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Haniyeh says he is ready to step down as P.M. to further reconciliation

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and other news from the Palestinian unity discussions, and from today in Palestine:

Palestinian Unity

Hamas PM ‘ready to resign’ for unity
GAZA CITY (AFP) 30 Apr — Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Islamist Hamas movement in power in the Gaza Strip, said on Saturday he was “ready to resign.” “I am prepared to tender my resignation as part of the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah,” the secular party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “This agreement is very important and should boost efforts to end the divisions and encourage unity among Palestinians,” he added.

UN chief welcomes Palestinian unity deal
Reuters 30 Apr — Ban Ki-moon says the unity agreement should not undermine peace with Israel and wants Abbas’ more moderate Fatah movement to lead any unity government.

Aid agency welcomes Palestinian reconciliation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — International aid agency Oxfam called on the international community Friday to support Palestinian reconciliation, and “avoid adopting policies that would set unity efforts back.” The agency’s International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs, said in a statement that “ordinary people [are] paying the highest price for the divide between Fatah and Hamas.”

Barak to UN chief: Hamas must recognize Israel
Reuters/Haaretz 30 Apr — Defense Minister Ehud Barak tells UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the world should only support a joint Palestinian government if it accepts the Quartet’s conditions

Factions review unity deal in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Fatah and Hamas met with factions on Saturday in Gaza on Saturday to discuss the reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo to reunite the Palestinian territories. Islamic Jihad invited the parties to its Gaza City offices to review the details of the surprise agreement. It was the first meeting between Hamas and Fatah since the deal was announced in Cairo on Wednesday.

Palestine Monitor editorial: The long road to unity
29 Apr — While the April 27 Cairo Agreement took much of the world by surprise, including the infamous security apparatus of Israel, the reunification of Palestine’s two major political factions was the work of years of careful diplomacy between Damascus, Ramallah, Gaza City and Cairo.


Egypt warns Israel: Don’t interfere with opening of Gaza border crossing
Haaretz 29 Apr — Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt’s plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel’s concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday … The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.

Meridor: We have no right to interfere in Rafah decision
JPost 30 Apr – Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who is in charge of intelligence and atomic affairs, said Saturday that Israel has no right to interfere in the
decision to open the border with Gaza in Rafah, Channel 2 News reported. His comments come in response to Egypt’s plans to open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip. He implied that it is important to have good relations with surrounding countries.

Egyptian foreign policy shifts to reflect popular opinion
France24 30 Apr — Egypt’s foreign policy direction has changed dramatically since former leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted and the new course will have a profound impact on its relationship with Israel and the US, according to Middle East experts. Scott MacLeod, editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, said Egypt was reasserting its leadership in the Arab World and that its foreign policy would henceforth be “much more critical” of Israel
The Egyptian public at large was indignant over the blockade of Gaza, [Karim Bitar] said, and feels that in the post-Mubarak era, “business as usual cannot go on. Post-Revolutionary Egypt considers that Mubarak’s policy towards the Palestinian question was immoral and undignified,” he said. “He kowtowed to US pressures and that Egypt lost its historical standing in the region.

Gaza City homes flooded in downpour
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Heavy rainfall flooded homes in Gaza City overnight Friday. Homes in Jaffa Street sustained damage as rainfall reached 50 centimeters within two hours of unusually stormy weather. Locals complained that water flooded their homes because drainage systems in the area were not functioning.

Sponsor a runner in the UNRWA Gaza marathon 2011
This summer, UNRWA will provide its biggest and best Summer Games in Gaza yet. In order to raise much-needed funds for the Games, we will hold the first-ever UNRWA Gaza Marathon on 5 May 2011. The marathon will span the entire Gaza Strip, from Beit Hanoun to Rafah, with children running in relays along the route, while adults (from professional Gazan athletes training for the Olympics to amateur international staff) will run the full marathon, half marathon or 10km at the end. Make a donation:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Violence and mayhem ravages another Friday in Silwan
[many photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 Apr — Violent clashes swept through Silwan yesterday following the midday prayer. Confrontations erupted after Israeli forces sealed off the main entrances to the village. An increased military presence was noted throughout the region, with several checkpoints established. Particularly militarised were the areas close to settlements, such as in Wadi Hilweh, ‘Ein Silwan, Baten al-Hawa and Wadi Rababa districts … Use of force was particularly heavy on the Israeli side, who employed heavy amounts of tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs. Palestinian youth responded by throwing stones … At least 5 [Palestinians] were injured by rubber bullets, including the Wadi Hilweh Information Center photographer Ahmed Siyam. One Israeli settler was also reported to have opened fire with an M16 rifle.

