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Патриарх на мира и прогреса

28/09/2016 Leave a comment

Днес на 93 годишна възраст ни напусна патриархът на мира и прогреса Шимон Перес. За нас българите, президентът Перес ще остане сред най-големите приятели на България. Той винаги е вярвал, че един народ не е велик, защото е многоброен или контролира голяма територия, а защото е способен на големи дела, на голрми открития и на прогрес. Той виждаше в България вдъхновяващ пример за толерантност и морална сила и винаги я даваше за пример. Баща на съвременен Израел, Перес отдаде живота си, за да изгради модерна държава за своя народ. Бори се за мир до последния си дъх.

За първи път се запознахме през 1996 малко след трагичното убийството на премиера Рабин. Посрещал съм го в София, в Брюксел, множество пъти сме били заедно в Израел. Последната ни среща беше през ноември 2015 в Тел Авив.

Почивай в мир, Шимон!

#Opinion: Two-State Solution Slipping Away! Do Not Miss the Opportunity to Reverse the Negative Trends #Israel #Palestine @UNSCO_MEPP

03/07/2016 2 comments

The report published last week by the Quartet – the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations – presents an analysis that should come as no surprise to anyone. The negative trends on the ground continue to jeopardise prospects for peace and diminish the prospects for a two-state solution.

Palestinian frustration after half a century of occupation, dozens of failed peace efforts cannot be wished away; it cannot be vanquished by aggressive security measures, continued illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, arrests or punitive home demolitions. Neither is it helped when Israeli ministers openly reject the very notion of a Palestinian state, call for the complete annexation of the West Bank or rush to approve more settlement construction.

But neither will the violence and terror we are witnessing again help bring about a Palestinian state. A peaceful future for both peoples cannot emerge on the back of statements that glorify terror and justify killing; mutual respect cannot come as a result of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings.

Most Palestinians have lived with the humiliation of occupation all their lives.

They do not need the Quartet to tell them about the devastating impact of the illegal settlement enterprise on their lives, their economy, and their legitimate aspirations for an independent, sovereign, viable state. For them, a nine-page report could never fully capture what it is like to live under a military rule which governs every aspect of their daily existence and which has the power of life and death over them and their children. The shooting of 15 year old Mahmoud Raafat Badran, on his way home from a swimming pool is the latest testament to this sad predicament. No army should kill children by mistake.

Equally so, Israelis know that continuing terrorist attacks, the incitement which encourages such acts, and the ongoing militant activity in Gaza are major obstacles not just to peace, but to rebuilding trust. The recent murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel provided further testimony to that. Heroes do not kill sleeping children. Most Israelis have lived with such fears all their lives. It is also clear that the takeover of Gaza undermines the ability to achieve and implement a negotiated solution.

Given this stark reality, Palestinians and Israelis have reached a point where many on

both sides have lost faith in the other’s commitment to a future of two states

living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition. Many of them have also grown critical of the international community – some thinking it is not doing enough to resolve this conflict while others see it as overly involved with it.

 At the end of the day, the sad reality for peoples on both sides of the conflict is that the things which they hold most dear – statehood and security – are slipping further away.

 The report published by the Quartet sends two very clear messages. First, to those who hope that the international community would somehow abandon this conflict and let it descend in a deteriorating status quo to perpetual chaos, we say: no, you are wrong. The report reflects the determination of the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations not to look away, but to expose and draw attention to the problems in a more detailed and uncompromising manner than ever before and to hold the leaderships to account on their actions and inactions.

Second, to those who hope that the international community will enforce a solution on this conflict, we say: you, too, are wrong. No third party can decide for Israelis or Palestinians what compromises to make and what risks to take for peace. None of us can convince them to begin trusting each other. What the international community can and must do is to provide the parties with support and incentives to take the right path, the one towards peace, in line with commitments they have already made to each other and before the world. We must pledge to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) through negotiations in a manner that resolves all permanent status issues, meets Palestinian aspirations for statehood and Israeli security needs.

The report describes the Quartet’s view on the main obstacles blocking the path forward, and what needs to be done to overcome them. Both have been critical of the report.

But can anyone deny that violence is a problem for rebuilding trust? Who will make the argument that more cannot be done to end incitement?

Can anyone question the fact that illegal settlements, the taking of land for exclusive Israeli use and the prevention of Palestinian development in Area C of the occupied West Bank are not undermining the prospect for a two-state solution? Who will say that the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations are wrong when they call for these policies to stop?

Who can question the need to fully lift the closures on Gaza, end militant activity and reunite it under one single legitimate leadership?

This conflict is so complex and so long-standing, that any expectation of a quick fix that resolves all final status issues is at best naïve, and at worst a cynical strategy to avoid the painstaking work needed to rebuild trust and create conditions for a realistic, serious and ultimately successful negotiations that will end the occupation that began in 1967 and realize a two state solution. No one is talking about yet another new transitional agreement but rather about

implementing what both sides have already agreed upon

and changing reality on the ground to pave the road for the final deal.

The Quartet report sounds an alarm bell that we are on a dangerous slope towards a one state reality that is incompatible with the national aspirations of both peoples.

