Thursday, 13 November 2014

Palestinians stuck at closed Rafah border for last 3 weeks

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A group of Palestinians stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing into Gaza on Thursday called upon Egypt to open the crossing after three weeks of closure in order to allow them to return to the Gaza Strip.

"We have been stuck in Egypt for 20 days, but no one has helped us or even talks about us," Talal Salim, one of those stuck at the crossing, told Ma'an.

The Palestinians stuck at the border are victims of the Egyptian government's policies regarding the crossing's opening hours, which can be sealed shut for weeks at a time with little notice.

The most recent closure came after a bomb hit Egyptian soldiers in el-Arish, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of the Gaza border. The crossing was closed in response, despite the lack of a clear relationship between the incident and Gaza. more

Israel says won't cooperate with UN Gaza inquiry

Israel will not cooperate with a United Nations inquiry into its 50-day war in Gaza this summer, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

"Since the Schabas commission is not an inquiry but a commission that gives its conclusions in advance, Israel will not cooperate with the UN Commission on Human Rights over the last conflict with Hamas," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement.

In August, Canadian lawyer William Schabas was named as the head of the UN commission, angering Israel, where he is widely regarded as hostile to Israel over reported calls to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court.

Israeli attacks killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians during the war, most of them civilians, and left over 100,000 homeless. more

Palestinian injured as Israeli ordnance explodes in Gaza

A Palestinian man in Gaza was injured on Wednesday after Israeli ordnance exploded in Khan Younis, medics said.

The man, identified only as M.A and said to be in his 20s, was taken to a hospital in the Khuzaa neighborhood with moderate injuries.

Witnesses said he was removing rubble from a building destroyed during Israel's summer military offensive when the explosion occurred.

In October, four-year-old Muhammad Sami Abu Jrad was killed after he touched an unexploded Israeli ordnance in northern Gaza. more

Kerry to meet Abbas as new Israeli settlements fan tensions

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set for talks Thursday with the Palestinian leader on easing regional tensions, after Israel approved new settler homes in east Jerusalem despite mounting unrest.

The new settlement construction was announced on Wednesday just hours after suspected Jewish extremists torched a West Bank mosque, in another development likely to inflame tempers in an already heated atmosphere.

Months of unrest have escalated in recent days, spreading from annexed East Jerusalem to the West Bank and Palestinian communities across Israel, raising fears of a new Palestinian uprising.

Kerry was due to hold talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Thursday, after arriving in Jordan late Wednesday to discuss the situation in East Jerusalem and other regional issues at a private dinner with King Abdullah II.

So far no meeting between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been scheduled, the US State Department said.

Kerry's arrival in the region comes as Israel struggles to contain the wave of unrest.

Much of the tension has been focused on Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, which has seen numerous clashes sparked by Palestinian fears that Israel is preparing to legislate changes to allow Jewish prayer there. more