Browsing Posts tagged United Nations Secretary General

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Israel has agreed to participate in the official UN investigation into the May 31 events regarding the flotilla. This will be in addition to the Independent Public Commission set up in Israel with foreign participation.

Explaining its position regarding Israel’s collaboration with this UN committee, Prime Minister Netanyahu said “Israel has nothing to hide.  The opposite is true.  It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing.”

Despite launching its own internal investigation led by nongovernmental officials and foreign observers, calls were made amongst the international community for a United Nations-led inquiry.

The four-member panel will include a Turkish representative along with an Israeli representative. The panel will be chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer as well as Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as vice chairman. They are slated to finish their first progress report by mid-September.

Ban Ki-moon thanked the government of Israel “for their spirit of compromise and forward-looking cooperation” which resulted in what he called “an unprecedented development.”

“I hope that today’s agreement will impact positively on the relationship between Turkey and Israel as well as the overall situation in the Middle East,” he added.

Over the past few months, Israel began easing restrictions on the flow of goods into Gaza. This was met with approval by UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon during his visit to the region. Israel’s policy towards the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is not stagnant and is always changing in response to regional security. Over this past weekend, the Israeli Cabinet voted to approve a number of measures which will create a much simpler policy towards the closure of Gaza.

The goal of the closure has always been to eliminate the flow of combatants and deny Hamas weaponry which it has, and will continue to use against Israelis and Palestinians. However, the updated policy will make the distinction between what is and what is not allowed into Gaza clearer. All goods, food products, medicine etc. will continue to enter Gaza with no restrictions. But rather than publish a list of what is allowed, the Israeli government has decided it will be simpler to have only a list of what is not allowed. This way, there is no confusion and the world can see that Israel has no intentions to deny Gazans needed goods. Again, everything that is not on the published list of banned materials (grenades and rifles etc.) will pass through any and all Israeli-operated crossings. continue reading…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Israel is not above the law and not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. Israel’s blockade of Gaza, together with Egypt, it should be recalled (though Egypt is never condemned in this regard), is probably not the wisest policy ever implemented by Israel. After the international outcry over the flotilla to Gaza that was poorly handled by the Israelis, and with tragic consequences, it is high time this policy was reviewed.

The issue, however, is not this or some other specific Israeli policy, but Israel-bashing, or the prejudicial way in which Israel is usually treated by the international community and the world media. Prejudice is recognised by its three constituent practices: it singles out the subject; it then applies a double standard; and, of course, the subject is always guilty. Israel is indeed singled out for special treatment and the double standard is also reflected in a specific vocabulary that is applied only to Israel. continue reading…