Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari at the UN: “In Golan terrorists get paid ransom by Qatar with the help of Israel”.
CAIRO’S Gaza Reconstruction Conference, you ask incredulously? And well you might – after all, Egypt is currently preventing the entry of materials to complete Qatari-funded projects in Gaza addressing the destruction of previous Israeli offensives. Building of roads, housing estates and hospitals have all ground to a halt despite being underway well before the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza – crimes which have only further increased the need.
We are seriously expected to accept Egypt as an honest broker? That the current regime has a shred of compassion for the already homeless, sick and injured Gazans still reeling from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives who it refuses to admit assistance for, let alone those battered by the latest assaults? For the thousands of maimed and injured STILL refused exit through Rafah for necessary medical treatment elsewhere?
Egypt is BLOCKING Gaza reconstruction. At this very moment. Egypt is BLOCKING injured Gazans from receiving essential medical treatment. At this very moment.
Egypt is the bull elephant in the china room of Gaza reconstruction.
But it is not alone.
The United States, funder and arms supplier extraordinaire to the Israeli serial killers, is also chipping in, as is Ban Ki-moon, famous for undermining the UN independent report into Israeli war crimes in 2008-9.
And let us not leave out the criminals themselves – the Israelis, who stand to profit nicely from this exercise in sleight of hand.
Unconfirmed information from the West Bank last week reports that Israeli companies have already been awarded the tenders for the supply of cement and other building materials, standing to reap billions of dollars in the process. It is difficult to imagine a clearer incentive to continue the cycle of ‘destroy and rebuild’ than to reward the criminal by paying them to repair the destruction they have wreaked, rather than make them pay for it.
Which raises the next point – why is the international community being asked to foot the bill for Israeli criminal damage? In criminal law, reparations are paid by the perpetrators of crimes, not by the onlookers (however morally bereft they may have been for failing to act to halt the murderous rampage).
And Israel’s culpability goes further than merely making good its wanton and criminal destruction of Gaza – it is the OCCUPYING POWER, and as such has full responsibility under international law for “restoring” the territory it has occupied.
“The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all measures in his power to restore and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety…” says Article 43 of the Hague Regulations.
Reports that donors are threatening to withhold Gaza aid “…without fresh impetus in negotiations” exposes the dirty secret of international complicity and enabling of ongoing Israeli abuses of Palestinians.
Israel has been illegally occupying Palestinian territory for decades, built illegal settlements on stolen land, built an illegal apartheid wall, and imposed and maintained an illegal blockade on Gaza for some eight years, breaching a swathe of international laws and UN resolutions – thus exposing the manifest inadequacy of the United Nations in enforcing international law without fear or favour, if not its complete irrelevance in contemporary international affairs.
When Palestinians legitimately resist, they are killed, displaced, have their homes demolished and their country is decimated under the nose and eyes of the international community, which does nothing but launch into another round of victim-blaming ably aided and abetted by the type of response we see today in Cairo, with its emphasis on Israeli security at the expense of Palestinian security – in fact, at the expense of international law itself.
The keys to Israeli and Palestinian security – thus to the longevity of Gaza reconstruction – are in the hands of Israel and the UN: the former, by OBSERVING INTERNATIONAL LAW and withdrawing from occupied territory, leaving the illegal settlements, demolishing the apartheid wall and lifting the siege on Gaza; and the latter, by ENFORCING INTERNATIONAL LAW by holding Israel accountable for its gross abuses not only in regards to the war crimes of 2008-9, 2012, and 2014 but also the 60+ years of breaches of international law and UN Resolutions – and by insisting on the lifting of the siege of Gaza.
The solution certainly does not lie in picking up the bill, and participating in perpetuation of the siege by acting as an international version of the PA Security Services in the West Bank, thereby both acting as an Israeli proxy and lending legitimacy to an Egyptian regime whose role in denying Gazans’ rights is every bit as questionable.
Palestine has an equal right to security, and to defend itself. Which party is occupying and extending its invasion and theft of the territory of the other? THAT is the party that requires international control over its behaviour – and it is clearly not Palestine.
A Gaza reconstruction conference should be held, not in Cairo, but in GAZA – where the international community can see first-hand the destruction the USraeli military machine mercilessly meted out on innocent people and property. But perhaps that is the point – ignorance enables denial.
