Thursday, 9 October 2014

Unity delegation heads to Cairo after successful Gaza visit

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and a number of ministers from the Palestinian government of national unity will leave Gaza for Cairo on Friday to take part in a conference focused on the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip.

The trip follows a successful day-long visit by the reconciliation government to Gaza for the first since it was formed earlier this year, amid rising optimism about Hamas-Fatah cooperation after months of dispute.

The Palestinian delegation to Cairo is expected to return to Gaza after the end of the conference there, minister of agriculture and social affairs Shawqi al-Ayasa told Ma'an on Thursday.

Al-Ayasa said that a number of ministers will remain in Gaza during the Cairo conference, which is expected to bring together the foreign ministers of more than 30 countries to fundraise for Gaza reconstruction, while the rest of the Palestinian ministers will return after the conference to supervise rebuilding.

He said that ministers will meet with governors and private sector directors to be briefed on their work, and discuss possible joint efforts to aid the success of the rebuilding of Gaza.

The statement from Al-Ayasa came soon after deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh called on ministers from the national unity government to stay in Gaza longer in order to meet the people and government employees. more

Health Ministry: Fuel in Gaza hospitals will run out in next 48 hours

The deputy Health Minister in the Gaza Strip, Yousef Abul-Rish, warned on Wednesday of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza's hospitals because of the severe shortage of fuel.

"Fuel allotted for electricity generators will run out in 48 hours," Abul-Rish said. "This means that kidney washing machines, other medical devices and all kinds of operations will stop working."

According to the Palestinian Al-Resalah newspaper, this situation would affect all the hospitals and clinics in Gaza, likely resulting in unnecessary deaths.

The situation is especially grave following the military campaign waged last summer by Israeli forces against the Gaza Strip, which wounded many thousands of Palestinians, mostly civilians.

It is worth mentioning that the hospitals in the Gaza Strip, similar to other facilities in the besieged enclave, have electricity for only six hours each day. For the remainder of the time, they run on electricity generators that consume large amounts of fuel.

Meanwhile, Abul-Rish also warned that many kinds of medicines for chronic and critical diseases are running out and, in fact, some supplies have already been exhausted.

Abul-Rish placed most of the blame for the current situation on the strict Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, but he also blamed the Palestinian unity government, accusing it of ignoring its duties regarding the hospitals in Gaza. more

BBC map ignores occupation of Jerusalem

The BBC has published a map on its website, which indicates that Jerusalem is not occupied by Israel.

This graphic (see above) was used to illustrate at least two stories on the BBC website in recent months.

It can be viewed online two thirds of the way down a story titled “Israel: Hamas ‘will pay price’ after teenagers found dead.” The map shows the city of Jerusalem as being wholly inside Israel. In reality, Jerusalem is under Israeli military occupation.

The false map was also used at the bottom of a story from 23 September titled “Israel kills Palestinians suspected of teenagers’ murders.” However, following a complaint from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), made on 8 October, the map was altered, and Jerusalem is now depicted as nudging the Green Line — which separates present-day Israel from the territories it captured in 1967.

Although those territories include East Jerusalem, the entire city is depicted as being within Israel even in the revised map.

The BBC’s decision to deliberately move the physical location of the city on a map and place it within Israel defies belief.

However, it does not defy understanding. In 2013, following a challenge from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the BBC Trust ruled that BBC journalists were not being inaccurate if they referred to Jerusalem, in its entirety, as an Israeli city. more

Army illegally confiscates Palestinian land near Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday, Palestinian agricultural lands belonging to residents of al-Khader and Nahhalin town, southwest of Bethlehem, and declared them a closed military zone.

Ghassan Najajra, a nonviolent activist with the Popular Resistance Committees against the Wall and Settlements, stated that the army confiscated by force three Dunams of Palestinian lands in Sirb at-Teen area, close to the Daniel illegal settlement, built on lands belonging to al-Khader.

Najajra added that the soldiers bulldozed the lands, and placed signs declaring them a “closed military zone” and another sign stating Israel will be building “public gardens” for Jewish settlers living in nearby illegal settlements. more

Hamdallah says Gaza meeting is 'historic opportunity'

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian officials say they are optimistic about the outcome of the unity government's first cabinet meeting in Gaza.

The meeting is due to convene at midday as West Bank-based ministers enter via the Erez crossing. The delegation will then take lunch with Ismail Haniyeh.

Speaking to Ma'an, Hamdallah described the meeting as an "historic opportunity."

"Our message to our people in Gaza is about bringing back hope, uniting institutions and reconstruction. The Palestinian national project is incomplete without Gaza, and the president gave clear instructions last night to the government confirming that we should rebuild Gaza," he said.

"It's our responsibility to provide work opportunities for Gaza workers, and we will overstep external challenges with good will." more