The international community stands ready to engage both with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the implementation of the report’s recommendations. We believe that if they take up this challenge, in cooperation with regional actors, Palestinians and Israelis will experience a positive change in their lives and sense renewed hope – a first and necessary step towards a future in which they can each live in freedom and dignity on their ancestral homeland, as good neighbours and masters of their own fate. I urge leaders on both sides not to miss this opportunity.


this opinion piece was published or quoted in the following media:

In Full/English

·         Israeli and Palestinian Media 

Ø     Jerusalem Post, 4 July, Link

Ø     Maan News Agency, 4 July, Link

·         Forum/Blogs

Ø     Naruto Café, 6 July, Link

Excerpts/English

·         Israeli and Palestinian Media 

Ø    Times of Israel, 4 July, Link

Ø    Arutz Sheva, 4 July, Link

Ø    Jerusalem Post, 4 July, Link

Ø    Maan News Agency, 5 July, Link

·         Regional Media

Ø    Press TV (Iran), 4 July, Link

Ø    Al-Bawaba, 4 July, Link

·      International

Ø    Reuters, 3 July, Link

Ø    Reuters, 4 July, Link

Ø    Reuters, 5 July, Link

Ø    Breitbart, 4 July, Link

Ø    Camera, 6 July, Link

Ø    Sputnik, 7 July, Link

Ø    Russia Today, 4 July, Link

Ø    The Nation (UAE), 4 July, Link

Ø    The Forward, 3 July, Link

Ø    EuroNews, 4 July, Link

Ø    Business Insider (UK), 3 July, Link

Ø    New Europe, 5 July, Link

Ø    Daily Mail, 3 July, Link

Ø    Germany Sun, 5 July, Link

Excerpts/Arabic

·         Palestinian Media

Ø     Al-Quds Newspaper, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Ayyam Newspaper, 4 July, Link

Ø     PalSawa, 3 July, Link

Ø     Palestine News Network (PNN), 4 July, Link

Ø     Amad, 3 July, Link

Ø     Shams News Agency, 4 July, Link

Ø     Panet, 5 July, Link

Ø     Arab48, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Hourriah, 9 July, Link

·         Regional Media 

Ø     Al-Arabiya, 3 July, Link

Ø     Sky News Arabic, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Hurra, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Mayadeen, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Bayan (UAE), 4 July, Link

Ø     Masr Al-Arabia, 4 July, Link

Ø     Lebanon Daily, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Rai, 5 July, Link

Ø     Al-Mydan, 4 July, Link

Ø     New Middle East, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Khaleej, 4 July, Link

Ø     Sana (Syria), 4 July, Link

·         International Media

Ø     Reuters, 3 July, Link

Ø     Russia Today, 4 July, Link

 

Европа може да се защити от тероризма, без да отстъпва от ценностите си

25/11/2015 1 comment

© Copyright 2015 CorbisCorporation

Преди няколко дни дадох интервю на кореспондента на БНР в Израел Федя Декало. В разговора говорихме за кризата с миграцията в Европа.

Винаги съм бягал от определението „сблъсък на цивилизациите“,

защото това, с което се сблъскваме в Европа сега не е цивилизация. Това е екстремистка философия, която инструментализира религията и не представлява хората, които свързваме с цивилизацията на исляма. Най-важният въпрос пред нас сега е как да защитим Европа от нападенията на терористите, без да отстъпваме от ценностите, върху които е изграден ЕС. Започнем ли да строим стени и да премахваме свободи, за които хората са се борили 50 години, това би означавало, че терористите са победили. Европа не е толкова слаба, но и не трябва да се заблуждаваме, че решаването на проблемите в Близкия изток ще дойде с налагането на едни диктатори на мястото на други диктатори.

Разговаряхме и за

замразения Близкоизточен мирен процес.

Преговори в момента няма. За да се възстановят преговорите обаче няма да е достатъчно да съберем палестинските и израелски лидерите на една маса. Доверието между тях е абсолютно нарушено.

Основното предизвикателство днес е да се изгради доверия, за да има основание за смислени преговори. Разбира се, необходимо е и политическо лидерство, което да очертае пътя напред.

От една страна в палестинското общество има абсолютна фрустрация с липсата на перспектива, а от друга виждаме колко е тънко и наранимо усещането за сигурност в израелското общество. И страни имат нужда от мир и сериозна стабилност в отношенията си. Продължаването на сегашната ситуация до безкрай ще поражда единствено несигурност.

Що се отнася до ивицата Газа, стабилно примирие там може да има единствено, когато Газа се върне под контрола на легитимната палестинска власт.

Цялото интервю можете да чуете тук.

Meeting with Dr Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah

03/11/2015 Leave a comment

IMG_1027Earlier today I visited Dr Mustafa Barghouti, who is the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (al Mudabara) and a member of the Central Council of the PLO. His personal commitment to peace and non-violence can neither be questioned by his friends, nor his opponents. On October 25th he was attacked with a knife by an unknown assailant near his house in Ramallah. This attack against a political leader and public figure was universally condemned by all, including the United Nations. Such incidents serve only those who are interested in harming the Palestinian social and political fabric. The authorities should promptly investigate this act of terror and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Although we spoke after the incident, I went to visit Dr Barghouti today to discuss the political situation, his safety and the investigation into his attack. I was encouraged to see him in good spirits and as actively engaged as ever. We discussed that what is needed is a political perspective, a horizon for young people, in order to bring down the level of violence and incitement, as well as to point the way forward towards an end of the occupation and a two-state solution.

