Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Under Israeli blockade of Gaza, books are a rare, cherished commodity

The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has been blamed for a multitude of problems facing the population there: malnutrition, unemployment, limited access to electricity and potable water.

Gazan students and educators say that under the Israeli-imposed siege, education is suffering too. The blockade makes it so difficult to bring in books that they are forced to resort to bootlegging and smuggling, they say. The limited supply of original books has driven up costs, making them difficult for most Gazans to afford.

Part of the problem is that Israel does not communicate directly with Hamas, the Islamist militant party that governs Gaza, instead relying on the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) to handle issues in both of the Palestinian territories. However, Gaza is isolated from the West Bank, both geographically and politically, so the limited number of books entering Gaza via Israel are chosen by the PA, not Gazans.

Arab League has announced that it will unanimously support the Palestinian bid for statehood

The Arab League has announced that it will unanimously support the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations General Assembly.

On Monday evening the Arab League announced that its member states would support a bid for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, reports Ma’an News.

The decision to support the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood was considered by many to be a foregone conclusion. In the face of staunch opposition from Israel and the United States it would have been difficult for members of the Arab League to side with that small but powerful minority in the face of vast international support for a Palestinian state.

The upcoming General Assembly vote on September 5 will not give Palestine a seat or a vote at the UN, but it will grant them non-member status as an observer state. Previously the Palestinian Authority had been granted the opportunity to observe several UN agencies as well as the General Assembly but always as less than a recognized state. more

Ambassador: Regulations for Palestinians' entry to Egypt not changed

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Procedures for Palestinians entering Egypt have not changed, despite earlier reports that restrictions had been eased, Cairo's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said Monday.

Yasser Othman told Ma'an that regulations for Palestinians' entry to Egypt were still applicable, although Palestinians arriving in Egypt would be granted a 48 -72 hour visa to transit the country in limited cases.

"All the news circulated in the media about Palestinians' entry to Egypt are false, however human considerations will be taken into account regarding the deportation of Palestinians from the Egyptian airport to the Gaza Strip," Othman said. more