Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Hezbollah Says Future Israel War Could Draw Fighters From Iran, Iraq, Elsewhere — “Hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world [would] participate.”

June 23, 2017

BEIRUT — Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that a future war waged by Israel against Syria or Lebanon could draw thousands of fighters from countries including Iran, Iraq and Yemen.

His comments indicated that the same array of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias – but not countries – currently fighting in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad could take part in any future conflict with Israel.

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Tensions have risen between Hezbollah and its longtime foe Israel in recent months since Donald Trump became U.S. president with his tough talk against Iran. Israel’s air force chief said his country would use all its strength from the start in any new war with Hezbollah.

“The Israeli enemy must know that if an Israeli war is launched against Syria or Lebanon, it is not known that the fighting will remain Lebanese-Israeli, or Syrian-Israeli,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

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Iraqi Shiite militia. AFP photo

“This doesn’t mean there are states that might intervene directly. But this could open the way for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate,” he said.

Nasrallah has repeatedly warned Israel against attacking Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Shi’ite group is based, and from where it sends fighters to support Assad against insurgents. He says Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal can hit any military target in Israel, which is Lebanon’s southern neighbour.

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He said any Israeli war with Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, would be “very costly” and that Israel would not be able to win.

Israel has targeted senior Hezbollah commanders in air raids on Syrian soil. But there has been no major confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon since a month-long war between the two sides in 2006.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam and John Davison; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Gaza restarts power station as Egypt fuel eases crisis

June 22, 2017
© AFP | Security forces stand guard as Egyptian trucks carrying fuel enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing on June 21, 2017
GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – The Gaza Strip’s sole power station has been fired up again, the energy authority in the Palestinian enclave said Thursday, after fuel supplies from Egypt helped to ease an energy crisis.

The announcement came after Egypt delivered a million litres of fuel to the station on Wednesday, three days after Israel began cutting electricity supplies to Gaza.

The energy authority said two of the four generators at the power station had resumed operations and residents would now receive around six hours of mains power a day — up from as little as two earlier in the week.

The power plant, damaged by successive wars, was shut down in April after running out of fuel following a row between Gaza rulers Hamas and the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority over taxes.

Islamists Hamas seized control of Gaza from president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement in a near civil war in 2007 and multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed.

However, the Palestinian Authority had continued to pay Israel for some electricity delivered to Gaza until this month, with Abbas indicating they would no longer do so — — prompting the Israeli reductions.

Israel had been supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza a month, making up about a quarter of the territory’s needs, but announced it would cease to do so this week.

Hamas official Basem Naim said the electricity supplied by the power plant was just enough to balance out the reduction.

He told AFP the Egyptian delivery was an “important step,” obtained after a meeting between Egyptian leaders, Hamas and Abbas’ great rival Mohammed Dahlan — in exile in the United Arab Emirates after a dispute with Abbas.

“We must now find a definitive solution to the electricity crisis because its impact is catastrophic,” said Naim.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday accused Abbas of seeking to spark a fresh conflict by increasing human suffering in Gaza.

He said Abbas’ “intention is actually to continue cuts and in a few months to stop paying for fuel, medicines, salaries and many other things.”

“In my opinion the strategy is to hurt Hamas and also to drag Hamas into a conflict with Israel.”

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to help broker Middle East peace

June 22, 2017

Mr Kushner holds separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

By Alexandra Wilts Washington DC
The Independent

jared-kushner-goes-to-israel.jpg

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner AP

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top White House adviser, has met Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the aim of helping revive a US effort for a peace deal.

A former real estate developer with little experience in international diplomacy, Mr Kushner met the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before travelling to Ramallah, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, for a late-night meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Jared Kushner with Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Getty Images)

Mr Netanyahu warmly greeted Mr Kushner with a smile and hug. “This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace,” Mr Netanyahu said. “The President sends his best regards and it’s an honour to be here with you,” Mr Kushner replied.

Mr Kushner’s trip follows the President’s visit to the region last month, when Mr Trump also had discussions with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Appearing at a press conference with Mr Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Mr Trump declared that the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace”.

Mr Kushner played a key part in planning Mr Trump’s stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Rome during the President’s tour abroad. The 36-year-old also appears to be taking on a more public role in his father-in-law’s administration, giving his first public remarks as a White House adviser this week.

