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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘UN’

Report: Tony Blair to Resign as Quartet Mideast Envoy

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly set to announce plans to resign as Quartet envoy to the Middle East.

It was under Blair’s leadership that the Quartet demanded that Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization fulfill three conditions in order to receive any funding from Europe: recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and terrorism, and agree to uphold agreements signed by prior Palestinian Authority governments.

Nevertheless, according to a report Sunday by the Financial Times, Blair’s role as representative to the region — recommended by then-U.S. President George W. Bush — as envoy for the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, was always controversial.

There was no specific term limit, nor was there a clear review requirement, and caused some “consternation in Europe and the UN.”

Eight years later, various parties are still complaining although Blair’s role was limited due to restrictions on his authority. It was never clear how much control the envoy actually had in affecting events in the region he served.

“People close to Mr. Blair argue that he cannot be blamed for the failure of the peace process,” wrote the Financial Times. “They say he has invested political capital and time on an unpaid mission because he is passionate about promoting peace.”

Palestinian Authority officials in the entity’s capital in the Samaria city of Ramallah don’t agree: officials there told FT they “hope so” when asked how they’d feel about Blair resigning. Blair’s office has had no comment.

Ban Ki-moon Greets 1,500 Jewish Teens at Chabad CTeen Convention

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The snow fell wet and thick on to the stairs and sidewalk on Eastern Parkway — and all around the New York area, in fact — but no one heard inside the Oholei Menachem boys’ school in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn on Sunday.

As hundreds of airlines delayed and canceled scheduled flights, more than a thousand carousing teens were joyously dancing on their chairs and romping around the banquet tables as Chabad emissaries chuckled and moved around them, conversing placidly with counselors, teens and each other. “COUNTDOWN!” Total rave on the floor.

“3. 2. 1. PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS SO WE CAN KEEP THE ENERGY FLOWING!!!” Miraculously, 1,500 squiggling, wiggling, laughing and singing teens sat down in two halls to listen as a slender young girl with shining long hair, and then a healthy boy on video hookup from the matching hall each addressed the crowd. Roars of applause for each.

Mark Seddon, speechwriter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, sat amongst the bedlam appearing slightly bemused by it all. Ban himself had sent a personal, videotaped greeting to the teens, delivered with a warm smile and a cordial tone, and kicked off with a bit of Hebrew just for fun.

“Shalom, Bruchim Ha-baim (Welcome) to Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky and to all the delegates of CTeen. A special welcome also to the 100 young people from Paris. The thoughts of us all are with those who have lost family and friends in the recent horrific terrorist attacks in that city. Chabad institutions such as CTeen have a strong reputation for working in the community. This year you will honour young people who have made a significant difference in people’s lives through CTeen’s social service projects. To them we say, thank you – and keep up the good work! I encourage all of you to continue to reach out to anyone in need with no distinction. This spirit of compassion and equality drives the United Nations. Empowering youth is one of my top priorities. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN World Programme of Action for Youth. We have a campaign called #YouthNow [“hashtag youth now”] that I hope you will all join. When you speak up about the issues that matter we all benefit. The United Nations stands ready to work with you. Thank you.”

Speaking exclusively with JewishPress.com amid the bedlam, Seddon added, “I like the international aspect of this group especially, and that it gives the teens something to believe in.

“The Secretary-General sent warm greetings to these teens, he has a very strong concern about the events that are taking place. This is a such a special program in that it emphasizes that nothing is too big too tackle, and that anything can be overcome. That is so important.”

No less important to the crowd, however, was a video of a young man that it seemed every one there knew. Suddenly, the halls were silent as the young man related how his year had gone, how he had struggled to survive and had seen a miracle because of his friends sitting in that room.

“Every time I strapped up, the straps of the tefillin were connecting me to God and to all of you. I had that fat stack of mitzvah cards to look at, each one with a different name, when things got tough, said the young man on the video. The teens watched avidly, and then exploded in applause as the young man in the video materialized before their eager eyes, striding up to the podium with spotlights playing around the darkened room and video screens beaming the scene to the second hall.

UN Economic Commission and Israel’s MASHAV Team Up for Renewal Energy Workshop

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

The first of its kind renewable energy workshop was recently organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) together with Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The renewable energy sector in Israel began over 40 years ago, when Israel was one of the first countries to adopt solar technologies in the 1970s. To date, there are 200 renewable energy companies in the state.

Over time, countries across the world have been attempting to utilize their existing energy resources, find alternative energy sources and new technologies as demand only increases.

Twenty-three experts and policymakers from across Eurasia took part in the workshop to learn of successful renewable energy practices and energy efficiency technologies Israel. The workshop, which was held from February 8-12, set to strengthen capacities to promote energy efficiency and the implementation of renewable energy across Eurasia.

Participants, among them national and urban stakeholders, decision makers and practitioners, hailed from 14 countries in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. They included Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Three UNECE officers accompanied the program; Economic Affairs Officers, Oleg Dzioubinski and Viktor Badaker of the UNECE Sustainable Energy Division and the ESCAP Economic Affairs Officer of the Environment and Development Division, Sergey Tulinov.