Press TV: ‘Palestine, a possible mini-Dubai of ME’
29 Apr — Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and its aggressions against the Palestinians are aimed at plundering their natural wealth, says a Middle East expert. “… Given the opportunity, this small nucleus of two separate entities [Gaza Strip and the West Bank], if they come together, has got enough wealth to become what I call the mini-Dubai of the eastern Mediterranean –that is perfectly possible,” Eyre said. “People don’t understand that this conflict is also to do with natural resources because in the offshore Gaza area is vast reserves of natural gas,” Peter Eyre, a Middle East consultant in London, told Press TV on Thursday.


A minor, two others arrested amid West Bank raids
WEST BANK, (PIC) 30 Apr — Three Palestinians including a minor were assaulted amid Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raids sweeping the West Bank Saturday morning … IOF soldiers assaulted three men in Beit Ummar north of Al-Khalil on Friday evening. Among them was a youth aged 16. The minor was left with bruises all over his body after being severely beaten … Palestinian sources in Dora south of Al-Khalil said IOF soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian man before arresting him. The victim was transferred to a Beersheba hospital to receive treatment. Witnesses said police hounds were released against him and that he was severely beaten after his injury.

Israeli police arrest dozens of Palestinian workers
JENIN, (PIC) 30 Apr — Israeli policemen arrested dozens of Palestinian workers in central Palestine occupied in 1948 after storming campaigns of workshops in Haifa, Khudera, and Tel Aviv. Workers in the West Bank told the PIC reporter on Saturday that more than 30 workers were arrested after chasing and assaulting some of them who escaped to nearby groves. They noted that most of those workers came from Jenin and nearby villages.

Relative: 11-year-old detained in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Israeli forces detained Friday an 11-year-old boy from a village northwest of Jerusalem, a relative said. Muhammad Hushiyeh was walking in the Qatanna village when youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers, his cousin Lubna told Ma‘an. She said soldiers arrested the stone-throwers and swept up Muhammad as well. He was not involved beforehand, she insisted. The boy is already in a difficult situation; his father was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers a year earlier, Lubna pointed out.

4 Palestinian detainees injured as Israeli forces raid prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Four Palestinian detainees were injured Friday as Israeli forces raided Eshel prison, a prisoners’ society said. Clashes broke out when Israeli forces attacked detainee Imad Al-Mardawn, the society said, adding that forces threatened to use Taser guns. Detainees said they would go on hunger strike Saturday in protest over the incident, and would file a complaint to the Israel’s Supreme Court to demand an investigation.

Hunger strikes in Ashkelon, Beersheba prisons
JENIN, (PIC) 30 Apr — Prisoners in the Ashkelon and Beersheba prisons have begun a hunger strike to protest the treatment of the Israeli Prison Service, the Ahrar prisoner studies center reported on Friday. Palestinians held at the Beersheba facility began fasting after several prisoners sustained injuries during a violent crackdown on section 10, said Ahrar director Fuad el-Khuffash.

Detainee released after 10 years in prison
JENIN (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Israel released Thursday detainee Samir Al-Fayed, 40, after 10 years behind bars. Samir, from Jenin refugee camp, was detained in 2001, accused of transferring a militant to attack Israelis. He was sentenced to 17 years, reduced to 10. Jenin residents and members of factions gathered on Thursday to receive Samir, who was released from Israel’s Negev prison. Samir was taken by car on a tour of the northern West Bank city, amid fireworks, before praying at the Jenin martyrs’ cemetery.

Report: Hamas military leader in Egypt for Shalit talks
Haaretz 30 Apr — Egypt may return to serve as mediator in talks between Israel and Hamas, Al-Hayat reports; parents of kidnapped IDF soldier meet new Israeli negotiator for their son’s release.

Other news

Hamas leader: Syria didn’t ask us to leave
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — A Hamas leader has denied media reports Saturday claiming Syria asked the movement to relocate its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar: “This is utterly false,” Salah Bardawil said.

