Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Palestine. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Palestine. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 24, 2015

Palestinian authority plans to develop Gaza gas field

Palestinian authority plans to develop Gaza gas field
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) plans to develop a natural gas field off the Gaza Strip coast at a cost of 1 billion US dollars, a PNA minister said on Monday.

Mohamed Mustafa, minister of economy, said in an emailed press statement that British Gas Co. and the Palestinian unity government will work together on developing the gas field.

A large field of natural gas was discovered in early 2000 off the coast of the Gaza Strip by British Gas. A deal was signed between the company and the PNA to produce gas and help the PNA improve its finances.

Mustafa, also deputy prime minister of the Palestinian unity government, stated that the project needs international political guarantees to make Israel committed to the agreement.

The gas field aims to generate power and serve industry to create new financial resources, said Mustafa.

Since its establishment in 1994, the PNA has been financially depending on international donations and the tax revenue dues Israel collects on its behalf and pays them back to its budget.

However, the PNA has been going through a crucial financial crisis after Israel withheld the tax revenue dues to punish the Palestinians after they decided to join 20 international treaties and agencies, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Mustafa said annual cost for energy import had reached 2 billion dollars and that "such a huge budget exhausts the Palestinian economy and that generating energy would save lots of money."

  Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
24/2/15
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Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 19, 2015

Palestinian Authority forms 'central operation rooms' to deal with snowstorm

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday formed several “central operation rooms” in the West Bank to deal with the snowstorm.

The PA also urged Palestinians to remain indoors and avoid driving their vehicles in the snow.

Municipality and Civil Defense workers were put on high alert and hospitals beefed up their medical staff in anticipation of the snowstorm.

The PA said that its emergency teams were also ready to open all major roads that could be blocked by the snow. 

  [jpost.com]
19/2/15
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Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 06, 2015

EU urges Israel, Palestine to stop aggravating tense situation

The European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said here on Tuesday recent steps taken by Palestinians and Israelis could aggravate the already tense situation on the ground and bring them further away from a negotiated solution.

The decision of the Israeli government to halt the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority "runs counter to Israel's obligations under the Paris Protocol," Mogherini said in a statement.

An effective Palestinian Authority, committed to non-violence and a peaceful resolution of the conflict, is a key element for a two-state solution, she said, urging Israel and Palestine to refrain from taking actions that could raise obstacles to the rapid return to the negotiations.

She said the EU was providing considerable support, including financial assistance, to ensure the building of the institutions and infrastructure of a future Palestinian State. And these achievements should not be put at risk by not meeting obligations regarding the timely and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues.

"The European Union will promote and support now more than ever efforts to achieve a lasting peace based on a two-state solution, including through the Middle East Quartet," she said.

Half a billion shekels, or about 128 million US dollars, in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority for the month of December were being frozen. Israel made the decision last week to punish the Palestinians' bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel's collection of tax money for the Palestinian Authority was established under the 1993 Oslo Accords. The last time Israel froze the money's transfer was in April last year, following the Authority's reconciliation with Hamas and the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

Palestinians sought to join the ICC after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017, in order for a Palestinian state to be established unilaterally.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
6/1/15

Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 31, 2014

UN Security Council action on Palestinian statehood blocked

UN, 30 December 2014 – Falling short of the required number of positive votes and faced with a veto from one of its permanent members, the United Nations Security Council today failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have affirmed the “urgent need” to reach within 12 months a peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East and would have paved the way to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The draft also outlined several parameters for the proposed solution – with a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel and a “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017 – and would have looked forward to welcoming Palestine as a full UN Member State within the 12-month timeframe, urging both parties to build trust and negotiate in good faith.
Eight of the Council's 15 members voted in favour, one fewer than the nine members needed to pass a resolution in the absence of a veto by any of the Council's five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom or the United States.
While the resolution failed to receive the required majority among members, the United States also opposed the text, a move that would have seen the draft fail to pass.
Following the vote, Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, stressed her country’s support for new ways to constructively support both parties in achieving a negotiated settlement.
“This resolution is not one of those constructive steps,” she said, adding that the draft set the stage for “more division, not compromise.”
The vote set-up a “staged confrontation” that did not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question, especially as the text was “deeply imbalanced”, establishing “unconstructive deadlines.” Five Council members abstained from the vote, including the United Kingdom, whose representative, Mark Lyall Grant, said he supported much of the draft’s content but was disappointed by the lack of negotiation and had therefore abstained.
“The Security Council has once again failed to uphold its Charter duties,” said Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, who said the draft was tabled in the face of a political impasse caused by “Israeli intransigence.”
Israel’s representative said the opposite was true, with the Palestinians having “every chance to negotiate.” Having refused to engage, they had now tabled their “preposterous unilateral proposal,” and he warned his Palestinian counterpart that he could not “agitate and provoke” his way to a State.
The representative of France voted in favour, calling on the Council to be a positive actor, “not a theatre,” and noting his support for a “clear timetable” on peace negotiations. The other remaining permanent members also voted in favour of the draft, with Russia’s representative, Vitaly Churkin, regretting the Council’s failure to adopt, and China’s representative, also stating his deep regret.
María Cristina Perceval, the representative of Argentina, said explanation of her affirmative vote was “unnecessary” and lamented the Council’s failure to adopt the text, while Chad’s representative, Mahamat Zene Cherif, current Council President, said the draft was “balanced and moderate” adding that the Council had “once more missed a date with history”, sending a negative message that encouraged continuation of occupation, injustice and oppression. The Council, he said, had missed an opportunity give the Palestinians “a ray of hope” after direct talks yielded almost nothing.
 [un.org]
30/12/14
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Τρίτη, Δεκεμβρίου 30, 2014

Palestinians demand UN vote on Israeli withdrawal, defeat likely

UN Security Council is expected to vote as early as Tuesday afternoon on a Palestinian draft resolution that calls for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017.

Jordan's UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said Arab delegations had agreed the draft should go to a vote as soon as possible and the timing would depend on how quickly the 15-nation council's secretariat organize a meeting. Kawar said she was requesting a Tuesday afternoon vote.

Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour said the vote could be on Wednesday morning if it does not happen on Tuesday. Western diplomats said a 5:00 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) was possible, adding that the United States was expected to veto the measure if it managed to muster the minimum required nine yes votes.

 [jpost.com by Reuters]
30/12/14
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  • Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released a statement Thursday night saying that Canada is opposed to the imminent vote for the Palestinian resolution in the UN Security Council to put a deadline to the Israeli "Occupation."
“Canada fundamentally believes that Palestinian statehood can only be a by-product of negotiations with the State of Israel. We have long rejected unilateral action on either side, as we believe it is ultimately unhelpful to the cause of peace," the statement said. 
[ jpost.com]

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 29, 2014

Arab League to push UN on Palestinian state. (Draft resolution to the Security Council setting a timeframe for creation of Palestinian state)

The Arab League has agreed to present to the UN Security Council a draft resolution that will set a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state.

"We can no longer wait. We can no longer live with the status quo. Israel wants us to be an authority without authority," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said. "I understand the consequences of the UNSC move, but the most dangerous situation we can be in is remain in the status quo."
Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said that Palestinians expected to face a veto from the United States - Israel's biggest ally - at the UN.
  • "If the US decides to take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority - maybe cutting off the much-needed aid - it will not be able to survive on its own and will need support from the Arab states. And the issue must have been discussed at the meeting today."
The foreign ministers of the League set up a committee on Saturday comprising Kuwait, Mauritania, Jordan and Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby to begin seeking international backing for the resolution, they said in their closing statement.

The statement did not specify when the resolution would be presented, but diplomatic sources have said Jordan, an Arab member in the Security Council, will present the draft within the next few days.

The move came after the Palestinians drafted a UNSC resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation by November 2016, which they shared informally with Arab states and some council members, UN diplomats said on Wednesday.

The text has not been formally circulated to the full 15-nation Security Council, a move that can only be done by a council member, said the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It calls for "the full withdrawal of Israel ... from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016," diplomats said.
 Source: Al Jazeera and agencies 
29/11/14
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Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 18, 2014

Israelis demand govt resignation after Jerusalem attack

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in west Jerusalem on Tuesday to demand the government's resignation in the wake of a deadly attack on a Jewish synagogue in which four Israelis were killed.

