Palestinian resistance and Israeli delegations in Cairo have agreed to a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, slated to begin at midnight.
An official announcement for the timing of the start of the ceasefire is expected soon.
The ceasefire will provide an opportunity for further discussion, including with the Arab League, who will convene in Cairo on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza.
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor
The cynical ‘ceasefire’ chorus being sung by Israel and Egypt is merely yet another movement in the well-orchestrated Israeli-Egyptian three-penny opera.
The way in which the ‘negotiations’ were carried out was more farce than finale – Egypt wrote the libretto for the Israeli impresario, leaving the Palestinians in the wings.
The terms themselves are a three-act charade. The Israeli-Egyptian duet omits a core Hamas demand – any mention of the release of more than 50 Palestinian prisoners released in the 2011 Shalit swap who were re-detained during the recent West Bank ‘search’ for three missing Israeli settlers.
Nor does it commit to either re-open the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, or to lift the crippling – and illegal – Israeli siege of Gaza, merely saying that “crossings shall be opened and the movement of persons and goods through (them) shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.” Both of these are core demands of the entire Palestinian resistance – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and everyone in between.
Any ceasefire that does not change the fundamental paradigm, a hermetically-sealed Gaza and a ‘normal Israel,’ will garner only encore after encore, as every previous performance has done. Read more HERE
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Barhoum said today that the only way this “one-sided war” will end is when Israel stops bombing Gaza.
“We have sustained high numbers of casualties – over 100 civilians dead, 150 homes destroyed sometimes with families still inside them, we are the victims. We are defending our civilians from a massacre,” he said outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early this afternoon.
“We are being attacked from the sea, from the air, from the land – there is massive destruction, and we have the right to defend our people from these attacks. There will be no ceasefire until the occupation stops its shelling of Gaza.” Read more here
Turkey and Palestinians stood together today to honour the ten Turks murdered by Israel aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship headed for Gaza four years ago.
On the same day the Palestinian unity government is to be announced, Gaza-based Palestinian NGO House of Wisdom brought all factions together with Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Sarnic and Turkish aid agency IHH, owners of the Mavi Marmara, in a show of not only Palestinian, but Ummah unity.
The commemorative events began at Gaza seaport beneath the memorial erected in honour of Cengiz Akyüz (42), Ali Haydar Bengi (39), İbrahim Bilgen (61), Furkan Doğan (18), Cevdet Kılıçlar (38), Cengiz Songür (47), Çetin Topçuoğlu (54), Fahri Yaldız (43), Necdet Yıldırım (32) and Ugur Süleyman Söylemez, who died from his injuries this week aged 51. (more…)
First Published in Middle East Eye
Although not an official actor in the process, Islamic Jihad’s backing of the Palestine reconciliation deal is seen as important for its survival.
As a non-member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad was not privy to the negotiations between the PLO and Hamas that resulted in Wednesday’s agreement to end the seven-year Fatah-Hamas split.
But as one of Palestine’s most important factions, they are crucial to the success of any deal and say they have considerable interest in participating and helping to build the future of the country. (more…)
The International Campaign for Releasing Abducted MPs strongly denounces the Israeli authorities for preventing a fact-finding committee comprised of members of the European Parliament from visiting Israeli prisons to investiagte the situation of abducted members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and other Palestinian prisoners.
The visit followed a request from the International Campaign to the European Parliament to investigate and report on the conditions faced by MPs inside Israeli jails.
The European Parliament decided to send a fact-finding committee, which arrived in Israel on 19 March 2014. However they received no co-operation whatsoever from the Israeli occupation authorities.
The Campaign considers this to be unethical behavior towards parliamentarians protected by parliamentary immunity, and points out that it is yet another example of the ongoing violations suffered by the Palestinian lawmakers, from persecution to abduction and deportation.
11 Palestinians MPs are still behind Israeli bars, being subjected to oppressive and illegal practices.
The Campaign calls for parliamentary and human rights organizations internationally to break the silence on the abduction and detention of Palestinian MPs, and to hold Israel accountable for the crimes it is committing against them, and other Palestinian prisoners.
The International Campaign For Freeing PLC members
“Grave violations and aggression by Israel against the Palestinian people continued in a culture of impunity,” says Human Rights Council
On 24 March The Human Rights Council held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories, in a meeting at which four reports on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories were presented.
The Secretary-General’s report again confirmed continued flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the reports highlighted the issue of settlements, which, together with settler violence, were at the core of many of the human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Despite repeated calls on Israel to cease settlement activity, their construction continued with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians. Ms. Pillay also expressed deep concern at the situation in Gaza.