Canada: Harper Ignores First Nations Chief Theresa Spence on hunger strike

Hunger-striking chief calls for action amidst health concerns

Time for Harper to ‘show some leadership and to extend a hand,’ NDP says

Aleksandra Sagan, CBC News

Dec 30, 2012

On First Nations Chief Theresa Spence’s 20th day of her politically motivated hunger strike, Canadians and politicians answered her plea for solidarity for her cause to secure a meeting between First Nations leaders, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Governor General.

The Attawapiskat chief sent Friday a public plea to make Sunday a day of solidarity, asking Canadians to stage protests across the country and petitioning politicians to meet with her in Ottawa, both at 2 p.m.

A number of politicians are starting to make the trek to Victoria Island, Ottawa, where the chief is residing in a teepee, including a 15-member NDP delegation, spokeswoman Valérie Dufour told CBC News.

Originally, 17 NDP MPs were expected, Cheryl Maloney, who self-identified as a Spence supporter and is the president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, told CBC News. However, two expected MPs experienced weather-related delays.

NDP sends MPs to meet with chief

The group, which will visit the chief at 2 p.m. Sunday, will be led by deputy leader Megan Leslie and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus.

Chief Spence’s expected visitors:

  • Carolyn Bennett, Liberal MP, Aboriginal Affairs critic.
  • Marc Garneau, Liberal MP.
  • Megan Leslie, NDP MP
  • Charlie Angus, NDP MP.
  • Robert Chisholm, NDP MP.
  • Hoang Mai, NDP MP.
  • Andrew Cash, NDP MP.
  • Dan Harris, NDP MP.
  • Raymond Côté, NDP MP.
  • Ruth Ellen Brosseau, NDP MP.
  • François Lapointe, NDP MP.
  • Craig Scott, NDP MP.
  • Paul Dewar, NDP MP.
  • Hélène Laverdière, NDP MP.
  • Jamie Nicholls, NDP MP.
  • Mathieu Ravignat, NDP MP.
  • Wayne Marston, NDP MP.
  • Denis Blanchette, NDP MP.
  • Carol Hughes, NDP MP.
  • Senator Lillian Dyck, Liberal.
  • Senator Jim Munson, Liberal.
  • Senator, Mac Harb, Liberal

The NDP has been following Spence’s hunger strike very closely, Dufour said. Since the chief started her hunger strike on Dec. 11, she has subsisted on fish broth and tea. Her condition has been worsening, according to a statement released Friday.

“Her condition continues to weaken every hour,” read the statement.

On Dec. 18, party leader Thomas Mulcair wrote a letter to Harper asking him to meet with Spence.”Please act swiftly to avoid a personal tragedy for Chief Spence,” he wrote.

Now, 20 days into Spence’s hunger strike, the NDP is “beginning to be very worried,” said Dufour. “It’s dangerous for her…We’re all a bit afraid because she said she’s even willing to die for it.”

Dufour said Harper should meet with First Nations leaders as soon as possible because it is the only way to settle the matter, adding that Spence isn’t asking for much by requesting a meeting with the prime minister.

“Now it’s time for Stephen Harper to show some leadership and to extend a hand and to meet with the leader,” she said.

Spence supporter Maloney, who forwarded the chief’s latest statement, said she was not authorized to speak about Spence’s condition. She said it is getting harder for the chief to host visitors and conduct interviews. The chief has been resting to prepare for Sunday’s guests, which includes 15 NDP MPs, two Liberal MPs and three Liberal senators.

“[We] haven’t heard anything from any Conservatives at all,” she said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has offered several times to speak with Spence and form a working group, but she rejected his proposals because she believes he is not the one who should be speaking on a nation-to-nation basis.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, an Inuk who is one of two aboriginal MPs in the Conservative cabinet, urged Spence to stop fasting and accept a meeting with Duncan. “That’s the best way to address her issues,” Aglukkaq said.

Spence chose to continue her fast, hoping to secure a meeting with Harper and the Governor General instead.

Former PM visits Spence

On Saturday afternoon, former prime minister Joe Clark visited Spence, following her open invitation.

In a statement after his meeting, Clark said that “there is a general concern that First Nations–Canada relations are headed in a dangerous direction.”

‘First Nations – Canada relations are headed in a dangerous direction’—Joe Clark, former prime minister

People no longer active in political life may have to help support “the resumption of productive discussions,” he said.

“Chief Spence expressed a humble and achievable vision — one which I believe all Canadians can embrace,” he said, adding honest dialogue and mutual commitment can carry-out her vision.

Idle No More rallies staged across Canada

Meanwhile, Canadians are holding rallies in a show of support for the chief.

At least half a dozen events are planned for Sunday across Canada, said CBC’s Shannon Martin.

The Idle No More movement — which has hosted several demonstrations in past weeks and is loosely tied to Spence’s protest — staged a rally in Toronto, Ont., in response to the chief’s call for action. Participants gathered near the Eaton Centre for a “round dance flash mob,” according to the Toronto chapter’s Twitter account.

In Alberta, about 400 protesters gathered outside Harper’s Calgary office, reported CBC’s Devin Heroux. People performed a round dance, carried signs and played drums as part of an Idle No More flash mob.

Various rallies and demonstrations supporting Spence also took place yesterday in Oklahoma, Washington, Cincinnati, and Regina — where a four-day hunger strike is underway, said Martin. Source

Go to Above Source for Video as well.

Canada | Arrange meeting requested by Chief Spence, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada tells PM December 29, 2012

Idle No More is a movement to assert indigenous sovereignty, and to work towards sustainable, renewable development. The movement began in response to Canadian Bill C-45, the government’s omnibus budget implementation bill, that includes changes to land management on reservations which critics feel would enable Canada to control reserves. Along with other areas limiting the control of First Nations in their own territories. For entire Story go HERE

Idle No More Website

The following editorial was originally featured in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin (FNSB), June-October 2012. You can view/download this latest edition of the FNSB by clicking the following link: FNSB June-October 2012

On September 4th the Harper government clearly signaled its intention to:

1) Focus all its efforts to assimilate First Nations into the existing federal and provincial orders of government of Canada;

2) Terminate the constitutionally protected and internationally recognized Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations.

Termination in this context means the ending of First Nations pre-existing sovereign status through federal coercion of First Nations into Land Claims and Self-Government Final Agreements that convert First Nations into municipalities, their reserves into fee simple lands and extinguishment of their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

To do this the Harper government announced three new policy measures:

  • A “results based” approach to negotiating Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements. This is an assessment process of 93 negotiation tables across Canada to determine who will and who won’t agree to terminate Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights under the terms of Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies. For those tables who won’t agree, negotiations will end as the federal government withdraws from the table and takes funding with them.
  • First Nation regional and national political organizations will have their core funding cut and capped. For regional First Nation political organizations the core funding will be capped at $500,000 annually. For some regional organizations this will result in a funding cut of $1 million or more annually. This will restrict the ability of Chiefs and Executives of Provincial Territorial  organization’s to organize and/or advocate for First Nations rights and interests.
  • First Nation Band and Tribal Council funding for advisory services will be eliminated over the next two years further crippling the ability of Chiefs and Councils and Tribal Council executives to analyze and assess the impacts of federal and provincial policies and legislation on Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

These three new policy measures are on top of the following unilateral federal legislation the Harper government is imposing over First Nations:

Then there are the Senate Public Bills:

  • Bill S-207: An Act to amend the Interpretation Act (non derogation of aboriginal and treaty rights)
  •  Bill S-212: First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill

The Harper government’s Bills listed above are designed to undermine the collective rights of First Nations by focusing on individual rights. This is the “modern legislative framework” the Conservatives promised in 2006. The 2006 Conservative Platform promised to:

Replace the Indian Act (and related legislation) with a modern legislative framework which provides for the devolution of full legal and democratic responsibility to aboriginal Canadians for their own affairs within the Constitution, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Of course “modern” in Conservative terms means assimilation of First Nations by termination of their collective rights and off-loading federal responsibilities onto the First Nations themselves and the provinces.

One Bill that hasn’t been introduced into Parliament yet, but is still expected, is the First Nations’ Private Ownership Act (FNPOA). This private property concept for Indian Reserves—which has been peddled by the likes of Tom Flanagan and tax proponent and former Kamloops Chief Manny Jules—is also a core plank of the Harper government’s 2006 electoral platform.

The 2006 Conservative Aboriginal Platform promised that if elected a Harper government would:

Support the development of individual property ownership on reserves, to encourage lending for private housing and businesses.

The long-term goals set out in the Harper government’s policy and legislative initiatives listed above are not new; they are at least as old as the Indian Act and were articulated in the federal 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, which set out a plan to terminate Indian rights as the time.

Previous Termination Plans: 1969 White Paper & Buffalo Jump of 1980’s

The objectives of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy were to:

  • Assimilate First Nations.
  • Remove legislative recognition.
  • Neutralize constitutional status.
  • Impose taxation.
  • Encourage provincial encroachment.
  • Eliminate Reserve lands & extinguish Aboriginal Title.
  • Economically underdevelop communities.
  • Dismantle Treaties.

As First Nations galvanized across Canada to fight the Trudeau Liberal government’s proposed 1969 termination policy the federal government was forced to consider a strategy on how to calm the Indian storm of protest.

In a memo dated April 1, 1970, David Munro, an Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs on Indian Consultation and Negotiations, advised his political masters Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau, as follows:

. . . in our definition of objectives and goals, not only as they appear in formal documents, but also as stated or even implied in informal memoranda, draft planning papers, or causal conversation. We must stop talking about having the objective or goal of phasing out in five years. . . We can still believe with just as much strength and sincerity that the [White Paper] policies we propose are the right ones. . .

The final [White Paper] proposal, which is for the elimination of special status in legislation, must be relegated far into the future. . . my conclusion is that we need not change the [White Paper] policy content, but we should put varying degrees of emphasis on its several components and we should try to discuss it in terms of its components rather than as a whole. . . we should adopt somewhat different tactics in relation to [the White Paper] policy, but that we should not depart from its essential content. (Emphasis added)

In the early 1970’s, the Trudeau Liberal government did back down publicly on implementing the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, but as we can see from Mr. Munro’s advice the federal bureaucracy changed the timeline from five years to a long-term implementation of the 1969 White Paper objectives of assimilation/termination.

In the mid-1980’s the Mulroney Conservative government resurrected the elements of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, through a Cabinet memo.

In 1985, a secret federal Cabinet submission was leaked to the media by a DIAND employee. The Report was nicknamed the “Buffalo Jump of the 1980’s” by another federal official. The nickname referred to the effect of the recommendations in the secret Cabinet document, which if adopted, would lead Status Indians to a cultural death — hence the metaphor.

The Buffalo Jump Report proposed a management approach for First Nations policy and
programs, which had the following intent:

  • Limiting & eventually terminating the federal trust obligations;
  • Reducing federal expenditures for First Nations, under funding programs, and prohibiting deficit financing;
  • Shifting responsibility and costs for First Nations services to provinces and “advanced bands” through co-management, tri-partite, and community self-government agreements;
  • “Downsizing” of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) through a devolution of program administration to “advanced bands” and transfer of programs to other federal departments;
  • Negotiating municipal community self-government agreements with First Nations which would result in the First Nation government giving up their Constitutional status as a sovereign government and becoming a municipality subject to provincial or territorial laws;
  • Extinguishing aboriginal title and rights in exchange for fee simple title under provincial or territorial law while giving the province or territory underlying title to First Nations lands.

The Mulroney government’s “Buffalo Jump” plan was temporarily derailed due the 1990 “Oka Crisis”. Mulroney responded to the “Oka Crisis” with his “Four Pillars” of Native Policy:

  • Accelerating the settlement of land claims;
  • Improving the economic and social conditions on Reserves;
  • Strengthening the relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and governments;
  • Examining the concerns of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples in contemporary Canadian life.

In 1991, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney also announced the establishment of a Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which began its work later that year; the establishment of an Indian Claims Commission to review Specific Claims; the establishment of a BC Task Force on Claims, which would form the basis for the BC Treaty Commission Process.

In 1992, Aboriginal organizations and the federal government agreed, as part of the 1992 Charlottetown Accord, on amendments to the Constitution Act, 1982 that would have included recognition of the inherent right of self-government for Aboriginal people. For the first time, Aboriginal organizations had been full participants in the talks; however, the Accord was rejected in a national referendum.

With the failure of Canadian constitutional reform in 1992, for the last twenty years, the federal government—whether Liberal or Conservative—has continued to develop policies and legislation based upon the White Paper/Buffalo Jump objectives and many First Nations have regrettably agreed to compromise their constitutional/international rights by negotiating under Canada’s termination policies.

Canada’s Termination Policies Legitimized by Negotiation Tables

It has been thirty years since Aboriginal and Treaty rights have been “recognized and affirmed” in section 35 of Canada’s constitution. Why hasn’t the constitutional protection for First Nations’ Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights been implemented on the ground?

One answer to this question is, following the failure of the First Ministers’ Conferences on Aboriginal Matters in the 1980’s, many First Nations agreed to compromise their section 35 Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights by entering into or negotiating Modern Treaties and/or Self-government Agreements under Canada’s unilateral negotiation terms.

These Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements not only contribute to emptying out section 35 of Canada’s constitution of any significant legal, political or economic meaning. Final settlement agreements are then used as precedents against other First Nations’ who are negotiating.

Moreover, Canada’s Land Claims and Self-Government policies are far below the international standards set out in the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada publicly endorsed the UNDRIP in November 2010, but obviously Canada’s interpretation of the UNDRIP is different than that of most First Nations, considering their unilateral legislation and policy approach.

Canada’s voted against UNDRIP on Sept. 13, 2007, stating that the UNDRIP was inconsistent with Canada’s domestic policies, especially the Articles dealing with Indigenous Peoples’ Self-Determination, Land Rights and Free, Prior Informed Consent.

Canada’s position on UNDRIP now is that they can interpret it as they please, although the principles in UNDRIP form part of international not domestic law.

The federal strategy is to maintain the Indian Act (with amendments) as the main federal law to control and manage First Nations. The only way out of the Indian Act for First Nations is to negotiate an agreement under Canada’s one-sided Land Claims and/or Self-Government policies. These Land Claims/Self-Government Agreements all require the termination of Indigenous rights for some land, cash and delegated jurisdiction under the existing federal and provincial orders of government.

Canada has deemed that it will not recognize the pre-existing sovereignty of First Nations or allow for a distinct First Nations order of government based upon section 35 of Canada’s constitution.

Through blackmail, bribery or force, Canada is using the poverty of First Nations to obtain concessions from First Nations who want out of the Indian Act by way of Land Claims/Self- Government Agreements. All of these Agreements conform to Canada’s interpretation of section 35 of Canada’s constitution, which is to legally, politically and economically convert First Nations into what are essentially ethnic municipalities.

The first groups in Canada who have agreed to compromise their section 35 Inherent and Aboriginal rights through Modern Treaties have created an organization called the Land Claims Agreement Coalition. The Coalition Members are:

  • Council of Yukon First Nations (representing 9 land claim organizations in the Yukon)
  • Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
  • Gwich’in Tribal Council
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Kwanlin Dun First Nation
  • Maa-nulth First Nations
  • Makivik Corporation
  • Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach
  • Nisga’a Nation
  • Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
  • Nunatsiavut Government
  • Sahtu Secretariat Inc.
  • Tlicho Government
  • Tsawwassen First Nation
  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

The Land Claims Agreement Coalition Members came together because the federal government wasn’t properly implementing any of their Modern Treaties. So the Coalition essentially became a lobby group to collectively pressure the federal government to respect their Modern Treaties. According to Members of the Coalition Modern Treaty implementation problems persist today.

The fact that Canada has already broken the Modern Treaties shouldn’t inspire confidence for those First Nations who are already lined up at Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government negotiation tables.

According to the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs there are 93 Modern Treaty and/or Self-Government negotiation tables across Canada [http://www.aadncaandc.gc.ca/eng/1346782327802/1346782485058].

Those First Nations who are negotiating at these 93 tables are being used by the federal government (and the provinces/Territories) to legitimize its Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies, which are based upon extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and termination of Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

The First Nations who have been refusing to negotiate and are resisting the federal Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government negotiating policies are routinely ignored by the federal government and kept under control and managed through the Indian Act (with amendments).

Attempts by non-negotiating First Nations to reform the federal Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies aren’t taken seriously by the federal government because there are so many First Nations who have already compromised their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights by agreeing to negotiate under the terms and funding conditions of these Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies.

For example, following the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision, which recognized that Aboriginal Title exists in Canada, the Assembly of First Nations tried to reform the Comprehensive Claims policy to be consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision.

However, the then Minister of Indian Affairs, Robert Nault on December 22, 2000, wrote a letter addressed to then Chief Arthur Manuel that essentially said why should the federal government change the Comprehensive Claims policy if First Nations are prepared to negotiate under it as it is?

A fair question: why do First Nations remain at negotiation tables that ultimately lead to the termination of their peoples Inherent and Aboriginal rights, especially since it appears that Modern Treaties are routinely broken after they are signed by the federal government?

Many of these negotiations are in British Columbia where despite the past twenty years of negotiations the B.C. Treaty process has produced two small Modern Treaties, Tsawwassan and Maa’Nulth. The Nisga’a Treaty was concluded in 2000, outside of the B.C. Treaty process.

All of these Modern Treaties have resulted in extinguishing Aboriginal Title, converting reserve lands into fee simple, removing tax exemptions, converting bands into municipalities, among other impacts on Inherent and Aboriginal rights.

The Harper Government’s Termination Plan

Aside from the unilateral legislation being imposed, or the funding cuts and caps to First Nation’s and their political organizations, the September 4, 2012, announcement of a “results based” approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations amounts to a “take it or leave it” declaration on the part of the Harper government to the negotiating First Nations.

Canada’s Comprehensive Claims Policy requires First Nations to borrow money from the federal government to negotiate their “land claims”. According to the federal government:

To date, the total of outstanding loans to Aboriginal groups from Canada to support their participation in negotiations is $711 million. This represents a significant financial liability for the Aboriginal community. In addition, the government of Canada provides $60 million in grants and contributions to Aboriginal groups every year for negotiations.

It is Canada’s policies that forced First Nations to borrow money to negotiate their “claims”, so the “financial liability” was a policy measure designed by the federal government to pressure First Nations into settling their “claims” faster. As the federal government puts it, the Comprehensive Claims negotiation process has instead “spawned a negotiation industry that has no incentive to reach agreement.”

This accumulated debt of $711 million along with the $60 million annual in grants and contributions have compromised those negotiating First Nations and their leaders to the point that they are unable or unwilling to seriously confront the Harper government’s termination plan.

Over 50% of the Comprehensive Claims are located in B.C. and the First Nations Summit represents the negotiating First Nations in B.C., although some negotiating First Nations have now joined the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), thus blurring the historic distinctions between to two political organizations. The latter organization previously vigorously opposed the B.C. Treaty process, but now the UBCIC remains largely silent about it.

These two main political organizations — the First Nations Summit and the UBCIC — have now joined together into the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council, further blending the rights and interests of their respective member communities together, not taking into account whether they are in or out of the B.C. Treaty process.

This may partially explain why the Chiefs who are not in the B.C. Treaty process also remain largely silent about the Harper government’s “results based’ approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations.

First Nations in British Columbia are failing to capitalize on that fact, that since the Delgamuukw Decision, the governments have to list unresolved land claims and litigation as a contingent liability. Such liabilities can affect Canada’s sovereign credit rating and provincial credit ratings. To counter this outstanding liability, Canada points to the British Columbia Treaty Process as the avenue how they are dealing with this liability, pointing to the fact that First Nations are borrowing substantive amounts to negotiate with the governments.

Another recent example of how disconnected B.C. First Nations and their organizations are on international versus domestic policy and law, is the First Nations’ outcry over the recent Canada-China Treaty.

The B.C. Chiefs and their organizations are publicly denouncing the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement as adversely impacting on Aboriginal Title and Rights, yet they say or do nothing about Harper’s accelerated termination plan. It seems the negotiating First Nations are more worried about the Canada-China Treaty blocking a future land claims deal under the B.C. Treaty process.

The Chiefs and their organizations at the B.C. Treaty process negotiation tables have had twenty years to negotiate the “recognition and affirmation” of Aboriginal Title and Rights, but this continues to be impossible under Canada’s policies aiming at the extinguishment of collective rights. As a result only two extinguishment Treaties have resulted from the process. Even Sophie Pierre, Chair of the B.C. Treaty Commission has said “If we can’t do it, it’s about time we faced the obvious – I guess we don’t have it, so shut her down”.

By most accounts the twenty year old B.C. Treaty process has been a failure. It has served the governments’ purpose of countering their contingent liabilities regarding Indigenous land rights. Yet it seems the negotiating First Nations are so compromised by their federal loans and dependent on the negotiations funding stream that they are unable or unwilling to withdraw from the tables en masse and make real on the demand that the Harper government reform its Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies to be consistent with the Articles of the UNDRIP.

The same can also be said for the negotiating First Nations in the Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions.

The Chiefs who are not in the B.C., Quebec or Atlantic negotiating processes have not responded much, if at all, to Harper’s “results based” approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government. The non-negotiating Chiefs seem to be more interested in managing programs and services issues than their Aboriginal Title and Rights. As one federal official put it, the Chiefs are involved in the elements of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy like economic and social development while ignoring the main White Paper objective—termination of First Nations legal status.

Conclusion

Given their silence over the Harper government’s “results based” “take it or leave it” negotiations approach, it seems many of the negotiating First Nations at the Comprehensive Claims and/or Self-Government tables are still contemplating concluding Agreements under Canada’s termination policies.

This can only lead to further division among First Nations across Canada as more First Nations compromise their constitutional and international rights by consenting to final settlement agreements under the terms and conditions of Canada’s termination policies, while undermining the political positions of the non-negotiating First Nations.

In the meantime, Harper’s government will continue pawning off Indigenous lands and resources in the midst of a financial crisis though free trade and foreign investment protection agreements, which will secure foreign corporate access to lands and resources and undermine Indigenous Rights.

Some First Nation leaders and members have criticised AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo for agreeing to a joint approach with the Harper government, including the Crown-First Nations Gathering (CFNG), but to be fair, the Chiefs across Canada did nothing to pressure Prime Minister Harper going into the CFNG. Instead, many Chiefs used the occasion as a photo op posing with the Prime Minister.

The negotiating First Nations who are in joint processes with Canada seem to be collectively heading to the cliff of the “Buffalo Jump” as they enter termination agreements with Canada emptying out section 35 in the process.

Much of the criticism of AFN National Chief Atleo has come from the Prairie Treaty Chiefs. Interestingly, if one looks at the federal chart of the 93 negotiation tables [http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1346782327802/1346782485058] not too many First Nations from historic Treaty areas are involved in the Self-Government tables, except for the Ontario region where the Union of Ontario Indians and Nisnawbe-Aski Nation are negotiating Self-Government agreements.

As a result of the September 4, 2012 announcements regarding changes to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations, cuts and caps to funding First Nations political organizations and unilateral legislation initiatives, it is obvious that Prime Minister Harper has tricked the AFN National Chief and First Nations by showing that the CFNGoutcomes” were largely meaningless.

One commitment that Prime Minister Harper made at the CFNG—which he will probably keep—Is making a progress report in January 2013. The Prime Minister will probably announce the progress being made with all of the negotiating tables across Canada, along with his legislative initiatives.

It appears First Nations are at the proverbial “end of the trail” as the Chiefs seem to be either co-opted or afraid to challenge the Harper government. Most grassroots peoples aren’t even fully informed about the dangerous situation facing them and their future generations.

The only way to counter the Harper government is to:

  • have all negotiating First Nations suspend their talks; and
  • organize coordinated National Days of Action to register First Nations opposition to the Harper government’s termination plan;
  • Demand Canada suspend all First Nations legislation in Parliament, cease introducing new Bills and
  • Change Canada’s Land Claims and Self-Government Policies to “recognize and affirm” the Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of First Nations, including respect and implementation of the Historic Treaties.

If there is no organized protest and resistance to the Harper government’s termination plan, First Nations should accept their place at the bottom of all social, cultural and economic indicators in Canada, just buy into Harper’s jobs and economic action plan—and be quiet about their rights. Source

From 2011 First Nations people again were ignored until the media got involved.

Canada: Attawapiskat Citizens In Desperate Need of Housing -Some are Living in Tents

Here are a couple of videos on Idle No More

Probably not seen on the News

Seems the Canadian press did not do so well in reporting these protests. There are more then the two below that took place across Canada. Check Youtube for more coverage. Or other world media.

Other wise you may not get all the facts. Even Al Jazeera covered the protests.  Indigenous groups protest across Canada

#idlenomore Winnipeg

Idle no more Saskatoon!

Well at least some are covering the hunger strike. Bless their hearts.

From Common Dreams Story and Videos at below link

Canada’s ‘Idle No More’ Movement Spreads Like Wildfire Chief Theresa Spence on 14th day of hunger strike – Craig Brown, staff writer

Seems stopping a few trains will get a bit of attention. Watch all the videos. You will discover Canada’s water will no longer be protected. All Canadians should be concerned. The bill puts about 99 percent of Canada’s water at risk. Stand behind the Canadian First Nations, they are helping protect Canada’s water, not just their own concerns. Get educated before you condemn them. This is a Canadian thing.

Mean while Harper remains silent. As par usual.

I am guessing Harper missed this report or like Chief Spence, is  just ignored it. Ignoring people will not make it go away.

UN food envoy blasts inequality, poverty in Canada Published on Wednesday May 16, 2012

Harper is ignoring the people he is representing. He is ignoring the fact that poverty is killing people.

One must ask themselves, is Harper is a fit leader for Canada?

Ignoring ones own people is a crime against said people.

So is Harper going to follow Germany’s lead. Throwing the poor out of the country.  Link below. Be sure to check it out.  Canada is following their lead with all the privatization.

I am discussed by all of this. For two so called fist world nations they are both appalling. No excuse for either or.

Seems to me the people of your countries should come first and fore-most.

No real leadership in Germany nor is there any in Canada. Both brag of how wealthy they are and yet both treat their citizens like yesterdays garbage.

Both leaders think they have the right to tell others what to do and yet either or cannot even keep the people of their own countries safe.

As first world countries both are failures.

Both should look into their own back yards and clean up the mess.

Getting old in Germany is now a nightmare.
Germany ‘exporting’ old and sick to foreign care homes

People are not trash to be thrown out.

Harper’s running record is sad to begin with.

Here are just a few things he has done to Canadians. Not all just a few.

The above is just one more in Harper’s Glass manajorie.

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Two

“Canada”Trouble in Toryland: their Dirty Tricks catalogue Part Three

Published in: on December 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm  Comments Off on Canada: Harper Ignores First Nations Chief Theresa Spence on hunger strike  
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UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya

August 12 2011

UNITED NATIONS: UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed alarm over the rising number of civilian casualties in the Libya conflict, including those inflicted in NATO airstrikes.

Without specifically naming any side, Ban called on “all parties” to use “extreme caution” in the battle, said a UN statement. Ban also stepped up calls for a political solution to the conflict, in which rebels have sought to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade-old regime.

“The secretary general is deeply concerned by reports of the unacceptably large number of civilian casualties as a result of the conflict in Libya,” said the statement.

“The secretary general calls on all parties to exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimize any further loss of civilian life,” it added.

When asked if NATO was included in the message, a UN spokeswoman stressed the “all parties” phrase.

Ban has been a staunch defender of the NATO air campaign against Gaddafi, which began in March.

But the air attacks have drawn harsh criticism from members of the UN Security Council, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, who say the action goes beyond UN resolutions on Libya.

UNESCO’s director general Irina Bokova this week branded as “unacceptable” a NATO attack on the Libyan state broadcasting headquarters in which three people died, saying that media should not be targeted.

NATO has insisted that its attacks are in keeping with UN resolutions passed this year which allow military action to protect civilians in Libya.

On Wednesday, Ban spoke with Gaddafi’s prime minister, Baghdadi Mahmudi, to press for the protection of civilians and demand new efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, the United Nations said.

Ban told Mahmudi “he was very troubled that there had been an absolute lack of progress in the efforts to find a politically negotiated solution” to the conflict, it said.

In the latest statement, Ban reaffirmed “his strongly held belief that there can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis.

“A ceasefire that is linked to a political process which would meet the aspirations of the Libyan people is the only viable means to achieving peace and security in Libya.”

He urged Gaddafi and the rebels “to immediately engage” with special UN envoy Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, and “respond concretely and positively to the ideas presented to them, in order to end the bloodshed in the country.”

The former Jordanian foreign minister has spent months shuttling between Tripoli and the rebel base at Benghazi trying to start ceasefire talks between the Gaddafi regime and the rebels’ governing council. Source

There have been at least 3,657–3,914 reported civilians killed by August 9, 2011.

Source Libyan casualties Time period
World Health Organization 2,000 killed February 15 – March 2, 2011
International Federation for Human Rights 3,000 killed February 15 – March 5, 2011
Libyan League for Human Rights 6,000 kille February 15 – March 5, 2011
National Transitional Council 10,000 killed February 15 – April 12, 2011
UN Human Rights Council 10,000–15,000 killed February 15 – June 9, 2011
Al Jazeera English 13,000 killed February 15 – June 18, 2011

The numbers vary. Source

I couldn’t find out how many have been injured. Seems no one is talking about it.

I imagine many thousands have been injured. The truth will come out eventually.