About 300 Israelis chanted slogans for the government, amid chants against Palestinians and Arabs, according to Israeli Channel Two.
Earlier Tuesday, four Israelis were killed and seven others injured in an attack by two Palestinians on a Jewish synagogue in West Jerusalem. The attackers were shot dead by Israeli police in the immediate wake of the attack.
No group has thus far claimed responsibility for the incident, which is the eighth such Palestinian attack on Israelis to have occurred in Israel or the occupied territories within the last month.

Israeli wounded in fresh stabbing attack in E. Jerusalem
An Israeli settler was wounded Tuesday after being attacked by two Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Two Palestinian youths attacked an Israeli settler with a metal rod in East Jerusalem's Old City, leaving him with minor injuries, a source in the Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency service, was quoted as saying by Israeli Channel 7.
According to the channel, Israeli forces have launched a manhunt for the attackers, who fled the scene on a bike after the attack.
Israeli police have yet to comment on the incident.
Six Israelis, including two security personnel, have been killed – and several others injured – in a spate of attacks by Palestinians since late October.
Tension mounted further on October 30, when Israeli authorities sealed access to East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Asqa Mosque complex for several hours after an extremist rabbi was shot and injured by a Palestinian man in West Jerusalem.
www.aa.com.tr/en
18/11/14

Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 16, 2014

Israel will ‘never’ limit Jerusalem settlements (Avigdor Lieberman)

Israel will never agree to limit its construction activity in Occupied East Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday. “One thing should be clear: we will never accept the definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem as settlement activity,” he said at a news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“We won’t accept any limitation on building in Jewish areas of (east) Jerusalem,” he said.

His remarks came four days after Israel approved plans to build 200 homes in Ramot in Occupied East Jerusalem despite months of almost daily clashes and tensions there with Palestinians, triggered in part by settlement expansion.

The announcement prompted a sharply-worded rebuke from Washington which reiterated its “unequivocal” opposition to such construction in east Jerusalem, warning it could “exacerbate this difficult situation on the ground and... will not contribute to efforts to reduce the tension.”

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Israel seized east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

It refers to the entire city as its “united, undivided capital” and does not view construction there as settlement activity.

The Palestinians want the city’s eastern sector as capital of their promised state and vehemently oppose any Israeli attempt to expand construction there.

Last Update: Sunday, 16 November 2014 KSA 12:36 - GMT 09:36 
AFP- english.alarabiya.net
16/11/14
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Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 10, 2014

Gaza: Ban Ki-moon forms independent panel to investigate recent conflict

UN,  10 November 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the formation of an internal inquiry aimed at reviewing “certain incidents” reported at United Nations facilities in the Gaza Strip during the recent summer conflict there between Palestinian factions and the State of Israel.

During his visit last month to the war-ravaged enclave, the Secretary-General called for a thorough investigation into incidents where UN facilities – including schools run by the UN agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) – sustained hits resulting in the deaths of numerous innocent civilians and UN staff members.


In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, the Secretary-General declared that he had established the “internal and independent” UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry to review and investigate “a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises.”

In addition, added Mr. Dujarric, the Board will also “review and investigate incidents in which weapons were found to be present on United Nations premises.”

The fighting – which raged from 8 July to 26 August – saw entire neighbourhoods in the Strip flattened, and almost one-third of Gaza’s population uprooted. The violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis while also damaging or destroying over 100,000 homes.

While in Gaza last month, Mr. Ban voiced horror at the extent of the destruction, stating that “nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed.”

The Board of Inquiry will be led by Patrick Cammaert of The Netherlands and will include Maria Vicien-Milburn of Argentina, Lee O’Brien of the United States, Pierre Lemelin of Canada and K.C. Reddy of India.

[un.org]
10/11/14
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Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 20, 2014

UN agency ramps up for Gaza reconstruction push. (UNRWA has consistently called for the lifting of the blockade)

UN, 19 October 2014 – A week after a major conference in Cairo on the reconstruction of war-ravaged Gaza, and in the wake of recent visits to Gaza by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the key UN agency on the ground there has begun scaling up its response to meet critical needs of people in the Strip.
In a press release, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced today that it is now focusing on providing food, water and sanitation services to over 40,000 displaced people in 18 of its installations, psycho-social support particularly for children, cash grants to the homeless for rent, as well as urgent repairs to 118 UNRWA installations, so that we can bring our services to full capacity.


