NAM urges UN to send peacekeeping force to Palestine

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has strongly urged the United Nation Security Council to establish a peacekeeping mission in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. In a nine-point communique released after the one-day meeting today, the Ministerial Meeting called for compliance with all relevant Security Council resolutions and stressed the importance and usefulness of a comprehensive Security Council resolution in view of the current circumstances. They called on the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility under the UN Charter with regard to the violation of international law. 

International report examines affect of West Bank ‘wall’ on Palestinians

A new report by international donors, which includes the United Nations, has found that a separation barrier Israel is building in the West Bank could cut off 12,000 Palestinians from their land, work and essential social services. The report recommends that donors should closely monitor the continuing construction, its impact and its implications for the Palestinian population, and that donors should provide assistance to affected communities and households. 

Annan 'disturbed' by latest cycle of deadly violence in Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is deeply disturbed by the alarming violence in Gaza City that started today, which left several Palestinians, including civilians and children, and at least six Israeli soldiers dead, his spokesman said. “The Secretary-General is particularly concerned by the heavy fighting in densely populated neighbourhoods, which is exposing more Palestinian civilians to death and injury,” spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement issued in New York. 

General Assembly overwhelmingly affirms Palestinians' right to sovereignty

The 191-member United Nations General Assembly today overwhelmingly affirmed the need to enable the Palestinian people “to exercise sovereignty and to achieve independence in their State, Palestine.” By a vote of 140 in favour to 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the United States), with 11 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution that also affirmed that “the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation.” The text also affirmed that “the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over this territory.” 

Annan hosts meeting of "Quartet" to discuss Middle East peace

Meeting today at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the so-called Quartet issued a positive reaction to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw all Israeli settlements from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, calling it a “rare moment of opportunity” and a possible restart to its Road Map peace plan for the Middle East. In a communiqué read by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan after their meeting, the UN, EU, Russia and United States said they “took positive note” of Prime Minister Sharon’s announced intention to withdraw Israeli settlements, a plan that Israel’s Likud party rejected in a referendum Sunday. 

UN representative says impact of Israel's Gaza plan depends on crucial decisions

At a crucial and potentially seminal juncture for Middle East peace, Israel’s announced withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, if carried out in the right way, could usher in a new era of peacemaking in the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen told the Security Council this morning. At the same time, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of Kofi Annan continued, if such a withdrawal was implemented in the wrong way, it would lead to more violence, possibly bringing the situation to a new low in the dismal annals of the Palestinian-Israeli tragedy.  “This is the cross-roads we are at today.” 

Annan condemns Israel's assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi and called on the country to end the practice of extrajudicial killngs, which violate international law. “He is apprehensive that such an action would lead to further deterioration of an already distressing and fragile situation,” a spokesman for the Secretary-General said in a statement issued on Saturday evening in New York. The statement emphasized that the only way to halt an escalation in the violence is for Israelis and Palestinians to work towards a viable negotiating process. 

UN meeting criticizes impact of Israel's construction of wall in the West Bank

The United Nations International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including In and Around East Jerusalem, concluded its two-day session this afternoon with participants expressing deep concern about the dangerous current and potential humanitarian consequences of the construction of the wall and urging active involvement of the international community to resolve this crisis. A final document said participants expressed deep concern over the dangerous current and potential humanitarian consequences of the construction of the wall. 

Palestinian Chargé d'affaires address situation in Palestine to UN bodies

Somaia Barghouti, the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations sent identical letters to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council describing the situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories. She wrote that the situation “continues to deteriorate”. This letter is one of 186 letters sent to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, since 28 September 2000. These letters constitute a basic record of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law since September 2000. 

Israelis and Palestinians visit destroyed villages, discuss rights of refugees

“We saw what could not be seen in other visits to the Galilee,” said a Jewish Israeli after visiting six destroyed Palestinians villages in the Galilee area of Israel as part of an Israeli-Palestinian conference, March 26-28 in Haifa, which brought together 300 Israeli Jews, Palestinians, internally displaced Palestinians in Israel,  Palestinian and Israeli academics, and supporters of human and civil rights groups in Israel, Palestine and abroad to coordinate their efforts in advancing the rights of Palestinian refugees in general and those inside Israel in particular.  A number of invited guests were denied entry to Israel.