Sunday, 30 June 2013

Israel 'sweetens deal for 930 East Jerusalem homes'

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel is poised to approve incentives for buyers of nearly 1,000 new homes in annexed East Jerusalem despite a major US push to revive peace talks, reports said on Sunday.

The plan, which will offer prospective buyers a huge discount on 930 new homes to be built in Har Homa, will be discussed by Jerusalem municipality's finance committee on Monday, army radio and the Maariv newspaper reported.

The reports emerged as US Secretary of State John Kerry was wrapping up an intensive four days of shuttle diplomacy toing and froing between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to coax them back to direct negotiations.

If approved, the plan will lower the price of each new home by 100,000 shekels ($27,500) in a move which will be funded by the housing ministry. more

AUDIO: Gaza youth and rights groups admonish new Hamas restrictions on clothing, hairstyles

Hamas authorities in Gaza imposed some new restrictions on young men regarding hairstyles and clothing. The restrictions were met with anger by local youth and rights groups across the territory. The Electronic Intifada’s Rami Almeghari reports.

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Video photo gallery: Gaza in Shadows

I tried to collect some pictures offering a glimpse of the situation in the Gaza Strip, a closed, besieged place put under a blockade by the Israeli Zionist state.

Despite the everyday misery and difficulty, people carry on with their lives and try to do their best in order to survive in such an open-air jail, without losing the hope of finishing sooner, rather than later, with such a heartless situation.

The images were taken with my mobilephone as I don’t have a proper camera.more

Hamas warns against 'futile' peace process negotiations

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas movement said Saturday that peace negotiations with Israel were 'futile', as US Secretary of State John Kerry extended his shuttle diplomacy between Israeli and Palestinian leaders for a third day.

The Islamist movement warned Fatah and the Palestinian Authority against the "mirage" of negotiations, and called on the PA to reject pressure from the United States to accept economic initiatives and instead focus on implementing national unity between Palestinian factions.

"We in Hamas look carefully at US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to re-launch the so-called peace process, which is based upon an American-Zionist agenda which sees settlements devour land and the Judaization of Jerusalem and holy sites," a statement read.

"These negotiations will not bring anything new," the group added, warning that talks will only perpetuate national divisions. more