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UN urges Israel ease Gaza siege for water crisis:

“Press TV, Gaza”

Related News:
Gaza water crisis prompts UN call for immediate opening of crossings
Source: UN News Center

3 September 2009 – The top United Nations humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territory today joined aid agencies in calling for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow the entry of spare parts and materials critical to restoring the area’s water and sanitation services.

“The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip,” Maxwell Gaylard said in a joint statement issued today with the NGO Association for International Development Agencies (AIDA).

“At the heart of this crisis is a steep decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation,” added Mr. Gaylard, the Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and UN Humanitarian Coordinator.

Israel’s closure of Gaza’s crossing points, imposed since June 2007, has meant that equipment and supplies needed for the construction, maintenance and operation of water and sanitation facilities have not been able to enter the area, leading to the deterioration of these services.

Currently, some 10,000 people do not have access to the water network, while another 60 per cent of Gaza’s population of 1.5 million do not have continuous access to water.

In addition, some 50 to 80 million litres of untreated and partially treated waste-water have been discharged daily into the Mediterranean Sea since January 2008, due to damage to sewage treatment facilities, lack of treatment capacity because of postponed plant upgrade projects, and a critical shortage of fuel and electricity necessary to operate them.

Mr. Gaylard and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) called on the Israeli Government to take immediate steps to ensure the entry into Gaza of the necessary construction and repair materials to respond to the water and sanitation crisis.

“Without addressing both the immediate basic needs of the population and facilitating the longer-term development and management of the degraded water and sanitation sector, public health and the wider environment will remain at significant risk,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator.

“Pollution does not recognise borders or barriers, and communities throughout the region are threatened by the deficiencies of Gaza’s water and sanitation system,” he added.

Also read:
New UN report spotlights humanitarian crisis triggered by blockade of Gaza
UN, aid agencies call for opening of Gaza crossings to allow rebuilding of schools

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UNICEF and ECHO help Gaza children cope with stress:

Note: There is a clear mistake in UNICEF’s title of the video. As you can tell it deals with children from Jayyous in the West Bank and not Gaza.

“JAYOUS VILLAGE, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 28 April 2009 The village of Jayous is next to the barrier that sits between Israel and the West Bank. Jayous is the venue for weekly demonstrations against the barrier and is the site of regular search-and-arrest operations.

The tense political situation has a devastating effect on Jayouss youngest residents. Afif Thaeir Shamasheh, 6, lives close to the barrier, and soldiers often come to his familys home. “I only get scared from soldiers when they come to our house,” he said.

Recently, Afif has started acting up in school.

Mr. Khrisheh, Afif’s teacher, arranged for Afif to join a counselling group supported by UNICEF and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department, or ECHO. As part of his treatment, Afif also receives individual counselling from a trained social worker.

UNICEF has worked with ECHO since 2003 to help Palestinian children and their families cope with the conflict and violence that affect their daily lives.

“The project is about protecting childhood in the Palestinian territories,” said ECHO Head of Office Herve Caiveau. “UNICEF and ECHO aim to boost childrens self-confidence and give them hope for the future, and to help families cope with the challenges their children face.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/o…

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“A highly organized campaign of disinformation” (Navi Pillay, UNHCHR):

“United Nations, Geneva, 24 April 2009 – At the end of the UN conference on racism, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has deplored what she called a widespread and highly organised campaign of disinformation which had led to some countries boycotting the conference.

She told journalists in Geneva that it was ‘extraordinary’ that countries that had already agreed the outcome text decided to boycott the conference. She said she hoped that they would implement the findings and return to the process.

The conference is a follow up to the Durban conference on racism held in 2001.

Without naming countries, the High Commissioner said many ministers she had spoken to had described the whole Durban process as a hate fest and anti-Semitic, but she pointed out that the outcome document deplored anti-Semitism as well as Islamaphobia.

The High Commissioner said she had been called dangerous and ludicrous but despite these personal attacks on her, she judged that the conference had been a success.

Durban Review Conference website:
http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/

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UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd’s Washington Roundtable (Part 1):

“On December 8, 2009, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will be sixty years old.

The anniversary presents UNRWA with a unique opportunity to reposition itself among humanitarian actors in the Middle East and reflect about the contribution – past and future – that the agency has made, and will make, to the prosperity and stability of the region, and to four generations of Palestine refugees.

To stimulate this process of reflection, UNRWA is organizing a variety of activities that will enable refugee host authorities, donors, journalists, universities, research institutions, NGOs, and of course the refugees themselves, to debate the agency’s record and consider future challenges.