“Our immediate aim is to help ensure that some of the most seriously affected families are able to improve their situation rapidly,” said UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness, who added that the critical priority remains urgently needed reconstruction for large numbers of people. 

As assessments continue, the agency has revised upwards figures of homes destroyed and people affected. “We now estimate that over 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, affecting more than 600,000 people. These are the latest figures and are likely to rise as UNRWA social workers and engineers continue their homes visits and inspections.” 

One week ago today, at an international conference in Egypt, donors pledged some $5.4 billion in aid for Gaza reconstruction. Two day's later Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the war-ravaged enclave, where he viewed destruction wrought by the most recent conflict that was “beyond description”, and also met with the ministers of the National Consensus Government calling on them to focus all efforts on “building one Palestine.”

Today, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said that the enormity of the task ahead is becoming clear and the agency's increased pace of recovery and emergency work reflects this. 

“Cairo saw important commitments made, which we welcome. On the ground we are confronted with high expectations by thousands of families in critical need. We therefore urge that pledges be rapidly transformed into actual contributions that will allow us to start the process of rebuilding,” he declared. 

  • Access for building materials is critical and UNRWA has consistently called for the lifting of the blockade and again stressed that this is an essential parameter to enable Gaza to emerge from years of suffering, joblessness and a lack of prospects. 

In the immediate weeks ahead, access for material must be facilitated by the recently negotiated temporary mechanism. As the UN Secretary General indicated, if applied in good faith it could make an important difference in terms of enabling reconstruction to take place, the agency says, underscoring that the people of Gaza need attention and support in this critical phase, especially with the winter approaching. 

“They also need a paradigm shift, with an end to aid dependency, an end to the restrictions on movement, trade and employment imposed by the blockade. Further, freedom to travel, to import and export, to attain self-sufficiency remains a critical imperative,” UNRWA says. 
un.org
19/10/14
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Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 17, 2014

Israeli ministers denounce Kerry remarks on conflict

Two senior Israeli government ministers lashed out at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Oct. 17 over remarks he made linking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the growth of Islamic extremism.
     
"I respect John Kerry and his efforts but he keeps breaking new records in lack of understanding of our region and the essence of our disputes," Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview with Israeli public radio.

     
"I think that this time it is really a new record," he said.
     
Kerry, just back from a visit to Egypt for a multilateral conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, said on Thursday that in conversations he had heard that the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fuelling recruitment for the Islamic State jihadist group.
     
"There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation," Kerry said.
     
"People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity," he added.
     
Erdan, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party who holds a seat on the prestigious security cabinet, mocked the idea that building in West Bank settlements, such as Maaleh Adumim, near Jerusalem, was fanning the flames of jihad.
     
"'Absence of dignity', is that what's causing the rise of Islamic State?" he asked.
     
"Two hundred thousand people murdered in Syria, British and Americans whose heads are being cut off ... is all this because of settlement in Maaleh Adumim?"      

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party and also is in the security cabinet, said that the world sought to make Israel a scapegoat for its troubles.
     
"Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian there will always be someone who blames the Jews," he wrote on Twitter, alluding to the killings of two British aid workers -- recorded in videos posted online -- by a jihadist with an English accent.
     
Kerry has taken flak from Israel before, most recently in July during the military campaign in Gaza when anonymous officials hit out at Kerry's truce proposal, calling it "a strategic terrorist attack".
     
The US State Department called the allegations "offensive and absurd."  

[hurriyetdailynews.com]
17/10/14

Παρασκευή, Σεπτεμβρίου 26, 2014

Abbas at UNGA: Israel perpetrated genocide in Gaza, we won't forget or forgive

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of conducting a "war of genocide" during the 50-day summer conflict in Gaza but stopped short of saying he will pursue war crime charges against Jerusalem at the International Criminal Court...

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Abbas also said he will seek a UN resolution to set a deadline for Israel to pull out of Palestinian lands captured in the 1967 war. He did not, however, include a three-year deadline as his aides had said he would, evidently due to concerns that the U.S. would veto such a resolution, Palestinian officials told Haaretz. 

