Sunday, 27 May 2012

Election committee to start Gaza work this week

Palestinian election officials will begin work on updating the electoral register in the Gaza Strip on Monday in a key step to pave the way for elections, an official told AFP on Sunday.
On 20 May, senior Fatah and Hamas officials agreed that the Palestinian electoral commission would start work in Gaza on 27 May and that consultations to forum a new interim "government of independents" would start the same day.

But Jamil Khaldi, head of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) in Gaza, said work would only begin on Monday after the arrival of his West Bank counterpart, Hanna Nasser.

"Nothing will happen today. The CEC delegation led by Hanna Nasser will arrive in Gaza on Monday and we will all have a meeting with (Hamas) prime minister Ismail Haniya. Immediately afterwards, we will start our work," he told AFP.

Discussions over a new government were also expected to start on Sunday, with senior officials from both factions set to meet in Cairo, according to a posting on the Facebook page of top Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk late on Saturday.

"A meeting will be held tomorrow, Sunday 27 May, between Fatah and Hamas delegations to start consultations over forming a new government," wrote Abu Marzuk, deputy head of the Hamas politburo.

Fawzi Barhum, a spokesman for Gaza's Hamas rulers, had no immediate information about exactly when the meeting would take place.

Under the terms of a reconciliation deal signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo on 3 May, 2011, the two factions were to put together a caretaker cabinet of independent technocrats tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year of the signing of the accord. more

Settlers attack villages near Nablus, resident wounded

Local sources in Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank reported Saturday that a group of armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in their lands in a number of towns and villages in the Nablus district, shot and wounded a local farmer.

Medical sources in Nablus reported that the wounded resident, identified as Najeh As-Safady, was hit by a live round in his abdomen and was moved to a local hospital.

Ghassan Douglas, Palestinian liaison official in charge of Israeli settlements activities at the Palestinian National Authority, reported that settlers of the Yitzhar illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands south of Nablus, escalated their attacks against the residents, and burnt dozens of Dunams of farmlands that belong to residents of four Palestinian villages.

Douglas said that the settlers attacked Huwwara town, Madama, Einabous, Burin and Orif before torching farmlands planted with olive trees, fruits and vegetables.
Local sources in Orif village reported that clashes took place between the residents and the invading settlers, and that Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets at the local protestors; several residents were treated for the effects of teargas inhalation. more