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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Excerpts: Israel eases Gaza ban on construction materials. Preventing Syria crisis spill into Lebanon. Jordan: No shame in service work. Islamist vigilantes threat in Egypts Sinai. Iran foils new cyber attack. Israels illegal African migrants to be repatr

Excerpts: Israel eases Gaza ban on construction materials. Preventing Syria
crisis spill into Lebanon. Jordan: No shame in service work. Islamist
vigilantes' threat in Egypt's Sinai. Iran foils new cyber attack. Israel's
illegal African migrants to be repatriated Thursday, December 27, 2012

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 27 Dec.’12:”Israel to ease Gaza ban on construction
materials”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Israel eases Gaza ban on construction materials
QUOTE:”Israel . . .easing its blockade under the terms of a truce deal”
FULL TEXTGAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israel is to begin allowing
materials for private construction into Gaza, easing its blockade under the
terms of a truce deal, Israeli and Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.

The decision will allow private companies and individuals to import
construction materials that were previously restricted exclusively to
international aid groups under the terms of Israel’s blockade.

It comes after an Egyptian-mediated truce deal between Hamas and Israel that
ended eight days of fighting last month.

“From Sunday[30 Dec.], up to 20 trucks will bring in gravel for the
commercial sector daily, except on Friday and Saturday... through the Kerem
Shalom crossing in south-east Gaza,” Palestinian official Raed Fattuh told
AFP.

“This is the first time Israel will allow the import of gravel for the
private sector since the blockade began in mid-2007.”

Israel has restricted the import of goods into Gaza since 2006, when
Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier in a cross border raid.

The blockade was tightened a year later after Hamas seized Gaza from its
Fatah rivals in fighting that erupted after the Islamist group won
legislative elections.

Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli defense ministry body that
coordinates with the Palestinians, confirmed the new policy, saying the deal
would also allow the import of heavy construction vehicles, including
bulldozers.

“It’s the first time since 2007. It’s part of the dialogue, the conversation
that we have with the Egyptian side and because of the calm,” he said.

“If the calm will continue, then more eases will go through. We’re also
working on improving the electricity system in the north of Gaza in order to
promote and to improve the electricity in that area,” he added. — AFP

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 27 Dc.’12:”Report: Iran, Russia to Prevent
Crisis in Syria from Spilling over into Lebanon”
SUBJECT: Preventing Syria crisis spill into Lebanon
QUOTE: Iran and Russia are holding consultations to defuse tension in
Lebanon over the crisis in the neighboring country Syria”
FULL TEXT:Iran and Russia are holding consultations to defuse tension in
Lebanon over the crisis in the neighboring country Syria.

A diplomatic source told al-Liwaa newspaper on Thursday[27 Dec.] that the
two countries want to end the disputes in Lebanon between the political foes
to maintain stability in it.

Lebanese parties are sharply divided over the crisis in Syria as the March 8
alliance continuously expresses its support to Syrian President Bashar
Assad, while the March 14 camp voices its support for the popular revolt.

“There's no need for the Lebanese to engage in the situation in Syria as
long as the international community is trying to resolve the crisis,” the
source told the newspaper.

According to the source, the international community doesn't want Lebanon to
immerse into a crisis caused by the escalating situation in the neighboring
country.

The international community and analysts have expressed fears that the
conflict in Syria may spill over into Lebanon.

Lebanon plunged in a political crisis in October after the opposition blamed
the government for the assassination of Internal Security Forces
Intelligence Branch chief Wissam al-Hasan, demanding the resignation of the
cabinet as a condition to ending its boycott and the formation of a national
salvation one

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 27 Dec.’12: Civil society initiative aims to take
the shame out of service work”
SUBJECT: Jordan: No shame in service work
QUOTE:” ‘Being out of work is more shameful than cleaning’ “
AMMAN — Although a culture of shame still prevents many Jordanians from
working as cleaners, waiters or in other “lowly” occupations, a civil
society organisation in east Amman is helping some young people support
their families by bucking these societal norms.