"In this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people," he said.
"This last war against Gaza was a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment," Abbas added. The devastation unleashed, he said, "is unmatched in modern times."
The recent Gaza war killed 2,100 Palestinians and has weakened Abbas domestically, with his Hamas rivals enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. Sixty-six soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.
"In the name of Palestine and its people, I affirm here today: we will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment," Abbas said.
The Palestinian president is under pressure at home to come up with a new political strategy after his repeated but failed attempts to establish a Palestinian state through U.S.-mediated negotiations with Israel.
Abbas called on Israel to end the occupation, with a deadline for this goal.
"Israel refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967, but rather seeks its continuation and entrenchment, and rejects the Palestinian state and refuses to find a just solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees.
"... There is no meaning or value in negotiations for which the agreed objective is not ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.

"The time has come to end this settlement occupation."

Abbas further called for "a comprehensive, credible" strategy against terrorism - including what he called Israeli  "state terrorism." 
"It is an urgent matter that requires much more than condemnations and declarations of positions, which are of course necessary," he said. "…It requires, in this context and as a priority, bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of our country, which constitutes in its practices and perpetuation, an abhorrent form of state terrorism and a breeding ground for incitement, tension and hatred."
  • In his speech, Abbas introduced a resolution, to be submitted to the UN Security Council, aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation.
"This endeavor aspires to correct the deficiency of the previous efforts to achieve peace by affirming the goal of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-state solution, of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the State of Israel and reaching a just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194, with a specific timeframe for the implementation of these objectives as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative.
"This will be linked to the immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel to demarcate the borders, reach a detailed and comprehensive agreement and draft a peace treaty between them." 
Senior Palestinian officials told Haaretz after the speech that Abbas sought to avoid a confrontation with the U.S. over the resolution, which is why he did not set a specific timeframe, but only demanded that one be set. The decision was evidently made after Abbas met several world leaders at the UN, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
One senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinian delegation was aware of the U.S.' intention to veto any such unilateral move, should it garner a majority at the Security Council. 
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.617831
26/9/14 

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 25, 2014

Ex-New York judge named to UN panel assessing war crimes in Gaza

Mary McGowan Davis is third member of panel formed out of Palestinian resolution. She replaces attorney Amal Alamuddin....

A former New York judge has been appointed the third member of a United Nations panel looking into whether Israel has committed war crimes in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Mary McGowan Davis was named to the panel by the head of the UN Human Rights Council, Gabon Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella, the Associated Press reported.


The council launched the commission of inquiry on July 23 accepting a Palestinian-drafted resolution.

McGowan joins William Schabas and Doudou Diène on the committee, which is expected to deliver a report next March.

The Israeli government has condemned the UN council's decision to form the panel, saying that Hamas should be the subject of the inquiry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement at the time that Hamas was "committing a double war crime by firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. …"

Schabas, who chairs the panel, is a professor of international criminal law and human rights, the UN council said in an August 11 statement announcing the members.

Diène from 2002 to 2008 was the UN's "Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance," the statement said.

On the panel, McGowan replaces Amal Alamuddin, a U.K. attorney and the fiancé of the actor George Clooney. Alamuddin, who the UN said is a specialist in international law and human rights, decided not to serve on the panel, citing her current commitments.

Israel in 2009 faced a similar investigation from the Goldstone Committee, led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone. That panel's report, released in September 2009, harshly criticized Israel's conduct during its 2008 conflict with Hamas in Gaza.   

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.612415
25/8/14
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Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 04, 2014

Egypt pushes for Gaza truce, presents Palestinian demands (the Rafah border crossing)

CAIRO - Egypt asked Israel on Monday to accept a ceasefire as a first step toward comprehensive negotiations with Palestinian factions to end more than three weeks of fighting, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said.
Palestinian groups, including envoys of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, met the head of Egyptian intelligence in Cairo earlier in the day to formulate a plan to end the violence that has displaced more than one quarter of Gaza's 1.8 million people.
Immediately after the meeting, Egypt presented Israel with the key Palestinian demands: a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, an end to the blockade of the impoverished enclave and the reconstruction of the area.
An Egyptian diplomatic source said Cairo expected Israel to accept a temporary halt to the fighting to allow for talks.

