Violence against women and girls is one of the most extreme forms of inequality, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said today on the occasion of the 51st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
“Despite progress, we continue to live in a world where millions of girls remain out of school, engaged in exploitative labor, are trafficked, are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and are targets of sexual violence,” Veneman said in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8.
String the critical link between discrimination against girls and women and violence, Veneman drew attention to the sexual violence committed in armed conflict, trafficking, and practices such as honour killings, dowry crimes, early marriage, and female genital cutting/mutilation.
“In too many countries and regions, the plight of girls is ignored or denied,” Veneman said. “This leaves girls to suffer in silence and has a devastating effect on the well-being of families and communities.”
Veneman said education is a key to addressing discrimination and violence against girls and to helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Educated girls are better equipped to protect themselves against life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS, are more likely to give birth to healthy babies who will survive and grow into adulthood, tend to delay marriage, and are more likely to have fewer children.
UN envoy hits Israel ‘apartheid’ February 25, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Di, family re-unification, Gaza, Human Rights, Israel, Israel apartheid, John Dugard, Muslim, Palestinians, UN, UN envoy, West Bank.
A UN human rights envoy has compared Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to elements of apartheid. The UN’s Special Rapporteur, John Dugard, describes the regime as being designed to dominate and systematically oppress the occupied population.
Mr Dugard is a South African professor of international law assigned to monitor Israeli human rights abuses.
He has extensively studied apartheid in South Africa and has compared it to what he saw under Israeli rule.
Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the UN secretary general to present reports on human rights to the organisation.
Their findings do not represent UN policy.
In a new report, Mr Dugard says: “Israel’s laws and practices certainly resemble aspects of apartheid”.
He points to what he describes as “unashamed discrimination” against Palestinians in favour of Israeli settlers.
“It is difficult to resist the conclusion that many of Israel’s laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination,” says the report.
“House demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are carried out in a manner that discriminates against Palestinians.
“Throughout the West Bank, and particularly in Hebron, settlers are given preferential treatment over Palestinians in terms of movement (major roads are reserved exclusively for settlers), building rights and army protection and laws governing family re-unification”.
U.N. Anti-Racism Panel Questions Israel February 21, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Arab, Arabs, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, holy places, Islam, Islamic, Israel, Israeli, Jew, Jewish, Jews, Muslim, Muslims, Noble Sanctuary, non-Jewish, Racism, Racist, Temple Mount, U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminat, UN, United Nations.
A United Nations anti-racism hearing later this week could add more fuel to the debate over a hotly contested Israeli construction project that has sparked anger throughout the Muslim world. Israel’s government has also been asked to explain if it discriminates between Jewish citizens and what it calls its “Arab sector” in how it provides housing, education, public services, land rights and legal protection against acts of violence, according to a list of issues released by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The panel of 18 independent experts overseeing compliance with the United Nations’ 38-year-old anti-racism treaty has submitted questions in writing on Israel’s policy for preserving holy sites and asked the government to explain why it only grants special protection for places considered sacred by Jews.
“To date, approximately 120 places have been declared as holy sites, all of which are Jewish,” the committee said in its list of questions, written before the recent furor over a construction project in Jerusalem that some Muslims have charged could damage Islam’s holy places.
Israel – whose quadrennial review was postponed in August because of the Lebanon war – is to appear before the panel on Thursday and Friday to answer the questions, which include whether it “has set forth regulations in relation to holy sites of both the Jewish and non-Jewish population.”
UN Special Envoy to visit war-ravaged Darfur February 7, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Genocide, Human Rights, Omar al-Bashir, Racism, Racist, South Darfur, Special Envoy, UN, United Nations.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur and his African Union (AU) counterpart will conduct a joint mission to Sudan next week as part of their efforts to revive the stalled peace process in the war-torn region.
Mr Jan Eliasson and the AU’s Mr Salim Ahmed Salim will travel on Monday to the capital, Khartoum, and to Darfur itself for talks with the Government and leaders of the rebel groups.
