Violating truce, Israeli troops kill Palestinian
Violating truce, Israeli troops kill Palestinian
A Hamas spokesman accused Israel of violating the Egyptian-mediated truce and said the group would complain to Cairo.
Health officials said Anwar Qdeih, 23, was hit in the head by Israeli gunfire after he approached the security fence that runs between Israel and Gaza.
“Anwar was trying to put a Hamas flag on the fence,” said Omar Qdeih, a relative of the man killed who was at the scene. “The army fired three times into the air. Anwar shouted at them ‘Jabari is behind you’, then they shot him in the head,” he said.
Discontent over the cease-fire that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck has cost him support before an election in January but he should still win the ballot, a poll showed yesterday.
The survey by Israel’s Maariv newspaper, the first since the truce took hold, said the newly merged party of Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Likud Beitenu, would take 37 of the 120 parliamentary seats up for grabs on Jan. 22. A poll taken before the eight-day conflict suggested they would win 43 seats.
It said that 31 percent of Israelis approved of the cease-fire while 49 percent were opposed. Asked if the army should have re-occupied Gaza, 41 percent were against and 29 percent in favor. A Palestinian envoy said that he hoped China would play a greater role in supporting his people in the conflict as a counterweight to the United States’ influence over the peace process.
Bassam Al-Salhi said in Beijing following a meeting with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi that China said it backed the Palestinians in the Gaza conflict and in their bid to upgrade their status at the UN. He said Beijing was giving them $1 million in aid.
But Al-Salhi said Beijing could still do more for the Palestinians.
“We think that China should, can take more (of a) role in the area, to support ending the occupation and have the peace process more balanced, because we think the Israelis are using all the time the position of the United States, which is supporting the Israelis,” he said.
Russia yesterday said the Middle East Quartet is an “insufficient” format for long-term resolution of the conflict, calling on the body to work together with the Arab League.
The Quartet seeking peace in the Middle East is made up of the European Union, Russia, the UN and the US. It has had little success in its efforts to renew direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov however indicated that the format of the Quartet needed to be changed, advising it to work together with Arab nations.
“We have said at the Quartet’s meetings that this format is insufficient for effectively looking into today’s problems and working out viable proposals and agreements,” Lavrov told reporters.
Prince William on first official royal visit to Occupied Territories and Israel
- The second-in-line to the British throne is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
- There is a pretty naked desire to build relationships and Israel is a warm target for an increase in trade
LONDON: Prince William will embark on the first official visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories by a member of the British royal family on Sunday.
But even with more than 120 Palestinians killed in protests in Gaza during recent weeks and controversy still surrounding the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the second-in-line to the throne is not expected to talk politics.
Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), told Arab News that the four-day tour is likely to focus on making trade deals in preparation for Britain’s departure from the EU next year, rather than on addressing the moribund Middle East peace process.
“There is a pretty naked desire to build relationships and Israel is a warm target for an increase in trade,” he said.
The visit risks “normalizing” the abusive regime under which Palestinians live, he added.
“Of course Prince William has to go to both the Israeli and Palestinian sectors or there would have been outrage. But there is a risk of his visit making it appear more acceptable and normal to carry out abuses of international law like the blockade of Gaza,” Doyle said.
William begins his Middle Eastern tour on Sunday in Jordan, a long-time ally of Britain. On Tuesday he will move on to Jerusalem, where he will visit Yad Vashem, the official memorial to Holocaust victims, meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and later attend a football event with a mixed Arab and Jewish team.
On Wednesday he will meet young activists, both Arab and Jewish, who are involved in education and social programs, and also cross into the Occupied Palestinian Territories to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah before attending an event focusing on Palestinian refugees.
He is due to deliver a speech at a reception hosted by the American consul in Jerusalem. However, protocol prevents him from making any remarks that might be deemed partisan. Doyle told Arab News this was a pity in view of how William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, championed justice for the oppressed.
“It is a pity that someone of his status, who clearly cares about his mother’s legacy, cannot give voice to real major concerns about the treatment of the Palestinians and the human rights abuses that are daily issues for them under Israeli control but which will be airbrushed out,” he said.
“Yes, he will see co-operative programs and Arabs and Jews playing football together, but the reality is that the Palestinian footballers can only travel to matches with Israeli permission.”
William was a surprise choice for the visit. Many expected the task to fall to his father, Prince Charles, who has more experience of countries which are politically extremely sensitive. But it is thought he was chosen because his youth chimes better with young Israelis working in hi-tech fields who he is scheduled to meet. Among Palestinians, his presence will barely register, said Doyle.
“I hope the language can be found for him to say something to his Israeli hosts, that his visit will be more than window-dressing, but the reality is it’s very unlikely. So the visit won’t register as important with Palestinians. They don’t want to be part of some tourist show or box-ticking exercise,” he said.