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On Gaza As Israeli PR Danon Writes to UNSC Guterres Vaguely Calls It Serious to Al Jazeera Partner in Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, November 12– On Gaza, 12 days after Kuwait's draft UN Security Council resolution was vetoed by the US, on June 13 an essentially identical draft was adopted in the UN General Assembly with 120 in favor, eight against and 45 abstaining. But what did it accomplish? Now on November 12, this from the Israeli Mission: "Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, appealed to the Security Council Tuesday to condemn the firing of hundreds of rockets at Israel. In his letter to the Council's members, the ambassador noted that 'after a day of rocket barrages, there is no room for any other definition of Hamas except that of terrorist organization. To the world it presents its civilians as victims, but then uses them as human shields.' The ambassador added that 'Israel cooperated with all international bodies, including the UN, but the aggressive escalation from Gaza indicates that there are elements pushing for another round of violence that will cause destruction and losses within the Gaza Strip.'" UNSG Antonio Guterres, just off his 16th junket to Lisbon was in Paris for two speeches. Al Jazeera flew its correspondent who worked with Guterres' Stephne Dujarric to get Inner City Press roughed up June 22 and July 3 and banned since to Paris, where he put out this breaking/broken news: Guterres called the situation in Gaza "very serious." An what is he DOING about it? On August 15 Antonio Guterres, who had then banned Inner City Press from the UN for 45 days, converted it to a lifetime ban. Now on September 20, as Inner City Press continues to cover the UN and international affairs from the sidewalks outside the UN - some good interviews - the below, forwarded by Sweden's Mission to the UN: "EU members press stakeout on Khan al-Ahmar – France, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Italy
The Israeli High Court on 5 September rejected the petitions by the residents of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar and allowed the Israeli authorities to proceed with the plans for demolition within seven days. Any day now, the Israeli authorities could start demolishing this community, including its school, and evict the residents from their homes, including many children.

Today, we want to underline our position on the planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. We, as member states of the European Union and the European Union as such, have repeatedly stated our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, as reconfirmed by Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016), and actions taken in that context, including the demolitions of Palestinian communities and possible forced transfers of population. The community of Khan al-Ahmar is located in a sensitive location in Area C, of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

As repeatedly stressed, the consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace.

We therefore call upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.

We, as member states of the European Union, will not give up on a negotiated two-state solution with Jerusalem as future capital of both States. Continued engagement on the ground is needed, in support of building a viable Palestinian state. Including in support of the essential work that UNRWA is doing, and in support of projects that keep the perspective of a two-state solution alive."
On September 2 from US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. Then on September 2, this: "In response to the US decision to cut its funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, issued the following statement: “We welcome the US' decision as UNRWA has proven itself an impediment to resolving the conflict by keeping the Palestinians in perpetual refugee status. The Palestinian attempt to approach the UN is another empty statement. It’s about time that the Palestinian leadership abandoned its victimhood and incitement campaign, and takes concrete steps to improve the Palestinians future." Hours after the US statemnt, a canned statement by Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric - did he pre spoon feed it to Al Jazeera as he did on the Human Rights Council drop out on June 19? See here, still unaddressed. We don't yet know, since Dujarric and Guterres, using the Global Censor Smale, got Inner City Press roughed up and banned. They are killing the UN. Here is the  UN's canned statement: "We regret the United States’ decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region. The US has traditionally been the largest single contributor to UNRWA. We appreciate its support over the years.

UNRWA enjoys the full confidence of the Secretary-General. Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl has led a rapid, innovative and tireless effort to overcome the unexpected financial crisis UNRWA has faced this year. It has expanded the donor base, raised considerable new funding, and explored new avenues of support.  In addition, UNRWA took extraordinary internal management measures to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need.  The Secretary-General calls on other countries to help fill the remaining financial gap, so that UNRWA can continue to provide this vital assistance, as well as a sense of hope this vulnerable population." And here the (much) earlier US:
"The Administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA.  When we made a U.S. contribution of $60 million in January, we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years.  Several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Qatar, and the UAE have shown leadership in addressing this problem, but the overall international response has not been sufficient.

Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years.  The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.  We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business.  These children are part of the future of the Middle East.  Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model.  They deserve to be able to plan for the future.

