Wednesday, 6 November 2013

UNRWA: Israeli curbs halt Gaza projects


The UN says it has halted work on all but one of its 20 building projects in the Gaza Strip as a result of an Israeli ban on importing building materials into the Palestinian territory.

Israel imposed the ban after discovering on October 13 a 2.5km tunnel which it said fighters planned to use for attacks inside its territory.

Hamas, which has run the Gaza Strip since 2007, claimed it dug the tunnel.

"We are in now in the fourth week [in which] we are not allowed to bring in construction material," said Robert Turner, director of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

"We do not know when we will be allowed to restart these projects."

UNRWA provides food aid to 830,000 of Gaza's 1.8 million population.

Turner called for the ban to be lifted, adding that the only building project still under way, a bridge, was also running out of building materials.

The others included 12 schools and a health centre. more

Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with polonium, tests show


The first forensic tests on remains from the exhumed corpse of Yasser Arafat have shown unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, suggesting the Palestinian leader could have been poisoned with the rare and lethal substance.

The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat's remains after the exhumation of his body in November discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than the norm in Arafat's ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his leaked bodily fluids.

The Swiss forensic report was handed to representatives of Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, as well as representatives of the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday. A copy of the report was obtained exclusively by the al-Jazeera TV network, which shared it with the Guardian prior to publication.

The Swiss report said that even taking into account the eight years since Arafat's death and the quality of specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from his decayed corpse and shroud, the results "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210".

Suha Arafat said the evidence in the report suggested that her then healthy 75-year-old husband, who died in 2004 four weeks after he first fell ill shortly after eating dinner, was almost certainly murdered by poisoning.

She told al-Jazeera: "This is the crime of the century." more

Child seriously injured in Jerusalem by occupation forces gun fire


Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian child was seriously injured by Israeli army fire in Qotna village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.

Chief of the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah Dr. Ahmad Al-Beetawy said that the child Mahmoud Tawfiq Taha, 13 years of age, was moved to the center in a serious condition after a rubber-coated metal bullet, fired by a soldier, fractured his skull causing brain hemorrhaging.

Taha was admitted to surgery before he was moved to the Intensive Care Unit due to the seriousness of his condition. more