Throughout the five-day workshop, the high-level professionals visited various sites of renewable energy technology deployment across Israel, including the Hiriya Recycling Park and Arrow Ecology Environmental Management Services southeast of Tel Aviv to see how municipal facilities convert energy into energy. In the Arava, they also visited the Solar Thermal Power Tower and the Bio-Gas System Yotvata Dairy. The group also spent time in the north learning of solar panels water heating at Chromagen at Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim.

Workshop sessions also served as a platform for discussion of enhancing international cooperation in energy infrastructure and development, as well as financing and investment opportunities from public and private sources.

According to the UNECE, Israel’s sharing of its know-how in research, manufacturing, marketing and application of energy efficiency and renewable energy products, was very much appreciated by the experts who took part in the workshop and study tour.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe was established in 1947 and is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It promotes pan-European economic integration and brings 56 countries together in its goals to promote sustainable development and economic prosperity.

Netanyahu Tells UN It Failed Its Own Policy to Disarm Hezbollah

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

The United Nations is at fault for failing to carry out its own resolution to disarm Hezbollah, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone call Sunday.

Resolution 1701 marked the end of the 34-day Second Lebanon War in 2006 and called on the United Nations to disarm “foreign armies” in Lebanon.

UNIFIL soldiers ignored the resolution from Day One, and Netanyahu raised the issue again Sunday while expressing sorrow for the death of a UNIFIL soldier by artillery fire from the IDF in response to the lethal Hezbollah attack last week that killed two Israeli soldiers.

Netanyahu also took the opportunity to point out that Hezbollah operates with Iran funding and policy direction and that Tehran is trying to escalate violence against Israel.

The Prime Minister’s accusation that UNIFIL is not “reporting on weapons smuggling into southern Lebanon” is nothing new, but the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and planning attacks against Israel is unprecedented.

Last week’s firing of an anti-tank rocket on IDF vehicles was the most serious attack since the war in 2006. The war ended in a military stalemate, in itself a victory for Hezbollah, which also benefited from Resolution 1701 negotiated on the Israeli side by then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

The United and UNIFIL immediately disclaimed any responsibility to disarm “foreign armies,” meaning Hezbollah, and tried to put the onus on Lebanon.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said at the time:

That resolution clearly calls for the creation of a Hezbollah-free zone south of the Litani River, and anything less would mean that the resolution is not being implemented.

Kofi Annan, who was Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2006, insisted, “The understanding was that it would be the Lebanese who would disarm [Hezbollah].”Obviously, if at some stage they need advice or some help from the international community and they were to approach us, we would consider it, but the troops are not going in there to disarm.”

A senior Lebanese official, Mohammed Chatah, said in 2006:

 Hezbollah individuals are people who live in the south and they will not leave their homes and villages, but an armed Hezbollah will not be in the south, pursuant to  Resolution 1701 that stated there will be “no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.”

That also did not happen because Hezbollah held the cards in the Lebanese government, which it now dominates.

It was clear that the resolution would not be enforced, just like the cease-fire resolution after Operation Cast Lead in December 2008-January 2009 was not honored.

The same Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, negotiated both so-called cease-fires.

Gazans Attack UN Building with Hamas Advance Notice

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Dozens of Gazans broke into a United Nations facility in Gaza on Wednesday and caused great damage to the building. The protesters jumped over the walls, smashed windows and burned tires. The Gazans were protesting the freeze in transfer of funds from the UN for rehabilitating their region. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry said in a statement that he was “outraged” by the incident.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization reportedly knew in advance about the “protest” and warned Tuesday the enclave was on the brink of chaos.

“The Special Coordinator is outraged by the assault on the UNSCO (United Nations Special Coordinator) compound in Gaza this morning,” Serry said in his statement Wednesday afternoon, Jan 28, 2015. “During a pre-announced demonstration, of which Hamas was well aware, a number of protestors climbed the perimeter wall and entered the compound causing damage to United Nations premises and property.

“Due to precautionary measures taken, United Nations personnel working in the compound were fortunately unharmed. The Special Coordinator notes with deep concern that, despite repeated assurances, the security forces in Gaza did not take the necessary and timely measures to protect UNSCO’s compound.

“Pending a full transfer of security responsibilities to the legitimate Palestinian Authority, we continue to hold Hamas fully responsible for the security and safety of all United Nations personnel and operations in Gaza. As this serious incident took place in the context of increasing incitement against the United Nations in Gaza, the Special Coordinator is conducting an urgent review of operations in Gaza.

“As reported to the Security Council, the situation in Gaza has become extremely volatile again and will continue to deteriorate unless a number of critical underlying issues are addressed with both determination and a heightened sense of urgency. We also continue to urge donors to support humanitarian operations and fulfill the commitments they have made in Cairo for the reconstruction of Gaza,” the statement said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had announced earlier in the week that it has nearly run out of funds to help in rebuilding Gaza due to a huge shortfall in pledged contributions from donor nations.

