The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; Arabic: as-Sula al-Waanya al-Filasnya) was the interim self-government body[4] established to govern Areas A and B of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a consequence of the 1993 Oslo Accords.[5][6] Following elections in 2006 and the subsequent Gaza conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, its authority had extended only as far as the West Bank. Since January 2013, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority rebranded itself as the State of Palestine in official documents,[7][8][9] after the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member UN observer state.[10][11][12]

The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel, as a five-year interim body. Further negotiations were then meant to take place between the two parties regarding its final status. As of 2013[update], more than eighteen years following the formulation of the Authority, this status has yet to be reached.[citation needed]

According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was designated to have exclusive control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas (referred to as “Area A”) and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas (“Area B”). The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region and bypass roads between Palestinian communities, were to remain under Israeli control (“Area C”). East Jerusalem was excluded from the Accords. Over time, political change has meant that the areas governed by the Authority have also changed. Negotiations with several Israeli governments had resulted in the Authority gaining further control of some areas, but control was then lost in some areas when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retook several strategic positions during the Second (“Al-Aqsa”) Intifada. In 2005, after the Second Intifada, Israel withdrew unilaterally from its settlements in the Gaza Strip, thereby expanding Palestinian Authority control to the entire strip.[clarification needed]

In the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006, Hamas emerged victorious and nominated Ismail Haniyeh as the Authority’s Prime Minister. However, the national unity Palestinian government effectively collapsed when a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah erupted, mainly in the Gaza Strip. After the Gaza Strip was taken over by Hamas on 14 June 2007, the Authority’s Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister.

Though the PA claims authority over all Palestinian territories, Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip means its authority is de facto limited to the West Bank. The Authority’s budget derives mainly from various aid programs and the Arab League, while the Hamas government in Gaza was mostly dependent on Iran until the onset of the Arab Spring.[clarification needed]

Since 2007, the Palestinian Authority has continued to oversee the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, while the Hamas government has continued to control the Gaza Strip. A reconciliation agreement to unite their governments, signed in Cairo in 2011, was ratified by the 2012 HamasFatah Doha agreement. Renewed tensions between them, however, plus the effects of the Arab Spring (especially the crisis in Syria) have postponed its implementation. In 2011, representatives of the Authority failed to have their United Nations (UN) status upgraded, although their UNESCO status was upgraded to state representation. In July 2012, the Hamas government in Gaza was reported as considering a declaration of the independence of the Gaza Strip, with the support of neighboring Egypt.[13]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is an interim administrative body established in accordance with the GazaJericho Agreement[14] after the Oslo Accords to assume the responsibilities of the Israeli military administration in populated Palestinian centers (Area A) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until final status negotiations with Israel are concluded.[15][16] The administrative responsibilities accorded to the PA are limited to civil matters and internal security and do not include external security or foreign affairs.[16] Palestinians in the diaspora and inside Israel do not vote in elections for the offices of the Palestinian Authority.[17] The PA should not be confused with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who continues to enjoy international recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, representing them at the United Nations under the name “Palestine”.[18][19]

The PA has received financial assistance from the European Union and the United States (approximately US$1 billion combined in 2005). All direct aid was suspended on 7 April 2006 as a result of the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections.[20][21] Shortly thereafter, aid payments resumed, but were channeled directly to the offices of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.[22]Conflict between Hamas and Fatah later in 2006 resulted in Hamas taking exclusive control over the administration of all PA institutions in the Gaza Strip. Since 9 January 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas’ term as President was supposed to have ended and elections were to have been called, Hamas supporters and many in the Gaza Strip have withdrawn recognition for his Presidency and instead consider Aziz Dweik, who served as the speaker of the house in the Palestinian Legislative Council, to be the acting President until new elections can be held.[23][24] No Western financial assistance is given to the PA authorities in Gaza and Western governments do not recognize anyone but Abbas to be the President.

The Gaza International Airport was built by the PA in the city of Rafah, but operated for only a brief period before being destroyed by Israel following the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. A sea port was also being constructed in Gaza but was never completed (see below).

The creation of a Palestinian police force was called for under the Oslo Accords.[16] The first Palestinian police force of 9,000 was deployed in Jericho in 1994, and later in Gaza.[16] These forces initially struggled to control security in the areas in which it had partial controlled and because of this Israel delayed expansion of the area to be administered by the PA.[16] By 1996, the PA security forces were estimated to include anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 recruits.[25] PA security forces employ some armored cars, and a limited number carry automatic weapons.[26] Some Palestinians opposed to or critical of the peace process perceive the Palestinian security forces to be little more than a proxy of the State of Israel.[16]

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Written on May 22nd, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

University of West Florida (UWF), one of twelve accredited Florida universities located in America’s oldest settlement, Pensacola, on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast

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Nicols Fox moved to the Radio Quiet Zone to escape electromagnetic forces

Courtesy of Christine Fitzpatrick

You can turn your phone on in Green Bank, W.Va., but you wont get a trace of a signal. If you hit scan on your cars radio, itll cycle through the dial endlessly, never pausing on a station. This remote mountainous town is inside the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000square-mile area where most types of electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum (which includes radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, cell signals, Bluetooth, and the signals used by virtually every other wireless device) are banned to minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, home to the worlds largest steerable radio telescope.

