Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Gaza minister: Egypt tunnel crackdown will fail


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egypt's crackdown on smuggling tunnels to the Gaza Strip will not succeed unless alternatives to importing produce are provided, an official in Gaza's Hamas-run government said Wednesday.

Several days ago, Egyptian forces began flooding smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border in a campaign to shut them down. The tunnels have provided a lifeline to Palestinians since Israel intensified its blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

"This is not the first time the Egyptian authorities have tried to shut down the tunnels, but neither of of the attempts have been successful," Minister of Economy Alaa Rafati told Ma'an.

The government in Gaza has informed Cairo several times that an official commercial route should be opened along the border, including a duty-free zone, Rafati said. more

Israel blocks delivery of electoral rolls from Gaza to West Bank


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Israel is impeding delivery of the Palestinian electoral registers from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank at the Erez crossing, officials in Ramallah said Wednesday.

According to the sources, Israel has not given the Palestinian side approval to transfer the electoral rolls which the Palestinian Central Elections Commission has updated over the past 10 days in the Gaza Strip.

The rolls are supposed to be delivered to the main offices in the West Bank. The Palestinian side has been contacting the Israelis for 10 days on the issue, but the Israelis are still “haggling,” one official said. more

Gaza: Kerem Shalom crossing to be enlarged with EU funding


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – The European Union will fund expansion of Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing increasing its capacity to 500 truckloads per day, chief of the Palestinian borders and crossings department Nathmi Muhanna said Tuesday.

Speaking to a Ma’an, Muhanna explained that new gates, new roads would be built as well as a waiting parking near the crossing. more