Paris trial: Al-Durrah beats Israeli doctor
A French court ruled Friday against Dr. David Yehuda, an Israeli doctor who was sued for slander by Jamal al-Durrah, the father of Second Intifada symbol Muhammad al-Durrah.The Israeli doctor, an orthopedic surgeon who operated on Jamal al-Durrah, exposed details from his medical file and claimed that his scars were the result of a surgery, and were not caused by IDF fire.,7340,L-4062368,00.html

Islamic Jihad mourns West Bank leader
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Islamic Jihad mourned the death of leader Raed Aref Faid Al-Mugheir on Saturday. Al-Mugheir, from ‘Arraba near Jenin, died aged 39 from kidney failure, a statement from the movement said. He suffered a kidney infection while detained in Israel’s Ad-Damon prison in 2000 and had ongoing kidney problems since then. Israel had imprisoned Al-Mugheir three times. He was one of Islamic Jihad’s pioneering fighters in the West Bank, along with Isam Baramah, Iyad Al-Hardan and Anwar Hamaran, all of whom were killed by Israeli forces, the statement said.

Yisrael Beiteinu website hacked by pro-Palestinian activists
[with screenshot] Haaretz 30 Apr — The website of the Yisrael Beiteinu political party was hacked on Saturday by pro-Palestinian activists. The hackers placed on the front page of the website a picture of a Palestinian flag with the Egyptian pyramids in the background and wrote a message referring to party leader Avigdor Lieberman.

Surviving the Shoah – and beating Israel’s bureaucracy
JPost 29 Apr — Many Holocaust survivors live in severe poverty, unaware of the benefits owed them, and must fight the system to realize their rights — David Silberman, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Aviv Lenitzolei Hashoah (Spring for Holocaust Survivors), does not mince words when he proclaims that roughly NIS 250 million in funds meant to assist Holocaust survivors living in Israel remains unclaimed each year.

Analysis / Opinion

The flawed premises: two decades of failed state-making / Alistair Crooke
Foreign Policy 28 Apr — Europe and America have shared a settled conviction over the last decades: It is that Israel, out of its own necessity, must seek to conserve a Jewish majority within Israel. And that with time, and a growing Palestinian population, Israel will at some point have to acquiesce to a Palestinian state in order to maintain that Jewish majority: that is, only by giving Palestinians their own state and thereby shedding a part of the Palestinians it controls, can Israel’s Jewish majority be preserved. This simple proposition has given us the security-first doctrine: Meeting Israel’s self-definition of its own security needs — it is presumed — stands as the unique and sufficient principle, allowing Israel to transition with confidence to the two-state solution. But Israel has not done this — despite many opportunities over the last 19 years — and does not seem any more disposed to “give” a Palestinian state now. Seldom is it asked why, if the logic is indeed so compelling, have two states not emerged?

Publishing propaganda, ignoring fact: the NY Daily News puts the lies in editorialize / Nima Shirazi & Alex Kane
28 Apr …a
recent editorial printed by the Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News is a particularly egregious example of U.S. media’s aversion to the facts on Israel/Palestine. The bald-faced lies — which follow recent Israeli pronouncements about the “terrorists” organizing the upcoming international flotilla to break the Israeli blockade — printed would be laughable only if it wasn’t going to be read by thousands of people. UPDATE – …The photo of the Gaza grocery store is clearly another piece of propaganda meant to signify to the reader, “hey, with stores like these, can we really believe that Gaza’s inhabitants are victims of deliberate deprivation, discrimination, and occupation?” Apparently, according to Zuckerman’s Daily News editors, where there’s a market, there’s no suffering, right? To answer this question, one need only look at these pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto marketplace in the 1940’s:

One word / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 30 Apr — In one word: Bravo! The news about the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas is good for peace. If the final difficulties are ironed out and a full agreement is signed by the two leaders, it will be a huge step forward for the Palestinians — and for us. There is no sense in making peace with half a people. Making peace with the entire Palestinian people may be more difficult, but will be infinitely more fruitful. Therefore: Bravo! Binyamin Netanyahu also says Bravo. Since the government of Israel has declared Hamas a terrorist organization with whom there will be no dealings whatsoever, Netanyahu can now put an end to any talk about peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. What, peace with a Palestinian government that includes terrorists? Never! End of  discussion. Two bravos, but such a difference.

Jerusalem, Flower of Cities — sung by Fayrouz
A great revolutionary song by a great singer.  English subtitles.  [from Wikipedia: Fairuz (Arabic: 
فيروز, also spelled Fairouz or Fayrouz) is a Lebanese singer who is widely considered to be the most famous living singer in the Arab world and one of the best known of all time. She was born in Jabal al Arz (Cedar Mountain) to a Syriac Catholic father and a Maronite mother]


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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