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02 Jan 2010 description

Beirut_(dpa) _ A Palestinian was injured Saturday when members from his mainstream Fatah movement clashed with followers of the Sunni fundamentalist terrorist group, Jund al-Sham, in southern Lebanon, a Palestinian source said.

The armed clashes erupted in the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh.

29 Dec 2009 description

Amman_(dpa) _ Activists in charge of a 210-truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip said Tuesday that they had decided to change their route after Egyptian authorities blocked their entry to the Red Sea port of Nuweiba.

The convoy, known as Viva Palestina, will instead travel from the Jordanian port of Aqaba, where it has been stuck for four days, to Amman, before heading to Syria, said Ali Abul-Sukkar, a spokesman for the Jordanian Professional Associations Council, which is involved in the campaign.

The cargo will later be loaded onto a ship at the …

28 Dec 2009 description

Jerusalem_(dpa) _ Israel confirmed Monday that it is to build almost seven hundred new homes in Jewish sectors of occupied East Jerusalem, raising Palestinian ire, and risking that of its main patron, the United States.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to resume suspended Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without a complete Israeli halt to construction in its settlements and in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at first refused the demand, but in November announced a 109-month partial moratorium on settlement construction.

Some 198 homes will …

23 Dec 2009 description

Saud Abu Ramadan and Ofira Koopmans, dpa

Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza_(dpa) _ The tent city in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya looked gloomy on this grey and rainy December day.

Small children, barefoot and dirty, play in a cold pool of rain water in the centre of the camp in the al-Atatra neighbourhood, as their older siblings come "home" from the badly damaged nearby school to the NGO tents in which they spent the past year.

One year after last winter's war, hundreds of Palestinian families still live in tents, according to the United …

23 Dec 2009 description

Cairo_(dpa) _ Egypt on Wednesday opened its border crossing with the Gaza Strip at the divided town of Rafah to allow some 500 Palestinian medical patients to cross, police said.

Police said the border was opened on Wednesday morning and would remain open until Thursday to allow Palestinian patients to cross into Egypt to receive medical treatment at hospitals in Cairo and to allow recovered Palestinian patients to return from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.

The move came amid increased controversy over Egypt's reported plans to build a reinforced steel wall along the length of its …

11 Dec 2009 description

Ramallah_(dpa) _ Tensions in the West Bank rose Friday as settlers torched a Palestinian village mosque in anger at a government decision to partially suspend Israeli construction in the occupied territory.

Hundreds of Palestinians, in return, rioted after Friday's prayers, burning tires and throwing rocks in at least two locations in the West Bank.

Unidentified settlers overnight entered the village of Yasouf, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, forced the door of the local mosque and poured gasoline in the library, burning bookshelves and prayer rugs.

Palestinian …

10 Dec 2009 description

Gaza_(dpa) _ A 56-year-old Palestinian woman from the Gaza Strip died on Thursday in a Gaza hospital of swine flu, doctors in the Hamas-run ministry of health in the salient said.

Her death brings to six the number of Gazans who have died of the disease in the past six days.

Another 25 people are known to be infected with the virus, amid a shortage of vaccinations in Gaza hospitals, the ministry said.

The ministry said the latest fatality had previously suffered from a heart failure and a severe lung infection. A doctor, three women, a child and a man had died over the past five …

09 Dec 2009 description

Saud Abu Ramadan, dpa

Gaza City_(dpa) _ Two well-dressed young men at Atlas Tours and Travel company in Gaza City's Omer al-Mukhtar main street are finding out how to travel to a new life.

They want to know what documents they need to apply for visas and buy airline tickets to Europe - or, for that matter, any other country in the world.

Izildin Arafat, the 45-year-old travel agent, patiently explains to the men that obtaining a Schengen visa allowing travel within the European Union has become much more difficult recently, especially for Palestinians from Gaza.

"You …

09 Dec 2009 description

Abdul Jalil Mustafa, dpa

Amman_(dpa) _ Sandwiched between Israel and the Palestinian territories to the west and Iraq to the east, Jordan has often served as a corridor for migration flows from Palestine and Iraq during the turbulent last six decades.

Among the events roiling the Mideast and sending waves of refugees and migrants into the Hashemite Kingdom have been the establishment of Israel in 1948, the 1967 Six-Day war, Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the US-led occupation of Iraq in 2003.

According to UN estimates, Jordan, a country of limited resources, is currently …

27 Nov 2009 description

Jerusalem_(dpa) _ Israel said Friday it was authorizing the construction of 28 new public buildings in West Bank settlements, one day after it announced a 10-month suspension of Israeli building in the occupied territory.

That suspension applies to new residential buildings only, and also also excludes East Jerusalem - as well as some 3,000 apartments elsewhere in West Bank settlements whose construction has already begun.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak signed the approvals late Thursday, his office said in a statement sent to the German Press-Agency dpa Friday.

