Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

Rockets Launched at Israel; Gaza Militant Posts Struck

Rockets launched at Israel resulted in military strikes againsttwo posts belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Sirens sounded in Israel at various locations on a day of heightened tension following demonstrations in the coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians protested at President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that he was recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Two rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip fell short inside the Palestinian enclave earlier in the evening and a third, fired later, landed in an open area in Israel causing no casualties or damage, an army spokeswoman said.

Gaza residents said there were no casualties from the Israeli attack and that two unmanned lookout posts were hit.

A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades — which does not heed the call from the enclave’s dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets — claimed responsibility for the launches.

“In response to … projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day … an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip,” an army statement said.

During the Gaza war in 2014, Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interceptor system largely protected the country’s heartland from thousands of rocket barrages fired by militants.

2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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December 8, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

PressTV-Israeli tank, aircraft attack Gaza Strip

The Israeli military says an aircraft and a tank have targeted two security posts in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The attack on Thursday night had no casualties, Reuters reported, citing residents of the Palestinian coastal enclave.

The Israeli army claimed that the attack was a response to rocket attacks from Gaza earlier in the day.

“In response to… projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day… an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip,”it said in a statement.

However, no claim of responsibility has so far been made by the Palestinian resistance movement.

Reuters said the al-Tawheed Brigades claimed responsibility for the missile launches from Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education. The Tel Aviv regime has also waged several wars on Gaza since 2008. Thousands of Gazans have been killed or maimed in the Israeli wars and a significant portion of infrastructure has been destroyed.

Israeli attacks like the one on Thursday have been taking place on a regular basis since the regime’s latest war on Gaza in early July 2014.

The development came a day after US President Donald Trump said he would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the new capital of Israel, escalating tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Israel strikes Gaza militant posts after rockets fired at …

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said on Thursday that an aircraft and a tank had targeted two posts belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip after three rockets were launched at Israel.

Sirens sounded in Israel at various locations on a day of heightened tension following demonstrations in the coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians protested at U.S. President Donald Trumps announcement on Wednesday that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital.

Two rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip fell short inside the Palestinian enclave earlier in the evening and a third, fired later, landed in an open area in Israel causing no casualties or damage, an army spokeswoman said.

Gaza residents said there were no casualties from the Israeli attack and that two unmanned lookout posts were hit.

A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades – which does not heed the call from the enclaves dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets – claimed responsibility for the launches.

In response to … projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day … an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip, an army statement said.

During the Gaza war in 2014, Israels Iron Dome rocket interceptor system largely protected the countrys heartland from thousands of rocket barrages fired by militants.

Additional reporting by Ali Abdelaty in Cairo and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams

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Gaza – Wikitravel

Gaza

The Gaza Strip (Arabic , Ghazzah, Hebrew ‘Azza) is a Palestinian territory in the Middle East. The largest city is Gaza.

Positioned between Israel and Egypt, Gaza has a reasonably modern infrastructure and architecture despite its troubles, but a UN report as early as 1952 stated that the Strip was too small to support its population of 300,000, and now there are well over 1.7 million inhabitants.

The earliest known reference to Gaza is an inscription in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt, dated 1500 BC, which states that the town of Gaza is ‘flourishing’. And for a long time it did: a staging post on trade routes connecting Asia and Persia with Arabia, Egypt and Africa, even the name means “treasure” in Arabic. Abraham, the father of the Hebrew and Arab people according to the Tradition, traveled to Gerar, city in Gaza, in approximately 1760 BCE, according to Genesis 20:1.Alexander the Great laid siege to the town in 332 BC, executing 10,000 defenders after being held off for two months. Later, the town was held by the Romans, the Crusaders, the Mamluks, the Ottomans and briefly even by the French in 1799, when Napoleon Bonaparte set up camp on his way to defeat in Egypt. The Turks took it back, then lost it to the British in World War I. The Egyptian army grabbed it during the 1948 war that led to Israel’s independence, opening camps for Palestinian refugees – and the current situation began when Israel occupied the Strip in 1967.

Spurred by the violence of the 1987-1993 Intifada (“Uprising”), Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed a “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements” in 1993, under which the Palestinian Authority (PA) was created to govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for a transitional period “not exceeding five years” as a step towards full independence. Parts of the territories were indeed handed over the PA between 1994 and 1999, but the peace plans were derailed by the second intifada that broke out in September 2000, unleashing another spiral of violence.

Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, evacuating all Jewish residents and withdrawing its troops from the territory. It did however retain control of the airspace and the coastline in addition to the fact the entire region is circled by a large armed security fence. The Islamist organization Hamas won elections in 2006 and violently kicked out the remnants of the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Under Hamas rule, the rain of Qassam rocket fire, as well as mortars, from Gaza into southern Israel increased, and Israel responded by locking down the borders down tighter than ever and conducting raids against Arab militants. From December 2008 to January 2009, Israel launched a massive coordinated air, naval, and land offensive in response to rocket attacks.

Gaza Strip

The Gaza Strip is a narrow, 40-km long slice of land between the Mediterranean to the west and the Negev desert to the east. Egypt lies to the south, the north and east border Israel. The urban sprawl of Gaza City, mostly stretching along and around the 3-km long Omar al-Mukhtar Street, covers much of the north. The other main towns of Khan Yunis and Rafah are near the southern border, with most of the rest covered with agricultural land.

A bit of terminology disentanglement: Gaza Strip refers to the entire 40-by-6 kilometer patch of territory. Gaza City refers to the town itself, in the northern part of the strip, but due to huge population growth the City now sprawls into many of the surrounding villages and it’s a tough task to say what is a part of the City and what isn’t. Both city and strip are pretty much interchangeably referred to as Gaza and this guide will follow suit.

Gaza has a temperate climate with mild winters and dry, hot summers in which drought is common.

Flat to rolling, sand and dune covered coastal plain. Cultivated land.

Highest point: Abu ‘Awdah (Joz Abu ‘Auda) 105 m

Getting into Gaza is difficult. Most would-be visitors from countries with diplomatic relations with Israel are required to apply in advance for Israeli permission to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing. The permission application is usually submitted through local Israel embassies and, in theory takes between 5-10 days. In practice, it can take months. The main point of entry to Gaza is from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The crossing was reopened for traffic on June 1, 2010 though some restrictions still apply. Egyptian authorities control their side of the crossing with Hamas police operating the other side. However, Palestinians (except for men between 18 and 40) are permitted to cross into Egypt visa-free. As of 2015, the Rafah crossing is only open about 3 days every few months.

