The iran project http://theiranproject.com News related to Iran, specially political, military and regional news! Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:05:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hamas: No truce unless blockade ends http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/hamas-no-truce-unless-blockade-ends/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hamas-no-truce-unless-blockade-ends http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/hamas-no-truce-unless-blockade-ends/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:05:10 +0000 FKH@iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108243 TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Hamas has rejected a ceasefire to end the 16-day Israeli offensive against Gaza unless Israel ends its blockade of the strip, its leader  said.

“We reject today … and will reject in the future” a ceasefire before negotiations on Hamas’ demands, which include lifting years of blockade against the Palestinian enclave, Meshaal told journalists in Doha, Qatar’s capital.

Lifting the eight-year blockade is a main demand of Hamas, which also wants the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, and Israel to free Palestinian prisoners.

Meshaal’s statement came as the UN Human Rights Council voted to launch an independent inquiry into Israel’s offensive, Al Jazeera reported.

As international calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza mount, Meshaal said that Hamas “welcomes all efforts to end the aggression” and “does not object” to mediation by any party, including Egypt.

“We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices,” he said.

Hamas had rejected the ceasefire proposal which it said was favourable to Israel.

It argues that Egypt’s proposal, which is backed by the United States, United Nations and Arab League, would allow Israel to dictate if and when to ease its blockade on Gaza.

“Let us agree on achieving our demands and we will then agree on the zero-hour for a ceasefire,” Meshaal said.

Meshaal appealed to the international community and NGOs to “come to the aid of Gaza and not wait until after the war ends”.

“I call today for opening border crossings to allow the entry of aid convoys” to the Gaza Strip which needs “fuel, food and electricity”, he said.

“We are more concerned about a humanitarian truce, like last Thursday … for evacuating casualties and assisting the population.

“We are not closing the door to a humanitarian truce … that would not manoeuvre around demands of the resistance,” he added.

Meshaal said Hamas wants the “aggression to stop tomorrow, today, or even this minute. But [Israel must] lift the blockade with guarantees and not as a promise for future negotiations”.

He added “we will not shut the door in the face of any humanitarian ceasefire backed by a real aid programme”.

The conflict has so far killed 718 Palestinians, 32 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker.

By Tasnim News Agency

 

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Iranian MPs back gender segregation http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/iranian-mps-back-gender-segregation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iranian-mps-back-gender-segregation http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/iranian-mps-back-gender-segregation/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:52:27 +0000 FKH@iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108238 Tehran, July 24, IRNA – Over 180 lawmakers have supported a plan by Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to segregate female and male employees in Tehran Municipality.

MP Zargham Sadeqi said on Wednesday 183 MPs signed a letter supporting the move.

They said the measure is in line with “respecting working women” in the municipality.

The mayor of Tehran has defended his move to segregate male and female workers in city offices, saying he made the decision because “we have an Islamic system and religious dignity.”

Qalibaf said that the five female-only parks created in Tehran had been welcomed by women.

By IRNA

 

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Iran’s natural gas output to increase significantly; EIA http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/irans-natural-gas-output-to-increase-significantly-eia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=irans-natural-gas-output-to-increase-significantly-eia http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/irans-natural-gas-output-to-increase-significantly-eia/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:36:44 +0000 FKH@iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108236 ILNA: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its annual report about Iran’s energy sector released on July 22 predicted that Iran’s natural gas production will be increased in the coming years.

FGE projects that Iran’s gross natural gas production will increase to 10.6 trillion cubic feet in 2020, but that growth will depend on the pace of development of the South Pars field.

Although repeated delays in field development and the sanctions have had negative impact on the country’s gas sector, Iran’s natural gas output has been on the rise in the past few years.

Iran’s gross natural gas production totaled almost 8.2 trillion cubic feet in 2012, increasing 3% from the previous year. Of the 8.2 trillion cubic feet produced, most of it was marketed (6.54 trillion cubic feet), and the remainder was reinjected into oil wells to enhance oil recovery (1 trillion cubic feet) and vented and flared (0.62 trillion cubic feet).

Reinjecting natural gas plays a critical role in oil recovery at Iran’s fields. As a result, natural gas reinjection is expected to increase in the coming years.

Some estimates indicate that NIOC will require 7 to 8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas for reinjection into its oil fields in the next decade, according to FGE.

