Some Gazans allowed to cross into Egypt

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only official border crossing into Egypt, opened to a limited number of Gazans on 18-21 April. Some 1,600 medical patients, students and business people crossed into Egypt. Some 400 were turned back by the Egyptian authorities, according to the Gaza interior ministry, and thousands remain stranded on both sides of the border. 

Gaza needs more aid

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - John Ging, head of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, has urged Israel to ease aid flow restrictions that are having a devastating effect on the 1.5 million inhabitants. Ging says the amount of aid being allowed into Gaza at present is “wholly and totally inadequate. It’s having a very devastating impact on the physical circumstances and also the mindset of people on the ground,” Ging told IPS

Aid groups work to care for Gaza orphans

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - An estimated 1,346 children were left without one or more of their parents as a result of the recent 22-day Israeli assault on Gaza, according to Islamic Relief in Gaza. An orphan is defined by Islamic Relief as a child under 18 who has lost the parent considered the head of the household, most often the father, according to Mahmoud Abudraz, a child welfare program manager, for Islamic Relief in Gaza. 

Olmert will be remembered for little but scandal

Ehud Olmert, who has handed over the Israeli premiership to Benjamin Netanyahu after three years heading the government, suffered a slow and public political demise. The eight lame-duck months since his resignation have been spent energetically refashioning his image as a successful leader — the “Olmert myth,” as one commentator recently called it. Jonathan Cook analyzes. 

From Guangzhou to Gaza -- underground

GAZA CITY (IRIN) - The main kitchenware supplier in Gaza, al-Dahshan Company, last received a shipment from Israel over two years ago through the Karni crossing. Karni, the only commercial crossing with the facilities to allow large numbers of trucks to enter Gaza, has been closed since June 2007 except for the conveyor belt that operates for grain deliveries. 

Palestinian unity talks failing

CAIRO (IPS) - Reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah in Cairo this week yielded an agreement to hold national elections early next year. The two sides, however, remain deadlocked over the proposed terms of a national unity government. “Talks are at a standstill on the issue of the government,” a member of the Palestinian delegation was quoted as saying Sunday on 15 March.