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Hamas MPs to challenge referendum
Palestinian rockets fired towards Israel overnight after death of eight Palestinians on beach in Gaza.
By Hossam Ezzedine - RAMALLAH, West Bank
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's right to stage a referendum on coexistence with Israel was facing a fierce challenge Monday from deputies in the Hamas-dominated parliament.
MPs were to gather for an emergency debate on what would be the first ever Palestinian referendum, called for July 26 by Abbas in a move that prompted accusations by the governing Islamists of Hamas that he was engineering a coup.
Palestinian heads clash over vote
The PM talks of the "dangers" of the president's plan Rival Palestinian leaders have failed to resolve their differences over a controversial planned referendum. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Prime Minister Ismail Haniya late on Saturday to discuss the poll, which Mr Abbas has called for 26 July.
Palestinians will vote on a statehood plan that implicitly recognises Israel, whose right to exist Hamas rejects.
After the talks Mr Abbas restated his commitment to a vote and Mr Haniya said it would endanger Palestinian unity.
On Saturday, leading Hamas official Mushir al-Masri denounced the proposed referendum as nothing short of a "a declaration of a coup against the [Hamas-led] government".
Palestinian PM office set on fire
Gunmen loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have set fire to the offices of the Hamas prime minister and parliament in Ramallah. Security personnel and militiamen fired shots before rampaging the offices in protest at earlier clashes in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Hamas MP Khalil Rabei has been kidnapped in the West Bank city.
Hamas and Mr Abbas's Fatah factions have been involved in a power struggle since the Palestinian elections in January, which were won by Hamas.
The Ramallah rampage erupted hours after Hamas gunmen attacked a building belonging to the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security agency in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
Correspondents say security forces took to the streets with gunmen from Fatah offshoot the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
Gunmen shot out the windows of the Palestinian parliament and stormed the cabinet offices, smashing furniture and computers.
The office was unoccupied as Ismail Haniya is based in the Gaza Strip.
It is not clear if there have been any casualties, but the buildings reportedly suffered heavy damage.
Militants tried to prevent fire engines from reaching the site to extinguish the flames.
"Every time they touch one of ours in Gaza, we will get 10 of theirs in the West Bank," a member of the security service said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.
Tensions have worsened between the two sides since Mr Abbas called a referendum on a statehood plan which would implicitly recognise Israel, whose right to exist Hamas rejects.
At least 20 people, mostly militia members, have been killed in clashes between the two factions in the past two months.
Earlier on Monday a Hamas gunman was killed in a clash with security forces loyal to Fatah in Rafah.
The man was shot dead during a funeral for a fellow militant in Rafah. Each side blamed the other for firing first.
In addition to the clash at the funeral in Rafah, eyewitnesses say Hamas gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank rockets at a security headquarters.
If the USA does not want to give aid to the Palestinians they do not have to.
n an interview with the BBC Arabic Service, he said the Arab League had been given the names of 160,000 unpaid government employees.
He said the league had been unable to use donated monies to pay their wages because of the Israeli occupation.
Palestinian PM makes plea for aid
Originally posted by Malichai
Its a whole lot more than that.
There are plenty of other sources here: www.google.com...