There is no need to convince Israelis and Palestinians that peace is better than violence, or that the two-state solution is the only just and lasting solution to the conflict. Most recently the UN Secretary-General addressed the Israeli and Palestinian people and visited the region with a clear goal: to support collective efforts to stop the violence, reduce tensions and re-establish a political horizon that can lead to lasting peace. He saw firsthand how the upsurge in violence has touched everyone: Israelis and Palestinians, men and women, young and old.  

The challenge today is how to bridge the widening gap between the two-state vision and the everyday realities for Palestinians. Ultimately, the parties will need to come back to the table to negotiate. We in the international community however need to help them create the conditions on the ground, in the region and internationally to make such negotiations meaningful. 

First, we must help restore a level of trust and encourage bold and significant measures on the ground that will tangibly improve the lives Palestinians and move us closer to two-states: Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. 

Second, we need to engage the moderate regional Arab partners, who stand to benefit from peace and security as well. 

Third, we need to establish the appropriate international infrastructure, through the United Nations and the Middle East Quartet, that can support and encourage negotiations and a comprehensive and just resolution to the conflict.

 

It is time to to reverse the growing perception that the two-state solution is on life-support, slowly dying a death ‘by a thousand cut’

23/07/2015 Leave a comment
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UN Secuirty Council considers situation in the Middle East in open debate. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Today I spoke at the Secuirty Council open debate on the Middle East. 46 countries had signed up to speak on a number of issues that relate to the situation in a region currently torn by religious radicalism, age-old sectarian rivalries and geopolitical realignments, one conflict has endured for over 65 years. Some see it as the core problem in the region; others dismiss it as unrelated to the current turmoil. Either way, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly entangled in the tectonic shifts of the Middle East. Given the region’s massive transformation, it is imperative — perhaps more than ever before — that a permanent settlement be found, based on the concept of two states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.
In my remarks I noted that despite continuing security coordination in the West Bank, today the two sides are further apart from that goal than ever. Support for the two-state solution among both Palestinians and Israelis is fading away. The current situation on the ground is not sustainable as the two-state solution continues to be under threat including from settlement construction, security incidents, occupation-related violence, and lack of Palestinian unity.

In the absence of a political process, the rise of violent extremism and terrorism in the region present a danger as much to the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians for statehood, as to the security of Israel.

In the current environment of mistrust we in the international community must work with Israelis and Palestinians to create the conditions on the ground, regionally and internationally, that will facilitate a return to meaningful negotiations on the basis of an agreed framework and within a reasonable timeframe.

On the ground, both parties must undertake steps that demonstrate their continued commitment to a two-state solution, including through the implementation of existing agreements and by avoiding unilateral actions.

Advancing the two-state solution requires a fundamental change in policy with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I welcome the recent decision by Israel to add 8,000 new work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank, bringing the number of permits issued for employment in Israel to a new high of some 60,000. This and other similar initiatives should be sustained and expanded, while much more needs to be done for improving the quality of life for Palestinians.

Unilateral actions in the West Bank, including settlement construction, so-called legalisation of outposts, demolitions and evictions must stop.

While settlement expansion had slowed of late, planning for related infrastructure has not ceased. I am concerned by recent reports about the imminent approval of new residential units in the occupied West Bank. Such a decision will inevitably damage the prospects for peace and increase the risk for political escalation. I urge the Israeli authorities to reconsider this action. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the very essence and the viability of a future Palestinian state.

Meanwhile the Palestinian people rightly expect their leaders to act to advance unity and empower their government to take control of the border crossings in Gaza, implement civil service integration, pay public sector salaries and ensure that the governance framework between the West Bank and Gaza is integrated under a single authority. These efforts will pave the way for much delayed elections to take place.

I called on all Palestinian groups to avoid in-fighting and find common ground, on the basis of non-violence and reconciliation, to achieve national unity which is critical for a two-state solution.

The Secretary-General stands ready to work with the Security Council and our partners in the Middle East Quartet on a reinvigorated effort to create the conditions for the return to meaningful negotiations. In this context, I noted the proposed establishment of an international support group that could contribute to such efforts. In the past month, the Quartet envoys, as part of an active outreach effort, engaged constructively with Egypt, with Jordan and with the League of Arab States. I took the opportunity to encourage the leadership of Israel to endorse the Arab Peace Initiative as an important contribution to a resolution to the conflict.

July 8th marked the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Gaza’s painstaking emergence from last summer’s conflict is undermining belief among the population that genuine progress can be achieved. Activities of Salafi jihadists and other extremist groups are a cause for concern not only in Gaza, but also in neighboring Sinai, where there are reports of their active support for militants on the Egyptian side of the border.

