Monday, 1 September 2014

Tens of thousands remain homeless in Gaza


One week after a ceasefire halting an Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinians remain displaced, sheltered in United Nations schools and other facilities.

On Sunday, 58,071 people still lived in 36 UN schools across the coastal enclave, according to Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

With 15,670 housing units damaged, including 2,276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians displaced over the 51-day onslaught, the number staying with extended families, in temporary rentals and at government and informal shelters is probably higher.

An estimated 108,000 Palestinians will need long-term solutions because their homes were too severely damaged to inhabit or destroyed altogether, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

The crisis is compounded by the fact that there was already a deficit of 71,000 housing units for Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents even prior to the Israeli attack, UN OCHA estimates.

And with reconstruction yet to begin, and likely to prove difficult due to ongoing Israeli restrictions on the importation of building materials, displaced Palestinians face uncertain futures. more

$1 billion campaign to support Gaza Strip launched from Turkey


The Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip launched a campaign yesterday to raise $1 billion for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip; $100 million is set to support shelter and emergency relief services in the enclave.

The committee, which held its first forum in Istanbul, announced the formation of the Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip.

The participants called for the activation of relief campaigns and convoys to break the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to continue organising international activities to support Gaza, demanding Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories come to an end.

They stressed on the need to take all legal measures before local and international courts wherever possible to prosecute Israeli officials for their crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip and urged the Palestinian unity government to assume its responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip and its citizens without discrimination or distinction and to lifting the Israeli blockade as well as the establishment of the port and the airport.

They also called on Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing to allow the transfer of aid and construction materials as well as humanitarian convoys to meet the Palestinians' needs and facilitate the exit of wounded individuals.

The two day forum, which was attended by 250 participants from 35 countries representing more than 70 foundations, was sponsored by Qatar Charity. more

Report: Netanyahu says will not send delegation to Cairo talks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not plan to send a delegation for negotiations in Cairo as stipulated by the ceasefire agreement that ended seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, Israeli media reported Monday.

Channel 10 said in a TV report that Netanyahu told his cabinet in a closed session that he would not send as agreed a delegation to Egypt for further talks regarding a seaport and airport in Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners, the demilitarization of Gaza factions, and the delivery of bodies of Israeli soldiers presumed held by Hamas, among other unresolved issues.

Netanyahu spoke proudly to his cabinet about the Gaza offensive, saying Hamas had not achieved any of its demands, according to the report.

Qais Abd al-Karim, member of the Palestinian negotiation team to be sent to Cairo, told Ma'an that any Israeli step that shows a lack of commitment to the ceasefire's terms would render the ceasefire null and void.

Abd al-Karim said the Palestinian delegation is awaiting the Egyptian invitation for negotiations and that it is committed to the terms of the ceasefire agreement. more

9-year-old child dies from wounds sustained in Gaza war


A nine-year-old boy died in Gaza on Monday from wounds sustained during Israel's recent offensive on the besieged enclave, medics said.

Ziad al-Rifi was injured on Aug. 21 in an Israeli airstrike near his family home in Gaza City which killed Tariq al-Rifi, 35, his sons Omar and Muhammad, and seven-year-old Abdullah Tariq al-Rifi. more

Video: Precious Water - the story of a water truck driver in Gaza


Ziyaad Mohamed Hamed is a water truck driver in Gaza, who operates under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions to provide people with vital supplies of drinking water.

Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on 7 July 2014, codenamed "Protective Edge", the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes and shelling. As a result services have been cut or severely disrupted, affecting the entire population in Gaza.

Up to 25 per cent of Gaza’s population were displaced. The 1.8 million people in Gaza, living in homes and shelters have extremely restricted access to water and sanitation. All displaced people need support in water, sanitation and hygiene. Water tankering trucks provide people in different areas and shelters across Gaza Strip with water. more

Israeli forces shoot, critically injure Jerusalem teen


A Palestinian teenager was critically wounded late Sunday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet, relatives said.

Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sunuqrut, 16, from Wadi al-Joz suffered a fractured skull after being shot, his father said.

The teenager was speaking on his mobile phone while walking to a nearby mosque for late evening prayers when he was hit, in what his father said was an unprovoked attack.

He underwent emergency surgery at Hadassah Medical Center to stop bleeding on his brain and to remove bone fragments caused by the impact of the bullet.

The teen is currently unconscious in an intensive care unit and is said to be in a critical condition. more

Palestinian Authority to pay Hamas employees in Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will pay Hamas civil servants in Gaza on Wednesday, ending a months-long salary crisis following the announcement of a unity government.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said an agreement was reached between Hamas and PA officials on Sunday.

A row over pay erupted between the two Palestinian factions in June when the PA's Gaza-based staff received their wages but their Hamas counterparts went empty-handed.

Speaking about a ceasefire deal in Gaza, Abu Marzouq said that political decisions need to be made before reconstruction can take place, noting that an international conference to raise funds for Gaza will be held in Cairo in September.

The unity government will be in charge of the reconstruction process, he added. more

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hamas: Attempt to disarm resistance futile


The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said on Saturday that any international attempt to disarm Palestinian resistance would be worthless.

Hamas's spokesperson Sami Abu-Zuhri said in statements to Anadolu that any project that aims at disarming resistance would be a violation of international law.

"What is needed is the disarmament of Israeli army and preventing the US administration from providing it with weapons used in killing women and children," he said.

Diplomats at the United Nations have revealed that efforts are currently being made to reach a decision at the Security Council which would constitute a long-term solution that would prevent the recurrence of a battle between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel.