“Virtually none” of the record $5.4 billion pledged by the international community for the rehabilitation of post-war Gaza months ago has managed to reach grassroots people in the region, Gaza’s UNRWA director Robert Turner said. “This is distressing and unacceptable,” he added, without specifying which countries had defaulted on their pledges or precisely how much was outstanding.

Infrastructure in the enclave was significantly damaged during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge because Hamas and other allied terrorists attacked Israel while embedded within Gaza civilian neighborhoods, using the residents as human shields.

Only $135 million of the promised donations to the UNRWA cash assistance program for 96,000 refugee families made homeless by the war was received, Turner told media. The program is intended to pay for repairs of homes and rent subsidies as well as help rebuild homes that were destroyed in the war.

“While some funds remain available to begin reconstruction of totally destroyed homes,” he said, there is no more money left for repairs and rent subsidies.

In addition, hundreds of Hamas civil service workers have been rioting off and on for weeks as well. Few if any have been paid over the past six months. Nor has the terrorist group received any money from its partner in the Palestinian Authority unity government, the rival Fatah faction based in Ramallah, Samaria.

The Fatah-ruled PA government in Ramallah pays generous monthly salaries to convicted terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, however, some of which are higher than salaries paid to its own government workers.

Northern Golan Heights Declared Closed Military Zone

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The GOC Northern Command on Wednesday evening declared Israel’s northern border in the Golan Heights along the boundary with Syria to be a closed military zone.

The area affected stretches from Kibbutz Dafna in the Upper Galilee to the Druze town of Mas’ade in the northern Golan Heights. Included in the region are Kibbutz Dan, the border village of Ghajar, the Banias, Fort Nimrod, Neve Ativ, Majdal Shams and Mount Hermon.

The military announcement comes after the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization launched the most serious attack on northern Israel seen since the start of the Syrian civil war.

Two IDF soldiers were killed and six others were wounded, including two with serious injuries, in an afternoon-long battle between the IDF and Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon. In addition, a Spanish peacekeeper serving in the UNIFIL force since November 2014 was killed during the exchange of gunfire.

The IDF has confirmed that Hezbollah fired six Kornet anti-tank missiles at a convoy traveling in northern Israel, and not two as originally reported. Three hit the convoy; one hit a house in the Druze village of Ghajar, setting it afire.

The convoy was comprised of two IDF vehicles leading two civilian vehicles on a road returning from the area of Mount Dov. It appears that the goal of the attack – as in the 2006 cross-border raid that launched the Second Lebanon War – was to spark a military provocation that would be a distraction while Hezbollah terrorists abducted one or more IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians. Hezbollah also reportedly simultaneously directed a round of mortar shells at the area near Metullah and around Mount Hermon.

Because civilians were involved in the attack – as well as the two IDF vehicles that were incinerated when they were struck and the soldiers who were killed – the incident is being considered in a far more serious light.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet to discuss the ramifications of the attack and to decide how Israel should respond.

UNIFIL is meanwhile attempting to negotiate a resumption of the ceasefire that was arranged between the two sides to end the Second Lebanon War, and which was violated today (Jan. 28.)

UNRWA Runs Out of Money that Israel Says Being Used for Terror Tunnels

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

UNRWA said Tuesday it has suspended it program  rehabilitate Gaza, which may be good news for Israel since it says material shipped to Gaza are also being used to rehabilitate terror tunnels.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Reuven Rivlin in New York Monday night that the United Nations has sent a team to Gaza to investigate assertions by Israel that metal and cement shipped into Gaza are being used for tunnels as well as homes.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told The Jewish Press he is not aware of any money being used for the tunnels, some of which have been identified by the IDF as newly constructed.

The UNRWA program to help Gazans, whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets as well as Israeli fire in last summer’s war, is dependent on pledges of $5.4 billion, including $720 million for UNRWA, made by foreign donors at a conference in Cairo last October..

“The gap between expectations after the October Cairo conference and present reality is widening. There are genuine fears that if UNRWA halts this program, the consequences could be dramatic,” said Gunness.

He added, “All of the money that we can dispense has been spent. There is no more money.” He also stated that no money is missing.

There are two UNRWA aid plans, one for rental subsidies and the other for cash payments for Gazans to buy materials.

The Jewish Press has learned that most of the money that actually was turned over to UNRWA came from Saudi Arabia, followed by the European Union.

The constant threat of violence from Gaza is often fueled by great expectations, and the halt to work for homes in Gazans could stir up the locals again.

And what happened to all of the pledges?

Par for the course, most Arab countries have not lived up to their promises.

For example, Qatar pledged $1 billion.

With the price of oil having caved in since October, perhaps the richest country in the world, which has investments of more than $100 billion, cannot find the shekels for its poor brethren in Gaza.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad may need the small change for the maid to clean his home in London, for which he paid $62 million and then spent another $110 million to refurbish, complete with marble bathrooms.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/unrwa-runs-out-of-money-that-israel-says-being-used-for-terror-tunnels/2015/01/27/

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