Accordingly, the United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and international stakeholders about new models and new approaches, which may include direct bilateral assistance from the United States and other partners, that can provide today’s Palestinian children with a more durable and dependable path towards a brighter tomorrow." 
Dujarric is Guterres' censor - after making threats about Inner City Press' criticism of his spoonfeeding of Al Jazeera on 19 June 2018,
June 22 Dujarric and Guterres had Inner City Press ousted from the UN during his Eid al Fitr speech. After ignoring a June 25 request for protection, Guterres' guard Lt Dobbins roughed up Inner City Press on July 3 and Guterres has banned Inner City Press for the 18 days since, going on vacation without answers, no end in sight.
Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II, Independent here, arrogant July 20 no answer here. Now on July 24, with Inner City Press still baned from the UN by Guterres and thus prevented from asking any questions at the stakeout position outside the day's UN Security Council meeting, this from the IMF: "An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Karen Ongley visited East Jerusalem and Ramallah during July 8–19, 2018, to assess recent economic developments in the West Bank and Gaza. The IMF team met with Finance Minister Bishara, Governor Shawwa, and other Palestinian officials.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Ongley issued the following statement: “Despite still solid growth in the West Bank, the sharp decline in activity in Gaza weighed on the Palestinian economy. In the first quarter of 2018 real growth in the West Bank was close to 5 percent. However, the 6 percent decline in Gaza brought the overall growth rate down to 2 percent. With economic and financial buffers having been steadily eroded in Gaza, its economy was more vulnerable to the increasingly tense political and security situation, and cuts in donor support and transfers from the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget.

“Continued consolidation efforts by the Ministry of Finance and Planning helped to manage rising fiscal pressures. Strong growth in domestic revenues—particularly customs, VAT and income taxes—helped to offset weak clearance revenues and the unwinding of one-off factors in 2016. Together with spending cuts, this kept the overall fiscal deficit in 2017 to around 8 percent of GDP, broadly unchanged from 2016. However, these actions did not prevent the PA from having to resort to running arrears.

“With pressures on the economy continuing to mount, the outlook has become more fragile and uncertain. If things continue as they are, overall growth in 2018 could slow further to 1½ percent, weighed down by activity in Gaza declining by 4 percent. More broadly, Gaza is unlikely to register positive growth over the medium term without a profound and lasting change in circumstances. An added concern is the substantial loss of clearance revenues posed by recently approved Israeli legislation, which would seriously compromise fiscal sustainability and act as a further brake on growth.

“Given this mix of factors, lifting the growth trajectory on a permanent basis requires a comprehensive and coordinated strategy, anchored around four key elements. One, a medium-term plan to gradually reduce the budget deficit, mindful of the impact on growth. Two, a mix of revenue and expenditure measures by the PA, supported by reforms to strengthen public financial management. Three, faster and tangible progress toward reducing revenue leakages, where transparent and clearly understood mechanisms that rely on a regular exchange of the necessary information are put in place and adhered to by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Four, an actively engaged donor community that helps bridge the large financing gaps and assists in building necessary institutions, and abets an ongoing dialogue between the two sides.

