Thursday, 18 July 2013

Palestinian leaders 'to vote on talks with Israel'

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Palestinian leaders will vote Thursday on a US plan under which peace talks with Israel will not depend on a settlement ban, a key Palestinian demand, a PLO official said.

The vote by the Palestinian leadership comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry reported a narrowing of the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians and as Israeli President Shimon Peres estimated the two sides are "within touching distance".

"The most important of Kerry's proposals is a renewal of talks without a halt or freeze in settlement," the official told AFP.

He said that Kerry's plan states that if settlement building continues during the talks, the Palestinians could renew their requests to join international bodies where they could seek legal action against Israel.

Previously the United States has consistently opposed such "unilateral" Palestinian action.

The official said that President Mahmoud Abbas was to convene members of his Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Ramallah to vote on Kerry's initiative. more

Gaza hospitals suffering due to border closure with Egypt

Baher al-Turk, a patient at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, has begun to suffer severe anxiety over his health. He fears the consequences of an ongoing shortage of the fuel necessary to run the power generators in the Shifa Medical Complex (the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip), and whose power supply is suffering an acute crisis.

The fuel crisis in the Gaza Strip began after Egyptian security forces in the city of Rafah conducted a large-scale campaign against the tunnels used for smuggling gas into the Strip, destroying most of the pumps that bring fuel into the Strip.

In addition to fuel imported from Egypt, there is another source of fuel imports into Gaza, namely, Israeli fuel that enters the strip in small, unstable quantities. But these imports are few in quantity and high in price, rendering their use infrequent and highly limited. Turk, 64, told Al-Monitor that he needs kidney dialysis three times a week at the Shifa Medical Complex, saying, "If the power is cut off, it will mean my life's end."

Turk spends four hours in every dialysis session, focusing his gaze on the device which drains his blood and returns it, while sneaking quick glances at his watch, hoping that it will perhaps move more quickly and his time in that place will come to an end. more

Israeli forces make limited incursion east of Gaza city after shelling

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) shelled at dawn Wednesday a border area to the east of Gaza city before they carried out a limited incursion into it amid intensive gunfire.

A field observer told Quds Press that the Israeli artillery, stationed to the east of Johr Addik district in southeast of Gaza city, fired one projectile at cultivated lands without no reported casualties.

The observer added that after the shelling, a number of armored vehicles rallied near Al-Kamera area to the east of Johr Addik. more