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Minister: Construction materials must enter Gaza

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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Minister of Labor Mamoun Abu Shahla said on Monday evening that the reconstruction in Gaza will be delayed if construction materials are not permitted immediately.

Abu Shahla told Ma’an that if construction materials do not enter on daily basis, the start of the reconstruction will be delayed because there are 2.5 million tons of rubble left from Israel’s war.

Abu Shahla explained that materials that entered the Gaza Strip are for repairing partially damaged houses, while 18,000 completely destroyed homes still wait rebuilding.

Abu Shahla denied claims that there are international officials monitoring the reconstruction of Gaza. He added that “the reconstruction process is highly transparent.”

He said that in the coming few days it the unity government’s control over Gaza will become apparent.

(Source / 20.10.2014)

Written by altahrir

October 20, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Hamas blasts PA for failing to begin Gaza reconstruction

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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Hamas movement on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to facilitate the entry of construction material into the besieged Gaza Strip in order to speed up the reconstruction ahead of winter, as the first major rain of the fall season highlighted the challenges still facing tens of thousands of displaced Gazans.

“Reconstruction of Gaza is one of the most important tasks the PA should carry out according to the reconciliation agreement, but on the condition that there be no obstacles, physical or legal, to the entry of construction material,” senior Hamas official Moussa ABu Marzouq said in a statement.

The statement points to growing frustration with the PA’s failure to pressure Israel to open the border into Gaza, despite two different negotiation meetings with Israeli officials where it promised to do just that.

It also underlines tension between Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PA despite working together in a technocratic government of national reconciliation, as Hamas has in recent days accused PA security forces of cracking down on members and attacking rallies.

Abu Marzouq reiterated in the statement that Hamas had no problem with the PA coming into Gaza and carrying out reconstruction, expressing frustration that the unity government was failing to fulfill its duties.

“Hamas has questions about several issues which are the duties and responsibilities of the national consensus government,” he added, stressing that these responsibilities included the salaries of Gaza civil servants, security arrangements on the border, and managing the Gaza crossings, in addition to the reconstruction process.

PA officials have repeatedly promised that they would take over the crossings between Israel and Gaza — currently staffed by Hamas, the reason given by Israel for refusing to lift the economic blockade — but have yet to take meaningful steps.

Critics have suggested that Israeli and international pressure is part of the reason for the delay, as the US has looked askance at the unity government since its formation in June and Israel has repeatedly sought to undermine it, with a massive arrest campaign in the West Bank that netted more than 600 Hamas members as well as the summer offensive that killed more than 2,200 Gazans, the vast majority civilians.

Both the US and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization. But as a part of the unity agreement, Hamas said it would abide by previous PLO agreements — which include non-violence and recognition of Israel — and has insisted that it has no problem with the PA asserting its rule in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Marzouq on Sunday stressed these points in his statement, highlighting the tremendous amount of reconstruction work still needed for Gaza after the Israeli destroyed thousands of homes and left around 108,000 homeless.

He estimated in the statement that reconstruction would require more than two million tons of building material, “not to mention the material needed for rehabilitation of the infrastructure which the occupation has destroyed.”

The Israeli siege on Gaza in place over the last seven years has severely limited all imports and exports, including building material.

Abu Marzouq also pointed a finger at Egypt in the statement, stressing that Egypt’s role as a sponsor in the ceasefire agreement in August that ended Israel’s 50-day assault meant it needed t play a more positive role in lifting the siege.

“Why won’t Egypt finish what it has started and allow entry of construction material through its borders?” he asked in the statement.

Egypt has long enforced the Israeli siege on Gaza from its border as well. Despite a brief respite under democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian military coup in summer 2013 led to a renewed crackdown on the Rafah crossing and a campaign to destroy the smuggling tunnels that had long provided a vital lifeline for Gaza’s 1.8 million people.

(Source / 19.10.2014)

Written by altahrir

October 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Support for independent Palestine on rise: Press TV online debate

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File photo shows supporters of Palestinian statehood outside UK parliament before the MPs’ historic vote on recognizing a Palestinian state.

 

File photo shows supporters of Palestinian statehood outside UK parliament before the MPs’ historic vote on recognizing a Palestinian state

The comments posted by Press TV followers on the channel’s Facebook page show that international support for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state is on the rise.

Followers from across the world participated in a debate posed by a Press TV question on the recognition of the Palestinian state and overwhelmingly said that Palestine should be recognized as a sovereign state and that the Israeli regime should immediately withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

The comments also called for the release of Palestinian prisoners and an end to Israel’s breach of human rights, adding that the international community should pile up pressure on the Zionist regime to stop its construction of illegal settlements in the Palestinian lands.

“Scratch the illegal settlements and trail [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu for war crimes,” a respondent said.

There is a Genocide of Palestinians in progress in Gaza! Innocent…men, women and children are being killed and massacred by wicked, evil, criminal, terrorist, racist and Zionist Israel! World must wake up to this truth and reality! Sacred Palestine and Humanity need justice!” read another comment.

