Thursday, 1 November 2012

Israel reckons with unraveling Gaza policy

JERUSALEM — When the emir of Qatar paid the first visit by a head of state to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last week, there were two different reactions from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

In one statement, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the ministry, accused the emir, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, of backing a terrorist organization and having “thrown peace under the bus.”

But an Arabic-language spokesman for the ministry, Lior Ben Dor, told Radio Sawa, a U.S.- funded station heard across the Middle East, that Israel welcomed the visit of the emir, who pledged generous financial aid.

“Since our withdrawal from Gaza, the goal has been that Arab states come and help the residents of Gaza,” Ben Dor said, referring to the Israeli pullout in 2005.

The double message was a symptom of the unraveling of an Israeli policy toward Gaza that was put in place after Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, seized control of the territory in June 2007. more

Soldiers kidnap eleven in West Bank raid, desecrate mosque

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the West Bank Districts of Hebron, Bethlehem and Tulkarem, and Ramallah, broke into and searched several homes, searched them, and kidnapped eleven residents. The army also desecrated a mosque in Ithna, near Hebron.

The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights reported that the army invaded Birzeit city near Ramallah, and kidnapped one resident identified as Abdul-Rahman Yacoub, 19.

The Center added that another resident, identified as Wadee' Abdul-Hamid Dar Al-issa, 22, was kidnapped in Kufr Ein nearby village.

The army invaded Ithna town, west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and attacked “Ahmad Yassin” local mosque; soldiers broke into the mosque and violently searched it causing damage to its property. more

Official: Travelers must register to exit Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Travelers hoping to exit the Gaza Strip must register in advance, a border official said Wednesday.

Crossings director Maher Abu Sabha told Ma'an that the registration process was temporarily cancelled during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but the policy is back in force now.

Abu Sabha described a "state of chaos" during the holiday which prompted the reversal. Hundreds of people traveled through the crossing during Eid, so the process was suspended. more