Friday, 14 August 2009

Palestinian group Jerusalem Army claims capture of Israeli soldier

[update Israeli Army says claims are false more]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- A Palestinian group calling itself "The Jerusalem Army" has announced that it has captured an Israeli occupation soldier near the Ben Gurion airport on Thursday evening.

A statement by the group said: "Our Mujahideen captured a Zionist soldier near the Ben Gurion airport on Thursday evening, our Mujahideen withdrew safely with the captive. We in the "Jerusalem Army" will announce the details of the captured soldier at a later time."

Zionist media sources said that the Israeli occupation police erected a number of roadblocks in and around Tel-Aviv because of the suspected "kidnapping" of an Israeli soldier.

The Israeli military allowed the media to publish reports saying that the Israeli police were investigating a call by an Israeli female soldier that she saw two men pushing an Israeli soldier inside their car near a military base close to the Ben Gurion airport.

Egyptian official in Gaza for renewed national dialogue talks on 25 August

The Hamas delegation summoned to Cairo last week for 'urgent' talks has returned to Gaza with an Egyptian official. The official is reported to be preparing for 'a second round' of national dialogue talks aimed at healing the Fatah-Hamas rift. There were hopes that the meetings in Egypt had been part of a prisoner swap deal.

Hamas walked out of talks after Fatah refused to release Hamas prisoners in Palestinian Authority prisons. The delegation included Hamas leaders Mahmoud Az-Zahar, Yousif Kahled Az-Zahar, Sharif Mohammad Farawneh, Khalid Abu Sedu, Mohammad Khalid Az-Zahar, Mahmoud Kahlid Az-Zahar and Issam Rabah Salem.

more at Ma'an News Agency

Fatah opposition in moves to create new organisation

LONDON, (PIC)-- The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper has revealed Thursday that a big group of prominent Fatah leaders and former members of the faction’s central committee were holding serious talks to bolt their mother faction and form a new faction.

The paper mentioned names of a number of the movement famous leaders like Abu Shaker Al-Natshe, Nasr Yousef, and Mohammed Jihad among others, adding that the group was contacting many Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and abroad to form the new faction, which they agreed to initially name as “Fatah - The Awakening”.

Many veteran Fatah leaders, including Ahmed Qurei, Farouq Qaddoumi, and Ahmad Nasr asserted that the election process in the sixth conference was dubious, adding that votes of the electorate were forged to serve the agenda of certain groups within the Movement known for their coordination with the Israeli occupation.

“There was a snowballing state of anger within the Movement over the cheating that occurred during the voting and canvassing process, and for sure, there was something arranged in the dark that brought certain names to the central committee”, asserted Qurei.


UN high commissioner Pillay slams Israel's violations of international law and human rights

Unfortunately, unlike the Security Council the findings of the UN's Human Rights Council aren't binding, not that Israel would take any notice if they were. Nevertheless it all adds to the pressure on Israel and blunts its attempts to rebut with its tired refrain about UN bias and one-sidedness.
GENEVA, Aug 14 (Reuters) - There is significant evidence that Israeli forces violated international law and human rights in their invasion of Gaza between late December and mid-January, the United Nations human rights chief said on Friday.

A report by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay lambasted the "nearly total impunity" for the violations.

The already critical human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) deteriorated further during the war, she said in the report, the first of a series of periodic reports ordered by the U.N. Human Rights Council in January during Israel's "Operation Cast Lead".

The 34-page report is one of two -- together with a forthcoming one by South African jurist Richard Goldstone who has been conducting hearings in Gaza -- that will be presented to the council next month.

"...significant prima facie evidence indicates that serious violations of international humanitarian law as well as gross human rights violations occurred during the military operations of 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, which were compounded by the blockade that the population of Gaza endured in the months prior to Operation Cast Lead and which continues," Pillay said.


Hamas in armed confrontation at mosque with 'al-Qaeda' followers

[update 15 August 13:05 BST - Latif Musa commits suicide, at least 20 dead]

[update 20:27 BST - Salafi leader Abdul Latif Musa's home has been blown up]

The BBC World Service is reporting heavy fighting at a mosque controlled by a salafist group - the warriors of God (they tried to attack a border crossing a few weeks ago). Recent mortar fire from armed groups beyond Hamas's ranks led to an Israeli air strike on Rafah tunnels for the first time in two months. Hamas, which has declared a monopoly on the right to bear arms, is clamping down hard on Islamist groups beyond its ranks, although not Islamic Jihad as yet. The Iman at the mosque currently under siege, declared Gaza an Islamic emirate, decrying Hamas as 'soft'. According to ynetnews six dead so far including a 'senior Hamas leader'.
Gaza clash: Hamas forces clashed with supporters of a radical cleric in the Gaza Strip following a provocative anti-Hamas sermon delivered Friday.

At least six people were killed in the shootout, including senior Hamas man Jibril al-Shimali, Palestinian sources said. Another 50 people were hurt in the gunfight.

The Gaza Strip is an Islamic emirate, local Salafi leader Abdul Latif Musa told worshippers during a prayer session earlier, slamming Hamas' conduct in Gaza and pledging his supporters' allegiance to al-Qaeda.

"We belong to al-Qaeda and our leader is Osama Bin Laden," said Musa, considered the leader of Gaza's Salafi branch.

The gunfight took place near a Rafah mosque and both sides were making use of mortar fire during the battle. Musa's followers later left the mosque and took positions around it.