Gaza has no functioning airport, as the former Yasser Arafat International Airport (IATA: GZA) has been shut down since 2000. The airport was badly damaged by multiple bombings – the most recent in 2009 – and is unlikely to reopen in the foreseeable future. The Israeli Air Force monitors Gazan airspace with radar, and regularily sends patrols of drone aircraft and fighter jets over Gaza. A surveillance balloon is also tethered at the Erez Crossing. For the time being, the closest airports is El Arish International Airport in Egypt, or Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

The main point of entry is the Rafah Crossing in the South, on the border with Egypt. Egyptian authorities have built a wall on it, and the only way in is through a road called the Philadelphi Route. The route is controlled by Hamas, and the point of entry and exit is controlled by Egyptian Police. On arriving at Rafah, show your passport, the Egyptian permission letter and the Gazan-based organisation invitation letter to the guard at the gate. You will have to wait for between 10 minutes and 1 hour while they authenticate your documents. On completion, they will invite you to enter the crossing through the gates.

The second point of entry is through the Erez crossing in the north, on the border with Israel. You will need a permit from the Israeli Army, or a GPO (press) card. If you have a permit, you need coordination with the Israeli Army, specifying when you are planning to enter and leave Gaza. Journalists with a Government Press Office (GPO) card can come and go as they please. Only vehicles with prior coordination (such as a handful of UN cars) are allowed to drive in and only after a thorough search, which may take months. It’s very helpful to travel with someone that’s run the gauntlet before the first time via Erez.

At Erez, you have to approach the Israeli soldier in a pillbox. They may ask you to open your bags on the table, and (as at TLV) ask if you have weapons. They will check your passports and permits for allowed entry. You then wait outside an electronic gate for your turn to be called through. You then enter the terminal, hand your passport and coordination over to another soldier to receive an Israeli exit stamp. who may or may not ask you more questions — usually things like “first time in Gaza”, etc.

If everything is satisfactory, take back your documents and follow the signs directing you to Gaza. After exiting the terminal, you end up in a long barren concrete tunnel. Don’t bring anything too bulky as you’ll have to go through a turnstile gate. Coming through the tunnel, you cross a no-man’s-land. This is at least 1000m long, and has lovely views of desolate, and presumably mined, land. Palestinians* are allowed in this area so you may be lucky and find a porter, trolley, wheelchair, or similar. Take it. If you take the tuk-tuk, keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times and enjoy the ride. After the gated tunnel you will emerge near a small hut. This is a checkpoint which can be ignored on the way to Gaza (but ignored at your peril on the way back). Since 2012, the only people here will be a few taxi drivers.

Take a taxi to the Hamas checkpoint, another 800m down the road. The going rate is 3 per person. You will be searched for unlawful items (make sure you are, it’s the hut to the right. Also visit the hut to the left to check your Hamas credentials — new since October 2011). Prohibited goods include alcohol, banned by the Hamas government. If you fail inspection, then at best, your items will be confiscated. Once you are through, you can take another taxi, or more likely be picked up by your local contact.

The port of Gaza is non-operational, and Gazan waters, seaports, and the coastline are patrolled by the Israeli Navy. If you attempt to reach the Gaza shoreline by boat, you will be stopped by Israeli naval vessels, and turned back by military force. Only boats with prior permission are allowed in. All boats coming from Gaza are only allowed to venture 2-3 nautical miles into the sea in order to enforce the Israeli naval blockade. Since the 2012-2013 events in Egypt, it’s been much easier to come through the Rafah crossing for all people from all nations.

After being deposited at the Hamas checkpoint near Hamsa, go to the white caravan to your right to get your exit clearance. Once through, take the taxi (3/person) to the forward checkpoint (where the wire fence begins). Then, go to the hut on the right. A man will take your passport and call ahead to tell the Israelis you’re coming. Ignore this at your own peril.

Once you get your passport back, take the tuk-tuk if possible, or begin the 1km+ walk to Israel. When you reach the end of the tunnel, you’ll see several doors. Once a handful of people have gathered, one of the doors will open (indicated by a green light on top of the door). You will then enter a hall with a table at the centre. Open your bags at the table (there are no obvious signs to do this, but look up and there’s a camera. They are checking for obvious things like large bombs). When they’ve ensured you have no prohibited items in your bags, go through the turnstile when the light flashes green. You will not receive a verbal “OK”, but rest assured you will be shouted at in Hebrew if you’re not ok.

You will see toilet facilities to your right. Use them. Follow the arrows to Israel. You will then encounter another hall with eight doorways. Wait until one of the lights go green then enter that doorway. Leave your bags with the porter at a large security scanner. You should remove all electronics not just laptops, but things like disk drives, mobile phones, etc) and place them in the large trays. Remove your belt, watch, etc too.

Keep your passport and ID on you and enter a series of gates as the lights flash green. When you come to the body scanner (a MMW scanner), put your feet on the markers and place your hands over your head in an “I surrender” pose. Keep your passport in your hands. If you’ve passed initial screening, you will be allowed out to a hall where it appears as if your bags will emerge on a conveyor belt. There may even be empty trays circling it.

Walk straight through to the departures hall, as your bag will be selected for a hand search. On your left in a row where trays with bags will gather, and you can see the guards searching your bags. Wait patiently. If you haven’t passed initial screening, you’ll be directed through further scanning. There is a separate section that will reveal itself to you if the guards in the gallery above find the need for a strip search. Once you collect your belongings, you will finally pass through Israeli entry, and get a new stamp in your passport. Exit from Gaza could take from 30 minutes to several hours. The checkpoint closes at 14:00, or even earlier. If you are stuck between Hamas and Israel phone your embassy for assistance.

