Friday, 10 January 2014

Israel to build 1,400 new homes on Palestinian land

Israel plans to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians claim for their state.

Israel's housing ministry announced on Friday that 800 new houses will be built in the West Bank and 600 in East Jerusalem – a contentious move that is likely to further hamper the progress of peace talks led by the US secretary of state, John Kerry.

The announcement had been expected as a concession to Israel's rightwing nationalist lobby after the Jewish state released 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners in late December, part of a deal made last summer when Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed. more

Egypt not taking Gaza humanitarian crisis 'seriously'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities are not taking the humanitarian crisis in Gaza seriously, a Gaza official said Thursday, as ongoing closures of the Rafah crossing prevent people from leaving the coastal territory.

"Egypt should stick to its nationalistic and humanitarian responsibility toward the population of the Gaza Strip. We hereby send a message to all the free people of the world and to the Egyptian authorities on behalf of the besieged children, women and elderly people of Gaza," Undersecretary of Gaza's Ministry of Interior Kamil Abu Madi said.

Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday for two days, which is insufficient time for Palestinians who need to travel urgently for medical treatment or for foreign passport holders, he added.

If the Rafah crossing faces ongoing closures the humanitarian situation in Gaza will get worse and residents will face more restrictions, Abu Madi said. more