Monday, 28 April 2014

Israeli soldiers shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers shot and injured two Palestinians on Monday as they were collecting stones from fields in the northern Gaza Strip, a medical official said.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said two men were taken to Kamal Idwan hospital after being shot by Israeli troops near the Erez crossing.

Israeli soldiers stationed at monitoring posts by the crossing opened fire at the men as they collected stones in nearby fields.

Both men were moderately injured.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a few Palestinians entered a prohibited area and were acting "suspiciously and meddling with the ground."

"Soldiers fired warning shots and then fired at their lower extremities and one hit was confirmed," she added.

Many Gazans in the besieged coastal enclave collect small stones in order to make gravel for concrete due to a shortage caused by Israel's blockade. more

Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has warned in a closed-door meeting that Israel risks becoming an "apartheid state" if US-sponsored efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement fail.

In an apparent sign of Kerry's deep frustration over the almost certain collapse of the current nine-month round of peace talks – due to conclude on Tuesday – he blamed both sides for the lack of progress and said failure could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens.

The remarks were made on Friday at the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental organisation of experts and officials from the US, western Europe, Russia and Japan. A recording was acquired by the Daily Beast website.

Kerry also suggested that a change of either Israeli or Palestinian leadership might create more favourable conditions for peace and the final, long-delayed agreement on the shape of a Palestinian state.

Kerry's remarks represent a significant departure, as senior US officials historically have avoided the word "apartheid" relating to Israeli policies. It is believed to be the first time a US official of Kerry's standing has used the contentious term in the context of Israel, even if only as a warning for the future. more

19 West Bank consruction projects halted by Israeli sanctions

The Israeli government made clear, Sunday, its decision to freeze construction on 19 Palestinian projects in the West Bank, according to Israeli and Palestinian news sources.

Israel's coordinator of government activities in the occupied territories, Yoav Mordechai, said during a Civil Administration meeting that 19 projects, approved in Area C as a "goodwill gesture" marking the beginning of negotiations with the PLO, would be frozen by the Israeli government, according to the Hebrew newspaper Maariv.

He said that Palestinians had started an "intifada" of illegal construction in the West Bank and, ironically, that it was their "duty to apply the law on everyone including illegal settlement construction in the West Bank."

Israeli authorities quietly "legalized" several outposts in 2012 and, now, some 100 settler outposts stand in the West Bank without government authorization, with more than 500,000 settlers living in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinians are rarely granted permits to build in the region.

The move to freeze the new projects comes as what is perceived as one of several attempts at implementing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority for its recent reconciliation with Hamas. more