a year of diplomatic estrangement with Morocco by agreeing to support Moroccan positions on Western Sahara.
The crisis erupted in April 2021 after the hospitalization in Spain – under a false identity according to Rabat – of the leader of the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, sworn enemy of Morocco.
The Rabat-Madrid honeymoon comes as France – another historical partner of Rabat – is pilloried by Moroccan politicians and media who accuse it of having “orchestrated” a European Parliament resolution worrying about freedom of the press in Morocco and allegations of corruption of MEPs in Brussels.
But this idyll is not to everyone’s taste in Spain. The radical left formation Podemos, member of the government coalition, did not wish to be on the trip to Rabat, citing its opposition to Mr. Sanchez’s “unilateral” turn on Western Sahara. A turnaround applauded in Rabat.
The fact that Mr. Sanchez was not received by Mohammad VI is seen as a snub in Spain by the right-wing opposition and the press. The Popular Party, the main opposition force, deplored Thursday, through the voice of its general coordinator Elias Bendodo, that “Spain has given an image of weakness”.
“The absence of Mohammad VI spoils the summit”, wrote the daily El Païs (center left) while the newspaper El Mundo (conservative) headlined: “Mohammad VI shows his position of strength with regard to Spain by posing a rabbit to Sanchez”.
New Economic Partnership
Pedro Sanchez said he hoped for the development of “new investment projects accompanying the extraordinary process of development and modernization of Morocco”. “Morocco and Spain wish to establish a new economic partnership at the service of development”, underlined for his part Mr. Akhannouch.
Twenty agreements were signed on Thursday to facilitate Spanish investment in Morocco – Spain is the third largest foreign investor there – in the fields of renewable energies, water desalination, rail transport, tourism , education and culture. To this end, a new financial protocol has been approved which will double – to 800 million euros – aid from the Spanish government for investment projects in Morocco.
Also in the pipeline is an agreement to “completely normalize the passage of people and goods” through sea and land borders. The opening of land crossings concern the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, in northern Morocco.
Without forgetting the files of illegal immigration and the fight against terrorism. Madrid highlighted the drop of more than 25% in illegal immigration in 2022 thanks to its police cooperation with Rabat, with 31,219 migrants entering Spain illegally in 2022.
This cooperation, welcomed by Rabat, was however tarnished by the death of at least 23 Sudanese migrants who had tried last June to enter the enclave of Melilla via the Moroccan border town of Nador.
The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was also to plead with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelouafi Laftit, to reactivate the channels for the expulsion of irregular migrants and return to levels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. , according to a source from the Spanish ministry.
Finally, Rabat is considered a key partner in the fight against terrorism. An important subject for Madrid after an attack at the end of January attributed to a young Moroccan in an irregular situation against two churches in Algeciras (South) in which a sexton was killed.
This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com
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