Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Hezbollah claims attack against Israeli troops

BEIRUT (AFP) -- Lebanon's Hezbollah movement on Tuesday claimed a bomb attack against Israeli troops on the ceasefire line between the two countries that wounded two soldiers.

Hezbollah fighters "detonated an explosive device on the Shebaa hills against a motorized Israeli patrol causing a number of injuries among the occupation's soldiers," the group said in a statement.

The group said the attack was carried out by the "martyr Hassan Ali Haidar unit," which is named for a Hezbollah member killed on Sept. 5 when an Israeli listening device in Lebanon was detonated remotely as he tried to dismantle it.

Israel confirmed two soldiers were wounded in the blast, and an army spokeswoman said the attack took place "on the Israeli side of the border." more

Israel bars building materials from Gaza

The Israeli authorities have delayed indefinitely the entry of 60 truckloads of building materials into the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said.

"We were notified by the Palestinian National Company that Israel has indefinitely delayed the entry of the 60 trucks into the Gaza Strip," Mounir al-Ghalban of Gaza's border authority told our media sources.

The move came despite Israeli "promises" to allow the entry of the construction supplies into the blockaded enclave on Tuesday through Kerem Shalom crossing, he added.

During a recent 51-day onslaught, the Israeli army damaged 15,671 housing units across the Gaza Strip, including 2,276 that were totally destroyed, according to official Palestinian figures.

More than 2,150 Gazans, meanwhile, mostly civilians, were killed – and 11,000 injured – in unrelenting Israeli attacks.

The Israeli offensive came to an end on August 26 with the announcement of an indefinite cease-fire.

The truce deal, brokered by Egypt, calls for reopening Gaza's border crossings with Israel – effectively ending the latter's seven-year blockade of the coastal territory – and expanding the area open to Palestinian fisherman to six miles off the Gaza coast.

According to the agreement's terms, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume indirect talks on other core Palestinian demands – including the release of prisoners and the establishment of a Gaza seaport – later this month. more

UK'S Department for Culture worked with Israeli embassy to pressure Tricycle Theatre

A letter has been published that shows the UK government cooperated with the Israeli Embassy in pressuring the Tricycle Theatre over its public row with the UK Jewish Film Festival in August.

As Israel was bombing Gaza, the Tricycle Theatre asked the festival to forego Israeli embassy funding, on the basis that, given the ongoing bloodshed, it was "inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved."

Though the Tricycle management offered to provide alternative funding, the Jewish Film Festival insisted on the embassy link, thus withdrawing the festival (see a timeline of events here).

According to campaigners, the newly published letter was sent by an official in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport "to a member of the public who had asked for an explanation of Secretary of State Sajid Javid's public denunciation of the Tricycle Theatre."

The activists note that the letter "repeatedly refers to anti-Semitism and threats to freedom of speech, while offering no evidence that the theatre had been guilty of either."

The official also confirms that the department "kept closely in touch with the Israeli Ambassador during this unfortunate chain of events and assured him of the Government's commitment to challenge anti-Semitism wherever it might arise." more

Hamas calls on Palestinians to welcome Hamdallah to Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef late Monday called on Palestinians in Gaza to welcome Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the unity government cabinet to the Strip on Thursday.

In a phone interview with Ma'an, Yousef called on Palestinians to organize marches to respectfully receive Hamdallah and to celebrate unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

This visit is "an important, positive turn on the road of unity," Yousef said, adding that he considered it a practical step towards rebuilding Gaza in the wake of the recent Israeli assault.

The first cabinet meeting of the Palestinian unity government will take place in Gaza on Thursday after Israel issued permits to allow Palestinian ministers to attend. more