Wednesday, 28 November 2012

7 hurt in new Israeli breach of Gaza ceasefire


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israeli forces on Wednesday shot and injured seven Palestinians near the border in the central Gaza Strip, medics said.

Seven people were shot at east of al-Maghazi and al-Bureij refugee camps and transferred to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. One man sustained serious injuries, medical officials told Ma'an.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said "rioters" damaged the border fence and tried to enter Israel. She said soldiers acted to distance them "according to the rules of engagement" which can include opening fire. more

Palestine wins European boost for UN vote


RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- More European states joined France on Wednesday in backing a Palestinian bid for limited statehood, but Britain held back, saying it wanted an assurance that Palestine would not pursue Israel through the International Criminal Court.

Germany said it was opposing the diplomatic upgrade for the PLO at the United Nations, joining Israel and the United States which say the only genuine route to statehood is via a peace agreement made in direct talks with Israel.

President Mahmoud Abbas is leading the campaign and several European governments are eager to give him their support after an eight-day war this month by Israel on the Gaza Strip.

With overwhelming support from the developing world, Palestine appears certain to earn approval in the 193-member UN General Assembly for a status upgrade to "observer state" on Thursday.

Switzerland, Denmark and Austria said they would vote for the upgrade. France gave its approval on Tuesday. Britain said it would not oppose the move but needed more assurances to give its support. more

Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault


A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.

The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.

The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights. more

Another person dies of injuries from Gaza assault


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man died on Wednesday from injuries sustained in Israel's eight day assault on the Gaza Strip, Egyptian medics said.

Mahmoud Sami Shaat, 21, was seriously wounded by shrapnel in an Israeli airstrike targeting a car in Rafah during last week's war on the coastal enclave.

Shaat was transferred to an Egyptian hospital for treatment but passed away Wednesday. His body will be transferred to Gaza for the funeral.

Several people have died from their injuries since a ceasefire agreement was signed last Wednesday to end violence in Gaza.

On Monday, Sabah al-Sakafi, in her 30s, died from wounds sustained in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City.

Ahmad Ali Masharawi also died on Monday after sustaining severe burns when an Israeli missile hit his garden in Gaza City on Nov. 14, killing relatives 11-month-old Omar and 19-year-old Hiba, who was pregnant with twins. more

PA says will take Israel to ICC if tests prove Arafat assassinated


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will start legal proceedings against Israel at the International Criminal Court if forensic tests prove that President Yasser Arafat was murdered, chief investigator Tawfiq Tirawi said Tuesday.

"We have evidence and indications that (Arafat) was killed, including remarks by Israeli leaders that they must get rid of Arafat, but we need evidence to submit to the International Criminal Court," Tirawi told reporters at a news conference in Ramallah.

Forensic experts took samples from Arafat's uncovered corpse in Ramallah on Tuesday, trying to determine if he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison Polonium.

Tirawi, who heads the committee investigating Arafat's death, told reporters that samples taken by Russian, Swiss and French experts would leave Ramallah on Tuesday.

He added that the Palestinian general prosecution supervised all the legal and medical procedures which took place over the past few days.

"The corpse of the late Palestinian leader was touched only by Palestinian hands. The Palestinian medical team took the samples and gave them to other teams as requested," Tirawi said.

Arafat died as a martyr for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, Tirawi said, noting that the exhumation happened to coincide with Palestine's submission of a resolution seeking "observer state" status at the UN. more