On 18 July, six cars were blown up in Gaza city. Palestinian Salafi militants launched a rocket at Israel on 16 July, which exploded in an open area near Ashkelon. In response, Israel conducted four airstrikes against militant infrastructure targets in Gaza. Militants also fired a rocket from the Sinai on 3 July, which landed in Israel across the Egyptian border, highlighting the potential for violence in the Sinai to expand beyond Egypt’s borders.

The Secretary-General calls on all actors in Gaza to provide information as to the possible whereabouts and conditions of two Israeli civilians who had entered Gaza sometime over the past year and remain unaccounted for, as well as to take prompt action to facilitate their safe return to their families.

These, and other incidents, underscore the fragile dynamics within Gaza that – without positive change – will continue to provide fertile ground for extremism to flourish.

Last month, the Palestinian Authority and Israel reached a welcome agreement on a new mechanism to allow Palestinians in Gaza access to construction material for the reconstruction of fully destroyed homes and for new construction. Close to 700 families have already been cleared and over 160 of these have purchased the required construction materials.

Given this positive development, I took this opportunity to once again, urge donors to fulfill their pledges, in particular those allocated to housing construction and to addressing Gaza’s urgent energy and water needs.

I also welcomed recent agreement to install an additional scanner for containers at the Kerem Shalom crossing. This should enable a substantial increase in exports from and imports into Gaza.

The lifting of the Gaza closures within the framework of Un Security Council has resolution 1860 (2009) remains an important objective of the United Nations. Absent this, the UN continues to work with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to support vital efforts to rebuild the lives of people in Gaza.

Turning to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, while the frequency of security incidents decreased compared to last month, the situation has remained tense.

Israeli security forces conducted some 186 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of some 300 Palestinians. Meanwhile Palestinian security forces also arrested over 100 people in the West Bank. I continue to be concerned by the situation of Palestinian prisoners, including those on hunger strike, held in Israel. All held in administrative detention should be promptly charged and tried in a court of law, or released without delay.

In total, 50 Palestinians were injured, and four were shot and killed by Israeli security forces, including two at checkpoints near Nablus and Ramallah. Two members of the Israeli security forces were stabbed and injured, one seriously.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli civilians in the West Bank also continued, resulting in the death of one Israeli and injury to eight Israelis and nine Palestinians, including one child.

Just as such incidents contribute to the lack of hope and anger which feed a continuing cycle of violence and highlight the imperative to seek a resolution to this conflict, so too do the demolitions and displacement in the West Bank.

On 12 July, Israel announced that it would seek to execute demolition orders of structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in Area C. This comes ahead of a court hearing, scheduled for 3 August, on a directly related planning-approval process. The Secretary-General joins the United States and the European Union in expressing his deep concern about the demolition and displacement plans for Susiya. Earlier today my Deputy Special Coordinator visited the community. We hope that the ongoing dialogue between Israeli authorities and the herding community will protect the rights of the persons affected.

Against this backdrop intra-Palestinian talks to form a national unity government have faltered. I noted the efforts of President Abbas and Prime Minister Hamdallah to reshuffle the current government and called on them to proceed without delay to appointing the new ministers.

The reshuffling comes at a particularly sensitive time as the Palestinian Authority faces significant financial challenges, including a budget deficit of some $500 million for 2015. This gap cannot be closed through fiscal measures alone, and I urged donors to rapidly scale up their direct budget support. In this respect, it is also important to revive the functioning of the Israeli-Palestinian joint economic committee.

While first and foremost it is up to the Palestinian authorities to take the lead, the UN stands ready to support the President, the Government and all factions in their efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, in line with the intra-Palestinian unity agreement of 23 April 2014.

Palestine is one and the UN will work determinedly to advance unity through its legitimate institutions.

At the end of my presentation I tured to the rest of the region and noted that the UN’s broad engagement continued during the reporting period. Following consultations with Syrian, regional and international parties, next week the Secretary-General and Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura will be briefing the Security Council on their recommendations for moving the political track forward.

In Yemen, Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed extends his good offices with all parties to restart negotiations on a political transition.

In Libya, the UN remains engaged in facilitating talks aimed at ending the current political and security crisis through the formation of a Government of National Accord.

In Iraq, the UN is working to promote political dialogue in the hopes of encouraging national reconciliation.

In Lebanon, Mr. President, concerns grow that political differences are preventing the effective functioning of state institutions, despite Prime Minister Salam’s commendable efforts to run government. There has been no progress in efforts to end the Presidential vacuum. The Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag continues to urge Lebanon’s leaders to put the country’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics and elect a President without further delay.

Meanwhile, the situation along the Lebanese border with Syria has remained stable, with the Lebanese Armed Forces continuing their operations to prevent the infiltration of armed extremist groups from Syria. In the south, the situation along the blue line has remained generally calm, despite almost daily Israeli overflights over Lebanese territory. We encouraged both parties to continue to make effective use of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanisms.

I spoke of my deep concerned about UNRWA’s current unprecedented financial crisis. If the current gap of USD 100 million is not closed in the next weeks there is a serious risk that UNRWA schools, which educate 500,000 children throughout the Middle East, will not open. This will have grave implications for Palestine refugee children in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and for the stability and security of a region already in turmoil.

I strongly urged donors to step up their support for UNRWA at this critical time.

