Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “Ceasefire Agreement

Any ceasefire agreement must be based on international law, respect for human rights

Press Release
Ministry of Health Gaza
August 06, 2014

The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.

We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.

We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

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Why the Egyptian-Israel truce proposal falls on deaf ears

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor

No guarantee to open Rafah Crossing or lift the crippling siege

No guarantee to open Rafah Crossing or lift the crippling siege

The cynical ‘ceasefire’ chorus being sung by Israel and Egypt is merely yet another movement in the well-orchestrated Israeli-Egyptian three-penny opera.

The way in which the ‘negotiations’ were carried out was more farce than finale – Egypt wrote the libretto for the Israeli impresario, leaving the Palestinians in the wings.

The terms themselves are a three-act charade. The Israeli-Egyptian duet omits a core Hamas demand – any mention of the release of more than 50 Palestinian prisoners released in the 2011 Shalit swap who were re-detained during the recent West Bank ‘search’ for three missing Israeli settlers.

Nor does it commit to either re-open the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, or to lift the crippling – and illegal – Israeli siege of Gaza, merely saying that “crossings shall be opened and the movement of persons and goods through (them) shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.” Both of these are core demands of the entire Palestinian resistance – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and everyone in between.

Any ceasefire that does not change the fundamental paradigm, a hermetically-sealed Gaza and a ‘normal Israel,’ will garner only encore after encore, as every previous performance has done. Read more HERE


Time for the Egyptian ‘opposition’ to observe democratic norms

07 December 2012

It is not the Morsi government that has lost legitimacy, but the manifestly mis-named National Salvation Front.

In a genuine democracy, the opposition accepts that the government is elected to rule and that the opposition’s role is constructive criticism and keeping alternative policies in view – through the parliamentary process.

An opposition that spurns the parliamentray process, that spurns dialogue, and that sinks to vicious street thuggery in order to achieve its ends does not deserve the support or respect of the Egyptian people, or of the international community.

The torching of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo and several other regional centres, attacks on the Presidential Palace and on Morsi’s home, and the murder of six Morsi supporters by ‘opposition’ protesters are hardly the hallmarks of democracy, or of a legitimate opposition, in action.

Rather, they are the hallmarks of a brutal, illegitimate and concerted destabilisation attempt – and it is no coincidence that it comes hot on the heels of the Egyptian-brokered Isarel-Gaza ceasefire agreement.

The roles of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and co-conspirator Amr Moussa, ex-leader of the Arab League, in these shameful proceedings is nothing short of scandalous. Both should know better.

If ever two people disqualified themselves from serious consideration for leadership roles in a democratic state by their own blatantly undemocratic behaviour, surely these two must top the list by their actions over the past week.

Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood, was generous in describing opposition protesters’ behaviour as “crude and contemptible ways of expression, rather than (putting) their points across in a civilized manner” – many would call it outright barbarity.

If there is to be any ‘national salvation’ in Egypt, it must begin with dialogue, not with street thuggery masquerading as legitimate dissent.

And if creating a genuine democracy in Egypt is the aim of the opposition, and of the Egyptian people, the first steps should be taken in the houses of parliament, not in the streets.

Isn’t that what 846 Egyptians died for in 2011?


UN Special Rapporteur: Israel must deliver on cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip

PRESS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

CAIRO (5 December 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, Richard Falk, called today on Israel to abide by and fully implement the cease fire agreement that ended the recent crisis with Gaza.

The human rights expert has just concluded a week-long mission to the region, with the initial purpose assessing the overall impact of Israel’s prolonged occupation and blockade against the Gaza Strip, which is an integral part of Palestine. “However,” he explained, “there arose an urgent need to investigate Israel’s seemingly deliberate attacks against civilian targets during recent hostilities.”

“We visited the sites of attacks and spoke with surviving family members. It is clear that some attacks killed and harmed civilians in a grossly disproportionate manner and thus appear to violate international law,” Mr. Falk said. “There is a widespread feeling among Palestinians that Israel is above the law, and that it is likely to continue to have the benefits of impunity even when it flagrantly and repeatedly violates international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

“Experience has shown that Israel fails to meet its international obligation to promptly and impartially investigate its own actions,” he noted. “Experience has also shown that Israel is not likely to carry out its obligations under the cease fire agreement; indeed during our visit we heard Israeli warplanes flying directly overhead and received reports of Israeli military incursions into the Gaza Strip.”

