Palestinian Authority

UK upgrades Palestinian diplomatic status

By Jennifer Lipman, March 8, 2011

William Hague has announced that Britain is to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to this country to a mission.

Speaking in advance of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ arrival in Britain today to meet the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, Mr Hague said Britain would “join many other countries” in doing so.

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Abbas: Hamas must allow Palestinian vote

By Jennifer Lipman, February 17, 2011

Palestinians will be denied their first opportunity to elect their leaders in five years if Hamas refuses to allow voting in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said today.

Palestinian Authority elections are set to take place this July, a year after they were postponed because the terrorist organisation refused to participate.

But a Hamas spokesman has already signalled the group’s decision to block this year’s vote.

Mr Abbas said: “Unless we are capable of holding elections in both the West Bank and Gaza, then we will not hold elections."

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Palestinian Authority: local elections in July

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2011

The Palestinian Authority has announced plans to hold municipal elections this summer.

If it goes ahead, the vote will be the first opportunity Palestinians have had to elect their leaders since 2006 and the first local elections in six years.

Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for ruling party Fatah, said the vote had been scheduled for July 9, more than five years after Hamas won the popular vote in legislative elections.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the vote last July because Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, refused to take part.

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Praise for Israel's West Bank economic steps

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2011

The British government has praised Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel is to take concrete steps to advance economic growth in Palestinian areas.

The Israeli Prime Minister, along with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, revealed on Friday plans to help Gaza become more independent by developing its sanitation and water treatment plants.

The proposals also included moving forward with plans for a gas supply for the Palestinians, the revenue from which would go to the Palestinian Authority, and boosting exports from Gaza.

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'I went to Ramallah and saw path to peace'

By Matthew Herman, January 27, 2011

On Boxing Day, while most people were battling their way through the sales, I was in Ramallah, battling my own preconceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of the Union of Jewish Students' annual Manhigut political trip to Israel.

My only previous experience of Ramallah had been seeing TV images of Yasser Arafat's headquarters surrounded by bulldozers during the second intifada.

I was slightly apprehensive to be part of the first British Jewish youth group entering the Palestinian city. However, I needn't have been.

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On this day: the Palestinian elections

By Jennifer Lipman, January 25, 2011

The first Palestinian Legislative Council elections in a decade, the Palestinian elections of 2006 marked a turning point in Middle East politics as Hamas came out triumphant at the polls.

Ruling party Fatah took just 43 of the 132 Palestinian Authority parliamentary seats, while a group viewed around the world as a terrorist organisation took 76.

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Al-Jazeera Palestine papers dismissed as 'fabrication'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 24, 2011

The Palestinian Authority has roundly dismissed claims that two years ago it offered Israel significant concessions on control of Jerusalem and other key issues in the Middle East peace process.

According to documents published by Al-Jazeera, which are claimed to be leaked reports on the 2008 peace negotiations, the Palestinians said Israel could keep almost all of east Jerusalem in return for an area beside the West Bank.

The holy sites in Jerusalem would initially have been placed under international control.

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Palestinian firm seeks kosher food stamp

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

A tahini manufacturer has become the first Palestinian company in history to apply for a kosher food license.

The Nablus-based Alul Company want to be able sell their products, including the sweet halva, to Israeli chains.

The chief rabbinate said they expected to accept the request, as long as issues of supervision, to ensure nothing was made on Shabbat or with non-kosher ingredients, could be resolved.

The company previously had a license in the 1980s, but lost it when control of Nablus went to the Palestinian Authority.

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Israel fears EU push to upgrade ties with Palestinians

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2010

Israeli diplomatic representatives in Europe have been directed to try to block plans in ten European countries, including Britain, to boost diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli concern is that the upgrade will be a step towards full recognition of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of an independent state.

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Board urged to invite PA envoy to talk

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

A senior officer of the Board of Deputies has urged president Vivian Wineman to issue a "historic" invitation to the Palestinian Authority's UK Ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, to address British Jewry's main representative body.

Board treasurer Laurence Brass, in a letter to Mr Wineman, said it would be right to open dialogue with the Palestinian envoy even if it incurred criticism from right-wingers "who have tended to dominate" its Middle East agenda.

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