Recent

(Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Families Cry Out for Palestinian Prisoners

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

“Tortured” veterans to sue Donald Rumsfeld

Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 4:21 am  Comments Off on UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya  
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Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

June 4, 2010 updates added at bottom. Updates of upcoming protests and a petition to the United Nations have been added. Will be adding more as I find them.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region.

Reports on deaths of victims of the Israeli attack varies from 9 to 19 depending on which reports you read.

Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists:

First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials

By Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith

June 01, 2010

Survivors of the Israeli assault on a flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza returned to Greece and Turkey today, giving the first eyewitness accounts of the raid in which at least 10 people died.

Arriving at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked.

“It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood,” said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara’s chief engineer.

She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. “The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn’t stop these warnings turned into an attack,” she said.

“There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters.”

Cetin is among a handful of Turkish activists to be released; more than 300 remain in Israeli custody. She said she agreed to extradition from Israel after she was warned that conditions in jail would be too harsh for her child.

“I am one of the first passengers to be sent home, just because I have baby. When we arrived at the Israeli port of Ashdod we were met by the Israeli interior and foreign ministry officials and police; there were no soldiers. They asked me only a few questions. But they took everything – cameras, laptops, cellphones, personal belongings including our clothes,” she said.

Kutlu Tiryaki was a captain of another vessel in the flotilla. “We continuously told them we did not have weapons, we came here to bring humanitarian help and not to fight,” he said.

“The attack on the Mavi Marmara came in an instant: they attacked it with 12 or 13 attack boats and also with commandos from helicopters. We heard the gunshots over our portable radio handsets, which we used to communicate with the Mavi Marmara, because our ship communication system was disrupted. There were three or four helicopters also used in the attack. We were told by Mavi Marmara their crew and civilians were being shot at and windows and doors were being broken by Israelis.”

Six Greek activists who returned to Athens accused Israeli commandos of using electric shocks during the raid.

Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni, told reporters: “Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat. They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.”

Michalis Grigoropoulos, who was at the wheel of the Free Mediterranean, said: “We were in international waters. The Israelis acted like pirates, completely out of the normal way that they conduct nautical exercises, and seized our ship. They took us hostage, pointing guns at our heads; they descended from helicopters and fired tear gas and bullets. There was absolutely nothing we could do … Those who tried to resist forming a human ring on the bridge were given electric shocks.”

Grigoropoulos, who insisted the ship was full of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza “and nothing more”, said that, once detained, the human rights activists were not allowed to contact a lawyer or the Greek embassy in Tel Aviv. “They didn’t let us go to the toilet, eat or drink water and throughout they videoed us. They confiscated everything, mobile phones, laptops, cameras and personal effects. They only allowed us to keep our papers.”

Turkey said it was sending three ambulance planes to Israel to pick up 20 more Turkish activists injured in the operation.

Three Turkish Airlines planes were on standby, waiting to fly back other activists, the prime minister’s office said. “Source

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

By Craig Murray

June 02, 2010

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place. There is a strong understanding among the various national militaries that an attack by Israel on a NATO member flagged ship in international waters is an event to which NATO is obliged – legally obliged, as a matter of treaty – to react.

I must be plain – nobody wants or expects military action against Israel. But there is an uneasy recognition that in theory that ought to be on the table, and that NATO is obliged to do something robust to defend Turkey.

Mutual military support of each other is the entire raison d’etre of NATO. You must also remember that to the NATO military the freedom of the high seas guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a vital alliance interest which officers have been conditioned to uphold their whole career.

That is why Turkey was extremely shrewd in reacting immediately to the Israeli attack by calling an emergency NATO meeting. It is why, after the appalling US reaction to the attack with its refusal to name Israel, President Obama has now made a point of phoning President Erdogan to condole.

But the unhappiness in NATO HQ runs much deeper than that, I spoke separately to two friends there, from two different nations. One of them said NATO HQ was “a very unhappy place”. The other described the situation as “Tense – much more strained than at the invasion of Iraq”.

Why? There is a tendency of outsiders to regard the senior workings of governments and international organisations as monolithic. In fact there are plenty of highly intelligent – and competitive – people and diverse interests involved.

There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan “national” army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

So this is what is causing frost and stress inside NATO. The organisation is tied up in a massive, expensive and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan that many whisper is counter-productive in terms of the alliance aim of mutual defence. Every European military is facing financial problems as a public deficit financing crisis sweeps the continent. The only glue holding the Afghan mission together is loyalty to and support for the United States.

But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as “amazingly arrogant – they don’t seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks”.

Therefore what is troubling the hearts and souls of non-Americans in NATO HQ is this fundamental question. Is NATO genuinely a mutual defence organisation, or is it just an instrument to carry out US foreign policy? With its unthinking defence of Israel and military occupation of Afghanistan, is US foreign policy really defending Europe, or is it making the World less safe by causing Islamic militancy?

I leave the last word to one of the senior NATO officers – who incidentally is not British:
“Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.”

Craig Murray is a human rights activist, writer, former British Ambassador, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. Visit his blog http://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Source

Israel‘s Moral Superiority?
Netanyahu: World ‘Hypocritical’ for Condemning Gaza Flotilla Raid

In first address to nation, Netanyahu says had Turkish-flagged ship breached blockade, so could hundreds of vessels carrying weapons.

By Barak Ravid

June 02, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended the Israel Navy’s raid of a pro-Palestinian convoy en route to the Gaza Strip earlier this week, in his first address to the nation regarding the botched operation which left nine people dead and several more wounded.

Netanyahu accused international critics of “hypocrisy” and declared that Israel would continue to blockade the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, saying that to lift the embargo would turn it into a base for Iranian missiles that would threaten both Israel and Europe.

“Iran is continuing to smuggle weapons into Gaza,” said Netanyahu in a televised address. “It is our obligation to prevent these weapons from being brought in by land and sea. The previous government understood this and imposed a closure.”

“The goal of the flotilla was to breach [the closure] and not to bring goods, as we would have allowed them to do,” said Netanyahu. “If the blockade had been broken, dozens and hundreds more ships carrying weapons could have come.”

Netanyahu, who canceled his trip to Washington and a meeting with President Barack Obama due to the raid, declared that Israel had no opposition to seeing humanitarian aid brought into the Gaza Strip.

But Hamas’ growing armament was a cause for concern and a crucial reason to leave the blockade in place, said the prime minister. Without a blockade and intense inspection of every ship nearing the area, said Netanyahu, “Gaza will turn into an Iranian port.”

Nanyahu told his political-security cabinet during a special session on Tuesday that international condemnation would not stop Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The raid of the Turkish-flagged ship awakened a storm of criticism among Israel’s friends and foes alike, leading many members of the United Nations Security Council – including Britain – to call on Israel to lift its years-long siege of the Hamas-ruled coastal territory.

At a special meeting convened in the wake of the raid, Netanyahu told his ministers that the blockade was still necessary to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

“We know from the experience of Operation Cast Lead that the weapons entering Gaza are being turned against our civilians,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip that ended in January 2009.

“Gaza is a terror state funded by the Iranians, and therefore we must try to prevent any weapons from being brought into Gaza by air, sea and land,” he said.

Netanyahu acknowledged that militants were still capable of smuggling weapons in via tunnels from Egypt, but emphasized that the large amounts of weapons that could be brought by sea made the threat a completely different affair.

“On the Francop ship alone we confiscated some 200 tons of weapons being smuggled to Hezbollah,” the prime minister said, in reference to the Antiguan-flagged ship Israel intercepted off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009.

“Opening a naval route to Gaza will present an enormous danger to the security of our citizens,” said Netanyahu. “Therefore, we will stand firm on our policy of a naval blockade and of inspecting incoming ships.”

“It’s true that there is international pressure and criticism of this policy, but [the world] must understand that it is crucial to preserving Israel’s security and the right of the State of Israel to defend itself.”

Source
The Flotilla was not a threat to anyone in Israel.
What a BS. If anyone believes the Flotilla was a threat quick go find a Psychiatrist. You need one obviously.
Self defense against defenseless people delivering Humanitarian Aid??? Who is Netanyahu trying to kid?
Does he think everyone on the planet has “Complete Idiot” written across their foreheads. He is really pushing the Gullibility factor.

I for one am completely and utterly insulted, if thinks I am that stupid.

Israel is the perpetrator of the crimes in this case.

Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Footage from the flotilla’s lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded and claimed troops opened fire after “demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs”.

Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Our correspondent said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.

Before losing communication with our correspondent, a voice in Hebrew was clearly heard saying: “Everyone shut up”.

Israeli intervention

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.

Organisers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

“All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have been put on a heightened state of alert across the country to prevent any civil disturbances.

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading member of the Islamic Movement who was on board the ship, was reported to have been seriously injured. He was being treated in Israel’s Tal Hasharon hospital.

In Um Al Faham, the stronghold of the Islamic movement in Israel and the birth place of Salah, preparations for mass demonstrations were under way.

Protests

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially declared a three-day state of mourning over Monday’s deaths.

Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned the Israeli ambassador’s in their respective countries to protest against the deadly assault.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted “Damn Israel” as police blocked them.

“(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has also dubbed the Israeli action as “barbaric”.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, were with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

The convoy came from the UK, Ireland, Algeria, Kuwait, Greece and Turkey, and was comprised of about 700 people from 50 nationalities.

But Israel had said it would not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.

Israel said the boats were embarking on “an act of provocation” against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

It asserted that the flotilla would be breaking international law by landing in Gaza, a claim the organisers rejected. Source

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 2. LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA

Article 3

Breadth of the territorial sea

Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km = over 35 nautical miles off the Gaza coast.

For all the Israeli’s knew the Flotilla could have been headed to Egypt to dock and have the goods transported to Gaza via the Egyptian boarder as well.

Either way what Israel did was a violation of International Law of the Sea. The Flotilla was under no obligation to stop for the Israelis as they were over the 12 Nautical miles out to sea at the time Israel attacked them..

Israel has no legal right to arrest anyone or hold any ships hostage. Israel committed an act of deliberate, premeditated, murder and piracy. Other crimes also include assault and battery, kidnapping and imprisonment of innocent civilians, and theft.

The people in the Flotilla  had committed absolutely no crime what so ever.

If I thought about it for a while I could come up with a few more charges that should be laid against the Israelis.

It could be a long list of violations. Murder, kidnapping, assault and battery,theft on land or sea are crimes and those responsible should be charged and imprisoned for their crimes, as any of us would be, if we committed these crimes.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed this and he did, he is as guilty of these crimes as those who committed them. He is responsible and should be tried for these crimes as well, as any other Government Representative or other Official who ordered or allowed  these crimes to be committed.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 86

Application of the provisions of this Part

The provisions of this Part apply to all parts of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State. This article does not entail any abridgement of the freedoms enjoyed by all States in the exclusive economic zone in accordance with article 58.

Article 87

Freedom of the high seas

1. The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States:

(a) freedom of navigation;

(b) freedom of overflight;

(c) freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines, subject to Part VI;

(d) freedom to construct artificial islands and other installations permitted under international law, subject to Part VI;

(e) freedom of fishing, subject to the conditions laid down in section 2;

(f) freedom of scientific research, subject to Parts VI and XIII.

2. These freedoms shall be exercised by all States with due regard for the interests of other States in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas, and also with due regard for the rights under this Convention with respect to activities in the Area.

Article 88

Reservation of the high seas for peaceful purposes

The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes.

Article 89

Invalidity of claims of sovereignty over the high seas

No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90

Right of navigation

Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Article 101

Definition of piracy

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Article 102

Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft

whose crew has mutinied

The acts of piracy, as defined in article 101, committed by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a private ship or aircraft.

Article 103

Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft

A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of committing one of the acts referred to in article 101. The same applies if the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm

Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip for an unlimited amount of time. Seems Egypt is not pleased with Israel over this attack.

Turkey is calling for Israel to be severely punished for it’s acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Protests have broken out in many countries over the incident.

Jordanians protest Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla

Jordanians took to the streets in Amman on Monday, protesting the Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza Strip.

During a march from the Jordanian professional associations’ headquarters to the Prime Ministry, the demonstrators chanted slogans against Israel, calling for closing the Israeli embassy in Amman.

The demonstrators urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman and annul the Wadi Arabia peace treaty Jordan and Israel signed in 1994. Source

Thousands in Istanbul protest against Israeli attack on flotilla


East Bay Citizens Condemn Israel Attack on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Minneapolis Demonstration Against Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre she lost her left eye. Source

Photos of Protests from: Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus, Britain, West Bank,  France, Indonesia, US, Lebanon

America Complicit In Israel’s Crimes

As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House.

Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story. Source

Related

Gaza Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity

Remember  to add this when you protests or write to a Government officials.

Israel is violating international law.  UN Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009,  calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and to allow the unimpeded flow of aid into the region. The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65 km (or just over 35 Nautical miles) off the Gaza coast. Israel had no legal right to stop them.

Keep up the pressure – End the siege of Gaza
Call on Canadian politicians to condemn the murder of the Gaza flotilla activists.
Global Day of Action – Saturday, June 5

International pressure is growing to end the siege of Gaza. The murder of the flotilla activists has thrust the issue into the mainstream, forcing governments around the world to speak out against the blockade.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper has not condemned the attacks and supported the U.S. initiative to water down the UN security council resolution on an investigation into the crimes. Both the U.S. and Canada have said that, rather than have the UN hold an independent investigation, Israel should investigate itself. This self-examination will be a smokescreen designed to hide the truth.

We in Canada have to speak out and demand that Harper stop being silent on war crimes, whether in Afghanistan or Palestine.

What can you do?

  • Join the events this week. Events are posed on the CPA website.

Palestinian groups are urging people to organize a global day of protest this Saturday, June 5. Many CPA members groups are already organizing events on Saturday and we are calling on peace activists to either join events already organized or, where there is no event, to try and organize one in your city. If you are organizing an event send the details to cpa@web.ca so we can post the information. Please feel free to contact the CPA for materials and information about the day of action.
To read the global call for action check the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) website.

There are also events each day in Canada condemning the attacks. Please keep checking the CPA website for the most up-to-date events listings for Canada. For global event listings check out the Gaza Freedom March website.

  • Send a letter to your MP

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East have put out a call for you to write letters to Canadian MP’s urging them to condemn the attacks. Click here to go to the website and send your letter.

Event Listings
Halifax
Israeli Attack on Humanitarian Aid Shipment
No to Israeli War Crimes! Support Gaza and the Palestinian People!
Join the Daily Mass Informational Pickets and Vigil

4 – 5 p.m. Wednesday (June 2), Thursday (June 3), Friday (June 4)

Maritime Mall (Aliant Bldg., where the passport office is)
Barrington Street and foot of Spring Garden Road

We call on everyone to join the people of the world in condemning the murderous attack on the Freedom Flotilla

Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Palestine
e-mail: shunpike@shunpiking.com
Hamilton
Bring this Message to Harper:
Lift the Siege of Gaza NOW!
Stop the killing of innocents!
Demand the release of Canadian prisoners!

Friday, June 4th
Federal Government Building in Hamilton – 55 Bay St. North
Across the Street from Copps Colosseum – 5:00 p.m.

Ample parking is available

NO TO PIRACY!!!
NO TO WAR CRIMES!!
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Montreal
Samedi 5 Juin 13h30
coin Peel et St-Catherine
Place Dorchester
métro Peel

Apportez vos drapeaux, vos pancartes originales, vos instruments de musique!

http://www.tadamon.ca/post/6961

Appel pour une action de solidarité à Montréal avec les victimes du massacre de la flottille humanitaire “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” et le peuple palestinien. Manifestons au centre-ville de Montréal pour appeler à la fin du siège israélien sur Gaza et la fin de la complicité du Canada dans l’apartheid israélien. Cette manifestation sera coordonnée avec plusieurs d’autres à travers le monde ce samedi, en réponse à l’appel de la société civile palestinien pour des manifestations globales.

Ottawa:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Global Day of Action in Ottawa – Rally and March
3:00pm.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Human Rights Monument
Organized by the Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network
http://notowarcrimes.blogspot.com | ottawa.palestine@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122130111158157

Penticton, BC
Rally at Stockwell Day’s Office

The Penticton Peace Groups believes that the Israeli government has committed new war crimes in an act of piracy and murder against the flotilla of small ships delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.

We are calling on the people of the south Okanagan to take this message to MP Stockwell Day’s office, this Saturday, June 5, 2010 at noon, meeting at Nanaimo Square.
For more information contact: Brigid Kemp at: bridiekemp@gmail.com

Toronto:
Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Global Day of Action: Saturday, June 5

Rally and March
Date: Saturday, June 5
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West

June 5 also marks the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Our action aims to draw the world’s attention to Israel’s continuing illegal occupation, its refusal to abide by international law, and its massacre of innocent humanitarian workers.

Organized by:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestine House Community Centre, Canadian Arab Federation, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Peace Alliance

Find us on Facebook: http://bit.ly/dBPiGY
To endorse, please email endapartheid@riseup.net.

Waterloo
Protest: Israel`s Flotilla Raid, Tuesday June 8

We would like to invite you to join us at 1pm on Tuesday, June 8th in the SLC courtyard for a march around campus to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis involving Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla. We feel is is extremely important to bring as much awareness of this issue at this time and express our deepest disapproval of the actions committed by the Israeli Defense Forces. We hope to see you there! Should you have any questions, comments,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information please see: Students for Palestinian Rights

Winnipeg
Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Independent Jewish Voices and CanPalNet, will be holding a demonstration to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza, to express our sorrow at the murder of peaceful activists, and to join hands with people around the world in expressing our outrage at Israel’s actions.

Please join us.

Friday, June 4, 2010
4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Broadway Avenue and Osborne Street in Winnipeg. For more information please see: Peace Alliance Winnipeg

From the Jewish Voice for Peace

When I got the news about Israel’s armed attack on the Gaza Flotilla at 2:30 am on the morning of May 31, I felt sick. I immediately called a dear friend in Jerusalem, one of the most committed activists I know.  Across the ocean, I could hear in her voice that she was in tears. “The worst part about it, ” she said, “is that nothing will change.”

“No,” I replied. “I can’t believe that can be true.  Things have to change.””Well,” she said, “then it is up to you, the internationals.”

She’s right. It is up to us, the internationals both here in the United States and abroad.

That is why I want you to send a message to US President Obama if you live outside of the United States, and to Obama and the US Congress if you are a U.S. resident, demanding the immediate release of the detained human rights activists, an end to the siege on Gaza, an impartial investigation of the attack on the flotilla, and a suspension of US aid until Israel abides by international law.We still don’t know a lot about what happened to the flotilla of boats carrying some 700 human rights activists from around the world and over 10 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza– Israel has kept the activists under a near total media blackout while sharing only its implausible narrative of events. What we do know is that Israeli commandos boarded a ship in international waters and killed at least ten activists, injuring dozens of others.

Israel insists that highly trained commandos were forced to lethally fire on activists, creating a new definition of self-defense. In the first alternative accounts to appear, an Israeli Knesset member and an Al Jazeera cameraman who were on board the ship at the time each described something different, a scene of chaos with civilians waving white flags and commandos using stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas. Regardless of what actually happened when armed soldiers landed, Israel’s wanton killing of civilians is unacceptable.

We still don’t know th
e names of those who were killed or injured, or where they are from. And we don’t know the whereabouts or well-being of more than 400 activists still being held by Israel.

These deaths, and the attacks on the boats, have hit all of us around the world particularly hard. There were people from 40 different countries on board the ships, including Israelis and Palestinians. Israel sent armed commandos onto a civilian ship in international waters, a brazenly illegal act to enforce Israel’s nearly 3-year illegal siege of Gaza – a siege that has left 1.5 million men, women and children living like prisoners on substandard diets, deprived of the simplest things like potato chips, musical instruments, and toys. The flotilla wasn’t just about this one delivery of aid. It was about the right of Palestinians to have sea, land and air routes to the rest of the world and for the need to end the blockade.

I know that there comes a point in one’s life when you simply have to take a stand. You cannot sit by silently and watch ongoing and wholly unjustified destruction of life, tacitly supported by governments around the world, and simply do nothing.

The flotilla was filled with people just like you and me who finally decided it was time to risk life and limb to take a stand, to break through those prison walls, and we thank them for it.

Now, as citizens of the world, we owe it to the people of Palestine, and the people of Israel who want to live in peace, and the brave people on that flotilla, to build the movement to make Israel accountable to international law and standards of simple human decency – especially because our governments have failed us.

he response of the U.S. government thus far has been wholly inadequate, with a mild statement “regretting the loss of life,” without assigning any blame for the fiasco, let alone applying any sanctions for Israel’s acts.  Please, join me in telling President Obama and Congress enough is enough

. US taxpayer dollars fund Israel’s occupation, and together with wall to wall uncritical diplomatic support have sent the message that any Israeli action, no matter how foolhardy, will be backed by the full might of the United States.

It’s time for that to stop.

We must also continue to build the already massive global people’s movement for justice, which has undeniably found its greatest impact in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is about all of the ways, big and small, people can bypass their often ineffective governments to use economic pressure to make the Israeli government accountable to international law. After launching our energetic support for campus efforts to divest from the occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace will let you know soon about our own divestment campaign to help bring pressure on Israel to reach a just solution.It is time for the United States, as Israel’s closest ally and most powerful nation in the world, to stop unconditional support for the Israeli government.Doing so will protect Israelis and Palestinians, American citizens, and internationals alike.

Click here to demand that President Obama and Congress call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza,

An international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission, and the suspension of military aid to Israel until he can assure the American public that our aid is not used to commit similar abuses.
Rebecca Vilkomerson,
Executive Director,
Jewish Voice for Peace

PS, We’ve prepared posters in PDF format that you can use at protests, in your car window or on bulletin boards. Download them here.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Also a Petition to the UN

Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.

Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy — Israel’s blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don’t know where they’ll find their next meal.

The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words — as they have so many times before.

Let’s make the world’s outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza — click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names — and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren’t enough — that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.

As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year’s budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps — let’s make the world’s voice unignorable: it’s time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it’s time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:

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Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

(Reuters) – Iran complained to the United Nations on Tuesday over what it called a U.S. threat to attack it with atomic weapons, accusing Washington of nuclear blackmail in violation of the U.N. charter.

President Barack Obama made clear last week that Iran and North Korea, both involved in nuclear disputes with the West, were excluded from new limits on the use of U.S. atomic weapons.

A letter from Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council and General Assembly presidents called on the United Nations to “strongly oppose the threat of use of nuclear weapons and to reject it.”

Statements by Obama and other U.S. officials were “tantamount to nuclear blackmail against a non-nuclear-weapon state” and breached U.S. obligations under the U.N. charter to refrain from the threat or use of force, Khazaee said.

“Such remarks by the U.S. officials display once again the reliance of the U.S. government on (a) militarized approach to various issues, to which the threats of use of nuclear weapons are not a solution at all,” he added.

They also posed “a real threat to international peace and security and undermine the credibility” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the envoy said.

Obama is urging other global powers to agree to a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies.

He pressed the case for sanctions at a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington on Tuesday, at which he won pledges from world leaders to take joint action to prevent terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons.

But Khazaee said that Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction — a reference to Iraq’s use of poison gas against it in a 1980-88 war — was firmly committed to a world free from such weapons.

The United States, the only country to have used nuclear weapons — against Japan in World War Two — “continues to illegitimately designate a non-nuclear weapon state as target of its nuclear weapons and contemplates military plans accordingly,” he said.

U.N. members “should not condone or tolerate such nuclear blackmail in (the) 21st century,” the Iranian envoy said.

(Editing by Vicki Allen) Source

Well since the brought up the subject of the Summit. Here is some information.

Factbox: China’s civilian and military nuclear activities

April  2010

(Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao is among the prominent leaders attending a two-day nuclear security summit opening on Monday in Washington D.C.

The meeting hosted by President Barack Obama will focus on making atomic facilities and materials safer from theft and terrorist attack, not broader questions about arms controls and cuts.

Here are some facts about China’s civilian and military nuclear activities:

GROWING NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR

China has 11 working nuclear reactors producing 9.1 gigawatts of power, but wants to raise capacity to 60 GW by 2020, over 5 percent of the total installed power generating capacity.

To reach that goal, China has 17 reactors under construction, and 124 more on the drawing boards, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) industry group.

The expansion will cause Chinese demand for uranium to rise ten fold by 2030, making it the world’s second biggest consumer after the United States, according the WNA forecasts.

MODEST BUT MODERNISING NUCLEAR ARSENAL

China staged its first nuclear test explosion in October 1964. It joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992, and is one of the five powers under that treaty with the right to have nuclear weapons.

Like all the nuclear weapons states, China is secretive about its arsenal. Foreign intelligence and expert estimates of its total stockpile of nuclear warheads vary from about 200 to 240 warheads.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has estimated that by 2009 China had 186 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, compared to 2,202 for the United States and 2,787 for Russia.

The other Reuters story

Factbox: Who are the world’s nuclear powers? April 13 2010

says.

CHINA: China is estimated to have about 250 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and sufficient stocks of fissile material to produce a much larger arsenal. It acceded to the NPT in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state. China has pledged not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states.

According to the START counting rules, as of January 2009 the United States had an estimated 5,200 nuclear warheads and 2,700 operationally deployed warheads (2,200 strategic and 500 nonstrategic).

The 2002 Treaty of Moscow (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) between the United States and Russia, states that each country must reduce their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012.

RUSSIA: Russia is estimated to have around 14,000 nuclear weapons, although the total is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical weapons. Under provisions of START I, the Russian nuclear arsenal has been reduced to around 3,909 strategic nuclear warheads as of January 2009. Source

Both stories are from Reuters but the numbers changed. So which is the truth your guess is as good as mine. It’s no wonder readers get confused. One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out the press isn’t always truthful.

There are 9 Nuclear powers in the world. US, Russia, China, Britain, Israel, France, India, Pakistan, and recently North Korea.

The United States has also provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey to deploy and store, that I know of, there may be more.

Japan just discovered recently.

Japan Report: Private Agreements Allowed US to Bring Nukes


“There are no indications that China is designing, testing, or producing new nuclear weapons designs,” according to Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation, a thinktank in Washington D.C., in an overview of Chinese nuclear arms policy.

But China is modernizing the means to deliver its nuclear warheads. It is gradually replacing its older, liquid-fueled ballistic nuclear-capable missiles with solid-fuel missiles, which will make launching them faster and less cumbersome.

China is also building new “Jin-class” ballistic missile submarines, capable of launching nuclear warheads while at sea.

These will replace China’s one “Xia-class” ballistic missile submarine, which experts say is in mothballs.

(Sources: Reuters; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Jeffrey Lewis, “Chinese Nuclear Posture and Force Modernization”; Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, “Chinese nuclear forces, 2008,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist)

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by David Fox) Source

Obama hails progress at nuclear safety summit

April 13 2010

The steps taken at the nuclear safety summit in Washington D.C. will make the world a safer place, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

“Today’s progress was possible because these leaders came not simply to talk but to take action, not simply to make pledges of future action but to commit to meaningful steps that they are prepared to implement right now,” Obama said as he wrapped up the two-day conference.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

“Today we are declaring that nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security,” Obama said.

He said all nations also endorsed the goal to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years time.

Obama said some important achievements were reached during the summit. Canada said it would return its stockpile of enriched uranium to the United States, while Ukraine announced it will give up its entire stockpile of weapons-grade uranium by 2012 — most of it this year.

He said Chile and Mexico also announced they would give up their entire stockpile of enriched uranium, and that nations such as Argentina and Pakistan had announced steps to strengthen port security and prevent nuclear smuggling.

Co-operation questioned

Obama was asked by a reporter how countries that have been at odds over different issues will co-operate since everything to be done is on a voluntary basis without any binding commitment.

“The point is that we’ve got world leaders who have just announced that, in fact, this is a commitment that they’re making. I believe they take their commitments very seriously,” Obama said. “If what you’re asking is, do we have a international one-world law-enforcement mechanism, we don’t. We never have.”

Shortly after the opening of the conference, Canada, the United States and Mexico announced a plan to convert Mexico’s research reactor to low-enriched uranium from highly enriched uranium. About 11 kilograms of highly enriched uranium will be shipped from the Mexican reactor to the U.S.

Canada will contribute about $5 million to the conversion project.

Obama also announced that the U.S. is joining with Canada in calling on nations to commit $10 billion to extend a global partnership that would strengthen nuclear security around the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was among 47 world leaders gathered at the meeting said that Canada has not made that request, but there have been discussions among G8 partners about the initiative.

“Canada is not the originator of the request but obviously we’re going to be looking at this request very seriously and I know all our G8 partners will do the same,” Harper said.

China may join Iran sanctions

The G8 signed on to the program at its 2002 summit in Kananaskis, Alta. Since then, the group has spent more than $600 million helping other countries decommission and secure their nuclear material.

Obama also said he is confident China will join other nations in pressing for tough new sanctions on Iran for continuing to seek nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

“Words have to mean something,” Obama said. “There have to be some consequences.”

Hu and Obama met for 90 minutes on Monday after which U.S. officials said the two agreed to tell their aides to work on a tough new sanctions program. However, a Chinese spokesman did not mention sanctions in his description of the meeting. Source

So who is going to disarm the US, and why should they be in control of all Uranium? Seems they are the ones making more bombs then any one.

They above all cannot be trusted with it. They are threatening a Nuclear strike and also have in the past plus all the DU they have left in every country they have invaded in recent years. They leave a trail of cancer and other illness behind everywhere they go. To trust them is like letting the fox guard the hen house. Just a really stupid thing to do.

