Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe grants Palestinian membership status

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe granted Palestine a membership status, as a Mediterranean State that is a nonmember of the European Union.

The Assembly of the OSCE adopted a draft resolution presented by Belgian Socialist Senator, Marie Arianna, during its 22nd session of the Parliamentary Committee convening in Istanbul, Turkey. The Palestinian Authority filed the application back in 2004.

After passing the vote, the OSCE urged both Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks in order to preserve the two-state solution. more

Prosecutor: Gaza govt to carry out more executions

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza’s public prosecutor on Tuesday said that death sentences would be carried out soon against criminals convicted of homicide.

"No crime will go unpunished," Ismael Jaber said while visiting the Mahdi family, which lost two members in a clan feud. more

PCHR slams immunity for Israel army chief on UK visit

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Tuesday condemned a decision by the United Kingdom to grant immunity to Israel's army chief while visiting the country.

Lt. General Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, arrived in the UK of Tuesday, in the first visit of an Israeli army chief since 1998.

The UK government granted Gantz's trip the status of Special Mission, thus granting him immunity from the UK's criminal justice system, PCHR said.

Hickman & Rose Solicitors, who represent the victims of General Gantz's actions together with PCHR, said the decision "sends the dangerous message that political considerations will be placed ahead of the rule of law."

"Credible evidence exists indicating Mr. Gantz's involvement in the commission of war crimes: these allegations should be investigated and, if appropriate, Mr. Gantz should be prosecuted," PCHR said.

"He should not be pre-emptively granted immunity by the UK Government, circumventing normal criminal justice procedures." more

Israel imposes new fuel restrictions on Gaza

GAZA CITY (IRIN) — Frequent closures of the only crossing for commercial goods between Israel and the Gaza Strip have left Palestinians short of gas for cooking and heating, affecting businesses, agricultural production and health services.

Kerem Shalom crossing reopened on 26 June after two days of closure. Israel has closed the crossing five times since the end of February, for a total of 15 working days, in addition to six days of closure due to holidays.

Before this most recent closure, Palestinians in Gaza said they were still recovering from the series of closures in the spring, which they say created a cumulative deficit in gas.

At one of Gaza’s major gas distributors, some 40,000 empty cylinders fill the station.

“Some people have been waiting for months to get their cylinders filled,” owner Yusri Daban said. He manages to fill about 1,500 per day, but is flooded with an equal amount of empty arrivals.

Daban’s company used to receive 25 tons of gas per day for distribution. His share decreased to 18 tons due to the shortages, and has not been increased since. He says he needs 35 to 45 tons a day to deal with the backlog.

Maher Tabba’, spokesperson of the Gaza chamber of commerce, said the shortages have affected production on farms, factories, bakeries and restaurants, and have added to the chronic power cuts by putting an even higher demand on electricity. more