The President has tasked Mr Kushner with the ambitious goal of laying the groundwork for what he calls the “ultimate deal,” but significant obstacles remain

This month marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Mideast war — a seminal event in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians claim these territories for their future independent state. Mr Netanyahu opposes a return to the 1967 lines and also rejects any division of Jerusalem. The eastern part of the city, which the Palestinians claim as their capital, is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites.

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The White House appeared to play down expectations for a breakthrough ahead of the visit, saying that “forging a historic peace agreement will take time” and that Mr Kushner and envoy envoy Jason Greenblatt will likely make “many visits” to the region.

For now, the United States is expected to pressure each side to make goodwill gestures in hopes of improving the overall climate.

Mr Greenblatt landed in Israel on Monday for preliminary talks in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will also remain for follow-up discussions after Mr Kushner has left.

“Part of it is to figure out how to make incremental change that results in a lasting peace,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Monday. “Part of this is really to utilise the trust that has been built up, and not have these negotiations out in public. But I think that they had a very successful visit when the President was over there, and they’re going to continue to build on that.”

For more than 20 years, the US has pushed for a “two-state solution”, meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel.

But during a February meeting with Mr Netanyahu in Washington DC, Mr Trump declared that he was not fixed on two states saying, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like”.

Discussions over a peace deal will mean putting pressure on Israel to restrain its construction of settlements on occupied lands sought by the Palestinians. It also could mean working with Israel to take new steps to help improve the struggling Palestinian economy, such as easing restrictions to allow more development of West Bank lands.

However, hours before Mr Kushner’s arrival in Israel for his 20-hour vist, Mr Netanyahu announced the beginning of construction on a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, despite the White House’s position that “further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace”. In the past, the Palestinians have called for a stop to settlement building before any peace negotiations can occur.

“This is the way Mr Netanyahu is meeting Trump’s envoys,” said Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian official told Reuters. “The real question here is will the administration of Trump tell Israel that it is enough and they have to stop immediately all settlement activities, or they will accept this Israeli provocation?”

Mr Netanyahu had vowed to compensate the residents of Amona with a new settlement, after their previous illegally built outpost was dismantled in February under orders from the Supreme Court.

As for the Palestinians, they are under pressure to halt what Israel sees as incitement to violence in their official media, speeches and social media.

Israel has also demanded that the Palestinians stop making welfare payments to families of militants who are either imprisoned or were killed while committing attacks on Israelis. Israel says the so-called “Martyrs’ Fund” provides an incentive for Palestinian violence.

After arriving early on Wednesday Mr Kushner paid a condolence visit to the grieving family of a young female Israeli police officer who was killed by Palestinian attackers last weekend in Jerusalem. Mr Kushner said Mr Trump asked him to personally convey the condolences of the American people.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/jared-kushner-israel-middle-east-peace-deal-visit-jerusalem-donald-trump-a7801431.html

Reuters contributed to this report 

Jared Kushner Calls on Netanyahu in Israel Amid New Middle East Peace Effort

June 21, 2017

KUSHNER MEETS NETANYAHU TO CONTINUE PEACE PUSH

BYJPOST.COM STAFF
JUNE 21, 2017 18:12

Kushner is currently in Israel on a short visit to help assist in Mideast peace negotiations.

Jared Kushner and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Trump administration senior adviser Jared Kushner in his Jerusalem office on Wednesday.

Kushner, who is also US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was accompanied by White House lead international negotiator Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Kushner is currently in  Israel on a short visit to help assist in Mideast peace negotiations.

Netanyahu warmly welcomed his American guests and commented during their meeting that the present moment offers an “opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace.”

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“I know of your efforts and the president’s efforts and I look forward to working with you to reach these common goals,”  he continued, adding that he sends his warmest regards to President Trump.

Kushner thanked the prime minister for the reception, saying that it was “an honor to be here.”

Before their meeting in the capital, Kushner visited the mourning family of slain Border Police officer St.-Sgt-Maj. Hadas Malka, shortly after arriving to Israel in a bid to restart peace talks.

Malka, 23, was killed Friday evening while guarding the Old City’s Damascus Gate in a terrorist attack carried out by three Palestinian assailants armed with knives and an improvised automatic weapon after illegally entering Jerusalem from the West Bank.

According to a Malka family spokesperson, Kushner, who was accompanied by Friedman, spent roughly 30 minutes with her parents during the shiva (week-long family mourning period in Judaism) call.

“He offered the condolences to the bereaved family from the US president, who spoke to his son-in-law on the way and asked that he be kept updated about the visit,” the friend told Ynet.

“Kushner said that the president himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States.”