I for one do not trust the US as far as I could throw them. Even their own citizens do not trust them.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

He is the one doing the threatening. DUHHHHHHHHHH

This summit was nothing more then a sham, to get more on side to go after Iran. It is also a way to suck money and Uranium out of other countries.

So what is this blackmail, give me all your Uranium or I will start Nuking countries?

The fall out from any Nuclear attack not only affects the country bombed, but all the neighboring countries.  It also affects the entire world. The wind blows it goes. So when the US threatens a Nuclear attack on any country in the world it is everyone’s business.

It would also affect those living in Israel. But I guess that is OK with the Israelis they have a death wish right?  Their government is all for Nuking Iran. All intelligent citizens should however be concerned. Will they do anything?  Probably not. They will sit idly by and get radiated instead.

It would also affect China who of course does not have a death wish and would be very displeased at the thought.

The rest of the Middle East will not be impressed either. It would also affect them as well.

Obama should stop threatening,  it is illegal under International Law, no exceptions.  The US has more weapons of mass destruction then any other country in the world. They really should be monitored. Sanctioned even.

Seems the US thinks it is OK to be above the Law, the rest of us must live by.

Will the UN do anything probably not, it is run by the US watch and see?

Point of Interest

Iran needs the 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces radio medicine for cancer patients.

The country has been promised nuclear fuel for over 30 years now. Despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)’s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.

Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tons of uranium hexafluoride to Iran — another obligation France has failed to meet. Source

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Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace

Turkish PM lashes out at Israel for threatening peace in the region
By Selcan Hacaoglu
January 12 2010

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s prime minister accused Israel on Monday of threatening peace in the region and using disproportionate force against Palestinians.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel to stop violating Lebanon’s airspace and territorial waters. He also called on the U.N. Security Council to put the same pressure on Israel regarding nuclear arms as it does on Iran.

“We can never remain silent in the face of Israel’s attitude. … It has disproportionate power and it is using that at will while refusing to abide by U.N. resolutions. We can never accept this picture,” Erdogan said. “These steps threaten global peace.”

He spoke a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hariri described Israel as an enemy that threatens Lebanon’s security.

“Today, Israel continues its violation of our airspace and waters,” Hariri said.

Erdogan promised to support Lebanon’s case against Israel at the United Nations. Turkey is a temporary member of the Security Council.

Discussing the possibility of war to make Iran drop its nuclear program, Erdogan said, “The region cannot accept a new Iraq syndrome.” Turkey has long defended Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful use.

“Those who are warning Iran over nuclear weapons are not making the same warnings to Israel,” Erdogan said. “Five permanent members of the Security Council must be just. Israel has not denied the existence of its nuclear arsenal; on the contrary it has admitted it.”

Erdogan also criticized Israel for an airstrike in Gaza on Sunday.

“What is your excuse this time?” he asked.

On Sunday, three members of the militant group Islamic Jihad were killed in an Israeli strike.

Cross-border exchanges have escalated in recent days. The Israeli military said there have been 15 rocket attacks from Gaza this month, compared to eight in December. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

Erdogan accused Israel of using of white phosphorus shells in its offensive in Gaza last year. “No one can claim that phosphorus shells are not weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

Turkey’s ties with Israel have been strained by Erdogan’s frequent criticism of the Jewish state’s use of force against Palestinians, as well as during the 2006 war against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

On Monday, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, summoned the Turkish ambassador for clarification over a new Turkish TV show where actors pretending to be Israeli intelligence agents kidnap children and shoot old men. A diplomatic spat occurred a few months ago between Israel and Turkey after a different Turkish show depicted Israeli troops killing Palestinian children.

Associated Press Writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Source

Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israel

January 12 2010

ANKARA — The prime ministers of Turkey and Lebanon on Monday lashed out at Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace and air strikes in Gaza, warning they were undermining prospects for peace in the region.

“Attacks on Lebanon is terrorism itself… We have to stand shoulder by shoulder against the enemy’s plans… We have to stop Israel,” visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told a press conference.

Lebanese anti-aircraft guns opened fire on four Israeli warplanes which were violating its airspace at low altitude on Monday, the military said.

Israel argues that the overflights are necessary to monitor what it says is massive arms smuggling by Hezbollah.

Hariri’s counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country’s once-flourishing ties with Israel took a sharp downturn last year, said that Turkey “will never stay silent” on Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

He slammed the Israeli overflights as “unacceptable action that threatens global peace.”

Erdogan also questioned a deadly Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip Sunday, which, the Israeli army said, targeted militants who were preparing attacks.

“Is the Israeli government in favour of peace or not?… Gaza was bombed again yesterday. Why?… There were no rocket attacks,” Erdogan said.

“They (the Israelis) have disproportional capabilities and power and they use them… They do not abide by UN resolutions… They say they will do what they like. We can in no way approve of such an attitude,” he said.

Israel’s ties with Turkey, a key regional ally, were poisoned by its massive offensive on Gaza last year, which prompted an unprecedented barrage of criticism from Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government.

In October, Turkey excluded Israel from joint military drills and said ties would continue to suffer unless Israel ends “the humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.

Erdogan also renewed criticism of Western powers on Monday for pressuring Iran on its nuclear activities while tolerating Israel, considered the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear power.

“We are against the development of nuclear weapons by any country in the region,” he said.

“Israel has nuclear weapons… Those who are cautioning Iran must also caution Israel,” he said, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“If we fail to display a fair attitude in this region, the problems will hit not only the region, but will spread elsewhere as well. The unrest of the Middle East is the unrest of the world,” he said.

Hariri hailed Turkey’s improving ties with Arab countries and increased activism in peace efforts in the Middle East.

“We hope and expect Turkey to continue playing a positive role in trying to bring peace,” he said.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of an accord on visa-free travel between their countries and other deals envisaging cooperation in the military, agriculture and transport realms.

Erdogan said Turkey would supply natural gas and electricity to help meet Lebanon’s energy needs and that the two countries planned a ferry service between their Mediterranean coasts.

Hariri was to wrap up his three-day visit Tuesday after attending a meeting of business people from the two countries in Istanbul.

Source

Israeli security forces arrested a foreign activist in a raid in the West Bank town of Ramallah overnight, her lawyer said on Monday.

“Her visa had expired, but that’s not a reason for them to arrest her,” he said, adding that the Israeli interior ministry has no authority to operate in the Palestinian territories.

“The ministry of the interior was acting outside of the sovereign territory of Israel… They wouldn’t invade Poland to arrest someone.” Source

They have gone into other countries and assassinated people.

Israel has gone into other countries and kidnapped people.

Israel also violates Egypt’s air space as well.

Israel the walking violation.

Sanctions are needed against Israel.  There needs to be an Arms embargo as well.

There will be no peace if Israel continues on this path of violating International Laws, Human rights and UN Resolutions.  They violate those on a daily basis.

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Of course
Migrant workers are also abused and exploited

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Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 3:53 am  Comments Off on Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace  
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UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods

November 10 2009
Press Release: United Nations

The United Nations and its non-governmental organization (NGO) partners today called yet again on Israel to immediately open crossings into the Gaza Strip to give Palestinians access to desperately needed materials, especially in view of the coming winter and rainy season.

“The winter will be particularly hard on the children of Gaza, whose capacity to withstand the rigours of a cold, wet winter has already been severely undermined by a marked deterioration of basic services and descent into poverty,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, said in a news release, the latest of countless UN appeals to reopen the crossings since Israel’s three-week war against Hamas last winter.

“With winter rains and cold weather now imminent, the people of Gaza are even more desperately in need of construction materials such as cement, roofing tiles and glass to build and repair homes destroyed and damaged in the Israeli military offensive of 2008-2009, as well as of regular supplies of fuel, electricity and clean water.”

More than two years of blockade since Hamas seized control of Gaza coupled with widespread destruction resulting from the war have caused severe damage to the homes, roads and utilities, including tens of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, deterioration and further damage to already fragile and overloaded water, sanitation and electricity distribution networks, and a marked fall-off in the quality of essential services, the release said.

“Intensive discussions which the United Nations has conducted with the Government of Israel for the resumption of suspended building projects, which would provide much-needed housing and social services for the people of Gaza, have not yet yielded any positive outcome,” it added.

Nearly 1,400 Gazans were killed and more than 5,000 injured during the three-week offensive, which Israel says it launched to stop thousands of rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian militants into southern Israel.

The fighting left communities, families and children fearful and traumatized, many of them living in ruins, virtually destitute, and relying increasingly on the UN and its humanitarian partners for daily sustenance. Over 3,530 homes were destroyed, more than 2,850 severely damaged and 52,900 suffering minor damage. Without repair, winter winds and rain will render damaged homes uninhabitable, the release warned.

Mr. Gaylard and the NGOs called on the Israeli Government to allow in urgently-needed construction and repair materials, adequate supplies of industrial fuel for electricity generation, and essential items for the proper functioning of water and sanitation systems.

“The people of Gaza share with everyone else the right to dignified lives, free of indiscriminate and prolonged suffering. They should not be subjected to this continuation of collective punishment brought on by the blockade, Mr. Gaylard said.

Source

Well We won’t hold our breath on Israel letting anything through.

They have not let much of anything through since their attack on Gaza and they never will. They haven’t for years.

So the Palistinians will starve, freeze and still lack proper medical care.

Nothing will change.

Netanyahu keeps making speeches blathering on about Peace.
He is a Hypocrite.He know nothing about peace. It’s a good line to fed the public but it is all lies.  He has not taken one step forward towards peace. He just spins a good line for his adoring, ignorant,  public to fed on.  He will never keep his word on anything. He has already proven that.
He never stopped the Settlements,  which means no peace just more confiscated Palestinian land and more strife for Palestinians.
The road to peace is not starving and continually punishing innocent people.
He has done nothing to even begin peace negotiations, absolutely  nothing just talk, talk, talk, but no real action.  So he can blather on all he wants but, there has been virtually no actions towards peace what so ever..
Netanyahu just wants more Palestinians to die.

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Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 5:27 am  Comments Off on UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods  
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Israeli War Criminals, think they are above the law

War Criminals Are Becoming The Arbiters Of Law

By Paul Craig Roberts

October 12, 2009

The double standard under which the Israeli government operates is too much for everyone except the brainwashed Americans. Even the very Israeli Jerusalem Post can see the double standard displayed by “all of Israel now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report”:

“This is the Israeli notion of a fair deal: We’re entitled to do whatever the hell we want to the Palestinians because, by definition, whatever we do to them is self-defense. They, however, are not entitled to lift a finger against us because, by definition, whatever they do to us is terrorism.

“That’s the way it’s always been, that’s the way it was in Operation Cast Lead.

“And there are no limits on our right to self-defense. There is no such thing as ‘disproportionate.’

“We can deliberately destroy thousands of Gazan homes, the Gazan parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, courthouses, the only Gazan flour plant, the main poultry farm, a sewage treatment plant, water wells and God knows what else.

“Deliberately.

“Why? Because we’re better than them. Because we’re a democracy and they’re a bunch of Islamo-fascists. Because ours is a culture of life and theirs is a culture of death. Because they’re out to destroy us and all we are saying is give peace a chance.

“The Goldstones of the world call this hypocrisy, a double standard. How dare they! Around here, we call it moral clarity.”

A person would never read such as this in the New York Times or Washington Post or hear it from any US news source. Unlike Israeli newspapers, the US media is a complete mouthpiece for the Israel Lobby. Never a critical word is heard.

This will be even more the case now that the Israel Lobby, after years of effort, has succeeded in repealing the First Amendment by having the Hate Crime Bill attached to the recently passed military appropriations bill. This is the way the syllogism works:

It is anti-semitic to criticize Israel. Anti-semitism is a hate crime. Therefore, to criticize Israel is a hate crime.

As the Jerusalem Post notes, this syllogism has “moral clarity.”

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, John Sawers, stepped into the hate crime arena when he told Israel Army radio that the Goldstone report on Israel’s military assault on Gaza contains “some very serious details which need to be investigated.” A year from now when the Anti-Defamation League has its phalanx of US Department of Justice (sic) prosecutors in place, Sawers would be seized and placed on trial. Diplomatic immunity means nothing to the US, which routinely invades other countries, executes their leaders or sends them to the Hague for trial as war criminals.

In the meantime, however, the Israeli government put Sawers and the UK government on notice that British support for the Goldstone Report would result in the destruction of the double standard that protects the West and Israel and create a precedent that would place the British in the dock for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“London,” declared the Israeli government, “could find itself in handcuffs if it supports the document [the Goldstone report].”

Once the DOJ’s hate crime unit us up and running, “self-hating Jews,” such as leaders of the Israeli peace movement and Haaretz and Jerusalem Post journalists, can expect to be indicted for anti-semitic hate crimes in US courts.

Source

To criticize Israel for it’s war crimes is not anti-semitic. The Israeli leaders will try to say that but they are war criminals and war criminals are just that criminals.

The US has been criticized for it’s war crimes because they are crimes.

If you commit a crime expect to be punished for it whether you are black,  white,  green,  orange, Catholic,  Protestant or Jewish.  It makes no difference.

When the Churches were accused of crimes against aboriginal they tryed with all their might to cover up their crimes as well. The thought becasue they were churches they too were above the law.

No one is above the law.

Israel has commited war crimes and crimes against humaity.

The self defense  ploy is just that a ploy. They are not victims they are criminals,  just like a man who beats his wife and blames her for the beatings.  It’s always her fault you know.

Israel is no victim. They are like the abusive man,  the perpetrator.

They do not speak for all Jewish people. There are many Jewish people who disagree with what they are doing. They do not all support Israel. That is just an Israeli fantasy.  It is a lie.  Not all of the Jews in Israel think the the Goldstone report is wrong,  many think it is right on.

Israeli Leaders are promoting a lie as usual.

Criminals of course will lie to protect themselves.  That is rather common.

One must remember if you are in Israel and you disagree or protest against the Governments crimes,  you can and will be thrown in jail.

They even try to shut down organizations who are telling the truth.

The leaders will do whatever it takes to keep the truth from coming out and punish those who try. Freedom of speech as long as you agree with everything the Leaders say that is.

They even throw their own children, in jail if they refuse to join their military.

Some Democracy that is.

Their history of terrorism should speak volumes.

They also do not abide by UN Resolutions.

They expect everyone else to but,  they think they don’t need to.

Israel: True Cost to U.S. Taxpayers

Legally Israel owes the US Billions

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats


Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 4:26 am  Comments Off on Israeli War Criminals, think they are above the law  
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Under pressure from US, UN delays action on Gaza war report

Palestinian leaders drop backing for resolution on document critical of Israel and Hamas

October 2 2009

By Rory McCarthy

The UN today put off action on a report criticising Israel‘s actions during the war in Gaza after Palestinian leaders suddenly dropped their support for a resolution, apparently under heavy US pressure.

The decision marked a surprising reversal in the Palestinian position which, until now, had backed the findings of the report by the South African judge Richard Goldstone.

Goldstone accused both Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas of war crimes during the three-week conflict.

He was particularly critical of Israel, both for its conduct of the war and its continued occupation of Palestinian territory.

The UN human rights council in Geneva had been due to vote today on whether to pass the Goldstone report to the UN security council for further action.

That vote will now be delayed until the council meets next, in March next year.

Israel had strongly rejected the findings of the Goldstone report as biased, even though it also criticised the actions of Hamas.

The US administration said it had “very serious concerns” about Goldstone’s recommendations, which included a call for the UN security council to investigate and raised the possibility of investigation by the international criminal court and judges from individual countries.

The Palestinians do not have a seat on the 47-member human rights council, but Arab and Muslim countries with council seats had been expected to push for the report to be endorsed.

The Palestinian reversal came after “intense diplomacy” by Washington, which told the Palestinians that going ahead with the vote would harm efforts to restart peace talks with the Israelis, according to diplomats quoted by news agencies.

“The Palestinians recognised that this was not the best time to go forward with this,” the official said.

Some western countries, including the US, were also thought to be concerned about the precedent that would be set by such international investigations into wartime actions.

However, Imad Zuhairi, the deputy Palestinian ambassador in Geneva, said the report “remains alive” and would be debated next spring. The delay “is not a victory for Israel”, he added.

It is understood that the Palestinians had helped draft a motion endorsing the Goldstone report and its recommendations, but that it became clear that the US, Japan and those European countries on the human rights council would not support the motion.

It was then decided to postpone the motion rather than have it voted down or vetoed.

Ghassan Khatib, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s media centre, said the Palestinians still supported the Goldstone report.

“There is no change in the Palestinian position,” he added. “Palestinian officials didn’t backtrack from the position they declared, which is that they expect the human rights council to adopt the report and that the UN should do whatever it takes to ensure the implementation of its recommendations.”

It appeared that the Palestinian leadership was reluctant to lose the chance to return to peace negotiations with Israel and unwilling to try other steps to put pressure on Israel such as international legal action.

Robert Blecher, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, said a similar decision had been taken last week when the Palestinians agreed to meet the Israelis in New York despite Israel’s decision not to accept their call for a full halt to settlement construction.

“This is a further indication that the current Palestinian leadership is not considering any options except for negotiation and in that sense the climbdown, like the climbdown in the meeting in New York city, is not unexpected – just the speed with which it was taken,” he said.

Israel refused to co-operate with Goldstone’s investigations, not even granting him entry to the country.

It then launched an intense diplomatic and public relations operation against his report, particularly after efforts this week in Britain to have an arrest warrant issued against Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister who oversaw the Gaza war.

Yesterday, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said an endorsement of the Goldstone report would “strike a fatal blow against the peace process” and deny Israel’s “right to self-defence”.

Goldstone defended his work against Netanyahu’s criticism, saying: “I think he got wrong what our report is all about.

“He talked about Israel’s right to self-defence. That is not what the report was about.”

He said both sides in the conflict had violated international law by targeting civilians.

Earlier in the week, he had told the human rights council that he wanted a “transparent, open investigation” by both sides into the allegations made in his report.

The 575-page report found that some Israelis should face “individual criminal responsibility” and that both sides had committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

The three-week war, which left 1,387 Palestinians dead, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and killed 13 Israelis, triggered criticism across the world.

Source

Seems Israel has threatened a few people to get the
UN to back off. That is so typical.  Seems once again Israel gets off once again  with their murderous activities.
I bet the message was back off or die.

The UN Mission 575 Page Report on Gaza/Israel War

A short list of Israeli Terrorist activities around the world can be found here.

Poll: Should Israel be disarmed of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Legally Israel owes the US Billions

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats

Resolution 487 (1981)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 2288th meeting
on 19 June 1981

The Security Council,

Having considered the agenda contained in document S/Agenda/2280,

Having noted the contents of the telegram dated 8 June 1981 from the Foreign Minister of Iraq (S/14509), Having heard the statements made to the Council on the subject at its 2280th through 2288th meetings,

Taking note of the statement made by the Director-General of the International Atomic Emergency Agency (IAEA) to the Agency’s Board of Governors on the subject on 9 June 1981 and his statement to the Council at its 2288th meeting on 19 June 1981,

Further taking note of the resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the IAEA on 12 June 1981 on the “military attack on the Iraq nuclear research centre and its implications for the Agency” (S/14532),

Fully aware of the fact that Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that in accordance with that Treaty Iraq has accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the Agency has testified that these safeguards have been satisfactorily applied to date,

Noting furthermore that Israel has not adhered to the non-proliferation Treaty,

Deeply concerned about the danger to international peace and security created by the premeditated Israeli air attack on Iraqi nuclear installations on 7 June 1981, which could at any time explode the situation in the area, with grave consequences for the vital interests of all States,

Considering that, under the terms of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”,

1. Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

2. Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

3. Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime which is the foundation of the non-proliferation Treaty;

4. Fully recognizes the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq, and all other States, especially the developing countries, to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development to develop their economy and industry for peaceful purposes in accordance with their present and future needs and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

5. Calls upon Israel urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards;

6. Considers that Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council regularly informed of the implementation of this resolution.

Source UN

Just  last week this one was also passed.   Seems rather redundant.

The non-binding measure was last voted on in 1991, when IAEA membership was much smaller, and passed.

The UN should also abide by what they say also. This statement applies to Iran as well.


4. Fully recognizes the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq, and all other States, especially the developing countries, to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development to develop their economy and industry for peaceful purposes in accordance with their present and future needs and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

This is under the “Non proliferation Treaty” which “Iran” has signed. Iran has complied to the Laws pertaining to the NPT.

Again in September of 2009

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection

Third times a charm yes. Seems Israel just does whatever it wants.

Three Strikes they are out.  Once should have been enough.

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human Experiments  and WMD

Israels New visa requirement hinders travel in West Bank

The UN Mission 575 Page Report on Gaza/Israel War

Who Benefited the most by J.F. Kennedy’s Death?/Israel benefited big time

Iran Proposes Control System Aimed at Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am  Comments Off on Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats  
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Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping

Petition filed in Dutch court claims Trafigura knew waste that maimed thousands in Ivory Coast was hazardous

By Cahal Milmo

September 18 2009

Trafigura, the oil-trading company at the centre of the scandal caused by the dumping of tons of toxic waste in one of the world’s poorest countries, could be prosecuted for murder after a dossier of evidence was submitted to a court in the Netherlands yesterday, alleging that the sludge caused deaths and serious injuries. A complaint filed by Greenpeace Netherlands calls for a Dutch prosecution arising from Trafigura’s actions in July 2006 – when a chartered tanker carrying the contaminated waste arrived in Amsterdam – to be widened to include events in Ivory Coast a month later which caused thousands of people to fall ill after tons of the foul-smelling slurry was dumped in the port of Abidjan. The campaigning group wants Dutch courts to order public prosecutors to bring charges of murder, manslaughter, negligence and conspiracy against the London-based commodities giant, which has vigorously denied any knowledge of the fly-tipping of the waste by an Ivorian sub-contractor in August 2006.

Emails between Trafigura employees submitted to the court in The Hague are claimed by Greenpeace to show that the company knew the waste – described in one internal memo as “the shit” – was potentially hazardous and could not be exported outside the European Union. Trafigura insists that its managers sought at all times to dispose lawfully of the “slops” on board its chartered tanker, the Probo Koala.

Trafigura, which last year had a turnover of $73bn (£44bn, equivalent to twice the GDP of Ivory Coast), has agreed to a multimillion-pound payout to settle Britain’s largest group lawsuit, brought by 30,000 Abidjan residents who fell ill after breathing in fumes from the sludge.

The settlement of the High Court case, expected to be finalised within weeks, concerns claims by victims who suffered short-term illnesses. But it does not apply to allegations, which will now not be tested in the British courts, that the dumped waste caused more serious problems, including deaths, miscarriages and birth defects.

Trafigura has fought a three-year battle, engaging PR consultants and libel lawyers to dispute critical reporting of the incident, and insists that the waste could not have caused the serious injuries alleged. A United Nations report this week stated that there seemed to be “prima facie evidence” that up to a dozen deaths in Abidjan were linked to the sludge.

The oil trader, the third-largest of its kind in the world, is already being prosecuted in the Netherlands over claims that it breached Dutch and European laws by misdeclaring the nature of the sludge on the Probo Koala when it arrived in Amsterdam, and by subsequently taking the waste outside EU borders. A Greenpeace spokesman said: “The emails show that Trafigura employees knew the waste would be difficult to deal with and were desperate to find someone who would take it off their hands.

“There are now no legal proceedings which will test the claims that as well as making thousands of people in Ivory Coast sick, the waste was also responsible for deaths and other serious injuries of innocent people. We are asking the Dutch courts to change that.”

The contaminated sludge – its composition is disputed by Trafigura and opponents – was the by-product of deals struck by the company’s traders in 2005 and 2006 to buy a cheap and dirty oil known as “coker naptha” from a Mexican refinery and extract clean fuel from it by adding a mixture of caustic soda and a catalyst. Emails show Trafigura expected to make a profit of $7m (£4m) from each cargo, despite the fact that “caustic washes are banned in most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste”. This do-it-yourself process was performed in or about April 2006 on board the Probo Koala while it was anchored off Gibraltar. The resulting waste arrived in Abidjan on 19 August 2006 and was unloaded from the tanker into trucks hired by Compagnie Tommy, the sub-contractor employed by Trafigura’s shipping agent.

It was then dumped at 18 sites, including drains and lagoons, around the sprawling city, leading to a flood of victims complaining of symptoms including sickness, diarrhoea and breathing difficulties. Autopsy reports included in the Greenpeace dossier suggest that the bodies of 12 people who died in Abidjan showed high levels of hydrogen sulphide, a poisonous gas which campaigners claim was present in the waste. Trafigura insists the gas could not have been emitted by the sludge.

In a statement, the company accused Greenpeace of a “wholly selective interpretation” of a small number of emails containing “trader-speak” which could not be taken literally. It added: “More importantly, on a proper analysis of all the material and of what in fact happened, it is clear that the responsible individuals at Trafigura sought at all times to ensure that the slops were disposed of lawfully.

“Greenpeace Netherlands’ unfounded accusations are utterly rejected by Trafigura. It is deeply regrettable that Greenpeace has chosen to make a number of serious and unfounded remarks, without any regard to the available scientific evidence or to statements made by Trafigura based on detailed analysis by independent experts.”

Source

The toxic price paid by the poor in processing our waste

The Trafigura episode is part of a far wider scandal
The saga of Trafigura and the poisoning of Abidjan is, first and foremost, the tale of a single company’s grotesque – and possibly criminal – irresponsibility. But this episode is also a lurid illustration of the wider scandal of Western companies and nations dumping their harmful waste on vulnerable communities around the world.

It was probably sheer accident that Trafigura’s activities in 2006 came to public attention. The local Ivory Coast trucking firm which Trafigura paid to get rid of the toxic contents of its tanks dumped all the waste around a single city, thus precipitating a mass poisoning. If they had been less lazy and spread the material over a larger area it is entirely possible the crime would never have been detected, or at least not traced back to Trafigura.

There is likely to be a great deal more of this sort of illegal dumping going on in benighted parts of the world where environmental controls are weak and there are poor and unscrupulous locals willing to despoil their surroundings for a relatively cheap fee.

It is not just toxic chemicals which poison communities. Earlier this year an investigation in which this newspaper took part uncovered that British waste subcontractors are sending “e-waste” (defunct televisions, computers and assorted electronic gadgets) collected from UK council dumps, to Africa.

British law says such potentially hazardous items must be dismantled, or recycled, by specialist firms. But there is evidence that subcontractors are ignoring that law and simply dispatching the refuse to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. Here the items are stripped of their raw metals by poor Africans working on poisoned waste dumps.

And it is not just Africa which is suffering from the manner in which our societies dispose of our waste. Streams and trees in southern China have been found clogged with plastic bags and other non-degradable rubbish that originated in Britain.

This pollution is the by-product of an entirely legal trade. European Union regulations prevent member states from dumping garbage overseas. But what they are allowed to do is send waste for recycling abroad. This is what happens with much British refuse. The problem is that the sorting often ends up taking place in places such as southern China where health risks and pollution are a low priority for local authorities.

The effects of such activities might not be as dramatic as Trafigura’s mass dumping of hazardous chemicals. But they can be just as damaging to the health of the people who live in the areas where this waste ends up. And the turning of a blind eye by Western interests (some of them public servants) who are looking to save some money is no less shameful.

Trafigura must be held fully to account for what it has done, not least to send a powerful message to other firms around the world who are using similarly unscrupulous waste disposal methods. But we delude ourselves if we imagine this was an isolated case of bad behaviour in Western waste disposal.

The globalisation of trade has brought many benefits to rich and poor alike around the world. But the manner in which we have imposed the toxic cost of disposing of our refuse on those with the weakest defences shows its dark side. We cannot continue to wash our hands – and our consciences – of the consequences.

Source

For Trafigura Emails go to below link.

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping  
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US fury as Israel defies settlement freeze call

September 5 2009

Israeli plans to authorise the construction of hundreds of houses in the occupied West Bank sparked furious protests from American and Palestinian officials yesterday.

In a nod to US requests to suspend all building work at Jewish settlements, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, is offering a freeze on construction at a later date — a peace gambit that did little to mollify those involved in the negotiations leading to a new Middle East peace process.

President Obama had hoped to start formal talks between Palestinians and Israel later this month.

“We regret the reports of Israel’s plans to approve additional settlement construction,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said. “As the President has said before, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge it to stop.
Another US official said: “In the end America will be forced to do what is necessary to bring the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiation table. But the Netanyahu Government has proven difficult to work with.”

Settlement growth has been a key impediment to the peace talks. The Jewish settlements, built on land earmarked for a future Palestinian state, are strongly supported by much of the right-wing constituency that elected Mr Netanyahu.

The new plan, drawn up by Mr Netanyahu and outlined by officials close to him yesterday, seeks to placate the right-wing elements of his coalition, while moving forward on conditions laid down by the Obama Administration.

It proposes that Israel would agree to a freeze of settlement building for up to nine months, excluding 2,500 housing units that are already under construction, and settlement projects in east Jerusalem.

In exchange Mr Netanyahu hopes that Arab states will begin to normalise ties with Israel and allow it to open offices in Arab countries and grant overflight rights for Israeli aircraft. He also plans to approve the construction of approximately 500 additional housing units, bringing the total number to 3,000, aides said.

The proposal infuriated Palestinian negotiators, who accused Israel of posturing for peace while attempting to “worm” more illegal construction into the deal. “What the Israeli Government said [about the planned construction] is not useful. It is unacceptable for us. We want a freeze on all settlement construction,” Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, said. He reiterated that the entire Middle East peace process hinged on a freeze of all Israeli settlement construction.

