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Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh: President's invite still open

 

 

 

GAZA CITY, March 23, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that his invitation to President Mahmoud Abbas to hold talks in the Gaza Strip was still open.

As reported by Ma’an News Agency on Tuesday, Haniyeh said he invited Abbas to the enclave to continue talks to resolve the national split between Hamas and Fatah, and their rival governments in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Gaza premier called for emergency talks on Tuesday as massive youth protests broke out in the Gaza Strip and across the West Bank demanding an end to the division.

Abbas accepted the invitation Wednesday, but said the purpose of his visit was to make a unity deal, not to discuss one.

Senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad said Saturday that “Dialogue has become like deaf people trying to communicate. There is nothing left to talk about. Any further dialogue will have to follow after reconciliation is achieved and not before.”

During a visit to the home of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the Gaza premier said reconciliation would only be reached through dialogue.

Haniyeh called for a national conference to bring together Palestinians in the occupied territories and in the diaspora to discuss national issues, including elections for the Palestinian National Council.

He added that the Hamas-run government in Gaza was committed to national unity.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ advisor Nimir Hammad said the Palestinian Authority had not received any positive feedback from Hamas about the president’s initiative to visit Gaza. He said some Hamas spokesmen had responded negatively to the planned visit.

Hammad told Ma’an radio that Hamas leaders thought by continuing the national division they could keep control of Gaza.

At a meeting with Arab ambassadors in Budapest on Monday, Abbas said that if Hamas leaders accepted his initiative, he would cut short engagements in Europe and head straight to the Gaza Strip.

He added that if Israel tried to prevent the visit, he would travel through Egypt.

“If the Israelis won’t allow me to visit Gaza through the Erez crossing, I will go via the Rafah crossing. In fact I am ready to break my visit to Hungary and head to Gaza immediately if Hamas agrees.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to slam the developments towards Palestinian unity. In a CNN interview broadcast Thursday, he said Palestinian reconciliation would be the end of the peace process.

The president has not yet set a date for the meeting, but the trip would be a landmark visit.

Abbas has not set foot in Gaza since Hamas ousted Fatah from the coastal enclave in 2007 in clashes which neared civil war.

The parties’ rivalry dates back two decades, and several years of unity talks have so far failed to reconcile the factions.

The split has badly damaged the Palestinian national movement and divided the Palestinian territories, which are governed by separate authorities.   (*)

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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in World News

 

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Gaza's cherry tomatoes selling in Europe

 

 

GAZA CITY, March 22, 2-11 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Cherry tomatoes grown by farmers in Gaza can now compete with settlement produce on European supermarket shelves, Ma’an News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Gaza Strip has exported cherry tomatoes since the 1980s, said Jamal Abu An-Naja, who manages the export of vegetables and flowers from southern Gaza.

But under Israel’s blockade, Gaza’s export market collapsed. Israel’s military has maintained complete control over the enclave’s airspace and coast since 1967, so merchants cannot transport their goods by sea or air from the Gaza Strip. When Israel closed the land crossings in 2007, Gaza traders and farmers could no longer access lucrative markets abroad.

Under a Dutch-funded program, Israel agreed to allow the limited export of agricultural produce to Europe.

An-Naja told Ma’an that 10 farmers took the risk this year of growing flowers and vegetables on around 25 dunums in the Gaza Strip, in the hope that Israel would allow them to export the harvest. Much of the produce rotted as farmers waited for permits from Israeli authorities to transport the goods across the border and into Europe.

Growing tomatoes on one dunum of land costs around $3000, An-Naja said, adding that the Dutch government helped to finance the farmers.

Gaza farmers are keen to export to Europe, where one kilo of cherry tomatoes sells for between $1 – $2.5. In Gaza markets, it sells for around 2 shekels ($0.50).   (*)

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in World News

 

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Hamas leader promises to rebuild all Gaza houses

PHOTO FILE : Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh gives a speech to Palestinians and international peace activists inside al-Garbi mosque at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City October 22, 2010. Hundreds of international peace activists arrived in Gaza on Thursday in a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies, to show solidarity with Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip, an official in the convoy said. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

RAMALLAH, Jan. 17 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — Hamas will rebuild all houses that were destroyed or damaged during Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip two years ago, its leader in Gaza announced Sunday.

“We have got the money to complete the first phase of the project and we will lay the cornerstone within 48 hours,” said Ismail Haneya, the deposed premier of Hamas’ government.

Haneya made his announcement during a conference in Gaza City. He did not reveal where his government got the money from.

In March 2009, international donors, meeting in the Red Sea Egyptian resort of Sharm Al-Sheikh, pledged more than 4 billion U. S. dollars to rebuild houses and infrastructure that was destroyed in Israel’s three-week offensive in the winter of 2008-09.

However, the international projects could not begin because the international community doesn’t deal with Hamas.

Pledging that the project will include “every destroyed house,” Haneya added that the reconstruction “is a clear message to everybody who bet on the fall” of the Islamic movement which seized Gaza by force in 2007.

The Israeli assault, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, left some 1, 400 Palestinians dead and destroyed thousands of structures, most of them houses.

Hamas, which won parliamentary elections in 2006, tightened its grip on Gaza after it routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ousted his Fatah party, leaving the Palestinian National Authority confined to the West Bank.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in World News

 

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