MANHATTAN: The UN General Assembly was set to vote Wednesday on condemning Israel for Palestinian deaths in Gaza in a resolution opposed by the United States, which wants the world body to blame Hamas for the violence.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed the Arab-backed measure as “fundamentally imbalanced” for its failure to mention Hamas and has proposed an amendment that condemns the Palestinian militant group.
“Any resolution focused on the protection of civilians in Gaza must recognize the destabilizing and reckless actions of Hamas, which endanger the lives and livelihoods of innocent civilians,” Haley wrote in a letter sent to fellow ambassadors on the eve of the vote.
At least 129 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during protests near the border with Gaza that began at the end of March. No Israelis have died.
The Arab-drafted text deplores Israel’s use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestinian civilians and calls for protection measures for Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
The 193-nation assembly is expected to vote first on the US-drafted amendment condemning Hamas for “inciting violence” along the border with Gaza before the vote on the resolution. Diplomats said Algeria, which presented the draft resolution with Turkey, could push for a “no-action” motion to block a vote on the US amendments.
Despite the maneuvers, the Arab-backed resolution is expected to be adopted, but it remains unclear whether a strong majority will support it in the face of strong US opposition.
Relevant pieces published earlier:
i) The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency meeting next Wednesday at 3:00 pm (19:00 GMT) to vote on an Arab-backed resolution on Gaza, the body’s president Miroslav Lajcak announced Friday. The resolution will condemn Israel and will be similar to one vetoed by the United States in the Security Council last week, which called for protecting Palestinians from Israeli aggression, according to diplomats. It comes as four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border on Friday, as weeks of deadly clashes with protesters continued. Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly have no binding value, unlike those passed by the Security Council. “We will work next week to get the maximum number of votes,” a diplomat from a country that supported the measure told the Media. Arab countries turned to the General Assembly in December after the US vetoed a Security Council vote on a resolution to condemn its decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Fourteen members of the Security Council backed the December resolution, though the US, as well as the council’s four other permanent members, retain a right to veto. The measure then received 128 votes out of 193 in the General Assembly. (Published on 9th June 2018)
ii) An AFP photographer was shot in the leg as Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators along the Gaza border on Friday, the health ministry and the journalist said. Mohammed Abed al-Baba, who has worked for AFP in Gaza since 2000, said he was shot in the leg while wearing a clearly identified press vest and helmet around 200 meters (yards) from the border east of Jabalia in northern Gaza. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Baba was wounded by Israeli fire. The bullet hit him below the knee, with his condition, not life-threatening, medics said. Three Palestinians, among them a 15-year-old, were killed by Israeli fire elsewhere along the border as thousands demonstrated, the health ministry added. The Israeli army said it was dealing with a riot. Minor clashes were underway east of Jabalia when Abed was shot and he said he was trying to photograph a wounded protester. He was taken to the Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza for treatment, where a doctor said he would undergo surgery to stabilize a bone. (9th of June, 2018)
iii) ICC vows to ‘take any action warranted’ over Gaza unrest, The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court vowed Tuesday that she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes. “My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, Fatou Bensouda warned in a statement to AFP, “The violence must stop,” she insisted, urging “all those concerned to refrain from further escalating this situation and the Israel Defense Forces to avoid excessive use of force.” Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during clashes and protests on Monday over the deeply controversial opening of a US embassy in Jerusalem The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in January 2015 signing up to the Rome Statute which underpins the world’s only permanent war crimes court. The Palestinians asked the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes committed in the Palestinian territories in the Gaza war the previous year, and Bensouda opened her inquiry just a few days later. She recalled Tuesday that the “situation in Palestine is under preliminary investigation by my office. I will be watching and I will take any action warranted by my mandate under the Rome Statute,” she warned a day after one of the bloodiest days for years in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In her final embrace, Mariam al-Ghandour hugs the tiny body of her daughter, Leila, tight, tears rolling down her face. “The Israelis killed her,” she sobbed. The health ministry in Gaza says baby Leila, only eight months old, died after inhaling tear gas along the border with Israel on Monday as major protests escalated into the bloodiest day in years, with at least 60 Palestinians killed. The family prefers to focus on who fired the gas rather than the series of decisions that led to a baby being a few hundred meters (yards) from the Israeli border during the protests and clashes. Leila is an outlier — 13 years younger than any of the other victims and one of only two females. The vast majority have been killed by live ammunition fired by Israeli snipers but Leila was caught up in a cloud of tear gas, only temporarily painful for adults but potentially more dangerous for infants. Mariam, herself only 17, explained that she had a dentist appointment “so I left Leila with my brothers at home”. “My little brother took her and went to the border,” she said.
Fawad for countering fake news spread
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday stressed the need for evolving a strategy to counter fake news being spread through media.
“We were facing problems regarding fake news having a negative impact on the country’s economy”, he stated. He said figure and facts of news coming from government’s sources should be authenticated or correct. He said that anybody could quote such piece of a news item for vested interest. There is a need to tackle that type of news, he stressed.
Commenting on Prime Minister’s cabinet meeting held today, he said the premier Imran Khan was happy over the performance of State Minister for Communication, Murad Saeed, adding that he [PM] was contemplating to give Mr. Murad Saeed a portfolio as a full minister.
He said that prime minister had asked the ministers about future plan of their respective ministries. He added that premier was more concerned about the performance of the ministries given to the concerned public representatives.
AC grants one-day transit remand of Shehbaz
LAHORE: An accountability court today granted a one-day transit remand of the opposition leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif to attend the National Assembly session.
Prosecutor Waris Januja submitted a request on behalf of the jail superintendent for Shehbaz Sharif’s transit remand. The plea stated that Shehbaz Sharif had to be flown to Islamabad to help him attend the National Assembly session. Approving the request, the court granted one-day transit remand of the PML-N president.
Post Brexit Britain’s Heathrow to support EU workers!
LONDON: Britain’s Heathrow airport will set up a plan to financially support its European employees after Brexit, said John Holland-Kaye, chief executive officer (CEO) of the airport.
According to a report by local Sky News, the airport was to set aside hundreds of thousands of pounds to help its European Union (EU) staff secure their “settled status” against likely changes.
Applications are available to an estimated 2,600 workers.
“As we leave the EU, ironically we now really need those international people working here,” Holland-Kaye said.
He said that these employees constitute “valued parts” of their team, and have played “a hugely important role for an international business” like theirs with their language services and cultural insights.
Noting the urgency to reassure its anxious non-British EU employees, the CEO said it is important “not just to protect our own team but to encourage other companies to do the same thing.”
Heathrow said it will guarantee 30-day payment terms through Brexit to relieve the stress on small and medium-sized companies in its supply chain.