Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row

Palestinian flag waves at Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, U.S., in this November 19, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row

RAMALLAH/GAZA: Palestinian officials announced Tuesday they had suspended meetings with the US following a quarrel with President Donald Trump’s administration over the future of their representative office in Washington.
The announcement came on the same day the leading Palestinian political factions began talks in Cairo aimed at boosting reconciliation efforts.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki and other officials said they had suspended all meetings, but speaking during a visit to Spain, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he remained committed to working with Trump and America.
Meanwhile, delegations from 13 factions from Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora arrived in Egypt on Monday. Deputy chairman of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Fayez Abu Eita, said the dialogue will include enabling the Palestinian government to work freely in Gaza and unify its governance with that of the West Bank. “There will be bilateral meetings sponsored by Egypt between Hamas and Fatah to complete the discussions,” he told Arab News.
Al-Malki said that by deciding to close the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, the Americans had effectively cut off ties. “What is the use of holding any meetings with them when they close our office?” he told AFP.


UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

A photo taken on November 12, 2018 shows a ball of fire above the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018
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UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

  • Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings
  • Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip but there was no agreement on how to address the crisis, diplomats said.
Kuwait, which represents Arab countries at the council, and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flareup in Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.
Addressing reporters after the 50-minute meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council was “paralyzed” and had “failed to shoulder its responsibility” to take action to end the violence.
“There is one country that is not allowing discussion at the council,” Mansour told reporters, in a reference to the United States, which has taken a pro-Israeli stance under President Donald Trump.
There was no statement from the council on the crisis. Such statements are agreed by consensus by all 15 council members.
Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said the majority of council members were of the view that the top UN body “should do something” and some suggested a visit to the region, but no decision was taken.
Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.
The groups said they would abide by the truce as long as Israel did the same, but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli side.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon earlier said “we will not accept a call for both sides to exercise restraint” and laid the blame for the violence squarely on the Palestinians.
Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings in the worst escalation of violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
The latest round of violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly and prompted Hamas to vow revenge.
Palestinian militants responded with rocket and mortar fire. An anti-tank missile hit a bus that Hamas says was being used by Israeli soldiers. A soldier was severely wounded in the attack.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly raised fears of a fourth.