Mr Abbas is under US pressure to accept Israel’s conditions before a planned summit with Mr Netanyahu and President Obama on the fringes of the UN General Assembly meeting. George Mitchell, Washington’s Middle East envoy, who is due in the region next week, has been pressing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to reach a basic understanding before the meeting, brokered by the US Administration.

It appeared unlikely, however, that the US knew of Mr Netanyahu’s plan to add an additional 500 homes to those already approved. Kurt Hoyer, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, said that Washington would be unlikely to accept anything “contrary to the spirit of negotiations they’ve been undertaking”.

American officials have been pushing for a settlement freeze, with a senior State Department official telling the Jerusalem Post newspaper that a nine-month halt to construction would be “long enough to be credible and for negotiations to proceed”.

There has been much speculation over the concessions that Mr Netanyahu is willing to make. In a speech this year he declared for the first time that Palestinians should be granted an independent state.

Nevertheless, construction of settlements in the West Bank has continued, albeit at a slower pace, since he took office. Government figures showed that construction fell by a third in the first half of 2009.

Palestinians hope to make Jerusalem their capital, and the 1967 green line, which roughly demarcates the border upon which the negotiations are being conducted, establishes east Jerusalem as part of a unified Palestinian state.

“Jerusalem is the one issue that Netanyahu will not compromise over,” one MP in the Prime Minister’s Likud party said. Palestinian negotiators have made it clear that no final peace accord will be reached without a Palestinian stake in Jerusalem.

Source

Sure they are Furious who are they trying to kid.  The US have vetoes dozens of UN Resolutions.

List of Resolutions

Palestinian Refugees have the right to return to their homes in Israel.
General Assembly Resolution 194, Dec. 11, 1948
“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Israel’s occupation of Palestine is Illegal.
Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967
Calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the war that year and “the acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Israel’s settlements in Palestine are Illegal.
Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979
“Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Palestinian have the right to Self-Determination.
General Assembly Resolution 3236, November 22, 1974
Affirms “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine…to self-determination without external interference” and “to national independence and sovereignty.”

Reaffirmation of a Palestinian State
Security Council Resolution 1397, March 12, 2002
Affirms “a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.”

________________________________________

UN Resolutions on Israel, 1955-1992

Resolution 106: condemns Israel for Gaza raid.
Resolution 111: condemns Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people.
Resolution 127: recommends Israel suspend its no-man’s zone’ in Jerusalem.
Resolution 162: urges Israel to comply with UN decisions.
Resolution 171: determines flagrant violations by Israel in its attack on Syria.
Resolution 228: censures Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control.
Resolution 237: urges Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees.
Resolution 248: condemns Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan.
Resolution 250: calls on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem.
Resolution 251: deeply deplores Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250.
Resolution 252: declares invalid Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital.
Resolution 256: condemns Israeli raids on Jordan as flagrant violation.
Resolution 259: deplores Israel’s refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation.
Resolution 262: condemns Israel for attack on Beirut airport.
Resolution 265: condemns Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan.
Resolution 267: censures Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem.
Resolution 270: condemns Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon.
Resolution 271: condemns Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem.
Resolution 279: demands withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.
Resolution 280: condemns Israeli’s attacks against Lebanon.
Resolution 285: demands immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
Resolution 298: deplores Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem.
Resolution 313: demands that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon.
Resolution 316: condemns Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon.
Resolution 317: deplores Israel’s refusal to release.
Resolution 332: condemns Israel’s repeated attacks against Lebanon.
Resolution 337: condemns Israel for violating Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Resolution 347: condemns Israeli attacks on Lebanon.
Resolution 425: calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon.
Resolution 427: calls on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.
Resolution 444: deplores Israel’s lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces.
Resolution 446: determines that Israeli settlements are a serious obstruction to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention
Resolution 450: calls on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon.
Resolution 452: calls on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories.
Resolution 465: deplores Israel’s settlements and asks all member states not to assist its settlements program.
Resolution 467: strongly deplores Israel’s military intervention in Lebanon.
Resolution 468: calls on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return.
Resolution 469: strongly deplores Israel’s failure to observe the council’s order not to deport Palestinians.
Resolution 471: expresses deep concern at Israel’s failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Resolution 476: reiterates that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem are null and void.
Resolution 478: censures (Israel) in the strongest terms for its claim to Jerusalem in its Basic Law.
Resolution 484: declares it imperative that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors.
Resolution 487: strongly condemns Israel for its attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility.
Resolution 497: decides that Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights
is null and void and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith.
Resolution 498: calls on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon.
Resolution 501: calls on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops.
Resolution 509: demands that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon.
Resolution 515: demands that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in.
Resolution 517: censures Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon.
Resolution 518: demands that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon.
Resolution 520: condemns Israel’s attack into West Beirut.
Resolution 573: condemns Israel vigorously for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters.
Resolution 587: takes note of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw.
Resolution 592: strongly deplores the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops.
Resolution 605: strongly deplores Israel’s policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.
Resolution 607: calls on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Resolution 608: deeply regrets that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians.
Resolution 636: deeply regrets Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.
Resolution 641: deplores Israel’s continuing deportation of Palestinians.
Resolution 672: condemns Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
Resolution 673: deplores Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.
Resolution 681: deplores Israel’s resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.
Resolution 694
: deplores Israel’s deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.
Resolution 726: strongly condemns Israel’s deportation of Palestinians.
Resolution 799: strongly condemns Israel’s deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.

Source
There are more resolutions not listed however.


List of some of the  Resolutions the US has vetoed.

U.S. Vetoes of UN Resolutions Critical of Israel

(1972-2006)


Vetoes: 1972-1982

Subject Date & Meeting US Rep Casting  Veto Vote
Palestine: Syrian-Lebanese Complaint. 3 power draft resolution 2/10784 9/10/1972 Bush 13-1, 1
Palestine: Examination of Middle East Situation. 8-power draft resolution (S/10974) 7/2/1973 Scali 13-1, 0 (China not partic.)
Palestine: Egyptian-Lebanese Complaint. 5-power draft power resolution (S/11898) 12/8/1975 Moynihan 13-1, 1
Palestine: Middle East Problem, including Palestinian question. 6-power draft resolution (S/11940) 1/26/1976 Moynihan 9-1,3 (China & Libya not partic.)
Palestine: Situation in Occupied Arab Territories. 5-power draft resolution (S/12022) 3/25/1976 Scranton 14-1,0
Palestine: Report on Committee on Rights of Palestinian People. 4-power draft resolution (S/121119) 6/29/1976 Sherer 10-1,4
Palestine: Palestinian Rights. Tunisian draft resolution. (S/13911) 4/30/1980 McHenry 10-1,4
Palestine: Golan Heights. Jordan draft resolution. (S/14832/Rev. 2) 1/20/1982 Kirkpatrick 9-1,5
Palestine: Situation in Occupied Territories, Jordan draft resolution (S/14943) 4/2/1982 Lichenstein 13-1,1
Palestine: Incident at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. 4-power draft resolution 4/20/1982 Kirpatrick 14-1, 0
Palestine: Conflict in Lebanon. Spain draft resolution. (S/15185) 6/8/1982 Kirpatrick 14-1,0
Palestine: Conflict in Lebanon. France draft resolution. (S/15255/Rev. 2) 6/26/1982 Lichenstein 14-1
Palestine: Conflict in Lebanon. USSR draft resolution. (S/15347/Rev. 1, as orally amended) 8/6/1982 Lichenstein 11-1,3
Palestine: Situation in Occupied Territories, 20-power draft resolution (S/15895) 8/2/1983 Lichenstein 13-1,1

Security Council Vetoes/Negative voting 1983-present

Subject Date Vote
Occupied Arab Territories: Wholesale condemnation of Israeli settlement policies – not adopted 1983
S. Lebanon: Condemns Israeli action in southern Lebanon. S/16732 9/6/1984 Vetoed: 13-1 (U.S.), with 1 abstention (UK)
Occupied Territories: Deplores “repressive measures” by Israel against Arab population. S/19459. 9/13/1985 Vetoed: 10-1 (U.S.), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Denmark, UK, France)
Lebanon: Condemns Israeli practices against civilians in southern Lebanon. S/17000. 3/12/1985 Vetoed: 11-1 (U.S.), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Denmark, UK)
Occupied Territories: Calls upon Israel to respect Muslim holy places. S/17769/Rev. 1 1/30/1986 Vetoed: 13-1 (US), with one abstention (Thailand)
Lebanon: Condemns Israeli practices against civilians in southern Lebanon. S/17730/Rev. 2. 1/17/1986 Vetoed: 11-1 (U.S.), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Denmark, UK)
Libya/Israel: Condemns Israeli interception of Libyan plane. S/17796/Rev. 1. 2/6/1986 Vetoed: 10 -1 (US), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Denmark, France, UK)
Lebanon: Draft strongly deplored repeated Israeli attacks against Lebanese territory and other measures and practices against the civilian population; (S/19434) 1/18/1988 vetoed 13-1 (US), with 1 abstention (UK)
Lebanon: Draft condemned recent invasion by Israeli forces of Southern Lebanon and repeated a call for the immediate withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanese territory;  (S/19868) 5/10/1988 vetoed 14-1 (US)
Lebanon: Draft strongly deplored the recent Israeli attack against Lebanese territory on 9 December 1988; (S/20322) 12/14/1988 vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: Draft called on Israel to accept de jure applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention;  (S/19466) 1988 vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: Draft urged Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention, rescind the order to deport Palestinian civilians, and condemned policies and practices of Israel that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;  (S/19780) 1988 vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: Strongly deplored Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories, and strongly deplored also Israel’s continued disregard of relevant Security Council decisions. 2/17/1989 Vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: Condemned Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories. 6/9/1989 Vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: Deplored Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied territories. 11/7/1989 Vetoed 14-1 (US)
Occupied territories: NAM draft resolution to create a commission and send three security council members to Rishon Lezion, where an Israeli gunmen shot down seven Palestinian workers. 5/31/1990 Vetoed 14-1 (US)
Middle East: Confirms that the expropriation of land by Israel in East Jerusalem is invalid and in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and provisions of the Fourth Geneva convention; expresses support of peace process, including the Declaration of Principles of 9/13/1993 5/17/1995 Vetoed 14-1 (US)
Middle East: Calls upon Israeli authorities to refrain from all actions or measures, including settlement activities. 3/7/1997 Vetoed 14-1 (US)

Middle East: Demands that Israel cease construction of the settlement in east Jerusalem (called Jabal Abu Ghneim by the Palestinians and Har Homa by Israel), as well as all the other Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories

3/21/1997 Vetoed 13-1,1 (US)
Call for UN Observers Force in West Bank, Gaza 3/27/2001 Vetoed 9-1 (US),
with four abstentions
(Britain, France, Ireland and Norway)
Condemned acts of terror, demanded an end to violence and the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to bring in observers. 12/14/2001 Vetoed 12-1 (US)
with two abstentions
(Britain and Norway)

On the killing by Israeli forces of several UN employees and the destruction of the World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse

12/19/2002

12-1 (US)
with two abstentions
(Bulgaria and Cameroon)

Demand that Israel halt threats to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat 9/16/03 Vetoed 11-1 (US)
with three abstentions
(Britain, Germany and Bulgaria)
Seeks to bar Israel from extending security fence 10/14/03 Vetoed 10-1 with four absentations (Britain, Germany, Bulgaria and Cameroon)
Condemns Israel for killing Ahmed Yassin 3/25/04 Vetoed 11-1 (US)
with three absentations
(Britain, Germany, Romania)
Calls For Israel To Halt Gaza Operation 10/05/04 Vetoed 11-1 (US)
with three absentations
(Britain, Germany, Romania)
Calls For Israel To Halt Gaza Operation 7/13/06 Vetoed 10-1 (US)
with four absentations
(Britain, Peru, Denmark and Slovakia)
Calls For Israel To Halt Gaza Operation 11/11/06 Vetoed 10-1 (US)
with four absentations
(Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia)


Source

This list is also incomplete there are more. But you get the general idea the US lets Israel do whatever it want’s.

US veto blocks UN anti-Israel resolution

December 28 2008
The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.

Washington once again used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to the massive ongoing Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip.

The council has only been able to issue a ‘non-binding’ statement that calls on Israel to voluntarily bring all its military activities in the besieged region to an immediate end.

The statement comes as Israel has begun a fresh wave of air strikes on Gaza on Sunday, killing at least six people. At least 230 people were killed and 800 wounded in similar attacks on Saturday. The number of Palestinians deaths has so far risen to 271.

The council called on the parties to address the humanitarian crisis in the territory but has not criticized the Israeli air attacks.

Croatian UN Ambassador Neven Jurica read out the non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that “called for an immediate halt to all violence” and on the parties “to stop immediately all military activities.”

“The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza,” he said, as the president of the council.

The council also requested the opening of border crossings into Gaza to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to ensure medical treatment and a continuous supply of food and fuel.

US representative to the UNSC, Zalmay Khalilzad, defended the Israeli move, saying Tel Aviv has the right to self-defense.

“I regret the loss of any of all innocent life,” he said, adding that Hamas rockets precipitated this situation.

Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip say they fire rockets into Israel in retaliation for the daily Israeli attacks against them. Unlike the state-of-the-art Israeli weapons and ammunition, the home-made Qassam rockets rarely cause casualties.

The US, a staunch ally to Israel, has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972.

Since 2004, Washington has prevented the adoption of four other resolutions that called for Tel Aviv to halt its operations in the Gaza Strip.

Source
Sure the  US is furious.

US Senate Endorsed Israel’s War on Gaza

IF they are so furious, why do they still give them billions in AID?

Not one penny has reached Gaza to rebuild

IOF willfully kill a Palestinian child in al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah

PA minister accuses Israel of neglecting prisoners’ health and they torture Children

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human Experiments  and WMD

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 5:12 am  Comments Off on US fury as Israel defies settlement freeze call  
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Israeli navy fires on Gaza fisherman/UN report on Gaza Crisis

The Israeli navy opened fire on fishermen from the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday, causing one boat to burst into flames, the army said. Witnesses did not report any casualties.

The boat was targeted off Beit Lahia in northern Gaza by the Israeli navy which enforces a blockade on the Palestinian territory and prevents fishermen from venturing more than five kilometres (3.5 miles) from shore.

A military spokeswoman confirmed the navy opened fire at fishing boats after their crews ignored warning shots and orders to turn back. She said the Israeli navy helped put out the fire on the fishing boat.

About 3,500 fishermen struggle to ply their trade off Gaza’s 40-kilometre (25-mile) Mediterranean coastline in spite of the Israeli blockade.

Source

The Thursady before the above incident

Israeli navy kills Palestinian fisherman

GAZA CITY — A Gaza fisherman was killed on Thursday by a shell fired by Israel’s navy, Palestinian medics said.

Mohammed Attar, 25, was hit by shrapnel, according to Muawiha Hassanein, who heads the territory’s emergency medical services. He had apparently been in his boat just off northern Gaza’s shore when he was hit.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

Navy vessels enforcing Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory regularly fire at Palestinian fishermen to prevent them from venturing more than a few kilometers (miles) from shore.

Source

Medics say Israeli forces killed Gaza fisherman

Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian man was killed and another injured on Thursday when Israel’s navy shelled a fishing boat just off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, medical officials told Ma’an.

However an Israeli military spokesman denied the navy had anything to do with the incident. He said naval forces did not fire on the boat, nor otherwise cause the death of a man onboard.

But earlier Thursday Dr Mu’awiyah Hassanein, the director of emergency and ambulance services at Gaza’s Health Ministry, said Israeli shells killed 25-year-old Muhammad Nady Al-Attar when his head was severed from his body.

One other fisherman was injured in the incident, which reportedly occurred while the two were fishing.

Al-Attar was buried later on Thursday after a funeral procession in his home town of Beit Lahiya.

Source

OCHA: “Gaza on the verge of humanitarian crisis”

August 26, 2009
by Saed Bannoura

A report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed
that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a devastating humanitarian crisis due to the ongoing Israeli siege on the coastal region si.nce more than three years
The UN stated that some 120.000 employees have lost their jobs, while %75 of the residents does not even have sufficient access food, proper education and health services.

The report added that the ongoing Israeli siege has created further crises in Gaza, and increasing the suffering of the residents as they do not have access to basic services.

It also said that as Israel hold foods supplies on the borders for extended periods under security claims, most of the food eventually expires and becomes unfit for human consumption.

Israel is holding some 17000 containers filled with foodstuffs and supplies. The goods stored in the containers are worth $10.000.000.

Source

Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been indicted on three counts of corruption

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 4:46 pm  Comments Off on Israeli navy fires on Gaza fisherman/UN report on Gaza Crisis  
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Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel

Israel expels Gaza aid ship crew

February 6 2009

Al-Ikhwa was seized by the Israeli navy and taken to the city of Ashdod [AFP]

Israel has expelled 10 activists and journalists after detaining them for hours and seizing their cargo ship that was trying to deliver aid to Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Salam Khoder, who was among the group, said she and some of the others on board were beaten by Israeli forces before being taken to a police station in Ashdod and interrogated.

Minutes after being escorted across the Israeli border to southern Lebanon on Friday, Khoder reported on her capture.

“At about 11pm last night… the Israeli ship intercepted the ship, fired at the ship and more than 30 soldiers came on to the boat and started beating the passengers,” she said.

“They blinded our eyes, bounded our hands, kept us in uncomfortable conditions for one hour … they also told us not to communicate with each other in Arabic.”

She said that the whereabouts of some of the 18 people who were on board the ship was unknown.

The Al-Ikhwa was carrying 60 tonnes of medical supplies, food, books and toys to Gaza, where a more than year-long Israeli blockade along with its devastating offensive last month have left residents struggling to get basic necessities.

Israeli denial

Israel denied using violence in the operation and said it had warned the ship on Wednesday night against entering Gaza’s coastal waters.

The ship was carrying 60 tonnes of relief supplies bound for blockaded Gaza [AFP]

“During today’s [Thursday] morning hours, the cargo ship changed its bearing, and began heading towards the Gaza Strip … disregarding all warnings made,” the Israeli military said.The Al-Ikhwa, which originally set sail from Cyprus, left the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Tuesday.

Maan Bashour, an aid co-ordinator for the group End the Blockade of Gaza, told Al Jazeera that the ship “was searched in Cyprus and in Lebanon”.

“And we were very eager to let it be searched by Lebanese and Cypriot authorities in order that there be no reason for the Israelis to prevent it from going to Gaza.”

Israel increased naval patrols off the coast of the Gaza Strip in December when it launched a 22-day air, naval and ground assault that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

Foud Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister, condemned the attack on Al-Ikhwa, emphasising that it was on a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

“It is no surprise for Israel to perpetrate such an action as it has been accustomed to ignoring all international resolutions and values,” he said in Beirut.

Yahya Mahmassani, the Arab League’s envoy to the United Nations, said he had asked the staff of Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, to intervene in the matter.

“I demanded that the ship be released immediately,” Mahmassani said. “The world community should condemn this act of piracy. We consider this an act of piracy committed by Israel.”

Source

This is the Third time  Israel has interfered with ships in International waters. They also interfered with the “Dignity” and the “The Spirit of Humanity” as well. The Dignity was rammed by an Israeli ship and The Spirit of Humanity passengers were threatened they would be fired upon.

This one is definitely and act of “Piracy”. They also had no right to detain those on ship either. That would constitute nothing less then kidnapping. Beating the passengers on the ship is totally unacceptable.  Assault and Battery.  Illegal Confinement. They have no right to seize the ship,  it’s cargo or the people on board.  Seems they are  stealing the Aid for Gaza.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

As far as Israels denial they like they would tell the truth. Criminals lie you know. Israel has already lied one to many times for me to ever believe them. Like they didn’t use White Phosphorous for example.  That is a massive lie. Or being so sorry they hit hospitals and UN buildings they lie in those cases as well. The still torture people as well if they say other wise that to is a lie.  Their words mean nothing.

Those were out and out blatant lies. The worst lie is they didn’t target Civilians. What BS. Do we all have complete idiot written across our foreheads.  Seems to me nothing they say can be believed. They never keep their word either. They cannot be trusted. The US must stop giving them Aid. The use it only to harm others. They don’t need it. That money could be better spend on other things such as the homeless Veterans in the US.  The US Veterans deserve to be helped,  Israel doesn’t they just kill, starve and bully others.

Like the Holocaust Victims the people of Gaza and the West Banks should be compensated, for the years of torment inflicted by the Zionist movement of Israel. 60 years is long enough. Israel has proved beyond a doubt they do not want peace and they will not stop until all Palestinians are run off their land.

ISRAEL/ OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Right to family life denied
Foreign spouses of Palestinians barred

March 21, 2007
By Amnesty International

Enaya Samara is a 56-year-old US national of Palestinian origin. For 31 years she lived in Ramallah with her husband, Adel Samara, who is a resident of the OPT, and their two children. For three decades she had to travel abroad every three months to renew her tourist visa. The family’s repeated attempts to obtain family unification and establish Enaya Samara’s right to reside in the OPT were unsuccessful. On 26 May 2006, after more than 120 trips, she was denied entry when she tried to return home to the OPT. She did not see her family until 23 February 2007 when the Israeli Interior Ministry allowed her a three-month visa. She does not know if it will be renewed.

Tens of thousands of foreign nationals who are married to residents of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 are not allowed to live with their husband or wife by the Israeli authorities. In virtually every other country in the world, there are procedures to allow such couples — where one spouse is a foreign national — to live together.

Israel controls the borders of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and forbids foreign spouses from entering. The husbands and wives who are denied entry are not seeking admittance to Israel. They simply want to enter the OPT to live with their spouse in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

As an occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect the family rights of Palestinians (1). Yet violations by Israel of the right to family life have persisted for decades and have worsened over the past six years. By 2006 at least 120,000 families were affected. Moreover, since 2006 the restrictions on family life, and the number of families affected by such restrictions, have increased — the right to enter the OPT is now also denied to spouses from countries for whom advance visas are not required to enter Israel.

Israeli restrictions on foreign spouses are profoundly discriminatory. Jewish settlers in the OPT (whose presence there, unlike that of the Palestinian inhabitants, is actually illegal under international law) face no restrictions in obtaining authorization from the Israeli authorities for their spouses to enter the OPT and reside with them there.

Restrictions on foreign spouses

The restrictions on what is called “family unification” in the OPT are not based on any law. Formerly, spouses from outside the OPT seeking family unification applied to the Israeli authorities for a residence permit under which they would be allowed to reside in the OPT. It would often take many years for the Israeli authorities to issue such a permit. In the meantime, however, foreign spouses were able to enter and reside in the OPT by obtaining a temporary visitor’s visa and regularly renewing; this was done mostly by travelling to Jordan or another foreign country every three months and obtaining a new visitor’s visa on re-entering Israel. It caused inconvenience but at least foreign spouses were able to remain with their families in the OPT.

This process was ended after the second intifada began in September 2000. The Israeli authorities suspended all family unification procedures for OPT residents who had married spouses from other countries, and no residence permits were given to spouses. At the same time, visitors’ visas were not renewed.

As a result, foreign nationals who did not want to be separated from their Palestinian spouses and children, but who had not yet been granted family unification, were left with two options: remain in the OPT illegally after the expiry of their visitor’s visa, or leave and be separated from their husband or wife and, possibly, their children.

Those who remain illegally are cut off from any family, friends and business they may have outside the country.

They live in constant fear of being apprehended and deported, and cannot move freely within the OPT because of the many Israeli army checkpoints between towns and villages. They are essentially confined by their uncertain status to their homes and immediate surroundings.

Those who have left the OPT — for instance, to see a sick parent — have not been allowed back, and remain separated from their spouse and sometimes their children. The Israeli authorities sometimes allow a Palestinian spouse to leave the OPT, but may take away his or her right to reside in the OPT if they stay away too long.

The restrictions have had a devastating impact as they have made it impossible for many of those affected to enjoy a normal family life. Families are forcibly broken up. Children are separated for long periods from one parent and often from their wider family of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

The great majority of those barred from entry to the OPT are Jordanian women of Palestinian origin who are married to Palestinian men. Although the Israeli authorities tend to justify such restrictions on security grounds, Amnesty International knows of no case in which a woman within this category has been responsible for or involved in any important security incident.
Yahya Bassa, a 40-year-old date merchant and OPT resident, has been married to Nibin, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, for six years. They have two daughters, four-year-old Nur and 18-month-old Talin, who live with their mother in Jordan.

Yahya Bassa used to travel between Aizariyah near Jerusalem, where his business is, and the Jordanian capital, Amman, to see his wife and family and to conduct business. His troubles began, he says, four years ago when he refused a request by Shin Bet, the Israel Security Service, to become an informer. For the next two years he was not allowed to leave the OPT to visit Jordan. He appealed to the Israeli High Court and was then allowed two visits. Then Israeli security personnel offered to allow him to leave the OPT if he would stay away for four years. He refused.

Yahya Bassa was then harassed by Israeli security officials. In 2005 he was accused of murdering a “collaborator” — the file against him has since been erased. In 2006 he was arrested and placed in administrative detention without charge or trial for six months. When he was released, he sought to visit his wife in Jordan but the Israeli authorities again refused him permission to leave and return unless he stayed away for four years. Meanwhile, his wife is not permitted by the Israeli authorities to enter the OPT, and they have been denied the opportunity to enjoy a normal family life.

Yahya Bassa brought an action before the Israeli High Court of Justice seeking to obtain authorization for his wife to enter the OPT or for him to visit her in Jordan. This has not yet been heard. However, in response to the action, Israel’s State Prosecutor allowed him to meet his wife and daughters on the Allenby Bridge that spans the Jordan river which forms the border between Israel and Jordan, but for just three hours. His elder daughter, Nur, who is a Palestinian ID-holder, was later allowed to join him temporarily inside the
West Bank, but his younger daughter, Talin, who has no ID, and her mother are still refused entry to the OPT.

Many others who have been barred from living in the OPT are spouses from regions such as eastern Europe, from where advance visas are required by the Israeli authorities to enter the OPT.

S, a Palestinian from Ramallah in the West Bank, met his Bulgarian wife M when he was a university student in Bulgaria. The couple were married in Bulgaria in 1992 and their first child was born there. In 1998 they moved to Ramallah, where their second child was born.

M entered Israel and the OPT on a visitor’s visa and the family immediately applied for family unification. M’s visa expired after six months and the couple waited for the result of their family unification application. In September 2000, they were informed that the application had been approved in principle and that M would receive her papers by the end of the year.

Later that month the intifada broke out and application procedures for family unification were suspended. M told Amnesty International:

“I am constantly afraid of being arrested and deported and separated from my husband and children and so I am totally unable to move. In 2002, in one of the incursions by the Israeli army, the soldiers came into our home and when they saw that I have no valid permit they took me outside and told me that I would be deported; they kept me outside for two hours; it was the worst experience of my life; the idea that I would be separated from my husband and children and not be allowed to return to live with them terrified me.

“Every year my husband takes our children to visit my mother and my family in Bulgaria but I cannot go because I would not be allowed back to Ramallah. I have not seen my mother since I left Bulgaria…What can we do? The only option would be for me, my husband and the children to leave and go to Bulgaria. But we have worked hard here to make our life, my husband is working and we want to live here. We should not be forced to leave and for my husband and our children to lose the right of coming back to live in their home country.”

Additional restrictions

Until 2006, foreign spouses from countries such as the USA and most European states were usually able to be with their spouses in the OPT by leaving and re-entering the country on a visitor’s visa. People from these countries, unlike those from eastern Europe, did not require advance visas to enter Israel and the OPT.

However, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian elections in 2006, the Israeli authorities extended the restrictions on entry to the OPT to these foreign spouses. Relatives of OPT residents were also denied entry.

It is not only families who are affected by this policy. The extended restrictions often prevent re-entry of foreign nationals who are working in education or economic development. Such people are helping to improve conditions in the OPT, where poverty is widespread and the Palestinian inhabitants have been exposed to a growing humanitarian crisis.

Since January 2007, as a result of protests against the policy, the Israeli Civil Administration has allowed around 200 short extensions of visas to those who were previously refused. However, most of those who have been denied entry continue to be denied entry.
Riad Sharma, a 50-year-old US national married to a Palestinian ID-holder living in Ramallah, has already suffered the pain of a long forced separation from his family and faces future separation. He has acute diabetes and needs regular medical attention in the USA. He also manages a business there. Over the past year, he has twice been stopped on arrival at Ben Gurion airport in Israel and required to return to the USA.
The first time, on 6 January 2006, he was told not to attempt to re-enter Israel and the OPT for at least a year. On 20 December 2006, after being separated from his wife and two daughters, also
Palestinian ID-holders, for almost a year, he was again denied entry. On 3 January 2007, he tried to enter the OPT via Jordan across the Allenby Bridge and was told again that he would not be permitted to enter. However, on this occasion he engaged a lawyer (at a cost of some US$9,400, including the lawyer’s fee, court fees and a deposit) and was then able to secure an entry visa for two weeks. Just before this expired, he obtained a 10-week extension through another lawyer, which is due to expire on 4 April. The legal fees in this new case amounted to US$6,000. Riad Sharma’s ability to be reunited with his family came at a high financial cost, a cost beyond the reach of most of those who also aspire to live together with their spouses and other family members in the OPT.

CONCLUSION

The policy of not allowing family unification for foreign spouses has no discernible link to security. The Israeli authorities have not claimed that foreign spouses who are now prevented from returning to the OPT are a security risk to Israelis. The restrictions do not target individuals but apply to spouses of Palestinians in general and, therefore, are wholly discriminatory. As such, they may constitute a form of collective punishment against Palestinians in the OPT; the imposition of collective punishment is a violation of international humanitarian law.

