Hamas, a Palestinian faction ruling Gaza Strip celebrated 23rd anniversary on December 15. Hamas was founded in 1987. It defeated Fatah faction lead by Mahmoud Abbas in elections held in 2007. Hamas, an Islamic resistance movement, does not recognize Israeli state.
Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Middle East war. It withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but heightened its blockade on the territory after Hamas came to power in 2007. Hamas is designated a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, but it is seen by its supporters as a legitimate resistance movement. It is still holding Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by militants during a cross-border raid in June 2006.
Import levels have only increased by a third since the blockade was eased, says the reports. There has been "little improvement" for people in Gaza since Israel announced it was easing its economic blockade of the territory six months ago. That is the verdict of a new report by aid agencies and rights groups working inside the Palestinian territory. A ban on most exports from Gaza is "crippling" the economy, they say.
The report, "Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade", was compiled by 21 different groups, including Oxfam, Amnesty and Save the Children. "Only a fraction of the aid needed has made it to the civilians trapped in Gaza by the blockade," said Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International. "Israel’s failure to live up to its commitments and the lack of international action to lift the blockade are depriving Palestinians in Gaza of access to clean water, electricity, jobs and a peaceful future," Mr Hobbs added.
The report says there has been an increase in imports such as food and consumer goods but that import levels are still only just over one-third of what they were before 2007 when the blockade was originally tightened. It also says only a tiny fraction of the construction materials needed to rebuild Gaza is being allowed in.
In June, Israel said it would allow in construction material for projects carried out by organisations such as the United Nations. But the report says Israel has so far approved only 7% of the UN’s reconstruction projects in Gaza. It says, at the current rate it will take decades to carry out the UN’s housing and schools projects in the strip.
Two Israeli soldiers who were charged with using a boy as human shield while opening a suspected booby trapped bag were demoted by the Israeli court. The two soldiers were placed under suspended sentence initially.
The incident occurred during the Israeli’s devastating attack on Gaza for 3 weeks during December 2008 and January 2009. Richard Goldstone implicated in its report both Israeli and Hamas troops with war crimes and asked both of them to conduct their own inquiry. Though both sides denied the charges Israel conducted its own inquiry with increased pressure from the international community.
However, mother of the 9-year old boy named Majid Rabah expressed her dissatisfaction with the sentence. She said the sentence was too lenient comparing with the suffering and terror the boy was subjected to. The soldiers’ lawyer defended the sentence.
BBC | 18 October 2010 | 17:53 GMT
Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip have obtained anti-aircraft missiles, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. He told a meeting of his Likud Party that the new weapons had compromised Israel’s aerial freedom over Gaza. Any future peace agreement would have to include security arrangements to deal with the threat, Mr Netanyahu said.
Hamas dismissed the remarks as propaganda. Correspondents say this is the first time an Israeli official has said openly that Hamas possess anti-aircraft weaponry – although intelligence officials have privately suspected this is the case.
"Today we are trying not to fly near Gaza because they have anti-aircraft missiles there," Mr Netanyahu said. He warned the missiles could also
BBC News | 3 October 2010 | 15:35 GMT
An Israeli military court has convicted two Israeli soldiers for using a Palestinian child as a human shield during an offensive in Gaza in 2009. The soldiers were found guilty of reckless endangerment and conduct unbecoming for forcing the nine-year-old boy to check suspected booby-traps.
On Sunday, the southern command military court found the two Israeli soldiers guilty of "exceeding their authority to the point of endangering life" and conduct unbecoming in the incident in Gaza City’s suburb of Tel al-Hawa on 15 January 2009.
A summary of the verdict said that – when rounding up residents of Tel al-Hawa – the soldiers came across bags in a home and ordered the Palestinian boy to search for suspected booby-traps. "The boy, who feared for his fate and was under the stress of the situation, wet his pants," the three-judge panel wrote in the summary of the verdict. "The court has noted that, unlike the soldiers, the child was, naturally, bereft of any form of protection."
Article first published as West Asia Peace Talks are a Game for Netanyahu on Blogcritics.
The much-hyped Middle East peace talks have faced a dead end with all parties standing rigid at their positions without making any move. As the self-imposed partial freeze of settlement building has expired on September 26, the settlement building resumed despite warnings and requests from the US establishment.
Although the peace talks were supposed to be held without preconditions, the president of the Palestinian Authority Mr. Abbas has declared before the talks that Israel must freeze its settlement building for the peace process to be continued. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told before leaving for talks, to the supporters of his Likud party that they had nothing to worry. “You don’t need to worry. Nobody needs to teach me what it is to love Eretz Yisrael,” referring to the idea of an Israel stretching from Mediterranean sea to the Jordan river including the whole of the West Bank. (‘Frontline’ fortnightly’s print edition – October 8, 2010)
Netanyahu’s love for Eretz Yisrael implies his unwillingness to the existence of Palestinians’ West Bank. If it is so, why should he dance to the tune of Mr. Obama? It is not clear whether Obama is in the pocket of Netanyahu or Netanyahu is in the pocket of Obama. However, the doubt appears to be cleared with a leaked video of Mr. Netanyahu.
A video was published on Youtube that shot Benjamin talking to a family, supposedly a victim of terrorist attack, in a West Bank settlement of Ofra. He asked to stop shooting preparing himself to tell something that cannot be
More than 430,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, alongside 2.5 million Palestinians
20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights
Settlements and the area they take up cover 40% of the West Bank
There are about 100 settlements not authorised by the Israeli govt in the West Bank
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to conclude three days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. With no sign of a deal on settlement building in the West Bank, Mr Abbas said there was no choice but to continue negotiating. President Mubarak of Egypt has urged Israel to extend the partial ban on construction for three months. Mrs Clinton repeated her confidence that all core issues could be resolved.
As Mrs Clinton arrived in Ramallah in the West Bank, Mr Abbas said everyone knew there was no alternative to peace through negotiations. "So we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts," he said. The Palestinian leader acknowledged that conditions were difficult, and a senior Palestinian official was quoted as saying that broad gaps remained on the question of settlements. Neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Abbas spoke after the meeting. The US secretary of state then travelled to Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah II. Jordan already has a peace treaty with Israel, and King Abdullah took part in