The Special Rapporteur called for sustained pressure from the international community, including both Governments and civil society, to secure Israel’s full implementation of the cease fire agreement, noting that without such pressure it is extremely unlikely to hold. “Worldwide support for the recent General Assembly resolution that made Palestine a non-Member observer State should serve as a starting point for more concerted international protection of Palestinian rights,” he said.

Mr. Falk stressed that talks to clarify how certain aspects of the cease fire agreement will be implemented, in particular with regard to access to maritime and agricultural resources, must be swiftly concluded.

“Every day Palestinian fishermen and farmers risk being shot at or detained by Israeli forces. Already since the agreement was reached, Israel has detained 13 fishermen, confiscated 4 fishing boats and sank another fishing boat,” he said. “Such actions signal an Israeli intention to maintain its coercive style of occupation rather to explore whether implementing the ceasefire agreement might lead toward a more hopeful future.”

“Palestinians and the international community are confronted with huge challenges to address underlying problems that have been severely aggravated by Israel’s occupation and blockade,” the independent expert said, underscoring the urgent need for access to clean water and sanitation, productive agricultural land, and new infrastructure.

“We received extensive briefs on what could be done if sufficient resources and political will are made available,” he said. “One example is the construction of a desalinization plant to meet urgent water and agricultural needs, but in many such cases funding is not forthcoming as donors are reluctant to invest in infrastructure projects that Israel is likely to bomb in one of its periodic large-scale attacks against Gaza.”

According to the Special Rapporteur, “unless these underlying problems are addressed soon, it appears that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020, as predicted by a recent UN report. Some of the experts with whom we spoke actually believe that 2016 is a more reasonable assessment. This indicates the gravity of the human rights crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

During his visit to Cairo and the Gaza Strip, Mr. Falk met with governmental, inter-governmental and civil society representatives, as well as victims and witnesses. He received briefings from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and other UN agencies, which provided an in-depth picture of the magnitude of the challenges in Gaza and the difficulties of addressing such challenges in a situation of occupation and blockade. He expressed his special appreciation to the people of Gaza and the international civil servants with whom he spoke for their support and engagement.

Mr. Falk’s next report to the Human Rights Council, which he intends to present in June 2013, will fully address the many concerns that were raised during the mission.

ENDS

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm

UN Human Rights – Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx
UN Human Rights – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Kevin Turner (+41 79 201 0122 / kturner@ohchr.org) or write to sropt@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)


PCHR: Israeli Forces Arrest 14 Fishermen, Confiscate 3 Fishing Boats

PCHR
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

02 December 2012

In New Violation of Cease-fire Agreement, Israeli Forces Arrest 14 Fishermen and Confiscate 3 Fishing Boats: Number of Arrested Fishermen Increases to 29 and Confiscated Boats to 9

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) repeats its condemnation of Israel’s violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip. PCHR is concerned over the escalation of Israeli attacks directed against fishermen since the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that was stopped following the cease-fire agreement reached between Palestinian resistance groups and the Israeli occupation forces, under Egyptian and international auspices. Attacks against fishermen escalated despite the Israeli authorities’ announcement of allowing the fishermen to fish up to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza shore in the context of the cease-fire.[1] Since the cease-fire agreement came about, Israeli occupation forces have arrested 29 fishermen, including 14 who were arrested on Saturday, 01 December 2012. Additionally, 9 fishing boats were confiscated and damaged, including 3 boats that were confiscated on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, 01 December 2012, the Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and boats in Gaza’s waters while they were fishing about 3 nautical miles off the Gaza shore. As a result, an engine of a fishing boat was damaged. The Israeli naval forces chased 3 boats and arrested 14 fishermen who were on board of the boats.