Iran also flares (burns off) a substantial portion of its gross production. According to Cedigaz, Iran flared the second-largest amount of natural gas in the world in 2012, after Russia. Gas is flared because of the lack of infrastructure to capture and transport gas associated with oil production.

In 2012, almost 40% of Iran’s gross natural gas production came from the South Pars field.

Dry natural gas production is a subset of marketed production. Marketed production includes dry natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons, and natural gas used in field and processing plant operations. In 2012, 69% of the gross natural gas production was marketed as dry gas. Iran’s dry natural gas production has rapidly increased to more than 5.6 trillion cubic feet in 2012, almost double the amount produced 10 years ago.

Iran is the world’s third-largest dry natural gas producer, after the United States and Russia, and accounted for nearly 5% of the world’s dry natural gas production in 2012. The vast majority of Iran’s production is consumed domestically. Domestic consumption has increased alongside production and totaled 5.5 trillion cubic feet in 2012.

Iran is the second-largest proved natural gas reserve holder in the world.

According to Oil & Gas Journal, as of January 2014, Iran’s estimated proved natural gas reserves were 1,193 trillion cubic feet, second only to Russia.

Iran holds 17% of the world’s proved natural gas reserves and more than one-third of OPEC’s reserves. Iran has a high success rate of natural gas exploration, in terms of wildcat drilling, which is estimated at 79% compared to the world average success rate of 30% to 35%, according to FGE.

Iran’s largest gas field is South Pars, a non-associated gas field located offshore in the middle of the Persian Gulf. South Pars is a portion of a larger gas structure that straddles the territorial water borders of Iran and Qatar. It is called the North field in Qatar. South Pars reserves account for roughly 40% of Iran’s total gas reserves, and the field is also estimated to hold 17 million barrels of condensate in place. Other major gas fields in Iran include: Kish, North Pars, Tabnak, Forouz, and Kangan.

Although finding new natural gas reserves is not a high priority because much of Iran’s current reserves are undeveloped, there have been significant gas discoveries in recent years.

In 2011, four sizeable new discoveries were announced: Khayyam (onshore), Forouz B (offshore in Persian Gulf), Madar (offshore in the Persian Gulf), and Sardare Jangal fields (offshore in Caspian Sea).

By ILNA

 

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Iran’s supreme leader calls for end to ‘murderous’ Israeli regime http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/irans-supreme-leader-calls-for-end-to-murderous-israeli-regime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=irans-supreme-leader-calls-for-end-to-murderous-israeli-regime http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/irans-supreme-leader-calls-for-end-to-murderous-israeli-regime/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:22:15 +0000 FKH@iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108233 (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called for a referendum canvassing the Arabs and Jews that live in Israel in order to end the “Zionist state”, but said until such a vote could be held, armed resistance was necessary.

Khamenei and his predecessor the Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini have called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state, including through a referendum in the region, where Palestinians are in the majority.

In his first official comments on Israel since the start of its offensive on the Gaza Strip on July 8, Khamenei reiterated the call.

“There are logical and practical means to this end, which is for people who live and belong there to pick the government of their choice through a referendum. That would be the end of a usurping fake regime,” Khamenei, who has the last word in all matters in Shi’te Muslim Iran, said in a speech to university students in Tehran.

Until then, Khamenei said, “while waiting for an end to this cold-blooded murderous regime, mighty armed resistance is the only way to deal with it.”

Khamenei made clear for the first time that he was talking about the dismantling of the state of Israel, not the death of Jews.

“Israel’s annihilation is the only real cure, but that doesn’t mean destroying Jews in this region,” he said in his speech, which was posted on his website.

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani is trying to improve ties with Western countries, including the United States, in a public relations war with Israel.

Israel launched its offensive to halt rocket salvoes by Hamas and its allies, which have struggled under an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade on Gaza and been angered by a crackdown on their supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank.

As of the end of Wednesday, 687 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 32 Israeli soldiers had died in the fighting.

Iran is to mark “International Qods Day,” an annual event falling on the last Friday of Ramadan, with nationwide organized demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel.

By Reuters

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US Senators seek Congress veto power on Iran nuclear deal http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/us-senators-seek-congress-veto-power-on-iran-nuclear-deal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-senators-seek-congress-veto-power-on-iran-nuclear-deal http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/us-senators-seek-congress-veto-power-on-iran-nuclear-deal/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:26:38 +0000 FKH@iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108230

A file photo of the US Congress

US lawmakers have reportedly introduced a bill that would require President Barack Obama to quickly submit to Congress any final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 and give the lawmakers the chance to vote on the deal.

