Browsing Posts in Humanitarian Aid

(Communicated by the COGAT Spokesperson)

The “Grizim” underground electrical lines that supply electricity from Israel to Gaza’s northern region have been refurbished and upgraded over the past week.

These lines supply 12.5 MW of electricity, which constitutes ten percent of the total amount of electricity supplied by Israel to Gaza every day. Israel supplies most of the electricity used by the residents of the Gaza Strip.

This process has significantly increased the capacity of the electricity lines, thereby providing a more stable source of electricity to the residents of northern Gaza. The northern region of Gaza is home to two large cities; Beit Hanoun, and Beit Lahia, whose populations consist of approximately 70,000 residents.

The “Grizim” electrical lines were replaced or repaired in certain sections to deal with recently discovered instabilities. The work was conducted by a team of 15 electrical engineers from the Israeli Electric Corporation, in coordination with IDF personnel to ensure their safety.

The Israeli government has maintained and even expanded its policy of assisting the civilian Palestinian population residing in Gaza. In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov. 2012), additional measures have been implemented that have allowed for expanded imports into Gaza.

 

(Communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italian citizens, six citizens of Japan, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.

For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A year after the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami which destroyed Japan’s Fukushima reactor, the country turns to Israel to enable the reconstruction of the nuclear facility. The Japanese company in charge of the rehabilitation has recently sent a team to Israel to find experts and entrepreneurs, specifically involved in the fields of water management and recycling, to help the island nation rebuild its reactor. Lior Daeri, the company’s Israel liaison, has stated that all participants assisting in the rehabilitation effort will receive large tax breaks up to NIS 50 million.

This partnership between Japan and Israel serves as only further indication of the strong economic and humanitarian ties between Asia and Israel. At present, China and Israel are currently collaborating on a number of solar energy projects, most notably the ‘HelioBooster’ in the Negev desert. Additionally, India and Israel are working together on agricultural innovation and restoration efforts to a various waterways in India.

Moreover, the Israel-Asia Center, based in Jerusalem has initiated a fellowship program whereby numerous young leaders from countries such as Singapore, China, and India come to Israel for a year to work on international environmental cooperatives. Students study at Israeli universities and contribute to a myriad of environmental and agricultural technology projects.

Yet in spite of the important collaborations, Japan has been largely absent from Israel’s diverse green partnerships. Some assert that political and cultural differences have forged a stubborn barrier between the two nations. According to Dr. Roni Burstein, chairman of the Israel-Japan Friendship Society and Chamber of Commerce, Japan imports ninety percent of its oil from Arab countries that do not have good relations with Israel.

Additionally, Japanese culture, characterized by its conservatism and emphasis on etiquette, uniquely juxtaposes the pioneer ethos of the startup nation. Israeli entrepreneurs have been known for their uncensored opinion, assertive independence, and minimal ceremony. But the tides are beginning to change as both nations, known for their technological innovation, have found common ground in a shared inventive spirit.

American-born Professor Kenneth Grossberg is currently organizing a tour of Israel for Japanese businessmen and students from the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo. According to YNet “They will visit the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology; Haifa’s Matam Research Park, home to IBM, Google, Philips, and Microsoft facilities; Tefen Industrial Park, built by industrialist Stef Wertheimer to promote creativity by linking industry with art, and companies such as Nanometrics and Given Imaging, creator of the “pill camera.”’

Japan and Israel form a unique yin and yang, which, though different, form a cohesive whole. With continued collaboration, both nations are sure to gain from one another.

Last week, at the 6th World Water Forum, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water, MK Uzi Landau held an important inter-governmental session on wastewater management. Israel is the world leader in wastewater management, with up to 80 percent of waste being recycled, primarily used for agricultural purposes. Israel presented its findings and innovative technologies at the conference, challenging the 179 other countries in attendance to double their sewage treatment by 2025.

The World Water Forum is held every 3 years since 1997, its goal is to mobilize “creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favour of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach.”

Said Minister Landau ahead of the conference, “We will offer Israeli expertise toward improving the water markets of countries around the world, with the goal of opening more and more doors for Israeli companies to create relationships with foreign companies and implement international projects.”

