On Wednesday morning at approximately 1am, Israeli troops raided the Al Shariya girls orphanage and school in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. They destroyed a sewing workshop in the school's basement. The raid came after an ultimatum of April 28th was given by the Israeli army General of Command to close and evacuate all properties and institutions funded by the Islamic Charitable Society, including the Al Shariya school. The Israel army claims that the ICS has ties to Hamas, but the society denies this allegation.
Rachid Rachid is an English teacher at the Al Shariya school for boys, also administered by the ICS.
In a press conference last week, the Christian Peacemakers Team, Doctors of the World, and a spokesperson for former US President Jimmy Carter intervened on behalf of the Islamic Charitable Society.
Meanwhile, Israel announced today that it would allow shipments of international food aid into the Gaza Strip, which has been under closure since June, 2007. 10 trucks loaded with food aid are expected to arrive in Gaza by the end of this week, through Israeli-Egyptian crossing of aL-Auja in southern Israel.
Food aid provided by the United Nations and other international organizations has become crucial to many residents of the Gaza Strip, with Gaza's economy almost completely collapsed due to the Israeli blockade.
And in international news, representatives of different Palestinian factions, who are meeting in Cairo this week, have agreed to the Hamas-offered ceasefire declaration, submitted to Egyptian mediators last Thursday.
The 12 factions agreed to the initiative with the condition of calm in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while Israel would lift the current blockade of Gaza and halt all military actions against the Gaza Strip's population.
However, Israel rejected the Hamas offer last week, branding it 'unserious and an attempt by Hamas to rearm and reorganize'.
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you by Conscience Londres and Aaron Lakoff.