The legislation, which was introduced by five Republican Senators, would force Obama to submit to Congress the potential accord within three days and give the lawmakers the chance to reject the deal, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Congress would then have 15 days to review the deal and hold hearings, and then another 15 days to introduce a “resolution of disapproval,” which, if passed, would re-impose any sanctions on Iran that had been lifted.

“While this bill does not include new sanctions on Iran, it allows Congress to seek further sanctions if an acceptable final deal can’t be reached,” Senator Bob Corker, one of the bill’s co-sponsors and the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

Democrats who control a majority of the seats in the Senate have said it would be inappropriate to pass legislation that would risk disrupting the nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany.

Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has authority over matters of international nuclear energy, said on Monday that the White House is not updating them on the status of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1.

The White House has reportedly invited certain members of Congress to a briefing on Thursday on the nuclear negotiations.

Earlier this month, over three-quarters of US legislators in the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama urging him to consult Congress on a final nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran and the six world powers have agreed on an extension of their talks until November 24 with a view to achieving a lasting nuclear deal. The initial deadline had been July 20.

By Press TV

 

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Rouhani orders: Urgent dispatch of aids for Palestinians, injured http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/rouhani-orders-urgent-dispatch-of-aids-for-palestinians-injured/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rouhani-orders-urgent-dispatch-of-aids-for-palestinians-injured http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/rouhani-orders-urgent-dispatch-of-aids-for-palestinians-injured/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:12:12 +0000 monire@Iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108227 Tehran, July 24, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ordered his cabinetˈs foreign and health ministers to urgently forward medicine, medical facilities, first aids, and food stuff for Palestinian people and injured individuals in Gaza under bestial Zionist attacks.
The president in his order also asked the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to harmonize with the Palestinian and Egyptian Red Crescent societies for delivering the Iranian medical aids, medical facilities, doctors and relief and rescue forces through the Rafah Passage to the oppressed and injured Palestinians in Gaza.

President Rouhani has also asked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to announce the Islamic Republic of Iranˈs readiness for curing the injured Palestinians in the Iranian hospitals and to arrange for their safe transfer to Iran for the purpose.

More than 650 Palestinians have been killed as well as 29 Israeli soldiers and two civilians as two weeks of airstrikes and rocket attacks were followed by an Israeli ground offensive inside Gaza.

That is while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday that there is a ˈstrong possibilityˈ Israel is violating international law in Gaza.

Opening an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Navi Pillay said Israelˈs punitive house demolitions and killing of Palestinians raised serious concerns of excessive use of force.

By IRNA

 

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Iranian FM blames UNSC for ignoring Israeli crimes against Palestinians http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/iranian-fm-blames-unsc-for-ignoring-israeli-crimes-against-palestinians/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iranian-fm-blames-unsc-for-ignoring-israeli-crimes-against-palestinians http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/iranian-fm-blames-unsc-for-ignoring-israeli-crimes-against-palestinians/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:04:14 +0000 monire@Iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108223 TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the harrowing crimes committed by the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people, and took the UN Security Council responsible for them.

“Such crimes show that the Palestinian people are resistant, and that the Zionist regime is not committed to the international rules and regulations and the Security Council is ignoring the rights of the Palestinian people,” Zarif said in an interview with the state-run TV on Tuesday night.

Israel has been pounding the blockaded Gaza for 16 consecutive days, killing at least 670 people and injuring more than 3,700 others.

The Iranian top diplomat underlined that the Gaza people and children are now subject to collective punishment and all the world people and international organizations should grow united in supporting the Palestinians.

He called on all Muslim and freedom-seeking people to massively participate in the International Quds Day rallies due to be held on Friday to condemn the Zionist regime’s crimes and support the Palestinians.

International Quds Day is an annual event opposing Israel’s occupation of Beitul-Muqaddas.

Anti-Zionist rallies and demonstrations are held every year on the last Friday of Ramadan in Muslim and Arab countries around the world, and especially in Iran.

The International Quds Day was started by the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, in 1979 as a way of expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and underscoring importance of the holy Quds to Muslims.