“We must work to support ourselves and families. Things are changing as
people need to earn money. Being out of work is more shameful than
cleaning,” 20-year-old Sumaya (not her real name), who works as a cleaner
for a private company in the capital, told The Jordan Times in a recent
interview.. . ..

The programme, which has trained over 200 young women in the past two years.
. . “Our goal is to empower young women from underprivileged backgrounds by
giving them training workshops and then helping them secure jobs in the
private sector, especially in the services such as hotels, hospitals and
catering companies,” Saadi explained.

“We also aim at changing the stereotypical view that working in services is
shameful and degrading.”

The project targets women from low-income families, aged between 18 and 40,
she added.

The training programme includes units on communication skills, interviewing
skills, résumé writing and self-esteem, as well as specialised courses such
as housekeeping, cleaning and childcare, according to Amina Yunes, the
project coordinator.

“For three months, the participants receive theoretical training and then
for a month they do practical training on subjects they learned. Then, they
are expected to complete another month of on-the-job training, which we have
arranged with companies in the private sector,” Yunus told The Jordan Times

After trainees have completed the course, the FDA helps them find jobs,
usually at restaurants, hotels, or private homes.

“So far, we have 15 women working as domestic cleaners in homes and about
200 working in hotels, restaurants, and catering companies,” Yunus said.

The organisation also secures agreements with employers to “ensure” that
their graduates receive the minimum wage and other incentives to which they
are entitled, Saadi said.

“We make sure employers pay them decent salaries. During the training
period, the participants learn about their rights as guaranteed by Labour
Law, in order for them to be able to defend their rights.”

Demand for Jordanian housekeepers is increasing, especially in homes,
according to Saadi.

“We constantly receive phone calls from Jordanian families looking for local
cleaners to work on a daily or monthly basis.”

She acknowledged, however, that finding Jordanian women interested in
working as housekeepers remained a challenge.

The training initiative is a part of the FDA’s Izdihar (“growth”) project,
which it launched in 2000.

Overall, the project has trained 560 women, Saadi said, 75 per cent of whom
secured jobs in the private sector, while the other 25 per cent started
their own projects.

Zahar Arafat, who was trained in childcare through the Izdihar project, used
her training to open a small nursery in the Jabal Nuzha neighbourhood in
east Amman.

“I developed a stronger self-esteem after doing the course. Meeting with
their women helped me feel I was able to do things. After the training
course, I applied for a small loan [from another organisation] and started a
nursery,” the 30-year-old said.

In the case of trainees who secure jobs with private sector employers, the
FDA follows up with them and solicits feedback about their relationship with
their employers.

“I feel protected because there is an organisation behind my back. I can
report to them on my working conditions and they give me advice when
disputes arise with the employer,” Sumaya said.

In an effort to expand the project’s activities to the south, the
organisation has also started training women in Maan, 220 kilometres south
of Amman. . . .

+++SOURCE Jordan Times 27 Dec.’12:”Islamist vigilantes step up threats in
Egypt’s Sinai” Reuters

SUBJECT: Islamist vigilantes’ threat in Egypt’s Sinai

QUOTE: “(Egypt’s new constitution . . .states that the principles of Sharia,
Islamic law,the main source of legislation”

FULL TEXT:CAIRO — An Islamist group in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula threatened to
launch a crusade against drug use and cigarette smoking in the lawless
desert region on Wednesday[26], prompting fears about the growing influence
of radical groups in post-revolutionary Egypt.

The country’s new constitution, adopted this week, states that the
principles of Sharia, Islamic law, are the main source of legislation.

Rights groups say the document contains vague language, such as references
to “national” morals, which they believe hardliners can take advantage of to
impose religious restrictions on people.

The Sinai vigilante group, which calls itself “Group for Promotion of Virtue
and Prevention of Vice”, issued its warning in a leaflet distributed around
North Sinai, saying its punishment of those who did not comply would be
“very harsh”.