As the United States has always been the agency’s largest donor and a strong political supporter for the past six decades, Washington has been selected as the venue for a roundtable that will bring together journalists and Middle East policy experts to discuss the role of UNRWA.”

Part 1

Part 2 (Q&A)

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UNICEF: Support and counselling for Gaza’s children:

“GAZA, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 21 April 2009 The conflict in Gaza, which occurred between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, took a great economic, social and psychological toll on children and families. Many witnessed the deaths of caregivers, siblings and friends. All border crossings were virtually sealed; children and their families had nowhere to run, no refuge from the violence.

Children accounted for roughly a third of the dead and wounded due to the hostilities; 431 children were killed and 1,872 children were left injured.

It is further estimated that up to 30 per cent of people injured, including 560 children like Mona, sustained severe injuries that without proper rehabilitation could result in permanent disability.

But some of the wounds from the conflict are not visible. Sarah, 12, is receiving help from the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution which is supported by UNICEF and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department, also known as ECHO.

Before the invasion, we had a happy life, we used to have a garden, a very nice garden. Me and my other brothers and sister used to play in it, but after the war, this garden is gone, says Sarah. It disappeared with everything that used to be in it. It was replaced with destruction. Now, our life has turned into hell and is full of sadness.

To read the full story, visit http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/o…

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Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com:

European Diplomats walk out on a speech by Iran’s president as he accuses Israel of Dispossession of the Palestinian Nation.

“Following World War Two they resorted to military aggressions to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering” Ahmadinejad stated to the Conference.
Diplomats from Ex-Colonialist countries got up and started walking out of the conference.

I want to remind those diplomats that revisionist zionist-historian Benny Morris admits that 700,000 Palestinians (three-quarters of the nation) fled their homes in 1947 mostly due to Israeli military attacks. So, it seems the Europeans don’t want to hear it, they want to continue to believe that it was a land without people for a people without land, contrary to history and facts.

Embedded video from CNN Video

Mon, 20 Apr 2009 22:20:10 GMT
The following is the speech of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban Review Conference on racism in Geneva on April 20.
Source: PressTV

“Mr. Chairman, honorable secretary general of the United Nations, honorable United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Ladies and gentleman:

We have gathered in the follow-up to the Durban conference against racism and racial discrimination to work out practical mechanisms for our holy and humanitarian campaigns.

Over the last centuries, humanity has gone through great sufferings and pains. In the Medieval Ages, thinkers and scientists were sentenced to death. It was then followed by a period of slavery and slave trade. Innocent people were taken captive in their millions and separated from their families and loved ones to be taken to Europe and America under the worst conditions. A dark period that also experienced occupation, lootings and massacres of innocent people.

Many years passed by before nations rose up and fought for their liberty and freedom and they paid a high price for it. They lost millions of lives to expel the occupiers and establish independent and national governments. However, it did not take long before power grabbers imposed two wars in Europe which also plagued a part of Asia and Africa. Those horrific wars claimed about a hundred million lives and left behind massive devastation. Had lessons been learnt from the occupations, horrors and crimes of those wars, there would have been a ray of hope for the future.

The victorious powers called themselves the conquerors of the world while ignoring or down treading upon rights of other nations by the imposition of oppressive laws and international arrangements.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a look at the UN Security Council which is one of the legacies of World War I and World War II. What was the logic behind their granting themselves the veto right? How can such logic comply with humanitarian or spiritual values? Would it not be inconformity with the recognized principles of justice, equality before the law, love and human dignity? Would it not be discrimination, injustice, violations of human rights or humiliation of the majority of nations and countries?

The council is the highest decision-making world body for safeguarding international peace and security. How can we expect the realization of justice and peace when discrimination is legalized and the origin of the law is dominated by coercion and force rather than by justice and the rights?

Coercion and arrogance is the origin of oppression and wars. Although today many proponents of racism condemn racial discrimination in their words and their slogans, a number of powerful countries have been authorized to decide for other nations based on their own interests and at their own discretion and they can easily violate all laws and humanitarian values as they have done so.

Following World War II, they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.

The Security Council helped stabilize the occupying regime and supported it in the past 60 years giving them a free hand to commit all sorts of atrocities. It is all the more regrettable that a number of Western governments and the United States have committed themselves to defending those racist perpetrators of genocide while the awakened-conscience and free-minded people of the world condemn aggression, brutalities and the bombardment of civilians in Gaza. The supporters of Israel have always been either supportive or silent against the crimes.

Dear friends, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. What are the root causes of the US attacks against Iraq or the invasion of Afghanistan?