There are numerous service (ser-VEESS) taxis in Gaza and several privately owned bus services. Navigation is done by landmark, not street address. Stand on the side of the road that is in the desired direction of travel. When a driver stops indicate the destination landmark e.g., “Shifa” and the number of passengers (“wahid” for one, “it-nayn” for two.) If the driver is not headed that way, he may drive on. Travel up and down Omar al-Mukhtar St. will set you back 1; trips elsewhere are negotiable. Near al-Shifa hospital is a line of taxis that travel to destinations beyond Gaza city. The drivers yell out their destination and wait until their vehicle is pretty much full before they leave. It is advisable to watch your step if walking, since traffic is chaotic and sidewalks are largely non-existent.Gaza “city” side walks are everywhere, its not preferred to take a public taxi, if you call a taxi office they will send you one alone, it’s much safer.

The standard language is Arabic. English is widely understood and spoken, Hebrew is also understood to some extent.

Gaza has several historical attractions and landmarks. The following are all in Gaza City:

Gazans use the Israeli shekel () Please note the policemen at the Hamas checkpoint into Gaza are now opening all bags and disposing of alcohol (since early 2009). Do not bring alcohol into Gaza, it could land you into trouble.

Popular Arab fast food like falafel and kebabs are available everywhere in Gaza. Head to the posh suburb of Rimal for fancier food; the restaurant in the Windmill Hotel is nice. Also keep in mind that if you wish to bring in any food products, you should first check which products are allowed in Gaza under local custom laws. If you are caught with prohibited food, it might lead to trouble with the authorities. Finally, it is not unheard of to be invited over for dinner.

Due to increasingly strong Hamas influence, alcohol is no longer available. The last place for a visitor to drink was the UN Club. If you are caught with booze by Hamas authorities, it will be confiscated.

There are many hotels in Gaza. It is also possible to stay with locals who might even invite you over for a night.

Realistically, if you are not either an aid worker, journalist or diplomat, there is no work for you in Gaza. There are a number of NGOs offering internships, however, such as the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights in Gaza, the Palestinian Center For Human Rights and others.

The Gaza Strip is occasionally subject to Israeli military operations (which include aerial and naval bombardment as well as ground incursions) as well as armed confrontations between the Hamas authorities and Fatah factions. While Hamas has managed to curb crime levels in Gaza, some members have been known to beat journalists attempting to cover demonstrations against Hamas. In general, use common sense and avoid these kinds of situations. Consult your embassy for advice and current conditions before setting out. Unlike the West Bank travel documentation does not need to be kept at hand at all times.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Gaza’s power station and its substation have been severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes and no longer function at the intended capacity. Power outages are very common since the European Commission handed over control of the fuel obtainment to the Palestinian Authority in 2009 as Hamas has so far failed to pay 20% of the fuel costs. Currently, these outages are countered by large industrial and small commercial diesel generators which combine to create a cacophony that the locals have somehow become desensitised to. Some of these generators are poorly maintained and leak carbon monoxide. Visitors should be wary of this, particularly in enclosed spaces where it has proven fatal.

See also War zone safety.

Much of the underground water aquifer in the Gaza Strip has been contaminated by waste and sea water leaking into the water system. As such, tap water is generally not safe to drink. Travelers are advised to purchase bottled water whenever possible.

Women should dress modestly, especially if entering refugee camps. Men and women are obliged to dress appropriately at religious sites such as mosques and churches. Respect local customs and behave appropriately in front of authority figures in Gaza.

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IDF tanks fire on Gaza after mortar attack – Arab-Israeli …

Calling the firing of the projectiles a serious attack, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said the projectiles were aimed at the IDF post and a cement factory on the northeastern edge of the Gaza Strip where construction crews are working on Israels new underground border barrier.

The mortar fire set off alarms that were heard in Sderot and the Shaar Hanegev region.

Train service in the area was temporarily halted and resumed an hour later, Israeli media reported.

The IDF carried out two rounds of strikes near dusk.

Tanks and aircraft hit two Hamas posts and two others that belonged to Islamic Jihad shortly after the barrage. Two additional strikes against PIJ posts were carried out by the IAF shortly afterward.

There were no casualties and only minor damage to equipment following the firing of the projectiles. The Gaza Health Ministry said three people were lightly wounded by the Israeli strikes.

Israel has begun building a state-of-the-art underground barrier that has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels, combined with a six-meter- high aboveground smart fence. The fence, which will stretch along the entire Gaza border, including in the sea, is due to be completed by 2019.

The mortar barrage is believed to have been PIJs response to the cross-border attack tunnel that was destroyed by the IDF on October 30, killing 14 terrorists.

The group said the tunnel, which was detected using newly implemented advanced technology and destroyed in a controlled explosion inside Israeli territory, had been under construction for years.

It vowed to take revenge for those who were killed.

Following the incident, the IDF upped its alertness along the Gaza border and deployed Iron Dome batteries across the center of the country.

It is exactly one month since the IDF destroyed the tunnel, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad carried out their retaliation today, Manelis said.

Civilian communities were not threatened at any moment, and Israel has no intention of escalating the situation or initiating any hostilities on its southern border, he said. But any further action would be dependent on what happens in Gaza.

We know exactly who fired the projectiles; we know their names, Manelis said, adding that the IDF holds Hamas responsible for everything that occurs in the Hamas-run enclave.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said Israel was trying to cause confusion and divert attention away from the settlers crime in Kusra, according to Palestine Today, a news website affiliated with the group.

The Palestinian resistance has the full right to retaliate, he said.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and the head of the Southern Division and Intelligence met and decided that no further restrictions should be imposed on the civilian population of the region.

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Israel would continue to hold a zero tolerance policy toward enemy fire from Gaza.

He said the mortar fire proves that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas is nothing more than a fig leaf that covers up a severe reality of armed and threatening terrorist organizations.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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GAZA 2014 | Jon Snow ‘annihilates’ Israeli spokesperson …

Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow destroys the Prime Minister of Israel’s Chief Spokesperson, Mark Regev, live on air on British television; questioning Israeli military attacks on Al-Wafa hospital and an attack which killed three young boys playing ball on a Gaza beach while Regev continues to claim “the Israeli military does not target civilians.”

Broadcast date: Wednesday 16th July, 2014.