A Gaza reconstruction conference should be centred on holding the perpetrators accountable, making them pay for their crimes, and ensuring they cannot offend again – by keeping international and humanitarian law centre-stage, not the carnival side-show of ‘Israeli security’ or the equally-absurd victim-blaming and demonisation of Hamas.
A Gaza reconstruction conference should ensure that the criminals do not profit from their crimes, and Israeli firms should be specifically EXCLUDED from all and every tendering process and provision of goods and services in the rebuild.
And the first step in any principled and serious commitment to rebuilding Gaza must be the IMMEDIATE and UNCONDITIONAL lifting of the illegal siege.
If Israel and Egypt refuse to comply, then the Gaza seaport must be immediately opened and if necessary, military protection provided by international peacekeepers for boats entering and leaving Palestinian waters, such that Israeli and Egyptian siege-based attempts to control Palestinians’ enjoyment of their rights to trade and freedom of movement are rendered impotent.
Unless the Gaza Reconstruction Conference delivers Gaza from the siege, holds Israel accountable for its crimes against international and humanitarian law and ensures it does not profit from them, the international community will merely be enabling ongoing Israeli abuse in the best traditions of the dysfunctional incestuous family.
European Union member states have called on the EU Parliament to adopt legislation on new data protection as soon as next year.
The new regulations proposed by the member states in March 2014 include protecting the data of European citizens from espionage, illegal transfer to intelligence services, and illicit use of their information by business.
The new legislation has been seen as a necessary step in the wake of revelations leaked to media in June 2013 by CIA whistle-blower Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) global espionage and communication monitoring scheme, known as Prism.
The legislation also appeared to take on greater significance following reports from Austrian media, which published a number of photographs claiming they proved that the Washington-based NSA was operating a secret listening post a short distance from the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
The photos depict a listening post atop a skyscraper in the Austrian capital Vienna, located next door to the VIC which is considered the third United Nations headquarters after New York and Geneva, and regularly hosts meetings.
While not immediately independently verified, the Austrian media reports have alleged that an air-conditioned hut atop the building picks up transmissions from ‘bugs’ installed in the VIC.
Listening posts and their stealth implications have affected relations between US and European allies.
In November last year, the German government called in the British ambassador to explain a story published in The Independent claiming that London had a “top secret listening post” operated from the roof of the British embassy in Berlin.
The story was based on information leaked to the daily by Snowden.
While the newspaper said that the US closed down its spying base atop its embassy in Berlin, the British continued with their covert operation.
GAZA – The United Nations’ top Mideast envoy, Robert Serry, wants to station hundreds of international monitors in the Gaza Strip to supervise the reconstruction process in Gaza Strip, the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz learned from European diplomats and senior Israeli officials.
The newspaper pointed out that Robert Serry has agreed upon the proposal along with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamallah and Coordinator of the Israeli government in Palestinian territories Yoav Mordechai.
Serry is liaising with the PA and Israel to bring between 250 and 500 UN monitors into the Strip, the sources added.
50 UN monitors are currently in Ramallah and ready to head to Gaza Strip to participate in supervising rebuilding work in the Strip. The monitors’ mission is mainly to supervise big reconstruction projects and safeguard materials and to ensure that nothing would be diverted to Hamas Movement for tunnels digging.
Hamas has yet to comment on the proposal, the Hebrew newspaper said, adding that the Islamic movement realizes that Israel only allows construction materials’ access to the Strip in the presence of UN monitors.
The proposal is expected to be addressed during the Israeli-Palestinian indirect talks on Wednesday.
Pathetic handwaving double down from the UN
Eric Worrall writes: A number of MSM outlets are carrying news of a “leaked” UN document, which claims that global warming may be causing irreversible damage.
According to the Bloomberg version of the leak story;
“Global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and further pollution from heat-trapping gases will raise the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,”
The problem with this vapid handwaving nonsense is that it is so vague. I mean, in the good old days, alarmists made interesting predictions;
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Al Gore’s ice free arctic (in 5 years!)
Rain will never fill Australian reservoirs again
The great thing about bold predictions is they are easily falsified – all you have to do is wait a few years, then point and laugh.
The survivors of that golden age of bold stupidity are far too timid – they issue vague predictions of calamity which won’t occur until long after we are all safely dead, and promises that if we wait a few decades we might see something worrying.
I mean, seriously folks, is this the best you can do? Can even the most rabid alarmists get enthused by such a pathetic effort?