The rebel groups did not sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in May last year.
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) announced the six-day mission on Tuesday as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that obtaining a cessation of hostilities is urgent because unacceptable delays are preventing humanitarian help from reaching millions of victims.
Following his recent trip to Africa, where he discussed Darfur with AU leaders at their summit in Addis Ababa, Mr Ban warned Council members that slow progress on this issue cannot be tolerated.
“No more time can be lost. The people of Darfur have waited for far too long,” said UN spokesperson Michele Montas, quoting from Mr. Ban’s remarks.
Mr Ban said he had discussed with the Council his “very useful and constructive” recent meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, when they talked about plans for a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force in Darfur.
He said he expects a “positive and clear” response soon from Mr Bashir to a letter he sent last month outlining the details of the hybrid force, its command structure and funding.
Indigenous Women And Racism February 1, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in AIDS, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Indigenous Women, Kamala Sarup, Racism, Racist, UN, United Nations, World Indigenous Day.
On December 10, 1992, indigenous leaders from more than fifty countries told the UN that “governments continue to desecrate and appropriate religious and sacred places and objects, depriving indigenous nations around the world of their basic spiritual ways of life.” Indigenous people often find that the mainstream culture tries to undermine their culture.
More than 370 Million indigenous people—that is more than 10 percent of the global population– in 70 countries worldwide are discussing these and other issues on the occasion of the World Indigenous Day on Tuesday ( Augg 9 ). Approximately, three-quarters of the world’s 6,000 languages are spoken by indigenous people. To begin with, how do we define indigenous people?
The people occupying an area before it was found by other people are indigenous.
Guatemala’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú—who belongs to indigenous community—said, “The International Day is also an occasion to vigorously condemn the grave and systematic violation of the inalienable rights of indigenous peoples, which even affects the right to life. In some countries, extinction is threatening indigenous people, while in others they suffer starvation; and the conditions of marginalization, segregation, oppression and racism of which they are victims have generally not been eliminated.” She further added, “It is hypocritical of the UN and of governments to declare a day for indigenous people and then do nothing about it”.
New UN chief pledges attention to Darfur January 3, 2007Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Death, Genocide, Kofi Annan, UN, United Nations.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon started his first day on the job on Tuesday by promising immediate attention to the crisis in Darfur but backing off traditional UN opposition to capital punishment.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister succeeding Kofi Annan of Ghana, was greeted by a UN honor guard and then went to a UN meditation chapel to honor fallen peacekeepers.
Asked about the weekend execution of Saddam Hussein, Ban, 62, told reporters the former Iraqi leader was responsible “for committing heinous crimes and unspeakable atrocities against the Iraqi people and we should never forget the victims of these crimes.”
But he said, “The issue of capital punishment is for each and every member state to decide” in conformity with international law. South Korea has the death penalty although it is considering abolishing it.
However, his special representative in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, released a statement saying that the world body “remains opposed to capital punishment, even in the case of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”
Ban said the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region was “very high on my agenda” and he would meet with his special envoy Jan Eliasson of Sweden on Wednesday morning and had already spoken by telephone with him.
Human Rights Watch: Sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers December 27, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, racism and discrimination, Rape, UN, United Nations.
Children raped. Girls forced to trade sex for food. Women assaulted at gunpoint. Is this the behavior one would expect from the United Nations peacekeeping missions?
Since the 1990s, the U.N. peacekeeping missions have been plagued with sexual misconduct scandals. According to The Washington Post, it first started in Cambodia with U.N. peacekeepers sexually abusing young girls. At that time, the U.N. dismissed the claims with a careless attitude–as if it were inevitable to occur. Meanwhile, the abuses continued and a culture of silence developed.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 30 percent of the people who visited brothels were U.N. or NATO staff. In fact, the U.N. police operated brothels there and trafficked people.(1)
In Liberia, U.N. peacekeepers had sex with young girls, some as young as 12 years old. A trade would consist of giving the girl $10 or some food. Many of the staff visited the brothels in their U.N. vehicles.