More at: http://www.channel4.com/newsJon Snow: http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog

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November 29, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times

; also referred to as Gaza City) is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 410,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories. – Source: Wikipedia

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October 17, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza – Haaretz.com

Gaza – Haaretz.comskip – Redirect Mobile Usersskip – chrome pushskip – Visual Revenue skip – skip – skip – logo schema for googleskip – skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – defaultskip – skip – skip – YOYO code HDC site skip – Crazy eggskip – collecting surfing data – responsiveskip – skip – skip – skip – access list by IP scriptskip – skip – skip – misc (midrag scripts)skip – YOYO code HDC site skip – Crazy eggskip – collecting surfing data – responsiveskip – skip – skip – skip – skip – skip – access list by IP scriptskip – skip –

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Unity Deal Offers Hope for Palestinians and a Respite for Gaza

It was a sobering reality check for a group that, despite years of fiery defiance and arms supplies from Iran, cannot rule Gaza without help from Fatah, the rival faction that controls the Palestinian Authority and was driven out of Gaza in violent clashes 10 years ago.

And for Mahmoud Abbas, the 82-year-old president of the Palestinian Authority, it could amount to a legacy-saving moment in the twilight years of his rule, after years of abject failure to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel. Although he was not in Cairo, Mr. Abbas gave his blessing to the deal, which he hailed as a final agreement, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel objects to any reconciliation that does not include accepting international agreements, recognizing Israel and disarming Hamas. A Fatah-Hamas rapprochement would make peace much harder to achieve, Mr. Netanyahu said in a post on Facebook. Reconciling with mass-murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

At a brief ceremony on Thursday at the headquarters of Egypts General Intelligence Service, which shepherded the negotiations, representatives from Hamas and Fatah kissed and embraced amid a smattering of applause from Egyptian and Palestinian officials gathered around them.

The Palestinians did not release the text of the agreement, and there was no mention of the thorny issues that remain unresolved, such as the fate of the main Hamas militia, or the network of tunnels under Gaza used by fighters and weapons smugglers.

But officials from both sides described a series of agreed measures that are due to unfold in the coming weeks, and which they say will both sideline Hamas from the day-to-day running of Gaza and create a political groundswell for a broader deal to reunite the Palestinian territories.

Egypts State Information Service said that the rivals had agreed to hand full control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by Dec. 1. Palestinian officials said that if the process goes well, Mr. Abbas could visit Gaza in the coming month, his first visit to the embattled coastal strip in a decade.

Egypt has set Nov. 21 for the next step of the process: a meeting in Cairo of all Palestinian factions that, it hopes, will be the start of talks toward a Palestinian unity government. Some Palestinian officials said they hoped such a government could be formed by January.

But much depends on how things transpire in Gaza over the coming weeks.

Under terms of the deal, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will form a joint police force of at least 5,000 officers, and merge their ministries. One Hamas official said they would negotiate to slim down the bloated civil service, cutting up to 40,000 of the 200,000 jobs.

The reconciliation deal was signed in Cairo on Thursday.

Two elements of the deal promise to quickly ease conditions in Gaza, which aid organizations have called an emerging humanitarian crisis.

The Palestinian Authority has agreed to lift sanctions that it imposed on Gaza this year as part of its effort to pressure Hamas into talks. The government cut electricity supplies to a few hours a day in Gaza and stopped paying government salaries, an important source of income in a besieged territory with a broken economy.

And Hamas will cede control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Gazas main lifeline to the outside world. That would allow Egypt to ease stringent cargo restrictions and enable Gazans to travel outside, perhaps the most significant change in the agreement.

But even if the two sides succeed in fully reuniting in the next round of talks, the new arrangement seems unlikely to improve relations with Israel, which has warned that it could not accept a unity government that included Hamas.

Hamas has insisted on its right to maintain control of its arsenal including thousands of rockets, missiles and drones as well as its militia and its network of fortified tunnels.

Across divided Palestine there were cautious celebrations.

In Gaza City, vendors passed out sweets to children in Soldiers Square, a park at the center of town. Mona Khfaja, 37, a pharmacist who said she was unable to leave Gaza to seek treatment for kidney disease, said dissatisfaction with the crushing border restrictions had forced warring Palestinian leaders to the negotiation table.

We do not want the flags of Fatah and Hamas, only the Palestinian flag, she said.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, Abu Ahmad, 56, said he was wary about getting his hopes up. Many agreements have been signed in the past, but something has always caused these political parties to back away, he said, and Im afraid theres still a chance for that to happen again.

The signing ceremony on Thursday followed two days of talks mediated by Egypts General Intelligence Service. The deal was signed by the deputy leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation.

Officials from both sides offered frank appraisals of the issues that divide them, and that could easily scupper this latest effort. Ayman Rigib, a Fatah negotiator in Cairo, pointed to the status of Hamass Qassam Brigades, with an estimated 20,000 fighters, and Hamass extensive tunnels.

Were worried about the tunnels, Mr. Rigib said. Weve seen Hamas use them in 2014. Will they give us the maps? Will they shut them down? It has not yet been discussed.

Another Palestinian concern is that a unity government involving Hamas could cause the Trump administration to cut funding to the Palestinian territories under congressional rules against funding terrorist organizations. American lawmakers threatened to cut funding in reaction to a similar 2011 deal between Hamas, which the United States designates as a terrorist organization, and the Palestinian Authority. That agreement ultimately fell apart.

The United States gives the Palestinian Authority about $400 million in annual assistance. But for now, with Hamas ceding all administrative control of Gaza, there is little danger that aid would be cut off.

Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the issues yet to be resolved would be the most difficult. Hamas may be willing to cede more administrative control of Gaza, he said, but the parties have so far avoided the issues likeliest to derail the talks: namely the relationship with Israel and what to do with Hamass military wing.

When leaders from Hamas and Fatah signed the 2011 deal, Mr. Abbas said, We have turned the black page of division forever. But the agreement quickly foundered amid opposition from Israel, which denounced it as a victory for terrorism.

This time, a broad Arab coalition is backing the deal, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This merger is going to cost a lot of money, and they will help us financially, said Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, referring to Emirati and Saudi support. The Egyptians also clearly got a green light from America. They are obviously trying to cook up something to help end this conflict.