Was the motive behind the invasion of Iraq anything other than the arrogance of the then US administration and the mounting pressures on the part of the possessors of wealth and power to expand their sphere of influence seeking the interests of giant arms manufacturing companies affecting a noble culture with thousands of years of historical background, eliminating the potential and practical threats of Muslim countries against the Zionist regime or to control and plunder the energy resources of the Iraqi people?

Why, indeed, almost a million people were killed and injured and a few more millions were displaced? Why, indeed, the Iraqi people have suffered enormous losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars? And why was billions of dollars imposed on the American people as the result of these military actions? Was not the military action against Iraq planned by the Zionists and their allies in the then US administration in complicity with the arms manufacturing countries and the possessors of wealth? Did the invasion of Afghanistan restore peace, security and economic wellbeing in the country?

The United States and its allies not only have failed to contain the production of drugs in Afghanistan, but the cultivation of narcotics has multiplied in the course of their presence. The basic question is that what was the responsibility and the job of the then US administration and its allies?

Did they represent the countries of the world? Have they been mandated by them? Have they been authorized by the people of the world to interfere in all parts of the globe, of course mostly in our region? Are not these measures a clear example of egocentrism, racism, discrimination or infringement upon the dignity and independence of nations?

Ladies and gentlemen, who is responsible for the current global economic crisis? Where did the crisis start from? From Africa, Asia or from the United States in the first place then spreading across Europe and their allies?

For a long time, they imposed inequitable economic regulations by their political power on the international economy. They imposed a financial and monetary system without a proper international oversight mechanism on nations and governments that played no role in repressive trends or policies. They have not even allowed their people to oversea or monitor their financial policies. They introduced all laws and regulations in defiance of all moral values only to protect the interests of the possessors of wealth and power.

They further presented a definition for market economy and competition that denied many of the economic opportunities that could be available to other countries of the world. They even transferred their problems to others while the waves of crisis lashed back plaguing their economies with thousands of billions of dollars in budget deficit. And today, they are injecting hundreds of billions of dollars of cash from the pockets of their own people and other nations into the failing banks, companies and financial institutions making the situation more and more complicated for their economy and their people. They are simply thinking about maintaining power and wealth. They could not care any less about the people of the world and even their own people.

Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen, Racism is rooted in the lack of knowledge concerning the root of human existence as the selected creature of God. It is also the product of his deviation from the true path of human life and the obligations of mankind in the world of creation, failing to consciously worship God, not being able to think about the philosophy of life or the path to perfection that are the main ingredients of divine and humanitarian values which have restricted the horizon of human outlook making transient and limited interests, the yardstick for his action. That is why evil’s power took shape and expanded its realm of power while depriving others from enjoying equitable and just opportunities of development.

The result has been the making of an unbridled racism that is posing the most serious threats against international peace and has hindered the way for building peaceful coexistence in the entire world. Undoubtedly, racism is the symbol of ignorance which has deep roots in history and it is, indeed, the sign of frustration in the development of human society.

It is, therefore, crucially important to trace the manifestations of racism in situations or in societies where ignorance or lack of knowledge prevails. This increasing general awareness and understanding towards the philosophy of human existence is the principle struggle against such manifestations, and reveals the truth that human kind centers on the creation of the universe and the key to solving the problem of racism is a return to spiritual and moral values and finally the inclination to worship God Almighty.

The international community must initiate collective moves to raise awareness in afflicted societies where ignorance of racism still prevails so as to bring to a halt the spread of these malicious manifestations.

Dear Friends, today, the human community is facing a kind of racism which has tarnished the image of humanity in the beginning of the third millennium.

World Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religions and abuses religious sentiments to hide its hatred and ugly face. However, it is of great importance to bring into focus the political goals of some of the world powers and those who control huge economic resources and interests in the world. They mobilize all the resources including their economic and political influence and world media to render support in vain to the Zionist regime and to maliciously diminish the indignity and disgrace of this regime.

This is not simply a question of ignorance and one cannot conclude these ugly phenomena through consular campaigns. Efforts must be made to put an end to the abuse by Zionists and their political and international supporters and in respect with the will and aspirations of nations. Governments must be encouraged and supported in their fights aimed at eradicating this barbaric racism and to move towards reform in current international mechanisms.

There is no doubt that you are all aware of the conspiracies of some powers and Zionist circles against the goals and objectives of this conference. Unfortunately, there have been literatures and statements in support of Zionists and their crimes. And it is the responsibility of honorable representatives of nations to disclose these campaigns which run counter to humanitarian values and principles.