For most people, this restriction is a nuisance. But a few dozen people have moved to Green Bank (population: 147) specifically because of it. They say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHSa disease not recognized by the scientific community in which these frequencies can trigger acute symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rashes, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and chest pains. Diane Schou came here with her husband in 2007 because radio-frequency exposure anywhere else she went gave her constant headaches. Life isnt perfect here. Theres no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby, she told me when I visited her house last month. But here, at least, I’m healthy. I can do things. I’m not in bed with a headache all the time.

The idea that radio frequencies can cause harm to the human body isnt entirely absurd. Some research has suggested that long-term exposure to power lines and cellphones is associated with an increased chance of cancer, although most evidence says otherwise. But what these people claimthat exposure to electromagnetic frequencies can immediately cause pain and ill healthis relatively novel, has little medical research to support it, and is treated with deep skepticism by the scientific mainstream.

That hasnt stopped them from seeking to publicize the dangers of wireless technology. One of the most prominent activists in the field, Arthur Firstenberg, gained notoriety in 2010 for suing his Santa Fe neighbor for the effects of her Wi-Fi network. But he began organizing EHS-sufferers way back in 1996when digital cellular networks were initially installed across the countryforming the Cellular Phone Task Force and publishing Microwaving Our Planet, one of the first books on the topic. In the years since, a fringe movement has grown around the idea, with some 30 support groups worldwide for those affected by radiation. The purported epidemic is particularly concentrated in the United Kingdom and Sweden, where surveys have found that 1 to 4 percent of the population believes theyre affected.

Here in the United States, West Virginias Radio Quiet Zone has become a gathering place for the hypersensitive since the mid-2000s, when they first began arriving. Most find out about the area through EHS groups, at conferences, or by reading about it in the handful of news reports published over the last few years. Diane Schou estimates that, so far, 36 people like her have settled in and around the tiny town to escape radiation.

When you walk in the Schous two-story brick house, 4 miles up a forested road from the Green Bank post office, the first item you see might be a radiation meter they keep in their living room. She and her husband, Bert, moved here from Cedar Falls, Iowa, because they believe Diane is sensitive to very specific radio frequencies. She first began noticing her sensitivity in 2002, she says, when U.S. Cellular, a wireless provider based in the Midwest, built a tower near their farm. I was extremely tired, but I couldn’t sleep at night, she said. I got a rash, I had hair loss, my skin was wrinkled, and I just thought it was something I ate, or getting older.” After she started getting severe headaches, she heard about EHS from a friend and did some reading online, and eventually came to believe the tower had triggered her latent sensitivity. She went for a consultation at the Mayo Clinic, but doctors refused to consider the possibility, and when she wrote to the FCC complaining about the tower, they simply replied by saying it was safe.

Over the next four years, she repeatedly left the farm to search for a safe place, traveling through Scandinavia (where their son was studying abroad) and logging more than 75,000 miles driving across the United States in their RV. Shed find relatively safe spots but still got pounding headaches and chest pains from a range of triggers: if someone nearby turned on his phone, if she drove past a signal tower, if a neighbor next door used a coffee maker. It would be like a sledgehammer on top of my head, she said. Initially, only U.S. Cellular phones had harmed her, but eventually, being near any electrical device was a risk. (Virtually all devices that use electricity, even if they dont rely on wireless signals, emit a low level of radiation.)

Then, in 2007, she learned about the Radio Quiet Zone. When she visited, she finally started to feel better. She and Bert sold half of their Iowa farmland and bought the house in West Virginia, unfinished, and have since installed wiring with thick insulation to reduce radiation. (Bertwho gets much milder symptoms of EHS, including tinnitusstill goes back to their farm every summer to conduct corn research.) Over time, living without exposure reduced Dianes sensitivity, and she can now tolerate many devices without pain. The Schous use a landline and an Internet-connected computer (without Wi-Fi). But they still havent found a refrigerator with low enough radiation emissions, so Diane manually fills an icebox with ice each day. Even now, if she leaves the Radio Quiet Zone, exposure can set her off: I’ll say, Oh, I have a headache, and then someone’s cellphone will ring, she said. This happens time and time again.

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Written on May 22nd, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

West Bank harvesters: Economic reforms and donor support will help sow the seeds of West Bank and Gazas future growth (photo: Mohamed Torokman/Reuters)

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

IMF Survey

May 19, 2015

The West Bank and Gaza will need policy discipline and donor support in the short run, but a new financing model will be essential over the medium term for sustained private-sector-led growth, the IMF says.