In addition, Israel offered to help Gaza build a desalination plant in Gaza to provide freshwater for its residents. “Our expertise is available to all of our friends, including some of those who don’t accept us there, which is the Palestinians. We would like to see their projects going on” said Minister Landau.

“We have been waiting for such projects for many, many years. It is high time, almost 20 years after (the) Oslo (Accords on Palestinian autonomy), that they will start working and take responsibility for handling their own things, said Minister Landau.

Water security affects both Israelis and Palestinians equally, and Minister Landau noted that the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to tackle sewage problems. The PA lets it “pour down the riverbeds and to our areas on the coastal plains, where at the same time they are not only polluting the rivers but these waters infiltrate to the underground aquifer which is the body of drinking water both for them and for us,” said Landau.

The Gaza desalination plant is estimated to cost as much as $450 million USD. The Palestinian Authority believes that this plant, funded with international aid, would be able to provide fresh water to Palestinians in Gaza by 2020.

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

Israel extends its condolences to the government of the Republic of the Congo and to the bereaved families, and sends its wishes for recovery to those injured in the explosion that occurred in Brazzaville, in which over 200 people lost their lives and hundreds were wounded.

With the desire to contribute to the medical treatment of the  wounded and hospitalized, Israel is sending today, through MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) and Israel’s embassy in South Africa, and in cooperation with Magen David Adom, South Africa, emergency medical equipment to assist in treating burn injuries. The humanitarian aid shipment will be delivered to the Brazzaville Red Cross.

Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, ordered the Israeli defense system to send a special aid delegation to Turkey in response to the recent earthquake, on Tuesday (October 25) after the offer was accepted by the Turkish authorities.

The assistance will focus on temporary buildings necessary for the rehabilitation of people rescued and evacuated at disaster sites in Turkey, as well as essential field hospital structures. Israeli Air Force aircraft are currently preparing to transfer these buildings.

The Turkish request was transferred via the Israeli Consul stationed in Ankara.

Two days ago Defense Minister Barak already spoke to Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs of the Israeli Defense Ministry, offering Turkish authorities any assistance needed in dealing with the earthquake that took place in eastern Turkey. In response, the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz instructed the IDF to prepare for the possibility of a search and rescue aid delegation sent to Turkey. The Home Font Command prepared the relevant forces.

Minister for Home Front Defense, Matan Vilani, offered Turkey assistance. The Minister spoke with the Home Front Command Chief, Maj. Gen, Eyal Eizenberg regarding IDF preparations for the an aid delegation sent to the area.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu spoke with his Turkish counterpart expressing his condolences for the deaths and damage caused by the earthquake. Israeli President, Shimon Peres, spoke with Abdullah Gul, his Turkish counterpart, expressing his condolences and offering assistance from Israel.

The Government approved the agreement for the release of Gilad Shalit by a large majority of 26 ministers in favor and 3 against.

During the discussions outlines were heard by the heads of the security services – Director of the Shin Bet Yoram Cohen, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz , Director of the Mossad Tamir Pardo and the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the negotiations David Meidan. The heads of the security services presented the agreement and its various aspects and expressed their support in it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a difficult decision to make, but a leadership is examined in moments like these, in its ability to make difficult decisions. I am bringing Gilad Shalit home, to his parents Noam and Aviva, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the people of Israel.”

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the opening of special Cabinet meeting:

“Today, I bring a proposal to the Government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents Aviva and Noam, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family – to bring him home safe and sound.

At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the Government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive. I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step.

The most important mission that we had was more challenging – to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.

There is an inbuilt tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is my dual responsibility as Prime Minister.

The deal I am bringing to the Government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you – it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity, that opened because of the circumstances, would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all.

Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. I thank my Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker, the Chief of the Shin Bet Yoram Cohen, my personal envoy to the negotiations, David Meidan and his predecessor Hagai Hadas. I thank the team that has accompanied them all these years.

I thank the IDF, the security forces for doing everything they could regarding Gilad Shalit. I also wish to thank the German mediator, and the Chancellor Angela Merkel who supported his mission all along. A send a special thanks to the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian Intelligence Services for providing much assistance in mediating and helping us reaching this agreement.

