New French Defence Minister Resigns amid Party Scandal

  • Goulard has demitted office amid an investigation into the misuse of European parliamentary funds by her party, MoDem.

    Goulard has demitted office amid an investigation into the misuse of European parliamentary funds by her party, MoDem. | Photo: AFP

Published 20 June 2017 (2 hours 44 minutes ago)
In a statement, Goulard said her resignation was an act of “good faith” following the investigation.

Newly appointed French defence minister and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Sylvie Goulard, has resigned.

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Goulard has demitted office amid an investigation into the misuse of European parliamentary funds by her party, MoDem.

The investigation centers around the misuse of MoDem funds in the hiring of assistants in the European parliament.

MoDem is led by François Bayrou, a long-time centrist who backed Macron in his presidential run.

In a statement, Goulard said her resignation was an act of “good faith” following the investigation. “Defence is a demanding portfolio. The honor of our armies, that of the men and women who serve and put their lives in danger should not be mixed up in controversies that have nothing to do with them,” she said.

Goulard, who was appointed by new French President Emmanuel Macron last month, has asked not to be considered as part of the new government.

Macron has vowed to clean up French politics, promising a “moralization bill” that will ban politicians from employing members of their family as staff and demand disclosure of all personal interests when in office.

“The president has undertaken to restore confidence in public office, to reform France and to revive Europe. This reorganization must take precedence over any personal considerations,” said Goulard.

Goulard served as an MEP in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe from 2009 to 2017.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to announce his new government tomorrow.

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Israel Attacks Muslims at Al-Aqsa Mosque with Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets

  • Palestinians enter the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint to attend Friday prayer in Jerusalem

    Palestinians enter the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint to attend Friday prayer in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, June 16, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 June 2017 (21 hours 19 minutes ago)
A Fatah official condemned the incident as “an extension of Israel’s fascist and aggressive policies against Palestinian people.”

Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, attacked by Israeli forces Sunday, were left suffocating and injured after tear gas grenades and rubber bullets were fired.

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The police’s brute force affected 30 people, with two young people detained at the site of the incident. The incident began when Israeli police attacked Palestinian worshippers who were chanting religious slogans in protest of the presence of Jewish settlers, police and military forces on the mosque’s grounds.

Following the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has largely maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, not to allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. In addition, Israeli police usually close off the gate to the mosque for the last 10 days of Ramadan, considered the holiest for many Muslims.

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Worshippers we’re attacked, assaulted; Al-Aqsa was vandalized, as Israel once again provokes in

However, this year, Israel allowed access to Israelis and foreigners to the site, which has caused near-daily clashes.

On Sunday, 250 Israeli soldiers had stormed the compound, allowing Israeli settlers to enter, and desecrate the mosque.

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A Fatah official condemned the incident as “an extension of Israel’s fascist and aggressive policies against Palestinian people,” reported Ma’an.

Director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar Kiswani, told Ma’an that he held the Israeli government responsible for the escalation of violence during Ramadan, by allowing “extremist Israelis to conduct the provocative tour around the mosque.”

The incident comes in the wake of a move to inflict “collective punishment” on Palestinians in the territory through road closures, arbitrary searches and mass detentions, which Israel has levelled in response to an attack on an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem Friday.

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