Monday, 6 January 2014

Hamas says Fatah members can return to Gaza

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya reached out to West Bank rivals Fatah on Monday, saying its members would be allowed back into Gaza, in efforts to promote Palestinian reconciliation.

"The (Hamas) government will allow all Fatah members who are from Gaza and who left the Strip (in 2007) to return, without any preconditions," apart from those accused of killing Hamas members during intense factional fighting that year, Haniya said.

Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Hamas interior ministry in Gaza City, he added the authorities would "release a small number of Fatah members who are imprisoned (in Gaza) for security reasons."

Fatah MPs, who are based in the West Bank, would also be allowed to visit Gaza, Haniya added.

Hamas in recent months has reached out to Fatah, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, as Israel and Egypt have tightened a blockade on the Islamist movement's Gaza enclave.

Haniya spoke via telephone to Fatah leader and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in October, stressing the need for reconciliation and "a return to national unity." more

Teen killed by Israeli sniper posed 'no threat' to soldiers

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have provided no evidence that a Palestinian teenager fatally shot in the back in December by Israeli forces posed "any threat to life that would justify such a killing," Human Rights Watch said Sunday.

Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, 15, was shot with live bullets in the back by an Israeli sniper in front of his school on Dec. 7 in al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah.

Locals told Ma'an that the area where al-Ramahi was shot had no clashes or any kind of rock-throwing incidents that might have provoked the killing.

HRW said that some Palestinian youths had been throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, but they were over 200 meters away and not at risk of being hit.

"Twice this year, Israeli soldiers hiding near schools, apparently to make arrests, have killed children who posed no apparent threat," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. more