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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We really do not know what happened in Lisbon. We believe the Portuguese effort was correct and could have created momentum, but as we are connected here to the UN, and had no information forth-coming – we wonder if the organizers would not have been better off without the emptiness of a UN cover?
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UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE

20 July, 2010 =========================================================================

UN TO SPOTLIGHT MEDIA’S ROLE IN PROMOTING MIDDLE EAST PEACE

The role of the media in fostering dialogue and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians will be the focus of a two-day United Nations meeting to be held later this week in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.

The upcoming media seminar, which starts on Thursday, will be the 17th such gathering organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), and aims to sensitize public opinion on the issue of Palestine and the peace process.

With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark resolution 1325, which stresses the importance of giving women equal participation and full involvement in peace and security matters, their role in achieving peace will also be discussed.

Some 120 people from the Middle East, including both Israelis and Palestinians, and from around the world are set to attend, including Government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, academics, journalists and others.

Five panel sessions will be held during the seminar on topics such as the role of the Israeli and Palestinian media in reducing tensions, the use of new media to bring about positive change, and the part that mayors from both sides can play in advancing peace.

The participants will include Jorge Sampaio, the former Portuguese president and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, set up under UN auspices to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide.

Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, will also address the event.

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UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE

21 July, 2010 =========================================================================

UN POLITICAL CHIEF UNDERSCORES NEED FOR DIRECT ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN TALKS

With efforts to move to serious negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians on achieving a two-State solution having reached a “critical juncture,” the top United Nations political official today underlined the need for direct negotiations between the two sides to begin as soon as possible.

“These talks are essential for ending the 1967 occupation, ending the conflict and resolving all core issues between the parties, including Jerusalem, borders, refugees, security settlements and water,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council today.

Six rounds of proximity talks facilitated by United States Special Envoy George Mitchell have been held since they began in May.

The goal of the diplomatic Quartet – comprising the United Nations, the US, Russia and the European Union – continues to be US-facilitated direct negotiations as soon as possible, Mr. Pascoe said, urging Israel and Palestinians to take advantage of the current opportunity to make progress.

Direct talks, he noted, could boost “confidence in the possibility of genuine progress on the core issues and on the ground, including restraint in Jerusalem, implementation of Roadmap obligations on settlements and further measures to empower the Palestinian Authority.”

Earlier this month, in a move welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other officials, the Israeli Government announced it was increase the scope and quantity of materials allowed into Gaza.

Since then, new food and productive items have entered the Strip and the volume of imports into the area has risen steadily, with a 40 per cent increasing in the number of truckloads entering Gaza every week.

“While these are positive steps forward, we hope they can be enhanced to address the deplorable conditions in the Strip,” Mr. Pascoe said, calling for additional steps to be taken to allow exports and movement of people, as well as to streamline procedures for approval for projects.

He also announced at today’s meeting that agreements agreed by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) on ensuring the cargo onboard Turkish ships have been implemented.

Those ships were part of an aid flotilla intercepted by the Israeli military on 31 May, resulting in the deaths of nine civilians and the wounding of at least 30 others.

Mr. Pascoe said that arrangements are also being made to transfer material carried by a Libyan-sponsored vessel, which arrived in Egypt last week, to Gaza.

“Such convoys are not helpful to resolving the basic economic problems in Gaza and needlessly carry the potential for escalation,” he told the meeting, which heard from dozens of speakers.

During the reporting period, Palestinian militant groups fired 41 rockets and mortars into southern Israel, causing no injuries, while the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) carried out six air strikes and 21 incursions, killing four Gazans, including one alleged militant, and injuring 23 others, the Under-Secretary-General said.

Turning to Lebanon, he said that the situation in that country remains stable. The Lebanese Parliament has continued talks on draft legislation on the civil rights of Palestinian refugees.

“Consensus appears to be within reach and the United Nations would welcome this as a first step,” Mr. Pascoe said.

Paul Badji, Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said at the meeting that serious direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians “can only be successful in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence in a comprehensive, just and lasting outcome.”

This, he said, requires both sides to implement their obligations under the Roadmap.

The Committee remains “alarmed” by Israel’s refusal to heed international calls to halt settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem.

Also addressing the Council today was Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, who said her country called for direct negotiations with Palestinians with “no preconditions, no delays.

“With Jerusalem and Ramallah only 10 minutes apart, direct negotiations are the only path to bridge the existing gaps,” she stressed.

Ms. Shalev emphasized the need for mutual recognition, noting that Israel’s recognition of “a Palestinian State as the nation-State of the Palestinian people must be met with an acknowledgment that Israel is the nation-State of the Jewish people.”

For his part, the Palestinian representative, Riyad Mansour, told the Council that “it seems strange that such a volatile situation persists in light of the international and regional efforts being exerted for revival of the peace process.”

Although his side has taken part in the proximity talks in good faith, “the same cannot be said for Israel,” which he said has “repeatedly challenged those talks with illegal, reckless actions.”

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