“Maintaining a healthy financial sector will be instrumental in supporting growth, particularly given strains on growth in Gaza. The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) should continue to ensure that risks are scrutinized closely, with the full use of the macro- and micro-prudential toolkits and frequent on-site visits. Continued cooperation between the PMA and Bank of Israel will be pivotal in maintaining smoothly functioning of correspondent bank relations." 
And from Guterres, whose spokespeople have thus far refused to say where Guterres is going from July 23 to August 3: "I am gravely concerned over the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. I deeply regret the loss of life. It is imperative that all sides urgently step back from the brink of another devastating conflict. I call on Hamas and other Palestinian militants to cease the launching of rockets and incendiary kites and provocations along the fence. And Israel must exercise restraint to avoid further inflaming the situation. I encourage all to engage with the UN, and particularly my Special Coordinator, and work to find a way out of this dangerous situation. Any further escalation will endanger the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike, deepen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and undermine current efforts to improve livelihoods and support the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza."
Back on June 13 a US amendment including Hamas got 62 votes in favor and 58 against. But UN President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak ruled that a two thirds vote was required on the US amendment. The US' Nikki Haley appealed and that was put to the vote. The appeal failed, with 66 in favor of the appeal, 73 against and 26 abstaining. What will the US - or Washington - say about the two thirds requirement on amendments? And where was UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres? As usual, some say, conveniently absent. O
n June 8 Palestine's Ambassador Mansour told the press that President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak would soon be announcing a General Assembly meeting on the topic and on this draft, here. That meeting and vote has been set for the afternoon of June 13 - and now the US has sent around an amendment that it wants voted on first, condemning Hamas for firing rockets and inciting violence. In the Security Council the US vote came second. The number that will be compared to on June was the vote on condemning the US moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, which drew 128 yes, 9 no, with 35 abstentions and the rest not voting (like Cameroon did on the June 12 "GUAM" resolution.) We'll have more on this. At noon on June 8 Inner City Press asked about the meeting with the President of the General Assembly, which included  Sabri Boukadoum of Algeria; Fode Seck of Senegal, Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu of Turkey and the Ambassadors of the Arab League and Bangladesh. Afterward Inner City Press asked Mansour about Palestine having joined UNIDO and UNCTAD, if the US had cut funding to the latter. Mansour replies that Palestine is joining seven more agencies but is holding off joining FAO and WHO, so that poor countries are not hurt (by US funding cuts.) Periscope video here. On June 1 on Kuwait's draft in the Security Council four countries abstained. Three were European: UK, Poland and Netherlands. And one was from Africa: Ethiopia, whose Ambassador had a long discussion with the US' Nikki Haley in the run up to the vote, visible in Inner City Press' Periscope video from the UNTV video booth over the Council, here. Tweeted 2:20 video here. A similar discussion took place with Equatorial Guinea, but they voted Yes on Kuwait's draft. But later in the afternoon, Equatorial Guinea was among the 11 abstainers on the US draft, which had the US in favor and three against: a first. Before the votes, Inner City Press asked Israel's Danny Danon how much abstentions he expected. He replied that the US would not stand alone. Did he know about Ethiopia? We'll have more on this. 
On May 31  there was talk of the US invoking the so-called 24 hour rule under which a draft must be finalized - "in blue" - for 24 hours before a vote. But as UK Ambassador Karen Pierce told the press, that rule is not always followed. Periscope video here. After 4 pm, Kuwait's Ambassador cam and told the press that the US said it would be proposing amendments, so Kuwait was putting the vote back to 3 pm on June 1, the first day of Russia's Security Council presidency. Now, US Ambassador Nikki Haley has said the US will veto Kuwait's draft, to which the US is pitching an alternative it wants voted on first. There was talk of a 7 pm vote, then of 8:30 pm - until the UN Spokesperson's Office called the end of day "lid" at 7:45 pm. And so, June 1. Here is Kuwait's "blue" draft, as obtained by Inner City Press: 31 May 2018 – Draft – Rev 3

The Security Council,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, including, inter alia, resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 605 (1987), 904 (1994), 1397 (2002), 1544 (2004), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008), 1860 (2009), and 2334 (2016),

Recalling also its Presidential Statement 2014/13 of 28 July 2014,

Bearing in mind the letter (S/2015/809) of 21 October 2015 by the Secretary-General,

Recalling also its resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including its resolutions on children and armed conflict, including, inter alia, resolutions 1894 (2009) and 2225 (2015), as well as its relevant presidential statements, and its resolutions on the protection of medical and humanitarian personnel and on the protection of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflicts, including, inter alia, resolutions 2286 (2016) and 2222 (2015), as well as its other relevant resolutions and presidential statements,

Reaffirming the obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances in accordance with Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions,

Expressing its grave concern at the escalation of violence and tensions and the deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in particular since 30 March 2018, and its deep alarm at the loss of civilian lives and the high number of casualties among Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, including casualties among children, caused by the Israeli forces,

Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,

Reaffirming the right to peaceful assembly and protest, freedom of expression and of association,

Emphasizing the need to pursue measures of accountability, stressing in this regard the importance of ensuring independent and transparent investigations in accordance with international standards,

Alarmed at the exacerbation of the dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, and stressing the need to achieve a sustainable solution to this crisis in line with international law,

Stressing the particular impact that armed conflict has on women and children, including as refugees and displaced persons, as well as on other civilians who may have specific vulnerabilities, including persons with disabilities and older persons, and stressing the need for the Security Council and Member States to strengthen further the protection of civilians,

Recalling that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions and through credible and direct negotiations,

Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967,
Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

1. Calls for full respect by all parties for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including in regards to the protection of the civilian population, and reiterates the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection, as well as to ensure accountability for all violations;

2. Deplores the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip, including the use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists, and expresses its grave concern at the loss of innocent lives;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power,  refrain from such actions and fully abide by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 ;

4. Deplores any actions that could provoke violence and endanger civilian lives and calls on all actors to ensure that protests remain peaceful;

5. Deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas;

6. Calls for urgent steps to ensure an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire;

7. Calls for the exercise of maximum restraint and calm by all parties and the need for immediate and significant steps to stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground;

8. Reaffirms its willingness to respond to situations of armed conflict where civilians are being targeted or humanitarian assistance to civilians is being deliberately obstructed, including through the consideration of appropriate measures that the Security Council  may take in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

