Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Israel to build another 32 illegal housing units in East Jerusalem

Israel's Housing Ministry published on Tuesday tenders for the construction of hundreds of new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, located beyond the Green Line.

The five tenders published by the ministry include 827 new housing units, most of which, 632, are to be part of a new section of the neighborhood called Har Homa Gimel, which is slated to be built on an empty hill.

The new construction will significantly expand Har Homa to the south and east, bringing it closer to Palestinian towns Beit Sahour and Nuaman.

Construction in Har Homa is considered especially provocative in the eyes of the Palestinians and the international community, as it is the most recent large Israeli neighborhood to be built over the Green Line. It was originally built in the 1990s. more

Fuel arrives in Gaza to ease power crisis

Fuel has started arriving in the Gaza Strip as a result of a deal between the territory's Hamas-led government and the rival Palestinian Authority.

Raid Futuh, co-ordinator of the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, said tankers of Israeli diesel had begun arriving on Wednesday.

He said 430,000 litres of fuel for Gaza's sole power plant were expected.

Gaza has been affected by severe power cuts for months, and the plant closed 10 days ago because of a lack of fuel.

Hamas decided more than a year ago to use fuel smuggled from Egypt to run the power station, rather than pay for diesel from Israel, which is more expensive and subject to restrictions.

'Temporary deal'
But in February, Egypt began to crack down on fuel-smuggling because it was suffering shortages itself and wanted imports to Gaza to pass through the Israeli-controlled crossing at Kerem Shalom.

The Hamas authorities in Gaza will pay the money... to the PA and the PA will take care of the payment to the Israeli side”

Palestinian official
Hamas has also blamed Israel's continuing blockade of the territory, from which it withdrew in 2005 but nearly all whose land crossings it still controls. But Israeli officials have accused the Islamist group of manufacturing the crisis and of rejecting offers of supplies from Israel.

On Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was forced to ship 150,000 litres of fuel to 13 hospitals in Gaza to ensure operating theatres and specialist units were not disrupted.

The next day, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, agreed to an Egyptian-brokered deal to end the fuel crisis.

Under the agreement, an Israeli company will supply industrial diesel for Gaza's power plant and a temporary mechanism will enable Hamas to pay the bill without dealing directly with Israel. more

ICC won't investigate Gaza war because Palestine is 'not a state'

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The International Criminal Court will not investigate Israel's conduct during its December 2008 offensive on Gaza because Palestine is not a state, the world prosecutor said Tuesday.

In a statement, the ICC prosecutor acknowledged that over 130 countries and some UN bodies recognize Palestine as a state.

But, Palestine still holds observer status in the UN, and so the ICC cannot at this time investigate allegations of war crimes committed on Palestinian territory, the prosecutor said.

President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full UN membership in September at the UN Security Council. The US vowed to use its veto to block the bid and the council has not yet made any recommendation to admit Palestine.

The ICC said it could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine if the Security Council determines that Palestine is a state. more