In the Congo, the alleged cases of sexual exploitation include child porn rings, sex shows and rape of babies.
U.N. recommends Mexico improve fight against women’s discrimination November 24, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Mexico, racism and discrimination, UN, United Nations.
MEXICO CITY – A United Nations report says Mexico needs to follow promises with action if it wants to eradicate discrimination against women.
The report applauded Mexico’s 2006 passage of the General Act on Equality between Women and Men. But it expressed concerns that additional steps have to be taken before it can be implemented effectively.The authors of the report say they’re worried the law lacks the necessary components to bring states and cities across the country on board.In particular, the committee is concerned that the National Commission on Human Rights lacks “the necessary financial resources and specially trained personnel to achieve this goal.” The commission is in charge of overseeing enforcement.
[Click more for source information]
Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal October 23, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Human Rights, UN.
Nepal has survived a decade of internal, armed conflict, which has thrown human rights violations into relief. The root cause of the conflict is social in origin, and centuries of being suppressed and excluded have only fanned the insurgency of the so-called “untouchables” (dalits). OhmyNews citizen reporter Rupesh Silwal interviewed Ian Martin about discrimination based on caste, which is so prevalent in Nepal. Ian Martin is a personal representative of the U.N. secretary-general in Nepal in support of the peace process.
The interview was recorded earlier this year when he headed the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) in Nepal, to which he was appointed in May 2005. The OHCHR’s mandate is to monitor and help establish accountability for human rights abuses and to prevent further violations.
With 30 years of experience in the field of human rights, he served as the secretary-general of Amnesty International from 1986 to 1992 and went on to play a central role in several international missions. He was the human rights director of the U.N./OAS (Organization of American States) Mission to Haiti in 1993 and 1995 and served as chief of the U.N. Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda from 1995 to 1996. He was deputy high representative for human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1998 to 1999. Most recently, he served as the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general and as head of the U.N. Mission in East Timor in 1999 and from 2000 to 2001 as the deputy special representative of the secretary-general for the U.N. Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea. He was also special adviser to the high commissioner in Sudan, strengthening the U.N.’s human rights presence in Darfur.
Security Council Expected to Vote Tomorrow in Darfur August 31, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Genocide, UN, United Nations, Vote.
The Security Council is set to vote tomorrow on a draft resolution outlining the establishment within months of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s strife-torn and impoverished Darfur region.
Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng of Ghana, which holds the Council presidency for August, told reporters today after consultations among Council members at UN Headquarters in New York that he expected the draft resolution would be adopted at a meeting tomorrow.
Mr. Effah-Apenteng said such a vote would not mean the Council is “shutting the door” on continued negotiations with the Sudanese Government, which has stated several times that it is opposed to any UN force taking over from the current African Union (AU) mission in Darfur.
UN Worried About DRC Anti-White And Anti-Foreigner Hate Messages August 22, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Anti-White, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Hate, Racism, Racist, UN.
The top UN envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has expressed concern about hate messages in the local media, which are inciting Congolese to target and take revenge on “white people and foreigners,” a spokesman for the world body said, according to a report by the UN News Service.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC, William Lacy Swing, made his feelings known this morning, following yesterday’s decision by the Congolese High Authority on Media to suspend for 24 hours the local RTAE and CCTV television stations because of the broadcasts.CCTV television station is owned by presidential candidate and current Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York, adding that the official Congolese Broadcasting Corporation television station has also been suspended for 24 hours on similar grounds.
Video Of The Racial Discrimination Present In Modern Japan August 21, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discrimination, Racial, Racism, Racist, UN, video.
An independent investigator for the UN says racism in Japan is deep and profound, and the government does not recognise the depth of the problem. Doudou Diene, a UN special rapporteur on racism and xenophobia, was speaking at the end of a nine-day tour of the country. Japan should introduce new legislation to combat discrimination.
