Archive for UN

UN urges Israel to unfreeze Palestinian funds

Posted in Fatah, Hamas, Israel, Palestine, Peace process with tags , , , , , , on 06/05/2011 by 3071km

Date published: 6th May 2011

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Israel blocked transfer of $105m in customs duties and other levies it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should not withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority following its unity deal with Hamas.

In telephone talks with Netanyahu on Friday, Ban reaffirmed UN support for Palestinian unity under the leadership of Abbas and called on the Israeli prime minister to give the deal a chance to lead to an historic peace accord.

“The Secretary-General … noted that Palestinian unity is a process which is just beginning now, and thus, it would be best to assess it as it moves forward,” the UN press office said in a statement summarising Ban’s telephone call with Netanyahu.

“He also urged Israel not to stop transferring tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority,” it said.

Israel on Sunday blocked the transfer of $105 million in customs duties and other levies it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, following a deal to reunite the two rival wings of the Palestinian independence movement.

Palestinians see reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas as crucial for their drive for an independent state in territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Israel has condemned the unity pact as a “tremendous blow to peace.”

Ban told Netanyahu “he hoped Israel will make decisive moves towards a historic agreement with the Palestinians,” said Nesirky.

“The secretary general said it was urgent to overcome the impasse in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Continued drifting will not serve the interests of both parties.”

“(Ban) said he was convinced that realizing a negotiated two-state solution as soon as possible is in the best interest of both the Israeli and Palestinian people,” the statement added.

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UN delay on Gaza report condemned

Posted in Activism, Fatah, Gaza, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, History, International community, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures, Siege, USA foreign policy, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/10/2009 by 3071km

Date published: Sunday 4th October 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Dahlan called for a probe by the PLO into  the
decision to delay the vote [GALLO/GETTY]

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have condemned the decision by the UN to defer voting on the Goldstone report, that highlighted war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the formers’ offensive on the territory in December.

The factions, including Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, met in Gaza City on Sunday and will form a joint committee to investigate why the vote was delayed.

Bassem Khuri, the Palestinian economy minister, resigned on Saturday, reportedly in protest at the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) agreement not to discuss the document.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) postponed a vote to endorse the report until March after Pakistan made a request to do so on the behest of several Arab, African and Muslim nations.

The 575-page report by Richard Goldstone, a South African ex-judge appointed by the UN, blames both the Israelis and Hamas for war crimes, but is more critical of Israeli troops for “targeting and terrorising civilians”.

‘US pressure’

Media reports said that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) delegation to the UNHRC had attempted to prevent discussion of the report under US pressure.

There are no members of Hamas – the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip – on the delegation.

Earlier on Sunday, Mohammed Dahlan, a member of Fatah’s central council, asked the PLO Executive Committee for an official probe into the reasons for the delay in the vote.

“We call on the Palestine Liberation Organisation to form an investigation committee into the causes of asking for a postponement to reach the truth about the situation and it is important to listen to Ambassador Khreisheh [the Palestinian representative at the UN in Geneva] because this is not related to the ambassador but rather to policies,” Dahlan said.

He welcomed the report and praised its content and the integrity of the author.

He said that the Goldstone report is a “substantial national issue that relatively vindicated the Palestinian people and condemned the [Israeli] occupation and its policies”.

‘Defeatist’

Other PLO factions, parliamentary groups and human rights organisations have been criticising the vote delay.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called the step “defeatist” while the secretary general of the People’s Party called for an official investigation.

A joint statement by 14 human rights organisations, called “Justice Postponed is Justice Denied”, was also released, harshly criticising the Palestinian leadership’s conduct on the issue.

The Goldstone report, released last month, investigated the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip last December and January.

About 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks, while 13 Israelis died due to incidents related to the war.

Many analysts have said that Washington sees the findings of the report as complicating the advancement of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Russell Tribunal on Palestine – May this tribunal prevent the crime of silence

Posted in Activism, Gaza war crimes investigation, History, International community, International conferences, Israel's separation wall, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Peace process, Siege, Videos, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , , on 03/09/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 4th March 2009

Source: Russell Tribunal Palestine

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The recent war waged by the Israeli government and the Israeli army on the Gaza strip, already under a blockade, underlines the particular responsibility of the United States and of the European Union in the perpetuation of the injustice done to the Palestinian people, deprived of its fundamental rights.

It is important to mobilize the international public opinion so that the United Nations and Member States adopt the necessary measures to end the impunity of the Israeli State, and to reach a just and durable solution to this conflict.

Following an appeal from Ken Coates, Nurit Peled, and Leila Shahid, and with the support of over a hundred well-known international personalities, it has been decided to organise a Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Based on the Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued on the 9th of July 2004 and on the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Organisation, this Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a civic initiative promoting international law as the core element of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Further than Israel’s responsibility, it aims to demonstrate the complicity of Third States and International Organisations which, through their passivity or active support, allow Israel to violate the rights of the Palestinian People, and let this situation be continued and aggravated.