Two Special Advisors to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh, have added their voices to the insignificant, lamentable chorus of concern. Speaking in relation to the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect respectively, Dieng and Welsh meticulously stressed the necessity of upholding distinctions as stipulated in international law, while retaining a self-imposed right to distortion of facts in order to uphold Israel’s fabricated narrative.
In their statement, Dieng and Welsh relied on the usual conjectures that cast doubt over the atrocities committed by Israel, while issuing an unequivocal condemnation against Palestinian resistance. The paraphrased comments, published as a UN press release, insist that “the high number of civilian casualties, particularly among the Palestinians, could [my emphasis] demonstrate disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces. At the same time, the launching of rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups into Israeli residential areas constitutes indiscriminate use of force.” This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
Furthermore, Dieng and Walsh also diminished the horrendous incitement to violence against Palestinians, including the calls for extermination of the indigenous population through use of language that emphasised the indefinite in favour of Israel. Despite the escalating rhetoric advocating for the murder of Palestinian mothers and elimination of Palestinians in Gaza as a political strategy, the Special Advisors stated that such incitement “could be dehumanising”, instead of insisting that it is an undisputed fact.
It is, perhaps, convenient, that the UN and affiliated organisations’ primary competency is the issuing of reminders. These can be issued to “all parties” while evoking illusions of “impartial investigations” to arrive at the conclusion that protecting the Palestinian population in Gaza is as simple as “an end of hostilities, the creation of a humanitarian corridor and lifting of the blockade of Gaza which has created further suffering.” All of which can be achieved, according to Dieng and Welsh, by “serious negotiations that will end the cycle of violence and achieve a stable, just and durable solution to this longstanding conflict.”
The discourse of “conflict” adds to ambiguities which are necessary to protect the UN’s deceitful existence and propaganda which refuses to demand the dismantling of Israel’s settler-colonial state. This omission is also reflected in the UN’s definition of “civilian population”; it’s applied extensively to include a settler population that participated wilfully in Israel’s colonial project, creating the foundations for colonial violence to flourish. If this distinction is not adequately addressed, it stands to reason that the UN is unwilling to address the actual targeting of civilians, Palestinian civilians, whose lives have been considered repeatedly by the imperialist organisation to be of lesser value as a strategy to encourage a widespread massacre.
Expecting the UN and its advisors to acknowledge the legitimacy of Palestinian armed resistance is pie in the sky. In UN vocabulary, an “impartial investigation” is equivalent to the intended suppression of Palestinian resistance by insisting upon further monologues disguised as “negotiations” intended to consign the liberation of historic Palestine to the dustbin. Decades of increasing subjugation have imparted a decisive stance to the Palestinian population: liberation can never be achieved through compromised international channels. Hence, the issue of legitimacy with regard to Palestinian resistance derived from history and memory, away from the manipulative charters determined by imperialist diktats.
A health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding in the Gaza Strip as a direct result of the ongoing conflict, said the United Nations today.
Mr. James W. Rawley, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), together with Mr. Robert Turner, UNRWA’s Director of Operations in the Gaza Strip, and Dr. Ambrogio Manenti, acting Head of Office of WHO’s operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, expressed grave concern regarding the lack of protection for medical staff and facilities, and the deteriorating access to emergency health services for the 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“We are now looking at a health and humanitarian disaster”, warned Mr. Rawley, adding, “the fighting must stop immediately”.
After more than three weeks of intense conflict, Gaza’s medical services and facilities are on the verge of collapse. One third of hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 Palestinian Red Crescent and Ministry of Health ambulances have been damaged in the fighting. At least five medical staff have been killed in the line of duty and tens have been injured. At least 40% of medical staff are unable to get to their places of work such as clinics and hospitals due to widespread violence and at least half of all public health primary care clinics are closed.
In addition, in the last 24 hours, anonymous calls were made to staff at both the Najjar Hospital in Rafah and Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City warning of imminent attacks, causing major panic and chaos among patients and staff. Najjar Hospital was evacuated and remains closed due to fighting nearby.
The hospitals and clinics that are still functioning are overwhelmed: since 7 July over 8000 people have reportedly been injured, many seriously. Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted and damage and destruction of power supplies has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators. Al Shifa, the main referral hospital in the Gaza Strip, is inundated with casualties and people seeking safety in its grounds. “The ability to provide necessary healthcare is being severely compromised. This puts the lives of thousands of Palestinians in needless danger”, said Dr. Manenti.
