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Tentative moves toward new Palestine government

WASHINGTON, D.C., 23 March 2007 (IPS) - How seriously and to what ends is the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush willing to engage the new Palestinian government of national unity? As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes her seventh visit to the Middle East in the last eight months, that is the question that foreign policy analysts and diplomats here are asking, and the answers are as yet far from clear.Is the administration committed to resuming a genuine peace process designed to fill out the “political horizon” of a final settlement to which both Israel and the Palestinians, including Hamas, will be willing to commit? 

To Ban Ki-Moon: 40 years of occupation

Dear Secretary-General Ban,
As Palestinian organisations dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights, we welcome your decision to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) at this early stage in your tenure as UN Secretary-General. After 40 years of belligerent occupation, the current reality in the OPT is one of systematic violations of international human rights law, as well as serious breaches of international humanitarian law, which in many instances amount to war crimes. 

Weekly Report on Human Rights Violations

During the reporting period two Palestinians, including a child were killed by the IOF in the West Bank. Thirteen Palestinian civilians, including seven children, were wounded by IOF. Eight of these civilians were wounded in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah; four were injured by IOF gunfire at checkpoints. The IOF also conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the OPT, including a minor incursion into the Central Gaza Strip. 

ADC calls for congressional inquiry into Bolton remarks

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today calls on the United States Congress to conduct an investigation into remarks made by former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton stating that the US deliberately resisted calls for an immediate ceasefire during the summer 2006 war in Lebanon. Bolton was quoted in an interview with BBC saying he was, “damned proud of what we did” to prevent an early ceasefire. 

Knesset extends racist entry law for another year

Today the Knesset extended for fifteen months the validity of the racist Nationality and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order) Law, which prevents family unification of residents of East Jerusalem and citizens of Israel married to Palestinians who are residents of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. The extension follows the High Court of Justice’s rejection last year of the petition filed by Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights to invalidate the statute. In addition, the Knesset expanded the application of the law to include a category “dangerous countries,” containing Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, whose citizens are denied family unification under the provisions of the statute. 

Right to family life denied

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

Two-year-old killed in renewed factional violence

Gaza - Ma’an News Agency - The death toll due to the renewed clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip, which began on Wednesday, March 21, rose to three after a two-year-old infant died on Thursday evening. Security sources reported that the infant, Hassan Abu al-Nada, died from wounds sustained after being shot by armed men while in his house near the home of a leader of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Brigades, Samih al-Madhoun. 

UN meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace emphasizes nature and value of dialogue

The nature and value of dialogue and the importance of mutual respect within, between and among cultures were the focus of this afternoon’s discussion among participants in the first of three scheduled plenary sessions at the United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, held at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization. During the session — whose theme was “Peace in the Middle East: A key to the advancement of the dialogue between cultures and civilizations” — participants responded to the presentations of five expert panellists, who discussed three themes, including the urgency of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

One-third of Palestinians 'food insecure'

RAMALLAH, 22 March 2007 (IRIN) - One-third of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are food insecure, according to a report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). About 34 percent of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12 percent are at risk of reaching this state, the organisations found in a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment published this month. Most affected is the Gaza Strip, where 51 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity. 

Parallel progress needed in Middle East, Ban Ki-moon tells UN meeting

With a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians supporting a negotiated settlement to the Middle East conflict that would allow two States to live side by side in peace and security, it is vital that their leaders take concrete steps to achieve that goal, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a United Nations-sponsored meeting on the issue today. “It is clear that a parallel commitment by the parties is essential for advancing on key issues,” Mr. Ban said in a message at the start of the UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, urging participants to play their part.