palestinian authority

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Along with the withholding of funds from the Palestinian Authority, the expansion of the dreaded settlements seems to be Mr Netanyahu’s response to the UN Palestine vote.

The US condemns the settlements, but mere words from the Whitehouse are not going to change anything, and Mr Netanyahu knows that the Whitehouse is not going to oppose him with anything more than mere words.

The highlights in this Reuters’ report are from Father Roy 

 

U.S. repeats opposition to new Israeli settlements

WASHINGTON | Mon Dec 3, 2012 1:05pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Mondayreiterated its opposition to new Israeli settlement activity on occupied land including in the site known as “E1”, which it said could be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The United States opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem, as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations,” State Department spokeman Mark Toner said in a statement.

This includes building in the E-1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”

Israel indicated in Monday it had no plan to backtrack on a settlement expansion plan that has drawn strong international condemnation and includes “preliminary zoning and planning work” for settler housing in the so-called “E1” zone east of Jerusalem. “We have made clear to the Israeli government that such action is contrary to U.S. policy,” Toner said in his statement, which urged both Israel and the Palestinians to cease unilateral actions and take steps to return to direct negotiations.

Israel announced plans to build 3,000 more homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday, a day after the U.N. General Assembly granted de facto recognition to Palestinian statehood over Israeli and U.S. objections.

(Reporting By Andrew Quinn; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Father Roy writes: Sometimes a person doesn’t know what to think since America advocates liberty and justice for all.  Perhaps something is going on behind closed doors?  The highlights in the article pasted below are mine.   Peace, Roy 

US warns European governments against supporting Palestinians at UN

Private memo threatens ‘significant negative consequences’ if Palestinian Authority succeeds in obtaining enhanced status

The United States has warned European governments against supporting a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations, saying such a move “would be extremely counterproductive” and threatening “significant negative consequences” for the Palestinian Authority, including financial sanctions.

A US memorandum, seen by the Guardian, said Palestinian statehood “can only be achieved via direct negotiations with the Israelis” and urged European governments “to support [American] efforts” to block the bid. The message was communicated by officials to representatives of European governments at the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York last week.

Palestinian officials accused the US of exerting “tremendous pressure” on European governments to oppose their bid for upgraded “non-member state” status at the UNGA. Announced by president Mahmoud Abbas last week (video), the move is a significant diminution of Palestinian ambitions after its application for full statehood failed last year when it was blocked by the US in the security council.

The Palestinians will wait until after the US presidential election in early November before proceeding with their bid for upgraded status. However, they insist they will press for a vote by the end of the year and are confident of winning a comfortable majority among the UN’s 193 countries. The US has no veto at the general assembly.

The memorandum – described by one diplomatic source as “private correspondence” – said the US was continuing to work for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and urged both parties “to avoid provocative one-sided actions that could undermine trust or otherwise distract from the pursuit of peace”.

A Palestinian resolution on non-member state status “would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority”.

It added that a successful resolution could lead to Palestinian participation as a state in international bodies such as the international criminal court. Israel is concerned that Palestinian recourse to the ICC could have repercussions for its policies on settlements, the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza.

“We believe your government understands what is at stake here, and – like us – wants to avoid a collision at the coming UNGA session,” said the text. “We hope you are willing to support our efforts … We would appreciate knowing where your government stands on this issue. We would also be interested in knowing whether you have been approached on this matter by Palestinian representatives.”

Hanan Ashwari, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee, described the memorandum as “typical American behaviour but also overkill”.

“It is ridiculous and unconscionable the way they put themselves at the service of Israel in such a blatant way. This is tremendous American pressure and bias.”

She said most European countries had already decided their position on the issue: “I don’t think [the US] will make countries change their minds.”

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said the memorandum reflected the US position but he hoped that “the Europeans will follow their interests and choose peace over settlements”.

One European diplomat said that, until recently, US officials believed a “diplomatic ceasefire” was in force and that the Palestinians would not pursue the statehood issue at the general assembly. But pressure from street protests in the West Bank in recent weeks had stiffened Abbas’s resolve, and the current consensus among diplomats was that the Palestinians were determined to press ahead.

There were differing views among European countries on the wisdom of the Palestinians’ move, the diplomat added. “The closer we get to the prospect of a vote in the UN general assembly, the more concerned the US administration is likely to be. This letter is an expression of their well-known position against such a vote. But if we are to persuade Abbas not to pull the trigger, a serious alternative needs to be put on the table, and fast.”