This morning I Invited Noam Shalit to my residence, and I spoke on the phone with the mother Aviva and the grandfather Zvi. I told them that I am keeping my promise and I’m bringing their son and grandson home. I told them, “I’m bringing your boy back.” I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives, and if all goes as planned, Gilad will be back in Israel in the next few days with his family and his people.

The Nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other, as our Sages said: “He who saves one soul, it is as though he saved an entire world.” Tonight, I bring the Government a proposal to save Gilad Shalit, to finally bring him home to Israel after five years.”

Yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the Palestinian Donors Conference (Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee) held at the United Nations that Israel is interested in continuing to assist Palestinian economic development, but this position could be affected if the Palestinians unilaterally declare a state.

“Future assistance and cooperation could be severely and irreparably compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements, which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Ayalon told the conference, which was hosted by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, and chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Ghar Store. The Palestinians were represented by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Ayalon laid out all of Israel’s activities that have assisted the continued growth in the Palestinian economy during the past few years, and how cooperation with Israel is essential for the Palestinian Authority’s institution building. However, the Deputy Foreign Minister warned the Palestinians that all of this will be affected by the Palestinian initiative to bypass negotiations and impose their demands on the international community.

“The Palestinian Authority’s path of unilateralism and reneging on its commitments bodes extremely ill, not just for a peaceful resolution to our conflict, but for the immediate future,” Ayalon said. “If the Palestinian Authority is staking a path, not just against its signed commitments, but against the norms and standards of international peace-making, then it will prove very hard for the State of Israel to continue a process abandoned by its partners and co-signatories.”

Ayalon warned that unilaterally declaring statehood will have legal ramifications for any future cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. “The State of Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which created the Palestinian Authority. Israel will have absolutely no obligations towards a so-called Palestinian state, especially one created artificially in this building, in breach of these very accords,” Ayalon told the donors conference.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister called on the international community to use its influence to call on the Palestinians to refrain from taking unilateral steps damaging for the peace process. “The international community and especially donors to the Palestinian Authority should ask for minimal standards of diplomatic practice by the Palestinians,” Ayalon said. “They should do their best to turn the Palestinian leadership away from confrontational and provocative unilateral steps and lead them back to the negotiating table where they will find waiting an Israeli government intent on finding solutions to all the outstanding issues with a view to arriving at a real and lasting end to our conflict.”

Ayalon called on the Palestinians to immediately return to the negotiating table: “It is incumbent on the Palestinian leadership to return to the path of negotiation, compromise and cooperation and lead its people towards the goals set by the international community – two states for two peoples, living in enduring peace and security.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon also called on the international community to demand the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon met earlier in the day at the UN with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, in the presence of Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Ayalon told Pascoe that it was essential not to let the Palestinians turn the UN into a rubber stamp for Abu Mazen’s whims. If the Palestinian plan succeeds, the UN will lose status and its ability to preserve stability and order in the world, Ayalon warned.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Israel is sending medical supplies to Nairobi, Kenya, to assist in treating casualties of the fuel-line explosion on 12 September.  In that disaster, more than a hundred people died and hundreds were injured.

As details of the disaster became known, Gil Haskel, Israel’s ambassador to Kenya, offered Israel’s assistance to the heads of Kenyatta National Hospital, where most of the injured are hospitalized. The director of the hospital welcomed the offer and a list of needed medical supplies was formulated.

Israel will send medical supplies for long-term treatment, in accordance to the list, including more than 360 kilograms of medicines for treating burns, bandaging equipment, infusion sets, ointments and painkillers. The aid is expected to arrive in Kenya on Thursday,  September 15th.

The supplies were mobilized and dispatched by the Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation.

 

 

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Her Meeting with Noam Shalit

I was honored to meet with Noam Shalit today, 1,900 days after his son, Gilad, was taken captive. During this period, Hamas has held Gilad hostage and without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in violation of international humanitarian standards and basic decency. I expressed to Mr. Shalit the solidarity of the United States with him and his family, and I reiterated our strongest condemnation of his son’s detention. As I have said repeatedly in the UN Security Council, Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release Gilad Shalit.