As it begins 73rd session, CIR sends letter to UNGA demanding Gaza blockade lift

“Council of International Relations – Palestine (CIR)” sent a letter to the President of the current session of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, demanding to raise the issue of lifting the siege of Gaza seriously on the agenda of the UNGA sessions.

The council conveyed the letter to Ms. Espinosa through the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in Gaza on Wednesday morning.

The Council stressed in the letter that the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer severely from the ongoing Israeli occupation and the illegal blockade for 12 years.

” The first step toward achieving peace and justice must be an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza that is poisoning our one million children immediately and unconditionally,” the council added.

It pointed out to the difficult humanitarian conditions in Gaza, mentioning that 97% of the water is contaminated, Electricity is available only four hours per day, 60% of young people are unemployed, and 50% of essential medicines are unavailable.

The Council referred to the peaceful Marches of Return, pointing out that the residents of Gaza did not rush to the separation fence in response to the Israeli siege and also after they got desperate of the international community’s failure to alleviate their suffering.

The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened Tuesday with its new President Maria Fernanda Espinosa. The 193 states members of the UNGA will discuss about 330 resolutions during about 100 plenary sessions.

CIR extends sincere condolences upon passing of Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks

Council on International Relations is deeply pained and extends sincere condolences to the South Africa people, and the family of of Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks who died on Friday night at the age of 54 years, after struggling with ill health.

Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks was the president of the Muslim Judicial Council, National Director of the Al-Quds Foundation South Africa and head of the Africa first Gaza Aid Convoy.

Hendricks was an icon of the South African Muslim community.  He was described as a pioneer in Islamic scholarship, breaking new ground in contemporary Islamic discourse and social justice activism. He was considered one of the most prominent Palestinian activists in the world.

The council said in a condolences letter: “Moulana Ihsaan Hendricks will be particularly remembered for his services towards the issue of the Palestinian people. His drive and his enthusiasm when it came to the Palestinian cause are concerned. He showed when having to combat the anti-Palestinian narrative in mainstream media and other platforms.”

“Please accept my heartfelt condolences, words cannot begin to express the sadness we are feeling right now, God rest his soul”, the council concluded in a letter to the South Africa people.

CIR denounces International silence toward Israeli piracy against breaking siege flotillas

Council on International Relations – Palestine (CIR) denounced the international silence toward the Israeli occupation’s encroachment and piracy against the flotillas trying to break 12 years-long siege imposed on Gaza.

In a statement issued on Monday, the council said that this silence reflects global complicity against the rights of the Palestinian people, including freedom of movement and the use of their territorial waters, calling on the international community to take a serious stand to stop this repeated crime by the Israeli occupation.

The CIR praised the efforts of the activists who did not despair or spared no effort to deliver their humanitarian message and break the siege, stressing that the crimes of the occupation, whatever their extent, will not weaken the support of the Palestinian people.

On Sunday, the Israeli occupation navy intercepted a Norwegian-flagged activist boat trying to break the more than decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Home to nearly two million Palestinians, the Gaza Strip has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006 that has devastated its economy, impoverished its population and left 60 percent without jobs, adequate electricity and health services.

CIR welcomes appointment members of commission of inquiry on 2018 protests in Palestine

Council of International Relations – Palestine (CIR) welcomed the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc, announcement of appointment the three members of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in Palestine.

The council said in a statement issued on Saturday that this appointment is an important step in the way of holding the Israeli occupation accountable for its crimes against the civilians and its ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip.

“We call upon the Human Rights Council to expedite the necessary steps to investigate the violations of the Israeli occupation to pressure it to stop these crimes, especially the systematic killings of peaceful demonstrators near Gaza’s perimeter fence,” the CIR demanded.

The CIR noted in its statement that the Israeli occupation refused to allow former UN investigation committees to enter Gaza, calling on the HRC to work to overcome this deliberate obstruction of justice and support of the oppressed people. “the HRC should take the necessary steps to punish the occupying state for deliberately disrupting international justice processes.” The CIR said.

Last Wednesday, The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc (Slovenia), announced the appointment of David Michael Crane (United States), Sara Hossain (Bangladesh) and Kaari Betty Murungi (Kenya), to serve as the three members of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Mr. Crane will serve as Chair of the three-person Commission.

CIR deplores international silence over Israeli crimes in Khan AlAhmar

Council on International Relations (CIR) depolored the international silence over the Israeli violations in the village of Al Khan Al Ahmar, east of the occupied Jerusalem.
The Council said in a statement issued on Sunday that what the occupation’s actions is a continuation of the crime of ethnic cleansing practiced against the Palestinian people for decades.
The CIR pointed out that the current international silence encourages the occupation to commit more of these crimes, which aim to remove the Palestinians and annex their lands to the lands of the settlements illegally built in accordance with international law.
The Council called on the international community to pressure the occupying state to stop this crime and to work hard to end the occupation completely from the Palestinian territories and to implement the international agreements that call for it.
In its statement, the Council thanked the efforts of some diplomats and the courage of some MPs who addressed this crime, stressing that it is just shy voices that do not measure up to this great crime.
Khan al-Ahmar is a Palestinian village in the occupied Jerusalem. In 2018, there were 173 Bedouin, including 92 children, living there in tents and huts with its local school serving the needs of 150 children in the area.
Khan al-Ahmar is located between the Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. In May 2018, the Israeli High Court of Justice determined that its residents could be evicted

Naim invites Prince William to visit Gaza during his next tour of region

Dr. Basem Naim, head of Council on International Relations, called on Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, to visit Gaza on Monday.

