The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

  ..: What a nice City Council Hebron has :..
July 31, 2003

Since 1976 there have been no municipal elections in the West Bank. Since then the Israeli occupation has continuously designated corrupt officials to run communal affairs in our cities. One effect of this practice is that the Municipality of Hebron is run like the private business of Mayor Al-Natsheh. All projects are realized by companies belonging to his relatives, most of the employees are his relatives. While the issues described here date back to 1997 during the peace time, nothing has changed: Hebron has the same Mayor, the corruption and nepotism has stayed the same, and even worsened.

Result of a UNDP project implemented by companies belonging
to the friends Mayor Al-Natsheh's son. The street from Hebron
to Bersheba was widened at Al-Hawuz junction, but this electric
pole was not moved.

What a nice City Council Hebron has

The Municipality's financial accountant does not have a University degree. He has a certificate and earned an average of 55% in his studies. This is the city worker who is responsible for the finances of the Municipality and who is the boss of another worker who graduated and has an M.A. degree. This graduated worker was forced to leave his work as the city financial department after he decided to implement the "Managerial Development" plan in the municipality which was a threat to some workers who were replaced by qualified workers in the municipality. This was enough to throw this qualified person from his work and to fight his project of managerial development.

In cases of investigation, the Municipal Engineers threw out the workers of the Ministry of Municipalities who came to investigate suspected illegal matters in the municipality of Hebron.

The Municipality gave all the rights for some engineers who were supported by the Occupational Civil Administration to make all the important decisions in the municipality. These workers had their very own private relationship with the Mayor. Most of the municipality projects and bits, used to transfer by these workers to the mayors sons.

The Spanish Donation

When I discovered the "
Spanish Donation" of garbage containers to the city of Hebron which were hidden and damaged without having been used while the city streets were covered with garbage, the PA Radio invited me and the city Mayor to talk about this issue on a live program. The Mayor claimed that he hid the Spanish donation for an emergency, he explain that he has to use these garbage containers in such important occasions as when President Yasser Arafat passes through the streets during a visit to Hebron.

The people laughed of the Mayors saying, especially when I made it clear that the garbage containers are not usable anymore after having been damaged by the act of hiding them. I asked the Mayor if it's correct to leave the streets covered with garbage which spreads bad smell and causes diseases until the President Arafat visits the city once a year? I asked if it is coeerct to see rats bigger than cats roaming in the streets which are full of garbage.

See newspaper article in Arabic here.

The Minister of Municipalities Dr. Saeeb Ereqat received an offical complaint letter concerning this situation of Hebron Municipality.

The most serious issue that the Municipality Council is insisting to use the illegal "Worker Formalization", a list of employees, which is against the laws of the Ministry of Municipalities while the Minister kept silence about this for a couple of years and until now.

While the garbage containers donated by the Spanish Government were hidden outside Hebron
in an area under Israeli control, this is how the city looked. The pictures are from 1997, but until
now nothing has changed.

This is a view of Babi Zawyeh, Wadi Tufah street in the center of Hebron. This is supposed
to be the main city square. In the buildings there are food shops and medical centers.

Another view of the same dump in the center of Hebron.

Yet another view of the same dump, with bus station on As-Salaam road. The buildings
in the background have several health centers, laboratories and farmacies.

This is a view of Al-Munara street in Hebron, at the "health square". This is also the
view from the office of Parliament Member Abbas Zaqi. The Abu-Dayeh school is to
the right, offices of the Ministry of Health are to the left side of this picture.