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10877
“UN: Aid Convoys to Gaza Don't Help”
by Jpost - JORDANA HORN   
July 22nd, 2010

Security Council calls for "immediate release" of Schalit.

NEW YORK – Aid convoys like the May 31 Gaza flotilla “are not helpful to resolving the basic economic problems in Gaza and needlessly carry the potential for escalation,” according to a briefing the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs presented to the Security Council on Wednesday.

The briefing report also called for the “immediate release” of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, calling the lack of humanitarian access to Schalit “inexcusable.”

However, the report reiterated the Security Council’s call “for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards” regarding the Gaza flotilla incident, saying that UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon “continues to be in contact with the parties to gain agreement for his proposal for an international panel of inquiry that would be based on domestic inquiries.”

Saying that the world was at a “critical juncture in the effort to move to serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at achieving a two-state solution,” the report stated that it remained “the shared goal of the Quartet to bring about direct negotiations facilitated by the United States as soon as possible.”

“We urge the parties not to miss the current opportunity to make progress and move to direct negotiations with active third party involvement and close Quartet support,” the report said.

The report applauded food and other supplies entering the Gaza Strip under new Israeli policies. It also called for the West Bank housing-start moratorium to be “extended and expanded to cover all settlement activity throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.”

“The prospect of expulsion from their home city of Palestinian legislators in east Jerusalem would be a serious step backwards and would undermine hopes of making political progress,” the report noted.

Addressing the council, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev called upon the body to ensure that another flotilla, said to be bound for Gaza in the next few days from Lebanon, be stopped in order to prevent future conflict.

Shalev expressed “Israel’s deep concern regarding new reports of yet another flotilla departing from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip,” and underscored the point that “the phenomenon of flotillas to Gaza are not conducive to the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.”

“We call upon the international community to exert its influence on the organizers of this provocative action,” Shalev said.

“We also call on the government of Lebanon to demonstrate its responsibility to prevent this from happening.”

Shalev reiterated Israel’s commitment to peace in the region, and applauded the work of US President Barack Obama and envoy George Mitchell toward that goal, but decried Hizbullah’s actions in Lebanon as “a blatant violation of international law and basic dictates of humanity.”

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