Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Palestinians face growing food crisis


RAMALLAH (IRIN) -- Fluctuating prices, poverty and border restrictions mean growing numbers of Palestinians are facing food insecurity this year -- one of the key priorities in the humanitarian community’s annual appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory.

This year’s Consolidated Appeal Process is for $401.6 million, a slight decrease on last year’s $416.7 million, only 68 percent of which was financed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which helped coordinate the CAP, estimates that 1.3 million Palestinians do not have enough food.

The latest figures show the number of households without sufficient access to food has risen by 7 percent since 2011, a trend which -- if continued -- would have left an estimated 41 percent of Palestinians without the necessary resources to get sufficient, safe and nutritious food at the end of 2012. more

Elections commission arrives in Gaza


On Wednesday 30th January, a delegation from the Central Elections Commission (CEC) headed by its chairman Hanna Nasser arrived in Gaza to re-start voter registration suspended since July.

Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, invited the commission members to resume their work in the Gaza Strip following an agreement between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal two weeks ago to restart steps for reconciliation. more

Israel to give $100 million in withheld Palestinian funds


JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel will give President Mahmoud Abbas's administration around $100 million in tax revenues that had been withheld in retaliation for his statehood bid in the United Nations, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.

They described the handover as a one-time deal, signalling rightist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not formally scrapped sanctions that have hurt the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and worried world powers.

But the decision follows surprise setbacks for Netanyahu in a national election this month that, while giving him enough of a lead to head the next Israeli government, also set the stage for more moderate statecraft by boosting centrist challengers whom he must now consider as coalition partners.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, money Abbas badly needs to pay public sector salaries. It began withholding the funds as punishment for the UN's acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state in November. more