The Trump administration has placed a high premium on restarting Mideast peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, repeatedly referring to a final-status agreement as “the ultimate deal.”

Daniel Eisenbud contributed to this report.

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http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Kushner-meets-Netanyahu-to-continue-peace-push-497526

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Jared Kushner Arrives in Israel — Visit aimed at restarting long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

June 21, 2017
BY DANIEL K. EISENBUD
The Jerusalem Post
JUNE 21, 2017 14:30

 

Trump’s son-in-law starts one-day visit in which he’s due to try to bring Israel, Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner . (photo credit:REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior Middle East advisor, Jared Kushner, visited the mourning family of slain Border Police officer St.-Sgt-Maj. Hadas Malka, shortly after arriving to Israel on Wednesday in a bid to restart peace talks.

Malka, 23, was killed Friday evening while guarding the Old City’s Damascus Gate in a terrorist attack carried out by three Palestinian assailants armed with knives and an improvised automatic weapon after illegally entering Jerusalem from the West Bank.

According to a Malka family spokesperson, Kushner, who was accompanied by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, spent roughly 30 minutes with her parents during the shiva (week-long family mourning period in Judaism) call.

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“He offered the condolences to the bereaved family from the US president, who spoke to his son-in-law on the way and asked that he be kept updated about the visit,” the friend told Ynet.“Kushner said that the president himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States.”

During the visit, Malka’s parents spoke of their daughter’s bravery and patriotism, noting that she joined the elite Border Police following her IDF service in the Navy.

“Her father told [Kushner] and the ambassador that she always said to [her parents] that it is important to guard the capital of Israel, because if we don’t protect the capital, there won’t be a state,” spokesperson said.

“The ambassador was also apprised of developments regarding the investigation, which began with the arrest of the [east Jerusalem man] who drove the terrorists to the site of the attack, as well as the arrest of one of the terrorist’s mother [for helping them].

“The father told him that on one hand, there is a mother who is crying and in pain over the death of her daughter. On the other hand, there is a mother who is praising and glorifying her son who should have killed more people, from her point of view.”

The family spokesperson added: “The father addressed this stark contrast.”

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http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Jared-Kushner-arrives-in-Israel-visits-family-of-slain-officer-497512

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  • By JOSEF FEDERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM — Jun 21, 2017, 10:00 AM ET

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner, arrived in the region on Wednesday for a daylong visit aimed at restarting long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump has tasked Kushner with the ambitious goal of laying the groundwork for what he calls the “ultimate deal” — but deep divisions remain, clouding chances of a significant breakthrough in one of the longest Mideast crises.

Kushner first met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli envoy in Washington Ron Dermer and American Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem.

A video released by Netanyahu’s office shows him embracing Kushner and saying: “This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace.”

Later, Kushner will meet with and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

This month marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Mideast war — a seminal event in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians claim these territories for their future independent state.

After two decades of failed U.S.-led peace efforts, Palestinian statehood seems distant. Envoy Jason Greenblatt has already made several visits.

Even before his meetings, Kushner faced a new crisis.

On the eve of his arrival, Israel broke ground on a new West Bank settlement for residents of an illegally built outpost that was dismantled in February under orders from the Supreme Court.

Netanyahu had vowed to compensate the residents of Amona with a new settlement, built on a nearby site in the northern West Bank.

“The people of Amona really appreciate his efforts and the efforts from his office in fulfilling this commitment that started to come alive to create this new community,” said Avichai Boaron, a spokesman for the settlers.

The move has infuriated the Palestinians, who say all settlements are illegal obstacles to peace. Trump has asked Israel to show “restraint” in its settlement construction.

“This is the way Netanyahu is meeting Trump’s envoys,” said Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian official. “The real question here is will the administration of Trump tell Israel that it is enough and they have to stop immediately all settlement activities, or they will accept this Israeli provocation?”

Kushner did not speak to reporters ahead of his talks Wednesday, and Israeli security agents blocked AP cameramen from filming the arrival of his convoy. In one case, a cameraman was ordered to leave a sidewalk outside the government compound that houses Netanyahu’s office, and in other case, a cameraman was ordered to delete his memory card of all images of the prime minister’s office.

Once on the ground, Kushner immediately paid a condolence visit to the family of a young female Israeli police officer who was killed by Palestinian attackers over the weekend near Jerusalem’s Old City. Kushner said Trump asked him to personally convey the condolences of the American people.

Three Palestinian attackers armed with an automatic weapon and knives assaulted officers on duty near the Old City in two locations on Friday evening.

