News stories

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  1. Libyan ship ‘will continue to Gaza’

Organisers of a Libya-sponsored aid ship have said they will continue their attempt to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, despite Israeli claims that the vessel would instead sail to Egypt.

Yousseuf Sawani, a director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, told Al Jazeera that there were no plans for the Al-Amal to dock at the port El-Arish.

“This is definitely a part of the campaign against the ship, a campaign of distortion, but we are definitely heading towards Gaza, because that is where aid should be heading to,” he told Al Jazeera.

“This is a purely humane mission, it is neither provocative nor hostile,” he said.

The ship set sail from Greece on Saturday, carrying 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, but the Israeli foreign ministry said that it had reached an agreement with Greece and Moldova to have the ship diverted to Egypt.

  1. Netanyahu meets Shalit’s parents

The parents of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier being held in the Gaza Strip, have met briefly with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

Noam and Aviva Shalit met Netanyahu on Friday following a 12-day march across Israel to press the prime minister to do more to secure their son’s release.

They were joined on the march by thousands of supporters

  1. No World Cup in Gaza as Strip drowns in darkness

Published Tuesday 29/06/2010 (updated) 30/06/2010 09:37

Bethlehem/Gaza – Ma’an – While football matches entertain the rest of the world, few in Gaza will enjoy the privilege, as most houses do not have electricity.
Gaza local Abu Muhammad followed the Algeria – Slovenia match on the local radio, but said he was sad that he could only hear the game and not watch it.
Although coffee shops and restaurants are showing the games, the high unemployment rate in the Strip means most residents of Gaza cannot afford to go.
Electricity is a major problem in the besieged enclave, disrupting hospitals, schools water and sewage systems.

Generators brought in through the tunnels are expensive and dangerous. Nasim Abu Jame, from Khan Younis, lost his three children when an electric generator exploded causing a fire.

4.      Obama to Abbas: I will make every effort to ensure Palestinian statehood

U.S. President Barack Obama phoned Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to brief the Palestinian president on the American leader’s recent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and voice his strong support for Abbas’ leadership and commitment to peace. Obama promised Abbas that he would exert every effort to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told the Palestinian news agency WAFA following the phone conversation that Abbas expressed his commitment to a serious peace process that would “end the occupation” and result in an independent Palestinian state. During the conversation, Obama noted the positive momentum generated by recent improvements on the ground in Gaza and in the West Bank, the restraint shown by both Israel and the Palestinians over recent months, and progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks. Obama also noted that his enovy to the Middle East George Mitchell would be traveling to the region soon, and will meet with Abbas to build on this momentum to advance the common goals of the Americans and the Palestinians.

  1. Netanyahu offers Palestinians talks on settlements

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted on his preparedness to discuss “right away” the future of Jewish settlements if Palestinians entered direct peace talks with his government.
Asked on the Cable News Network (CNN)’s “Larry King Live” if he would extend beyond September a 10-month moratorium on housing in settlements in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu said it was time for the Palestinians to drop preconditions for face-to-face talks.
“Let’s just get into the talks and one of the things we’ll discuss right away is this issue of settlements and that’s what I propose doing,” he said.
Netanyahu was interviewed a day after a fence-mending meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, where the Israeli leader repeated a call for a restart of peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Direct talks on Palestinian statehood have been suspended since late 2008. Obama’s Middle East mediator, George Mitchell, has been shuttling between Netanyahu and Abbas in so-called proximity talks.
The Palestinians insist on keeping Israel at arm’s length until it makes certain things clear – namely, what size and shape of Palestinian state is Netanyahu prepared to consider, and will its Jordan Valley be free of Israeli troops?
Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu said on ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that Israel was prepared to take additional steps to ease Palestinian movement in the West Bank to coax Abbas into direct peace talks.
“The point is, we are prepared to do them. But what we want to see finally is one thing: We want President Abbas to grasp my hand … to shake it, sit down and negotiate a final settlement of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

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