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Entries in Israel-Beitenu (4)


Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (25 February): Netanyahu Searches for a Coalition

Related Post: Virtual Gaza - Breaking the Information Blockade


Evening Update (5 p.m. GMT): Hamas and Fatah representatives have met in Cairo in advance of Thursday's "reconcilation" meeting of a dozen Palestinian groups. Ezzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas delegation, said, "There was a positive and promising atmosphere at ... today's session."

Afternoon Update (12 noon GMT): Israel, responding to the firing of two rockets from Gaza this morning, has struck tunnels near Rafah.

As Hamas and Fatah delegations prepare for "reconciliation" meetings in Cairo, Fatah has released 40 "security prisoners" (or, in Hamas' eyes, "political detainees").

State Department officials have said US envoy George Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will press Israel to allow aid shipments into Gaza on their trips to the Middle East in forthcoming days:
Israel is not making enough efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The US expects Israel to meet its commitments on this matter.

Israeli spokesmen are denying receiving any critical messages from Washington.

Two Qassam rockets landed in southern Israel this morning.

Morning Update (8:45 a.m. GMT; 10:45 a.m. Israel/Palestine): Having failed to get agreement with Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Labor leader Ehud Barak on a possible coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud turns again to "right-wing" parties today. He will meet Israel-Beitenu's Avigdor Lieberman, third in the recent elections, and smaller political factions.

Updates from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (19 February)

Latest Post: Is US Now Talking to Hamas?

kerryEvening Update (9 p.m.): Hamas has written a letter to President Obama and attempted to send it to Washington via Senator John Kerry (pictured), one of three US Congressmen visiting Gaza.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency confirmed that it had received the letter from Hamas but did not say whether Mr Kerry had then accepted it. (cross-posted from Is US Now Talking to Hamas? thread)

Afternoon Update (1:30 p.m. GMT): Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud Party, has moved closer to becoming Prime Minister, winning the support of the Israel-Beitenu Party, which finished third in last week's election.

Israeli warplanes have launched at least three airstrikes near Rafah.

Senator John Kerry and two US Representatives, Keith Ellison and Brian Baird, have made the first visit by US congressmen to Gaza in four years.

Morning Update (6:20 a.m. GMT; 8:20 a.m. Israel/Palestine): The negotiations between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt, have effectively been suspended with the Israeli Cabinet's confirmation that kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit must be released before any further measures and Hamas' rejection of that precondition. "Reconciliation" talks between Hamas and Fatah are also in abeyance.

That leaves the sideshow announcement from the US State Department that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending the Gaza donors' conference in Egypt next month. It is a public-relations move that may quickly be exposed, given Israel's continuing restrictions on any assistance into the area; the real intent may be to slap at Hamas by insisting that all aid must bypass the Gaza authorities.

The Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (11 February): The Israeli Election

marzouk9:45 p.m. Still pursuing a cease-fire agreement with Israel, a senior Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk will hold talks on Thursday with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Thursday.

9:40 p.m. Philip Rizk, the protestor detained by Egyptian authorities after his walk raising money for Gazans, has been released after more than four days of round-the-clock interrogation.

9:30 p.m. A bit of proxy battling over the Palestinian movement in Ankara today. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak represented the Palestinian Authority side of the talks, pressing for confirmation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the legitimate umbrella group. Turkey was more muted in its statements but continues to press for greater Hamas participation.

4:25 p.m. The Hamas government in Gaza has ordered international and local aid organisations providing emergency assistance to coordinate relief efforts with it, claiming "supplies brought in from abroad were being sold on the market".

3:55 p.m. Senior Israeli officials have insisted that talks on an Israel-Gaza cease-fire, mediated by Egypt, will continue despite uncertainty over the next Government: ""The current government headed by Ehud Olmert has full authority until a new government is sworn in. You cannot have a power vacuum."

3:45 p.m. Kadima leader Tzipi Livni has met Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the "far-right" Israel-Beitenu party, to discuss a possible coalition. Kadima has a projected 29 seats in the Knesset; Israel-Beitenu is a surprise third with 15.

Benjamin Netanyahu, head of Likud (28 seats) has met leaders of the ultra-orthodox Shas party (11 seats).

8:15 a.m. The Palestinian Authority has asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate allegations of war crimes by the Israeli military in the Gaza conflict.

8 a.m. On Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon criticised Israel's continued blocking of aid into Gaza. Ban said one million Gazans needed relief supplies, but Tel Aviv was only allowing one crossing to open with aid for about 30,000 people.

Ban also confirmed that a survey team would be investigating Israeli attacks on UN facilities during the Gaza conflict.

Morning Update (6 a.m. GMT; 8 a.m. Israel/Palestine): Now the real politics begins in Israel.

Little change overnight in the forecast of results. Out of 120 seats in the Knesset, Kadima (Tzipi Livni) is projected to take 28 and Likud (Benjamin Netanyahu) 27. Each of the two leading parties has claimed a mandate to govern, but each faces the reality of trying to forge a coaliation with the participation of other parties.

Of those parties, the "far-right" Israel-Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman has emerged in third place with 15 projected seats, putting Labor --- the founding party of Israeli politics --- into fourth with 13.

With little resolved in Tel Aviv, perhaps the most significant reaction has come from Hamas. Spokesman Osama Hamdan has claimed that, with Israeli politics moving "to the right", the new Government will be led by "extremists". No surprise there, but Hamdan's follow-up is politically notable: he says the US Government's intervention is now essential for any political resolution.

The Latest on Israel-Gaza-Palestine (10 February)

10 p.m. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz is reporting that Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Avigdor Lieberman of Israeli-Beitenu have had a phone conversation about a possible coalition government.

9:40 p.m. A Qassam rocket has landed in the southern Negev in Israel.

8 p.m. Voting closes in Israeli election. First exit polls have Kadima (party of Tzipi Livni) at 30 seats; Likud (party of Benjamin Netanyahu) 28; "far-right" Israel-Beitenu (Avigdor Lieberman) 15. Labor (Ehud Barak) on course for worst performance ever.

As there are 120 seats in Knesset, there will have to be a coalition with at least 61 members to form a secure Government. That in turn means that even a Kadima-Likud coalition is not sure of a majority in the new parliament.

11:10 a.m. The New York Times has an article on the detention of student Philip Rizk by Egyptian authorities after his walk with friends to raise money for Gazans.

11 a.m. Hamas official Osama Hamdan says further manoeuvres for an agreement with Israel on Gaza will now depend onĀ  the outcome of today's Israeli election: ""If [Likud leader Benjamin] Netanyahu wins, I don't think that the current government will conclude an agreement. If the current government wins, they could reach an agreement."

10:45 a.m. I'm Still Here. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, trying to assert his leadership as Hamas negotiates an agreement with Israel, has said he is ready to talk to Tel Aviv if "the new Israeli government a halt to new settlements".

Morning Update (9 a.m. GMT; 11 a.m. Israel/Palestine): The headline story is today's Israeli elections, which the media are now projecting as "too close to call" between the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Kadima Party of Tzipi Livni for the largest number of seats. The equally important --- indeed, more important --- issue will be the make-up of the inevitable coalition that has to be formed to govern Israel.

Meanwhile, former United Nations envoy Ian Martin will head a five-member panel investigating last month's Israeli attacks on UN facilities in Gaza.