Turning back to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I reiterated our collective resolve to prevent a further deterioration of the situation; to uphold the two-state solution; and to create the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas recently spoke and reaffirmed their desire for peace. This is a welcome sign. But words need to be translated into concrete and sustained actions on the ground.

But I was also abundantly clear: measures undertaken to improve the situation must not be considered an end unto themselves but part of a broader political framework with the goal of achieving a final status agreement.

Now is the time to act decisively, to act in order to reverse the growing perception that the two-state solution is on life-support, slowly dying a death “by a thousand cuts”.

A comprehensive agreement will require committed engagement with key Arab states, including through the Arab Peace Initiative.

The Secretary-General stands ready to support both sides in order to overcome their divisions and to rise to the challenge of forging a path forward towards a peaceful future.

In closing, I place on record my deep appreciation for the support that the Security Council and the Secretariat have given to the excellent UNSCO team on the ground.

I also welcomeed Mr. Robert Piper of Australia as the new Deputy Special Coordinator who will also serve as the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

الأطفال ليسوا جنودا

12/06/2015 Leave a comment

القدس، 11 حزيران 2015 – في تاريخ 8 حزيران، أصدر الأمين العام  

 للأمم المتحدة تقريرا طال انتظاره حول الأطفال والنزاعات المسلحة في العام 2014. لقد شهد العام الماضي تحديات غير مسبوقة لحماية عشرات الملايين من الأطفال الذين ينشأون في البلدان المتأثرة بالنزاعات. في العراق وسوريا، قام تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام بخطف أكثر من ألف فتاة وفتى. في احدى الحوادث التي حصلت في حلب في سوريا، قام التنظيم بخطف ما يقارب 150 من الصبية الصغار فور انتهائهم من أمتحاناتهم المدرسية وبينما كانوا بطريق عودتهم لمنازلهم. وفي حادثة أخرى، أصدر التنظيم وثيقة تبرر الاسترقاق الجنسي للفتيات اليزيدية اللواتي تم خطفهم في العراق. أما في نيجيريا، فقد قامت جماعة بوكو حرام بخطف المئات من الفتيات.

لقد كان عام 2014 مدمرا في دولة فلسطين وبالأخص بما يتعلق بالأطفال. ويبين التقرير بشكل واضح على أن الأمين العام قلق جدا بشأن الزيادة الهائلة في عدد الأطفال الذين قتلوا وجرحوا في الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة، حيث فقد 557 من الأطفال حياتهم في العام الماضي. وهذا العدد هو ثالث اعلى عدد من الأطفال الذين قتلوا في العالم بعد أفغانستان (710) والعراق (679). لا ينبغي لأي من الوالدين أن يضطر لدفن طفله أو طفلته، ولا ينبغي حرمان أي أسرة من أبتسامة وفرح أطفالها. ان وراء كل هذه الأرقام المروعة تكمن مأساة إنسانية، اننل لن ننسى هؤلاء العائلات الذين فقدوا أحبائهم في صلواتنا وأفكارنا.

ان استمرار الاحتلال يؤثر على حياة الأطفال من جميع أطراف الصراع. ففي رفح قتل كل من محمد،6 أعوام، وأخاه أمير، 12 عام، خارج منزلهم بواسطة صاروخ أطلق من طائرة بدون طيار. في حين قتل دانيل، 4 أعوام، بواسطة صاروخ عشوائي أطلق من غزة. كلتا الأسرتين، الفلسطينية والإسرائيلية، يحزنون لهم على حد سواء.

مقتل طفل واحد يعتبر عددا كبيرا

أنه لمن المحزن أنه في عام 2014، تحمل الأطفال، عبء الهجوم العسكري الواسع والذي يعد الثالث في غزة خلال السنوات الستة الماضية. ان عدد الأطفال الفلسطينيين الذيت قتلوا في الحرب الأخيرة قد فاق مجموع ما قتل من الأطفال خلال الحربين السابقتين. ففي خلال الخمسين يوما ما بين تاريخ 8 تموز و26 اب، قتل ما لا يقل عن 540 طفلا فلسطينيا (70% منهم تقل أعمارهم عن 12 عاما). وأصيب ما لا يقل عن 2,955 طفلا فلسطينيا، وتشير التقديرات الأولية على أنه ما لا يقل عن 1,000 من هؤلاء الأطفال سيعانون من عجز دائم.

وفي الضفة الغربية، قتل 13 فتى فلسطيني يتراوح أعمارهم ما بين 11-17 عاما. وفي تاريخ 15 أيار 2014، تم اطلاق الرصاص الحي على أثنين من الفتية الفلسطينيين مما أدى الى مقتلهم خلال مواجهات مع جنود اسرائيليين قرب حاجز بيتونيا. وتشير التقارير على أن الأطفال لم يظهروا بشكل يدل على انهم يشكلون تهديدا قاتلا. وبعد شهر من ذلك تم اختطاف ثلاثة شبان اسرائيليين، وفي وقت لاحق تم العثور على جثثهم الثلاثة قرب مدينة حلحول في شمال الخليل. ومن الفظيع أنه قبل حوالي العام، تم حرق محمد أبو خضير وهو على قيد الحياة في هجوم انتقامي على ما يبدو لخطف وقتل الشبان الإسرائيليين. وقد تم ألقاء القبض وتوجيه التهم لثلاثة مدنيين إسرائيليين، من بينهم اثنان تقل أعمارهم عن 18 عاما. ان من بين 1,218 طفل أصيبوا في الضفة الغربية، تقل أعمار نصفهم عن 12 عاما، و91% منهم أصيبوا خلال مواجهات في مدينتي الخليل والقدس الشرقية.