Israel Attacks U.N. Observer Post in “Deliberate” Strike July 25, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Ambassador, Annan, Ayalon, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Daniel Ayalon, dead, Death, Deliberate, guerilla, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Israel, Israel Defense Force, Isreal, Khiyam, Killing, Kofi Annan, Lebanese, Lebanon, Observer, peacekeepers, Post, Strike, troops, UN, UNIFIL, United Nations.
An Israeli airstrike hit a United Nations post in southern Lebanon late Tuesday, killing at least two of the agency’s observers, according to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.
The U.N. initially reported that four peacekeepers were dead, but later said there were two dead and two missing.
Lebanese security sources said the two missing observers are feared buried in the rubble of the building.
Israeli Diplomat: All Arabs are Terrorists July 23, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in All Arabs are Terrorists, all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslim, Ambassador, Arabs, Arabs & Muslims, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Dan Gillerman, Diplomat, FAIR, Fox, Gillerman, Hezbollah, Hizbollah, Israel, Israeli, Isreal, Lebanese, Lebanon, Middle East, O’Reilly, Palestinian, Palestinians, Racism, Racist, Terrorist, Terrorists, UN.
Imagine a member of the KKK going on the Bill O’Reilly show and declaring all African-Americans are shiftless crackheads. Imagine the outrage and calls for Fox News to be investigated for promoting racism and hatred. Now imagine an Israeli diplomat going on Bill O’Reilly’s show and declaring all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, this happened, and nobody is calling the diplomat, Dan Gillerman, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, a racist or are there demands Fox News be investigated for promoting racism and hatred.
Deja-Katrina? US rescue bogs down in Lebanon July 18, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in African-American, Americans, Beirut, Black, Bush, Bush administration, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Civil Rights, Cyprus, Discrimination, emergency services, Human Rights, Hurricane Katrina, Israel, Katrina, Lebanon, minorities, New Orleans, Politics, President, Race, Racism, rescue, response, UN.
BEIRUT — Thousands of Americans whose vacations and business trips to Lebanon have degenerated with sickening speed into stints in a battle zone remained stranded here under Israeli bombardment Monday, their frustration and anger mounting because the U.S. government hasn’t gotten them out faster.
Waiting around Beirut with bags packed and fingers crossed, U.S. citizens derided the embassy for busy phone lines, a lack of information and gnawing uncertainty over when and whether they will get out. Hundreds were expected to be shipped to Cyprus today, but how long the full evacuation will take remains uncertain.
“I had heard it might take a week, two weeks. You hear so many things,” said Pamela Pattie, a 65-year-old professor. “Why in the world aren’t we getting it together?”
The frustration has been intensified by news that other countries have already pulled many of their citizens out of Lebanon, efficiently and free of cost. A ferry chartered by the French government carried about 800 of its citizens and several dozen Americans to Cyprus on Monday. The U.S. military evacuated about 60 Americans by helicopter Sunday and Monday.
Other nations have packed people into rented tour buses and driven them over the mountains to Syria. The U.S. State Department has warned Americans against traveling to Syria.
The main U.S. evacuation plan involves a Pentagon-contracted cruise ship, the Orient Queen, due to arrive in Lebanon today to ferry people to Cyprus. The ship can carry about 750 passengers for the five-hour trip. Defense Department officials said other private ships were likely to be hired as well.
Americans have been told to wait for a telephone call that could come in hours — or days. They’ve also been told they can’t board a ship unless they’ve signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation.
The rules have angered Americans who are already fatigued and nervous after days of explosions. “I’m freaked out that our government is treating us this way,” snapped a Rutgers University student who had been studying Arabic at the American University of Beirut. She declined to give her name for fear she would be taken off the passenger list in retribution for criticizing the evacuation effort.
“Are we a Third World country or what?” she said.
Middle East news roundup July 15, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Arabs & Muslims, Beirut, cease-fire, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, civilians, Conflict, Hizbullah, Human Rights, Iran, Israel, killed, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestine, Palestinian, Syria, UN, West Bank.