In his testimony to a PCHR fieldworker, one of the fishermen, Ramez Izzat Baker, 41, from Gaza City, said:

“At 06:30 on Saturday, 01 December 2012, I went fishing with my brother Rami, 34, and 3 of my cousins: Bayan Khamis Baker, 17; Mohammed Khaled Baker, 17; and Omar Mohammed Baker, 22, off the Gaza shore. We started fishing about 3 nautical miles off the shore. At 10:00, an Israeli gunboat approached and chased us ordering us to stop. The Israeli forces started firing heavily at us. Therefore, we stopped fishing for fear of being harmed or our boats getting damaged. They ordered us to take our clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. We did what they ordered us to do. The Israeli forces arrested us (my brother, three cousins and me) and transported us to Ashdod seaport, where we were questioned. At 21:00, we were released, while our boats remained in custody.”

In another incident, an Israeli gunboat attacked 2 fishing boats belonging to Sabri Mohammed Baker,52, and Eid Mohsen Baker, 23, who are both fishermen and live in Gaza City. The 2 men were fishing approximately 2 nautical miles[2] off the shore when Israeli naval forces opened fire at the boats, damaging the boat that belongs to Eid Baker. The Israeli naval forces ordered the 9 fishermen who were on board of the 2 boats to stop fishing and then arrested them. They took them to Ashdod seaport and interrogated them. The naval forces kept the two boats. At approximately 21:00, 8 fishermen were released while Emad Mohammed Baker, 33, from Gaza remained in custody.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1. Condemns the continued Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza sea, and calls upon Israel to immediately stop its policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely;

2. Believes that the violations committed against the Palestinian fishermen within the 6 nautical miles limit proves false the Israeli claims of permitting the fishermen to fish freely up to 6 nautical miles from the shore;

3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war, to intervene to immediately stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.

Public Document

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For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org

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Israel fires on Buffer Zone farmers, international journalists

28 November 2012

Today I went with Ministry of Agriculture reserachers, international activists and international journalists to the Gaza Buffer Zone at Juhrardeek to accompany a farmer to his fields.

AhmadHassan Badawi’s farm was attacked durin g the recent Israeli offensive, and his poultry farm destryed by shells from israeli tanks, which killed his 3,200 chickens. He is left only with his field crops, and some olive tress and flowers.

Of his 50 dunnums of land (1 dunnum = 1,000 sq m) Ahmad is only able to access 30, due to Israel declaring the rest of his land part of the buffer zone, and shooting him and his family if they try to farm it.

The slide show displays the quite large group of foreigners accompanying the researchers and farmers towards the fence, and the Israei response – this, after a caesefire agreement in which farmers are supposedly guaranteed access to their lands.

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One of Ahmad’s sons has already been shot in the leg – they told us that the only difference our presence makes is that Israel uses warning shots when foreigners are present, otherwise it shoots straight at them.


Press statement issued by Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh

Press statement Issued by the Prime Minister
(badly translated by JWP)

Wednesday November 21, 2012

Prime Minister satisfied with this agreement, proud of the steadfastness of our people and their resistance, and thankful for Egypt’s leading role

The Palestinian people have forged a new model in their steadfastness, patience, generosity and creativity in the face of calamities and difficulties, and proved to be people of unbending resolve able to achieve their will.

Following the announcement of the cease-fire we emphasize the following:
1 – We mourn all the martyrs over the past seven days of Israeli aggression and treachery, and call on the Almighty to ensure a speedy recovery for all the wounded.
2 – We salute the heroic Palestinian people, who expressed legendary steadfastness in the face of the Israeli war machine and aggression.
3 – We express our deep appreciation for the heroic Palestinian resistance and exchanges which showed substantial strength in defense of the Palestinian people.
4 – We appreciate the great vigil of the masses of the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere to stand alongside their brothers and their people in the Gaza Strip, and defying the occupation’s expectations and embodying the unity of our people, rallying around the aim of steadfastness and resistance.
5 – We express our deep appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the great role played by President Mohammed Mursi and his government, and bless their efforts in order to reach this honorable termination of aggression against our people.
6 – We appreciate the efforts made ​​by the Arab League and all regional and international parties who stood by our people at this critical stage and who were quick to come to the Gaza Strip to express the position of solidarity in support of Palestinian resolve.
7 – We congratulate our people on this victory that proved the Palestinian peoples’ and the valiant resistance’s high resilience, creativity, and composure and showed the nation would stand by the people and that they are not alone, and we confirm that we are satisfied with this agreement.