Wednesday, 28 June 2017

PA deflects blame for medical patients in Gaza being denied treatment

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected accusations from Hamas and reports in Israeli media that it has been preventing Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip from leaving the territory for medical treatment, and said Israel was responsible for denying Gazans the exit permits, which has had fatal consequences in recent weeks.

Corroborating earlier reports that the Ramallah-based government was denying culpability, head of the PA’s medical referral department in the southern district Bassam al-Badri told Ma’an that Israel was accountable for the deterioration of the medical situation in Gaza, by denying exit to thousands of patients via the Erez crossing so that they may be treated in hospitals in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Al-Badri said that only 50 percent of medical permits were approved as a result of the Israeli restrictions.

Health care inside Gaza has greatly suffered as part of the decade-long Israeli siege, with Israel limiting medical equipment allowed in and restricts travel for doctors seeking further medical training and specialization. more

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Hamas accuses Israel of fabricating rocket claim to justify airstrikes in Gaza

The Israeli air force launched at least two airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip early Tuesday, with the Israeli army saying the attacks targeted two Hamas military infrastructures and were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza late Monday, which allegedly landed in an open area in Israel's Shaar Hanegev Regional Council that borders northeastern Gaza, causing no injuries or damages.

No injuries were reported as a result of the airstrikes.

Palestinian news agency Wafa cited local sources in Gaza, saying that strikes hit multiple locations across the small Palestinian territory, including northwest of Gaza City, east of the Gaza Valley area, and Nasr neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The strikes left material damages to a number of homes, the report said.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Claims of Israeli settlement freeze an 'attempt to fool the public'

After reports emerged Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States government to stop marketing new settlement units for the rest of 2017, a representative from settlement watchdog Peace Now called the alleged promise “another spin of the Netanyahu government trying to fool the public.”

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post had reported that the alleged freeze was discovered when settlers from the illegal Beit El settlement in the central occupied West Bank discovered that plans for 300 new settler homes -- promised to the settlers by Netanyahu in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of the illegal Ulpana outpost -- were halted.

Netanyahu then reportedly met with the settlement's regional council head Shai Alon and ensured him that the homes promised to the settlers would be excluded from the temporary settlement freeze, adding that the 300 settler homes would be advanced in September. more

Friday, 23 June 2017

Gaza's only power plant back online after two months following Egypt fuel delivery

The only electricity plant serving the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip has partly resumed operations after an unexpected diesel delivery from neighbouring Egypt.

Tankers brought one million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel into the coastal enclave on Thursday, allowing engineers to partly restart the plant and ease the area’s chronic electricity shortage for the next few days.

Hamas, the militant organisation which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, had been using Qatari and Turkish funding to buy diesel to run the plant from Israel - but has repeatedly accused the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority (PA), which coordinates delivery, of driving up prices through unfair taxation. more

Monday, 12 June 2017

Israel approves 40 percent reduction of electricity supply to Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli security cabinet has approved a 40 percent reduction in Israel’s electricity supply to the besieged Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are already coping with a crippling power crisis and daily, hours-long blackouts, according Israeli media reports.

The approval came after Israeli authorities announced plans to make the cuts last month, upon request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied West Bank, which foots Gaza’s monthly electricity bill from Israel by subtracted from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reportedly informed Israel that the PA only intended to pay 60 percent of the 40 million shekel ($11.19) monthly bill, as Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, and the Fatah-led PA continued to blame each other for a deepening crisis in Gaza.

Both Israel and the PA have accused Hamas of collecting millions of shekels in taxes from Gazans every month without transferring the money to the PA, and instead “using (the money) to dig tunnels and for the advantage of Hamas,” as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) put it. more