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October 13, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Rockets Launched at Israel; Gaza Militant Posts Struck

Rockets launched at Israel resulted in military strikes againsttwo posts belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Reuters reported. Sirens sounded in Israel at various locations on a day of heightened tension following demonstrations in the coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians protested at President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that he was recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Two rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip fell short inside the Palestinian enclave earlier in the evening and a third, fired later, landed in an open area in Israel causing no casualties or damage, an army spokeswoman said. Gaza residents said there were no casualties from the Israeli attack and that two unmanned lookout posts were hit. A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades — which does not heed the call from the enclave’s dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets — claimed responsibility for the launches. “In response to … projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day … an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip,” an army statement said. During the Gaza war in 2014, Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interceptor system largely protected the country’s heartland from thousands of rocket barrages fired by militants. 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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December 8, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

PressTV-Israeli tank, aircraft attack Gaza Strip

The Israeli military says an aircraft and a tank have targeted two security posts in the besieged Gaza Strip. The attack on Thursday night had no casualties, Reuters reported, citing residents of the Palestinian coastal enclave. The Israeli army claimed that the attack was a response to rocket attacks from Gaza earlier in the day. “In response to… projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day… an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip,”it said in a statement. However, no claim of responsibility has so far been made by the Palestinian resistance movement. Reuters said the al-Tawheed Brigades claimed responsibility for the missile launches from Gaza. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education. The Tel Aviv regime has also waged several wars on Gaza since 2008. Thousands of Gazans have been killed or maimed in the Israeli wars and a significant portion of infrastructure has been destroyed. Israeli attacks like the one on Thursday have been taking place on a regular basis since the regime’s latest war on Gaza in early July 2014. The development came a day after US President Donald Trump said he would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the new capital of Israel, escalating tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Israel strikes Gaza militant posts after rockets fired at …

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said on Thursday that an aircraft and a tank had targeted two posts belonging to militants in the Gaza Strip after three rockets were launched at Israel. Sirens sounded in Israel at various locations on a day of heightened tension following demonstrations in the coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians protested at U.S. President Donald Trumps announcement on Wednesday that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital. Two rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip fell short inside the Palestinian enclave earlier in the evening and a third, fired later, landed in an open area in Israel causing no casualties or damage, an army spokeswoman said. Gaza residents said there were no casualties from the Israeli attack and that two unmanned lookout posts were hit. A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades – which does not heed the call from the enclaves dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets – claimed responsibility for the launches. In response to … projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day … an IDF tank and an IAF aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip. The IDF holds Hamas responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip, an army statement said. During the Gaza war in 2014, Israels Iron Dome rocket interceptor system largely protected the countrys heartland from thousands of rocket barrages fired by militants. Additional reporting by Ali Abdelaty in Cairo and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza – Wikitravel