Another respondent posted the following comment, “Netanyahu is a criminal and perverted beast ruling viciously and venomously the racist, Zionist, terrorist and fascist…Israel. Iran is a land of Peace, governed by civilized beings. Israel has committed mass massacres of Palestinians with impunity and no checks or balances! Israel continues to commit GENOCIDE against poor…helpless…Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere. Israel must be taken to International Courts and severely punished for such crimes against Humanity!”

The comments came after the British parliament passed a non-binding motion to recognize Palestine with a majority of 274 to 12 on October, 13.

UK ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould recently said that the public sentiment in Britain and around the world has shifted against Israel following its recent 50-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

During his inauguration speech in parliament on October 3, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven also announced that his administration would formally recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.

Israel’s key ally, the United States, however, reacted to the announcement, terming Stockholm’s recognition as “premature.”

On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

(Source / 19.10.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

October 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm

5-year-old Palestinian girl hit by settler car succumbs to wounds

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A young Palestinian girl who was struck by an Israeli settler vehicle earlier Sunday has succumbed to her wounds, medics told Ma’an.

Einas Khalil, five, died after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, medical sources at Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah said.

The girl and young Nilin Asfour were walking on the main road near the village when they were hit, and were taken to the hospital in Ramallah where their wounds were described as serious.

Einas passed away hours later.

Residents of Sinjil accused the settler of deliberately hitting the girls.

Israeli police arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and opened an investigation into whether it was deliberate, locals said.

Over 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

(Source / 19.10.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

October 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Official: PA forces regularly conduct politically motivated arrests

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority police regularly detain people in the West Bank due to their political affiliation, an official said Sunday.

Khalil Assaf, a member of the subcommittee on civil liberties formed after the West Bank-Gaza unity government was sworn in in June, told Ma’an that regardless of the committee’s formation, none of its recommendations have been implemented.

“Every day people are being detained in the West Bank because of their political affiliation, though in most cases they are released within days,” Assaf said.

Though he could not give an exact number of political detainees, he said “we are talking about dozens” of people.

The subcommittee, which was tasked with maintaining and monitoring civil liberties in the West Bank and Gaza, has not been summoned for any meetings with the rest of the unity government so far, Assaf said.

He said it was formed in order to address several aspects of freedom in a democratic society: the freedoms of work, assembly, research, and movement; the freedom to distribute newspapers; the freedom to participate in political activities without discrimination; providing passports to citizens who had previously been denied passports; and the issue of citizens being summoned for questioning both in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian political leaders have been unable to implement these freedoms due to the lack of full implementation of the unity government, he added.

Critics of the US-backed PA often decry the night raids conducted by Palestinian police to arrest dissenting politically active individuals, stressing that they are carried out in a manner nearly identical to the raids conducted by occupying Israeli forces.

(Source / 19.10.2014)

Written by altahrir

October 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Sick Palestinian Prisoners Could Die in Israeli Jails

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RAMALLAH, October 18, 2012 (WAFA) – Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, warned that sick Palestinian prisoners are facing death in Israeli jails due to deliberate medical negligence by the Israeli prison administration.

The minister stated that, ‘prisoners jail cells have turned into their graves.’

During a visit to the family of Khader Dababat, a prisoner sentenced to 16 years in Israeli jail, Qaraqi stressed that prisoners alarming health conditions are extremely worrisome.

Dababat,  was shot by Israeli forces during his arrest and has underwent difficult treatment during his detention, including solitary confinement for two years, during which he was physically assaulted, which aggravated his mental health condition.

‘Prisoners are semi-alive  and are suffering from extremely dangerous health conditions,’ stressed Qaraqi.

He called upon all humanitarian and human rights organizations to intervene and put an end to the suffering of  ill prisoners.

Qaraqi stated that the number of sick prisoners detained in Israeli jails have reached 1500, of whom 80 prisoners are suffering from serious health problems and do not receive the necessary treatment; they suffer from malignant diseases, paralysis, and disabilities, in addition to cases of mental illness and neurological disorder.

Qaraqo also paid a visit to the families of several other prisoners, including the family of released prioner Nawal al-Saadi, who was released after spending two years in Israeli jails.

Al-Saadi,  whose two sons were killed by Israeli forces, appealed to organizations to intervene and stand by female prisoners who are suffering from ill-treatment by the Israeli prison administration and their jailers.

(Source / 18.10.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

October 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Hamas to run for presidential and municipal elections, again

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With the Islamic movement experiencing every-growing popularity, both in Gaza and the West Bank, Abbas is prepared for Hamas victory in upcoming elections

Hamas top leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya

BEIT HANOUN, GAZA – Hamas has begun preparations for presidential and legislative elections, a senior Hamas political leader Khalil al-Hayya, has announced.

It is the first time that the group has decided to contest a Presidential election and could see a Hamas leader win control of the Palestinian Authority.

In his comments, made over the weekend, Hayya explained that Hamas was dedicated to working with the current consensus government in Gaza, but also wanted to ensure that it had a strategy in place once elections were held. He stressed that his movement was determined to work toward ending divisions and building national organisations on the basis of transparency and power sharing.

“It is not allowed for anyone to work on their own,” he said.