9. Calls for the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the Gaza Strip;

10. Calls also for immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip, including through the sustained opening of the crossing points of the Gaza Strip for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons in accordance with international law, including as it pertains to legitimate security requirements;

11. Demands that all parties cooperate with medical and humanitarian personnel to allow and facilitate unimpeded access to the civilian population, and calls for the cessation of all forms of violence and intimidation directed against medical and humanitarian personnel;

12. Urges the provision of immediate and unimpeded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, bearing in mind critical medical, food, water and fuel needs, and urges increased support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, recognizing the vital role of the Agency, alongside other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, in providing humanitarian and emergency assistance, notably in the Gaza Strip;

13. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of the mediation efforts of Egypt, and concrete steps to reunite the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian government and ensure its effective functioning in the Gaza Strip; 

14. Welcomes and urges further engagement by the Secretary-General and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process to assist, in cooperation with concerned partners, in the efforts to immediately de-escalate the situation and address urgent infrastructure, humanitarian, and economic development needs, including through the implementation of projects endorsed by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to examine the present situation and to submit a written report, as soon as possible, but not later than 60 days from the adoption of the present resolution, containing, inter alia, his proposals on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including, inter alia, recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism;

16. Calls for renewed and urgent efforts to create the conditions necessary to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues to achieve, without delay, an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a comprehensive, just and lasting comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap, as called for in resolution 2334 (2016) and its other relevant resolutions;

17. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Meanwhile down hall, increasingly marginal UN Secretary General Antonio "Deep Concern" Guterres was claiming victory on a reform for which he provided no pricetag; his spokesman ran off the podium when Inner City Press asked how much it would cost. Then Guterres refused to answer Inner City Press, video here. We'll have more about all this.
Inner City Press back on May 14 asked the Ambassadors to the UN of Palestine and Kuwait if the emergency UN Security Council meeting they were requested about Israeli sniper fire into Gaza would occur on May 14, or the next day, May 15. Video here. They replied it would be on the morning of May 15 (Alamy photos here), and that a draft Security Council Press Statement had been distributed, with a silence procedure until 6 pm. On that, silence was broken by the US, which just after 3 pm on May 29 announced, with the Kuwaiti introduced resolution still not put to the vote, that "This afternoon, the United States called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the latest attacks on Israel out of the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other militants. We expect the meeting to take place tomorrow afternoon. 'The recent attacks out of Gaza are the largest we have seen since 2014. Mortars fired by Palestinian militants hit civilian infrastructure, including a kindergarten. The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza,' said Ambassador Haley." Tomorrow would be May 30, which coincides with a "sold out" Israeli Mission event, "'Israel at 70: Global Impact Through Innovation.' The reception will be held in the United Nations visitors lobby followed by the event in Trusteeship Council Chamber.  Due to security reasons, please respond to this email confirming your attendance by 1:00 pm [May 29.]" High security all around. US President Donald J. Trump on May 18 met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, listing in advance Syria and North Korea on the agenda, not Gaza. On May 15 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq about Friday's meeting - the UN does not anticipate any Q&A - and why Guterres has not set up a UN investigation. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: the White House has put out a, I guess, a preview of the Secretary-General's meeting with President Trump on Friday and said, listing two countries, not the Middle East, Palestine or Israel, but listing Syria and North Korea as topics of mutual concern.  Does the Secretary-General… also reform an efficiency, but does the Secretary-General intend to raise this topic during his meeting Friday?  Because it seems from the listing that maybe the administration doesn't view the UN as… its role as useful on this topic as it does, apparently, on Syria and North Korea?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we will bring up a range of topics of mutual concern.  We will provide those details following the meeting on Friday.

Question:  Is it your understanding if there will be a Q-and-A session of the President and António Guterres?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'm not aware of that at this stage, but if there is one, we will provide the details... Inner City Press: there have been various calls in the Council for transparent and independent investigation of killings in Gaza.  You were saying that the Secretary-General, you know, is calling for such an investigation; but as many have pointed out, he has the power to set up such an investigation.  Can you explain his reasoning, at least thus far, in not doing so?  And also, there had been a request that he provide a report on the implementation of the resolution in December 2016 on settlements, and is he aware of that and when will he do that?  Those are two separate questions, investigation and implementation.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, first of all, regarding the question of investigations, we made clear repeatedly now that we want there to be credible investigations.  Ultimately, what we are doing at this stage is pressing for the authorities, the authorities responsible, in other words, in Israel, in Gaza and elsewhere to mount credible independent investigations.  We will have to evaluate whether that happens and whether the results are satisfactory.