An estimated 460,000 people have been displaced and are now living in overcrowded conditions in schools, with relatives or in makeshift shelters. This, coupled with lack of adequate water and sanitation, poses serious risks of outbreak of water-borne and communicable diseases. “Hundreds of thousands of people are sheltering in terrible conditions, pushing UNRWA’s coping capacity to the edge”, said Mr. Turner.
Mr. Rawley stressed that “international law sets out clear obligations on the parties to the conflict to respect the status of hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects, to respect the status of and ensure the protection of medical personnel, to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect the fundamental human right to health “. The three officials also paid tribute to Gaza’s medical staff for working tirelessly in dangerous and difficult conditions to continue to provide urgently needed healthcare.
For more information, please contact:
OCHA: Hayat Abu-Saleh, + 972 (0) 54 33 11 816, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNRWA: Chris Gunness, +972 (0) 54 240 2659, email@example.com
WHO: Ambrogio Manenti, +20-100-3333-402, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahmoud Daher, +970 (0) 59 8944650, email@example.com
Palestinians are “facing a precipice” in Gaza, the top UN refugee official there told the Security Council on Thursday in a strongly-worded appeal for action.
With more than 240,000 Palestinians already sheltering in UN facilities — four times the number from the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009 — Pierre Krahenbuhl said he had reached breaking point.
“I believe the population is facing a precipice and appeal to the international community to take the steps necessary to address this extreme situation,” the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA told the 15-member council.
“We have exceeded the tolerable limit that we can accommodate,” Krahenbuhl said, adding that he was “alarmed” by the latest Israeli instructions to civilians to evacuate two areas in Gaza targeted for more attacks.
“It is past time for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as called for by the council,” he said.
Krahenbuhl spoke to the council by audiolink from Gaza after Israel vowed to press on with its military campaign, with the stated goal of destroying a network of tunnels used by Hamas.
Later on Thursday, the UN Security Council called for humanitarian pauses in Gaza and renewed its appeal for an immediate ceasefire.
The Council expressed “grave disappointment” that repeated appeals for an end to the fighting had not been heeded.
Meanwhile, UNRWA has declared a state of emergency and launched an appeal for funding.
“UNRWA urgently seeks $60 million to respond to the immediate shelter, food, health and psycho-social needs of affected families; to replenish emergency stocks; and to prepare for carrying out vital interventions that will be required immediately upon cessation of military activities,” its website said.
International alarm has grown over the civilian death toll from 24 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip, with the Security Council calling for a humanitarian truce in a statement issued early Monday.
In her address to the council, UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos called for “more humanitarian pauses” to allow relief workers to reach those in need.
“Pauses must be daily, predictable, and adequate in length so that humanitarian staff can dispatch relief to those in need, rescue the injured, recover the dead and allow civilians some reprieve so that they can restock and resupply their homes,” she said.
Amos said finding shelter from Israeli strikes was becoming increasingly difficult for the 1.8 million people of Gaza.
“The reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe,” she said.
More than 1,420 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have died in the fighting, along with 58 Israelis, 56 of them soldiers.
The appeal to the council came a day after an attack on a UN-run school hosting refugees left 19 dead, drawing outrage from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who lashed out: “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children.”
UN officials have called for a full investigation after an Israeli artillery strike hit the school.
Krahenbuhl described dire conditions for the shelters with very few showers and latrines, and problems with water supplies in classrooms holding 80 people.
“Disease outbreak is beginning” with cases of skin infections such as scabies while thousands of pregnant women have taken refuge in the UN schools, he said.
“We are sheltering newborn infants in these appalling conditions,” said the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians.
“The illegal blockade of Gaza must be lifted,” he added, referring to Israeli closure of crossing points that rights groups maintain have turned the Gaza Strip into an open-air prison.
Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour renewed his appeal to the Security Council to adopt a tough resolution calling for an end to the fighting, an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and lifting of the Israeli blockade.
“Enough is enough, this genocide should be stopped immediately,” Mansour told reporters after the council meeting.
Gaza-born pop star Mohammed Assaf also appealed to the UN to act to stop the bloodshed.
“There is pain in my heart from what is happening in my town and to my people in my beloved home, Gaza that is hurting,” said Khan Younis-born Assaf, winner of the popular Arab Idol talent show, said in a video distributed by the United Nations Thursday.
