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Kerry Met Erekat, Ashrawi Told ICP Palestine Wants Occupation to End in 3 Years

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 3 -- When the State of Palestine's Hanan Ashrawi held a press conference at the UN in New York on September 2, she announced that a team will be meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on September 3, to make clear the demand for the end of Israel's occupation by “a date certain.”

  After Kerry's 3:30 to 5:30 pm meeting on September 3, the State Department spokesperson issued this read-out:

"Secretary Kerry met with Saeb Erekat and Majid Firaj for about two hours this afternoon. It was a constructive conversation that covered a range of issues, including Gaza, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and recent developments in the region. They agreed to continue the dialogue in the weeks ahead."

  On September 2, Inner City Press asked Ashrawi “which date,” and by which date certain Palestine wants a resolution to be voted on in the UN Security Council.

  There's been some delay in the Council. Many diplomats have complained to Inner City Press about that, and about Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's delay or lack of clarity about setting up a UN Board of Inquiry as in 2009 (when Ban allowed himself to be lobbied.) Inner City Press asked about this as well.

  In her opening remarks Ashrawi said that Israel's unilateral buffer zone of 300 or 500 meters takes most of Gaza's agricultural land. She said “there is no peace process,” that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu reneged on promises he made to John Kerry.

  Later in the press conference, see below, Ashrawi answered both Inner City Press questions. She said the State of Palestine wants the occupation to end within three years.

  She said a Board of Inquiry should be set up, asking rhetorically, if the UN doesn't even respect its own laws, when it was a deliberate act, the coordinates of the UNRWA schools had repeatedly been given.

Footnote: These and other questions were lumped together and left to the end. That Ashrawi had limited time - she was set to give a speech at 10:30 am -- was understandable. But the UN Correspondents Association and its CBS branded president demanded the first question, and then proceeded to ask two. By the time this set-aside was over, other journalists' questions were all lumped together. The new  Free UN Coalition for Access opposes set asides and particularly their abuse. Since UNCA's Executive Committee tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, and has implemented no reforms since, FUNCA will be opposing set-asides and other ways UNCA now functions as the UN's Censorship Alliance.


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