Thursday, 25 December 2014

Palestinian Authority security forces detain 14 Hamas members

Palestinian faction Hamas has accused the security forces of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) of detaining 14 group members in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In a Thursday statement, Hamas said the members had been detained one day earlier in raids carried out in several West Bank cities.

But Adnan al-Dameri, a spokesman for the PA's security apparatus, denied allegations that his forces were detaining Palestinians based on "their political affiliations." more

Pregnant woman under rubble survived deadly Israeli attack on Gaza

Palestinian journalist Muhammad Daher did not live to see the birth of his son and will never see his one-year-old daughter grow up.

A financial editor for Al-Resaleh newspaper, the 27-year-old father and husband died after being injured during Israel’s brutal assault on the Shujaiya district of Gaza City this past summer.

His wife, Shaima, recalled that their three-story house collapsed on top of them when Israeli occupation forces attacked the area with heavy tank shelling on 20 July. “I was stuck under the house, under a pillar,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “I was pregnant at the time, and I really don’t know how I survived.”

Muhammad was transferred to the nearby al-Shifa hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds ten days later — on 31 July. Shaima was trapped next to her injured husband for six hours before being rescued by Palestinian medics. Three more of their relatives died under the rubble of the home, she recounts.

Muhammad’s sister, Bisan, just eight years old, was also stuck under the rubble and was badly injured by shrapnel.

The United Nations monitoring group OCHA estimates that 2,257 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s 51-day summer onslaught, including at least 1,563 civilians. Some 100,000 people are still displaced; they are now living in schools, temporary shelters or with host families across the coastal enclave, which has been under tight Israeli siege since 2007. more

Saudi Arabia donates $12 million to repair UNRWA schools in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated $12 million to the UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA to support the repair of Gaza schools damaged in Israel's latest offensive.

UNRWA said in a statement that nearly $9.8 million will be dedicated to reconstruction, while just over $2.2 million be allocated for furniture and equipment.

Eight UNRWA-run schools in the Gaza Strip will benefit from the Saudi donation, according to the statement.

"We deeply appreciate this generous and continuous support by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Fund for Development to the UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees," Tawfiq Abid, the chair of UNRWA's program for infrastructure and refugee camp development, said in the statement. more

Israel approves 380 new East Jerusalem settler homes

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli authorities gave final approval on Wednesday to the construction of 380 new settler homes in two areas of occupied East Jerusalem, a local official said.

"The municipal commission has given construction permits for 307 homes in Ramot and 73 in Har Homa," Yosef Pepe Alalu, a Jerusalem city councillor with the opposition Meretz party, told AFP.

He said local officials were taking advantage of attention focusing on Israeli elections due in March to expand settlements.

"This kind of decision distances us from any chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians," he said.

Despite repeated warnings from Washington that it is fueling tensions, Israel has approved a series of plans for new settler homes in east Jerusalem in recent months.

Israel seized East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

It refers to the entire city as its "united, undivided capital," and does not view construction there as settlement activity. more