Julie Webb-Pullman reports

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Palestinian National Unity Government Announced: The Power of One

by Julie Webb-Pullman

A national unity government. Elections. A new-look PLO. Community reconciliation. Big hopes, even bigger expectations as representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas came to an agreement in Gaza today to form a national unity government and hold elections.

Much had been made of the so-called Palestinian political division, but how accurately does it describe the situation on the ground?

According to Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum, the division was not caused by Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza today

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza today

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PLO delegation arrives in Gaza for reconciliation talks

AlRay

PLO officials shortly after their arrival in  Gaza

PLO officials shortly after their arrival in Gaza

A five-member delegation commissioned by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Gaza on Tuesday evening to discuss reconciliation with Hamas.

The delegation entered Gaza through the Erez crossing at Beit Hanoun headed by Azzam al-Ahmad, the Fatah movement leader in charge of the reconciliation file.

The other members are Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mostafa Barghouthi, independent businessman Munib Masri, Arab Palestinian Front leader Jamil Shehadeh, and the Secretary-General of the Palestinian People’s Party Bassam Salhi. Read the rest of this page »

Press Statement by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh regarding Fatah delegation visit to Gaza Strip

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh


Gaza Government Media Office
20 April 2014

We will welcome to Gaza in coming days an appreciated national delegation from the West Bank. I express my happiness and I welcome it, they are in their home and among their families and brothers.

I emphasize the following: we have a firm conviction as a movement, and as the Government, of the need to end the division and achieve Palestinian reconciliation as a national necessity of vital importance to our cause and our people of all factions and groups.

We all recognise the escalation of Zionist threats to our cause and our people, the targeting of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa, the commission of other crimes against our people everywhere such as occupation, settlement construction, judaization, the blockade, killings, detentions and displacement. At the same time they are attempting to liquidate the Palestinian cause and its core components, to eliminate the rights of our people through every means and method available to them – military, security, economic, political and negotiations pressure.

Taking all of the above into account, and based on our national responsibilities, we will continue our efforts with our brothers in Fatah and with various Palestinian groups and individuals at home and abroad, in order to accelerate Palestinian reconciliation and end the split.

We emphasise our continuing commitment to all previous reconciliation agreements, particularly those of Cairo and Doha, and our commitment to work in partnership together to implement all five reconciliation files as one package – formation of a unity government, elections, the Palestine Liberation Organization, public freedoms and community reconciliation.

We are serious about meeting the aspirations of our people during the upcoming discussions, and in consolidating a real partnership for policy and decision-making based on what was signed in regard to those issues, to build a solid basis for strengthening national Palestinian unity in the face of the common enemy, and to promote our national interests.

We also reaffirm our preparedness to do what is required of us to achieve national partnership and to take joint responsibility for managing Palestinian political decision-making, and achieving consensus on an effective national strategy for struggle.

Through this, as Palestinians, we can achieve our national goals: to liberate our land from the occupation and gain true ownership of it; to return Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and other Islamic and Christian holy places to us; to accomplish the right of return for our people; to build an independent Palestinian State; and to accomplish the release of all our prisoners from the jails of the enemy.

Welcome to the valued visitors, we hope from God they will be among us, and the efforts of our people and its factions and personalities everywhere, we aspire to reconciliation, harmony and reunification, unity of purpose, and a position of strength on the road to victory, liberation and return, God willing.

Translation by Abdullah Abulaban

Vittorio Arrigoni Commemoration in Gaza: “I am a diamond, and you cannot break me.”

On April 15 a group of Palestinians, Italians, and an assortment of other nationalities bussed down to Khan Younis to honour Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist murdered on this day in Gaza three years ago. Vik, as he was popularly known, was widely loved and respected by the farmers and fishermen whom he accompanied to deter Israeli attacks against them during their work, as well as by the many he helped during Operation Cast Lead.

Arriving at the home of a farmer who worked with Vik, the group was led to a memorial erected in his honour in the front garden of the farmhouse, surrounded with palms and plants, and adorned with posters and Palestinian flags.

Memorial to Vittorio Arrigoni on Khan Younis farm

Memorial to Vittorio Arrigoni on Khan Younis farm

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Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: May the eyes of the coward never rest

Tawfiq Abu Naim at Soraya

Tawfiq Abu Naim at Soraya

Thousands of people today converged on Soraya, site of the Gaza Central prison destroyed during the November 2012 Israeli offensive, and now the site to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

April 17th was designated Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day by the Palestinian National Council in 1974. It also marks the assassinations of two Palestinian political leaders – Fateh leader Khalil Al Wazir on 16 April 1988 and Dr Abdul-Aziz Al Rantisi of Hamas on 17 April 2004.

Members of all factions and none gathered to hear speeches, view exhibits of handcrafts and photos produced by prisoners in Israeli jails, and later to march on the International Committee for the Red Cross. Read the rest of this page »

Help Gaza SCOOP help Gaza!

I have been in Gaza for most of the past three years, trying to shine a light on the reality of a besieged territory which is continuously under attack from land, sea and air.

We launched the first phase of Gaza.Scoop.ps in May 2012, and we’re now embarking on Phase Two: moving Gaza SCOOP towards full local operator-ownership as an independent media agency producing local English-language content for national and international media.

To achieve this we need a critical mass of local journalists writing in English. So with your help, we will now also provide on-the-job training and experience for English-language and media graduates, 56% of who face unemployment.

Gaza.scoop.ps will continue to combine original news reporting, pictures and video, sourcing content from civil society, NGOs, other news agencies and the Gaza Government.

The current situation in Gaza is dire – the Israeli siege has been tightened to strangulation point, exacerbated by the closure of the tunnels to Egypt which formed the only alternative lifeline.

The lack of basics for survival such as drinkable water, medicines, electricity and cooking gas have led the UN and other international agencies to describe the situation as a looming humanitarian crisis.

People in Gaza depend for their survival on the international community being aware of what is going on here, and Gaza.scoop.ps is one of the few tools available to keep the international community informed. But it needs your help!

Please give generously by using the DONATE button on the right, and help Gaza help themselves, and each other.

Khudari: Poverty rate in Gaza over 50%

Jamal Al-Khudari

Jamal Al-Khudari

MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, said on Wednesday that the poverty and unemployment rates in Gaza had surpassed 50% due to the Israeli blockade that has entered its 8th consecutive year.

Khudari added that more than one million citizens in Gaza Strip depend on aid relief to survive, and the per capita income does not exceed two dollars a day.

He stressed that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached horrrific proportions, and is affecting all aspects of life.

The harsh economic and humanitarian conditions due to the Israeli blockade have been exacerbated by the Egyptian closure of all border tunnels, which used to provide the beleaguered Strip with a portion of its needs.

The MP called on the international community to immediately apply pressure for the lifting the siege on Gaza, to avoid further deterioration of the already-critical humanitarian conditions.

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