The Gazan economy is struggling to rebuild in the wake of the violent conflict last summer that resulted in losses of over $4 billion. The war also affected confidence in the West Bank, where Israeli restrictions on the movement of labor, access to resources, and trade continue to undermine growth prospects.

The IMF has issued its latest report on the economy of the West Bank and Gaza in advance of the May 27 meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a coordination mechanism chaired by Norway for development assistance to the Palestinian people.

IMF mission chief Christoph Duenwald spoke to the IMF Survey about the reports findings, outlining what the Palestinian Authority can do to turn the economy around and how the international community can assist.

IMF Survey: The Gaza-Israel conflict dealt a harsh blow to the Palestinians in the summer of 2014. What was the impact on the economy of West Bank and Gaza?

Duenwald: Gaza, where the war played out, saw real GDP decline by 15 percent last year. According to official estimates, the losses from the war are over $4 billion, about 35 percent of West Bank and Gazas GDP. Tens of thousands of homes and enterprises were destroyed or damaged, businesses shut down, and utilities and infrastructure were severely damaged.

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Written on May 20th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It was a large house with three floors and freshly painted pale blue shutters that had just been built for a family of 17.

But within a few hours of work by a pair of Israeli bulldozers, all that was left was a mountain of rubble and twisted metal.

Like more than half of the homes in Ad Deirat-Rifaiyya a village of 1,800 residents on a windswept hillside in the southern West Bank the house was built on land owned by the villagers but without Israels approval.

Left without a roof over their heads and unwilling to try building again, the family moved away to rented accommodation in a nearby town.

It is a scenario that Palestinians say plays out hundreds of times a year across part of the West Bank, where Israel has been accused of making it all-but-impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.

The result is wide-scale illegal construction, which is then demolished by Israel in a policy that has drawn widespread condemnation.

The question of Israels iron grip on all planning matters in what is known as Area C which covers more than 60 percent of the West Bank is now being debated by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Palestinian women walk in a field on April 21, 2015 in the West Bank village of Ad-Deirat Rifaiyya, where more than half of the homes are built on land owned by the villagers but without Israels approval leaving them under threat of demolition by Israeli bulldozers. (Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP)

In a landmark appeal, Ad-Deirat village, Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights and three other organizations are demanding the state end its discriminatory housing policies and return local planning rights to Palestinians.

Giving Palestinians control over their own planning would curb the need for illegal building, thereby halting house demolitions, say the petitioners, who have made their case before the Supreme Court and are now waiting for a final ruling.

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West Texas National Bank of Midland, Texas, offers 1.26 percent annual percentage yield on its Ultimate Checking, with a high balance cap. Bankrate’s 2015 High-Yield Checking Survey breaks down the returns you can get with each account and the hoops you’ll have to jump through to get them.

Location: Midland, TX

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Bankrate.com canvassed banks, thrifts and credit unions from March 16 to March 25 and has displayed data on 56 high-yield checking accounts.

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The Israeli West Bank barrier (or wall,[1] see also: Names) is a separation barrier built by Israel in the West Bank or along the 1949 Armistice Line (“Green Line”).[2] Upon completion, its total length will be approximately 700 kilometres (430mi) and include on the western side approximately 9.4% of the West Bank and 23,000 Palestinians.[3] Israel argues that it protects civilians from Palestinian terrorism such as suicide bombing attacks which increased significantly during the Second Intifada.[4] Between 2000 and July 2003 (completion of the “first continuous segment”), 73 suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank. However, from August 2003 to the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out.[5][6] Barrier opponents claim it seeks to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security[7] and undermines peace negotiations by unilaterally establishing new borders.[8] Opponents object to a route that in some places substantially deviates eastward from the Green Line and severely restricts the travel of nearby Palestinians to and from work both in the West Bank[9] and in Israel.[10] In Hebrew, descriptions include: separation fence ( (helpinfo), Geder HaHafrada); separation wall (Hebrew: , kHomat HaHafrada) and security fence ( , Geder HaBitakhon).[11][12] In Arabic, it is called wall of apartheid (helpinfo), jidar al-fasl al-‘unsuri

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Written on May 9th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The West Bank (Arabic: a-affah l-arbiyyah; Hebrew: , HaGadah HaMa’aravit or Cisjordan[2][3] is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, forming only a small fraction of the Palestinian land. The rest of Palestine is now labelled as “Israel” after the Zionist forces along with the British were successful in stealing the land for the Jews

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Written on May 9th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , ,

Join us Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 1601 22nd Street, West Des Moines. Bring your identity sensitive documents for free on-site shredding. West Bankwas recently honored as one of the top Community Banks in America by Raymond James and Associates

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Written on May 8th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , ,