Egypt Walls Off Gaza, UN's Position Shifts, Still Silent on Cairo
Gaza Blackout, UNRWA's Lights On, Canada Earmarks, Cast Lead's
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 22 -- As Hamas and Fatah have bickered over
electricity payments, many in Gaza have gone without lights. Not
among these are the UN Relief and Works Agency, which has its own
generators. Inner City Press asked UNRWA's John Ging about the power
plant shutdown, who's to blame and what can be done. Video here,
that the dispute is between the "de facto government of Gaza and
the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah," with the former recently
agreeing to make payments to the latter. Fatah, as it happens, is
accusing Hamas officials themselves of not paying their power bills.
Truly, it is a power game.
also asked Ging about on the one hand, executions carried out by
Hamas, and on the other deaths killed by bombings by the Israel
Defense Forces. Ging was cautious, referring to statistics on UN web
sites and Hamas' rocket killing "a migrant worker on an Israeli
kibbutz." He said that condemning executions is not within
UNRWA's mandate, but that the wider UN system has condemned.
UN's Ban in Gaza, Ging at center, power plays not shown
was at the end
of Ging's press conference that spokesman Martin Nesirky called on
Inner City Press, when Ging was going to leave. Inner City Press
asked Ging about Canada's funding decision on UNRWA. "You ask
the big questions right at the end," Ging said.
He went out
his way to express appreciation to Canada, saying it has not
decreased but only ear-marked its funding. But in the U.S. House of
Representatives, an "UNRWA Humanitarian Accountability Act"
has been introduced. Watch this site.
Recently the author Normal Finkelstein was invited by the UN
Correspondents Association to give a talk at the UN. Inner City Press
attended, and asked for Finkelstein's assessment of Ban Ki-moon's
performance during Operation Cast Lead. The review was not positive.
the talk, the
Republic ran a review of not only Finkelstein but UNCA. [Ok, full
disclosure of membership in UNCA and appearance in the New
Republic piece.] The
byline included that the author was an intern at the Inter Press
Service, a media closely aligned with the generally pro Palestinian
Group of 77 bloc. The affiliation led to some agita. Only at the UN.
* * *
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 30 -- With hundreds of protesters outside the UN's
building in Cairo, in New York the spin of Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's position(s) on the Egypt's construction of an underground
wall to seal off Gaza gathered force.
Agency, KUNA, headlined an article on December 29, "Ban supports
Egypt's decision to build steel wall along border with Gaza." Since the
UN has repeatedly dodged questions about the wall, which
Inner City Press asked in connection with the now-stalled Gaza
Freedom March, this seemed surprising.
further down, said that Ban's support for the wall is "implicit,"
and quoted his Deputy Spokesperson:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon implicitly supports Egypt's decision to
build a steel wall along its border with Egypt, meant to curb weapons
smuggling into the Strip. 'We are aware of the media reports over
recent days. It is our understanding that Egyptian efforts to counter
illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, as
all states are called upon to do by UN Security Council Resolution
1860, are ongoing,' his deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe told KUNA."
refusal to answer Inner City Press' December 28 request for
on Egyptian authorities' blocking press access to the protesters in
front of the UN building in Cairo, on December 30 Inner City Press
asked a narrower, more targeted question, "In
light of the public report that Ban "supports Egypt's decision
to build steel wall along border with Gaza," please clarify
whether Ban in fact supports, implicitly or otherwise, the
construction of this wall."
response repeats the quote used by KUNA, but amplifies it with an
additional paragraph expressing concern for potential humanitarian
consequences, see below.
UN's Ban and Egypt's Mubarak, sealing of Gaza with
wall not shown
Your question on Egypt/Gaza
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
12/30/2009 1:42:28 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
the reports about Egypt's construction activity, we would reiterate
that it is our understanding that Egyptian efforts to counter illicit
trafficking of arms and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, as all states
are called upon to do by UN Security Council Resolution 1860, are
for any potential humanitarian consequences, we continue to be
gravely concerned about socio-economic conditions in Gaza. The key to
a sustainable solution to the crisis in Gaza is for resolution 1860
to be implemented in full, including an end to the Israeli blockade
and the reopening of all legitimate crossings between Gaza and Israel
and Gaza and Egypt, as prescribed in the 2005 Agreement on Movement
So does UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon support Egypt's construction of the
wall? Watch this site.
* * *
Entry into Ban's Home and Party Dodged by UN, Disputing Obama Analogy
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 24 -- At UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
official residence on December 22, an individual with no invitation
and no UN pass crashed Mr. Ban's holiday party, multiple sources tell
Inner City Press.
Ban's personal secretary Ms. Kim stopping the individual and being
told -- falsely as it turns out -- that the individual works for the
UN Department of Political Affairs but for some reason had no pass or
identification, and being let in.
"What section?" and was told, "Elections" -- the
unit embroiled in controversy following its role in the flawed Afghan
to believe the person was not even from the UN, he passed security
into Mr. Ban's residence. The individual even received a gift from
Mr. Ban, before proceeding to enter without authorization other UN
Inner City Press approached Mr. Ban's new spokesman Martin Nesirky on
his way to the day's noon briefing, and asked about the incident,
even suggesting he ask Ban's secretary Ms. Kim. Nesirky returned to his
office and put in an inquiry. Inner City Press put the question on
the record during the noon briefing and was promised an answer.
23, Nesirky tersely e-mailed Inner City Press that "there was no
Inner City Press sought and receive additional information, including
the identity of the person -- also not invited, but having a UN pass
-- who brought the party crasher, and other identifying details.
noon briefing, Inner City Press went to Nesirky's river view office
and asked what he had meant, that there had been no security breach.
Nesirky said that the UN doesn't discuss security arrangements.
Press noted that in Washington in the wake of gate crashing at
President Obama's state dinner with India a whole Congressional
hearing on the topic of security was held, Nesirky said the
situations were not at all analogous.
Press asked, because Obama is so much higher profile than Ban?
Nesirky said that wasn't it -- without specifying what he meant --
and insisted "there is no story."
UN's Ban, center, and Nicolas Cage, security and
candor not shown
City Press for pursuing the issue, and even said he would only ask
Ban's office a second time if Inner City Press returned with not only
the first but also the last name of the gate crasher. This is
pointless, since by two witnesses' account, Ban's secretary did not
even write down the person's name.
Nesirky's deputy reportedly made belated telephone calls Thursday
afternoon, seemingly to quiet possible witnesses, Inner City Press
called Mr. Ban's office and asked to speak with Ms. Kim, on deadline.
first transfer, a female voice began and then hung up. When
Inner City Press called back, the response was that Ms. Kim was no
longer available. Inner City Press left a cell phone number stating
it was for a story being written that day, on deadline. The deadline
Press finds troubling is that the UN would reflexively claim that
"there was no security breach," then would refuse to
confirm or deny specific facts about unauthorized entry into the
Secretary General's official residence.
these are the UN's answers on an incident at the Secretary General's
residence, how are the answers on human rights, peace and security and
even environmental issues more credible?
governments and legislatures make for at least some accountability,
often in the UN there is no accountability, and it starts at the top.
Watch this site.
23, 2009 transcript
Nesirky: I think you have another question, I’m pretty sure you
City Press: Okay, I do. No, actually, then I will if I get your
drift. It’s… I wanted to… I guess, and it’s something that
maybe you’ll have an answer on later today, but some are saying
that in yesterday’s reception at the Secretary-General’s
residence that there was an unauthorized attendee, and that the
personal secretary to the Secretary-General, you know, was aware of
this and for some reason it was waived. I wanted to know both what
the procedures are, given, in light of the event at the White House
at the State dinner for India, what are the relevant procedures at
the UN for such things, and is it in fact the case that an
unauthorized attendee attended, and what will be done about it?
Yes, you mentioned this as we were passing in the corridor just now. I
don’t have an immediate answer for you on this specific
incident. And also, in more general terms, I would not wish to go
into details about security arrangements. That’s clearly not
appropriate, but I can just assure you that the security detail for
the Secretary-General is extremely rigorous and they work extremely
hard for the Secretary-General’s safety. That’s put in a general
context, and the more specific question you’ve raised, I’ll see
what I can find out. It’s not something that I was aware of.
Spokesperson later confirmed that there was no security breach at the
your question about SG residence last night
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
12/23/2009 12:33:05 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
to the Spokesman's response at the briefing to the above, there was
no security breach at the SG residence last night.
A question is, what does the UN mean by "security
breach"? Watch this site.