Here are some of the new stories about the Middle East conflict:
Ahmadinejad compares Israel to Hitler
TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared
Israel’s military strikes on Gaza and Lebanon to tactics used by Adolf Hitler against Jews during World War II.
“Their methods resemble Hitler’s. When Hitler wanted to launch an attack, he came up with a pretext,” Ahmadinejad said during a speech in Tehran.
“Zionists say they are Hitler’s victims, but they have the same nature as Hitler,” he said.
The ultraconservative president has already called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and described the Holocaust of six million Jews as “a myth.”
Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon
The Vatican on Friday strongly deplored Israel’s strikes on Lebanon, saying they were “an attack” on a sovereign and free nation.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said Pope Benedict and his aides were very worried that the developments in the Middle East risked degenerating into “a conflict with international repercussions.”
“In particular, the Holy See deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence,” he told Vatican Radio.
Israel gives Syria ultimatum
London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat says Israel gave Syria 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity, bring about release of kidnapped IDF troops. ‘Israel will not end military activity until new situation created that will prevent Syria, Iran from using terror organizations to threaten its security,’ newspaper quotes Pentagon official as saying
Israel killed at least 32 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, in air strikes
Israel killed at least 32 civilians on Saturday, including 15 children, in air strikes meant to punish Lebanon for letting Hizbollah guerrillas menace the Jewish state’s northern border.
Israel’s bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as Hizbollah targets, is its most destructive onslaught since its 1982 invasion to expel Palestinian forces.
An Israeli missile incinerated a van in south Lebanon, killing 20 people, among them 15 children, in the deadliest single attack of the four-day-old campaign launched by Israel after Hizbollah captured two of its soldiers and killed eight.
Police said the van was carrying two families fleeing the village of Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes.
Lebanon calls for cease-fire under U.N.
Neither side showed signs of backing down from the conflict, which erupted Wednesday when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. As civilian deaths mounted, diplomatic efforts to end the crisis had yet to get off the ground.
In an emotional televised speech, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called on the
United Nations to broker an immediate cease-fire to end Israel’s land, sea and air offensive against Lebanon.
The Invasion of Gaza
Roger van Zwanenberg
The Israeli ongoing invasion of Gaza brings to a head many of the issues that have been fermenting for some time. If it was not clear before, it ought to be clear now, that the Israeli domination of the Palestinian people is a domination of a Totalitarian character. The present invasion, by hugely superior military forces of land, sea and air, on a comparatively unarmed people, cannot be justified by any criteria, legally or morally. That our own British government fails to raise an eyebrow, and that the so called International community does nothing, is a slur on us all of a level that shames our so called democracies. Israel is creating the conditions for a massive famine as the rest of the world looks on and does nothing. This is totalitarianism in action.
The problem is this: Israel is supposed to be a country this is for all the Jewish people a land of refuge where Jewish people will never allow themselves to be destroyed again. To achieve these noble aims the people and government of Israel has ethnically cleaned the land twice, in 1948 and 1967. Israel is now attempting to do so again, through the theft of more land and water resources, through the erection of the Wall, and now through the invasion of the people of Gaza.
This is an ongoing tragedy of huge proportions happening right before our eyes. It is an affront to all human dignity and sensibility. The justification produced by the Israeli media is not worth the time of day, it is all so paper thin. Why should a people who have suffered so deeply themselves impose a new level of suffering on a people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust. The most awful aspect of the present Totalitarian regime in Israel is the ultimate innocence of the Palestinian people.
I should add here that I’ve been involved in Israel and Palestine for over 40 years. As a very young man, I learnt the art of “radical” political analysis from a 6 month stint in an Israeli Kibbutz. I was born into a Christian family with deep Jewish roots; all my first cousins were and are deeply Jewish. Mine is a family with deep fault lines everywhere, enough to make me a person deeply involved in the tragedy being played out in the Middle East.
