Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Media accusations of meddling in Egyptian affairs worry Gaza

Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, find themselves accused by the Egyptian media of interfering in Egypt's internal affairs.

The Al-Resala newspaper, which has close ties to Hamas, wrote on its front page on Monday about an Egyptian media plan to implicate Gaza and tarnish the image of the Palestinians in Egypt."

Palestinian journalist Mamoun Abu Amer called for prosecuting what he coined “fascist” and “racist” Egyptian journalists who accuse Gaza of meddling in Egyptian affairs, and suggested the formation of a Palestinian human rights commission in Europe for this purpose.

Palestinians displayed their resentment on social networking sites at such accusations by members of the Egyptian media that lack any official status, either from the Egyptian army or other sovereign entities.

The accusations point to Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, as interfering in favor of ousted President Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas is considered an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Palestine. Although it has close ties to the group, it has repeatedly denied any interference in Egyptian affairs, or bias for any of the parties in Egypt.

Hamas leading figure Ahmed Youssef told the German DPA news agency that the official authorities in Egypt denied any formal charges about Palestinians or elements of Hamas meddling in Egyptian affairs, nor any involvement in recent turmoils.

Unlike the Palestinian Authority, Hamas did not comment on the Egyptian armed forces ousting Morsy and abolishing the Constitution, nor did it congratulate interim President Adly Mansour. more

EU takes tougher stance on Israeli settlements

Future agreements between the European Union and Israel must include the explicit exclusion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, according to a new EU directive described by an Israeli official as an "earthquake".

The EU guidelines, adopted on 30 June, will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line will be automatically ineligible.

The Israeli government will be required to state in any future agreements with the EU that settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are outside the state of Israel.

The directive, part of the 2014-20 financial framework, covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, including economics, science, culture, sports and academia. It does not cover trade, such as produce and goods originating in settlements.

An EU statement said the guidelines "set out the territorial limitations under which the commission will award EU support to Israeli entities … Concern has been expressed in Europe that Israeli entities in the occupied territories could benefit from EU support. The purpose of these guidelines is to make a distinction between the state of Israel and the occupied territories when it comes to EU support." more

Why won’t Egypt let me go home to Gaza?

By Belal Dabour (The Electronic Intifada)
“Come again next week,” said the man sitting behind a desk piled with paperwork. This was my fifth time hearing these words, from an official in booth number nine at the Egyptian embassy in Amman.

I asked if there was any hope of an opening for the hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza stranded in Jordan, but he said he could not promise anything. On an earlier visit, the day after the Egyptian army’s 3 July ouster of President Muhammad Morsi, the same employee told me that the delay in issuing visas was due to the “civil disobedience” that accompanied the 30 June mass protests in Egypt. He said that processing would speed up in coming days, but it never did.

For more than a week since the military takeover, the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been closed, except for brief periods. Palestinians, even with valid visas for Egypt, have been deported from Cairo airport.

Egypt has also instructed airlines to refuse to allow such Palestinians to board Cairo-bound flights. The instructions were confirmed to me twice from both Egyptian and Palestinian airline offices.

A relative of mine from Turkey was told that Egypt would fine Turkish Airlines €5,000 ($6,500) for every Palestinian brought to Cairo in defiance of the ban. And a friend of his, he told me, arrived in Cairo and was deported back to Cyprus, but was lucky enough to be given a courtesy ticket. more

Israel police arrest protesters at anti-Prawer Plan demo

BEERSHEBA, Israel (AFP) -- Israeli police said they detained 15 Bedouin as hundreds of the tribesmen and women marched Monday in the city of Beersheba to protest a government plan to resettle them.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Arab communities in Israel, had called for a day of "angry strikes" including demonstrations in 15 cities to denounce the plan.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said about 800 people took part in the main demonstration in Beersheba, while Arab Israeli MP Jamal Zahalka said more than 1,000 attended.

"We called for a peaceful protest in which more than 1,000 people took part but the police used force. They tried to beat a girl with clubs but when I tried to protect her they beat me up as well," Zahalka told AFP. more