Question:  When you say elsewhere, what do you mean — when you are calling on an investigation by Israel, Gaza and elsewhere?

Deputy Spokesman:  And also the Palestinian Authority, which is present also, as you know, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Question:  But, what is his reasoning not doing it himself, I guess, is what I'm saying?  There are many Council members that have said that he has it within his power to do it.  Is there some legal reason?  Is it a political judgment?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, you're aware of the process by which UN investigative bodies get mandates, and that is something that we would need to be appraised of if that were a consideration down the line.  But, at this stage, our focus is seeing what the authorities themselves can do."
on May 15, Kuwait said it will circulate a draft resolution on protection of civilians, modeled after a Norwegian one. France's Ambassador Francois Delattre spoke too, without taking questions. (His ambassador in Burundi Laurent Delahousse, meanwhile, replied to news of corpses in the river with one word: "Hippos?") Inner City Press was delayed since it is required by the UN of Antonio Guterres and his Global Communicator Alison Smale to only enter, unlike other UN correspondents many of whom rarely come in, rarely ask question and publish little, through the UN's Tourists Entrance, which was jammed and mis-managed on May 15. Periscope video - required to be turned off during the mis-management - here. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press asked, if as expected the US breaks silence, that they return to the Council stakeout.
Kuwait, Sweden, France, Bolivia, Netherlands, Peru, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and China have requested from Secretary General Antonio Guterres, traveling in Austria before meeting US President Donald Trump on May 17, that Guterres prepare and submit a report on implementation of UNSC Resolution 2334 of December 2016, on which the US (previous administration) abstained.  Also, "Kuwait has requested an open meeting of the Security Council under the agenda item: The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, in light of the developments on the ground and the killing of innocent civilians, with reports putting the number of Palestinians killed at over 50.  Kuwait has requested for the meeting to be convened tomorrow morning, Tuesday May 15." Also on Gaza, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on April 5 said in a statement, "I reiterate my call on all concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further violence or place civilians in harm's way, especially children." Then he prepared to leave for six days in China, just as the previous Friday he was an another UNannounced trip to his home in Lisbon. Now he is in Vienna. On April 20, after Palestine's Riyad Mansour, flanked by the Ambassadors of Tunisia, Kuwait and of the Arab League, conducted his Friday stakeout, Inner City Press asked if there has been any progress on requesting an inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council, and if Mansour had any comment on Mike Pompeo's upcoming trip to Jerusalem. Periscope video here. Mansour said he was not the right person to ask about Pence, and that some process is underway in Geneva. We'll see. On April 13, after Palestine's Riyad Mansour, flanked by the Ambassadors of Kuwait and of the Arab League, responded to Inner City Press' question about why Guterres hadn't followed his own advice and set up an inquiry, Inner City Press put the question to Guterres himself. He dismissed it with a wave of his hand. Vine video here. On April 20, after Guterres' spokesman refused to answer Inner City Press on who Guterres was taking with him to the UN Security Council retreat in Sweden (other than Izumi Nakamitsu, which Inner City Press on its own reported, on Syria and perhaps North Korea), Inner City Press asked Mansour if he knew if Guterres took envoy Mladenov to Sweden. Mansour replied that Mladenov would brief the open Council meeting on April 26 - and that Palestine is now going forward in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press Photos on Alamy. On Sunday, April 8, with Guterres issuing statements praising China but little to nothing on any other topic, the International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued this: "It is with grave concern that I note the violence and deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip in the context of recent mass demonstrations. Since 30 March 2018, at least 27 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by the Israeli Defence Forces, with over a thousand more injured, many, as a result of shootings using live ammunition and rubber-bullets. Violence against civilians - in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza – could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), as could the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities. I remind all parties that the situation in Palestine is under preliminary examination by my Office. While a preliminary examination is not an investigation, any new alleged crime committed in the context of the situation in Palestine may be subjected to my Office’s scrutiny. This applies to the events of the past weeks and to any future incident. I am aware that the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip are planned to continue further. My Office will continue to closely watch the situation and will record any instance of incitement or resort to unlawful force. I urge all those concerned to refrain from further escalating this tragic situation. Any person who incites or engages in acts of violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within ICC's jurisdiction is liable to prosecution before the Court, with full respect for the principle of complementarity. The resort to violence must stop." At 6 pm on April 6 Mansour returned with Tunisia's Ambassador and said the US had broken silence and blocked the statement. 12 Minute Video here.


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