Trained psychoanalysts can explain the actions of Israel better than I. The British have a huge responsibility, which is never admitted. Britain gave away a piece of land in 1948 which was not theirs to give. Israel could have behaved very differently after 48 and at any time thereafter. They could have realized the indignity of what they did in 48 and made an attempt to build up the people of Palestine along with themselves. Never an easy job, of course, but through it much of the hatred that has now built up over 60 years would have been dissipated.
As it now stands the goal of a safe home for all Jews is further away than ever. The Greater Middle East policy of the USA is now Israels only hope of achieving this goal. And it is now clear that such a policy can be carried out only by inflicting untold suffering across the Arabic world. The Arab world divided against itself in 1920 and then further divided in 1948. It has never been allowed by the external Imperial powers to unite, as with the European Union, into a single political entity with its own Central Bank and free trade between all its parts. Instead only buffer States like Jordan, weak States like Syria, and old rich States closely allied to Western interests have been allowed to exist. If one or the other of these States seems to become too powerful they are invaded.
The Arab world has, in short, been consistently undermined in its Development while Israel has been encouraged to become the dominant military State in the region. Israel and its people are now behaving with impunity, just like the State of Germany did in prosecuting the final solution. We are schooled in the belief that we must say “never again!” to such barbarity. But Israel knows that all the surrounding states are too weak to intervene. As we watch with horror the invasion of Gaza, we all feel our helplessness. All the fine words, how the horrors of the Holocaust must always be remembered, are quickly forgotten by the world’s governments as the Jewish people of Israel re-enact the horrors of their German oppressors—the horrors that their mothers and fathers underwent 60 or more years ago.
Just as Nazi Germany could not survive for long, so too, a brutal Israel, brutalizing her own and all the surrounding people, cannot survive for long. As things stand, I cannot see how that demise will come about. But the acts of evil we are now witnessing cannot last without having deep and lasting effects on all of us.
Israel enters into Lebanon and authorizes ‘severe’ response to abductions…………… (Human Rights Watch) July 13, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Conflict, Gaza, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Israel, Lebanon, Palestinian, Politics, Religion, UN.
This news comes just after:
UN rights council condemns Israel
THE United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday voted to condemn Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip and called for the release of Palestinian officials and civilians arrested during the offensive.
In a resolution adopted by 29 votes to 11, the 47-member Council demanded a halt to Israel’s military operation and decided to “dispatch an urgent fact-finding mission by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
JERUSALEM (CNN) — The Israeli Cabinet authorized “severe and harsh” retaliation on Lebanon after Hezbollah guerillas kidnapped two soldiers and killed three others in a cross-border raid Wednesday.
Israel quickly blamed the Lebanese government for the raid — and charged it with the soldiers’ safe release — and the Israel Defense Forces began hammering Lebanon with artillery and airstrikes hours before the Cabinet met to discuss a response.
It is the second time in three weeks that an Israeli soldier has been abducted. Concerns abound that the situation on Israel’s northern border will escalate to the level it has reached in Gaza, where the IDF launched an ongoing offensive June 28 after the abduction of Army Cpl. Gilad Shalit three days prior.
At least 19 Palestinians were reported dead in Gaza in Wednesday’s fighting, according to Palestinian sources.
Israel called Wednesday’s abductions an act of war, and Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, head of Israel’s Northern Command, said he has “comprehensive plans” to battle Hezbollah throughout Lebanon, not just in its southern stronghold.
“This affair is between Israel and the state of Lebanon,” Adam said. “Where to attack? Once it is inside Lebanon, everything is legitimate — not just southern Lebanon, not just the line of Hezbollah posts.”
Earlier, Israel’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, told Israel’s Channel 10, “If the soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.”
Five more Israeli soldiers died in fighting following the raid. Four died in an attack on their tank, and another died as soldiers tried to help them, the IDF reported.
Four Israel civilians and six soldiers have been wounded so far in the fighting, which has included more than 100 airstrikes on what Israel says are Hezbollah bases, and road and bridges that could be used in transporting the kidnapped soldiers.