Israel demands the disarming of Hamas's military wing as a precondition for any lasting truce.

The Palestinian and Israeli sides signed an Egyptian-sponsored long-term ceasefire agreement on Tuesday. Palestinian resistance factions consider the agreement a "victory" and stressed that they have achieved most of their goals during the battle with Israel.

The agreement, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry, calls for a comprehensive and mutual ceasefire as well as the immediate opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel to allow for the entrance of humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials.

The agreement also stipulates the extension of Gaza's Mediterranean fishing zone and the continuation of the negotiations over all other issues, such as prisoners, the airport and the seaport, to take place within a month of the ceasefire. more

Palestinian officials slam Israeli land confiscation in West Bank


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called for diplomatic action against Israel in response to its move to annex 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) of Palestinian land south of Bethlehem in the West Bank on Sunday.

"The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land," Erekat told AFP.

"The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of constant settlement expansion on land the Palestinians claim for a future state is deemed illegal by the European Union and an "obstacle to peace" by the United States and opposed by both.

"Today's announcement clearly represents Israel's deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land and to willfully impose a de facto one-state solution," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said.

Some 550,000 Israelis live among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community. more

New book reveals top-secret collusion between Israel, US during 20 years of 'peace talks'


“I’ll back you and protect you, I’m your guy … it’s very upsetting … all the Arabs are the same,” US President Bill Clinton told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in a 19 July 2000 meeting during the failed Camp David summit with Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat.

Only months earlier, in March 2000, Clinton displayed the same kind of obeisance to Barak — albeit without the racist slur this time — when he explained, “I’ll do my best … I’ve gone through the script … I’ll do a good job.” He said this while he attempted to reassure Barak during another failed summit, this time with then-president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.

That the US government has acted as Israel’s attorney rather than an honest mediator in peace negotiations has been known for some time, ever since the disclosure of a secret 1975 letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

But these quotes from Ahron Bregman’s Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories (2014), which includes the actual “script” agreed upon between Clinton and Barak, make graphically clear the extent of the collusion between the two governments.

Top secret disclosures

Bregman’s book breaks new ground with a number of leaked top secret disclosures from Israeli sources. It shows that the recent revelation that Israel eavesdropped on current US Secretary of State John Kerry is really nothing new.

Israel also secretly recorded conversations between Clinton and Assad back in 2000. The only question unanswered is why, given the extent of the collusion, the Israeli government believed it was necessary to eavesdrop on its counterpart. more

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Jordanian MP brings 250 tons of medical supplies to Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Jordanian member of parliament Muhammad al-Dawayima arrived in Gaza bringing with him 250 tons of medicines and medical equipment as humanitarian aid continues to flow in to the devastated Palestinian coastal enclave.

"God has honored me with a visit to Gaza during the war and aggression, and here I am visiting it again after the victory," al-Dawayima said as he crossed the border into Gaza via Egypt's Rafah crossing.

An official Palestinian delegation representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the Jordanian delegation at the crossing.

The Jordanian lawmaker also said that he had started to work on an initiative to build a fully-equipped hospital in the Gaza Strip in areas which suffer from a lack of medical services. more

PLC calls on Egypt to permanently open Rafah crossing


GAZA,(PIC)-- The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) appealed to the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing permanently and facilitate the travel of the wounded civilians for medical treatment.

Khamis Al-Najjar, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded in a statement issued on Friday the opening of Rafah crossing permanently before the injured people and medical supplies convoys.

He hailed the Palestinian medical crews for the heroic efforts they had made during the Israeli aggression against Gaza, condemning the deliberate targeting of hospitals and ambulances by Israeli warplanes.

Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, including more than 490 children, were killed and over 11,000 were injured during the war on Gaza. more

2 Palestinians die of wounds inflicted during Israel's war on Gaza


The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported that two Palestinians died on Friday of wounds suffered during the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The Ministry stated Mohammad al-Ma’sawani, 22, suffered a very serious injury in an Israeli bombardment near al-Fairouz towers, northwest of Gaza City.

He succumbed to his serious injuries despite all efforts to save his live.

Also, an elderly woman, identified as Widad Abu Zeid died at an Egyptian hospital of wounds suffered after the army bombarded her family home in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Several family members, including children were killed in the Israeli attack.

Ministry of Health: “2145 Palestinians, Including 578 Children, Killed In Israel’s Aggression” more

Victory celebrations in the streets of Gaza after prayers


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians across the Gaza Strip turned out in the thousands for prayers and a victory march on Friday, as many savoured their first opportunity in 50 days to attend Friday prayers in Gaza mosques without fear of Israeli bombardment.

Although a local council estimates one-third of mosques were damaged in the Israeli assault -- including 72 totally destroyed -- Palestinians flocked to services as political leaders took to the podiums to stress the need for national unity after what they deemed an unprecedented victory against Israel.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said during a Friday prayer sermon in a mosque in the devastated eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shujaiyya that Palestinians have entered "a new age today and a new stage of national unity by choosing to win and support the resistance."

"The war on Gaza should eliminate all previous internal disagreements," he added, calling upon the national unity government to fulfill its responsibilities related to ensuring Israel open the borders and allow reconstruction.

"In this war, we captured back the rights that Israel stole while taking the (political) division as an excuse," he said, highlighting that since a April 24 Palestinian unity agreement the nation was better equipped to confront Israeli aggression.

On Tuesday, Palestinian forces signed a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel in what many deemed a major victory for the resistance against Israel, after a seven-week bombardment that left more than 2,140 dead and more than 100,000 homeless. more