The UN general assembly is set to implicitly recognise a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.
A resolution to change the Palestinian Authority's UN observer status from "entity" to "non-member state," like the Vatican, is expected to pass easily in the 193-nation general assembly.
Israel, the US and a handful of other members plan to vote against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the Palestinians.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has led the campaign to win support for the resolution, and more than a dozen European governments have offered him their support.
The US state department said on Wednesday that the deputy secretary of state, Bill Burns, made a last-ditch effort to get Abbas to reconsider. The Palestinians gave no sign they were turning back. more
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained nine fishermen off Gaza's north coast on Wednesday, a local official said.
The head of Gaza's fishing association, Mahfouth al-Kabriti, told Ma'an that Israel's navy opened fire at two Palestinian fishing boats six miles off the coast.
The navy then seized both boats and detained nine fishermen, al-Kabriti added. The boats belong to Murad al-Hassi and the Baker family.
An Israeli army spokesman said that two fishing boats deviated from the designated fishing area and after failing to respond to calls to stop, were apprehended by Israel's navy.
The passengers were taken for questioning in the Israeli city of Ashdod, he added.
As part of a ceasefire to end Israel's recent eight-day war on Gaza, Israel agreed to allow fishermen to sail six nautical miles off the coast of Gaza instead of three, which had been the limit under Israel's siege. more