Gaza The Gaza Strip (Arabic , Ghazzah, Hebrew ‘Azza) is a Palestinian territory in the Middle East. The largest city is Gaza. Positioned between Israel and Egypt, Gaza has a reasonably modern infrastructure and architecture despite its troubles, but a UN report as early as 1952 stated that the Strip was too small to support its population of 300,000, and now there are well over 1.7 million inhabitants. The earliest known reference to Gaza is an inscription in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt, dated 1500 BC, which states that the town of Gaza is ‘flourishing’. And for a long time it did: a staging post on trade routes connecting Asia and Persia with Arabia, Egypt and Africa, even the name means “treasure” in Arabic. Abraham, the father of the Hebrew and Arab people according to the Tradition, traveled to Gerar, city in Gaza, in approximately 1760 BCE, according to Genesis 20:1.Alexander the Great laid siege to the town in 332 BC, executing 10,000 defenders after being held off for two months. Later, the town was held by the Romans, the Crusaders, the Mamluks, the Ottomans and briefly even by the French in 1799, when Napoleon Bonaparte set up camp on his way to defeat in Egypt. The Turks took it back, then lost it to the British in World War I. The Egyptian army grabbed it during the 1948 war that led to Israel’s independence, opening camps for Palestinian refugees – and the current situation began when Israel occupied the Strip in 1967. Spurred by the violence of the 1987-1993 Intifada (“Uprising”), Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed a “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements” in 1993, under which the Palestinian Authority (PA) was created to govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for a transitional period “not exceeding five years” as a step towards full independence. Parts of the territories were indeed handed over the PA between 1994 and 1999, but the peace plans were derailed by the second intifada that broke out in September 2000, unleashing another spiral of violence. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, evacuating all Jewish residents and withdrawing its troops from the territory. It did however retain control of the airspace and the coastline in addition to the fact the entire region is circled by a large armed security fence. The Islamist organization Hamas won elections in 2006 and violently kicked out the remnants of the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Under Hamas rule, the rain of Qassam rocket fire, as well as mortars, from Gaza into southern Israel increased, and Israel responded by locking down the borders down tighter than ever and conducting raids against Arab militants. From December 2008 to January 2009, Israel launched a massive coordinated air, naval, and land offensive in response to rocket attacks. Gaza Strip The Gaza Strip is a narrow, 40-km long slice of land between the Mediterranean to the west and the Negev desert to the east. Egypt lies to the south, the north and east border Israel. The urban sprawl of Gaza City, mostly stretching along and around the 3-km long Omar al-Mukhtar Street, covers much of the north. The other main towns of Khan Yunis and Rafah are near the southern border, with most of the rest covered with agricultural land. A bit of terminology disentanglement: Gaza Strip refers to the entire 40-by-6 kilometer patch of territory. Gaza City refers to the town itself, in the northern part of the strip, but due to huge population growth the City now sprawls into many of the surrounding villages and it’s a tough task to say what is a part of the City and what isn’t. Both city and strip are pretty much interchangeably referred to as Gaza and this guide will follow suit. Gaza has a temperate climate with mild winters and dry, hot summers in which drought is common. Flat to rolling, sand and dune covered coastal plain. Cultivated land. Highest point: Abu ‘Awdah (Joz Abu ‘Auda) 105 m Getting into Gaza is difficult. Most would-be visitors from countries with diplomatic relations with Israel are required to apply in advance for Israeli permission to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing. The permission application is usually submitted through local Israel embassies and, in theory takes between 5-10 days. In practice, it can take months. The main point of entry to Gaza is from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The crossing was reopened for traffic on June 1, 2010 though some restrictions still apply. Egyptian authorities control their side of the crossing with Hamas police operating the other side. However, Palestinians (except for men between 18 and 40) are permitted to cross into Egypt visa-free. As of 2015, the Rafah crossing is only open about 3 days every few months. Gaza has no functioning airport, as the former Yasser Arafat International Airport (IATA: GZA) has been shut down since 2000. The airport was badly damaged by multiple bombings – the most recent in 2009 – and is unlikely to reopen in the foreseeable future. The Israeli Air Force monitors Gazan airspace with radar, and regularily sends patrols of drone aircraft and fighter jets over Gaza. A surveillance balloon is also tethered at the Erez Crossing. For the time being, the closest airports is El Arish International Airport in Egypt, or Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The main point of entry is the Rafah Crossing in the South, on the border with Egypt. Egyptian authorities have built a wall on it, and the only way in is through a road called the Philadelphi Route. The route is controlled by Hamas, and the point of entry and exit is controlled by Egyptian Police. On arriving at Rafah, show your passport, the Egyptian permission letter and the Gazan-based organisation invitation letter to the guard at the gate. You will have to wait for between 10 minutes and 1 hour while they authenticate your documents. On completion, they will invite you to enter the crossing through the gates. The second point of entry is through the Erez crossing in the north, on the border with Israel. You will need a permit from the Israeli Army, or a GPO (press) card. If you have a permit, you need coordination with the Israeli Army, specifying when you are planning to enter and leave Gaza. Journalists with a Government Press Office (GPO) card can come and go as they please. Only vehicles with prior coordination (such as a handful of UN cars) are allowed to drive in and only after a thorough search, which may take months. It’s very helpful to travel with someone that’s run the gauntlet before the first time via Erez. At Erez, you have to approach the Israeli soldier in a pillbox. They may ask you to open your bags on the table, and (as at TLV) ask if you have weapons. They will check your passports and permits for allowed entry. You then wait outside an electronic gate for your turn to be called through. You then enter the terminal, hand your passport and coordination over to another soldier to receive an Israeli exit stamp. who may or may not ask you more questions — usually things like “first time in Gaza”, etc. If everything is satisfactory, take back your documents and follow the signs directing you to Gaza. After exiting the terminal, you end up in a long barren concrete tunnel. Don’t bring anything too bulky as you’ll have to go through a turnstile gate. Coming through the tunnel, you cross a no-man’s-land. This is at least 1000m long, and has lovely views of desolate, and presumably mined, land. Palestinians* are allowed in this area so you may be lucky and find a porter, trolley, wheelchair, or similar. Take it. If you take the tuk-tuk, keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times and enjoy the ride. After the gated tunnel you will emerge near a small hut. This is a checkpoint which can be ignored on the way to Gaza (but ignored at your peril on the way back). Since 2012, the only people here will be a few taxi drivers. Take a taxi to the Hamas checkpoint, another 800m down the road. The going rate is 3 per person. You will be searched for unlawful items (make sure you are, it’s the hut to the right. Also visit the hut to the left to check your Hamas credentials — new since October 2011). Prohibited goods include alcohol, banned by the Hamas government. If you fail inspection, then at best, your items will be confiscated. Once you are through, you can take another taxi, or more likely be picked up by your local contact. The port of Gaza is non-operational, and Gazan waters, seaports, and the coastline are patrolled by the Israeli Navy. If you attempt to reach the Gaza shoreline by boat, you will be stopped by Israeli naval vessels, and turned back by military force. Only boats with prior permission are allowed in. All boats coming from Gaza are only allowed to venture 2-3 nautical miles into the sea in order to enforce the Israeli naval blockade. Since the 2012-2013 events in Egypt, it’s been much easier to come through the Rafah crossing for all people from all nations. After being deposited at the Hamas checkpoint near Hamsa, go to the white caravan to your right to get your exit clearance. Once through, take the taxi (3/person) to the forward checkpoint (where the wire fence begins). Then, go to the hut on the right. A man will take your passport and call ahead to tell the Israelis you’re coming. Ignore this at your own peril. Once you get your passport back, take the tuk-tuk if possible, or begin the 1km+ walk to Israel. When you reach the end of the tunnel, you’ll see several doors. Once a handful of people have gathered, one of the doors will open (indicated by a green light on top of the door). You will then enter a hall with a table at the centre. Open your bags at the table (there are no obvious signs to do this, but look up and there’s a camera. They are checking for obvious things like large bombs). When they’ve ensured you have no prohibited items in your bags, go through the turnstile when the light flashes green. You will not receive a verbal “OK”, but rest assured you will be shouted at in Hebrew if you’re not ok. You will see toilet facilities to your right. Use them. Follow the arrows to Israel. You will then encounter another hall with eight doorways. Wait until one of the lights go green then enter that doorway. Leave your bags with the porter at a large security scanner. You should remove all electronics not just laptops, but things like disk drives, mobile phones, etc) and place them in the large trays. Remove your belt, watch, etc too. Keep your passport and ID on you and enter a series of gates as the lights flash green. When you come to the body scanner (a MMW scanner), put your feet on the markers and place your hands over your head in an “I surrender” pose. Keep your passport in your hands. If you’ve passed initial screening, you will be allowed out to a hall where it appears as if your bags will emerge on a conveyor belt. There may even be empty trays circling it. Walk straight through to the departures hall, as your bag will be selected for a hand search. On your left in a row where trays with bags will gather, and you can see the guards searching your bags. Wait patiently. If you haven’t passed initial screening, you’ll be directed through further scanning. There is a separate section that will reveal itself to you if the guards in the gallery above find the need for a strip search. Once you collect your belongings, you will finally pass through Israeli entry, and get a new stamp in your passport. Exit from Gaza could take from 30 minutes to several hours. The checkpoint closes at 14:00, or even earlier. If you are stuck between Hamas and Israel phone your embassy for assistance. There are numerous service (ser-VEESS) taxis in Gaza and several privately owned bus services. Navigation is done by landmark, not street address. Stand on the side of the road that is in the desired direction of travel. When a driver stops indicate the destination landmark e.g., “Shifa” and the number of passengers (“wahid” for one, “it-nayn” for two.) If the driver is not headed that way, he may drive on. Travel up and down Omar al-Mukhtar St. will set you back 1; trips elsewhere are negotiable. Near al-Shifa hospital is a line of taxis that travel to destinations beyond Gaza city. The drivers yell out their destination and wait until their vehicle is pretty much full before they leave. It is advisable to watch your step if walking, since traffic is chaotic and sidewalks are largely non-existent.Gaza “city” side walks are everywhere, its not preferred to take a public taxi, if you call a taxi office they will send you one alone, it’s much safer. The standard language is Arabic. English is widely understood and spoken, Hebrew is also understood to some extent. Gaza has several historical attractions and landmarks. The following are all in Gaza City: Gazans use the Israeli shekel () Please note the policemen at the Hamas checkpoint into Gaza are now opening all bags and disposing of alcohol (since early 2009). Do not bring alcohol into Gaza, it could land you into trouble. Popular Arab fast food like falafel and kebabs are available everywhere in Gaza. Head to the posh suburb of Rimal for fancier food; the restaurant in the Windmill Hotel is nice. Also keep in mind that if you wish to bring in any food products, you should first check which products are allowed in Gaza under local custom laws. If you are caught with prohibited food, it might lead to trouble with the authorities. Finally, it is not unheard of to be invited over for dinner. Due to increasingly strong Hamas influence, alcohol is no longer available. The last place for a visitor to drink was the UN Club. If you are caught with booze by Hamas authorities, it will be confiscated. There are many hotels in Gaza. It is also possible to stay with locals who might even invite you over for a night. Realistically, if you are not either an aid worker, journalist or diplomat, there is no work for you in Gaza. There are a number of NGOs offering internships, however, such as the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights in Gaza, the Palestinian Center For Human Rights and others. The Gaza Strip is occasionally subject to Israeli military operations (which include aerial and naval bombardment as well as ground incursions) as well as armed confrontations between the Hamas authorities and Fatah factions. While Hamas has managed to curb crime levels in Gaza, some members have been known to beat journalists attempting to cover demonstrations against Hamas. In general, use common sense and avoid these kinds of situations. Consult your embassy for advice and current conditions before setting out. Unlike the West Bank travel documentation does not need to be kept at hand at all times. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Gaza’s power station and its substation have been severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes and no longer function at the intended capacity. Power outages are very common since the European Commission handed over control of the fuel obtainment to the Palestinian Authority in 2009 as Hamas has so far failed to pay 20% of the fuel costs. Currently, these outages are countered by large industrial and small commercial diesel generators which combine to create a cacophony that the locals have somehow become desensitised to. Some of these generators are poorly maintained and leak carbon monoxide. Visitors should be wary of this, particularly in enclosed spaces where it has proven fatal. See also War zone safety. Much of the underground water aquifer in the Gaza Strip has been contaminated by waste and sea water leaking into the water system. As such, tap water is generally not safe to drink. Travelers are advised to purchase bottled water whenever possible. Women should dress modestly, especially if entering refugee camps. Men and women are obliged to dress appropriately at religious sites such as mosques and churches. Respect local customs and behave appropriately in front of authority figures in Gaza.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

