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Entries in Gaza Strip (15)


Palestine Analysis: A 6-Point Guide to the "Style and No Substance" of the UN Vote for Statehood

Mahmoud Abbas Addressing the UNThe upgrade in status at the UN will not be produce a two-state solution in weeks. Indeed, there is still no practical alternative to the reality before Palestine, with a political stalemate not only between Israel and the Palestinians but also between Gaza and the West Bank.

A 6-Point Guide....

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (13 November): Deadly Clashes in Gaza --- Does Hamas Have a Plan?

1945 GMT: Although the Palestine Liberation Organization has already secured the majority of the members' consents ahead of the UN vote which is to take place on 29 November, the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas wanted to take credit during the Arab League and European foreign ministers meeting in Cairo. 

A joint statement on the endorsement of the UN bid did not come out but the Cairo Declaration called for a negotiated two-state solution and blamed only West Bank settlements and Israel’s security barrier as obstacles.

1900 GMT: Egypt's ruling Muslim Brother accused Israeli government of heating up the conflict with Gazan factions to score political points ahead of elections.

1640 GMT: The inner security cabinet agreed not to fire on the Gaza Strip as long as the rocket fire stops. PM Netanyahu warned:

Whoever thinks that he can routinely attack the daily lives of the residents of the South without paying a heavy price – is mistaken. I am responsible for choosing the right time to exact the highest possible price and so it will be.

1555 GMT: The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine says that Hamas security forces arrested six protesters at a women-led demonstration demanding national reconciliation.

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (26 October): Netanyahu and Lieberman Declare Their Alliance

1430 GMT: British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has welcomed a truce between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel after recent clashes, airstrikes, and firing of rockets: "The UK welcomes reports that a truce has been reached and calls on all sides to show restraint and prevent further such escalations in future. We urge all parties to prevent civilian casualties and loss of life."

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The Latest from Israel-Palestine (16 October): Netanyahu's Threats That Will Dominate the Elections

Photo: Marc Israel Sellem

1945 GMT: The State Attirney's Office announced that it is appealing the acquittals of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Jerusalem District Court corruption case to the Supreme Court. At a time when Olmert was mulling a political comeback, he could go to jail if the appeal is rejected. 

1900 GMT: Israel Defense Forces have confirmed that a Strela (SA-7) anti-aircraft missile was fired at an Israeli helicopter over the Gaza Strip for the first time last week.

1825 GMT: A rocket fired from Gaza hits Hof Ashkelon Regional Council in southern Israel. No injuries reported.

1730 GMT: The Palestinian Authority's public workers union has called for full strike Wednesday, Thursday and again next week in protest of the government's failure to pay salaries. 

1650 GMT: The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, says the elected government of Gaza in 2006 was "the first model which led to the breakout of a sweeping Arab revolution in the Islamic region."

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The Latest from Israel-Palestine (12 October): What Will Israeli Elections Bring?

See also The Latest from Turkey (12 October): Ankara's Dangerous Game with Moscow
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Feuding About a Plane --- Meanwhile, 200+ Die

1645 GMT: After Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah' acknowledged that the group sent the downed drone into Israeli airspace, the Gaza-based Palestinian groups praised Hezbollah.

Al-Mujahideen Brigades described Hezbollah's operation as "unprecedented", whilst Salah al-din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, said Hezbollah's improved capabilities would strengthen the resolve of the Palestinian people and deter Israel from attacking them and their holy places.

1430 GMT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies that he agreed on Israel giving up the Golan Heights in return of a peace deal in the US-mediated secret talks with the Assad regime.

1045 GMT: Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak had secret talks with the Assad Bashar government in the late 2010. It is claimed that Israeli leaders agreed to a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace agreement.

In September 2010, it was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who publicly asked the Netanyahu government to restart indirect talks between Israel and Syria, through the Turkish mediation. However, the Israeli government denied such reports.

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Israel-Gaza-Hamas Analysis: 4 Lessons from the Recent Conflict

Hamas appears fragile and divided over its actions, nearing a possible September vote in the United Nations General Assembly on recognition of a Palestinian state. But Hamas also showed once again --- despite its weakness and division --- that it exists in the Gaza Strip and that Israel has to negotiate with it if West Jerusalem wants order in the south of the country. The immediate escalation after the bus attack increased Hamas's bargaining powerwith Israel, Egypt and, indirectly, with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

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Israel-Palestine Special: Assessing the Move for UN Recognition of a Palestinian State

This time, Washington has to bring something more than Obama’s speech, with more flexibility for the European Union initiative, to the table. One possibility? Acknowledging Hamas behind closed doors, giving Abbas a guarantee that Ramallah will never need to recognise a “Jewish state”, and promising a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in a year.

At the same time, a sign can be given to Prime Minister Netanyahu that he can be a peace-making hero ahead of Israeli elections. How? The release of Gilad Shalit, the detained Israel soldier, by Hamas.

And if this is not pursued? Well, get ready for the September display at the United Nations.

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Israel-Palestine Special: Assessing the Move for UN Recognition of a Palestinian State

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Israel-Palestine Special: 4 Ways to Understand Latest Situation (and Why Hamas is on the Rise)

Israel should understand that its state policy of collective punishment has cracked, if not come to an end: Egypt’s announcement that it will permanently open the border crossing with Gaza and plans for a new Gaza flotilla in June are only the drops of a shower washing away West Jerusalem's approach.

If the terms of the Shalit deal are made public, with Hamas offers a relatively "better" deal --- which it will do to increase the international pressure on Israel --- the Gaza group will not only advance in the hearts and minds of millions of Arabs, and possibly some Israelis, as well as boosting its credibility in the eyes of Western capitals. 

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Israel-Palestine Special: So What's the Deal Between Hamas and Fatah?

The rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have reportedly reached an agreement, brokered by Egypt,  to end their rift and that between the West Bank and Gaza. 

The two sides have been in a series of talks in the last few years, climaxing when Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in 2009. Hamas had reservations, however, over the arrangement for security forces in the Gaza Strip and the lack of a guarantee that its victory in elections would be recognised. Hamas demanded further gestures before considering unity, such as a release of hundreds of it prisoners locked up in the West Bank, the re-opening of Hamas charities, and the removal of a ban on its activities in the West Bank.

So why an agreement now? 

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