Thursday, 5 February 2015

Minister: Aid to be distributed to displaced Gazans

Around $12 million of aid donations will be distributed to Palestinians displaced by Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip last summer, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

Minister of Public works Mufeid al-Hasanyneh said that the United Nations Development Programme will distribute $6 million in $300 payments to those affected by the conflict.

Another $6 million will be distributed to Palestinians whose homes were destroyed.

Rent payments will be covered for a further four months for those who had already been receiving support, while rent for those yet to have received money will be covered for eight months.

The minister said he expects the money to be available early next week. more

Al-Khodary: Siege of Gaza represents the most serious obstacle to reconstruction

Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodary, of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, has said that the Israeli blockade against the Gaza Strip, which restricts the entry of construction materials, constitutes the most serious obstacle to the reconstruction of the Strip and is serving to exacerbate an already deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Al-Khodary stressed that the key to the reconstruction of Gaza lies in lifting the blockade and the implementation of donor pledges made during the Reconstruction of Gaza Conference in Cairo, which took place in October last year following the devastating Israeli offensive against the Strip over the summer.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, Al-Khodary explained that the building materials allowed to enter the Strip by the Israeli occupation since October of last year do not meet Gaza's needs.

He pointed to the availability of funding – amounting to about $400 million – for projects belonging to Arab and international institutions, as well as the private sector; but that they have all been put on hold due to the Israeli blockade. more

Israel tears down E1 Bedouin solidarity protest tent camp for second time

For a second time in two days, Israeli forces on Thursday morning tore down a protest tent camp which Palestinian popular resistance activists rebuilt in the E1 area.

Bawwabat al-Quds (the Gate to Jerusalem) was first set up on Tuesday evening and Israeli forces destroyed it on Wednesday morning.

Defiant resistance activists then rebuilt the main tent in the camp on Wednesday evening.

Local sources told Ma'an Thursday that Israeli troops stormed the camp at 2 a.m. Thursday after all activists left and tore down the tent. The sources said that the Israelis confiscated the tent and all properties they found in the camp.

The "Gate to Jerusalem" was set up in the Khilet al-Rahib area east of Abu Dis near the main Ramallah-Bethlehem road in protest against Israeli settler encroachment on Palestinian lands east of Jerusalem.

The protesters were outraged at an Israeli plan revealed last year which called for the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins from their lands across the central West Bank area known as "E1," where Israeli authorities have repeatedly expressed their desire to build Jewish-only settlements that would definitively split the northern and southern West Bank. more