Police said Staff Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka, 23, was rushing to respond to the initial attack nearby when a Palestinian assaulted her with a knife. Malka wrestled with the man for several seconds as he stabbed her multiple times before other officers saw what was happening and opened fire, killing him, police said. She later died of her wounds in hospital.

Thousands attended her funeral Saturday night. Netanyahu visited her grieving family on Sunday and called Malka “everybody’s daughter and everybody’s hero.” He also criticized Abbas for not condemning the attack.

It was the latest incident in a wave of Palestinian attacks that began in September 2015. Since then, Palestinian assailants have killed 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing attacks. Some 250 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during the same period, most of them identified as attackers by Israel.

Egypt tops up Gaza’s fuel supplies to ease electricity crisis

June 21, 2017

AFP

© JACK GUEZ / AFP | A picture shows an electric power plant on the Mediterranean coastal city of Ashkelon in southern Israel on June 19, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-21

Egypt began on Wednesday to deliver a million litres of fuel to Gaza, a Palestinian official said, in an attempt to ease the Palestinian enclave’s desperate electricity crisis.

The fuel, trucked in through the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, will be routed to the territory’s only power station — closed for several months due to fuel shortages.

The deliveries come two days after Israel began reducing electricity supplies to Gaza, despite warnings the move could increase suffering and tensions.

Wael Abu Omar, head of media at the Rafah crossing, told AFP that eight shipments had entered, with a further 14 expected later in the day.

“A million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel for the power plant will enter today,” he said.

The Israeli move had been set to leave Gazans with as little as two hours of mains electricity a day, prompting a UN warning that basic services in the enclave faced “total collapse”.

Israel starts work on new settlement amid US peace push

June 20, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Amona will be the first Jewish settlement in the West Bank for more than 25 years and will rehouse 40 families it evicted from a wildcat outpost in February 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the start of work Tuesday on a new settlement in the occupied West Bank as US envoys prepared to discuss a new peace push.”Today, the work on the ground has begun, as I promised, to establish a new settlement for the Amona settlers,” Netanyahu tweeted over a picture of a small bulldozer and a digger working on a rocky hill overlooking a vineyard.

The Amichai settlement, in the northern West Bank, is earmarked for some 40 families evicted from the wildcat outpost of Amona in February under a high court order which ruled their homes had been built illegally on private Palestinian land.

It is the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in some 25 years. The extensive construction in the meantime has focused on expanding existing settlements.

“After dozens of years, I have the privilege to be the prime minister building a new settlement in Judaea and Samaria,” Netanyahu tweeted, using the Hebrew biblical term for the West Bank.

His announcement comes a day after Trump’s special representative Jason Greenblatt arrived for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on relaunching peace talks that collapsed in 2014.

Greenblatt is to be joined by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday.

Together they will “spearhead the peace effort” the US administration believes is possible, a White House official said.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and are considered one of the main obstacles to peace.

Trump has asked Netanyahu to hold back on settlement building as he seeks to build momentum for a new peace push.

But the Israeli leader faces political pressure from the settler movement, which wields strong influence in his right-wing governing coalition.

Ahead of the arrival of the two envoys, the White House urged both Israel and the Palestinians to “create an environment conducive to peacemaking”.

“Those who want to make it harder rather than easier to make peace, whether by their statements or their actions, must be prevented from subverting the chances for peace,” the official said.

Tuesday’s ground-clearing work was in preparation for the installation of dozens of mobile homes for the families evicted from Amona, a spokesman for the main settler organisation, the Yesha Council, said.

The settlers would live in the temporary accommodation while work continues on building more permanent homes, the spokesman added.

Israel Begins Reducing Gaza Power Supply After Abbas Cuts Payment

June 19, 2017

GAZA — Israel began reducing its electricity feed to the Gaza Strip on Monday, deepening an energy crisis, after the Palestinian Authority limited how much it pays for power to the enclave run by the rival Hamas group.

The cutback, announced last week by the Israeli government, is expected to shorten by at least 45 minutes the daily average of four hours of power that Gaza’s 2 million residents receive from an electricity grid dependent on Israeli supplies, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian Energy Authority said the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) had cut by eight megawatts the 120 megawatts it supplies to the Gaza Strip over power lines.

An IEC spokeswoman confirmed a cutback had begun, in line with the West Bank-based Palestinian government’s decision to cover only 70 percent of the monthly cost of Israeli electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet gave the state-owned IEC the green light to implement the reduction, saying that Israel would not cover the shortfall in PA payments.