الأطفال ليسوا جنودا

إنه لمؤلم جدا مجرد كتابة هذه الكلمات والأرقام والتفكير في الدمارالذي لحق بالآلاف من الأسر. ان الأطفال ليسوا جنودا وينبغي أن يتم حمايتهم من العنف. بغض النظر أين يعيش هؤلاء الأطفال، فإن حياتهم ثمينة على حد سواء. لا ينبغي أن تعرض مدارسهم الى الخطر عن طريق إخفاء الأسلحة فيها، ولا ينبغي أيضا أن تتعرض الى القصف. لا ينبغي تجنيد الأطفال للقتال، ولا ينبغي سوء معاملتهم أو تهديدهم أو قتلهم.

يوضح التقرير مدى غضب الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة عن ما حدث لأطفال غزة العام الماضي. ان التقرير هو أكثر من مجرد قائمة، فينبغي أن يقرأ بأكمله. أن الأمم المتحدة تواصل رصد وتوثيق الوضع في فلسطين وإسرائيل، وقد كنا منذ سنوات عديدة قلقين إزاء تأثير النزاع على الأطفال هناك. أن هذا القلق آخذ بالازدياد.

لا يمكن لهذا العدد الهائل من الأطفال الذين قتلوا في غزة العام الماضي أن يمر دون عواقب. لقد أصدر الأمين العام دعوة قوية جدا الى اسرائيل باتخاذ خطوات ملموسة وفورية لحماية ومنع قتل الأطفال أوتعريضهم للأذى، بما في ذلك من خلال مراجعة السياسات والممارسات القائمة وضمان مساءلة مرتكبي الانتهاكات المزعومة. ولقد حذر بشدة جميع الأطراف التي تنخرط في العمل العسكري الذي ينتج عنه العديد من الانتهاكات الجسيمة ضد الأطفال، بغض النظر عن النوايا، على أنها سوف تخضع لتدقيق مستمر من قبل الأمم المتحدة، بما في ذلك من خلال التقارير وآلية الأدراج التي أنشأها مجلس الأمن. أن من واجب السلطات الإسرائيلية والفلسطينية ضمان اجراء تحقيقات في الاتهمات التي تنتهك القانون الدولي الإنساني وحقوق الإنسان بشكل سريع وفعال ومستقل ودون تحيز، وتقديم المسؤولين عنها للعدالة.

تهدف اللأمم المتحدة من خلال اصدارها لهذا التقرير الى زيادة الوعي العالمي حول الانتهاكات وضمان المساءلة لجميع الأطراف التي يتم توثيق ممارساتها في التقرير – في سبيل الوصول للهدف النهائي وهو وقف ومنع انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان ضد الأطفال. ان الحقائق المروعة الواردة في التقرير تتحدث عن نفسها. ان هذه الحقائق تعتبر إهانة لضمائرنا جميعا. لقد توجه الشعب في الارض الفلسطينية المحتلة الى المجتمع الدولي لبذل كل الجهد الممكن في التوصل إلى سلام عادل مبني على أساس حل الدولتين، حيث فلسطين وإسرائيل تعيشان جنبا إلى جنب في سلام وأمن. ويقع على مسؤوليتنا تحقيق هذا المطلب من أجل أن يحظى أطفال هذه الأرض بالمستقبل الذي يستحقون.

As published in Al Quds Newspaper on June 11 2015

 

UN to explore “realistic options” for a return to negotiations

20/05/2015 Leave a comment
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“Both parties must expend every effort to build upon existing agreements, including relevant Security Council resolutions, the Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative, to gain momentum towards a final status agreement”

On May 19th I presented my first report to the Security Council in my new capacity as the Secretary General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process and Personal Envoy to the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. The presentation was followed by closed consultations.

I started by thanking Palestinian President Abbas and his Government for their warm welcome and genuine interest in working with the United Nations in advancing the just cause of peace. I also expressed my gratitude to the Government of Israel for their warm reception and for engaging on a host of important issues related to the situation on the ground.

Since taking up my assignment, I have engaged with the Palestinian and Israeli leadership; with political, civil society and business stakeholders in the West Bank and Gaza; and with key partners in Egypt and Jordan in order to begin developing a better understanding of the reality on the ground and the prospects for the future.

The Middle East faces a vicious tide of terror and extremism that presents a dangerous challenge to the region, and to international peace and security.

However, the inability to respond, for over 60 years, both on the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state and to Israel’s quest for security, has fuelled a situation that is becoming more dangerous by the day.

Generations of Palestinians and Israelis have come to realise that sustainable and just peace cannot be reached through conflict, but must be the result of negotiations. Thousands of people have died so that today we may hold this truth – that peace cannot be achieved through violence, but at the negotiating table, to be self-evident.

