Home to 1.9 million people, Gaza is 41km (25 miles) long and 10km wide, an enclave bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Israel and Egypt.Originally occupied by Egypt, which retains control of Gaza's southern border, the territory was captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war. Israel withdrew its troops and around 7,000 settlers in 2005.It is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and between 2007 and 2014 was ruled by the militant Islamist group Hamas. They won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 but then had a violent rift with the rival Fatah faction.When Hamas took over in Gaza, Israel swiftly imposed a blockade on the territory, restricting the movement of goods and people in and out. Egypt meanwhile blockaded Gaza's southern border.Hamas and Israel fought a brief conflict in 2014, with the Israelis attempting to end rocket fire from Gaza and the militants fighting to end their isolation. FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT Already limited, freedom of movement and access to … [Read more...] about Israel-Palestinian conflict: Life in the Gaza Strip
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As support for a two-state solution to their conflict declines among Israelis and Palestinians, a different approach to finding a peaceful settlement is being proposed.Called "Two States - One Homeland", the group, led by Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian politician Awni Almashni, is advocating the creation of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation. They say that their plan, now picking up public and official backing, can solve the difficult issues - Israeli settlements, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the fate of Jerusalem - that have scuttled past negotiations.The "clinical death" of the Oslo Peace process, inaugurated by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1993, and increasing violence "bring fertile ground for new ideas," said Mr Rapoport, a veteran journalist based in Tel Aviv. The new proposal can succeed because "it reflects reality and the deep desires of both sides", he says.EU modelThe Two States - One … [Read more...] about Israel-Palestinian conflict: Is one homeland the solution?
At least 52 Palestinians have been killed and 2,400 wounded by Israeli troops, Palestinian officials say, on the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war. Palestinians have been protesting for weeks but deaths soared on the day the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem.Palestinians see this as clear US backing for Israeli rule over the whole city, whose eastern part they claim.But US President Donald Trump hailed the move in a video message.He told the dedication ceremony that it had been a "long time coming", adding: "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital but for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious." The day's events as they happened What makes Jerusalem so holy? The US, he added, remained "committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement".What happened at the border?There have been six weeks of protests at the Gaza border, dubbed the "Great March of Return" and led by Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.Hamas had always said it would … [Read more...] about Gaza clashes: 52 Palestinians killed on deadliest day since 2014
Palestinians have taken to the streets of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for a third day angry at US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.Hundreds protested, but numbers were down compared to Friday.Earlier, Israel carried out strikes on Gaza in response to rocket fire aimed at southern Israel.The move ends US neutrality on one of the region's most sensitive issues and has been criticised even by US allies. What are the alternatives to a two-state solution? Why settlement issue is so difficult Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel in the 1967 war - as the capital of a future Palestinian state.For Mr Trump the decision fulfils a campaign promise and he has said it was "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality".Protests erupt againMore than 600 Palestinians held protests at over 20 West Bank sites, according to the Israeli army, with some lobbing stones and petrol … [Read more...] about Trump’s Jerusalem move: Palestinian protests rage for third day
Israel has killed one of the most senior commanders of a militant group in the Gaza Strip in an air strike.Baha Abu Al-Ata, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was killed along with his wife, when a missile hit their home, the group said.Israel said Al-Ata was a "ticking bomb" who was planning "imminent terrorist attacks". Rocket barrages were fired at southern Israel from Gaza in the wake of the killing, which PIJ has vowed to avenge.There were no immediate reports of injuries. What is it like to live in the Gaza Strip? What are the Palestinian territories? PIJ, which is backed by Iran, is the second largest militant group in Gaza and has carried out many rocket attacks on Israel. Around the same time as Al-Ata was killed, another senior figure from PIJ was killed in an Israeli rocket strike on his home in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Syria's state news agency Sana said.Akram al-Ajouri died along with his son in the attack, Sana reported. Israel has not commented on the … [Read more...] about Israel kills Baha Abu Al-Ata, top Palestinian militant in Gaza