Tuesday, 16 September 2014

U.N. says Palestinians, Israelis reach deal on Gaza reconstruction

(Reuters) - The United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the war-torn Gaza Strip with U.N. monitoring of the use of materials, U.N. Middle East envoy Robert Serry said on Tuesday.

Serry told the U.N. Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal "to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through U.N. monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose."

Fifty days of conflict in Gaza between Hamas militants and Israel, which ended late last month, has left swathes of the Mediterranean enclave in ruins.

The Palestinian Authority said in a study recently that the reconstruction work would cost $7.8 billion, two and a half times Gaza's gross domestic product, including $2.5 billion for the reconstruction of homes and $250 million for energy. more

Haaretz: Mortar lands in Israel for first time since war, Hamas denies knowledge

From Haaretz - A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israeli territory on Tuesday, the first time since the end of the recent war between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed.

There was no word of injuries or damages.

Hamas said it had no knowledge of any mortar attack on Israel and that the Palestinians factions remained committed to the truce.

The shell exploded in an open area near the Gaza border, opposite a town in the Eshkol Regional Council, Channel 2 reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon estimated that fighting would not resume with the Gaza Strip at the end of this month, despite the difficulties in reaching a permanent Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement. more

PCHR: Gaza detainees underwent 'torture' in Israeli custody

The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel's assault on Gaza were subjected to "torture" during their detention period.

PCHR lawyers visited four detainees in Ashkelon prison, and said they had undergone beatings or had been shackled between two chairs for long hours in a method known as "Shabeh," a statement said.

It said Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinian civilians during the seven-week Gaza offensive, 31 of whom were transferred to Israeli prisons.

Four of the imprisoned detainees were released while 26 remain in custody and are accused of being members of armed groups.

One of them was charged with being an "illegitimate combatant."

According to international law, members of armed resistance groups are considered prisoners of war, and bills of indictment cannot be presented against them, the statement added. more

Poll: Only 10 percent of Gazans would vote for Abbas

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Only 10 percent of Palestinians in Gaza would vote for current President Mahmoud Abbas if elections were held now, according the results of a recent poll released Tuesday.

Some 29.8 percent would vote for senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh, who headed the former government in the Strip, the poll, conducted by the Gaza-based House of Wisdom Institute, showed.

Twenty-eight percent would choose jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, and 32.4 percent would choose a different candidate.

Meanwhile, the Fatah and Hamas movements would be neck in neck in legislative elections, with 30.8 percent for Fatah and 30 percent for Hamas.

Regarding the Israeli assault on Gaza, 73.6 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the performance of the militant factions in "resisting and withstanding" Israeli forces.

A plurality thought the Israeli aggression unified Palestinians, but thought that disputes between Hamas and Fatah would continue in the aftermath of the war. more

Thousands of Palestinians to be forcibly moved for settlement expansion

Israel is planning to forcibly transfer thousands of Palestinian Bedouins from their West Bank communities into a designated township to free up land for settlement expansion. Local and international groups are urging world leaders to pressure Israel to stop this violation of Palestinian rights.

The Israeli government publicized, last week, six plans to move Palestinian Bedouins out of their communities around Jericho, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. The plans include moving Bedouins out of the politically sensitive area referred to as the Jerusalem Periphery or “E1,” where Israel has long-intended to demolish 23 Bedouin villages in order to expand and link settlements. Settlement expansion in this area would cut the West Bank in two, further disrupting movement and social and economic ties between major Palestinian cities and limiting the little access Palestinians in the West Bank have to Jerusalem.

All of the Palestinian Bedouin communities slated for transfer are located in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel maintains full civil and military control. There are already around 341,000 Israeli settlers living in more than 100 settlements throughout Area C. Although Area C is within the internationally recognized 1967 borders of the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel only allows Palestinians to build on 1 percent of it. more

Lutheran Church reports 4 million tons of rubble in Gaza as a result of Israel's war

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Environmental Education Center of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land has said that the Israeli aggression on Gaza had left behind around four million tons of rubble.

The center said in a report prepared on the occasion of the World Cleanliness Day that it takes between six to eight months of work to remove such an amount of rubble.

It pointed out that the tools available at the ministry of works in Gaza are old and could handle only 20% of that amount of debris.

It said that the destruction in the latest war on Gaza was fivefold more than the previous one in 2012, warning of a horrific humanitarian and environmental disaster as a result.

The center urged all justice lovers and environment supporters in the world to extend a helping hand to Gaza to remove this big amount of debris and to rebuild the beleaguered enclave. more

Israel installs new surveillance room on main entrance of Ibrahimi mosque

The Israeli army installed, on Monday, a new surveillance room at the main entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Head of the Islamic Waqf Department in Hebron, Ibrahim Abu Sneina, said Israel continues to impose further restrictions on the Muslim worshipers and visitors, adding that the new room and equipment are another harassment.

Abu Sneina added that Israel continues its plans to turn the Mosque into a synagogue, to be only used by Jewish worshipers, in direct violation of international agreements, and the Freedom of Worship.

He said his department filed an appeal to the Israeli side demanding the removal of this room, and the removal of all restrictions imposed by the army leading to limiting, and in many cases, preventing the entry of Muslim worshipers into the mosque.

It is worth mentioning that Israel frequently prevents Muslim worshipers from entering the mosque, and repeatedly prevents the sheiks from using speakers to call for prayers.

The Ibrahimi Mosque, also referred to as the “Cave of the Patriarchs," is the site of a brutal massacre carried out by American-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein, on February 25, 1994, during which unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the mosque were shot in cold blood by Goldstein. more