The announcement was made at an event held in the northern town of Beit Hanoun to commemorate the more than 2,100 Palestinians killed during this summer’s 51-day war on Gaza, and was attended by thousands, including former Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Hanyieh and several other senior Hamas leaders.

The move appears to be an attempt by the Hamas leadership to outline new thinking within the Hamas movement, with Hayya repeatedly calling for new elections and greater Palestinian political and military reunification, in the face of Israel’s ongoing occupation.

“Everyone realises the policy of the blockade has failed, and the siege against the resistance is gone, and will not return,” Hayya said.

“The world and its tyrannical forces, which imposed the blockade on us, found it useless due to the presence of the resistance.”

Israel has attempted to assassinate Hayya several times over the years. The last time was during this summers’ offensive when it bombed his home, killing his son, daughter-in-law and grandson. Prior to that, several of his relatives were killed when Israeli F16s hit places where he was believed to be hiding. Yet, Hayya remained undeterred and promised to keep up resistance.

“We are now more confident and certain … that there is no place for occupiers on our land,” he said.

Hamas will continue and employ new techniques, despite the blockade which did not stop them from building more homemade rockets and later expanding their range, he explained.

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who stems from the rival Fatah camp, has even tentatively accepted the move on Wednesday, telling an Egyptian television station that he would be willing to hand power over to Hamas if they won the next election. Hamas did not stand against Abbas in the 2005 Presidential vote, although the group did field candidates for the 2006 parliamentary elections.

“We are ready for presidential elections as of tomorrow, and if Hamas wins, they will get power,” Abbas said.

The following statement could, in fact, be interpreted as a reference the ongoing problem facing  tens of thousands of civil servant workers in Gaza, but if such a transition is indeed allowed, it would be a shift away from the drama which followed the 2006 elections.

Then Hamas won a majority of seats in Gaza, while Fatah came out on top in the West Bank. The ensuing tensions have divided Palestinian politics since, although the announcement of a consensus technocrat government on 2 June has now raised hopes that a lasting rapprochement could be in the works.

Under the deal, agreed by both Hamas and Fatah, the 17-member non-affiliated cabinet is supposed to work toward unity and peace until elections – slated for 2015 – can be held.

Election time?

For now, there is not much talk within Palestinian factions as to when the Palestinian elections will actually be held. However, if an election was held now, it seems that Hamas may have the upper hand.

In a poll conducted last month by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, Hamas was shown to be leading the polls in both presidential and parliamentary elections –  the first time this has happened since Palestinians voted Hamas into office in 2006.

According to Adnan Abu Amer, a Gaza-based political analyst, Hamas is planning to repeat its 2006 parliamentary election strategy and expand to presidential elections.

“Hamas fears the upcoming elections would be the soft gate which will get it out of the political arena,” he told Middle East Eye.

But Hamas is determined to not let this happen and has learned from the experience of governing. They are ready to correct past mistakes and evolve, he explained.

Moreover, the movement knows that now is the perfect time to gain the upper hand, he added.

According to the poll, which interviewed 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank, there has been an unprecedented shift in popularity towards Hamas. This is in large, to the credit of Hamas’ ability to hold its ground during the 51-day Israeli attack on Gaza this summer, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge.”

The poll shows that Hamas leader, Hanyieh would win with 60 percent of votes in a two-way race against PA president Mahmoud Abbas who would secure just 32 percent of the vote.

More than 50 of respondents said that armed-resistance would be more likely to help Palestinians achieve their ambition of having their own state – an indication that the majority of Palestinians would like to adopt Hamas’s strategy of armed struggle to end occupation.

Some internal documents within Hamas showed earlier in the year that Hamas popularity faced steady decline.

This shift was clear even before the 2014 war, with a poll conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, showing that 70 percent of Gazans wanted Hamas to maintain a ceasefire with Israel and 57 percent of Gazans preferred a Fatah to a Hamas leadership.

But Hamas’s support seems to have bounced back and is also crucially growing in the West Bank, where resentment is rising regarding the actions of the Palestinian Authority, that has failed to make headway in peace talks, prevent massive settlement construction and that imposed heavy crack-downs on pro-Gaza protests this summer.

Even if Hamas’ popularity in Gaza ends up declining over the long term, according to Abu Amer, Hamas is still well positioned to win due to several factors.

“In applying mathematical equation, the West Bank population is bigger than Gaza and that may balance out any potential loss in Gaza where the population is smaller,” Abu Amer said.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2010 there were 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and 1.7 in Gaza. Moreover a greater percentage of the population is able to vote in the West Bank – almost double those eligible in Gaza – which further pushes the odds in Hamas’s favour, Abu Amer added.

Observers and commentators tend to agree that the PA could revive its fortunes if it manages to secure the opening of Gaza’s crossings and speed up the process of reconstruction and economic recovery in Gaza. On the other hand, if Hamas is indeed holding an Israeli soldier hostage, and manages to secure a good prisoner-swap deal – similar to the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011 – then the wave of popularity for Hamas could well undermine any PA hopes.

(Source / 18.10.2014)

Written by altahrir

October 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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