There has been a long-standing Israeli demographic policy to refuse or limit residency rights for Palestinians, whether in Israel, in occupied East Jerusalem, or in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The 2003 Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law bars Palestinians from the OPT from living with Israeli spouses in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. In the OPT, the policy is implemented without reference to any law. This has caused some Palestinians with foreign spouses to decide to leave the OPT in order to enjoy their right to a normal family life. Such people are then considered non-residents by the Israeli authorities and denied the right to re-enter the OPT

Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

ICC starts analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

More Pictures from Another site.

Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

Reading this might give you an idea of how far Zionist will go. The Holocaust Victims Accuse

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Ehud Barak

In June 2007, the suspect imposed a siege on 1.5 million residents of Gaza. The siege, which is ongoing in 2009, is collective punishment according to International Law. The year and a half long siege caused severe food and fuel shortages, intermittent drinking water and electricity supply, disruption to sewage treatment plants and shortages of medicine and essential medical equipment, affecting the lives of 1.5 million people – a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute.

On 27 December 2008, the suspect ordered the aerial bombardment of Gazan population centers. The attacks involved hundreds of fighter jet sorties, dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gazan neighborhoods. At least 1,300 people – men, women and children were killed and 5,300 were injured. Schools, hospitals and UN facilities were targeted, medical crews shot at and prevented from evacuating the wounded.

On 10 December 2008, a formal complaint was submitted by Lebanese lawyers to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, against Ehud Barak and four other Israelis: Ehud Olmert, Matan Vilnai, Avi Dichter and Gabi Ashkenazi on the suspicion that they had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by ordering and maintaining a siege on Gaza.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, lower than average height, graying hair, brown eyes, with glasses.




Photo courtesy of the New Histadrut

Amir Peretz

On 12 July 2006, the suspect ordered the aerial bombardment of villages and cities in Lebanon, targeting essential infrastructure, such as water, food, fuel and electricity supplies. The bombing also damaged hospitals, clinics and schools – all places expressly prohibited from attack under international law. As a result of the bombing, ground assault and artillery fire, more than 1,200 people were killed including hundreds of children and elderly people.

On 8th November 2006, the suspect ordered the shelling of Beit Hanoun, a neighborhood in Gaza, in response to rockets fired toward Israel. For 15 minutes, residential neighborhoods were shelled, resulting in the deaths of 19 people, including 9 children. At least 40 people were injured. Firing shells deliberately and indiscriminately into civilian areas constitutes a war crime.

In August 2006, an official complaint was filed to the High Court in Morocco on the suspicion Peretz had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The suspect holds Moroccan citizenship. The complaint was filed by 3 Moroccan Jews, all renowned for their human rights work.

Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 60 years old, black hair, brown eyes, with a moustache.


Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Binyamin Ben Eliezer

At the end of the ’67 war, the suspect was the head of the Sayeret Shaked IDF Unit. According to testimonies by Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, the suspect ordered the killing of 250 Egyptian or Palestinian fighters (exact nationality unclear) shortly after the war ended. Evidence indicates that the killings were carried out using helicopters flying low above the Sinai desert, hunting the retreating soldiers, some of whom were unarmed.

Further eye-witness testimonies state that the suspect personally executed prisoners of war who did not obey instructions. The killing of soldiers after hostilities have ended, and the execution of prisoners of war are all expressly prohibited under international law and are classed as war crimes.

Between March 2001 and November 2002 the suspect, acting as Minister of Defense, led a policy of extra judicial killings, collective punishment and the shelling of residential areas in the West Bank and Gaza. All of these actions are prohibited under international law and constitute war crimes and crime against humanity, and since July 2002 are prosecutable in the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

In March 2007 the suspect, whilst still a government minister, canceled a trip to Egypt due to fear of arrest for his activities in the ’67 war.

Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 70, black hair, larger than average build.


Photo courtesy of the Government Information Office

Avi Dichter

From July 1, 2002, on the day the International Criminal Court was established, until May 2005, the suspect was head of the Shabak, the Israeli intelligence service (GSS). As head of the Shabak, the suspect ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians – an activity explicitly prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute and the International Convention against Torture. Torture is a crime against humanity.

In July 2002, the suspect was part of a group, which ordered the assassination of Salah Shehadeh, the commander of the Hamas military wing. The assassination was carried out by dropping a one-ton bomb on Shehadeh’s house, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more. Extra-judicial executions are war crimes under international law. The bombing of residential neighborhoods is collective punishment.

On 10 December 2008, a complaint was submitted to the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, against the suspect and 4 other people – on the suspicion he had committed war crimes for ordering the siege of Gaza. The suspect was acting as Minister for Public Security at the time. Prior to this, in July 2008, a complaint was filed in the High Court of Spain on the suspicion he had committed a war crime for ordering the execution of Salah Shehadeh. The Spanish court has issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

Description of the suspect: a white man about 55 years old, taller than average height, white hair. The suspect speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic.


Photo courtesy of the Danish Embassy

Carmi Gilon

From 1995-1996, the suspect was head of the Israeli Internal Security services, also known as the Shabak (GSS). In this capacity, he ordered the torture of Palestinian detainees – an activity prohibited under international law and classed as a crime against humanity.

Torture usually included: tying a person in painful positions continuously for hours, sometimes days; tying a noxious smelling hood over the person’s head, “shaking” the person; depriving the person of sleep and food; exposing him or her to freezing or high temperatures, chaining him or her to a small chair in a way designed to induce pain, playing loud music for hours, and isolating the person from the outside world, sometimes for months.

According to interviews the suspect gave to various media after the end of his service, the suspect was personally involved in about 100 cases of torture of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were released without any trial. In those interviews, the suspect said he supported torture and even called on the Israeli government and Supreme Court to continue the policy of torture. This is forbidden.

Several human rights organizations in Israel and abroad, including Amnesty International, hold testimonies given by hundreds of Palestinians who were severely torture (out of thousand who were tortured but have not given testimonies). The tortures were carried out during the time that the suspect was head of the Shabak.

In August 2001, a complaint about the suspect’s involvement in torture was made in Denmark by a group of lawyers for human rights and a group of Palestinians who had received asylum there. The complaint was rejected because the suspect had diplomatic immunity at the time since he was acting as the ambassador for Israel in Denmark.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60 years old, wearing glasses.


Photo courtesy of the office of the chief of staff

Dan Halutz

On 12 July 2006, the suspect, as Chief of Staff, ordered air strikes on villages and cities in Lebanon, causing destruction and killing for 34 days. This is prohibited under international law.

Following the air strikes, which destroyed infrastructure and necessities for human life, nearly 900,000 people were forced to leave their homes or remain without shelter for weeks. Despite this, the suspect continued to order his pilots to bombard Lebanon repeatedly, wiping out entire neighborhoods.

4 years earlier, in July 2002, the suspect ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Rafah, Gaza, causing the deaths of 15 people including 9 children, and injuring dozens more.

In July 2008, after collecting evidence, testimony and documents, a complaint was submitted to the High Court of Spain on suspicion that Halutz had committed a war crime by ordering a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza. The court  has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man about 60 years old, of average height, graying hair, wearing glasses.


Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Doron Almog

On 10 January 2002, as head of the Southern Command, the suspect ordered the demolition of 59 houses in Rafah, occupied Gaza, an act that is considered to be collective punishment under international law and therefore prohibited.

On 22 July 2002, the suspect was part of a group which ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza to eliminate the Palestinian Salah Shehadeh. The explosion killed 15 people, including 9 children. Dozens of people were injured.

The demolition of homes, the expulsion of residents, the bombing of residential areas, the killing of innocent civilians as a policy of occupation are considered violations of International law and classed as war crimes.

In 2005, a British court issued a warrant to arrest the suspect, however he evaded capture. In July 2008, the High Court of Spain issued a second warrant to arrest the suspect for his part in bombing the house in Gaza. Spain has extradition treaties with  other EU countries.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, above average height, short graying hair, blue eyes. Also goes by his previous name Doron Avrutzki. Was seen recently in a company which invests money in the Israeli weapons industry – Athlone Global Security.

Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office

Ehud Olmert

On 12 July 2006, the suspect ordered the bombing of cities and villages in Lebanon. The 34-day bombing of residential areas broke international law. The aerial bombing and land assault ordered by the suspect, killed approximately 1,200 people and injured about 4,400. During the attack, the suspect ordered several thousand cluster bombs to be dropped near residential areas in Lebanon, something forbidden under international conventions. In total, about a million small bombs were dropped, which led to the post war deaths of 30 people and the injury of 215, including 90 children.

In the summer of 2007, the suspect ordered the blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza, preventing them from receiving adequate food, water and electricity supplies and medication – all explicitly prohibited under international law. In December 2008, the suspect ordered an air, land and sea attack on the residents of Gaza, causing the rapid destruction of residential areas and the deaths of 1,300 people – hundreds of them children.

On 10 December 2008, Lebanese lawyers submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, against the suspect and others, on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his part in the siege of Gaza. In March 2009, the suspect will lose his diplomatic immunity.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60 years old, above average height, balding, with blue eyes and a taste for cigars.


Photo courtesy of the IAF Spokesperson

Eliezer Shkedy

The facts: On 12th July 2006, the suspect was head of the Israeli Air Force and therefore responsible for thousands of fighter jet sorties, which bombed residential areas in Lebanon. The bombings, using hundreds of tons of explosives, damaged more than 100,000 homes. The Air Force, under his command, deliberately targeted water sources and electrical power stations, and wrecked schools, hospitals and clinics. The air strikes killed hundreds of people and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, becoming refugees without shelter.

The deliberate bombing of residential neighborhoods, as well as the deliberate destruction of houses, water and electricity plants, and essential civilian infrastructure is strictly prohibited under international law. Whoever violates these laws is considered to be a war criminal and guilty of crimes against humanity.

Collective punishment and extra judicial executions are all forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention and violations can be heard before the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 50 years old, above average height, ginger hair, wearing glasses.


Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Gabi Ashkenazi

On 27th December 2008, the suspect, as Chief of Staff, ordered the Israeli army to attack densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. For three weeks, 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped from the air on residential neighborhoods in Gaza and tens of thousands of artillery shells were fired from tanks. For 3 weeks, the army damaged and destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, water and electrical plants, killed more than 1,300 people, hundreds of them children, and injured about 5,300 people. Thousands of houses were bombed or shelled and 50,000 residents were made homeless,  without shelter.

Prior to this, the suspect was part of a group, which implemented a siege on 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, denying them a regular supply of food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity for 18 months.

According to international law, it is absolutely prohibited to bomb residential areas in a way that interrupts the lives of civilians; to carry out executions without trial, to collectively punish; to destroy or damage hospitals, schools and homes. The prohibitions against collective punishment were enshrined in the Geneva Conventions after the behavior of the Nazis in Europe during World War II when they destroyed entire villages to punish residents for sheltering the resistance. 194 countries agree with the prohibitions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In December 2008, a complaint was filed in the Hague against the suspect, on suspicion that he had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for ordering the siege of Gaza.

Description of the suspect: male, about 55 years old, black hair, olive skin above average height. The suspect is armed and could be dangerous.


Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Giora Eiland

In July 2008, a claim was filed against the suspect in the High Court in Spain on suspicion that he was involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity for ordering a one ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza, which caused the deaths of 15 people including 9 children (July 2002). Bombing residential areas is collective punishment and constitutes a war crime. Extra judicial executions are prohibited under international law and since July 2002 are prosecutable in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Description of the suspect: a white man, 55 years of age, of average height, white hair.

Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

Matan Vilnai

In July 2007, the suspect along with his accomplices ordered a siege on 1.5 million people in Gaza. The siege caused severe deprivation by preventing the regular supply of food, water, gas, electricity, and medication to the residents living there. The siege lasted for 18 months, is still ongoing, and included a naval, air and land blockade.

In February 2008, the suspect said on Israeli army radio “the more the Qassam rocket fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a holocaust.”

Indeed on 27th December 2008, the suspect as Deputy Defense Minister, was part of a cabinet decision which ordered air, naval and ground attacks on densely populated areas in Gaza – attacks that lasted for about 3 weeks. As a result of the attacks, entire buildings collapsed on residents and infants were found starving next to their dead parents. Wounded people were buried under rubble for many days because IDF soldiers prevented medics from reaching them. (According to reports by the Red Cross.)

Some 1,300 people were killed, hundreds of them children. 5,300 were wounded. The air force bombs and tank shells hit hospitals, clinics, schools, infrastructure, UN buildings, electricity and water sources – leaving hundreds of thousands without the necessities for life.

In December 2008, a lawsuit was filed against the suspect in the International Criminal Court, The Hague on suspicion that the siege of Gaza breached international law and was thus a war crime and crime against humanity.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, shaven head, above average height.


Photo courtesy of the Israeli Embassy

Moshe Bogie Yaalon

On 18th April 1996, IDF troops fired 38 artillery shells measuring 155 mm at the UN compound in the village of Qana, Lebanon where 800 refugees were sheltering. They had fled their homes due to Operation Grapes of Wrath. The IDF attack was in response to Hezbollah fighters launching rockets at IDF forces from a place a few hundred meters from the compound. The IDF shelling killed 106 people and left dozens of survivors injured. During this time, the suspect was head of Israeli army intelligence, and together with others, was responsible for the shelling. Firing at a compound where civilians are sheltering from fighting is considered a war crime under international law.

On 22 July 2002, as head of the Israeli army, the suspect ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Rafah, Gaza, in order to assassinate Salah Shehadeh. The bomb caused the deaths of 15 people including 9 children, and injured dozens more. Bombing neighborhoods where civilians live is forbidden under international law and is considered to be a war crime.

In November 2005, relatives of those killed in Kafr Qana filed a civil law suit against the suspect in a Washington DC court. The suspect was handed a subpoena whilst he was visiting Washington, but he refused to take it and left quickly after.

In December 2006, while the suspect was making a private visit to New Zealand, a  lawsuit was submitted to a New Zealand court, regarding the suspect’s part in the assassination of Shehadeh. An Aukland district judge ordered his arrest. Pressure was however placed on the Attorney General by the Ministry of Justice to cancel the warrant.

In July 2008, the suspect’s name was included in a list submitted to a Spanish court for investigations into war crimes. The court has issued a  warrant for his arrest. Spain has an extradition agreement with all the countries in the European Union.

Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60, large build, above average height, brown hair, wearing glasses.


Photo courtesy of the Israeli Government Spokesperson

Shaul Mofaz

Between, October 2000 and June 2002 the suspect ordered a serious of actions against the Palestinian people, which included assassinations, torture, house demolitions and the deportation of civilians. In early 2001, the suspect, as Chief of Staff ordered the Israeli army to kill 70 armed Palestinians per day.

On 29th March 2002 and for 6 weeks after, the suspect was in charge of a military operation called “Operation Defensive Shield” in which, according to the Red Crescent, the army killed 216 Palestinians and wounded 416. The operation involved the widespread destruction of homes, the denial of medical treatment for the wounded, especially in two Palestinian cities, Jenin and Nablus. These actions are classifiable as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The suspect continued these activities even after being appointed Israeli Defense Minister up to 2006. In 2002, a British lawyer presented a file to the UK Director of Public Prosecutions asking for the suspect to be investigated for war crimes such as targeted assassinations and the demolition of Palestinian homes. The suspect left the UK quickly upon hearing a file had been presented.

Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 60 years old, of below average height, clean-shaven. The suspect is armed and may be dangerous.


Photo courtesy of the Israeli Foreign Office

Tzipi Livni

On the 12th of July 2006, the suspect along with her accomplices ordered the aerial bombardment and artillery assault on residential areas in Lebanon. For 34 days she authorized troops to make 12,000 aerial sorties, to fire 100,000 artillery shells, damaging 350 schools and destroying 15,000 houses in Lebanon. 130,000 homes were partially damaged. The attacks destroyed water sources, hospitals, power stations and other infrastructure essential to life. 900,000 people were forced to leave their homes and remain without shelter for many days. Some 1,200 people were killed, and 4,400 were wounded: approximately 30% of the dead, about 360, were children under the age of 13.

On 27th December 2008, the suspect and her accomplices ordered an aerial, ground and naval attack on densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. The attacks again damaged houses, hospitals, schools and infrastructure, and killed more than 1,300 people, including hundreds of children.  20,000 houses were partially destroyed and 50,000 people were made homeless as a result of the suspects orders.

Attacking innocent people, shooting indiscriminately into residential areas, causing injuries, destroying essential infrastructure such as water, electrical plants and hospitals are all prohibited under International law and are war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Description of the suspect: a white woman, 50 years old, above average height, blonde hair.


Anyone who has information about the suspects when he is outside of the Israeli borders, report immediately to:

The Prosecutor
POBox 19519
2500 Hague
Netherlands
Fax +31 70 515 8 555
otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int


* All information will be treated in confidence

Source

Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

January 22, 2009

There is more than enough evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its three week-long offensive into Gaza, says a UN investigator.

UN special rapporteur Richard Falk called for an independent inquiry into Israel’s violation of international humanitarian law.

Falk said Israel’s actions against the besieged Gazans are reminiscent of “the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto” which included the starvation and murder of Polish Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

“There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel,” said the Jewish American academic on Thursday.

Falk, who was denied entry to Israel in December, said Gazans may have been mentally scarred for life because Israel made no effort to allow civilians to escape.

Israeli officials moved closer to being prosecuted for war crimes after Norwegian medics in Gaza found traces of depleted uranium on Gaza victims, suggesting that Israel used the illegal weapons in its war on the impoverished territory, which houses some 1.5 million Palestinians.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is a “high risk of developing cancer from exposure to radiation emitted by … depleted uranium weapons. This risk is assumed to be proportional to the dose received.”

The Geneva Convention has classified depleted uranium ammunitions as ‘illegal weapons of mass destruction’ due to their high radioactivity and toxicity.

Israel faces potential war crimes charges over its excessive use of other controversial weapons on the densely-populated coastal strip.

Human rights group Amnesty International has also touched on the issue, saying that Tel Aviv used white phosphorus munitions “indiscriminately and illegally” in overcrowded areas of Gaza.

“The repeated use [of White Phosphorus] in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime,” said Donatella Rovera of the Amnesty International.

White phosphorus is a high-incendiary substance that bursts into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, burning flesh to the bone and often leading to death.

Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to allegedly defend its territories from Hamas rockets, which were fired in retaliation for Israel’s violation of a ceasefire that had then been in place.

Falk, dismissed Israel’s argument that the assault was for self-defense, saying that “the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense.”

Source

I have information on White Phosphorus,  DU and Cluster Bombs in the Archives. There is also evidence of their use in the Photos if you know what to look for. They did use illegal weapons on the people of Gaza and they did starve them using the blockade, among other horrendous crimes.

War Crimes have no Statute of Limitation.

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’/Israels Latin America “Trail of Terror”

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 2:51 am  Comments Off on Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto  
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Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

khaled-abed-rabbo1Khaled Abed Rabbo in the remains of his family house, destroyed during the three-week Israeli offensive

Grieving Palestinian father says children were killed after family obeyed order from troops to leave Gaza home

By Donald Macintyre in Gaza City
January 21 2009

A Palestinian father has claimed that he saw two of his young daughters shot dead and another critically injured by an Israeli soldier who emerged from a stationary tank and opened fire as the family obeyed an order from the Israeli forces to leave their home.

Khaled Abed Rabbo said Amal, aged two and Suad, seven, were killed by fire from the soldier’s semi-automatic rifle. His third daughter, Samer, four, has been evacuated to intensive care in a Belgian hospital after suffering critical spinal injuries which he said were inflicted in the attack early in Israel’s ground offensive.

Mr Abed Rabbo stood near the wreckage off his subsequently destroyed home on the eastern edge of the northern Gaza town of Jabalya yesterday and described how a tank had parked outside the building at 12.50pm on 7 January and ordered the family in Arabic through a megaphone to leave building. He said his 60-year-old mother had also been shot at as she left waving her white headscarf with her son, daughter in law and her three grandchildren.

“Two soldiers were on the tank eating chips, then one man came out of the tank with a rifle and started shooting the kids,” Mr Abed Rabbo, who receives a salary as a policeman from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said. The family say they think the weapon used by the soldier was an M16 and that the first to be shot was Amal. Mr Abed Rabbo said that Suad was then shot with what he claimed were 12 bullets, and then Samer.

The soldier who fired the rifle had what Mr Abed Rabbo thought were ringlets visible below his helmet, he said. The small minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who serve in the army are in a unit which did not take part in the Gaza offensive and only a very small number of settlers who also favour that hairstyle serve in other units.

It has so far been impossible independently to verify Mr Abed Rabbo’s claim and the military said last night Israeli Defence Forces “does not target civilians, only Hamas terrorists and infrastructure”. It added: “The IDF is investigating various claims made with regard to Operation Cast Lead and at the end of its investigation will respond accordingly.”

The district is named Abed Rabbo after the clan who live in most of it. The dense concrete roof of the house now hangs at more at more than a 45-degree angle, and at least three other substantial buildings have been flattened in the agricultural, semi-rural immediate neighbourhood. Khaled Abed Rabbo said that there had been a delay before the ambulance could reach the building because the road from the west had been made impassable by the churning of the tanks.

The soldiers had in the end let the family leave on foot, he said. He added that they walked two kilometres before finding a vehicle to take them to Kamal Adwan Hospital. He said: “I carried Suad, who was dead, my wife carried Amal and my brother Ibrahim carried Samer.”

He added: “We are not Hamas. My children were not Hamas. And if they were going to shoot anyone it should have been me.” He added: “I want the international community and the International Red Cross to ask Israel why it has done this to us. They talk about democracy but is it democracy to kill children? What did the kids do to them? What did my house do to them? They destroyed my life?

Gaza City is showing signs of returning to a form of normality as more shops reopen. The offices of the main Palestinian telephone company Jawwal reopened though this has not eased severe problems of connectivity on the Palestinian mobile network.

Some Hamas policemen were back directing traffic, though in smaller numbers than before the offensive. Unconfirmed figures are that 270 Hamas policemen were killed, mainly in the air attacks during the first week. In a victory rally in Gaza city yesterday, Hamas supporters converged on a square near the remains of the bombed parliament building..

‘Heartbreaking’: The ugly face of war

The UN secretary general, looking distressed, described the devastation of Gaza as “heartbreaking” on a visit to the area yesterday after the 22-day Israeli assault.

“I have seen only a fraction of the destruction,” said Ban Ki-moon, as he stood in front of a UN warehouse set on fire by Israeli shells last Thursday. “This is shocking and alarming. These are heartbreaking scenes I have seen and I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today.” he said.

Mr Ban demanded a full investigation into the Israeli shelling of the UN Relief and Works Agency compound. UN officials say the compound, still smouldering yesterday, was targeted by white phosphorus munitions which are not supposed to be used in densely populated areas because of the harm to civilians. Mr Ban said the Israeli attacks on UNRWA headquarters and two UN schools in Gaza, one of which killed 40 sheltering Palestinians, were “outrageous”.

Amnesty International said Israel’s repeated use of the munitions despite evidence of their indiscriminate effects and harm to civilians “is a war crime”. The Israeli army has launched an investigation but says Hamas fighters operate from densely populated areas, and used UN buildings as cover for attacks.

Mr Ban said: “It has been especially troubling and heartbreaking for me as secretary general that I couldn’t end this faster,” he said. He urged Israel and Hamas to “exercise maximum restraint and nurture the ceasefire”.

Source

They should get statements from as many Palestinians as they can.

They hold the truth. Their truth must be told and those responsible must be held responsible.

UN wants all Gaza borders opened
By EDITH M. LEDERER

January 21 2009

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said Tuesday he’s heading to Gaza. A top priority will be to get all border crossings opened, he said, not only for food and medicine but for desperately needed construction materials which Israel has refused to allow in since Hamas seized power in June 2007.

He said “it’s absolutely critical” that cement, pipes and other building materials are “unbanned” by Israel and allowed into Gaza to start rebuilding the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.
“Otherwise, the reconstruction effort won’t get off first base,” Holmes said.

Holmes, who expects to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, told a news conference he will also be pressing Israeli authorities to allow humanitarian staff from international organizations into Gaza.

“In theory, they have permission,” he said. “In practice, it’s proving very difficult to get into Gaza.”

Holmes said Monday that hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid will be needed immediately to help Gaza’s 1.4 million people and billions of dollars will be required to rebuild its shattered buildings and infrastructure.

Israel launched the war on Dec. 27 in an effort to halt years of militant rocket fire by Hamas on its southern communities and arms smuggling into Gaza. The Israeli government declared a cease-fire that went into effect early Sunday, and hours later, Hamas agreed to silence its guns, too. Israel had withdrawn the bulk of its forces from Gaza by Tuesday evening, ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, but the temporary cease-fire remained shaky.

Holmes said Tuesday the U.N. is “trying to ramp up the humanitarian efforts in Gaza,” and while some trucks and fuel are getting into Gaza, the number remains small and “very inadequate” compared to the number of trucks allowed in before Hamas seized power.

“We need more food, wheat grain in particular both for the humanitarian food distribution and for local bakeries,” Holmes said.
Gaza also needs continuing supplies of fuel for its power plant, for hospital generators and for bakeries to bake bread, he said.
Holmes said a lasting and durable cease-fire and the reopening of all border crossings are essential to get humanitarian aid, commercial goods and construction materials into Gaza.

The temporary cease-fire doesn’t include an agreement on the opening of border crossings, he noted.

“There’s a lot of talk about it but it doesn’t exist yet. So that’s one of the points I’m very keen to pursue when I go there myself later this week,” Holmes said.

Under an Egyptian-French initiative being discussed, the temporary cease-fire would be followed by separate talks with Israel and Hamas on a permanent cease-fire in which weapons smuggling routes into Gaza would shut down with international help. Discussions on opening Gaza’s blockaded border crossings would take place at a later date.

Holmes said construction materials “were effectively to virtually 100 percent banned from entering into Gaza since the Hamas takeover in 2007, which meant even before these hostilities a lot of humanitarian projects which had been planned were not able to be completed.”

He cited the repair of Gaza’s sewage system, which was further damaged in the latest conflict, as an example.

“So it’s absolutely critical that these kind of materials now be allowed into Gaza on a regular … basis … without too much bureaucracy,” Holmes said. “That is something we need to pursue with the Israeli authorities to make sure they are doing that, and that’s one of the things we’ll be pursuing.”

John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which helps Palestinian refugees, said that when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the seriously damaged UNRWA office in Gaza City on Tuesday, representatives of Gaza civic organizations told him the cycle of violence in the territory must end, “even in terms of building.”

They want to make sure that “what is built now will remain standing because many of the buildings that have been destroyed _ the ministry buildings, other vital infrastructure here _ they were built with international money in the last 15 years, and now they’re piles of rubble,” he said.

“What a waste of money,” Ging said. “We unfortunately now have to put money back into building that should be going into further development.”

Source

“Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009

Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Just added January 22. More war crimes in Haiti compliments of  US funding. Haiti: War Crimes and Oil

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 3:55 am  Comments Off on Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’  
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900 people killed in Philippines by ‘mysterious death squads’

Peasant leaders, environmental campaigners and student activists in the Philippines are being murdered by mysterious death squads who appear to have close links to the army.

By Thomas Bell, South East Asia Correspondent
January 19 2009

Since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001, campaigners say over 900 people have been extra-judicially executed and 200 more have “disappeared”.

A United Nations report in 2007 blamed the army for most of the killings, but no action has been taken and the unexplained murders continue.

One of the most dangerous areas is the Compostela Valley, on the southern island of Mindanao. It is a place of great natural beauty as well as rural poverty which is home to several foreign owned gold mines and a long-standing communist insurgency. In the final few weeks of 2008, five apparently peaceful, law-abiding men were mysteriously shot dead in the area.

The first victim was Danilo Qualbar, a 48-year-old activist for the Left-wing People First party, who was shot on November 6. Human rights researchers said there was no autopsy and no investigation – the police did not even interview the victim’s family.

According to Mr Qualbar’s widow, a group of soldiers called out “that one” as her husband passed through a military checkpoint a week before his murder.

The next victim was 4 days later when Rolando Antolihao, 39 – a banana plantation worker and People First party member – was shot dead in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter. There was a small army post 50 metres away but according to reports the soldiers on duty did respond to the shooting.

In the following weeks two more activists were shot.

Finally, two days before Christmas Fernando Sarmiento, a 39-year-old environmentalist who argued that a local gold mine was damaging the interests of local people, was killed by assassins fitting the same description.

Mr Sarmiento’s friends said he was arrested by the army in July and accused of being a communist guerrilla.

Witnesses noted that the killers in the Compostela Valley usually arrived on a red Honda motorcycle and used a .45 pistol. At the top of the list of suspects are soldiers from local army camps, but there has been no official investigation into the shootings, or whether the deaths are even in any way connected.

Human rights campaigners claim that the killings are part of an offensive launched by President Arroyo in an attempt to defeat Maoist guerrillas called the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2010.

Although they deny the murders, senior army officers claim that legal parties such People First and other activist groups which most of the victims belong to are fronts for the communists.

Instead, the army frequently claims, the deaths are a result of feuds and purges within the communist party.

According to Lt Col Ernesto Torres, an army spokesman the “security forces are convenient scapegoats” for the killings and he claims allegations against the army are made by “groups who want to bring down the government and replace it with their own brand of government”.

Yet, according to Alan Davies, director of the Philippine Human Rights Project, “No agency, either international or local, is trying to properly investigate and map these killings to see how they are linked”.