A second European diplomat said the US had “made it very clear to all of us that they’re opposed to any [Palestinian] move at the UN”. He also criticised the Palestinians for not engaging in “serious, high-level diplomacy” on the issue.

Some European countries are alarmed at the prospect of the US withdrawing financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of a bid for upgraded status, fearing that the EU would have to fill the funding gap.

Following the Palestinians’ acceptance as a state by the United Nations cultural and heritage body, Unesco, the US cut off funding as a punitive measure. The US had contributed 22% of Unesco’s annual budget.

Discussions among European governments on whether to support the Palestinians’ bid are due to be held this week. However the 27 member states are unlikely to forge a common line.

The US state department declined to comment on the memorandum.

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This is incredible! According to the following report, 90% of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption!  What hope do these poor people have? Father Dave

source: IPS – Despite Possible Attacks, Gaza Plans Half-Billion-Dollar Desalination Plant

Despite Possible Attacks, Gaza Plans Half-Billion-Dollar Desalination Plant

By Thalif DeenReprint

Girls at Al-Shati Co-ed Elementary School, Gaza line up to drink from a water purification and desalination unit . Credit: Mohammed Majdalawi, Middle East Children’s Alliance/ CC by 2.0

STOCKHOLM, Aug 30 2012 (IPS) – Last May the European Commission reported that scores of infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip, financed mostly by the European Union, have been damaged or destroyed, wittingly or unwittingly, by Israeli military forces in the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Nevertheless, undaunted by this destruction, the Palestinian Authority plans to launch an ambitious half-billion-dollar project for a new seawater desalination plant in water-starved Gaza next year.

When the international community warns of an impending global water crisis in the foreseeable future, it rarely singles out the current plight of the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.

With more than 90 percent of its water resources unfit for human consumption, the Gaza Strip has no access to safe drinking water. As a result, 1.6 million Palestinians are deprived of one of the most fundamental necessities for human survival, says Dr. Shaddad Attili, minister and head of the Palestinian Water Authority.

Speaking on the sidelines of a weeklong international water conference hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), he announced plans for the desalination project aimed at providing drinking water to Palestinians.

The project is the first to be unanimously approved by the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and has been described as Gaza’s largest infrastructure project to date. The construction, which will be spread over a three-year period, is expected to begin in early 2013 and completed by 2016.

The funding will come mostly from Arab and European donors, based primarily on pledges made during the 2009 Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing technical assistance while the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) has endorsed the concept of a desalination facility as the only long-term alternative to supply Gaza with drinking water.

A core group of international financial institutions, including the EIB, the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, are designing a Project Fund mechanism to manage the financing of the project.

Rafiq Husseini , UfM’s deputy secretary-general for environment and water, told reporters that while the project is not regional or even sub-regional, “it has far reaching regional implications”.

“Everyone is aware of the project’s humanitarian, developmental and political importance,” he added.

But the ambitious project’s ultimate survival will depend on Israel, which has been accused of using water as a political weapon against the Palestinians. Between 2001 and 2011, Israel also destroyed about 61 million dollars worth of projects, including airports, schools, homes, orphanages and waste water management facilities.

Of the funding for these projects, about 36 million dollars came from the 27 members of the European Union, including financing from France, the Netherlands, Britain and Ireland.

Asked about a possible Israeli airstrike on such a major infrastructure, Husseini said the risk of doing nothing to to alleviate the sufferings of the Palestinians was greater than developing the infrastructure.

In a report released at the United Nations, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine in 2010 called the fair allocation of water rights a critical element for future political stability and achieving peace in the region as a whole, noting, ”Water is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and it is one of the permanent status issues, along with issues relating to Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements and security.”

Following the Israeli occupation in 1967, and in violation of international law, Israel took control over all natural freshwater resources, including surface water, underground aquifers located beneath the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and exclusive access to the Jordan River Basin, the report added.

Last month, the U.N.’s Special Committee on Israeli Practices highlighted the appalling living conditions in the Occupied Territories, including the lack of fresh water in Palestinian territories.

After a visit to Gaza, the three-member committee expressed concern over the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes and over the continued violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

The committee also assessed the economic impact of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“These Israeli practices lead the Special Committee to one overarching and deeply troubling conclusion,” the chair of the committee, Ambassador Palitha Kohona of Sri Lanka said.

“The mass imprisonment of Palestinians; the routine demolition of homes and the displacement of Palestinians; the widespread violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians; and the blockade and resultant reliance on illegal smuggling to survive; these practices amount to a strategy to either force the Palestinian people off their land or so severely marginalise them as to establish and maintain a system of permanent oppression.”