Monday, 4 March 2013

Hamas closes Gaza crossing

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas government in Gaza closed the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday, despite the fact Israel had agreed to reopen it after a one week closure.

Israel closed the commercial crossing last Tuesday after a rocket was fired from Gaza toward Ashkelon in southern Israel, but agreed to reopen it Monday.

However, the border remained closed on the Palestinian side.

Officials in Gaza, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the issue, said the Hamas government in Gaza has fired the company that operates the terminal after a dispute over the collection of customs revenue.

The officials told Ma'an that Hamas wants to keep the taxes, which are usually paid to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Hamas has decided to appoint a new company to run the terminal, they said.

Truck drivers at Kerem Shalom told Ma'an that rivalries over control of the crossing were impeding their work, adding that they hoped the terminal would reopen soon. more

Issawi: Hunger strike is my last remaining stone

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- After 214 days on hunger strike, Samer Issawi says his death will be a victory for refusal to surrender to Israel's occupation.

"Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance," he wrote in The Guardian.

"My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people."

Issawi called on the British government to impose sanctions on Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian land, recognizes Palestinian rights and frees all political prisoners. more