1:45 PM. Come E-along with me to the wished for country: for a wellcome acumen respite,after my lunch;

 

 

 


Message from the Editor

There are popular ideas for what citizens have a right to expect from their government. Fairness, accountability, and progress have become buzzwords throughout a season of change in the region. In the Middle East, the chasm between the street and the ruling powers has been exposed for all to see.
With this issue we seek to bridge the divide through an examination of the role of local governance. What do municipalities and local councils do for people? How do those in public office serve their public?

 It has been heartening to discover that throughout the length and breadth of Palestine, public servants are working tirelessly to support and represent their communities. In these pages you will read about daring initiatives with great social value. We found space for critical eyes on the system and its flaws too, in the hope of providing a balanced picture.

 We have not limited the theme of local leadership to politicians. Community leaders, solidarity activists, and people who struggle to serve their neighbours are also honoured, along with institutions and forums that facilitate debate.

 Today it is people power that captures our imagination once again. A new flotilla is to sail to Gaza, with memories of the atrocities committed by the Israeli navy last year still fresh in our minds. The mission to bring relief for the besieged has faced the usual round of sabotage attempts, but Israel’s illegal blockade will come under harsh scrutiny and a spotlight it cannot bear.

 Such actions illustrate the possibilities for political involvement that we can all explore. Society functions with the active participation of its citizens at every level, working for shared ambitions. With this issue we hoped to provide a snapshot of how Palestine is governed, so that together we might improve it.


 
 

 

Road construction in Ramallah. Photo by Yousef Shakarne.
Photo by Majed Shla.
Ramallah. Photo by Zeina-Za’rour.

Trustworthiness in Palestinian Local Governance
By Rasha Alyatim
Palestinian local authorities, a.k.a municipalities and councils, are vital social organisations. They are more than service providers; they are builders of society and keepers of development. In our Palestinian context where higher and national authorities are dependent on unstable political whims, it is important for local authorities to be reliable organisations; competent and able to withstand the tides of political turmoil and deliver confidence and assurance to their citizens.

Naturally, when discussing local authorities we are discussing two components and the working relation between them: locals and authorities. Authority exists because locals have chosen its existence to manage collective issues of concern. It exists to serve the locals, to help them in meeting their needs, to guarantee the rights and interests of the group, and to manage the scale between the rights and interests of the group and the rights and interests of the individual. 
Naturally, when discussing local authorities we are discussing two components and the working relation between them: locals and authorities. Authority exists because locals have chosen its existence to manage collective issues of concern. It exists to serve the locals, to help them in meeting their needs, to guarantee the rights and interests of the group, and to manage the scale between the rights and interests of the group and the rights and interests of the individual. On the other hand, since locals are referees to the scope and nature of the authority’s duties and work, it is their responsibility to guide the authority in its work and decision making and facilitate its progress.It is important to realise that the general negative public perception of Palestinian local authorities and their competency does not reflect the reality.Palestinians believe that their local authorities are unfair, incompetent, and lack the necessary skills and resources to perform at acceptable standards. Palestinians may also use some creative and colourful language when describing and talking about their local authorities, often accompanied by real-life stories about family members, neighbours, and acquaintances who fell victim to the incompetency of their local authority. Happily, I am pleased to say, the reality is not like that at all.. Although local authorities, much like their locals, are not hesitant at all when talking about the shortcomings of locals, namely, their lack of loyalty, participation, and good citizenship. Local authorities, too, have a bag full of stories about citizens throwing trash from a car or the third floor of a building, and demanding access to certain services that they refuse to pay for.

http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=3448&ed=196&edid=196

 

Municipalities: Key Partners for Development

Local-level government in Palestine has had a long history. Since the Oslo Accords, municipalities have been assigned a clear role. They serve as part of the lowest level of governance, representation, and accountability for citizens. They also act as potential engines for development as they deliver several services.  Their importance is further emphasised by the urbanised nature of the Palestinian population, 74 percent of whom are urban dwellers who rely on services provided by 134 municipalities (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Population Survey, 2007).

Municipalities face several challenges in fulfilling their role. Municipal budgets have significantly declined over the last decade primarily due to the ongoing conflict, the contraction of the economy, poor municipal management, and a growing culture of non-payment especially since the second Intifada. The deterioration of municipal finances has led to a subsequent deterioration of service coverage and quality, ultimately impacting negatively on the quality of life of most Palestinians. Localities in areas B and C face additional challenges of obtaining permissions for development.

Municipalities - Enginers for Development
Construction of a new road in Hebron. Photo from World Bank Archive.

 Vineyard in Hebron. Photo from Palestine Image Bank

 

http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=3447&ed=196&edid=196

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Articles
 

 

 

 
Ramallah. Photo by Khaled Jarrar.
Teaching students organic solid waste composting. Photos courtesy of Ramallah Municipality.
Students participating in the Ramallah Municipality tree-planting campaign. Photos courtesy of Ramallah Municipality.
Students planting in reused containers. Photos courtesy of Ramallah Municipality.

Building an Environmentally Friendly City

Despite being under occupation, Ramallah grows and thrives. Part of this progress includes caring for the environment. The city’s mission states: “We want the city of Ramallah to be beautiful, green, safe, clean, and environmentally friendly for the sake of all its residents, a city with a distinguished architectural style that preserves its cultural heritage and a city that believes in intellectual, social, and political pluralism.”

The Ramallah Municipal Council takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that Ramallah become a green city.

“Ramallah is a central city. It is the centre of the Palestinian Authority. It is an economic centre, a medical centre, an educational centre,” explained Mayor Janet Michael.

Global and local issues shape the Ramallah Municipality’s environmental policies. The effects of global warming are of great concern, and efforts to counter those effects are of great importance to the city. The Municipality aims to improve the environment by planting more greenery, protecting current greenery, instituting clean-up programmes, and carrying out awareness campaigns to educate city dwellers on the importance of taking care of the environment.

“We are aware of the environmental impacts on people’s lives. We want to create a healthy city. We want to reduce noise pollution, air pollution, and the dust from construction,” explained Sami Ewaida, head of the Ramallah Municipality City Beautification Section.

 

 

 

 

 http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=3449&ed=196&edid=196

 

 

(My responsibility shouldn't be forgotten! Coming up presently;My E-Brush Up for continuence of my U.S. Triumphant@Humanity for Preservation:ME Life Redemption Plan Manifesto:today's chapter. (Now Expected,provided this Occupational  Therapy Office doesn't close up first.))

To Life!=לחיים     Michael         PRIORITY  1   LIFE

 G O O D   D A W N  approaching & M O R N I N G

            A  M  E  R  I  C  A

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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