Monday, 19 August 2013

Hamas insists on reconciliation agreement as a whole package

Delegations from the Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas, and Palestinian Liberation Movement, Fatah, met in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and discussed several issues regarding internal reconciliation.

The Fatah delegation suggested the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as elections for the Palestinian National Council. Hamas refuted this suggestion and insisting that all previously agreed to terms had to be carried out as one package.

In a meeting of both the movements on May 14 in Cairo, they had agreed to carry out previous agreements on reconciliation within three months, this agreement ended on August 14.

Hamas spokesman, Sami abu-Zuhri, said that Fatah had requested the meeting on Sunday. He said that his movement insisted that carrying out the terms of the agreement was the only measure that would guarantee ending the Palestinians divisions.

Abu-Zuhri also said that Fatah had proposed holding elections and confirmed that Hamas said that elections would be the last part of the agreement to be implemented as fulfilment of the other terms would prepare the situation for elections. more

New youth movement aims to challenge Hamas rule in Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – A newly announced Palestinian youth movement, said to be based in the Gaza Strip, released a statement and a video Sunday calling on all residents of Gaza to protest on Nov. 11.

They urged protests against rivalries, exclusion, single-handedness, injustice, oppression and the violation of the inalienable rights of the people of Gaza.

“We can’t remain silent any more, and those who count on our defeat are mistaken losers, while those who count on our tolerance should know that tolerance could come to an end,” a masked activist read on behalf of a new movement identified as “rebel against injustice.”

Nov. 11, 2013 is the “desired day”, added the statement, which highlighted that on that day all “tyrannies and oppression practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza” will come to an end. “They have practiced fraud in the name of religion and resistance declaring themselves as believers while they labeled us as disbelievers.”

The statement accused Hamas in Gaza of shedding Palestinian blood “for the sake of murder only” as well as torturing and humiliating people through their daily practices in Gaza. more

Sailing from Gaza to break the blockade

A new mission vows to challenge the blockade of Gaza by sea following Freedom Flotilla efforts since 2010, and Free Gaza missions preceding Cast-Lead in 2008. Not a Gaza-bound aid convoy this time.

With a crew of Palestinians and international activists on board, Gaza’s Ark will sail from the port of Gaza, carrying Palestinian products to buyers around the world, to defy Israel’s illegal and inhuman blockade.

Gaza’s Ark is rebuilding a cargo vessel that will attempt to open the sea to Palestinian exports to show to the outside world that Palestine is a productive land, while drawing public attention on the 7-year blockade.

Because nearly all previous attempts to reach Gaza were blocked by the Israeli navy, and given Israel-imposed three mile limit from the Gazan coast, campaigners are well aware that Israeli forces will hardly let any boat leave Gaza port.

David Heap, French-language and linguistics associate professor at the University of Western Ontario, is a spokesperson for Gaza’s Ark. He talked about the new solidarity initiative.

How did the idea of Gaza’s Ark come about?

D.H: After the last flotilla sailing I was involved in with other members, we realised we obviously need to carry on our work, trying to think of ways to continue direct action. Not just talking about the siege, but acting directly against the siege to change the premises of it. more

Israel backs Egypt's bloody counter revolution

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel and the West must support Egypt's army, an Israeli official said Monday, after 25 Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack in the Sinai bordering Israel.

The unnamed official's comments in an Israeli daily came a day after a New York Times report that Israel would press Western powers to support the military in unrest-swept Egypt.

By "not taking things away from them (the army), not harming or threatening them," the US and EU could help Egypt "get back on track," the Jerusalem Post quoted the official as saying.

"The name of the game right now is not democracy," he added.

"The name of the game is that there needs to be a functioning state. After you put Egypt back on track, then (you can) talk about restarting the democratic process there."

Egypt's unrest has heightened Israeli concern, especially due to Islamist violence in the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula, which borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, coordinate closely on military activity in the Sinai. more

Army invades Aida refugee camp In Bethlehem

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, and clashes with dozens of local youths, local sources have reported.

The sources said that dozens of youths hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading soldiers, and that the army fired gas bombs, and rubber-coated metal bullets; no injuries have been reported, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported.

The soldiers withdrew from the refugee camp later on without conducting any arrests.

In related news, Israeli media sources have reported that two Molotov cocktails were hurled at an Israeli settler’s vehicles driving on settler road #60, near the Al-Khader town, west of Bethlehem. more