GAZA (Reuters) – Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday for the first time in a month to allow thousands of stranded Palestinians to return to the Gaza Strip, border officials said.
However, the frontier remained closed in the other direction, making it impossible for the vast majority of Gazans to leave the densely populated Mediterranean enclave.
GAZA (Reuters) – Time is running out to get post-war reconstruction going in Gaza, which needs not only cement and bricks but also fundamental political change, the EU’s representative said during a visit to the enclave on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening of an exhibition of photographs taken during the July-August war, John Gatt-Rutter said he was painfully aware how much needed to be done to speed up the delivery of aid to Gaza’s 1.8 million people.
RAFAH Gaza Strip (Reuters) – Egypt’s decision to shut its border with the Gaza Strip has stranded thousands of Palestinians on the Egyptian side of the border while around a thousand people in Gaza are desperate to get out for medical treatment in Egypt, officials in Gaza say.
Egypt closed Rafah, the only crossing point between Egypt and the Palestinian territory, on Oct. 25 after attacks by Islamist militants which killed 33 Egyptian soldiers, an assault that prompted Cairo to declare a state of emergency in the area.
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement said on Sunday it had canceled a commemoration rally planned in Gaza for its late leader Yasser Arafat, in another setback to a unity pact with the territory’s Islamist Hamas rulers.
Two days after explosions rocked houses of Fatah leaders in Gaza, the group said it had to call off Tuesday’s event after Hamas and security services loyal to it said they would not be able to secure the rally.
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian protesters fought with Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Friday, the latest clashes in a fortnight of violence over access to Jerusalem’s holiest site.
At the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, troops fired rubber bullets as several hundred protesters marched, some throwing rocks and petrol bombs.
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – The EU’s new foreign affairs chief said on Friday that a surge of violence in Jerusalem made it all the more critical that Israel and the Palestinians return to negotiations quickly.
Speaking after talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Federica Mogherini said the European Union stood with Israel when it came to defending its citizens, but that the unrest was a serious concern.
GAZA (Reuters) – There is still not an effective or united Palestinian government in place in Gaza and unless stability is achieved rapidly, another conflict will engulf the territory, a senior United Nations official said on Tuesday.
Robert Turner, director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, said the extent of damage and homelessness after the July-August war was worse than first thought. The latest estimates suggested reconstruction would take two to three years if all went well, he said.
GAZA (Reuters) – Some 24,000 civil servants hired by the Islamist group Hamas, many of whom have not received a full salary in almost a year, finally got some pay on Wednesday from the new Palestinian unity government based in the West Bank.
The funds were supplied by the gas-rich kingdom of Qatar, which is an ally of Hamas. But the fact the cash was delivered by the West Bank administration gave a boost to hopes that the unity pact between Palestinian rivals might bear fruit.
GAZA/RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The first
torrential downpour of an approaching winter has already soaked
the Gaza Strip, compounding the misery of thousands of
Palestinians who scrambled to patch homes wrecked by the summer
war with Israel.
While Palestinian officials rejoiced at $5.4 billion pledged
at an international aid conference last week toward
reconstruction and shoring up their budget, many in Gaza fear
that, as was the case after past wars with Israel, not all the
money will materialise.
GAZA (Reuters) – Israel opened the border to the first truckloads of building materials for post-war reconstruction in Gaza on Tuesday and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the destruction in the Palestinian enclave “beyond description”.
Gaza was blockaded by Israel and Egypt for years before the most recent conflict, which ended in August after two months, because, they said, militants were using materials to build fortifications and tunnels under the border.