The next step will then be to establish how this complicity results in international responsibilities.

Through a decentralised functioning, the organisation of public sessions and other public events, the organisation of a Russell Tribunal on Palestine is designed as a large communication event, with widespread media coverage over the tribunal and its outcomes. Indeed, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine having no official mandate, its impact rests on its ability to mobilise public opinion, so that the latter puts pressure on governments to obtain that they change their policies in the ways that are necessary to reach a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

US and Israel seek settlements plan

Posted in Everyday life in the West Bank, History, International community, Israel, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Palestine, Peace process, USA foreign policy, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27/08/2009 by 3071km

Date Published: 27 August 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English
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Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has said progress is being made towards restarting peace talks with the Palestinians.

His comments came after talks in London with George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy, which both described as “very productive”.

During four hours of talks the two discussed the issue of Israeli settlements as a major hurdle to the peace process.

A joint statement released after the meeting said an Israeli delegation would visit the US next week to follow up on the talks, although it did not elaborate on any measures Mitchell and Netanyahu may have agreed to.

According to the statement the two parties “agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace.”

However, Israel has resisted calls from Barack Obama, the US president, to freeze settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

A freeze is key to the resumption of peace talks, and Israel’s reluctance to budge on the issue has led to a rare rift in US-Israeli relations.

Iran ‘deal’

Mitchell has been pressing Israel to halt construction as a confidence-building gesture to the Palestinians.

According to some media reports he was expected to offer Netanyahu a tougher US line on Iran’s nuclear programme in return for Israel partially freezing settlement building.

Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported that the US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the UN to include Iran’s oil and gas industry in sanctions against the country, a move that could cripple its economy.

An Israeli delegation is due to meet Mitchell next week in the US to continue the talks.

Alastair Crooke, a Middle East analyst who has worked with Mitchell, told Al Jazeera: “I’m sure that Mitchell doesn’t want to get stuck in this single issue for the next month, because the Americans have a deadline.

“They are really keen to get progress on the Palestinian issue before they leave Iraq in the interests of Israeli security.”

After meeting Mitchell in London, Netanyahu, who is on a four-day European tour, flew to Berlin where he met Horst Koehler, the German president, ahead of talks with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

Abbas ‘meeting’

Following the talks in London, Mark Regev, an Israeli spokesman, said an agreement with Washington which would allow peace talks to resume could come within weeks.

“The goal is to find common ground with the American administration … on a framework that will allow the restarting of an energised peace process,” he said.

“For that process to be meaningful, the Arab world has to be part of it.”

Israeli media reports have suggested that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, will meet Netanyahu on the sidelines of next month’s meeting of the United Nations in New York.

In Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official, said: “No one, neither from the Israelis nor from the United States contacted us for such a meeting but it could happen as a meeting but not as holding negotiations.

“What counts is to hold negotiations.”

Peace talks

Settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians want for a future state, are home to 300,000 Israelis, and around 2.5million Palestinians.

Obama has said he opposes all settlement construction, while Abbas has staunchly refused to reopen peace talks until Netanyahu halts all settlement activity.

A survey released on Wednesday showed freezing settlements would be an unpopular move among Jewish Israelis, with almost two-thirds of those questioned by the Maagar Mohot polling company saying they opposed the move.

Netanyahu has said he sees the emphasis on settlements as unfair, and insisted conflict in the Middle East is rooted in Arab enmity towards Israel.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said that a settlement agreement is indispensible to a peace deal because it prevents a “Palestinian independent contiguous state from emerging”.

However, he said that there had been little progress in Wednesday’s meeting.

“After nine months of telling Israel that they must stop the settlements, an entire government telling the American envoy in London today that they won’t stop the settlement building within the settlements. That is a failure of a meeting.”

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said that his government was unwilling to negotiate on the status of Jerusalem as a joint Israel-Palestinian capital.

Speaking in London at his meeting with Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, he had also said that any peace talks with the Palestinians would have to cover the issue of a “demilitarised Palestine”, as well as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli air raid kills 4 civilians in Gaza

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, IDF, Operation Cast Lead, Pictures, Siege with tags , , , , , , , on 25/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 25 August 2009

Source: Press TV

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israeli-f16-gaza-war-raid-deadIsraeli warplanes have attacked near the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip killing at least four and injuring six other people in a second round of attacks since Monday. Palestinian security officials say Israeli fighters struck near the southern city of Rafah.

The victims were inside tunnels – which Palestinians say are used to import food, medicine and other vital supplies into the blockaded Gaza– when the Israeli air force bombed the area.

The impoverished Palestinian sliver has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007.