IDF tanks fire on Gaza after mortar attack – Arab-Israeli …

Calling the firing of the projectiles a serious attack, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said the projectiles were aimed at the IDF post and a cement factory on the northeastern edge of the Gaza Strip where construction crews are working on Israels new underground border barrier. The mortar fire set off alarms that were heard in Sderot and the Shaar Hanegev region. Train service in the area was temporarily halted and resumed an hour later, Israeli media reported. The IDF carried out two rounds of strikes near dusk. Tanks and aircraft hit two Hamas posts and two others that belonged to Islamic Jihad shortly after the barrage. Two additional strikes against PIJ posts were carried out by the IAF shortly afterward. There were no casualties and only minor damage to equipment following the firing of the projectiles. The Gaza Health Ministry said three people were lightly wounded by the Israeli strikes. Israel has begun building a state-of-the-art underground barrier that has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels, combined with a six-meter- high aboveground smart fence. The fence, which will stretch along the entire Gaza border, including in the sea, is due to be completed by 2019. The mortar barrage is believed to have been PIJs response to the cross-border attack tunnel that was destroyed by the IDF on October 30, killing 14 terrorists. The group said the tunnel, which was detected using newly implemented advanced technology and destroyed in a controlled explosion inside Israeli territory, had been under construction for years. It vowed to take revenge for those who were killed. Following the incident, the IDF upped its alertness along the Gaza border and deployed Iron Dome batteries across the center of the country. It is exactly one month since the IDF destroyed the tunnel, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad carried out their retaliation today, Manelis said. Civilian communities were not threatened at any moment, and Israel has no intention of escalating the situation or initiating any hostilities on its southern border, he said. But any further action would be dependent on what happens in Gaza. We know exactly who fired the projectiles; we know their names, Manelis said, adding that the IDF holds Hamas responsible for everything that occurs in the Hamas-run enclave. Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said Israel was trying to cause confusion and divert attention away from the settlers crime in Kusra, according to Palestine Today, a news website affiliated with the group. The Palestinian resistance has the full right to retaliate, he said. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and the head of the Southern Division and Intelligence met and decided that no further restrictions should be imposed on the civilian population of the region. Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Israel would continue to hold a zero tolerance policy toward enemy fire from Gaza. He said the mortar fire proves that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas is nothing more than a fig leaf that covers up a severe reality of armed and threatening terrorist organizations.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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December 6, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

GAZA 2014 | Jon Snow ‘annihilates’ Israeli spokesperson …

Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow destroys the Prime Minister of Israel’s Chief Spokesperson, Mark Regev, live on air on British television; questioning Israeli military attacks on Al-Wafa hospital and an attack which killed three young boys playing ball on a Gaza beach while Regev continues to claim “the Israeli military does not target civilians.” Broadcast date: Wednesday 16th July, 2014. More at: http://www.channel4.com/newsJon Snow: http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog

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November 29, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times

; also referred to as Gaza City) is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 410,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories. – Source: Wikipedia By Jacob Wirtschafter and Asma Jawabreh – Special to The Washington Times Shares By FARES AKRAM – Associated Press Shares By Aron Heller – Associated Press Shares By Associated Press Shares By FARES AKRAM and JOSEF FEDERMAN – Associated Press Shares By FARES AKRAM – Associated Press Shares By Associated Press Shares By FARES AKRAM – Associated Press Shares By FARES AKRAM – Associated Press Shares By Associated Press Shares By FARES AKRAM – Associated Press Shares By IAN DEITCH – Associated Press Shares By Fares Akram – Associated Press Shares By Associated Press Shares