One woman who knows the pain this official silence causes is Erlinda Cadapan. Her daughter Sherlyn was a 29-year-old university student campaigning for peasant rights when she was abducted along with a friend by suspected soldiers in 2006.

A witness, who claims he met the two women in army custody, has testified that he saw them raped and tortured by soldiers and that soldiers told him they were later killed.

Mrs Cadapan has written to President Arroyo but received no response.

In September a court ruled that, if they were still alive, the women must be released.

“That makes me really angry because in spite of the ruling no one from the government is willing to help me. They are trying to protect the armed forces,” said Mrs Cadapan.

“There is some rumour that my daughter is still alive so we are hoping and praying fro that,” she said. “But still they deny everything.”

President Arroyo has remained mostly silent on the 900 killings and 200 “disappearances” on her watch, the army denies any role and no-one has ever been prosecuted.

Source

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on 900 people killed in Philippines by ‘mysterious death squads’  
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Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family

Some of the Samouni family died from shrapnel wounds and others from being crushed by falling masonry.

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
January 6 2009

But the one death that sticks in Nael al Samouni’s mind is that of the relative he claims was shot by an Israeli sniper.

“We ran from the shelling and there were people everywhere, members of my family, but one fell down injured,” Nael, 36, said.

“I heard the shot as I ran but there was nothing I could do.”

With Israel barring foreign journalists from reaching Gaza, it is impossible to verify the account of what happened to the Samouni family emerging from eyewitness testimony provided by survivors.

But different survivors all gave near identical accounts of how the Israeli army arrived at dawn on Sunday in the area of Zeitoun where the Samouni family have lived for generations.

In what the United Nations fears could be the bloodiest single attack of the Israeli assault, as many as 60 members of the extended Samouni family were killed near their homes in the Gazan town of Zeitoun while nine more died in hospital.

Dozens of bodies are believed to remain under the rubble of a large house hit repeatedly by Israeli shelling in the incident.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has formally requested permission from the Israeli army to visit the scene of the attack to establish the exact scale of the slaughter.

Israel has so far not granted permission to the ICRC due to ongoing fighting.

Palestinian ambulances have also tried to reach the scene but it remains too dangerous. Several ambulances have been hit by Israeli shelling and at least seven paramedics killed.

“There are many houses where we live and they ordered us into the house of my brother, Wael,” Nael said.

Wael, 39, another survivor, said as many as 100 members of the clan crowded into his single-storey home with strict orders from the Israeli soldiers not to move.

Three teenage members of the family – Walid, Moussa and Imad – were taken away for questioning by the Israeli army while the remainder waited anxiously without adequate food or water until night fell and fighting intensified outside.

They thought they had survived the night when at 6.35 am on Monday the house was suddenly hit by a shell that brought the roof down. It was then hit again and again.

“I saw my father and mother, and three of my children killed,” Wael said. “There was blood and bodies everywhere but some people were lost under the rubble.

“My wife survived and we had no choice but to run as the shelling continued.

“I carried my five-year-old son with me but when we got to hospital they had to cut off his arm.” He said the survivors ran on foot for about a mile and a half until they reached the main north-south road in Gaza, Salahudin Street, where they found civilian cars to take them to hospital.

It was in the chaos of the Israeli barrage that Nael said he saw someone fall down injured.

The exact number of dead is impossible to say at this time although doctors in the mortuary at Shifa, the biggest hospital in Gaza, recorded nine members of the Samouni family as reaching the mortuary by Monday afternoon.

Among them were Issa, 3, and two other infants. A photograph of their burial made it onto the front page of the International Herald Tribune yesterday.

Another survivor, Hilmi al Samouni, 26, said that when the Israeli soldiers ordered the 100 or so family members into one place they confiscated their mobile phones.

A source at the UN said the Samouni family killings could be the bloodiest single attack for civilians since Israel launched operation Cast Lead eleven days ago.

An inquiry about the incident was made to the press office of the Israeli army but by last night no answer had been received.

Source

They were ordered into  a house by Israeli Soldiers, told not to move  and then killed.

  1. Wael, 39, another survivor, said as many as 100 members of the clan crowded into his single-storey home with strict orders from the Israeli soldiers not to move.
  2. Another survivor, Hilmi al Samouni, 26, said that when the Israeli soldiers ordered the 100 or so family members into one place they confiscated their mobile phones.
  3. Three teenage members of the family – Walid, Moussa and Imad – were taken away for questioning by the Israeli army while the remainder waited anxiously without adequate food or water until night fell and fighting intensified outside.
  4. They thought they had survived the night when at 6.35 am on Monday the house was suddenly hit by a shell that brought the roof down. It was then hit again and again.

This was no accident, this was deliberate murder of innocent civilians, sickening,  shameful, premeditated murder.

GAZA : “This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population”

January 6, 2009

Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor working at Al-Shifa Hospital Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City , tells Sky News that the number of civilians injured and killed in Gaza proves that Israel is deliberately attacking the population.

“Just a little bit more than an hour ago the Israelis bombed the central fruit market in Gaza city and we had a mass influx of about 50 injured and between 10 and 15 killed. At the same time they bombed an apartment house with children playing on the roof and we had a lot of children also. So this is really like speaking from the dumps of Inferno, it’s like hell here now, and it’s been bombing all night. Until now close to 500 people have been killed and the number of casualties is getting to 2,500 of which 50% are children and women.”

“Are your hospitals reaching capacity? Can you deal with these people?”

“We have been doing surgery around the clock. I have just talked with one of my colleagues in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), he’s not been sleeping for three days and the hospital is completely overcrowded, we are running 6 – 7 Ors (Operating Rooms) and there are injuries you just don’t want to see in this world… children coming in with open abdomens and legs cut off. We just had a child that we had to amputate both legs and an arm. And their only crime is being civilians and Palestinians living in Gaza. The relief now is not more doctors and more drugs; the relief now is to stop the bombing immediately, this cannot go on, it’s a disaster.”

“You’ve talked about the civilians, the women, the children, the men who aren’t involved in this, but are you also getting casualties that are Hamas fighters?”

“To be honest, we came on New Year’s Eve in the morning. I’ve seen one military person among the tenths… I mean hundreds that we’ve seen and treated, so anybody who tries to portrait this as a totally clean war against another army are lying.

This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza, and we can prove that with numbers. And you have to remember that the average age of the Gaza inhabitants is 17 years. It’s a very young population and 80% are living below the poverty limit of the UN. So this is a poor and very young people, and they are able to escape absolutely nowhere, because they cannot flee like other populations can in war time, because they are fenced in and they are in a cage, so they’re bombing 1.5 million people in a cage… young people, poor people and, you know, you cannot separate between the civilians and the fighters in such a situation.”

Transcribed by Atenea Acevedo (Tlaxcala) and Hana Al Bayaty (IAON)

Source

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus Shells/Targets UN School

Gaza hospital overwhelmed by dead and wounded

An Open Letter From Jewish Youth in Canada – Support of Gaza

Foreign Press still banned from Gaza/Israel attacks Media Building in Gaza City

Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances

War on Gaza – Timeline: June 19 2008 to January 3 2009

Gaza: Al-Wafa Hospital received warning they would be shelled

Israel pounds Gaza strip, vows to continue attacks

Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm  Comments Off on Israel strike kills up to 60 members of one family  
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Israeli tanks, soldiers invade Gaza Strip

January 4 2009

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA

Israeli tanks and infantry battled Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in a ground offensive launched after eight days of deadly air strikes failed to halt the Islamist group’s rocket attacks on Israel.

A column of Israeli tanks, backed by aircraft, pushed deep into the territory, and Israel’s navy prevented travel along Gaza’s coastal road, witnesses said, effectively cutting the enclave in half.

In initial fighting, Israeli ground forces killed eight Gazans, five of them gunmen, bringing the Palestinian death toll since the start of an air campaign on December 27 to more than 450, Palestinian medical officials said.

Israel said 30 of its soldiers were wounded, two seriously, since the start of the ground assault and that Israeli aircraft struck more than 45 targets, including arms smuggling tunnels, weapons depots and mortar squads.

“During exchanges of fire overnight, dozens of armed Hamas operatives were hit,” an Israeli military communique said.

At the United Nations, the United States thwarted an effort by Libya to persuade the Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire, diplomats said.

Israel said it called up tens of thousands of reservists and the military’s chief spokesman estimated the operation in the Hamas-run territory could take “many long days.”

Heavy casualties are likely to increase international pressure on Israel to halt its biggest operation in the Gaza Strip in four decades, fighting that holds significant political risks for Israeli leaders ahead of a February 10 national election.

The plight of the 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into the Gaza Strip was growing more desperate. People have taken shelter in their homes for days and humanitarian agencies warned that water, food and medical supplies were running short.

WIDESCALE OPERATION

The Israeli military said “large infantry, tank, engineering, artillery and intelligence forces” were operating throughout the Gaza Strip, backed by attacks by aircraft and warships off the Mediterranean coast.

A spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said Israeli troops faced certain death or capture. “The Zionist enemy must know his battle in Gaza is a losing one,” said the spokesman, Abu Ubaida.

At least a quarter of the 453 Palestinians killed in the current conflict have been civilians, a U.N. agency said. Another 2,050 Palestinians have been wounded. A leading Palestinian rights group put the number at 40 percent.

Four Israelis have been killed by rockets that continue to pound southern Israel.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council held a special meeting to discuss the latest developments. Several council diplomats said the U.S. refusal to back the Libyan-drafted demand for an immediate truce had killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously.

“It won’t be easy. It won’t be short,” said Barak, leader of the center-left Labor party and a candidate for prime minister in the election.

A spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said Israeli troops faced certain death or capture. “The Zionist enemy must know his battle in Gaza is a losing one,” spokesman Abu Ubaida said.

At least a quarter of the 453 Palestinians killed in the current conflict have been civilians, a U.N. agency said. Another 2,050 Palestinians have been wounded.

Four Israelis have been killed by rockets in southern Israel.

The United States, Israel’s main backer, said a ceasefire should take place as soon as possible but should guarantee an end to Hamas rocket attacks.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli attack as “a vicious aggression.”

(Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source

Israel has all the Weapons of Mass Destruction at it’s finger tips thanks to the US. Seems they pan on putting them all to use against Palestinians who have very few weapons of any sort.

Sort of like a 250 pound man, betting on a 2 year old kid that has been starving to death for weeks.  Why am I not impressed by this type of behavior.

Gaza offensive criticized across Asia
January 4 2008

ISLAMABAD

Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza drew cries of alarm across Asia Sunday, with Pakistan and China calling for it to end and angry Muslims in Indonesia urging war against the Jewish state.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called for an immediate end to the Israeli air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

“There should be an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We should stop the loss of life and property there,” Qureshi told a televised news conference. “What has happened is unjustified.”

The offensive, launched more than a week ago by Israel in response to a wave of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip run by the Hamas Islamist movement, has killed at least 485 people so far, according to Gaza medics.

Rocket fire from Gaza over the same period has killed four Israelis.

In New York, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire after hours of closed-door talks.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso warned that Israel’s ground offensive into Gaza would only worsen the situation.

“I have asked both of them to show self-restraint,” Aso told a news conference, referring to Israel and Hamas.

“It was difficult for them to sort things out to begin with. I’m very worried that the dispatch of ground troops will make the situation much worse,” he said.

China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for the third time called for the armed conflict to end.

“China is seriously concerned with the escalating situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

“We strongly call on the concerned sides to immediately cease military activities and armed conflict and prevent more civilian casualties.”

Thousands of Islamists in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, rallied across the country to condemn the strikes and called on the government to send troops to fight Israeli forces.

Around 3,000 members of the Islamist Hizbut Tahrir movement filled the streets of central Jakarta in a peaceful march, carrying banners denouncing the Jewish state as a “terrorist” force.

“Indonesia’s military must go to war against Israel, not just as peacekeepers. We ask the government to send troops there, not just medicine,” Farid Wadjdi, the movement’s local head, was quoted as saying by news website Detikcom.

Protesters marched over an Israeli flag painted onto the ground in the city of Makassar in South Sulawesi province, rubbing their feet into the image as a sign of disrespect, television station MetroTV said.

Protesters had also rallied in several cities across Pakistan on Friday against the Israel’s operation, with some burning Israeli flags, and calling for jihad, or holy war, against the Jewish state.

Singapore’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Israel’s invasion was “extremely disturbing” and “can only exacerbate the already grave humanitarian situation,” reiterating a call for restraint on all sides.

“We hope that an immediate ceasefire can be agreed so that urgent humanitarian concerns can be addressed,” the statement said.

In Australia, some 2,000 people marched through Sydney in protest at Israel’s attacks and urged their government to condemn the invasion of the battered Palestinian enclave.

Source

El-Magadma Mosque Bombed to Ashes 13 Worshippers Killed Many are Wounded

By Hiyam Noir

17:25 pm local time
January 3 2009

On Saturday afternoon, the Zionists state of Israel launched two ballistic missiles at the El- Magadma Mosque in the Bietverdana; Lahia Project nearby Kamal Edwan Hospital, in the northern Gaza Strip. Many people are killed, unconfirmed reports say 12 worshippers has been killed inside the Holy Mosque and many are reported to be wounded.

This report from Biet Lahia is written while bombs are falling everywhere, people are fearing the main electricity power line will be destroyed in these heavy air strikes. Many Ambulances and medical team has arrived. The situation is plain horrible. Israeli ground artillery are expected to invade the northern Gaza Strip any time soon.
(Islam Kaloubcontributed to this report)

Source

Photo Fady Adwan January 2 2009 PalestineFreeVoice Images
By Hiyam Noir

January 3 2009 1.23 am

GAZA

In the seventh day of criminal assaults on Gaza Strip, Israeli ballistic missiles paid for with US money, where cutting through steel, bones and flesh – building structures, cars, homes and people across Gaza. By Friday early evening, more than 60 Gaza residents are reported to be maimed and killed.

During this week of Israeli carnage 57% of the killed are innocent children. On Friday morning the Israelis pounded again Hamas targets in Gaza with heavy air strikes.

The report of causalities listed by the Palestinian Governmental Health Ministry in Gaza Strip reveal that the number of death of more than 425 and over 2,000 people are injured.

In response to the assassination of Hamas respected and prominent political and military leader,the commander of Al Qassam Brigades, Nizar Rayan and his family, Hamas will possibly retaliate using its most lethal and effective weapon, which has not been used in several years, suicide operations inside the Jewish state.

In the three air strikes on Nizar Rayan’s home situated in the densely populated Jabaliya Refuge camp, in northern Gaza Strip, Nizar was killed together with his wives and most of his children. Rayan was also a theological lecturer at the IUG, Islamic University of Gaza, a good and brave man, he fought alongside his troops in the battles with Israeli heavy armed soldiers and tanks. He made a point of daring the enemy, the Zionists Israel, he chose to live among his people, openly in his home in Jabaliya refugee camp, and he encouraged other leaders to do the same. Nizzar Rayan’s son, a member of the armed Palestinian resistance, died a Martyrs death, at the early age of 22, in a suicide bombing inside an Israeli settlement.

A Hamas official, Ismail Radwan said on Thursday, regarding the Israelis threats to continue its targeted killings of Hamas leaders, that “after this crime [ the murder of Nizar Rayan], all our options are open to counter the Israelis aggression, including Martyr operations against Zionist targets everywhere, at any time”.

“The Israelis are mistaken if they believe that by killing Hamas leaders, the Israeli assassination campaign will uproot Hamas,” a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, Mkhaimar Abusada, said on Wednesday.” Hamas is a movement that has the support of over 40 percent of the Palestinian people, the assassination of Nizar Rayan, might be a morale blow to Hamas,” said Abusada, however Hamas movement will have no problem finding new leaders, killing Hamas leaders and courageous fighters will only increase the popularity of Hamas.

Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas spokesperson said on Thursday that “ the Israelis has killed our people, destroyed our homes, our governmental and other buildings, but the they can not destroy the Hamas movement – we are not worried about the existence of Hamas, even if their war machinery will destroy all of Gaza Strip – Hamas movement live inside the soul of the Palestinian people”.

Hamas’s media outlets are still broadcasting, Hamas police are still patrolling the streets of Gaza. Hamas will stand strong, in spite of the Israelis assault and the great Palestinian suffering and the loss of lives. On Friday morning, the military branch of Hamas, Al-Qassam were able to take over broadcast announcements trough the Israeli military radio channels, warning the Israeli soldiers from entering the Gaza Strip.

Hamas will stand steady despite of that, the Zionists Israel now are dropping leaflets calling for the Gazan’s to betray their own people. Similar tactics were used 2006 in the Israeli war on Lebanon. The Israelis used similar tactics intended to shake the civilian Lebanese population and crush the spirit of the home front.

In the months that will follow the Israeli ” Cast Lead Massacre” on Gaza Strip, after gathering all the evidence against the Zionist state of Israel including individual Israeli perpetrators, juridical procedures will be filed by thousands of Palestinian victims and their teams of lawyers. The questions of the amount of legal compensations and the sentence imposed, will be determined when the extent of violence and harm is determined. The court will render its decision when all the factors including both money compensation for loss of property and compensation for loss of life and body harm is consented.

The punishment for these unspeakable war crimes will be determined by the main World judicial tribunal, the World Court of Justice ( ICJ ) of the United Nations, and will apply to our international conventions and treaties. The judgment of the World Court of Justice (ICJ) is binding and cannot be appealed, once the parties have consented to its jurisdiction and the court has rendered a decision.

This time there is no way the Zionist state of Israel will get away with murder. The legal and cogent evidence of war crimes are overwhelming, plainly visible and will be supported by hundreds of thousands of testimonies.

( PFV have in possession, more than 500 photographical evidences on file, and transcripts, written or recorded, most of them wired throughout the world).

_____________________

Below the alleged Israelis leaflet distributed throughout Gaza Strip:

Dear people of the Gaza Strip, Bear the responsibility for your fate!

The projectile launchers and the terrorist elements pose a threat on you and your families. If you wish to provide help and assistance to your people in the sector, call the number below to provide us with the needed information. The future of the massacre is in your hands Don’t hesitate!

We will be glad to receive any information you have and it is not necessary to give us your personal information. We will keep it as a secret. Call us at the following number: 02-5839749 Or e-mail us at: Helpgaza2008@gmail.com

To provide us with any information on the terrorist factions. Note: To protect your safety we ask you to be secretive when you call us. Head of the Israeli defense forces.

Source

I can only hope they live long enough to make it a court room. If in fact it ever does make it to a court room and it should. Of course like the US they will get away with it, most likely. There is no real justice in this world. It is just a pretend justice.

If Hamas Did Not Exist

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

People are Saying No to the Israeli Attacks.

US protests against Israels attacks on Gaza

Reports on: Demonstrations Against Israels attacks on Gaza, January 3, 2009 London Paris etc

Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault

Canadian Protesters march in support of Palestinians

Lucky few leave Gaza, Israel planned attacks six months ago

Iranian clerics wearing shrouds chant slogans during an anti-Israeli demonstration after the Friday prayers at Palestine square of Tehran Jan. 2, protesting Israel's continuing bombardment of Gaza.`
Iranian clerics wearing shrouds chant slogans during an anti-Israeli demonstration after the Friday prayers at Palestine square of Tehran Jan. 2, protesting Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza.`
Photograph by: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

GAZA – They boarded buses in the pre-dawn murk on Friday, lucky foreign passport holders allowed by Israel to escape from seven days of Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip.

“The situation is very bad. We are afraid for our children,” said Ilona Hamdiya, a woman from Moldova married to a Palestinian. “We are very grateful to our embassy,” she said in lightly accented Arabic.

Between 350 and 450 foreigners were authorised by Israel to leave Gaza if they wish, via the forbidding concrete corridor that ushers them into Israel’s fortified crossing point and its panoply of security scanners to detect hidden suicide bombs.

Five busloads headed out on the short trip to the border, one of American passport holders and four of mainly East Europeans.

They left behind 1.5 million Palestinians unable to escape the conflict which has killed 414 people since it began last Saturday. Four Israelis have been killed by Gaza rockets.

Gaza city was waking up to another day of Israeli air strikes, flickering electricity and long queues for bread. Aside from the bakeries, the almost deserted streets were cold and dirty, littered with a week’s bombing debris.

Morning air strikes hit six houses. A Palestinian girl of about 14 died apparently of a heart attack, terrified by an explosion which rocked her house, neighbours said.

In the south an Israeli missile killed three children aged 8 to 12, as they played in the street in southern town of Khan Yunis. One was decapitated. At Shifa hospital in Gaza City, doctors could not disguise their anger.

“These injuries are not survivable injuries,” said Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon unable to save one boy who had both feet blown off. “This is a murder. This is a child,” he said.

At the UN Beach Distribution Centre, teenagers with rickety trolleys and men with horses and carts collected sacks of flour and other food aid from a warehouse replenished the day before by 70 aid trucks allowed in via Israel.

“Only God can get us out of this mess,” said one old man waiting to buy his ration of unleavened loaves.

DIE BEFORE GOD

At Jabalya refugee camp to the north, boys inspected the twisted concrete left by one of the Israeli air force’s latest targets, the so-called Mosque of Martyrs which Israel says was a a hidden arsenal and command post for fighters of the Islamist Hamas group which rules the Gaza Strip.

The air force supplied black and white cockpit video of the strike to underscore the large number of secondary explosions which it said proved its case.

Several mosques that would normally be busy before Friday prayers were still closed in the morning because they had been warned by Israel’s army that they would be bombed.

Nine have been hit since the attack began on Saturday.

“I will pray at home. You never know, they may bomb the mosque and destroy it on our heads,” said one man buying humus from a street stand. Another was defiant: “What better than to die while kneeling before God?” he said.

Gaza markets, normally bustling on a Friday, were deserted.

“It is an adventure to get out of your house to fetch a kilo of tomatoes or something,” said Abu Yasser, a father of four.

“But I must take my chances because my children are not to blame for this and they do not understand why all this is happening,” he told Reuters.

Hundreds of families say they have had telephone calls warning their houses would be bombed, and they have left to stay with relatives or friends. Some of their neighbours have packed up and gone as well, wary of becoming “collateral damage”.

Duct tape has been in heavy demand by Palestinians who tape up their windows hoping to protect against flying glass from the heavy explosions.

Hamas police moved about mostly in plain clothes, with no guns on display. Merchants were warned against war profiteering.

Source

The True Story Behind this War Is Not The One Israel Is Telling

By Johann Hari

December 29 2008
The world isn’t just watching the Israeli government commit a crime in Gaza; we are watching it self-harm. This morning, and tomorrow morning, and every morning until this punishment beating ends, the young people of the Gaza Strip are going to be more filled with hate, and more determined to fight back, with stones or suicide vests or rockets. Israeli leaders have convinced themselves that the harder you beat the Palestinians, the softer they will become. But when this is over, the rage against Israelis will have hardened, and the same old compromises will still be waiting by the roadside of history, untended and unmade.

To understand how frightening it is to be a Gazan this morning, you need to have stood in that small slab of concrete by the Mediterranean and smelled the claustrophobia. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide.

There will now be a war over the story of this war. The Israeli government says, “We withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and in return we got Hamas and Qassam rockets being rained on our cities. Sixteen civilians have been murdered. How many more are we supposed to sacrifice?” It is a plausible narrative, and there are shards of truth in it, but it is also filled with holes. If we want to understand the reality and really stop the rockets, we need to rewind a few years and view the run-up to this war dispassionately.

The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

Ordinary Palestinians were horrified by this, and by the fetid corruption of their own Fatah leaders, so they voted for Hamas. It certainly wouldn’t have been my choice – an Islamist party is antithetical to all my convictions – but we have to be honest. It was a free and democratic election, and it was not a rejection of a two-state solution. The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 per cent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 per cent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. So, partly in response to this pressure, Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders.

Rather than seize this opportunity and test Hamas’s sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. It announced that it was blockading the Gaza Strip in order to “pressure” its people to reverse the democratic process. The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being “put on a diet”. According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people. The United Nations says poverty has reached an “unprecedented level.” When I was last in besieged Gaza, I saw hospitals turning away the sick because their machinery and medicine was running out. I met hungry children stumbling around the streets, scavenging for food.

It was in this context – under a collective punishment designed to topple a democracy – that some forces within Gaza did something immoral: they fired Qassam rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities. These rockets have killed 16 Israeli citizens. This is abhorrent: targeting civilians is always murder. But it is hypocritical for the Israeli government to claim now to speak out for the safety of civilians when it has been terrorising civilians as a matter of state policy.

The American and European governments are responding with a lop-sidedness that ignores these realities. They say that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate while under rocket fire, but they demand that the Palestinians do so under siege in Gaza and violent military occupation in the West Bank.

Before it falls down the memory hole, we should remember that last week, Hamas offered a ceasefire in return for basic and achievable compromises. Don’t take my word for it. According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, “told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.” Diskin explained that Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms.

The core of the situation has been starkly laid out by Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad. He says that while Hamas militants – like much of the Israeli right-wing – dream of driving their opponents away, “they have recognised this ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future.” Instead, “they are ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state in the temporary borders of 1967.” They are aware that this means they “will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original goals” – and towards a long-term peace based on compromise.

The rejectionists on both sides – from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Bibi Netanyahu of Israel – would then be marginalised. It is the only path that could yet end in peace but it is the Israeli government that refuses to choose it. Halevy explains: “Israel, for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas.”

Why would Israel act this way? The Israeli government wants peace, but only one imposed on its own terms, based on the acceptance of defeat by the Palestinians. It means the Israelis can keep the slabs of the West Bank on “their” side of the wall. It means they keep the largest settlements and control the water supply. And it means a divided Palestine, with responsibility for Gaza hived off to Egypt, and the broken-up West Bank standing alone. Negotiations threaten this vision: they would require Israel to give up more than it wants to. But an imposed peace will be no peace at all: it will not stop the rockets or the rage. For real safety, Israel will have to talk to the people it is blockading and bombing today, and compromise with them.

The sound of Gaza burning should be drowned out by the words of the Israeli writer Larry Derfner. He says: “Israel’s war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth… If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas’s court – it is in ours.”

Source

The video also states that Israel planned the attacks over six months ago.

Live Video Coverage Of Israel’s Attack On Gaza.

If anyone thinks the US cares about Gaza you are wrong.
US gives Israel free rein on whether to invade Gaza

WASHINGTON

January 3 2008

US President George W. Bush, in remarks to be broadcast Saturday, urged all able parties to press Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel and secure a lasting ceasefire, after a week of heavy Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

His administration meanwhile gave Israel free rein over whether to send ground troops into Gaza, despite growing criticism over its handling of a conflict that has killed at least 436 Palestinians and left 2,290 others wounded.

At least 75 of those killed have been children, according to emergency services inside Gaza.

“The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected,” Bush said in his weekly radio address, the text of which was released by the White House in advance.

These were his first remarks since the conflict erupted a week ago.

He said “I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace,” including Mahmud Abbas, president of the US-backed Palestinian Authority.

He said he has been in contact with Abbas as well as King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel.

Bush, who hands the White House to his successor Barack Obama in just 18 days, blamed Hamas for the latest violence and rejected a unilateral ceasefire that would allow Hamas to continue to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas shared power with the Palestinian Authority for a period after winning parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006 but the arrangement collapsed and Hamas seized power outright in Gaza in June 2007.

“This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction,” Bush said.

Bush said the Israeli strikes were in self-defense after Hamas let a six-month ceasefire lapse on December 19 and fired rockets at Israel.

He also accused Hamas of putting Palestinian lives at risk by hiding among them.

White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe earlier said the United States has urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties in their military operations, whether they involve continued air assaults or a ground incursion.

“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said when asked if Israel would be justified in launching a ground assault.

Israel has thousands of troops massed for a ground offensive on Gaza that would aim to deal a hammer blow to Hamas and re-establish Israel’s military credentials with its other foes, experts said.

After briefing Bush earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington sought a “ceasefire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza.”

She added: “It is obvious that ceasefire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a ceasefire that is durable and sustainable.”

Rice has had a flurry of consultations with her counterparts from Israel, Arab countries as well as Russia, Britain and the European Union, officials said. Johndroe added that Rice has also spoken to Obama in the last week.

Asked if she planned to travel to the Middle East to broker an end to the crisis, Rice replied: “I have no plans at this point.”

The Israeli offensive has prompted condemnation from around the world, but particularly from Arab and Muslim countries.

In New York, Amnesty International sent a letter to Rice berating the administration for its “lopsided” support for the Israeli assault and urged it to suspend weapons deliveries to Israel.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser for US president Jimmy Carter, told CNN television that Rice’s remarks “clearly show that the US policy right now is completely bankrupt” and the Israeli offensive “will further radicalize the Palestinians.”

He said Obama, whom he supports, will have to make a “fresh start” when he succeeds Bush on January 20.

But the US president-elect has kept silent on the latest phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with his aides saying their boss was “monitoring” the situation.

Source

The bottom line is Israel wants all of “What use to be Palestine”.

That has been the plan from the beginning. The US has been helping them do this.
Don’t be fooled by Israel or the US pretending to negotiate anything. They lie. Both have been lieing for years.
This will also lead to the destabilization of the Middle East in general. The on going war is for power and profiteering.
Just a pitty Israel leaders are so blind to the fact, they are being used by the US for their own self serving agenda.
When a county like the US give billions of dollars to a country for weapons, be  suspicious very suspicious. Israel is just doing the dirty work for the US as did Saddam way back when the US helped Iraq, only to attack Iran of course. Somethings are so obvious if you know a bit about history.

