Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Monday, January 25th, 2010.
Soldiers given land in exchange for military service, Gaza’s impending fuel crises, and political tension in Palestine and abroad. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
The News Cast
Israeli sources are reporting that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has approved a deal that grants former soldiers free plots of land in both the Negev and Galilee.
Every soldier who serves in combat units will be granted a quarter of a Dunam of land should he or she decide to settle in the Galilee or the Negev. The estimated value of this quantity of land ranges between 100,000 & 150,000 NIS, per plot.
In other news, Gaza’s only power plant may have to halt its operations by the weekend due to the European Union’s decision to stop buying fuel to power the plant.
The plant’s director, Rafeeq Maliha warns that without intervention from the Palestinian Authority, the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip will be without many basic services that require an adequate amount of electricity.
In domestic politics, Mahmoud Ramahi, a leading member of the Hamas party, accused the Palestinian Security Forces of arresting six employees of the Palestinian Legislative Council without cause, after they left their Ramallah offices on Sunday afternoon.
Ramahi, whose Hamas party holds 74 seats out of a possible 133, is the secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and stated that all those detained are, “PLC employees and should be respected. They are official employees who receive salaries from the government.”
At the international level, the Hamas party came under fire from Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, for criticizing the separation wall that Egypt is constructing along, and under, its border with Gaza. Mubarak claims the construction of the wall is a sovereign decision despite support and supervision from the United States.
In a speech this Sunday, Mubarak addressed Hamas several times, including further criticism of the party’s refusal to sign the Egyptian mediated conciliation documents with their rivals, Fatah. Both parties agreed to the details of the paper during negotiations, but Hamas have now requested further amendments pertaining to elections and security arrangements.
Also, the Belgian government has decided to ask the European Union to come to a decision as to whether it will sanction Israel for preventing E.U. officials from entering the besieged Gaza Strip.
Belgian Development Minister, Charles Michel had intended to visit the coastal region this past Saturday to observe the destruction and suffering that is being inflicted upon the residents.
On Sunday, Michel held a meeting with Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon. Ayalon has claimed that any humanitarian aid that Belgium gives to Hamas would be embezzled by terrorists, instead of reaching its intended recipients.
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Elliot Saltt.