An Israeli military official says the air-raid was in response to the firing of a mortar round from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Palestinian mortar attack took place after Israeli soldiers on Monday killed one Palestinian and injured another in the town of Beit Lahya in northern Gaza, medical sources told a Press TV correspondent.

Israeli troops say that Palestinians were trying to approach them.

Israeli forces opened fire on the three young men in the al-Atatra neighborhood on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip.

According to none of the Palestinians were known to be members of any Palestinian faction.

The Israeli army says shortly after that incident three mortar rounds were fired from Gaza into Israel, wounding one soldier. The soldier was only slightly injured after hitting his head while seeking shelter.

The killing and injuring Palestinians is the latest violation of a truce signed after Israel’s massive military aggression known as the 22-day war on Gaza. Operation Cast Lead launched December 27, 2008.

During the massacre, the city of Gaza suffered extensive structural damage. Ensuing air strikes and ground incursions left over 1,350 Palestinians, at least 1100 of whom were civilians, dead.

An estimated 5,450 people were reported injured; most were women and children.

In addition to the human cost, the onslaught cost the Palestinian economy at least $1.6 billion, destroying some 4,000 residential buildings and damaging 16,000 houses.

UN reports confirm that Tel Aviv began the bloodshed by breaking the truce it had with the authority in the territory of 1.5 million Palestinians.

NAT/SC/DT
Press TV

Gaza schools reopen amid problems

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, Israeli occupation, Operation Cast Lead, Pictures, Siege, Videos with tags , , , , , on 24/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 23 August 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English
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Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after their summer break, with a shortage of school supplies and overcrowded classrooms posing a threat to the quality of their education.

Nearly 300 schools and nursery schools were heavily damaged during Israel’s assault on the territory last winter and several were completely destroyed.

Because of Israel’s siege of the enclave, enough supplies of stationary and other school equipment is not available in Gaza and neither is necessary construction material to repair the damaged schools.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin said children in the Omar Khatab school were attending classes in shifts when he visited on Sunday, the first day of the school year.

“Just adjacent to this school is a school which was destroyed by Israel’s war. Many of the students there have come to this school. What that creates is a sense of overcrowdness,” he said.

“All of the glass at the school is still pretty much bombed out and that will pose a serious problem for the school come winter time if they don’t get in the supply of that material.

“Officials are concerned that the quality of education will decline because of supplies and construction materials.

Uniform exemption

Officials of Gaza’s Hamas government have decided to exempt students from having to wear school uniforms.

Umm Hisham, a Palestinian woman in Gaza, told Al Jazeera: “I have seven children. How can I afford this very expensive uniform?

Nearly 300 schools and nursery schools were destroyed in Israel’s war on Gaza [EPA]
“Besides, it is Ramadan now, and Eid is coming after, and there are many commitments for all these occasions.

“It is not only me, all people here in Gaza suffer.”

Despite the difficulties, Muhammad Askol, the education minister in the Hamas government, was optimistic.

“Facing obstacles and complications is not new for the Palestinian society in Gaza,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We have become used to handling the siege. Last year, we started the new academic year with only 60 per cent of the teachers, but this year we are starting with full capacity.

“I believe we now have the minimum level of capabilities that enable us to go on.”

According to a United Nations investigation, four schools that were being used as registered emergency shelters were bombed or fired at during Israel’s 21-day military operation.

Twelve teachers and 164 students were killed during the same period.

School could not start in Gaza if the borders are not opened

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, Israel, Israeli politics, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 4th August 2009

Source: Canal Solidario (translated from Spanish to English by 3.071 Km).

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Acción Contra el Hambre (Action Against Hunger), United Nations and AIDA are asking the Israeli government to end the siege on the Gaza Strip to secure the next school year. It also warns schools need materials to be rebuilt.

Acción Contra el Hambre (Action Against Hunger), United Nations and more than 25 NGOs grouped under the International Association of Development Agencies (AIDA) demanded the opening of borders to Gaza for fear that the schools within the Strip are not prepared to start the next year. “The blockade has caused indescribable suffering to the children of Gaza, they face another school year in terrible conditions,” said the humanitarian coordinator of the Palestinian Territories, Philippe Lazzarini.

Also, United Nations and humanitarian organizations present in Palestinian territory make a collective appeal to put a immediate end to the blockade, as required by international humanitarian law and human rights. They also request the Government of Israel to immediately facilitate the entry of construction materials and supplies for schools in the coming weeks, and to ensure that both students and teachers can freely enter and leave Gaza.

Since the Israeli invasion in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, eighteen schools have been completely destroyed and at least 280 were severely damaged. A month from the start of a new school year and more than 6 months after the ceasefire, none of these schools have been rebuilt or rehabilitated, because they lack the necessary materials.  More importantly, according to Acción Contra el Hambre (Action Against Hunger), since the imposition of the blockade students have experienced shortages of school supplies.