U.S. Government Uses Al-Qaeda To Attack Iran
Bush authorizes group formerly headed by alleged 9/11 mastermind to be bankrolled & armed by CIA for covert regime change

May 28, 2007
Paul Joseph Watson & Steve Watson

Recent revelations illustrating the fact that the U.S. government is using a Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group formerly headed by the alleged mastermind of 9/11 to carry out bombings in Iran undermines the entire war on terror as a monumental hoax that is being exploited purely to realize a geopolitical agenda.

“President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed. Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.””The CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan,” the London Telegraph reported yesterday.

Jundullah is a Sunni Al-Qaeda offshoot organization that was formerly headed by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Even if you believe the official story of 9/11 to the letter, the fact that Bush has personally authorized U.S. support for this group completely dismantles the facade of the war on terror.

The group has been blamed for a number of bombings inside Iran aimed at destabilizing Ahmadinejad’s government and is also active in Pakistan , having been fingered for its involvement in attacks on police stations and car bombings at the Pakistan-US Cultural Center in 2004.

The U.S. government is arming and directing a Sunni Al-Qaeda group to carry out bombings in Iran and yet Bush has the temerity to grandstand during his Rose Garden speech last week and wave the Al-Qaeda bogeyman to strike the fear of God into American citizens.

“As to al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda is going to fight us wherever we are. That’s their strategy. Their strategy is to drive us out of the Middle East. They have made it abundantly clear what they want. They want to establish a caliphate. They want to spread their ideology. They want safe haven from which to launch attacks. They’re willing to kill the innocent to achieve their objectives, and they will fight us. And the fundamental question is, will we fight them? I have made the decision to do so. I believe that the best way to protect us in this war on terror is to fight them,” Bush said on Thursday.


Arms cache belonging to Jundullah – the Sunni Al-Qaeda terrorist group being funded by the CIA with President Bush’s approval.Bush’s definition of fighting Al-Qaeda is apparently to lend them all the funds, weapons and tactical know how they need to carry out attacks against innocent civilians in Iran, and let us not forget that America’s allies the British have also been caught training insurgents in Iraq to carry out hi-tech bombings that are later blamed on Iran – just as the SAS worked with U.S. special forces to train the KLA in Kosovo , which was also an Al-Qaeda chapter having been financed directly by Bin Laden himself.

But in the world of newspeak and the lowest common denominator propaganda that cloaks the real agenda of the “war on terror”, anyone who rises up against occupation, be it a kid who throws a rock in Baghdad or a car bombing on behalf of an increasingly Shiite-led insurgency, the natural enemies of the Sunni “Al-Qaeda,” are terrorists and are Al-Qaeda members.

A cruel irony exists whereby anyone and everyone who opposes military occupation is smeared as an Al-Qaeda terrorist and yet the only real Al-Qaeda terrorists are being bankrolled, armed and directed by the CIA itself, with Bush’s explicit approval.

Since President Bush didn’t know the difference between Sunni & Shiite Muslims until two months before the invasion of Iraq and the incoming chairman of a congressional intelligence committee said Al Qaeda prominently came from the Shia branch of Islam, we can’t hold out much hope for Joe Public and this is why the simplest propaganda is always the most effective.

They’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys – black and white with no shades of gray.

In reality, Al-Qaeda only exists within intelligence circles coordinated by the highest echelons of the U.S. government, and is being used yet again as a tool for destabilization in nations targeted for regime change by the Neo-Cons.

Jundullah is not the only anti-Iranian terror group that US government has been accused of funding in an attempt to pressure the Iranian government.

Multiple credible individuals including US intelligence whistleblowers and former military personnel have asserted that the government is conducting covert military operations inside Iran using guerilla groups to carry out attacks on Iranian Revolution Guard units.

It is widely suspected that the well known right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, is now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and carrying out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.

After a bombing inside Iran in March, the London Telegraph also reported on how a high ranking CIA official has blown the whistle on the fact that America is secretly funding terrorist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear program.

Source

Could it be that the US is using Israel to get a war going with Iran yet again as they did with Saddam in 1980. Are they really telling  Israel they can secure all of what was known as Palestine? Yes to both I would guess.

Never underestimate the nasty deeds of the US.  Gaza is being used to anger everyone and it is to date working very well.

The US wants Iran to help those in Gaza just so Israel will be able to attack them as well.  How much you want to bet I am right?

When Israel rammed the boat going into Gaza with medical supplies, I am guessing they thought it was the one from Iran.  Israel has been itching for a war with Iran as much as the US is and has been for some time.

Gaza is part of a bigger picture I think.

Would I trust either the US or the Israeli Government at this point.

NO absolutely not.

The US has vetoed every resolution brought forth by the UN to resolve the the Israel- Gaza situation.  They have vetoed over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the council since 1972. Anything the US says at this point is  pure propaganda, lies and BS.

If Hamas Did Not Exist

Ontario man’s Gaza trip an extended nightmare, he is trapped in Gaza

Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl

At an early childhood centre children play, learn and, most importantly, eat. But for many, this will be their only meal

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in north-western Zimbabwe

Children eat at the centre supported by Save the Children in
north-western Zimbabwe

December 21 2008

The 36 children attending an early childhood centre in north-west Zimbabwe were lucky, and they knew it. They were wearing their best clothes – even if, as in the case of three-year-old Milesh, this meant a shirt that, while clean, was shredded at the back.

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean children the same age are on the brink of starvation, and millions are losing their education as the collapse in government services closes school after school. All are at risk from the cholera epidemic. But Milesh and friends were looking forward not only to playing and learning together, but to getting what for many of them would be their only meal of the day – a plate of porridge.

The children waited patiently under a tree, clapping and singing while the food was prepared. They could not have been more orderly as they came forward, were given a plate and carried it carefully back into the shade. As soon as they were sitting down, the porridge – a special formula called corn-soya blend, or CSB, fortified with minerals and sweetened with sugar – disappeared in seconds.

Save the Children is helping more than 1,000 pre-school children in Zimbabwe in this way, but such is the chaos in the country that it is having to feed the centre’s helpers, too. “It would be very difficult for me to travel here on an empty stomach,” said one. She was scanning the pupils to see who was missing, and was not surprised that Godgave, four, was absent.

“Godgave is an orphan, and lives with his widowed grandmother,” said the helper. “They are very poor. He is often too weak from hunger – he comes for one or two days, then he is away sick. We go and check on him, but we have no food to carry to him.” In such a state any childhood disease, let alone cholera, could take his life.

Some of the children at the centre showed signs of malnutrition. While most rushed around once they had eaten, playing on the slide and the climbing frame, Milesh’s six-year-old sister Zineth hovered near those with food, until an adult gave her a half-eaten portion of CSB. She made instant work of it. When workers later checked the children’s weight-to-height ratio, Zineth was one of seven who fell into the red zone on the chart, showing she was malnourished. Milesh and 12 others were in the green zone, indicating normal development. Another 16 came up yellow, which meant that of the 36 children at the centre that day, 23 were either suffering from malnutrition or were close to it.

It is not uncommon in Africa for boys in a family to be favoured over girls at times of hardship, but when we accompanied Zineth and Milesh home, their grandfather Mathias denied it was intentional. “We want to treat the children the same,” he said. “But when we have very little food, we give it to the youngest. It’s not because he is a boy.”

Mathias and his wife Mary have brought up their daughter’s three children since she died five years ago and her husband deserted them soon afterwards. “We haven’t had sadza [a mash, made from maize meal, that is Zimbabwe’s staple food] for three days,” he said. “We’ve been eating wild fruits and begging a little maize meal from our neighbours. We got a few cupfuls, which we gave to the children to eat. We had nothing for ourselves.”

The United Nations estimates that more than five million Zimbabweans, roughly half of them children, urgently need food aid. Save the Children is preparing to set up emergency feeding centres for children under five, where even the severely malnourished can be rescued with a special food called Plumpynut. Neither of these programmes will benefit Mathias and his family, however, because they have livestock, and others are worse off.

“We have three donkeys, which we use to plough our field,” he said. “We didn’t get any seeds when they were given out, but we managed to barter some with a neighbour, in exchange for ploughing his field. We’re living each day as it comes. It’s hard for the children – they see others getting food and toys at Christmas, but we have nothing.” His wife added: “When they ask us about the situation, we have no answers. We feel very helpless.”

This story is being repeated across Zimbabwe. Millions are suffering, through no fault of their own, as the nation falls into chaos. Unless we help them, they have no cause for hope.

Source

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE IoS APPEAL

Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Now anthrax takes toll on the starving in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic hits 10,000 to 11,000 and rising

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 7:38 pm  Comments Off on IoS Christmas Appeal: In Zimbabwe, porridge once a day makes you a lucky girl  
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Iraqi MPs reject UK exit deal

December 21 2008

By Kim Sengupta and Brian Brady

Basra:

Parliamentary vote on mandate for British forces could leave them without legal cover next month. Kim Sengupta in Basra and Brian Brady report

Britain’s exit strategy from Iraq suffered a setback yesterday when the country’s parliament rejected a draft law paving the way for withdrawal of forces by the end of July. The reversal was embarrassing for both Gordon Brown and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, after the two leaders publicly declared last week that an agreement had been reached on the pullout.

Foreign Office sources admitted that unless the law receives formal Iraqi approval by the end of this month, when the United Nations mandate for the occupation expires, the vote could lead to British troops being confined to base, because they would not have the legal authority to do anything else in Iraq. However, officials attempted to dampen speculation that the resolution could have such a dramatic impact, and insisted that the problem was “procedural”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the government of Iraq to ensure that there is a firm legal basis for the presence of our forces in 2009. We will now discuss with the government of Iraq what the vote in the Council of Representatives means for the proposed legal basis for the UK and other forces, and look at the options.”

The possibility of British troops operating in a legal limbo from January was increased by Mr Maliki’s refusal even to start talks with the UK until after the Iraqi parliament approved the US deal on 27 November. This reflected his anger at what he saw as Britain’s surrender of Basra to Shia militias last year.

Early this month the Secretary of State for Defence, John Hutton, warned: “I won’t hesitate to pull [British forces] out. They have to be [legally] protected, and the way things stand at the moment they will not be.” His Conservative shadow, Liam Fox, said the Iraqi vote “raises serious questions”. If another vote failed, Britain would have to ensure alternative arrangements were in place by the end of the month.

The immediate effect of the vote by the MPs to reject the draft law by 80 votes to 68 is that the UK, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and Nato would not technically have legal authority for any use of force in Iraq, even in self-defence, after the end of the month. Yesterday’s was the first reading of the bill in the Council of Representatives, or parliament. It is now due to be sent back to Mr Maliki’s cabinet for amendments, with another vote due next week. Some MPs want the law dropped and replaced with an international agreement similar to the deal with the US, which lays down the terms for its withdrawal of 140,000 troops from Iraq by 2011.

Nassir al-Issawi, an MP allied to the radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who wants foreign troops to leave at once, said: “What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement. We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things.”

Fariad Rawndouzi, a Kurdish MP, said many of his colleagues were also unhappy with the formulation of the bill, and wanted it to resemble the “status of forces” agreement between the US and Iraq more closely.

Senior officers at the British base in Basra said a team of Foreign Office lawyers was negotiating with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, and they still hoped an agreement would be reached. One official said: “There was always a feeling that this may go to the wire, and we must realise that it is all quite symbolic.” There were no plans to start pulling out British troops immediately in the new year.

But Mr Maliki’s casual assurance to Mr Brown when he visited Iraq last week that all would be well may cause embarrassment to both sides. Hakim Ali Ibrahim, an Iraqi political analyst, said: “Parliament wants to make a stand to show it should not be taken for granted. Perhaps Maliki and Gordon Brown should not have made such a big thing out of this before they were certain everything would go through smoothly. We have elections coming up, and the government has to do deals with the MPs.”

The provincial elections in January, the first held under sovereign, rather than occupation, laws, will be followed by a referendum on autonomy for Basra province, which could have a crucial impact on the division of its oil riches.

There are fears that the militias will attempt to use the polls to infiltrate the city again, and yesterday General Raymond Odierno, the US commander of coalition forces in Iraq, visited Basra for an election security meeting with Major General Andy Salmon, the British commander in Basra.

Source

December 20 2008

By Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s parliament voted on Saturday to reject a draft law that allows troops from Britain, Australia and several other countries to remain beyond the end of this year, Iraqi parliamentarians said.

The draft law, under which those troops would withdraw by the end of July, was rejected because lawmakers objected to it being in the form of legislation, rather than an agreement as was the deal Iraq signed with the United States, said Hussein al-Falluji, a member of the Sunni Accordance Front.

“Legally relations between two countries cannot be organised by a law. They should be arranged, according to international law, through treaties or agreements,” said Falluji.

“For this reason parliament rejected this law. It was a big mistake by the government.”

Both the law governing the British presence and the security pact allowing the 140,000 U.S. soldiers in the country to remain three more years replace a U.N. mandate that expires on December 31.

“What the parliament did today, rejecting the bill, was a great national achievement,” said Nassir al-Issawi, a lawmaker loyal to anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who wants an immediate end to what he sees as a foreign occupation.

“We believe that British forces and all other forces should pack their things,” said Issawi.

No comment was immediately available from the government.

The rejected law covered the future of troops from Britain, Australia, Romania, Estonia, El Salvador and NATO in Iraq, where violence is dropping sharply and foreign troops are increasingly handing over security to local forces.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that a reserve component of around 400 British soldiers, compared to 4,100 now, would remain to train Iraqi naval forces in the south after July.

The U.S.-Iraqi security pact sets a withdrawal date for the U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011 and gradually restricts U.S. activities more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

(Writing by Missy Ryan; Editing by Michael Christie and Ralph Boulton)

Source

British cost of Iraq and Afghanistan reaches £13Billion

Haiti’s road to ruin

Tallulah Photography

This season’s hurricanes have made homes in Gonaïves, Haiti, unlivable, and conditions primed for environmental disaster will lead to more ecological refugees.

December 11, 2008
By Roberta Staley

Few are helping Haitians recover from natural disaster-and still fewer see the bigger problem

The drive north to Gonaïves from Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince is calculated in time rather than distance-it can take from three-and-a-half to five hours, depending upon rain and your four-wheel-drive’s suspension, to navigate the 150 kilometres of erosion-gnawed road that skirt the country’s coastline.

But nothing on the journey—not the cavernous potholes, trenches, or caved-in shoulders—prepares you for the apocalyptic dried-mud moonscape that is Gonaïves. More than two months after hurricanes Fay, Gustav, and Ike and tropical storm Hanna battered Haiti from August 17 to September 8, Gonaïves is barely better off than it was right after the tempests.

Mounds of dried mud cover city streets that United Nations tanks, motorcycles, and SUVs churn into thick dust that hangs like a grey-beige fog. Starving dogs, their vertebrae and ribs jutting through dry, pale hide, skirt among the wheels in a single-minded search for food, sometimes dragging limbs crushed by lurching vehicles.

The hurricanes skinned Gonaïves’s surrounding hills and mountains—denuded of trees for decades—as deftly as a taxidermist, allowing unfettered rivers of topsoil, clay, and water to submerge 80 percent of the city in goop more than a storey high. When the water evaporated, two-metre-deep mud remained. At least 466 people perished from August to September—more than double the number of people who were killed in the rest of the country. As of November, many of the surrounding rice, banana, and plantain fields were still flooded, as were homes on the outskirts of the city. (In total, about 70 percent of Haiti’s crops were wiped out, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme.)

Bulldozers have started the cumbersome task of shifting tonnes of topsoil and clay from roadways, manoeuvring around overturned and crushed vehicles encased in mud like fossils. Some of the 300,000 residents who have returned to find the walls of their one- and two-room houses still standing are using shovels to dig out the thick, cracking earth, leaving chunks mixed with rotting trash outside doorways. But the homes are unlivable, and families dwell in tents on rooftops, leaving the city’s 40,000 female-headed households vulnerable to sexual predators. Too few trucks carry the mud away, and much of it is simply pushed into hills in the middle of intersections or along one side, creating a surreal version of a giant child’s sandbox.

But it is international apathy—as well as mud—that has Médecins Sans Frontières–Belgium (MSF–B) project coordinator Vikki Stienen so frustrated. Stienen, who is Dutch, arrived in Gonaïves in October, one month after the Nobel Peace Prize–winning NGO arrived to provide emergency medical care to hurricane survivors. MSF–B has managed—minimally—to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of citizens, creating a replacement water system and a new hospital as well as a mobile-clinic system serving the urban and rural populations still isolated by impassable streets and roads. A handsome, almost rakish, man with green eyes and a jagged front tooth, Stienen was given the task of creating a temporary replacement for the destroyed water and sanitation systems. With the water mains clogged with mud, MSF–B sends several tanker trucks of water every day from a deep well it drilled in September outside the city. The tankers drain chlorinated water into pipes that link to bladders, enormous canvas water containers that, in turn, are linked to communal taps scattered throughout the city.

With the project set to end January 15, the MSF–B team is working desperately to try to ensure the rudimentary water system is expanded and can be maintained by local government workers. However, with the city still blanketed by mud, it is impossible to create any sort of sanitation system, Stienen says. Without toilets, people relieve themselves in the street and behind the mud mounds, with the result that dried excrement mixes with the dust-laden air. Rebuilding the sanitation system is dependent upon all the mud being cleared away, a task that could take a year, Stienen says.

MSF–B feels isolated and overwhelmed by the need; MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, should be doing more, Stienen says. “You don’t like to bash the UN, but we had a coordination meeting and you would think they were talking about something else,” says Stienen, leaning back, loose-limbed, in a white plastic chair in the shade, dressed in wide-leg linen pants, brightly coloured loose shirt, and red flip-flops in the more than 30 ° C heat. “Other NGOs and the UN, you see their reaction and it’s as if they don’t care. Where does this apathy come from? Why are they so indifferent?”

Before the hurricanes, most of Gonaïves’s 300,000 citizens obtained their water from about 5,000 communal wells. However, these are also contaminated with mud and must be cleaned out and fitted with new pumps, something MSF–B is also trying to do before it withdraws. “Normally,” Stienen says, “this would be the World Health Organization who would do this, but they’re not here either.”

Stienen is especially worried by the UN’s apparent inability to ensure the safety of the citizens of Gonaïves. The incidence of rape is so high among women, perched on roofs with their children in the dark, that MSF–B has added a psychologist to its mobile clinic to provide trauma counselling. “You ask them, ‘How long will you sit on your roof?’ They say, ‘We are forgotten by the government and the UN,’ ” Stienen says. “This is not security, to sit on the roof with no electricity. So it adds to my question: ‘Is the government and UN taking it seriously?’ ”

Stienen muses that what lies at the root of international apathy is simple cynicism over Haiti’s propensity for disaster. Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, weathered a severe storm four years ago when hurricane Jeanne killed about 3,000 people. Foreign aid rebuilt the water and sanitation system in Gonaïves and the international community faces the obligation of rebuilding it once more. Once it’s constructed, it is only a matter of time before more hurricanes destroy it again. “People say Haiti is complicated, but this is not a reason not to care,” Stienen says. “Maybe that’s where the apathy comes from, because this country is unmanageable.”

Brazil’s Maj.-Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, force commander of MINUSTAH since January 2007, addresses the question of security several days later in an interview in Port-au-Prince. In Gonaïves, the main task of the local UN force, which consists of about 500 Argentine and Pakistani troops as well as local police, is to maintain a safe environment, but “in practice we keep the stability through support of the local police,” Santos Cruz says.

During the hurricanes, he says, UN troops threw themselves into humanitarian assistance: evacuating patients from La Providence Hospital (a once-pretty white-and-green facility, renovated after the 2004 hurricane, that is now mired in dried, grey muck), saving the medicines, and assisting birthing women. Now, Santos Cruz says, the main focus is guarding the warehouse where supplies are stored for the World Food Programme (WFP), which allocated US$33 million for emergency food supplies at the beginning of September. (Only one-third of this amount has been forthcoming from member states.) However, Stienen condemned a decision by the WFP to stop distributing food after fights broke out at a depot weeks after the hurricanes. The WFP cited mismanagement of the depots and a lack of safety as reasons for stopping distribution. WFP Haiti spokesperson Hilary Clarke says that the UN organization still managed to deliver food to women staying in shelters in Gonaïves.

Regular food distribution has resumed, Clarke says, and virtually all of Gonaïves’s citizens are receiving food packages every two weeks containing such staples as rice, beans, and oil, most of it imported from the United States. Still, some children have sickened from lack of food and show signs of protein starvation, called kwashiorkor: reddish, thinning hair; enlarged abdomen; sad, sagging faces; stick-thin arms and legs; and edema so severe it cracks the skin. At MSF–B’s new Hôpital Secours Gonaïves, built in a warehouse once used by the humanitarian group CARE, 15-month-old Cindjina sits on the lap of her mother, Thelse Almonur, in the pediatric ward. Cindjina was 5.9 kilograms, the average weight of a two-month-old, when she was admitted September 27. Thelse is feeding her daughter a peanut-butter paste mixed with vitamins. The paste has helped Cindjina gain weight and, six weeks later, she is up to 6.5 kilograms, still four kilograms below the average weight for her age.

Generally, about one-third of children in Haiti suffer from chronic malnutrition. However, a recent survey by the aid organization Action Contre la Faim showed the malnutrition level in Gonaïves to be about four percent, due in large part to the large-scale food distribution, Clarke says.

Stienen shakes his head. “In Gonaïves, you see more than chronic malnutrition. It is a weakened population, with the most vulnerable being the children. Those families with four to five children, they suffer the most.”

The future does not look promising for Gonaïves’s people. National food shortages have put the country in a “highly volatile situation”, according to the WFP’s Bettina Luescher, speaking from her UN office in New York City. The WFP is planning to begin phasing out food distribution in Gonaïves in 2009 to “avoid creating a context of assistance and food dependency”.

Some people think that a simple solution to this enormous problem would be to move Gonaïves, which sits below sea level at the confluence of three rivers, to higher ground. Stienen laughs humourlessly at the notion; this will never happen, he says. There are neither sufficient resources nor the political will to relocate 300,000 souls up the steep, bare, infertile, erosion-prone hills and mountains.

What lies at the root of this dilemma? Environmental degradation caused by the wholesale cutting of trees. A century ago, Haiti was a tropical rainforest with huge stands of mahogany. However, 20th-century exploitation by foreign corporations and the Haitian government’s need to service an egregious national debt owed its former slave-owning colonial master, France, meant that much of the forest cover was felled for cash. Now only 1.5 percent of the country is forested, according to the UN—a sharp contrast to the lush Dominican Republic, a country adjoining Haiti on the same West Indies island.

But the people of Haiti are also responsible for deforestation. The majority of Haiti’s 9.5 million people rely upon charcoal for cooking; most electricity is privately generated and there is no gas or kerosene. Charcoal is made by cutting down a tree, leaving it to dry in the sun, then slowly cooking it in a makeshift kiln. In an effort to preserve the life of the tree, the stump is left, with the hope it will send out shoots. This woeful attempt at silviculture is largely unsuccessful. In the area around Gonaïves, Stienen says, there are fewer trees than there were in 2004.

The string of environmental disasters experienced by Gonaïves, as well as other places around the world, is giving rise to a world phenomenon: ecological refugees. Rising sea levels and more destructive cyclones and hurricanes that experts link to global warming, as well as widespread deforestation and erosion, have created populations of desperate people fleeing disasters. In Gonaïves, for example, Stienen estimates that there are only 10,000 male-headed households, one quarter the number of female-headed families. The rest of the men have fled to other countries for jobs and a more secure life. However, their families cannot follow and are left to carry on a life of struggle and, possibly, worse hunger than they face now.

But fleeing can be as dangerous as staying. No one knows this better than 22-year-old Timanit Cherisma. Cherisma lies silent on her side in the obstetrics ward of the MSF–B hospital, an intravenous drip in one arm. Just an hour ago, Cherisma gave birth to twin girls. But there is no joy in the room, and the only sound is muted mewing, like new kittens, from the twins, bound in a blue blanket on a cot. The father of the infants died after his boat capsized while he was fleeing Haiti to try to find work in the Bahamas. The twins have no home to go to—it was washed away in the flood. “I see no hope for the babies,” Cherisma’s mother, 48-year-old Tazilia Esenvile, says in Creole.

Back in Port-au-Prince, a handful of courageous people are making an 11th-hour attempt to turn back the tide of total environmental degradation in Haiti, which, at 27,750 square kilometres, is about three-quarters the size of Vancouver Island. The Fondation Seguin was cofounded in 2004 by Serge Cantave to try to save the country’s last remaining pockets of natural forest and to educate teachers and youth about conservation. Through its Ecole Verte program, a sense of responsibility toward the environment is also being cultivated when students travel to mountain regions to plant trees. To date, 30,000 trees have been planted by students, says Cantave, whose organization is financially supported by the development organization Yéle Haiti, headed by Haitian-American hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean.

Without reforestation, Haiti will simply wash away into the ocean. “It will disappear,” says Cantave, who estimates it will take a century of dedicated tree-planting to reverse the clear-cutting. The way this can be achieved, Cantave says, is for the Fondation Seguin to work with an international network of ecological groups. Cantave looks to British Columbia, which has spawned generations of dedicated environmentalists, for help in coordinating tree-planting programs and educating Haiti’s young. “We are asking you to share with us your experiences,” Cantave says. “We are begging the international community for support.” (Another organization, the Lambi Fund of Haiti, which is allied to Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize–winner Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement, has plans to plant one million trees.)

Haiti, despite the meagre streaks of green across its topography, is important internationally for its unique biodiversity: it is a potential source of medicinal plants and a key resting and feeding place for migrating birds, Cantave says. For example, Canada’s black-throated blue warbler, which breeds in southeastern Canada but winters in the Caribbean, stops in Haiti’s Parc National La Visite, a 2,000-hectare oasis. (Haiti’s national parks include Sources Puantes, at 10 hectares; Sources Chaudes, 20 hectares; Forêt des Pins, 30,000 hectares; Sources Cerisier, 10 hectares; and Fort Jacques et Alexandre, which is only nine hectares.)

Some support has been forthcoming. The German international-cooperation enterprise Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit recently donated about $800,000 to the Fondation Seguin for a special project to plant 120,000 fruit, evergreen, and spice trees, as well as pasture grass to retain the soil. Cantave says the project is married to economic and infrastructure development for surrounding subsistence farmers to encourage them to support reforestation efforts.

Is Haiti doomed to be a country of no hope? Many, it would seem, despair that Haiti’s political, economic, social, and ecological wrongs will keep it in a state of desperation that will never be overcome. Yet if history has proven anything, it is that human will is an unstoppable force. People like Stienen and Cantave, with their sense of moral outrage, are an inspiration to the rest of the world to show the will to help Haiti overcome the myriad of problems afflicting its beleaguered people.

Source

MSF/Doctors Without Boarders Canada

UNICEF Reports 2008

Drowning, other accidents kill 800,000 kids a year

By BEN STOCKING

December 11 2008

HANOI, Vietnam

Simple things like seat belts, childproof medicine caps and fences around pools could help prevent half of the 2,000 child deaths worldwide that occur every day because of accidents, UN officials said Wednesday.

More than 800,000 children die each year from burns, drowning, car crashes, falls, poisoning and other accidents, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in developing countries, according to experts and a report released Wednesday by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Tens of millions more suffer injuries that often leave them disabled for life, said the report which was launched at a meeting of global health experts in Hanoi. The World Report on Child Injury Prevention 2008 does not include injuries caused by domestic violence.

The problem is most acute in Africa and Southeast Asia, but no country is immune, conference participants said, issuing an urgent call for action.

“The price of failure is high,” said Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, speaking in a videotape shown at the conference. “On current estimates, unintentional injuries claim the lives of around 830,000 children worldwide every year.”

Many parents in developing countries share the double burden of childcare and work, making it difficult for them to watch their children all the time.

In Vietnam, about 10 kids drown a day, and drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children over one year of age.

Basket weaver Nguyen Thi Chung’s 2-year-old daughter fell into a river near the family’s house in the Mekong delta two years ago and nearly drowned — prompting the family to put up bamboo fences around the house.

“We should have done that before. We were too busy with making baskets. We need to work hard if we are to earn enough to feed our children,” Chung was quoted as saying in a UNICEF statement. “Our thoughtlessness almost cost the life of my daughter.”

The world’s poorer countries and communities often lack basic safety education programs and quality healthcare, said Chan of the WHO. When its available, life-saving health services can be economically devastating.

“The costs of such treatment can throw an entire family into poverty,” Chan said.

The report calls on countries around the world to issue prevention measures such as seatbelt and helmet laws, child-safe medicine bottles, water heater controls and safer designs for nursery furniture and toys. It also recommends various traffic safety improvements and putting fences around pools and ponds to prevent drowning. A child-friendly version with safety tips was issued at the conference and online.

Such steps have been taken in many high-income countries and have reduced child injury deaths by up to 50 percent over the last 30 years, the report says.

Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF’s executive director, said unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children between 9 and 18 years old and 95 percent of these injuries occur in developing countries.

“More must be done to prevent such harm to children,” she said, also speaking via video.

Source

Childcare is bad for your baby, working parents are warned
A Unicef study suggests that government policy is at odds with the developmental needs of children under 12 months

A child painting at a children's centre in London

By Alexandra Frean

Parents and governments are taking a “high-stakes gamble” with the long-term wellbeing of children by subjecting them to long hours of formal childcare from a very young age, according to a Unicef report.