“Why do not you visit Gaza, which former British Prime Minister David Cameron described as” the prison camp? “Naim said in a post on his official Facebook page.

William’s visit comes at the request of the British government. British policy has been based on not paying official visits until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

Naim, a former Palestinian Health Minister, added: “Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will visit occupied Palestine next Monday, and it will certainly be an important visit to let you see the humanitarian tragedy caused by the Israeli siege, and supported by your kingdom”.

Next Monday, Prince William will be the first member of Britain’s royal family to pay an official visit to “Israel” and the Palestinian territories, 70 years after the withdrawal of British troops from the Palestinian territories.

CIR demands Russia to explain celebrating Russia Day in Jerusalem

Council on International Relations – Palestine deplored the intention of the Russian Embassy to organize a ceremony on Russia Day in the occupied Jerusalem.

The Council said in a statement issued on Tuesday that this unprecedented step contradicts with the official Russian position not to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of “Israel”, especially at this critical time in the history of Jerusalem, after the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The CIR demanded Russia to clarify its position on the ceremony scheduled for June 14 for the first time after it was held in Tel Aviv every year.

Russia Day, previously, before 2002, Day of adoption of the declaration of independence of RSFSR is the national holiday of the Russian Federation. It has been celebrated annually on June 12 since 1991.

However, the Russian embassy to “Israel” intends to organize this year’s ceremony in the occupied Jerusalem on June 14.

CIR: Between killing of Razan and the American veto, international community unable to stop Israel’s crimes

Council on International Relations – Palestine condemned the inability of the international community to stop the ongoing Israeli occupation crimes against the Palestinian people and the United States’ support for these crimes by using the veto for every resolution condemning it.

The Council said in a statement issued on Saturday that not standing in the face of these crimes, the latest of which was the killing of Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar in cold blood by Israeli forces on the Gaza border, encourages the occupation to commit more crimes without being held accountable or punished.

“ How long will the Israeli occupation state be treated as a state above the law and protected from accountability in the international forums?” the council asked.

The Council called on the countries of the world that call for the right of peoples to freedom and self-determination to take bolder positions to stop these crimes and not be hostage to the American veto.

The Israeli occupation forces killed yesterday the young Palestinian paramedic  Razan Najjar while helping the wounded near the Gaza border at a time the United States used the right of veto “to prevent a decision to send international forces to protect the Palestinian people from the crimes of the Israeli occupation.

CIR: Swiss Foreign Minister’s statements undermine UNRWA’s role

Council on International Relations – Palestine condemned the remarks made by Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, in which he pointed out that the UNRWA poses a “problem” by holding an “unrealistic” dream about the return of all refugees.

The Council said in a statement issued Friday: “We are surprised by the statements of the Swiss minister and consider them inconsistent with Switzerland’s stand to stand by the Palestinian refugee issue and its condemnation of Trump’s actions against UNRWA and its permanent financial support to the Agency.

The Council noted that Minister Cassis’s remarks were in line with “Israel” and the United States’ approach to ending the refugee issue by undermining the role of UNRWA.

The CIR stressed that the international community, including the European countries that supported “Israel” after the displacement of 700 thousand Palestinians, bear the responsibility to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees, pointing out that the problem lies in the continuation of the Israeli occupation and its refusal to let those refugees return to their homes.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is fuelling “unrealistic” hopes of return after 70 years of exodus and is therefore helping keep the Mideast conflict alive, Switzerland’s foreign minister has said.

The UN agency, he said, “worked as a solution for a long time, but today it has become part of the problem.”


CIR: South Africa to withdrew ambassador to “Israel” important step amid global inaction towards Israeli crimes

Council on International Relations – Palestine praised the position of the Government of South Africa, which withdrew its ambassador to “Israel” after the bloody massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

The Council said in a statement issued on Tuesday that this position is an important step amid the global inaction toward the successive crimes of occupation against the Palestinian people.

The Council thanked the South African government and people for their solidarity with the Palestinian people. “We have not been surprised by this courageous stance of a country that has suffered from the oppression and injustice that our people have suffered for 70 years,” the CIR said.

The Council called on the world, especially the Arab States, to take bolder positions to stand up to these crimes committed by the occupation against peaceful demonstrators on the Gaza border.

Sixty Palestinians were killed, including 7 children and more than 2,400 injured by Israeli occupation near the Gaza border during peaceful protests against the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and the ongoing blockade of Gaza, as well as demanding the right of return on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.