Thursday, 6 November 2014

Danish minister of foreign affairs visits Gaza, announces US$3.4m donation

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard, arrived in Gaza on Wednesday becoming the second European Foreign Minister to visit Gaza after the latest Israeli war on the Strip.

Minister Lidegaard checked out first-hand the destruction wrought by the summer’s conflict and took note of the long-term financial, humanitarian and political support necessary to help the people of Gaza rebuild.

The Danish delegation drove through the devastated Shejayeh neighborhood and visited the UNRWA Collective Center at Zaitoun Prep Girls’ School in Gaza Area. Zaitoun Prep Girls’ School currently hosts 1,642 of the more than 30,000 internally displaced persons still living in UNRWA facilities because their homes have been severely damaged or destroyed.

Minister Lidegaard expressed his government’s support for UNRWA and announced a donation of US$ 4.2 million to support Gaza, of which US$ 3.4 million will go to UNRWA.

“Today I have witnessed the massive damages on the ground caused by the 50-day conflict. The scope of the destruction is devastating and continues to affect thousands of lives”, the Danish Minister said.

For children growing up in such challenging circumstances, it is important that they receive the support and assistance that they need, he added.

“I am proud that Denmark is able to help UNRWA and provide them with vital support to ensure that Gaza’s children can attend school”. more

For 1st time since 2007, Gaza exports goods to West Bank

Israel allowed the export of agricultural products from Gaza to the West Bank for the first time since 2007 on Thursday, and officials said more would be allowed in in the coming week.

One truck of cucumbers grown in the Gaza Strip was allowed by Israeli authorities to pass through the Kerem Shalon headed for Hebron, seven years after Israeli authorities shut down nearly all exchange between the two occupied Palestinian enclaves.

Director of Palestinian Crossings and Borders Nathmi Muhanna told Ma'an that Israeli authorities had allowed one truck carrying 10 tons of cucumbers to cross.

An official at the Israeli liaison offices in Gaza, Bassem Hano, said in a statement that the export of goods from Gaza to the West Bank would continue and was planned to include different vegetables and fruits, in addition to fresh fish.

Hano added that the first ton of fresh fish would be exported to the West Bank from Gaza on Sunday.

A meeting was conducted by both the Israeli and Palestinian liaison offices in Gaza in which Israel said there will be "facilitation" to develop the economic situation in Gaza Strip.

Representatives of the PA and Palestinian farmers took part in the meeting, in addition to representatives of the Israeli ministries of agriculture, economy, customs, and the crossings committee responsible for the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Hano added that allowing exports from Gaza to the West Bank came under the civil and economic facilitation approved by the Israeli coordinator of the government's activities in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Yoav Mordechai.

Israel agreed to "ease" the siege on Gaza in the ceasefire agreement that concluded a massive military offensive on Gaza over summer, which left nearly 2,200 dead. Until now, however, the scale of that easing was not made clear, and many feared that no easing would occur. more

Palestinian survives ramming attack near Bethlehem

A Palestinian farmer from the al-Khader town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, managed to escape an attack by an Israeli settler who tried to ram him with his car, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The farmer, identified as Mohannad Sa’ad Salah, was trying to cross bypass road #60 when a settler shifted his vehicle towards him and tried to run him over.

The Palestinian ran toward police barricades on the side of the road, and escaped the attack unharmed, the Maan News Agency said.

Salah said he was heading towards his land, as he does every day, when he noticed a settler, driving a red Daihatsu car speeding towards him. The settler’s vehicle struck the barricades, and fled the scene.

He added that the incident was not just a traffic accident, as he could see the driver shifting his vehicle towards him, and trying to run him over. more

Jordan recalls its ambassador to Israel over Jerusalem 'violations'

Jordan on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest against what it described as Israeli "violations" in Jerusalem and its holy sites, the Jordanian state news agency reported.

The decision to recall Walid Obeidat was taken "in protest at the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary, and the repeated Israeli violations of Jerusalem", the news agency said.

At a joint press conference held in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah said his country's recall of its ambassador to Israel was "an indication of seriousness of situation... We have sent repeated messages to Israel... .that Jerusalem is a red line."

Also, Jordan's Minister of Information, Mohammed al-Momani said: “It is impossible to keep quiet about what happened today. Approximately 200 members of Israel’s security forces broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque, chased worshippers, caused damage and broke doors. It’s impossible to remain silent about this, so therefore we have announced the return of our ambassador in Israel for consultations.” more