It should be recognized that boycotting such a session as an outstanding international capacity is a true indication of supporting the blatant example of racism. In defending human rights, it is primarily important to defend the rights of all nations to participate equally in all important international decision making processes without the influence of certain world powers.

And secondly, it is necessary to restructure the existing international organizations and their respective arrangements. Therefore this conference is a testing ground and the world public opinion today and tomorrow will judge our decisions and our actions.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, the world is going through rapid fundamental changes. Power relations have become weak and fragile. The sound of cracks in the pillars of world systems can now be heard. Major political and economic structures are on the brink of collapse. Political and security crises are on the rise. The worsening crisis in the world economy for which there can be seen no bright prospect, demonstrates the rising tide of far-reaching global changes. I have repeatedly emphasized the need to change the wrong direction through which the world is being managed today and I have also warned of the dire consequences of any delay in this crucial responsibility.

Now in this valuable event, I would like to announce to all leaders, thinkers and to all nations of the world present in this meeting and those who have a hunger for peace and economic well-being that the unjust economic management of the world is now at the end of the road. This deadlock was inevitable since the logic of this imposed management was oppressive.

The logic of collective management of world affairs is based on noble aspirations which centers on human beings and the supremacy of the almighty God. Therefore it defies any policy or plan which goes against the influence of nations. The victory of right over wrong and the establishment of a just world system has been promised by the Almighty God and his messengers and it has been a shared goal of all human beings from different societies and generations in the course of history. Realization of such a future depends on the knowledge of creation and the belief of the faithful.

The making of a global society is in fact the accomplishment of a noble goal held in the establishment of a common global system that will be run with the participation of all nations of the world in all major decision making processes and the definite root to this sublime goal.

Scientific and technical capacities as well as communication technology have created a common and widespread understanding of the world society and has provided the necessary ground for a common system. Now it is upon all intellectuals, thinkers and policy makers in the world to carry out their historical responsibility with a firm belief in this definite root.

I also want to lay emphasis on the fact that Western liberalism and capitalism has reached its end since it has failed to perceive the truth of the world and humans as they are.

It has imposed its own goals and directions on human beings. There is no regard for human and divine values, justice, freedom, love and brotherhood and it has based living on intense competition, securing individual and cooperative material interest.

Now we must learn from the past by initiating collective efforts in dealing with present challenges and in this connection, and as a closing remark, I wish to draw your kind attention to two important issues:

Firstly, it is absolutely possible to improve the existing situation in the world. However it must be noted that this could be only achieved through the cooperation of all countries in order to get the best out of the existing capacities and resources in the world. My participation in this conference is because of my conviction to these important issues as well as to our common responsibility of defending the rights of nations vis-à-vis the sinister phenomena of racism and being with you, the thinkers of the world.

Secondly, mindful of the inefficiency of the current international political, economic and security systems, it is necessary to focus on divine and humanitarian values by referring to the true definition of human beings based upon justice and respect for the rights of all people in all parts of the world and by acknowledging the past wrong doings in the past dominant management of the world, and to undertake collective measures to reform the existing structures.

In this respect, it is crucially important to rapidly reform the structure of the Security Council, including the elimination of the discriminatory veto right and to change the current world financial and monetary systems.

It is evident that lack of understanding of the urgency for change is equivalent to the much heavier costs of delay.

Dear Friends, beware that to move in the direction of justice and human dignity is like a rapid flow in the current of a river. Let us not forget the essence of love and affection. The promised future of human beings is a great asset that may serve our purposes in keeping together to build a new world.

In order to make the world a better place full of love and blessings, a world devoid of poverty and hatred, merging the increasing blessings of God Almighty and the righteous managing of the perfect human being, let us all join hands in friendship in the fulfillment of such a new world.

I thank you Mr. President, Secretary General and all distinguished participants for having the patience to listen to me. Thank you very much.”

**********

This was reported April 20 on Democracynow

Democracy Now! | More Countries Join US, Israel Boycott of UN Racism Conference:

“A growing number of Western countries are joining the United States and Israel in boycotting the United Nations World Conference on Racism, which opened today in Geneva, Switzerland. Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and New Zealand all announced they would boycott the conference soon after the US announced its formal decision not to attend Saturday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the opening session he was “profoundly disappointed” at the boycotts. We go to Geneva to get the latest.”

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Daniel Barenboim as UN Messenger of Peace:

Posted December 15, 2008

“United Nations, 12 December 2008 – Eric Falt, Director of Outreach, Department of Public Information, interviews Messenger of Peace Daniel Barenboim, on the 60th Anniversary of Human Rights concert at United Nations Headquarters.”

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