UN advises Israel to change ‘fundamentally’
Tue, 09 Jun 2009 07:37:56 GMT
Palestinians sit next to the rubble of Taha Mosque, which was destroyed during the Israeli military offensive launched against Gaza during the Christmas holidays.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has demanded that Israel “fundamentally change its policies” in the Gaza Strip.
In a message to the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ban said the Israeli blockade imposed on the tiny sliver of land has been the cause of a humanitarian crisis.
“Nearly five months after the end of the hostilities, nothing beyond basic needs such as food and medicine is allowed in,” he said, noting that current conditions preclude the success of recovery efforts and long-term development initiatives.
Since June 2007, Israel has blocked the entry of raw materials into Gaza, forcing an end to 90 percent of major construction activities.
“The construction sector, too, is totally paralyzed. 3,500 businesses have closed down and over 75,000 workers, who support half a million dependants, have lost their jobs,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says on its website.
The UN chief called on Israel to take a number of measures to improve the grave living conditions in the area half the size of Washington DC.
Israel should “allow in the fuel, funds and materials that are urgently required to repair destroyed and damaged schools, clinics, sanitation networks and shelters and to restore a functioning market,” Ban said.
In the West Bank, the former South Korean politician said that routine incursions by Israeli forces have blocked all prospects for progress.
“Palestinians continue to endure unacceptable unilateral actions, such as house demolitions, intensified settlement activity, settler violence, and ever increasing movement restrictions due to permits, checkpoints and the wall and fence barrier,” Ban stressed.
“The time has come for Israel to fundamentally change its policies in this regard, as it has repeatedly promised to do,” he added.
Tel Aviv has pursued aggressive policies toward the Palestinians and is acknowledged by the United Nations as an occupying power.
Israeli human rights activists, such as Uri Davis, in late 2001 called Israel the “last colonial power in the world” for openly practicing “torture, detention without trial, confiscation of land for security purposes and collective punishment.”
A year later, when South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu visited the area, he drew disturbing analogies between Israel’s apartheid system and that of South Africa under apartheid.
“I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa,” he said in a speech in the American city of Boston in 2002.
“I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about,” Tutu added.
An Israeli historian and leading expert on fascism, Zeev Sternhell, last year explained that the main danger to Israel’s existence is “colonial Zionism based on ethnic and religious inequality, which considers itself the exclusive emissary of Jewish history.”
Sourced from Press TV Tue, 09 Jun 2009 07:37:56 GMT
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