“This statement is the first warning, and there will be no second. It is
directed at those trading in drugs, specifically cigarettes,” it said.
“Those traders are destroying the families of Sinai, and flouting God’s
laws.”

Local security sources said little was known about the group and that it had
never issued such statements in the past.

A crackdown on trade in cigarettes or smoking in public places is likely to
be perceived as a radical measure in a heavy smoking nation where puffing on
a butt in public is socially acceptable and is practically part of the
national pasttime.

Efforts to impose central authority in the desert region near the Israeli
border have been slow since the fall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in
the 2011 uprising, complicated by locals’ ingrained hostility to the
government in Cairo.

Islamist President Mohamed Morsi launched a concerted effort to reestablish
control of Sinai following an August 5 attack in which 16 border guards were
killed. But a November 3 gun attack in which three policemen died underlined
the challenge still facing the authorities

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 26 Dec.’12:Iran Foils New Cyber Attack on
Industrial Units”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Iran foils new cyber attack
QUOTE:”civil defence official …accusing ‘enemies’ of nonstop attacks against
its infrastructure”
FULL TEXT:Iran has repelled a fresh cyber attack on its industrial units in
a southern province, a local civil defense official said on Tuesday[25
Dec.], accusing "enemies" of nonstop attacks against its infrastructure.

"A virus had penetrated some manufacturing industries in Hormuzgan province,
but its progress was halted with ... the cooperation of skilled hackers,"
Ali Akbar Akhavan said, quoted by the ISNA news agency.

Akhavan said the malware was "Stuxnet-like" but did not elaborate and that
the attack had occurred over the "past few months."

Stuxnet, tailored specifically to target Iran's uranium enrichment
operation, struck Iran in 2010 and reportedly dealt a serious blow to its
disputed atomic program.

Akhavan said one of the targets of the latest foiled attack was the Bandar
Abbas Tavanir Co, which oversees electricity production and distribution in
Hormuzgan and adjacent provinces.

He also accused "enemies" of constantly seeking to disrupt operations at
Iran's industrial units through cyber attacks, without specifying how much
damage had been caused.

The Islamic state has blamed the U.S. and Israel for cyber attacks in the
past. In April, it said a voracious virus attack had hit computers running
key parts of its oil sector and succeeded in wiping data off official
servers.

Tehran is at odds with Washington and its allies which fear Iran's nuclear
activity is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. But Iran says its program
is solely for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. and Israel do not rule out military action against the Islamic
state if diplomacy fails to stop its controversial nuclear activity.

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 26 Dec. 2012: Netanyahu aims to deport [repatriate]
tens of thousands of [illegal] Africans “,Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Israel’s illegal African migrants to be repatriated
QUOTE:” P.M. Netanyahu:’Our aim is to repatriate tens of thousands of
infiltrators now in Israel to their countries of origin’ “
EXCERPTS::OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
Monday[24 Dec.] he aims to repatriate tens of thousands of African illegal
migrants and that the inflow into Israel from the Sinai peninsula has been
brought to a halt.

“Our aim is to repatriate tens of thousands of infiltrators now in Israel to
their countries of origin,” he said, adding Israel had been in contact with
several African governments.

“After having been confronted by the threat of hundreds of thousands [of
illegal migrants], this month not a single infiltrator has reached cities in
Israel,” he said, quoted in a government statement.

“We have reached this result over the past several months, and next month we
will have completed the construction of the fence on the border with the
Sinai,” facing Egypt, he said.

Israel began constructing the fence in late 2010 to stem the influx of
thousands of illegal migrants through the porous border, which has also been
a major drug and human trafficking route into Israel.

“Now we are moving on to the next stage, the repatriation of the
infiltrators already here.”

Interior Minister Eli Yishai had warned in August that Sudanese illegals who
did not leave the country by October 15 would be detained, held in camps and
deported.

Israel already began expelling South Sudanese in June, after Yishai ruled
they were no longer at risk in their newly independent homeland.

An Israeli court the same month gave the green light for plans to repatriate
around 2,000 illegal migrants from the Ivory Coast.. . .
==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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