The study, which has prompted Beverley Hughes, the Children’s Minister, to complain to the UN agency, recommends that all children should where possible be cared for by parents at home during the first 12 months of life. Children from the poorest homes face the double disadvantage of being born into material deprivation and receiving sub-standard childcare, Unicef says.

The research, which draws on a wealth of scientific and psychological studies, as well as government data, is bound to reignite the fraught debate on whether overexposure to formal childcare is bad for very young children.

It is also likely to provoke concerns over whether growing political, social and economic pressure on parents, particularly those on low incomes, to return to work soon after their child is born is at odds with emerging research into children’s brains showing the importance of stable one-to-one care in the first year of life.

So this is it. Unicef has finally pronounced on childcare and its verdict is damning. Mothers who tear their babies from their breasts, squeeze themselves back into a suit and return to work before their darlings are old enough to say “Mummy stay home” are in danger of damaging their child for life.While nurseries lined with cots and feeding charts may not be quite as cruel as Romanian orphanages, they are harming babies under 2 who need one-to-one contact with an adult to thrive.

Unicef’s league table ranks countries by the type of care that they provide for young children in “their most formative years” and Britain languishes near the bottom half. The report suggests that babies need constant love as a foundation for intellectual as well as emotional development, that stress (presumably from being separated from their mothers) can disrupt their developing brain and that children’s early interaction with their family establishes “the patterns of neural connections and chemical balances” that profoundly influence what they will become.

The guilt. Mothers clutching their lattes as they rush from school to work still absent-mindedly holding their child’s book bag will feel sick as they watch the stay-at-home mothers cruising back on their son’s scooter, baby strapped to their front. Have they disadvantaged their children by going back too soon? Will their daughter go to university after being left with a series of Bulgarian au pairs? Will their child ever be invited on playdates if they never go to those coffee mornings with the other mothers? Do they really need the money so much that they have sacrificed their son’s wellbeing for a bigger house and mortgage?

The last time Unicef produced a report into children’s happiness it didn’t take long for British parents to begin flagellating themselves with their daughters’ skipping ropes. This country came at the bottom of the happiness league. The Archbishop of Canterbury said it was shocking, a new post of children’s commissioner was created, and children’s writers weighed in. It didn’t matter that the statistics were skewed, that North Korean children, when asked by their cane-wielding teacher, are bound to say that they are content and that the Americans refused to add in any statistics on teenage pregnancies. British mothers are tortured about how to bring up their children. This country tops the world league in childcare manuals.

The latest Unicef report says that more than half of all British mothers now go back to work when their child is under 1 but the Government’s statistics show that it is just under half and that the number of women in full-time work is actually dropping. Many employees are now taking advantage of a year-long maternity leave and flexitime to diversify or modify their careers so they can spend more time making cupcakes with their families. There has been a 40 per cent drop in women in senior management roles at UK FTSE 350 companies in the past five years and the majority of working women are part-time.

Middle-class children don’t suffer from a moderate amount of high-quality childcare, whether they are reading The Gruffalo with an au pair, a nanny, a grandmother or in a nursery. It is their mothers who become anxious, racked by remorse at leaving their babies with someone who soon knows more about their shoe size and their preference for sweetcorn-and-honey sandwiches. Mothers leave strict instructions about only feeding their little ones organic beetroot compotes and not watching DVDs. But even if their children do inexplicably seem to prefer pies to polenta and know all the lyrics for Bob the Builder, the statistics show that as long as they were looked after by loving adults, they will not be psychologically harmed.

There has never been a golden age of childcare. Even in the 1950s when the majority of women saw being a wife and mother as their primary role, most were distracted by a constant round of shopping, washing and cooking.

The real problem, as the report admits after a great many pages, concerns children from poorer backgrounds who may already be disadvantaged. These children, particularly those who have English as a second language or who come from deprived homes, are likely to thrive if they integrate with other children from the age of 3, which is why so many resources have been poured into the Sure Start programme for pre-school children.

However, for children below that age the picture is very different. For those who attend large, underprovided nurseries the result is likely to be slower development and underachievement at school. A study of children using government-funded childcare in the UK showed that those in “group care” before the age of 3 tended to show higher levels of antisocial behaviour at school.

The Australian psychologist Steve Biddulph suggested last year that the best nurseries could cater for the needs of the very young but that the worst were “negligent, frightening and bleak, a nightmare of bewildered loneliness that was heartbreaking to watch”. A recent Ofsted report backed his findings, stating that more than half of the childminders and nurseries in some London boroughs were “inadequate”, with many staff being unqualified and uncommitted.

So this report is more valuable to the Government than to anxious middle-class parents who obsessively vet their nurseries and nannies. Yesterday ministers announced reforms to the welfare state that will encourage mothers with children over the age of 1 to “prepare” for the job market.

Yet it is clear that there is little point in forcing the least well-off mothers back into work if their baby is going to be looked after by another poorly paid worker in charge of several babies. Either the Government must help these mothers to recognise that looking after their young children is a serious job or they must provide these children from deprived backgrounds with highly skilled, well-paid nursery teachers who can help to improve their chances in life not damage them.

Meanwhile, all those earnest, well-meaning, nervous middle-class mothers should relax. The most significant Unicef research shows that the happiest mothers create the most contented children; so whatever decision you make, stop worrying and your child will be fine.

Source

TORONTO

Canada fails to meet nine of out 10 proposed standards aimed at ensuring children get the best start in life through education and support programs, tying for last place among affluent countries, an analysis released Wednesday by UNICEF concludes.

The UNICEF benchmarks are crucial for children in their formative years, says the United Nations organization.

“We over-invest in remedial action down the line when kids reach their teen years and under-invest in the early years when their behaviour, their comportment, their learning can really be set for the rest of their lives,” said Nigel Fisher, head of UNICEF Canada.

The benchmarks, which UNICEF calls practical and reachable, include providing a year of parental leave at 50 per cent or more of salary and spending one per cent of gross domestic product on childhood services.

Sweden was the only country to meet all 10 standards and Iceland met nine among the 24 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Slovenia, which scored six out of 10, was the only non-OECD country assessed.

At the bottom, Canada and Ireland were found to reach only one benchmark: half of staff in accredited early-education services have proper post-secondary qualifications. The United States met three.

Martha Friendly, director of the Toronto-based Childcare Resource and Research Unit, said Canada’s poor showing came as no surprise.

“The child-care transition . . . is being facilitated by public policies in most countries,” Friendly said.

“In Canada, this has been left to be a private family responsibility. We have very weak public policy and that would be at the national level and at the level of most of the provinces.”

Friendly said the federal government needs to send an “emergency signal” showing it considers the issue important by making commitments in its budget next month.

The UNICEF report argues that many OECD countries need to almost double current levels of expenditure on early childhood services to meet minimum acceptable standards.

Canada, for example, spends roughly 0.2 per cent of its GDP on child supports, Fisher said.

The report notes that most children in the developed world are spending their earliest years in some form of care outside the home.

About 80 per cent of children aged three to six are in some form of early childhood education and care outside the home.

About one in four under the age of three are also cared for outside the home – with the proportion rising to one in two in some countries.

“What we are now witnessing across the industrialized world can fairly be described as a revolution in how the majority of young children are being brought up,” the report states.

“To the extent that this change is unplanned and unmonitored, it could also be described as a high-stakes gamble with today’s children and tomorrow’s world.”

The report emphasizes advances in recent years in scientific research show the long-term importance of giving kids a good educational and emotional start in life – something especially key for marginalized or otherwise disadvantaged children.

The report can be found at www.unicef.ca.

UNICEF proposed benchmarks and rankings for early child care

TORONTO – UNICEF has issued a report ranking 25 countries against 10 proposed benchmarks when it comes to early childhood services.

Among proposed minimum standards:

Entitlement to paid parental leave of at least one year at 50 per cent of salary

A national plan with priority for disadvantaged children

Subsidized and regulated child care for 25 per cent of children under three

Subsidized and regulated child care for 80 per cent of children aged four

Accredited training for 80 per cent of child-care staff

Staff-to-children ratio of 1:15 in groups of under 25

Public funding for children under six of one per cent of GDP

Top five and bottom five affluent countries in terms of meeting early child-support standards:

Sweden: 10

Iceland: 9

Denmark: 8

Finland: 8

France: 8

Switzerland: 3

United States: 3

Australia: 2

Canada: 1

Ireland: 1

Source

Profiting from Abuse.

The commercial sexual exploitation of children assumes many forms and has many faces. Children are enslaved by a chain of actors, all of whom profit in some way. [Download a PDF copy]

The State of the World’s Children 2008: Child Survival

The State of the World’s Children 2008 provides a wide-ranging assessment of the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children. It examines lessons learned in child health during the past few decades and outlines the most important emerging precepts and strategies for reducing deaths among children under age five and for providing a continuum of care for mothers, newborns and children.

The State of the World’s Children 2008: Executive Summary

The State of the World’s Children 2008 examines the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children – and outlines strategies for reducing under-five deaths and providing a continuum of care. The pocket-sized executive summary provides an overview of the full report and includes regional summary indicators.

The State of Africa’s Children 2008

The State of Africa’s Children 2008 is a regional edition of UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2008 report. Complementary to the global report, it examines the state of child survival in Africa and highlights the need to position child health at the heart of the region’s development and human rights agenda. It also outlines possible solutions – programmes, policies and partnerships – to accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The State of Asia-Pacific’s Children 2008

The State of Asia-Pacific’s Children 2008 is a regional edition of UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2008 report. Complementary to the global report, it examines child survival in Asia-Pacific and highlights the need to place child health at the heart of the region’s development and human rights agenda. It also outlines programmes, policies and partnerships that can accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The State of Latin American and Caribbean Children 2008

The State of Latin American and Caribbean Children 2008 is a regional edition of UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2008 report. Complementary to the global report, it examines child survival in Latin America and the Caribbean and highlights the need to place child health at the heart of the region’s development and human rights agenda. It also outlines programmes, policies and partnerships that can accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm  Comments Off on UNICEF Reports 2008  
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Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

By Angus Shaw, AP
December 4 2008

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over its cholera epidemic and the collapse of its health system due the country’s economic crisis.

“Our central hospitals are literally not functioning,” Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper today.

The Herald said Parirenyatwa declared the state of emergency at a meeting Wednesday of government and international aid officials in Harare. He appealed for money to pay doctors and nurses, and for drugs, food and equipment for Zimbabwe’s hospitals.

“Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived,” he was quoted as saying.

The United Nations puts deaths from the cholera epidemic at more than 500. The outbreak is blamed on lack of water treatment and broken sewage pipes in a country that once had a sophisticated infrastructure.

The deputy water minister, Walter Mzembi, who also attended Wednesday’s meeting, said his ministry had only enough chemicals to treat water for 12 more weeks.

The Herald said UN agencies, embassies and non-governmental organizations at the meeting pledged to help. The European Commission had said Wednesday it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with cholera in Zimbabwe.

“We need to pool our resources together and see how best we can respond to this emergency,” Agostinho Zacarias, the UN Development Program director in Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods.

Source

Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

Kosovo PM Thaci: UN Plan ‘Dead’

November 21 2008

By Vjosa Musliu

Hashim Thaci - photo by Petrit Rrahmani

Hashim Thaci – photo by Petrit Rrahmani

Pristina _ A Serbia-backed plan on the future of the European Union mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is “dead” and the Kosovo government’s own four-point plan is the only one on the table, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said on Friday.

In an interview for Radio Kosovo, Thaci repeated Pristina’s rejection of the six-point plan proposed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Kosovo’s Albanian majority feels that plan would roll back the country’s progress since it declared independence from Serbia in February and give Belgrade a firm legal foothold especially in renegade Serb areas in Kosovo’s north.

“The  ‘six points’ are totally unacceptable,” Thaci said. “Now Kosovo has its own four points, creating the perspective for EULEX to deploy all over Kosovo.”

Kosovo’s own proposal insists on the unconditional deployment of the EULEX mission as based on the blueprint for Kosovo’s supervised independence devised by former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Serbia rejects the Ahtisaari plan and has vowed never to give up its claim on its former southern province.

Thaci, who traveled to London this week, added Britain supported the deployment of EULEX throughout Kosovo’s territory, including the Serbian minority areas where it now has no presence.

After the meetings with Thaci and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for constructive talks on the future of EULEX, and  Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was “impressed” with Kosovo leaders’ commitment to the Serbian minority in Kosovo.

Kosovo has been recognised by most European Union countries and by the United States, but the new state’s backers are not speaking with one voice on the specifics of its path to full statehood.

Washington broadly favours Kosovo’s proposal as a basis for the deployment of EULEX, while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he supports the six-point plan but will respect and consult the government of Kosovo as a sovereign state.

After meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Thursday, Solana is expected to meet Ban Ki-moon on Friday to discuss the plan, the further reconfiguration of UNMIK and the deployment of  EULEX.

Far from the diplomatic bustle, EU officials already on the ground in Kosovo are continuing preparations for when the 2,000-strong mission formally takes up its mandate, which focuses on law and justice issues.

“Deployment is going well. EULEX will be ready by the beginning of December,” EULEX spokesman Victor Reuter said in Pristina. “We are ready to perform our mandate from that moment.”

After nine years as wards of the UN, Kosovo Albanians thought independence would bring closure to the 1998-99 war, court foreign investment and deliver higher living standards.

With political and economic progress coming at a halting pace, many are losing patience with the international community and their own leaders and some groups have called for the U.N. and EU to pull out altogether and let Kosovo take full charge of its own affairs.

Prominent Kosovo editor Veton Surroi on Friday accused the government of complacency in putting together their ‘four-point plan’, and warned that the new EU mission may not be functional even if deployed across Kosovo’s territory, because of the “parallel institutions created by Serbia” in the north.

Source

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

November 21 2008

BEIRUT:

Violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 continue to take place and additional progress toward fulfilling obligations is overdue, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his eighth report on the resolution’s implementation. “I am pleased to report that all parties continue to express their support for and commitment to Resolution 1701 [2006],” Ban said, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Daily Star “However, further progress in the implementation of the resolution is increasingly overdue.”

The secretary general’s report also expressed concern over the residual security threats facing Lebanon and the recent political uncertainty in Israel after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni failed to form a coalition government.

As in his prior reports, the UN chief thoroughly catalogued Lebanon’s and Israel’s compliance with obligations detailed in the resolution, which effectively ended the hostilities of the 2006 summer war.

Noting few improvements, Ban cited a number of breaches, including Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, the alleged rearmament of Hizbullah and the presence of armed factions in Lebanon.

“The parties generally maintained respect for the Blue Line, apart from the area of Ghajar, where the [Israeli military] still occupies the part of the village and an adjacent area north of the Blue Line in violation of Resolution 1701,” the report said. The Blue Line was established as a UN-mandated line of withdrawal during Israel’s 2000 pullout from most of South Lebanon.

The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has presented a plan for Israeli withdrawal from the village, which is divided between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but Israel has repeatedly rejected an immediate pullout.

Ban also criticized Israel for its serial violations of Lebanese airspace. “Intrusions into Lebanese airspace by Israeli aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles continued in high numbers in violation of Lebanese sovereignty and Resolution 1701,” Ban said. The UN chief called on Israel to “cease immediately” all overflights.

Additionally, the report voiced concern over an escalation of rhetoric between Israel and Hizbullah, including threats against civilian targets. “I am disturbed by the repeated exchange of threats between Israel and Hizbullah, in particular when apparently directed against the civilians,” it said.

Ban, however, did highlight progress on the humanitarian front. Referring to the Hizbullah-Israel prisoner exchange in mid-July, he declared that “after 18 months of intense efforts, the humanitarian aspects of Resolution 1701 had been met.”

Concerning Hizbullah, the secretary general cited Israeli concerns that the group is rebuilding its military capacity on both sides of the Litani River. Ban noted that UNIFIL “has neither been provided with nor found any evidence that of new military infrastructure or the smuggling of arms into its area of operations.”

But he said that Hizbullah’s extensive weapon’s cache stood “in direct contravention of resolutions 1559 [2004] and 1701,” adding that the group may have sought to build its military capabilities.

Ban also noted that the proliferation of weapons in Lebanon, in violation of an arms embargo, and the presence of other, autonomous armed factions, continued to present security dangers.

“I reiterate the need for the immediate and unconditional respect of the arms embargo on Lebanon,” Ban said. “It must be observed fully and without exception. Regional parties, particularly those that maintain ties with Hizbullah and other armed groups in Lebanon are obliged to abide fully.”

He cited, specifically, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command and Fatah al-Intifada, both operating near the Lebanese-Syrian border.

As in his most recent report on Resolution 1559, Ban welcomed the establishment of diplomatic ties between Lebanon and Syria, but he warned, referring to the findings of the second Lebanese Independent Border Assessment Team, that the border remains porous, largely unpatrolled and open to weapons trafficking.

The secretary general also noted some improvement in cluster-bomb, mine and other unexploded ordnance removal in the South, adding that these munitions continue to kill and wound citizens and mine-clearers. Israel, he noted, has yet to release information on the “number, type and location” of cluster bombs dropped during the 2006 conflict.

Regarding the Shebaa Farms and the delineation of parts of the southern and southeastern Lebanese border, Ban said that investigative work continues but little progress has been made.

Overall, the report expressed satisfaction that hostilities has not been renewed, while noting that more progress in implementing the resolution should have been made since 2006.

Israel rejects UNIFIL plan for Ghajar pullout

BEIRUT: The Israeli Cabinet rejected on Thursday a United Nations proposal that it withdraw from the northern part of the occupied village of Ghajar.

According to a statement, the Cabinet’s council for political and security affairs rejected United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) commander Claudio Graziano’s proposal, but added that cooperation with UNIFIL would continue until a solution is reached.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane responded Thursday with a statement saying the issue was of special importance to the UN.

“UNIFIL had submitted a proposal to the parties to facilitate [the Israeli military’s] withdrawal from northern Ghajar and the adjacent area north of the Blue Line. We have since been engaged in discussions in this regard,” she said, noting that “according to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 Israel is obliged to withdraw from the area.”

Source

Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 10:37 am  Comments Off on Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty  
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Congo rebel backs U.N. peace plan, fighting persists

November 16, 2008
By Finbarr O’Reilly
JOMBA, Congo

Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda agreed on Sunday to support a U.N. peace plan for eastern Congo, including a body to oversee a ceasefire, but fighting between the army and rebels raged on in one zone.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (L) stands with rebel leader Laurent Nkunda as they meet in the village of Jnomba in eastern Congo, November 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly)

After talks with United Nations special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo at Jomba in Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, Nkunda said he had agreed to three requests from him — to respect a ceasefire, open a humanitarian corridor to aid refugees, and support the U.N. peace initiative.

“We agree,” Nkunda told reporters in French.

But he had asked Obasanjo, a former Nigerian head of state, to tell Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s government to also respect a suspension of military hostilities.

“We support his mission … he has got support from the international community … we are behind him and we are going to do our part so we can get on with this peace,” Nkunda, wearing a grey suit and carrying a cane topped with a silver eagle’s head, said in other comments in English.

Obasanjo met Nkunda at his home village in the foothills of the Virunga mountains, close to the Rwandan and Ugandan borders. After their talks, the two briefly danced with rebel fighters and children outside the church compound where they met.

But as they met, U.N. peacekeepers reported heavy fighting on Sunday between Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) rebels and Congo’s army near the village of Ndeko, 110 km (70 miles) north of the provincial capital Goma.

The U.N. troubleshooter, who held talks on Saturday with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, is seeking to prevent the fighting in North Kivu from escalating into a repeat of a wider 1998-2003 Congo war that sucked in six neighbouring states.

Obasanjo, who flew back to the North Kivu provincial capital Goma, said the talks with Nkunda went “extremely well”.

“Nkunda wants to maintain a ceasefire but it’s like dancing the tango. You can’t do it alone,” Obasanjo said.

He said later in Goma Nkunda had agreed to a tripartite committee to monitor ceasefire violations, but on the condition that the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo was not involved. Nkunda says the U.N. peacekeepers are biased against him.

Weeks of combat between Nkunda’s Tutsi rebels and government troops and their militia allies have displaced around a quarter of a million civilians, creating what aid agencies call a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation in east Congo.

ROCKET AND MORTAR BATTLE

U.N. military spokesman Lt-Col Jean-Paul Dietrich said the Ndeko combat did not help the peace process: “The army is firing rockets. The CNDP is using mortars. It’s not a good sign if they continue to fight while the special envoy is holding talks”.

Nkunda played down the latest fighting, saying it was “not a problem” and he had contacted the government to try to end it.

The United Nations said it was impossible to say who had started the clashes and at least six government soldiers had been wounded.

The roots of the North Kivu conflict stem from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, when extremist Hutu militias killed about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus before fleeing into Congo.

That led to two wars and a humanitarian crisis that killed more than five million people, mostly from hunger and disease.

In 2004, Nkunda rejected peace deals that ended the last war. He accuses Kabila of arming and using a Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the FDLR, which includes perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, to fight with the weak and chaotic Congolese army.

The Congolese president accuses Rwanda, whose soldiers fought in Congo’s last war, ostensibly to hunt down the Hutu militia, of supporting Nkunda’s rebellion.

Nkunda spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa blamed the government for Sunday’s fighting. “The army attacked us this morning,” he said.

But he insisted this would not derail the peace talks. “He (Obasanjo) is not blind. He will see who is responsible for the clashes. While he talks peace, the government attacks us.”

The Congolese army was not available for comment.

Nkunda initially took up arms saying he was fighting to defend fellow Tutsis in Congo from attack by the Rwandan Hutu FDLR. But, after marching to the gates of Goma last month, he is now calling for unconditional direct talks with the president.

Kabila has so far rejected negotiations.

(Additional reporting by David Lewis in Kinshasa, Emmanuel Braun in Jomba and Hereward Holland in Goma)

Source

Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo

Doctors Without Boarders Providing Assistance in North Kivu, DRC


Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Comments Off on Congo rebel backs U.N. peace plan, fighting persists  
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U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

November 14 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
A U.N. official says Israel is holding up planned food aid shipments to Gaza.

Official Chris Gunness says this means the U.N. Relief and Works Agency won’t be able to deliver food to 750,000 Gaza residents beginning on Friday.

Israel has kept its crossings sealed with Gaza for nine days. The closure came in response to ongoing Palestinian rocket and mortar fire at Israel.

Israel said small quantities of food aid would be allowed in on Thursday. But Gunness says Israel told him the crossings would not be opened.

Military spokesman Peter Lerner said the crossings stayed shut because Palestinian militants fired mortars and rockets at Israel early Thursday.

Source

This is one war that needs to be halted. The sooner the better.

Chart showing that approximately four times more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis.

American news reports repeatedly describe Israeli military attacks against the Palestinian population as “retaliation.” However, when one looks into the chronology of death in this conflict, the reality turns out to be quite different.

Source

Of course this changes every day as more die.

Fatalities and more information

29.9.2000-31.10.2008
Occupied Territories
Israel
Gaza Strip West Bank Total
Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces
2969 1791 4760 69
Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians
4 41 45 2
Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians
39 198 237 490
Israeli security force personnel killed by Palestinians
97 148 245 90
Foreign citizens killed by Palestinians
10 7 17 37
Foreign citizens killed by Israeli security forces
4 6 10
Palestinians killed by Palestinians
459 135 594
Additional data (included in previous table)
Occupied Territories
Israel
Gaza Strip West Bank Total
Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces
634 318 952 3
Israeli minors killed by Palestinians
4 35 39 84
Palestinians killed during the course of a targeted killing
Palestinians who were the object of a targeted killing
150 82 232
Palestinians killed by Palestinians for suspected collaboration with Israel
11 109 120
Palestinians who took part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces
1198 467 1665 60
Palestinians who did not take part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces ( not including the objects of targeted killings).
1382 840 2222 5
Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces and it is not known if they were taking part in the hostilities
389 484 873 4
Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 6:42 am  Comments Off on U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza  
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US and Zimbabwe were the only countries to vote against the Arms Treaty


Control Arms campaign demands urgent move to end the carnage

On Friday 31st October, 147 states voted overwhelmingly at the United Nations to move forward with work on an Arms Trade Treaty. This is an increase on the 139 states which voted to start the UN process in October 2006, showing increasing global support for the treaty. Support was particularly strong in Africa, South and Central America and Europe indicating high demand for global arms controls, both from countries severely affected by armed violence and from major arms exporters. Only the US and Zimbabwe voted against, ignoring growing global consensus on an ATT.

The Control Arms campaign, which represents millions of people around the world welcomes the vote but continues to call for more urgency from states to advance the process quickly and ensure a strong Treaty with human rights and development at its heart.

Every day, over 1000 people are killed directly with firearms and many thousands more die indirectly as a consequence of armed violence, or are driven from their homes, forced off their land, raped, tortured or maimed. Since the UN process started in December 2006, approximately 695,000 people have been killed directly with firearms, illustrating the urgent need for an Arms Trade Treaty. Any further delay means more lost lives.

Brian Wood from Amnesty International said:

This big vote today moves the world closer to an Arms Trade Treaty with respect for human rights at its heart, the only way such a treaty can really stop the carnage. Today’s decision is that the principles of the UN Charter and other state obligations must be considered central to the Treaty. It is shameful that the US and Zimbabwe governments have taken an unprincipled stand today against a Treaty that would save so many lives and livelihoods.

Anna Macdonald from Oxfam International, said:

Most governments now support an Arms Trade Treaty and they must now move forward with urgency. Today’s vote is one step closer to turning off the running tap of irresponsible arms transfers which have flooded the world’s conflict zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty, such as is happening now in DRC. However we need leaps forward not steps, as every day lost means hundreds more lives lost.

Mark Marge from the International Action Network on Small Arms said:

This vote is a victory for the millions of campaigners in countries around the world. But we cannot afford to rest. All those against the misuse of arms will continue to pressure their governments to move quickly to implement a strong, legally binding treaty.

Source

3,000 more peacekeepers needed in Congo: UN chief

November 11 2008

The head of the United Nations is requesting 3,000 more peacekeepers to help allay the conflict in Congo, calling it a “very serious and dire situation.”

Speaking at a news conference in New York Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the deteriorating situation in the east African nation demands more troops.

“I have requested, on an urgent basis to the Security Council, for additional resources and manpower,” he told reporters.

“I’m still concerned that even with a strong joint statement by the African leaders, we have 250,000 displaced persons.”

Thousands have been driven from their homes in eastern Congo since August, when fighting intensified between the Congolese army and rebel forces led by Laurent Nkunda.

Nkunda, a former army general, has said he is fighting to liberate all of Congo from a corrupt government, and to protect minority Tutsis from Rwandan Hutu militants who participated in the genocide before fleeing to Congo.

Although Nkunda declared a unilateral ceasefire on Oct. 29, recent clashes have undermined the fragile declaration.

Ban on Tuesday called for a new ceasefire agreement between government and rebel forces so aid workers could provide emergency assistance to “at least 100,000 refugees” cut off from basic necessities in rebel-held areas north of Goma, the provincial capital.

“This is a very serious and dire situation,” he said.

The UN Security Council was meeting Tuesday evening to consider Ban’s request to bolster the 17,000-strong UN force already on the ground in Congo.

The European Union has rejected the idea of sending its own force into the region, after France failed to win agreement from other nations Monday on a proposal to deploy a 1,500-member battle group alongside UN peacekeepers.

The announcement came amidst reports that Congolese soldiers were raping women and pillaging homes in and around the town of Kanyabayonga, about 100 kilometres north of Goma.

Soldiers involved in rampage

Between 700 and 800 soldiers were said to be involved in the rampage, which spread through several villages, UN peacekeeping spokesman Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said Tuesday, speaking by phone from the national capital Kinshasa.

About 75,000 have already fled the Goma area because of fighting.

“There is a big tension because there are so many people there and it’s so close to Goma,” Dietrich said, adding that the UN has begun investigating the violence with the Congolese army.

Meanwhile, aid workers were trying to gain access to the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja, both 16 kilometres south of Kanyabayonga in rebel-held territory, where residents are believed to be without access to food.

Aid workers seeking to assist civilians trapped on rebel-held territory would be guaranteed safe passage, according to a rebel spokesman.

“If there are NGOs who want to come to Rutshuru, they are welcome to come,” said rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa.

In the Kibati refugee camp just outside of Goma, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross said the organization is scrambling to distribute necessities.

Cholera on the rise

“In the moment we are distributing foods, but from the next day we will try to start a new distribution for essential items like blankets, like tarpaulins, like soap and other things because it’s true people here are missing everything,” said Olga Miltcheva.

At least 90 cases of cholera have been recorded around Goma since Friday, according to relief officials. Seven more cases were diagnosed at a Kibati clinic Monday night.

The conflict in eastern Congo is fuelled by lingering tensions from the 1994 slaughter of a half-million Tutsis in Rwanda, and Congo’s civil wars from 1996-2002, which attracted neighbouring countries to Congo’s mineral riches.

Nkunda, who defected from Congo’s army in 2004, claims the Congolese government has not protected ethnic Tutsis from the Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping slaughter a half-million Rwandan Tutsis.

He and his fighters are ready to lay down their arms, Nkunda has said, if the government agrees to disengage with “negative forces” from neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda and hold direct talks with Nkunda under the guidance of a neutral mediator.

The administration of Congolese President Joseph Kabila has indicated it is open to discussions with all rebel and militia groups in the region, of which there are several, but will not meet solely with Nkunda’s group.

Source

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Timeline

Congo ‘worst place’ to be woman or child

Search for peace ‘doomed’ by scramble for minerals in Congo

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 12:34 am  Comments Off on 3,000 more peacekeepers needed in Congo: UN chief  
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