Friday, 28 November 2014

Top UN official aloof as Gaza is “submerged in despair”, risks ceasefire breakdown

A senior UN official has declined to respond to mounting warnings that the failure of his so-called Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism could lead to a breakdown of the August ceasefire that ended Israel’s 51-day massacre in the territory.

Anger is growing over the fact that there has been virtually no rebuilding, a situation made worse by devastating floods that have prompted UN agencies to declare a “state of emergency.”

“We do not have any comments,” Nicole Ganz, spokesperson for Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) said in an email to The Electronic Intifada on Thursday.

The curt reply came in response to a statement from Gaza’s private sector bodies rejecting the UN-sponsored reconstruction plan.

In October, The Electronic Intifada revealed details of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, pushed by Serry and signed by Israel and the PA.

It calls for onerous restrictions on building supplies and monitoring for Palestinians trying to rebuild their homes. It also gives Israel intrusive access to private information about Palestinian families, collected by the UN, which Israel can then use to veto who gets aid. more

Israeli soldiers shoot Italian in the stomach at Kafr Qaddum rally

An Italian was critically injured on Friday afternoon after Israeli forces opened live fire on a protest march in the village of Kafr Qaddum west of Nablus.

Palestinian Minister of Health Jawad Awwad told Ma'an that an Italian solidarity activist he identified as Prodo Corsi, 30, was injured after Israeli forces fired several bullets at him in the stomach and chest.

The minister said that Corsi was in "critical" condition as a result of the shooting, which took place during a protest march against the Israeli occupation.

Awwad said that "shooting live fire at the upper part of the bodies of protesters is directly targeting them and is a deliberate attempt at murder."

"Israel does not differentiate between foreign solidarity activists, Palestinians, or even journalists," he added.

Khaldoun Ishtewi, media coordinator for public campaigns in Kaf Qaddum, told Ma'an that the Italian national was taken to the Rafidia Public Hospital in Nablus for treatment.

Ishtewi added that several Palestinians suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation as a result of canisters fired by Israeli soldiers during the clashes. more

US to supply Israel with 3,000 'smart bombs' in $82 million deal

The United States Department of Defense has announced that it will supply the Israeli air force with 3,000 smart bombs (precision-guided munitions designed to achieve greater accuracy).

The funding for the sale will come from US military aid to Israel, and will be paid until the end of November, 2016. The United States provides Israel with some $8.5 million in military aid each day, while it gives Palestinians $0.

Palestine has no official armed wing outside of PA security coordination with Israel, with any militarized response to aggression from occupation forces left in the hands of ill-equipped political brigades and other homegrown resistance groups. The infamous rockets reported to be fired from Gaza are, by default, little more than hollow tubes stuffed with dynamite and typically fall into unpopulated areas of the Negev Desert.

Al Ray reports that, according to media sources, the cost of the recent deal is estimated at $82 million, through which the Israeli air force will receive three thousand G-DAM model bombs. more