The Palestinian Authority said it had acted because Hamas had failed to reimburse it for the electricity. But the PA’s move was widely seen as a bid to pressure Hamas to relinquish its hold on the enclave the Islamist group seized in 2007.

Any worsening of the power crisis – Gaza’s main electrical plant has been off-line for two months in a Hamas-PA dispute over taxation of fuel supplies – could cause the collapse of health services, local health officials said.

Hospitals largely rely on generators for power, as do Gaza residents who can afford the high cost of fuel to run them.

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alison Williams)

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Gaza: Ordinary people the victims as electricity supply becomes the latest weapon in Hamas, Fatah dispute

Posted yesterday at 5:19pm

Baby boy hooked up to a respirator machine in the Intensive Care Unit.

Ageing, destroyed infrastructure, a 10-year Israeli blockade and a new tax fight between Palestine factions has led to a major electricity crisis in the impoverished Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Outside Gaza’s Rantissi Children’s Hospital, the generator is going full throttle.

With electricity in Gaza down to just three to four hours a day, the machine has been running for up to 12 hours straight, powering crucial equipment in the intensive care unit (ICU) that keeps children alive.

But three weeks ago, ICU staff here faced a nightmare scenario.

“The generator just stopped working,” says Muhammad Abunada, the hospital’s director.

“It malfunctioned because it was overloaded.”

Nurse treats a baby

As technicians raced to get the generator back online, doctors and nurses madly pumped away on manual respirators in order to keep their tiny patients alive.

Dr Abunada says it was an agonising 10 minutes before the machine kicked back in.

“This never happened in the history of the intensive care unit before, that we had to do manual respiration on children like this,” the director tells the ABC.

Down at Gaza’s seafront, you can smell the effect of the power crisis before you can see it.

Pipe on Gaza's beachfront spews sewage into the Mediterranean.

Up and down the coast here, pipes spew the sewage of Gaza’s 2 million residents straight into the Mediterranean, posing an environmental disaster not just for Gaza but also for neighbouring Israel and Egypt.

“More and more untreated sewage, 100,000 cubic metres a day now, is entering into the sea because there isn’t enough energy around to treat it properly,” says Robert Piper, the UN’s top humanitarian official for Gaza.

Blue water contrasts with brown water

Locals hostage to warring Palestinian factions

Gaza’s energy crisis stems from a combination of political failure and deliberate policy execution.

Repeated airstrikes by Israel on Gaza’s power plant since 2006 have left the electricity infrastructure in the strip in a dire state.

Meanwhile, a proposed gas plant to replace the damaged diesel facility has been delayed for years, partly due to Israel’s 10-year blockade on the territory, which began when the militant, rocket-firing Islamist group Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

But this most recent crisis is due to a tax fight between warring Palestinian factions.

Hamas says it can no longer afford to pay hefty diesel fuel taxes to the Palestinian Authority, which is run by Fatah, the Western-backed Palestinian party that rules the West Bank.

As a result, Fatah has told Israel to cut electricity to Gaza because it doesn’t want to continue to subsidise its political rival.

A man stands with a horse in front of a razor wire fence encasing a power plant

It’s a dirty game, where the misery of the people of Gaza is used as a bargaining chip for political gain by all sides.

“I think this is what’s most disturbing about all this is that if you’re a Gazan living in Gaza today, no-one is looking out for your interests,” Mr Piper says.

“You’re caught between these political conflicts. You can’t leave. There is a wall around you. The air, the sea, the land is blockaded by Israeli security forces. You can’t vote with your feet. You really are trapped.”

This week, Mr Piper described the people of Gaza as being held “hostage” in the long-standing dispute between Fatah and Hamas.

He says if a request by the Palestinian Authority to make further cuts to Gaza’s electricity is implemented, power supplies will go down to as little as two hours a day.

It is warned that this could lead to a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation in the strip.

“A further increase in the length of blackouts is likely to lead to a total collapse of basic services, including critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” Mr Piper says.

Patients undergo dialysis

‘We, the ordinary people, are the victims’

As their leaders squabble, Gaza’s poor feel utterly abandoned.

“When I tell my kids there is no electricity and I can’t cook or bake, they don’t understand,” 52-year-old Um Mohammad says sadly.

In her small concrete house in the neighbourhood of Beit Lehiya, the mother of eight is trying to prepare a meal for her extended family to break their Ramadan fast.

