Israelis Say No Crimes Committed – UN Issues 3 Demands
The United Nations has issued Israel with three demands after UN humanitarian workers gained brief access to demolished refugee camps in the West Bank.UN Envoy Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, issued the demands early this morning. The demands are:
· the Israeli Defense Forces should lift the curfew on the freedom of movement in the refugee camps - both for the local population and humanitarian workers
· the Israeli authorities should expand their assistance to humanitarian workers
· large-scale water and food supplies should be granted access to the refugee camps.The UN Relief Agency, UNRWA, entered Jenin refugee camp this morning with two truckloads of food and water. It was able to start distribution, but was prevented from completing it by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Click here to listen to workers on the ground…
Maher Nasser United Nations Liaison officer in New York, said staff witnessed terrible scenes: "The level of destruction and wanton damage to our own UNRWA installations is unbelievable … we have a clinic, we have a school - more than one school - there's big damage to the frontal facades of both buildings, the equipment and medicine in the clinics have been trashed. They [the UN teams working there] managed to find 7 live people under the rubble between yesterday and this morning. They keep hearing voices under the rubble but they don't have big earth-moving equipment to remove it."
Click here to listen to UN Radio’s report…The findings led to further warnings by UN Secretary General Koffi Annan. He said the current conflagration in the Middle East could escalate beyond the region and this morning reiterated his call for a “third party mechanism” – a multinational peacemaking force - on the ground to quell violence and foster progress. "Such a mechanism could take the shape of international monitors of a ceasefire," Annan said. "Whatever form such a mechanism takes, I believe it essential to the process of restoring mutual confidence and making progress on both the political and security fronts." But Israel denies it has breached Palestinian human rights and angers againsts suggestions that war crimes have been committed. Its Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insists Israel has been defending its homeland from Palestinian terrorists. And Spectator News Agency has received claims from Israelis that claims of crimes against humanity are outright lies. Marc Blumenfrucht of Israel insists Israel could have carpet bombed Jenin and saved itself many soldiers lives: “However out of humanitarian considerations, they decided not to use the American method, and instead go door to door putting their soldiers lives at unnecessary risk.” Blumenfrucht says: “Not one mass grave has been found, and who exactly was carted off to no mans land? I am on the ground here in Israel, and the supreme court was asking whether these bodies should be taken to be buried singly, in a special cemetery in Israel for fallen enemy soldiers, or returned to the Palestinians after being taken for counting to disprove their exaggerated death tolls. Never was there any intention of mass graves. But how could the Palestinians lie about this, you may ask? Well, they have a long history of lies & brutality for example the lies in the first intifada: In Gaza, rumours circulated that Palestinian youths wounded by Israeli soldiers were being taken to an army hospital near Tel Aviv and "finished off." And Yan Vishkautsan of Israel admits international aid workers and journalists have found “grotesque parched human forms” decomposing in Palestinian territories: “Yes, but you have omitted the reason why. You have carelessly (or carefully, I do not want to guess here) forgotten that the Palestinian Authority refused for weeks to remove the bodies.” In correspondence with Spectator News Agency Vishkautsan says: “War is hell, Mr. Manning. I am not an expert on the exact text and meaning of Geneva Convention you mention (which one, by the way?), but one thing is clear to me: if Sharon is to be tried as a war criminal, he should share the bench with Arafat.” The polarisation of views within that small area of the Middle East is extreme. The United Nations’ Koffi Annan insists all the world’s nations must consider a role in forcing peace in the Middle East. If the international community ignores this situation – the conflict will spread. Annan: “Dozens of Israelis have been killed in suicide bombs, and hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations in the West Bank. These events - combined with a sharp rise in attacks against Israel from Lebanon - underscored the seriousness and potential dangers of the present escalation, not only for the Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the region and beyond. "What needs to be urgently injected is the political will and the necessary impetus for concrete and concerted action," Koffi Annan said. The United Nations has called for a massive humanitarian assistance programme. But progress Annan said depends of two people: “At this dramatic time, perhaps more than ever, both Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat should exercise their leadership with an enhanced sense of responsibility and moral authority," he said. "They are duty-bound to bring their people back from the edge of the abyss." First published on Spectator.co.nz…By Selwyn Manning.