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October 17, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Gaza – Haaretz.com

Gaza – Haaretz.comskip – Redirect Mobile Usersskip – chrome pushskip – Visual Revenue skip – skip – skip – logo schema for googleskip – skip – googletagmanagerskip – redirectProbability skip – defaultskip – skip – skip – YOYO code HDC site skip – Crazy eggskip – collecting surfing data – responsiveskip – skip – skip – skip – access list by IP scriptskip – skip – skip – misc (midrag scripts)skip – YOYO code HDC site skip – Crazy eggskip – collecting surfing data – responsiveskip – skip – skip – skip – skip – skip – access list by IP scriptskip – skip –

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October 13, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed

Unity Deal Offers Hope for Palestinians and a Respite for Gaza

It was a sobering reality check for a group that, despite years of fiery defiance and arms supplies from Iran, cannot rule Gaza without help from Fatah, the rival faction that controls the Palestinian Authority and was driven out of Gaza in violent clashes 10 years ago. And for Mahmoud Abbas, the 82-year-old president of the Palestinian Authority, it could amount to a legacy-saving moment in the twilight years of his rule, after years of abject failure to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel. Although he was not in Cairo, Mr. Abbas gave his blessing to the deal, which he hailed as a final agreement, according to Agence France-Presse. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel objects to any reconciliation that does not include accepting international agreements, recognizing Israel and disarming Hamas. A Fatah-Hamas rapprochement would make peace much harder to achieve, Mr. Netanyahu said in a post on Facebook. Reconciling with mass-murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution. At a brief ceremony on Thursday at the headquarters of Egypts General Intelligence Service, which shepherded the negotiations, representatives from Hamas and Fatah kissed and embraced amid a smattering of applause from Egyptian and Palestinian officials gathered around them. The Palestinians did not release the text of the agreement, and there was no mention of the thorny issues that remain unresolved, such as the fate of the main Hamas militia, or the network of tunnels under Gaza used by fighters and weapons smugglers. But officials from both sides described a series of agreed measures that are due to unfold in the coming weeks, and which they say will both sideline Hamas from the day-to-day running of Gaza and create a political groundswell for a broader deal to reunite the Palestinian territories. Egypts State Information Service said that the rivals had agreed to hand full control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by Dec. 1. Palestinian officials said that if the process goes well, Mr. Abbas could visit Gaza in the coming month, his first visit to the embattled coastal strip in a decade. Egypt has set Nov. 21 for the next step of the process: a meeting in Cairo of all Palestinian factions that, it hopes, will be the start of talks toward a Palestinian unity government. Some Palestinian officials said they hoped such a government could be formed by January. But much depends on how things transpire in Gaza over the coming weeks. Under terms of the deal, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will form a joint police force of at least 5,000 officers, and merge their ministries. One Hamas official said they would negotiate to slim down the bloated civil service, cutting up to 40,000 of the 200,000 jobs. The reconciliation deal was signed in Cairo on Thursday. Two elements of the deal promise to quickly ease conditions in Gaza, which aid organizations have called an emerging humanitarian crisis. The Palestinian Authority has agreed to lift sanctions that it imposed on Gaza this year as part of its effort to pressure Hamas into talks. The government cut electricity supplies to a few hours a day in Gaza and stopped paying government salaries, an important source of income in a besieged territory with a broken economy. And Hamas will cede control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Gazas main lifeline to the outside world. That would allow Egypt to ease stringent cargo restrictions and enable Gazans to travel outside, perhaps the most significant change in the agreement. But even if the two sides succeed in fully reuniting in the next round of talks, the new arrangement seems unlikely to improve relations with Israel, which has warned that it could not accept a unity government that included Hamas. Hamas has insisted on its right to maintain control of its arsenal including thousands of rockets, missiles and drones as well as its militia and its network of fortified tunnels. Across divided Palestine there were cautious celebrations. In Gaza City, vendors passed out sweets to children in Soldiers Square, a park at the center of town. Mona Khfaja, 37, a pharmacist who said she was unable to leave Gaza to seek treatment for kidney disease, said dissatisfaction with the crushing border restrictions had forced warring Palestinian leaders to the negotiation table. We do not want the flags of Fatah and Hamas, only the Palestinian flag, she said. In the West Bank town of Ramallah, Abu Ahmad, 56, said he was wary about getting his hopes up. Many agreements have been signed in the past, but something has always caused these political parties to back away, he said, and Im afraid theres still a chance for that to happen again. The signing ceremony on Thursday followed two days of talks mediated by Egypts General Intelligence Service. The deal was signed by the deputy leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, and Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah delegation. Officials from both sides offered frank appraisals of the issues that divide them, and that could easily scupper this latest effort. Ayman Rigib, a Fatah negotiator in Cairo, pointed to the status of Hamass Qassam Brigades, with an estimated 20,000 fighters, and Hamass extensive tunnels. Were worried about the tunnels, Mr. Rigib said. Weve seen Hamas use them in 2014. Will they give us the maps? Will they shut them down? It has not yet been discussed. Another Palestinian concern is that a unity government involving Hamas could cause the Trump administration to cut funding to the Palestinian territories under congressional rules against funding terrorist organizations. American lawmakers threatened to cut funding in reaction to a similar 2011 deal between Hamas, which the United States designates as a terrorist organization, and the Palestinian Authority. That agreement ultimately fell apart. The United States gives the Palestinian Authority about $400 million in annual assistance. But for now, with Hamas ceding all administrative control of Gaza, there is little danger that aid would be cut off. Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the issues yet to be resolved would be the most difficult. Hamas may be willing to cede more administrative control of Gaza, he said, but the parties have so far avoided the issues likeliest to derail the talks: namely the relationship with Israel and what to do with Hamass military wing. When leaders from Hamas and Fatah signed the 2011 deal, Mr. Abbas said, We have turned the black page of division forever. But the agreement quickly foundered amid opposition from Israel, which denounced it as a victory for terrorism. This time, a broad Arab coalition is backing the deal, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This merger is going to cost a lot of money, and they will help us financially, said Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, referring to Emirati and Saudi support. The Egyptians also clearly got a green light from America. They are obviously trying to cook up something to help end this conflict.

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October 13, 2017   Posted in: Gaza  Comments Closed


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