From Gaza, with Love

Friday, November 24, 2006

human rights and beit hanoun residents

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Residents of Beit Hanoun turned out to see Arbour as
she toured the town but were not hopeful her visit
would achieve any results.





By Nidal al-Mughrabi

Beit Hanoiun, Gaza (Reuters) - A senior United Nations
official described Gaza as suffering "massive" human
rights violations during a visit to the territory on
Monday and urged all sides to be bold in trying to end
the violence.

"The violation of human rights I think in this
territory is massive," Louise Arbour, the U.N. high
commissioner for human rights, told reporters during a
visit to Beit Hanoun, a town the Israeli army shelled
earlier this month, killing 19 civilians.

"The call for protection has to be answered. We cannot
continue to see civilians, who are not the authors of
their own misfortune, suffer to the extent of what I
see."

Arbour, on a five-day trip to the region, spent time
at the house of a family who had lost more than a
dozen members in a shelling on Nov. 8, when Israel
says a mistake led to the barrage of artillery shells
hitting the neighbourhood.

Her visit, the first she has made to the region since
becoming commissioner, comes days after the U.N.
General Assembly approved a resolution that "deplored"
Israel's shelling of Gaza and called for an immediate
cessation of violence.

Asked what she planned to do about the rights
violations, Arbour said: "I will help to keep the
conscience of the many who care about what happens in
this part of the world alive.

"I will speak to the Palestinian Authority about their
responsibility to enforce the law, to create an
environment in which people can seek protection of the
law and, of course, I will also speak to the Israeli
authority.

"We need to collectively call on leaders, political,
military and militia leaders, to have the courage to
break the cycle of violence to ensure the well-being
of civilians."

More than 350 Palestinians, almost half of them
civilians according to Palestinian doctors and human
rights workers, have been killed since Israel launched
an offensive in Gaza in late June, following the
kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.

The offensive was designed not only to try to trace
the captured soldier, who was seized by militants
including members of the governing Palestinian faction
Hamas, but also to stop militants firing rockets into
Israeli territory from Gaza.

Israeli authorities say militants have fired more than
300 of the homemade rockets into southern Israel this
year, targeting towns like Sderot, just across the
frontier from Gaza.

Last week, a woman resident of Sderot was killed, the
first death from a rocket attack since July 2005.
Others have been wounded and scores are treated each
week for shock.

Residents of Beit Hanoun turned out to see Arbour as
she toured the town, where many buildings are scarred
by shrapnel, but were not hopeful her visit would
achieve any results.

"It will not do anything," said Majdi al-Athamna, 37,
who lost his son and three brothers in the shelling.

"This visit will not achieve anything unless the world
pressures Israel to engage in a real peace process
because as Palestinians we are paying the price of the
false peace."

4 Comments:

  • Dear Mona, how can there be a peace-process if one side of the two won't recognize the other, and its right to exist? When its goal is to wipe this country of the map? How come people don't stand up against those who fire qassam rockets into israel (after israel left Gaza) that invite the idf in, in gaza where the idf doesn't wanna be at all? Why??

    By Blogger Tsedek, at 11/29/2006 3:37 AM  

  • Thank you for your courage. The American press does not adequately cover what is really going on in Gaza.

    After reading your note, I wrote to Ms. Arbour at the UN to encourage her to also continue to be vigilant and use her office.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/29/2006 10:34 PM  

  • here is a way to voice your opinion about such issues.

    www.thetablet.co.uk

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/07/2006 8:12 PM  

  • "This visit will not achieve anything unless the world
    pressures Israel to engage in a real peace process
    because as Palestinians we are paying the price of the
    false peace."

    And exactly who is Israel supposed to negotiate with? Abbas, who has no power or Haniyeh, who says he will never recognize Israel and wants continued jihad against it?

    Joe

    By Blogger joe, at 12/10/2006 12:28 AM  

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