This hard-earned belief in peace and negotiations must not be allowed to wither away. If it does, it can further destabilise the Middle East for decades. To save it, to give hope back to people, we must act to advance the prospect of a two-state solution: Israel and Palestine – living side-by-side in peace and security.

How to do that is not an academic question, but one that must be addressed by the parties on the ground, by the international community, and by the United Nations.

I do not underestimate the difficult decisions that both parties will have to take. Nor should we underestimate the domestic challenges that Israeli and Palestinian leaders alike will have to overcome. The region is facing complicated security threats. However, it is precisely because of the dangers that lurk in the Middle East today that both sides must show historic leadership and personal commitment to peace and negotiations.

I called on the new Government of Israel to take credible steps, including a freeze of settlement activity, in order to promote the resumption of meaningful negotiations.Continued security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli authorities remains a cornerstone of a peaceful resolution.

Continued security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli authorities remains a cornerstone of a peaceful resolution.

Both parties must expend every effort to build upon existing agreements, including relevant Security Council resolutions, the Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative, to gain momentum towards a final status agreement.

The Secretary-General stands ready to work with all in order to encourage a return to negotiations, on the basis of an agreed framework.

On 14 May, the Israeli Knesset confirmed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new coalition government. Its guidelines state that it will “strive for peace with the Palestinians and all our neighbours, while safeguarding the security, historical and national interests of Israel.”

The Secretary-General and I will be engaging the new Government to explore realistic options for a return to meaningful negotiations towards a two-State solution within a reasonable timeframe. However, this goal is increasingly threatened by actions that exacerbate the divisions between the sides.

We are deeply concerned to see the advancement of settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank on three occasions this past month. On 14 May, tenders were issued for 85 housing units in Givat Ze’ev, south of Ramallah. On 6 May, the District Planning and Building Committee approved permits for 400 new residential units in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo, and, on 27 April, 77 tenders were issued for residential units in two other East Jerusalem settlements.

These announcements come at a sensitive time in which the international community is looking to Israel to demonstrate its readiness to engage with the Palestinians on building peace. There should be no illusions about the impact of these unilateral actions. They not only undermine the collective hopes of those longing for a just resolution of the conflict, but they again call into question the viability of achieving peace based on the vision of two States.

Settlement activity is illegal under international law and I urge the new Israeli Government to reverse these decisions and refrain from further such action.

In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, tensions continued as Israeli security forces conducted some 265 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of 294 Palestinians. In separate incidents in late April, three Palestinian men, including a 17-year-old boy, were shot and killed after reportedly stabbing and injuring Israeli security officers at checkpoints in Hebron and Ma’ale Adumin. On 25 April, a Palestinian man was suspected of intentionally ramming his car into a group of Israeli policemen in East Jerusalem, resulting in four injured. On 11 May, an Israeli was injured in a reported stabbing attack near a West Bank checkpoint. And on 14 May, three Israeli youths were struck by a car driven by a Palestinian man in Gush Etzion.

In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, tensions continued as Israeli security forces conducted some 265 search-and-arrest operations, resulting in the arrest of 294 Palestinians. In separate incidents in late April, three Palestinian men, including a 17-year-old boy, were shot and killed after reportedly stabbing and injuring Israeli security officers at checkpoints in Hebron and Ma’ale Adumin. On 25 April, a Palestinian man was suspected of intentionally ramming his car into a group of Israeli policemen in East Jerusalem, resulting in four injured. On 11 May, an Israeli was injured in a reported stabbing attack near a West Bank checkpoint. And on 14 May, three Israeli youths were struck by a car driven by a Palestinian man in Gush Etzion.

Despite repeated objections, the Israeli government continues to demolish Palestinian homes and structures. During the reporting period, a total of 15 structures, which contained 33 residences, were demolished leading to the displacement of 25 Palestinians, including 14 children. On 4 May, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a request by Palestinians from the Area C village of Susiya to freeze demolitions in the village. And on 10 May an Israeli court ordered the demolition of eight buildings in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Semiramis. The United Nations, once again, urges Israel to cease such demolitions and displacements.

The United Nations also remains concerned about the recent moves to relocate Bedouin communities near Abu Nwar in the politically sensitive E1 section of the West Bank that may be linked to further settlement construction.

Turning to Gaza, I cannot but recall the shock of my first brief tour of the destruction of the Shujaiya neighbourhood.

No one can remain untouched by the scale of devastation, the slow pace of reconstruction, and the vast needs to rebuild lives and livelihoods in Gaza.

Gaza is desperate and angry. Angry at the blockade, at the closure of Rafah, at Hamas, including for imposing a ‘solidarity tax’, at the donors for not honouring their financial commitments for reconstruction, at everyone. There is a clear moral and humanitarian imperative not just for the United Nations and the international community, but primarily for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to prevent the implosion of Gaza. I particularly call on the factions on the ground to ensure that Gaza remains peaceful.

