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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for Thursday July 19th, 2012.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat appeals to the international community to re-examine their agreements with Israel, and Tawjihi results were announced today; these stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.
Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, dispatched a letter to the international community urging them to “examine their bilateral agreements with Israel to ensure that they are not unwittingly supporting Israel’s occupation,” WAFA news reported on Wednesday. He asked that foreign governments “extend bilateral recognition to the State of Palestine on the 1967 border” in order to “preserve the two-state solution that is fast becoming impracticable.” He expressed the serious concerns of the Palestinian leadership regarding a series of recent Israeli statements including the findings of the Israeli government-appointed Levy Commission which attempted to legitimize Israeli settlements that have repeatedly been found to be violations of international law.
Also today, talks continued in Cairo between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi. The primary point of discussion between the two leaders focused on Egypt’s role in repairing the fractured relationship between the Fateh leadership in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is a splinter of the Muslim Brotherhood party that Mursi led to sweeping election victories in Egypt 2012. His victory this summer was praised by Hamas leadership and Mursi made relieving the embattled citizens of Gaza a priority for his government.
In related news, on Wednesday, Hamas urged Egypt’s new president to defy the Israeli siege on Gaza and allow more fuel to enter the area, according to Ma’an news. During a demonstration in the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ Ismail Radwan commented that the Arab community has a responsibility to support the people of Gaza and end the fuel crisis there. Newly elected Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi reportedly promised US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he would continue the closure of the Gaza Strip. According to an Israeli news site, Clinton informed Israeli officials of Mursi’s intentions during her visit to Israel on Monday, but due to the close ties between Hamas and Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood party, officials in Gaza have expressed hope that now Egypt will fully open the Rafah border and end the blockade.
And finally, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education announced the 2012 results for the country-wide Tawjihi exams today. 87,611 students in the West Bank and Gaza sat for the exams, similar to high school exit exams, with 62.2 percent obtaining a pass mark according to Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakarneh. The Tawjihi is administered every year for Palestinian students seeking a high school diploma and is required for those who wish to enter university in Palestine. Each student’s score determines which programs a student can enter. After the names were announced on Mix TV, teenagers celebrated by driving around in cars for hours, hanging out windows and sunroofs, honking horns, cheering and lighting firecrackers.
And that’s all for today from the IMEMC News; this was the Thursday July 19th daily news round-up from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. For more news and updates please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Today’s report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and me, Kelly Joiner.