Friday, 8 March 2013

Dozens injured in Ramallah funeral clashes

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces clashed with protesters in the Ramallah village of Abud on Friday after the funeral of a man who died a day earlier after being wounded by Israeli forces two weeks ago.

More than 5,000 people attended the funeral procession of Mohammad Asfour, who was shot two weeks ago during protests in support of a hunger strike by four Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Following his burial, clashes broke out at the entrance to Abud village, with Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at villagers. more

Hamas: Obama can visit Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas would not oppose a visit by US President Barack Obama to the Gaza Strip, a party leader said Wednesday.

"Hamas refuses to negotiate with Israel, but wouldn’t oppose Obama visiting Gaza with the hope that the US attitude to reality will change," said Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Obama is expected to visit Israel and the West Bank in March. According to Dweik, the purpose of Obama's trip is to strengthen Washington's friendship with Israel.

"We are used to America viewing our cause from one angle," the Hamas leader told Ma'an TV.

Hamas spokesman Salah al-Bardawil said Wednesday that the intransigence of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would prevent Obama bringing any new initiatives on his visit.

Obama's trip is "a political maneuver to buy time and to calm the situation," al-Bardawil told Ma'an.

"We hope Obama is serious and will exert pressure on Israel to ease the Palestinian people's suffering, thus he will make amends for his previous term during which he was unjust to the Palestinian people," he added. more