“Now we all have to help my beloved people in Gaza, all those who suffer in Gaza, all those who suffer under the attacks,” said Assaf, who accompanied an airlift of humanitarian supplies from Dubai to Jordan, from where it continued to Gaza by road.
“We have to help Gaza stand up on its feet one more time,” added Assaf, who is the goodwill ambassador of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
Jordan last week circulated a draft resolution, but the council has yet to debate the measure and has instead adopted a statement calling for the humanitarian truce.
The statement was adopted despite reservations from the United States.
UNRWA’s spokesman in Gaza, Chris Gunness, broke down in tears Wednesday when Al-Jazeera television interviewed him after 16 people died in the shelling of a UN school in Gaza.
“The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied and its appalling,” Gunness said in a voice choked with emotion, before burying his face in his hands and sobbing uncontrollably.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashed out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law.
Pillay slammed the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities which are sheltering 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
“There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” the South African told reporters.
Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said.
She spoke a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp which was sheltering some 3,300 homeless Gazans, killing at least 16 people.
Pillay said that under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, noting that due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.
“It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” said Pillay.
She also criticized Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s power plant, as well as water and sewerage systems.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from the Zionist entity and its international sponsor, the United States.
“We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on,” Pillay said on Thursday, calling into question domestic investigations by Israel into abuses.
“I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong,” she added.
GAZA CITY – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned an Israeli attack on one of its schools used to house thousands of internally displaced Gazans earlier the same day.
“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.
“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts,” the statement said.
“The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times … to ensure its protection.”
The statement went on to say that the incident was the sixth time an UNRWA shelter had been struck during Israel’s offensive on Gaza.
“UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted.
Gaza’s health ministry said earlier that at least 16 people were killed in an Israeli shelling on a UN school in Jabaliya camp. The ministry called on UNRWA to immediately condemn the attack.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an later that initial reports suggested Palestinian militants had fired mortar shells at Israeli soldiers from the vicinity of the school.
The Israeli army responded by firing back at the “origins of fire,” the spokeswoman said.
“The incident is still being reviewed,” she added.
Over 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far on the 23rd day of the Israeli offensive, bringing the three-week total above 1,300.
More than 200,000 people, or about one in eight Gazans, have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the assault.
A United Nations committee has approved a resolution calling on Britain and Argentina to negotiate a solution to their dispute over the Malvinas Islands, also known as the Falkland Islands.
On Thursday, the UN Decolonization Committee approved the new resolution, calling for a negotiated solution to the 200-year dispute.
This comes as the world body refuses to recognize the outcome of a 2013 referendum on the political status of Malvinas. According to the vote, the territory claimed by both Argentina and the UK, would remain a British colony.
The British government has so far rejected several UN resolutions and repeated calls from Argentina for negotiations on the sovereignty of the region.
Britain argues that it is up to the islands to decide. But Argentina says the English-speaking islanders are an implanted population kept stagnant for the purpose of occupying the territory.
Argentina’s foreign minister said the dispute is not with the people living in the Malvinas but with the British government.
“Argentina has no problem with citizenship. Our problem is that the United Kingdom is occupying Argentinean territory against international law and the United Nations expressly rejects applying to the Malvinas the principle of self-determination,” Hector Timerman said on Thursday.
Argentina and Britain fought a 74-day-long war in 1982 over the islands. The conflict ended with the British side claiming victory.
Located about 480 kilometers (300 miles) off Argentina’s coast, the Malvinas Islands have been declared part of the British overseas territories since the UK established its colonial rule on the territories in 1833.
Yesterday at 11am, the Syrian Mission to the United Nations convened a press conference featuring people from the US who observed the recent elections.
Five minutes into the opening comments of Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari, the UN webcast cut off. The thousands of journalists, political analysts, and others who view UN webcasts each day from all over the world were denied the ability to watch the press conference, and hear what was said.
This is not the first time this has happened when Bashar Jaafari is speaking. This occurred on June 7th earlier this year, and on numerous occasions throughout 2013. Reporters at Inner City Press reported that this is not accidental, but was ordered by Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations.
This comes in the context of other UN harassment of Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has met with Ahmad Jarba, a leader of violent insurgent groups in Syria, but has refused to meet with Bashar Jaafari. Though Syria pays over $1 million to the UN each year, it is not being treated as an equal member state.
Watch the important, UN Press Conference about Syria, that someone obviously doesn’t want you, or anyone else, to see: