Celebrations in Gaza after truce
Celebrations in Gaza after truce
Thousands of Palestinians flooded on to the streets of Gaza City, including gunmen — some from Hamas — who fired in the air in celebration just moments after the truce began, AFP correspondents said.
Mosques used their loudspeakers to broadcast celebratory chants as the wartorn enclave hailed the apparent end to some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in a decade.
Officials from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main groups fighting in Gaza, said the deal will help end a seven-week war that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians. There was no immediate Israeli comment.
Ziad Nakhala, a senior official in Islamic Jihad, said the deal calls for an "open-ended" cease-fire, and an Israeli agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow relief supplies and construction materials into the war-battered territory.
Talks on more complex issues, such as Hamas' demand to build an airport and a seaport for Gaza, would begin in a month, he said.
If the details of the cease-fire are confirmed, it would effectively mean Hamas and Islamic Jihad settled for terms that are similar to those that ended more than a week of fighting with Israel in 2012.
Under those terms, Israel promised to ease restrictions gradually, while Hamas pledged to halt rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. The truce held for long stretches, but Gaza's border blockade also remained largely intact.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing one building and severely damaging the other in a further escalation of seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas.
In the past, the military has hit targets in high-rises in pinpoint strikes, but left the buildings standing. Since Saturday, it has toppled or destroyed five towers and shopping complexes in an apparent new tactic aimed at increasing pressure on Hamas. The objects of the latest strikes contain apartments inhabited almost exclusively by middle-class Gazans.
Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade in 2007. Under the restrictions, virtually all of Gaza's 1.8 million people cannot trade or travel.
Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted
LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.
The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”
The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”
In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.
The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.
The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.
They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”
They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.
Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.
In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.