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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center www.imemc.org, for Tuesday May 3rd, 2011
Following four years of stalemate, Palestinian factions have signed a unity deal today in Cairo. Al Jazeera reported that 13 factions were involved in the deal including rival political parties Hamas and Fatah. In the short term the deal changes little as Hamas remain in control of Gaza while Fatah maintain their hold on the West Bank. The agreement, however, will open the way for fresh elections within 12 months.
At a press conference held at Jordanian capital Amman, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine occupied since 1967, Richard A Falk, has stated that Israel killed 1,300 children since 2000. The announcement was made on Monday night. Israel has so far prevented Mr Falk’s attempts at fact finding missions to the region. In 2008 Mr Falk was detained, interrogated and deported upon attempting entry to Israel.
Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Chairman of the Israeli Parliamentary Committee for Forging Affairs and Security Shaul Mofaz of the Kadima party has called for similar assassination attempts against Palestinian leaders. Mofaz made his statements during an interview with Israeli radio reports the Palestinian News Network. International law prohibits extra judicial assassinations.
Palestinian Authority Premier Salam Fayyad has said the refusal of the Israeli authorities to transfer tax payments collected on behalf of the PA will not derail unity talks with Hamas
Maan news agency has reported that PA salaries, due to over 170,000 government employees, have gone unpaid since Monday as a result of the delay in the transfer of payment from Israel. The $88.7 million dollar sum is being delayed while Israeli authorities review whether money will trickle down to Hamas as part of the new unity deal. Fayyad called on the international community to pressure Israel to hand over the collected revenue.
There has been a mixed response from rival political Palestinian factions to the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces on Sunday night. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has stated that Hamas viewed the killing of bin Laden as “a continuation of the American policy based on the oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood” and praised him as an “Arab holy warrior”. However a spokesman for the PA, Ghassan Khatib, has expressed an opposing view, stating that the death of bin Laden was “good for the cause of peace”. Hamas has found itself recently under pressure in Gaza from groups sympathetic to bin Laden’s ideology.
That rounds up the main news for today. Please join us again tomorrow for a summary of important events in the Palestinian Territories.You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center. For more updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me kaven murphy