Palestinian killed in clashes on anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death

Demonstrations were held in Ramallah and the Hebron area in the West Bank to commemorate the legacy of Yasser Arafat. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2019

Palestinian killed in clashes on anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death

  • Demonstrations were held in Ramallah and the Hebron area in the West Bank to commemorate the legacy of Yasser Arafat
  • Arafat died on November 11, 2004, at a hospital near Paris from unknown causes at the age of 75

HEBRON, Palestinian Territories: Clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces Monday during demonstrations marking the 15th anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death in the occupied West Bank, leaving a Palestinian shot dead, medics and Palestinian officials said.
Demonstrations were held in Ramallah and the Hebron area in the West Bank to commemorate the legacy of Arafat, revered as a hero by Palestinians.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who succeeded Arafat, laid a wreath at his tomb at a ceremony in Ramallah, where hundreds gathered with pictures and flags for the anniversary.
“Israel says the martyrs are criminals, terrorists and murderers,” Abbas said.
“We will never agree to give up on our martyrs, our most sacred martyrs.”
Sporadic clashes erupted with Israeli forces, including in the Hebron area, where a Palestinian man was shot dead, the Palestinian health ministry and medics said.
Palestinian medical sources identified the man as 22-year-old Omar Al-Badawi, who was hit in the chest with live fire at Al Arroub refugee camp before being taken to Ahali hospital in Hebron, where he was pronounced dead.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said a large number of Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at soldiers, who responded with “riot-dispersal means and live fire.”
Medics also reported Israeli use of live fire in clashes at Fawwar, south of Hebron, one of the most tense cities in the West Bank.
Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers in Hebron itself and troops responded with tear gas, an AFP journalist reported.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 49 injuries in total, including two from live fire.
Palestine Liberation Organization secretary general Saeb Erekat called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the shooting of Al-Badawi.
Arafat died on November 11, 2004, at a hospital near Paris from unknown causes at the age of 75.
Palestinians have long accused Israel of poisoning him, charges the Israeli government firmly denies.
His body was exhumed in 2012 for tests, but a subsequent French investigation found no proof of poisoning.
Hamas, the Islamist leaders of the Gaza Strip, prohibited a Fatah movement event to mark the death of Arafat in the coastal Palestinian enclave.
Hamas and Fatah, which Arafat led, have been deeply divided since a 2007 near civil war when Hamas overthrew Abbas’s forces in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
No Palestinian elections apart from local polls have been held since 2006 because of the split, but both sides have spoken of a renewed push to do so.
Abbas, 84, spoke again of holding elections on Monday, saying legislative polls should be held first, followed by a presidential vote.
He has insisted on holding the elections in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip and in Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
It later annexed east Jerusalem and considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians view the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Israel prevents any Palestinian Authority activity in east Jerusalem.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya on Sunday also spoke of elections, saying they were “at the very foundation of the Palestinian national project.”
In 2005, Abbas comfortably won presidential elections held in both the West Bank and Gaza.
But a year later, Hamas shocked the world by beating Abbas’s Fatah movement in parliamentary polls.
Unlike Fatah, the Islamists reject all negotiations with Israel and support violent means. They have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

A project helps Syrian entrepreneurs in four countries escape the shadow of war

Updated 21 min 5 sec ago

A project helps Syrian entrepreneurs in four countries escape the shadow of war

  • Start-ups are offered competitions, bootcamps and training programs
  • 'Spark' has been running an entrepreneurship program for five years

CAIRO: The Startup Roadshow was founded in 2018 to help Syrian refugees and expats in four different countries: Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Jordan.

It was established when Spark, a Dutch organization supporting youth projects all over the world, reached out to Jusoor.

“We have been running our entrepreneurship program for five years, and we’ve been running training boot camps and competitions for Syrian startups,” said Dania Ismail, board member and director of Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Program.

“We have also developed our own proprietary training curriculum, which is tailored to Syrian entrepreneurs, in the region and around the world.”

Spark sought out Jusoor to create a project to support Syrian entrepreneurs in those four countries, later bringing on Startups Without Borders to handle the competition’s outreach, marketing and PR.

“We came up with this idea where a team of trainers, facilitators, and mentors would move from one city to another because it’s hard for Syrian youth to travel around. So, we decided to go to them,” said Ismail, a Syrian expat all her life.

The competition goes through five cities: Beirut, Irbil, Amman, Gaziantep and İstanbul.

The boot camps last for five days in each city, and throughout the Roadshow, 100 entrepreneurs will undergo extensive training and one-on-one mentorship to develop their skills and insights into the business world.

“We have five modules that are taught on different days. Then, the pitches are developed, practiced and presented,” Ismail, 39, said.

“In each location, we pick the top two winners — in total, we’ll have top 10 winners from each city.”

The top 10 teams pitched their ideas live in front of a panel of judges, at the second edition of Demo Day 2019, which was held in Amman on Nov. 4.

The best three Syrian-led startups won cash prizes of $15,000, $10,000, and $7,000, respectively.

They also had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas during Spark Ignite’s annual conference in Amsterdam. The competition aims to give young Syrians the hard-to-get chance to secure a foothold in the business world.

“We’re trying to empower young Syrians who are interested in the entrepreneurial and tech space. We want to empower them with knowledge, skills and confidence to launch their ideas,” Ismail said.

Despite the limited duration of the Roadshow and the lack of financial aid, the people behind the program still do their best to help all applicants.

“We try as much as possible to continue supporting them on their journeys with mentorship, advice and connections through our very large network of experts and entrepreneurs,” she said.

Jusoor’s efforts to help Syrian youth do not stop at the Roadshow, and the future holds much in store for this fruitful collaboration.

“We’re expanding our entrepreneurship program, and our next project will be an accelerator program that will continue working with a lot of the promising teams that come out of the Startup Roadshow,” Ismail said.

“We want to provide something that has a partial online component and a partial on-ground one, as well as an investment component where these companies receive funding as investment, not just grants and prizes,” she said in relation to the second phase of the Entrepreneurship Program, which is launching in 2020.

Ismail said: “The Roadshow was created so that Syrian youth can have the chance to change their reality, becoming more than victims of an endless war.

“The competition gives them the tools to become active members of society, wherever they may be, contributing to the economies of those countries.

“Once you’ve built up this generation and given them those skills and expertise, they’ll be the generation that comes back to rebuild the economy in Syria, once things are stable enough there.

“We hope that a lot of these young entrepreneurs the Startup Roadshow was able to inspire, train or help will be the foundation for the future of a small- to medium-sized economy inside Syria.”


• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.