"We are working to reach a ceasefire agreement and we are expecting Israel to approve a ceasefire for a few days," he said. "Egypt will announce that as soon as we get Israel's approval."Israel has yet to give a formal response to the ceasefire plan, but an Israeli official who declined to be named said it could accept a ceasefire without preconditions.
"If we receive a proposal based on the Egyptian plan of a ceasefire without preconditions which will include rehabilitation of Gaza in exchange for disarmament, Israel will consider this favorably with a view to accepting it," he said.

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Israel began aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza on July 8 after what it said was a surge of cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and others and it later sent in ground forces.
It has already begun to wind down its offensive, saying the army had completed the main objective of the ground assault, the destruction of cross-border infiltration tunnels from Gaza.
With its goals met, Israel is seen as more likely to come to accept an end to the fighting in which Gaza officials say 1,804 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.
Israel has confirmed that 64 of its soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian shelling has killed three civilians in Israel.
A Palestinian official affiliated with one of the militant factions said a temporary ceasefire would open the door to more comprehensive negotiations.
"Should Israel agree to the 72-hour ceasefire, Egypt would invite Israel to send a delegation to Cairo to conduct indirect negotiations with the Palestinian delegation over all issues," he said.

PARALLEL CHANNELS
Egypt has positioned itself as a mediator in successive Gaza conflicts but, like Israel, it opposes Hamas and has struggled to seal a deal to end the latest fighting.
Media speculation that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns would fly to Egypt to participate in indirect truce talks had not been borne out by Monday.
A U.S. embassy spokesman declined to say if or when Burns might arrive. A U.S. official in Washington said acting special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Frank Lowenstein was on his way back from Cairo, suggesting the United States was following the talks closely.
A U.S.- and U.N.-brokered ceasefire broke down within two hours on Friday, with Israel and Hamas trading blame.
A Hamas source in Doha said the group would not lay down arms unless Palestinian conditions were met.
Qatar, a backer of Hamas, has stayed out of the Egypt talks, but has continued consultations with Turkey and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at finding an end to the crisis should Egypt fail, a Gulf source and the Hamas official in Doha said.
  • For its part, Cairo might contemplate easing the limited freedom of movement across its own border with Gaza, but was unlikely to accept Palestinian calls to allow a normal flow of trade, Egyptian diplomatic sources said.
Egypt insists that any discussion over the Rafah border crossing take place bilaterally with the Palestinian Authority rather than as part of any overall deal between the Palestinians and Israel to ease the blockade, the sources said. REUTERS
 http://www.todayonline.com/world/egypt-begins-gaza-truce-talks-palestinian-factions?singlepage=true
4/8/14
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Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 02, 2014

Netanyahu: Hamas will pay price for more attacks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened on Saturday to exact an “intolerable price” from the Gaza Strip’s dominant Hamas Islamists should there be continued attacks from the Palestinian territory.
Netanyahu also said that Israel will continue its military campaign in Gaza for as long as needed and with as much force as necessary.
“From the beginning, we promised to return the quiet to Israel’s citizens and we will continue to act until that aim is achieved. We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed,” he said in a public address.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Cabinet minister said there was “no point” in trying to reach a Gaza truce with Hamas and that Israel won’t send a delegation to planned ceasefire talks in Cairo, the Associated Press reported.

The minister, Yuval Steinitz, spoke Saturday on Israel’s Channel 10 television station.

His comments suggests that Israel plans to end the current round of fighting with Hamas on its own terms, rather than getting entangled in indirect negotiations with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Steinitz alleged that Hamas has repeatedly violated previous cease-fire deals and that this “leads us to the conclusion that with this organization there is no point speaking” about a deal.
He says Israel won’t be sending a delegation to Cairo for the time being.
Meanwhile, Al Arabiya News Channel reported Saturday that six Palestinians were killed after an Israeli airstrike on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, and four others will killed in Khan Younis.
Previously, the Israeli airstrike on Rafah killed at least 35 Palestinians, the Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra said, adding that the area's main hospital was evacuated because of the strikes.
At least 1,592 Gazans have been killed since the start of hostilities on July 8 when Israel launched its drive to halt militant rocket fire on its territory from the coastal enclave by unleashing air and naval bombardments. Tanks and infantry pushed into the territory of 1.8 million people on July 17.
Sixty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed, and Palestinian rockets have killed three civilians in Israel.
Earlier, Israeli troops and tanks pulled out of a central sector of the Gaza Strip and moved closer to the border Saturday, as its military invited Palestinians to return to one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the coastal strip.