The buildings include …

02 Nov 2009 description

Athens_(dpa) _ The Greek government shut down a detention centre on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Monday, after months of criticism from the United Nations refugee agency about conditions facing migrants housed there.

"We have shut down the centre of Pagani," Deputy Civil Protection Minister Spyros Vougias told an immigration conference in Athens.

Vougias, who paid a visit to the centre soon after the Socialist party was elected to power on October 4, had described it as "Dante's Inferno."

"The conditions there are unbearable, inhuman and go …

31 Oct 2009 description

Rafah, Egypt_(dpa) _ Egypt will open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Sunday for three days, Egyptian security officials told the German Press Agency dpa on Saturday.

The decision will allow "humanitarian cases" including Palestinians who have completed treatments in Egyptian hospitals to return back to Gaza.

It will also allow students and patients who want to be treated in hospitals to enter Egypt, they said.

Egypt opened the border after coordinating with the Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

With brief exceptions, the …

19 Oct 2009 description

Amman_(dpa) _ The government of Jordan and the Norwegian research institute FAFO on Monday agreed to jointly conduct a comprehensive survey of the 10 Palestinian refugee camps located in Jordan, a senior official said.

Deficiencies, particularly poverty, unemployment and the inferior infrastructure in the camps were among the issues that would be examined, the head of Palestinian affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Wajih Azayzeh said.

According to the records of the United Nations, Jordan currently hosts about 1.8 million Palestinian refugees, who hold the Jordanian nationality.

16 Oct 2009 description

Gaza_(dpa) _ Gaza's Hamas Islamic movement announced on Friday it accepted Egypt's proposed pact for inter-Palestinian reconciliation and will unilaterally sign it in Cairo on Saturday.

Ahmed Yousef, a deputy in the deposed ministry of Hamas foreign affairs, told reporters that "after long debates and discussions (we) will handover the drafted pact to Egypt on Saturday with some small notes on it."

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party had unilaterally signed the pact in Cairo on Thursday after its leader Azzam el-Ahmad announced that his …

09 Oct 2009 description

Ramallah/Tel Aviv_(dpa) _ Positions between the Palestinians and Israel remained intractable Friday despite the surprise naming of US President Barack Obama as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

During a meeting with Obama's Middle East representative George Mitchell, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected any concessions to get the peace talks going again.

Before agreeing to resume talks, which have been interrupted for a year, the Palestinians insist that Israel stop all of its settlement activity in Palestinian territories, the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat …

29 Sep 2009 description

Tel Aviv/Gaza_(dpa) _ Several Palestinians were wounded Tuesday in an armed clash with Israeli soldiers on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said.

An Israeli army spokesman said Israeli civilians working in the area had been shot at by Palestinian militants, and Israeli soldiers accompanying the workers returned fire.

The Israeli spokesman declined to confirm reports by Palestinian witnesses that Israeli armoured vehicles had then advanced into an area just outside Gaza City. dpa sar sc

27 Sep 2009 description

Jerusalem_(dpa) _ Fighting between Palestinians, Jewish visitors and Israeli security forces left at least 30 injured on Jerusalem's Temple Mount Sunday, according to police sources.

The incident drew harsh rebukes from Palestinian officials, including calls for an uprising against Israeli forces, almost nine years to the day after the start of the last intifada, or uprising, by Palestinians against Israeli rule.

At least 15 of the injured are believed to be members of Israeli security forces.

26 Sep 2009 description

Gaza_(dpa) _ Around 300 Gaza figures, including independent politicians and intellectuals, are to form a lobby to improve daily life in the salient in the face of an ongoing Israeli blockade, the organization, the Palestinian Lobby Group, announced Saturday.

Talal Aoukal, spokesman for the group, said in a statement that the aim of the lobbying group was to ease the blockade and resolve problems that resulted from the internal rift between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas.

"We had already held five meetings on forming the group to resolve daily living problems ignored by …

15 Sep 2009 description

Tel Aviv_(dpa) _ The Geneva Initiative, a private Israeli and Palestinian group which six years ago released an unofficial proposal for peace between the two sides, presented Tuesday its detailed plan of what a final peace deal could look like.

The plan shown to journalists in Tel Aviv is the second stage of the initiative unveiled in late 2003 by Israeli and Palestinian officials, some of whom had taken part in previous negotiations.

Describing it as a "recipe" for resolving the conflict, Israeli team leader Gadi Baltiansky told reporters that the more than 400-page thick …

13 Sep 2009 description

Jerusalem_(dpa) _ Efforts are still needed to bridge an Israeli-US dispute over settlement building, and allow peace talks with the Palestinians to be renewed, President Barack Obama's envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said separately Sunday.

Mitchell, who arrived in Israel Saturday night for more discussions on the long-running issue, said reports that the dispute has been resolved are "premature."

"While the suggestions that we have finalized and reached agreement on a range of issues (are) inaccurate because they are premature, we hope …