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31 Oct 2011 14:58


World: United Nations agency admits Palestine as member; US cuts funding in response

  • A step forward for Palestine? Today, the United Nations agency UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) admitted Palestine as a full member. In response, the United States is cutting off all funding to the agency. This will effectively gut one-fourth of UNESCO’s budget. The move is in accordance with US law, which prohibits the government from funding any organization that includes Palestine as a member, prior to the reaching of an Israeli-Palestine peace agreement. Nevertheless, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas hailed the decision. source

03 Jul 2011 16:39


World: Making amends: Greece floats a completely different flotilla idea

  • blocked A couple days back, Greece blocked a flotilla headed towards Gaza from heading out of one of its ports. It understandably drew a lot of controversy from certain quarters of the political sphere — but briefly took attention off the country’s austerity crisis.
  • allowed Now, it seems that Greece is ready to offer up a mea culpa to Palestine — in coordination with the United Nations, they’ll send a ship loaded with aid over to Gaza, which they’ll offer up to the Palestinian Authority — but, as you’ll note, they aren’t working with Hamas. source

02 Jul 2011 12:02


World: Greece’s not-so-hot week ends with a blocked flotilla to Gaza

  • action Despite a ban blocking flotillas headed towards Gaza from leaving Greek ports, an American one attempted to do just that yesterday. It was turned away by the Greek coast guard, which reportedly pointed machine guns at flotilla passengers. This comes  on the heels of Greece’s austerity vote.
  • reaction As you might imagine, reaction to this news was emotional on both sides. “Greece sold its body to the banks and its soul to Israel and the United States,” said one activist on the flotilla. The ship was named “The Audacity of Hope,” meaning Obama was indirectly dragged into this situation, too. source

28 May 2011 12:29


World: Egyptian Gaza border opens, finally giving Palestinians a way out

  • Opening this door does not mean Egypt wants to allow bombs and explosives … Egypt wants to allow safe passage of individuals who want to conduct their lives.
  • Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath • Expressing his approval for Egypt’s decision to permanently open their Rafa Border to Gaza, the region’s main outlet to the outside world. It’s all a part of the Egyptian government’s desire to build a stronger relationship with the Palestinians. Hamas’ Deputy foreign minister, Ghazi Hamad, calls this “a unique move and a positive development.” As for those allowed to leave the tiny, dense region of Palestine, they’re thrilled to finally get to leave. “The closure did not affect only the travel of passengers or the flowing of goods. Our brains and our thoughts were under blockade,” said Khaled Halaweh, a 28-year-old man who hopes to study at Alexandria University, but hasn’t been able to leave the Gaza region in seven years. source

05 May 2011 10:07


World: Israeli ambassador to the U.S.: We gotta deal with Hamas? Ugh

  • There is no indication that Hamas is willing to give up terror, recognize Israel or recognize the peace process.
  • Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren • Expressing his country’s frustration with the recent unity deal struck between Hamas and Fatah, the two main political sects in Palestine. Oren makes it clear that he considers Hamas’ new role a major setback for Israel. “Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens, at our towns, at our farms,” he noted, “and Hamas is one of the only elements in the Middle East to condemn the US’s action against [Osama] bin Laden.” While he emphasizes that peace is the goal for Israel, Hamas’ new seat at the bargaining table “is extremely difficult for us.” source

04 May 2011 16:17


World: Fatah, Hamas sign reconciliation deal to Israel’s chagrin

  • Signed on the dotted line: Hamas and Fatah made official their surprising reconciliation deal today, which calls for a new interim government and for elections within one year. This has sparked a lot of angst from Israel, who are fearful of the a unified Palestinian authority that includes Hamas  — they’re also opposed to a Palestinian attempt to get statehood recognition from the United Nations, expected to take place this September. source

27 Apr 2011 15:27


World: Hamas, Fatah agree to form interim Palestinian government

  • Hamas, Fatah sign reconciliation deal: The two Palestinian groups (Fatah, of which Palestinian Authority President Abbas is a member, holds power in the West Bank while Hamas, which won the last parliamentary election in 2006, holds power over the Gaza Strip) have struck a deal to form an interim government and set the stage for elections. The two sides truck the deal after secret meetings in Cairo, and comes as a huge geopolitical surprise. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern ultimatum in response: “The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.” source

14 Feb 2011 11:07


World: Palestinian situation looking pretty freaking messed-up right now

  • I can’t advocate accountability and transparency all my life and then comes the biggest breach in Palestinian national security – the stealing of the documents from my office – and let it be business as usual. What I want to do is plant the seeds for the future of Palestinian officials. When officials make mistakes, they are out.
  • Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat • Explaining why he left his office in the wake of the recent “Palestine Papers” scandal, which was rooted from a leak in his office. Erekat’s exit over the weekend is only one sign of an overwhelming instability that showed up in the wake of the Egyptian unrest. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad straight-up dissolved the cabinet and plans to replace them all within six weeks. The cabinet was long seen by many in the Fatah movement as dysfunctional, indluding Fayyad – and not even all the seats in the cabinet were actually filled with people. Is a fresh start what Palestine needs, at least politically? source

12 Feb 2011 19:07


World: Palestine fighting over itself over Egypt-inspired election plans

  • We call upon all parties to set aside their reservations and disagreements. Let us work together to hold elections and uphold the will of the Palestinian people. As for differences and disagreements, whether in political or security matters, we believe that these issues could be resolved by the coming elected Legislative Council.
  • A message from the Palestinian Authority • Announcing the country’s first elections since 2006, when Hamas gained a foothold, will take place in September. As with just about everything with the Islamist Hamas group, things are tense, and they’re fighting the decision to hold elections, saying that they need to come after a reconciliation period between Hamas and the Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is currently not a part of the Palestine Liberation Organization,  and want the group to be restructured to include them. The two groups – Hamas and Fatah – fought a brief civil war in 2007 and since then have controlled different parts of the already-tension-filled country. Also today, Saeb Erekat, one of Palestine’s chief negotiators with Israel, resigned in the wake of the recent “Palestine Papers” scandal. source

05 Jul 2010 20:46


World: Israel (partly) expands the list of things that can go into Gaza

  • <200 number of things that were allowed on the old list
  • 1,000’s number of things that are banned on the new list source
  • » Notable omissions: While food and household cleaning items made the cut, building supplies did not. Lumber, concrete, steel and other supplies necessary for Gaza to rebuild its infrastructure did not make the list. Why? Because Israel wants to ensure they can’t build bunkers or rockets. Or, you know, buildings, roads and basic infrastructure.