Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera interviews EI's Ali Abunimah

For nearly 20 years, the two-state solution has been promoted as the agreed framework for negotiations and ultimately peace to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But two decades on, it has failed to bear fruit. Co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and author of the book, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, discusses his book with Al Jazeera’s Laila El-Haddad. 

Israel orders Palestinian land seized

Israel has issued orders to seize Palestinian-owned land to link a main Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem, officials say, a step that could isolate Palestinians from Jerusalem. An Israeli government spokesman on Wednesday said orders were issued to seize four Palestinian-owned tracts of land around Maale Adumim, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, last Thursday, Reuters reported. The planned Maale Adumim section of the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank has raised alarm in Washington because of Israel’s stated intention to build homes in Maale Adumim joining it to Jerusalem, 8km away. By looping in the enclave, Israel would effectively seal Palestinians off from east Jerusalem, which they want as their capital. 

Israeli exit fuels hope for Gaza economy

As the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip draws to a close, hopes for economic prospects in this impoverished, strife-torn land have been renewed. Already, the EU has pledged investments in Gaza, with 700 million-800 million euros of mainly infrastructure projects by June, according to Antoine Eric de Haulleville, head of the EU’s International Management Group mission in Palestine. But Gaza’s prospects of economic success are clouded if it remains cut off from the West Bank and from the rest of the world after the Israeli withdrawal, experts have said. According to the World Bank, a lot more than dollars and disengagement is needed if the Palestinian economy, now in shambles, is to revive. 

Hamas rally celebrates Gaza 'victory'

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has held its first official victory celebration, wasting no time after the Israeli army reported that the last Gaza settlement was evacuated on Monday. The movement’s leaders seized the opportunity of the demonstration to reiterate their right to continue their resistance and their refusal to disarm. About 30,000 Palestinians rallied throughout Gaza City on Monday night in the largest celebration so far since the beginning of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The rally also marked the anniversary of the attempted burning of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 1969 and the assassination of Hamas leader Ismail Abu-Shanab. 

Palestinians under withdrawal curfew

Palestinian communities living near Jewish settlements are bracing themselves for a month-long Israeli-imposed closure set to start on Tuesday. Residents of the Maani area of Dair al-Balah, adjacent to the colony of Kfarm Darom in the central Gaza Strip, were lining up in front of the gate to their fenced in community on Monday morning, waiting for Israeli approval to enter ahead of the closure. Abdullah Maani, 34, said residents were allowed out of the village for a few hours to buy food and supplies before the closure would be enforced, adding that they had yet to see any evidence of a withdrawal. “If we weren’t hearing it from the radio and television stations, you would think there is no withdrawal going on.” 

Gazans cautious, but eager for pullout

At the edge of the Khan Yunus refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, crumbling refugee homes face off with the red-roofed seafront villas of the Neve Dekalim settlement. The settlement, one of 21 chosen for evacuation in coming months, has been the source of much grief - and now speculation - for Palestinians here. Abo Ahmed’s home stands directly across from Neve Dekalim, the largest and most ideologically extreme of the Gush Katif settlements, a bloc established in 1970 - three years after Gaza was captured and occupied by Israel. Not far from the settlement is an Israeli sniper tower, stationed along with hundreds of soldiers, to protect the illegal settlers from their Palestinian neighbours and original inhabitants of the land. 

Palestinians hopeful but anxious

Palestinians are greeting Israel’s pullout from the Gaza strip with high hopes but some anxiety, as the first televised images of settlers leaving are broadcast. “Pictures are now being broadcast to the world of what we thought would never happen. The withdrawal is now beginning,” said Palestinian Minister of Information Nabil Shaath earlier on Sunday. “There is a sense of happiness, relief, pleasure, mixed in with anxiety. The withdrawal is becoming a reality, no longer a conjecture. We are moving form total disbelief to anxious belief,” said Shaath. But he added that there were still many unanswered questions and that coordination between the Israelis and Palestinians was minimal if not non-existent. 

Palestinians urged to temper festivities

As Israel has begun its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a number of Palestinian intellectuals have urged the Palestinian Authority and resistance groups to tone down celebrations and pay attention to Israel’s expansion in the West Bank. The calls came as the latest coordination meeting between Palestinian security minister Nasr Yousuf and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, which took place on Sunday night, failed to resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Yousuf accused Israel of refusing to provide satisfactory answers for some of the most fundamental questions pertaining to the post-withdrawal arrangements at border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel. 

Jerusalem tense ahead of Gaza pullout

Tension is rising in East Jerusalem as thousands of Jewish extremists have vowed to storm the Haram al-Sharif compound, one of Islam’s holiest sites, ahead of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The threats coincide on Sunday with the annual commemoration of the destruction of an ancient Jewish temple, considered one of the bleakest days in the Jewish calendar. A mass gathering of extremist Jews is scheduled in Jerusalem’s Old City. Hundreds of police officers and paramilitary troops have been deployed in and around the Old City to prevent a possible clash between Jewish extremists and Palestinian Muslims. Thousands of Muslims already have arrived at the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, compound to repulse any attempts to storm it. 

Gaza town to be closed during pullout

Israeli forces have notified Palestinians living near a Gaza settlement of a month-long closure of their community, just days prior to the upcoming withdrawal from the area. Abdullah Maani, a local leader of the al-Ma’ani area in the Central Gaza Strip town of Dair al-Balah, told that Israeli forces notified him on Friday of a closure that would seal off his community from the rest of the Gaza Strip for three to four weeks, starting this coming Wednesday. “The soldier told us there will be a complete closure, and that he is giving us advance notification so we can stockpile water and food, adding that no one will be allowed in or out, except in extreme cases and with prior coordination,” Maani said.