Despite the fact that the agreed cease-fire, brokered by Egypt, continues to hold, some security incidents have persisted during the reporting period. Three rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on 23 April, with one exploding in an open area in Israel while the other two dropped short and exploded inside Gaza; on 3 May, militants fired another rocket which impacted inside Gaza near the security fence; Palestinian militants also test fired 19 rockets at the sea. Thankfully, no injuries or damage were reported in any of these incidents, which we condemn. In response to the rocket firing, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) conducted an air strike in Gaza damaging a Hamas military site but also not resulting in casualties. IDF also reportedly shot and injured nine Palestinians in Gaza: three fishermen whose boats were fired upon by the Israeli navy and six Palestinians, shot while approaching the Gaza border fence. Three militants were also killed in separate incidents where smuggling tunnels collapsed.

Without genuine Palestinian reconciliation and unity, all efforts to improve the situation in Gaza will face major difficulties. On 19 April, a delegation of Palestinian ministers travelled to Gaza to begin a process to reintegrate public sector employees, tens of thousands of whom have not received salaries for over a year. Discussions, however, broke down the following day.

Despite this setback, I welcome the determination of Prime Minister Hamdallah and his efforts to find a solution to the problem of public sector employees in Gaza. His commitment that no one will be left behind is an important guarantee. I encourage all factions to support these efforts. The United Nations stands ready to work with all stakeholders and support the Government in mobilising the necessary resources for this process.

A comprehensive reconciliation must include the Government of National Consensus resuming control over the crossings to Israel and Egypt. This is key to allowing more movement of goods and people and to the eventual reopening the crossings. It should also pave the way for the long overdue Palestinian general elections. The responsibility for addressing these issues lies first and foremost with the Palestinian authorities. But it also partly rests with the United Nations and the international community, which must empower the Government to take up its leadership role in Gaza, including through the fulfilment of donor pledges made at the Cairo conference last October.

No approach which divides Gaza and the West Bank should be supported – Palestine is one and the United Nations will work determinedly to advance unity through its legitimate institutions. 

The United Nations ultimate objective in Gaza is to see the lifting of all closures, within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). In the absence of such a fundamental change, the temporary Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism is the only currently available option to facilitate the entry of material and to enable implementation of large-scale projects that can bring reconstruction, jobs and stability.

I can report that, as of 19 May, close to 85,000 of the 100,000 households in need of construction materials to repair their homes have received materials. In addition, 85 out of 167 projects submitted and funded by the international community and the private sector have been approved, eight of which are currently underway.

These are positive developments, but far from sufficient to address Gaza’s reconstruction needs. The United Nations is working closely with the Israeli Ministry of Defence’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, with the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs and donors to finalise arrangements to speed up construction. I take the opportunity to thank all counterparts for their constructive engagement on these matters.

Turning briefly to Lebanon, Special Coordinator Kaag and members of the International Support Group for Lebanon met today in Beirut with Prime Minister Tamam Salam to discuss the current situation in Lebanon.

As of 25 May, the country will have been without a President for one year.

This vacuum undermines Lebanon’s ability to address the challenges it faces and jeopardises the functioning of State institutions. Members of Parliament should fulfil their constitutional obligation to elect a President without further delay.

With almost 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon forming the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, we again call on the international community to urgently fulfil existing pledges and increase and expedite support to Lebanon as a matter of priority. It is important that the Government and United Nations counterparts work together to promote effective management of the refugee presence in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.

The Lebanese-Syrian border remains impacted by incidents and infiltration attempts of armed extremist groups, particularly as a result of the fighting in the Qalamoun region. The Lebanese Armed Forces have committed considerable efforts to secure the border with support from the international community. On 20 April, Lebanon received its first shipment of military equipment from France financed by the $3 billion grant from Saudi Arabia. This and other contributions by Member States are both necessary and welcome.

UNIFIL’s area of operations has remained generally calm, despite the volatile situation in the Golan Heights. In their ongoing engagement with UNIFIL, both parties maintained their commitment to the cessation of hostilities and the stability of the Blue Line. Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace continued on an almost daily basis.

On the Golan, clashes occurred between the Syrian armed forces and armed members of the opposition, as well as heavy fighting between different armed groups in the area of separation. Between 24 April and 5 May, fire from the Bravo side, as a result of such fighting, impacted across the ceasefire line. On 24 April, an IDF Missile Launching Unit fired four missiles eastwards, one of which crossed the ceasefire line. On 26 April, the IDF informed UNDOF that four persons carrying equipment had crossed the ceasefire line from the Bravo side and had been killed by the IDF as they approached the technical fence. These developments have the potential to heighten tensions and jeopardise the ceasefire between the two countries.

In conclusion, let me return to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the coming period will be critical to the future of the peace process. The United Nations has repeatedly warned that maintaining the status quo is not tenable. It will inexorably lead to the continued erosion of living conditions for Palestinians and Israelis alike, and will undermine the security and stability of all.

My introductory meetings clearly demonstrated that, despite the prolonged absence of a political horizon, despite the sometimes poisonous rhetoric of incitement and the destructive actions of those seeking to undermine a return to talks, there remains a steadfast desire and determination to achieve an enduring agreement.

Any resolution will need a comprehensive regional solution, conceivably with support from a reinvigorated Quartet that includes greater engagement with key Arab states. While the international community, however, has a critical responsibility to support a peace process, a lasting solution can only be achieved by the parties themselves.