Monday, 23 March 2015

84 Palestinians in Gaza visit relatives jailed in Israel

Dozens of Palestinians from Gaza visited relatives jailed in Israel on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Eighty-four Palestinians, including 32 children, crossed into Israel via Erez to visit 42 jailed relatives.

The visits are coordinated with the ICRC.

There are some 450 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in Israeli jails. Israel denied Gaza prisoners family visits when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, but in July 2012, family visits resumed. more

Israel 'boycotts' UN rights council session on Gaza war

Israel's representative was conspicuously missing when the UN Human Rights Council started a special session Monday on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Gaza conflict.

"I note the representative of Israel is not present," said council president Joachim Ruecher.

Israel provided no immediate explanation for their absence at the session dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and alleged abuses, but a source close to the council said it clearly amounted to a boycott.

"We won't comment on that," a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP.

The United States was also absent from Monday's discussions.

Asked to explain why the United States was not taking part, a spokesman said only that the US ambassador to the council Keith Harper was in Washington.

Monday's session had originally been scheduled to discuss a probe on the 50-day war in Gaza last year, but the investigators obtained a delay after the head of the team quit under Israeli pressure.

"The process cannot be rushed," former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, who has taken over as head of the team, told the council.

Canadian international law expert William Schabas resigned as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict last month after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the PLO in October 2012.

Schabas strongly denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was reluctantly stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict -- commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council -- being compromised in any away. more

Israel issues demolition orders to 5 Silwan homes

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli municipality officers issued five demolition orders in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday, a local group said.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Israel's Jerusalem municipality attached five demolition orders to properties in the neighborhood, with owners given 30 days to appeal to Israeli courts.

Some of the buildings are under construction, while one property was built 45 years ago, the center said.

Israeli municipality officers, accompanied by armed forces, also took pictures of the properties.

One of the owners, Walid Ahmad Abed al-Razzaq, said his home was built 45 years ago and no new structures have been added. Nine members of his family currently live in the property.

Silwan has been a repeated site of Israeli settler incursions and attempts to evict Palestinian locals. more