Saturday, 21 February 2015

Israel is still banning Gaza students from West Bank universities


Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that a quota of 50 students would be permitted to exit Gaza "for the purpose of academic studies" in the West Bank. However, as related by NGO Gisha, the very same evening, COGAT clarified that there had been a "clerical error" in the relevant document, and that there would be no such permits.

The Israeli government has opposed Palestinians from Gaza studying in the West Bank on the grounds of 'security'. The High Court of Justice has also rejected petitions by human rights groups on the matter, including one filed on behalf of five women studying gender, democracy and law.

In 2009, 21-year-old, Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam was arrested at a West Bank checkpoint and immediately returned to the Gaza Strip, after a solider noted Gaza City as the town of residence on her ID.

The ill-fated announcement was included on a list of various measures apparently prepared by Israel to "ease" restrictions. According to reports from COGAT and Palestinian officials, it would appear that the number of merchant permits will rise, as will the type and quantity of goods permitted to exit from Gaza for sale in the West Bank. more

Palestine shuts down as snow, frigid rain pummel Holy Land


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Shops and offices in cities across the West Bank were closed Friday after a major winter storm pummeled the region and left nearly half a meter of snow in some places.

Snowfall began late Thursday and continued into the early morning Friday, blanketing hilltops across the region with a thick layer of snow that shut streets and major thoroughfares.

Frigid rain continued to pummel the region Friday night, and was expected to continue into Saturday as temperatures slowly rise from the storm -- named "Jenny" by meteorologists -- as it continues south.

Emergency services said that as of the afternoon there had been 16 storm-related car accidents and that rescue services had been involved in at least 215 cases since the beginning of the storm. The majority of those cases involved individuals being brought to the hospital. more