Um handers a flattened, circular piece of dough, ready to be placed in the row next to several other pieces

She’s spent all afternoon making dough but now the power has cut out and she can’t bake.

“We, the ordinary and poor people, are the victims of the conflict between the leaders, Fatah and Hamas,” she says.

“This is not a normal life. There is no power, nothing. Everything here is broken.”

Six children sit on a bench and seven children sit on the floor of a small room

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, territorial-disputes, government-and-politics, world-politics, palestinian-territory-occupied

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-19/gaza-strip-electricity-cut-in-hamas-and-fatah-dispute/8629036

Israel Says No Link to Any Armed Group and Jerusalem Attack

June 17, 2017

 

Thomas Coex, AFP | Israeli security forces and an ambulance at the scene of an attack outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 16, 2017.

BY REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
JUNE 17, 2017 11:37

 

“The Palestinian youth will continue to characterize the occupation as its single enemy.”

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Damascus gate, Jerusalem

Damascus gate, Jerusalem. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)No connection has been found between three Palestinians who carried out a fatal attack in Jerusalem on Friday and any organization, Israeli police said on Saturday, after Islamic State had claimed the assault.

Palestinian militants factions have also denied that Islamic State carried out the attack, in which one Israeli police office was killed.

“It was a local cell. At this stage no indication has been found it was directed by a terrorist organization nor has any connection to any organization been found,” police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

Staff Sergeant Major Hadas Malka, 23, was taken to the emergency care unit at nearby Hadassah University Medical Center in critical condition after sustaining multiple stab wounds during the attack. Hospital officials later pronounced her dead after failing to save her life.

Two Palestinians were shot dead after opening fire at and trying to stab a group of Israeli police officers at one scene, police said. At the other, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a border policewoman before being shot dead by police.

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No automatic alt text available.Israeli police said on Friday all the assailants were from Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Two of the attackers, both from Ramallah, were between the ages of 18 and 19 and the third was a 30-year-old from Hebron, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

The assaults took place simultaneously in two areas near the Damascus gate of Jerusalem’s walled old city.

Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas praised the bloodshed but disputed the Islamic State’s claim, stating that the perpetrators were affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“The sacrificial operation in Jerusalem that was carried out by three martyrs in Jerusalem confirms that the PA’s attempt to make the relationship with the occupier ‘a normal relationship’ is a failure. The Palestinian youth will continue to characterize the occupation as its single enemy,” said Hamas spokesperson Hazim Qassim in a Facebook post.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party called the death of the three perpetrators a “war crime by the Israeli occupation forces” in a statement published by Fatah spokesperson Osama Al-Qawasmi.

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Palestinian militant groups deny Islamic State claim of Jerusalem attack

June 17, 2017

Reuters

Israeli policemen secure the scene of the shooting and stabbing attack outside Damascus gate in Jerusalem’s old city June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Palestinian militant factions denied on Saturday a claim by Islamic State that three Palestinian men who carried out a fatal shooting and stabbing attack in Jerusalem were members of the Islamic State militant group.

Islamic State took responsibility for the attack on Friday, in which one Israeli police officer was killed and another wounded, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.

Israeli security officials did not respond immediately to requests for comment on what the SITE intelligence monitoring group described as the first time Islamic State had claimed responsibility for an attack in Israeli-controlled territory, nor on the attackers’ affiliation.

However, a senior official from Hamas, the Islamic group that rules the Gaza Strip, and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the three attackers, who were all shot dead at the scene, were their own members.

“The three hero martyrs who executed the Jerusalem operation have no connection to Daesh (Islamic State), they are affiliated with the PFLP and Hamas,” Hamas’ Izzat El-Reshiq wrote on Twitter.

The PFLP published a separate statement in which it identified two of the three attackers as members. “The media office of the PFLP armed wing mourns two of its hero comrades, two freed prisoners,” it said.

Israeli police said on Friday all the assailants were from Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank. Two of the attackers, both from Ramallah, were between the ages of 18 and 19 and the third was a 30-year-old from Hebron, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

The assaults took place simultaneously in two areas near the Damascus gate of Jerusalem’s walled old city.

Two Palestinians were shot dead after opening fire at and trying to stab a group of Israeli police officers at one scene, police said. At the other, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a border policewoman before being shot dead by police.

A wave of Palestinian street attacks began in October 2015 but has since slowed. Israel blames the violence on incitement by the Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, denies that and says assailants have acted out of desperation over Israeli occupation of land sought by Palestinians for a state.

U.S.-brokered peace talks between the sides broke down in 2014. Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Paul Tait)

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