  • Israeli media reports Saturday suggested that the military planned to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and declare victory in the weekslong war that Palestinian officials say has killed more than 1,650 people there.
But the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, which is in charge of the Gaza Strip, said Israel’s unilateral withdraw does not involve it.
Authorities in Israel, which has lost 63 soldiers and three civilians in the war, declined to immediately comment on the reports, but the move would mirror Israeli strategy in previous wars there.

Hamas on missing Israeli soldier

The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said on Saturday it had no clear indication on the whereabouts of an Israeli soldier that Israel has accused it of abducting in the Gaza Strip, Reuters news agency reported.
Hamas added that the soldier may have been killed during an ambush and that it had no contact with militants who were operating in the southern Gaza Strip where Israel said its soldier went missing.
“We have lost contact with the group of fighters that took part in the ambush and we believe they were all killed in the [Israeli] bombardment. Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident,” a statement by Hamas said.

  • Israel said, Sec. Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, who went missing on Friday, was abducted by Hamas gunmen.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his security cabinet into special session and warned Hamas and other militant groups that they would “bear the consequences of their actions”.
After the disappearance of the soldier, Israel declared a planned 72-hour Gaza ceasefire over, saying Hamas militants had breached the truce soon after it took effect.
The ceasefire lasted only about 90 minutes early on Friday.

Egypt’s proposal

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday a Gaza ceasefire plan his country had put forward represented a “real chance” to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
"The Egyptian initiative is a real chance to find a real solution to the crisis taking place in the Gaza Strip," he told reporters in Cairo during a joint news conference with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

  • The Egyptian leader also warned that wasting time will complicate matters. “if Egypt’s initial proposal had been accepted, many civilian lives would have been spared,” he said.

  • Sisi’s comments came as a Palestinian delegation headed to Cairo for talks on ending the conflict that has killed around 2,000 Palestinians in less than a month.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo on Saturday to discuss a ceasefire plan to end the raging war between Palestinian factions and Israel, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.

Last Update: Saturday, 2 August 2014 KSA 22:12 - GMT 19:12 
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/08/02/Hamas-Missing-soldier-may-have-been-killed-.html
2/8/14
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Κυριακή, Ιουλίου 27, 2014

Israel confirms it fired into UN shelter in Gaza (denied killing anyone at the site)

The Israeli army has confirmed it fired a mortar round into a Gaza UN shelter where 15 people died on Thursday, but denied killing anyone at the site.
Briefing journalists on the findings of an internal military inquiry into the incident at a UN school in Beit Hanun, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said militants "in the vicinity" of the school fired mortar rounds and anti-tank rockets at Israeli forces.
The army responded with mortar fire, sending a stray round into the compound, he said.

"A single errant mortar [round] landed in the courtyard of the school," he said.
"The courtyard was completely empty" at the time of the incident, he added.

"We reject the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of [Israeli army] operational activity," he added.
An AFP photographer who went to the scene saw blood spattered on the ground and Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said 15 people died in the blast and at least another 200 people were injured.
  • "Many have been killed -- including women and children," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement, adding that he was "appalled".
Lt Col Lerner suggested the victims may have been hit in fighting raging elsewhere and "brought to the compound after injury" for first aid or shelter.

