Sunday, 18 September 2011

Palestinian youth dies in Rafah tunnel collapse bringing death toll since siege to 160

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A young Palestinian was killed and another injured on Sunday morning, after a tunnel under Gaza's border with the Egyptian city of Rafah collapsed.

The Ambulance and Emergencies Committee in Gaza identified the deceased as Jihad Irbati.

Egyptian security officials said in early September they were cracking down on the network of tunnels used by smugglers from the coastal strip, but smugglers say the trade is booming.

Medics say over 160 Palestinians have died in the network of underground tunnels since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006. more

Hamas rejects UN statehood bid fearing Fatah is making concessions on national rights

Hamas supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel's existence and which does not concede "one inch" of historical Palestine, Hamas' Gaza leader said on Sunday.

Last week, Hamas voiced its objection to an upcoming Palestinian bid to gain recognition at the United Nations, saying that such an effort infringes on the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

The move was not based on principles and "Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it," Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.

Speaking to the Palestinian legislative council in Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was quoted by the French news agency AFP as reiterating his movement's opposition to the Palestinian Authority move at the UN, adding however that Hamas would support an independent Palestine on only part of what it considered to be "historic Palestine" if that state would adhere to core Hamas principles.

"We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine,” Haniyeh was quoted by AFP as saying.

Elaborating on the main objection to the PA-led bid at the UN, Haniyeh reiterated the Hamas position that there could be "no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return."

“Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid,” he added, saying, however, that Hamas would “not place obstacles in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.” more