Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh hails Mursi victory in Egypt as step forward for Palestinian liberation

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Muhammad Mursi on his victory in Egypt's presidential elections on Sunday.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mursi was declared Egypt's first democratic president by the state election committee, which said he had defeated former general Ahmed Shafik with 51.7 percent of last weekend's run-off vote.

Haniyeh phoned Mursi to congratulate him, and supporters marched to the prime minister's home in Gaza City to celebrate the victory.

"We will look to Egypt to play a big, leading role, a historic role, regarding the Palestinian cause, in helping the Palestinian nation get freedom, return home, and totally end the Gaza siege," Haniyeh told Reuters Television.

In Gazan streets, the jubilation recalled that which greeted Hamas' shock victory in Palestine's 2006 elections, as thanksgiving sermons and calls of "Allahu Akbar" echoed from mosques across the enclave and sweets were handed out in the street. more

Susya: Entire village under threat of demolition, several hundred protest

On Friday, June 22, several hundred Palestinians and solidarity activists gathered in Susya to demonstrate against the demolition orders imposed on them. Earlier this week, Israel issued orders threatening to demolish the entire the southern West Bank village of Susya.

At least 5 full buses as well as private cars, taxis, and media, arrived in Susya join the demonstration on Friday morning. Among them were several different human rights and solidarity organizations. One such group included drum-players and clowns giving spontaneous performances.

Israeli army, border police, and police arrived immediately and began to fire sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the peaceful protest. Israeli military attempted to arrest a Palestinian man but he was successfully de-arrested by fellow demonstrators. When demonstrators formed a human chain, soldiers approached and were directly violent with them. The demonstration lasted some 4 hours.

Earlier this week, demolition orders were issued for over 50 structures which add to numerous demolition orders given earlier. more

Maan agency: Gaza 'truce' takes hold overnight

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A truce reportedly brokered by Egypt between Israel and Gaza militants seemed to have taken effect overnight Saturday, as airstrikes and rocket fire held off after a week of deadly fighting.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said no rockets fired from the Gaza Strip had landed in Israel overnight, nor had the army conducted military operations.

Hamas official Ayman Taha told Gaza-based news site Safa press on Saturday that an agreement to halt hostilities that evening had been reached following Egyptian mediation. The deal is based on "calm for calm," Taha said.

The Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority did not return calls seeking comment.

Ofer Gendelman, spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, declined to discuss any efforts made via Egypt to reach a truce, but insisted that Israel will continue military actions on the Gaza Strip as long as rockets are fired into Israel. more