Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hamas slams Egyptian court for 'terrorist' label

From Middle East Monitor - The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, denounced as "shocking" on Saturday an Egyptian court decision to designate the group as a "terrorist organisation". This, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu, is a "dangerous" decision which represents a "shift" in Egypt-Palestine relations.

"Unfortunately, the situation has been turned upside down," said Abu Zuhri. "Israel the enemy has become a friend of Egypt while Hamas - which is an integral part of the Palestinian people – has become a terrorist." Nevertheless, he insisted that Hamas will not be affected by the court's decision." "It has been made," he said, "to export Egypt's domestic problems."

Earlier on Saturday the Egyptian court made the "terrorist" designation of Hamas following claims that the movement had carried out terrorist attacks in Egypt through tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. In March last year the same court outlawed Hamas activities in Egypt and closed its offices, confiscating all of the contents. more

Audio: 11-year-old Gaza musician - "The only shelter for me was my music"

From The Electronic Intifada - Eleven-year-old Firas al-Shirafi has experienced three major offensives against Gaza during his short life. Last summer, he was confined to his home in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City as it was too dangerous to venture outside. As Israel bombed and shelled buildings and infrastructure across the Strip, Firas did his best to replace the sounds of destruction with life-affirming tunes.

“The only shelter for me was my music,” said Firas, who plays the qanun, a traditional string instrument.

Firas has been studying at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music since he was five. “We immediately realized that this boy would have a promising musical future,” Ibrahim al-Najjar, director of the conservatory’s Gaza branch, told The Electronic Intifada. “His father and grandfather were musicians.”

The conservatory, which also operates at several locations in the occupied West Bank, took over Gaza’s previous music school (which was affilated with the not-for-profit A.M. Qattan Foundation) in April 2012. more

Hamas: Dagan's remarks on Gaza admission of Israel's military defeat

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement said that the former Mossad chief's remarks about the military failure of premier Benjamin Netanyahu in the Gaza Strip was an additional Israeli admission that the Palestinian resistance had soundly defeated the Israeli army.

Spokesman for the Movement Sami Abu Zuhri stated on Friday that all the Israeli government's attempts to mitigate the impact of its defeat by the resistance in Gaza would be doomed to failure.

Former head of the Mossad Meir Dagan had said that Netanyahu's attitude towards regional issues caused great strategic damage to Israel, admitting, in particular, that the last war on Gaza had failed miserably.

Dagan stated in an interview conducted by Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the way Netanyahu always dealt with internal and external issues would not serve Israel's interests and would inflict, instead, strategic losses upon Israel. more

One person killed and one wounded in bomb explosion east of Rafah

One man was killed and his brother wounded, this Saturday afternoon, as result of the explosion of a suspicious object in the airport area, east of Rafah.

A spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr. Ashraf, reported on his Facebook that Naji Abu Sabaleh (21) died today, and his brother Akram (18) was severely wounded on the face and abdomen. more

6 months after war - Gaza counts cost of failed reconstruction promises

Six months after a ceasefire agreement ended Israel's 50-day military offensive on the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the war-torn territory remain hostage to a UN-brokered reconstruction mechanism which has failed to deliver.

On Sept. 16, Robert Serry, the UN envoy for the Middle East, announced a deal to ease restrictions on imports of construction materials to Gaza to enable the reconstruction of the territory.

Over 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged during the conflict, with thousands of other structures, including 24 schools, razed to the ground.

The Shelter Cluster, an international group co-chaired by the UN refugee agency and the Red Cross, estimates that an average of 440 trucks of building materials would be required to enter Gaza each day to complete the reconstruction process within five years.

Figures published by OXFAM on Thursday show that 1,661 trucks of the most essential construction materials -- aggregates, steel bars and cement -- have entered Gaza in the three months since a donor conference pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction in October, less that 0.25 percent of what is needed.

At current rates it would take up to 100 years to rebuild homes, schools and other damaged infrastructure, OXFAM said. more