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Fighting subsided in Gaza this afternoon after Hamas Islamist militants said they backed a 24-hour humanitarian truce, but there was no sign of any comprehensive deal to end their conflict with Israel.             
Hamas said it had endorsed a call by the United Nations for a pause in the fighting in light of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, expected to start in the next couple of days.
Some firing had continued after the time that Hamas had announced it would put its guns aside and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu questioned the validity of the truce.
"Hamas doesn't even accept its own ceasefire, it's continuing to fire at us as we speak," he said in an interview with CNN, adding that Israel would "take whatever action is necessary to protect our people".
Nonetheless, Gaza residents and Reuters witnesses said Israeli shelling and Hamas missile launches had slowly quietened down through the afternoon........................http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0727/633331-israel-gaza/
27/7/14

Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 25, 2014

Israel rejects US truce proposal for Gaza. (Security cabinet refuses US-initiated ceasefire in the Gaza Strip)

Israel TV reported on Friday that the cabinet had rejected the proposal in its current form, mainly because it would mean Israel would cut short an ongoing effort to destroy Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.
The proposal called for a week-long pause in fighting over the Muslim holiday of Eid. During that time, the two sides would begin indirect talks on easing the border closure of the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, says any truce must include a guaranteed end to Israel's eight-year siege of the enclave. Israel had previously said it would reject any deal that included a clause to ease the blockade.

At a news conference in Egypt, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, confirmed the rejection but said diplomats were still trying to agree a deal.

"We are working towards a brief seven-day peace in honour of Eid, to bring people together to create a more durable ceasefire," he said.
"We still have terminology and context to work through, but we are confident we have a framework that will work, and we will continue to work for that ... none of us here are stopping."
Kerry met UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Cairo on Friday, and spoke by telephone to his Qatari and Turkish counterparts, who have influence with Hamas.

More deaths as diplomacy stutters
The Israeli offensive on Gaza has continued on Friday on its 18th day.
Palestinian officials said on Friday that Israeli troops and Hamas fighters fought intense battles in the north and centre of the coastal strip, while the Israeli military announced it had hit 45 sites in Gaza.
One Israeli strike killed Salah Hassanein, a senior official from the Islamic Jihad group, and two of his sons, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reported.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said that its missing soldier, Oron Shaul, had been killed in Gaza, in an attack on an APC on Sunday. Hamas claims to have taken him hostage, and his body has not been recovered.
The Israeli offensive in Gaza has so far killed at least 848 Palestinians, including scores of children, and left more than 5,200 people injured.
Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel have killed two Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker.
A total of 35 Israeli soldiers have died in Gaza. The Israeli army said that number included Oron Shaul, who Hamas claimed to have kidnapped after an attack on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, promised to support Palestinian fighters. In a live television appearance on Friday, Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel that it was "suicide'' to continue waging war in the Gaza Strip.
"We are true partners with this resistance ... their victory is all our victory, and their defeat is all our defeat," he said.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/israel-rejects-us-truce-proposal-gaza-201472518817349961.html
25/7/14

Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 23, 2014

Israel pounds Gaza as Kerry pushes truce (UN says ‘war crimes’ possible)

Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as US Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Israel cease-fire talks had made some progress.

In a blow to Israel's economy and a public relations coup for Hamas, US and European air carriers halted flights to the Jewish state citing concern over a militant rocket from Gaza that hit a house near Ben Gurion airport. Israel urged a rethink, saying its air space was safe.


Adding to pressure on Israel, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday there was "a strong possibility" that it was committing war crimes in Gaza, where 668 Palestinians have died in the fighting, mostly civilians.

Israel denied the suggestion, stepping up the war of words and accusing Hamas of using fellow Gazans as human shields.

Making an unannounced, one-day visit, Kerry was due to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, signaling an intensification of efforts to end the bloodshed.

"We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be done," Kerry said shortly after arriving.


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Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt missile salvoes by Hamas and its allies, struggling under the weight of an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade and angered by a crackdown on their supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank.

After failing to halt the militant barrage through days of aerial bombardment, Israel sent ground troops into the Gaza Strip on Thursday last week, looking to knock out Hamas's missile stores and destroy a vast, underground network of tunnels.

"We are meeting resistance around the tunnels ... they are constantly trying to attack us around and in the tunnels. That is the trend," Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said Wednesday.

Some 29 Israeli soldiers have been killed so far in the conflagration, including a tank officer shot by a Palestinian sniper overnight. Three civilians have died in rocket attacks out of Gaza, including a foreign laborer hit on Wednesday.

 Source:Reuters - globaltimes.cn
23-24/7/14
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