Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Fatah official: Egypt to open Rafah permanently after unity

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A senior Fatah official told reporters Tuesday that Egypt would open the Rafah crossing permanently after the Palestinian unity government was set in place.

Following a meeting between Fatah and Hamas delegations in Gaza City, Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters that Egypt welcomed the establishment of a "legitimate," internationally recognized government in the Gaza Strip.

"Egypt is looking forward to Palestinian reconciliation and they encouraged us," al-Ahmad said.

Egyptian authorities will keep the crossing with Gaza open after the new government is installed, he added.

Al-Ahmad arrived in Gaza on Tuesday for what a Fatah spokesman said were meetings to select Palestinian leaders for the unity government.

The Fatah delegation at the meeting included Azzam al-Ahmad, Faysal Abu Shahla, and Zakariyya al-Agha. The Hamas delegation was made up of Mousa Abu Marzouq, Khalil al-Hayyah and Imad al-Alami. more

Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza border area

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Several Israeli military vehicles crossed into the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Locals said the vehicles escorted six Israeli bulldozers, which leveled Palestinian fields near the separation barrier in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military vehicles came from the Nahal Oz military base east of Gaza City, locals said. more

Palestinians pledge support as hunger strike nears 4th week

AL-BIREH, West Bank (Ma'an) -- Mothers, wives, and sisters of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails delivered petitions to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday, calling for the organizations' intervention for the lives of their imprisoned relatives.

Their sons, husbands, and brothers are among some 120 Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli jails without charge or trial who refused meals for the 20th day in a row on Tuesday.

"We are calling for immediate action to end the harrowing policy of administrative detention forever," the petitions read, according to a statement from the prisoner rights group Addameer.

"We also express our deep concerns and fears with respect to additional violations perpetrated against the prisoners such as solitary confinement, arbitrary transfers, raids, and strip-searches, all of which are committed by the administration of the Israeli Prison Service." more