By Fars News Agency

 

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Boeing to provide Iran Air with plane parts: Report http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/boeing-to-provide-iran-air-with-plane-parts-report/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=boeing-to-provide-iran-air-with-plane-parts-report http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/boeing-to-provide-iran-air-with-plane-parts-report/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:00:24 +0000 monire@Iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108219

The Boeing logo hangs from the Boeing International Headquarters in Chicago. (file photo)

Aerospace giant Boeing has reportedly signed a deal with Iran Air to provide the Iranian flag carrier airline with plane parts.

A regulatory filing which was issued on Wednesday reads that Boeing will provide goods and services “related to the safety of flight” for Iran’s flag carrier airline, AFP reported.

According to the document, the aerospace giant will supply Iran Air with airplane parts, manuals, navigation charts and data under the terms of the accord.

The Chicago-based company also reported that it may sell similar equipment and services to Iran Air Tours which is a subsidiary of the Iranian airline.

Early in April, Boeing was granted permission by the US Treasury Department to sell plane parts to Iran following an interim nuclear deal between Tehran and six major world powers.

A Boeing spokesman said in April that the license covered the export of certain spare parts for commercial Boeing airplanes sold to Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and did not allow sales of new aircraft to the Islamic Republic.

Boeing said the license was granted as part of the sanctions relief granted to Iran under the nuclear deal.

Reuters reported in February that two major US aerospace manufacturers, Boeing and General Electric, applied for export licenses in order to sell airliner parts to Iran following the interim nuclear agreement.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany sealed an interim deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 23, 2013, for a six-month period. The deal, which took effect on January 20, expired on July 20.

The two sides agreed on the extension of talks until November 24 with a view to achieving a permanent deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Under the deal, dubbed the Geneva Joint Plan of Action, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

In the past decade, Iran has witnessed several major air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft due to the US sanctions that prevent Iran from buying aircraft spare parts.

By Press TV

 

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Israeli air strikes and gun battles with Hamas shatter Gaza frontline village http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/israeli-air-strikes-and-gun-battles-with-hamas-shatter-gaza-frontline-village/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=israeli-air-strikes-and-gun-battles-with-hamas-shatter-gaza-frontline-village http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/24/israeli-air-strikes-and-gun-battles-with-hamas-shatter-gaza-frontline-village/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:50:03 +0000 monire@Iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108215

A woman in Zanna is overcome by the destruction in the village following heavy tank fire and air strikes over almost a week. Photograph: Harald Henden/VG

Less than two miles from Israeli border Zanna residents mourn the dead and dig out bodies from homes reduced to rubble

A short while after the Israeli tanks pulled back from Gaza’s frontline village of Zanna on Wednesday morning, residents returned to dig out the dead buried within the rubble of their homes, rescue their surviving livestock and see if their houses were still standing.

The village is the scene of some of the heaviest ground fighting of the 16-day conflict and marks the deepest point penetrated by Israeli armour and infantry. It has been too dangerous a place to enter for more than seven days.

In the first stage of the conflict, the village was pummelled with Israeli shelling and air strikes. More recently, it provided a theatre for fierce gun battles between Hamas and Israeli fighters.

Read more here

 

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Israel says offensive to continue as Kerry seeks truce http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/23/israel-says-offensive-to-continue-as-kerry-seeks-truce/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=israel-says-offensive-to-continue-as-kerry-seeks-truce http://theiranproject.com/blog/2014/07/23/israel-says-offensive-to-continue-as-kerry-seeks-truce/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:37:57 +0000 monire@Iran http://theiranproject.com/?p=108211

July 23 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Elliott Gotkine reports on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Israel as he attempts to broker a peace deal to end violence in the Gaza Strip. He speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Israel doesn’t plan to stop its Gaza Strip offensive as long as the Palestinian territory’s Hamas rulers continue to pose a threat, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Israel in pursuit of an elusive truce deal.

“There is no reason to stop here if Hamas continues to threaten, continues to fire,” Livni, her country’s former chief negotiator with the Palestinians, told Israel Radio. She said Israel may be headed toward an ongoing offensive “whose objective is not to contain the threat, but to disarm terror organizations, including Hamas.” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told soldiers to prepare for a broader ground war.

The threat reverberated through Israel’s economy yesterday after a rocket fired from Gaza landed about a mile away from Israel’s international airport. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administrationbanned flights to Tel Aviv by American carriers for the first time since 1991 and the European Aviation Safety Agency recommended a suspension. The violence has barely affected Israeli markets.

As Livni spoke of the possibility of an expanding campaign, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said war crimes may have been committed in the conflict. Navi Pillay focused mainly on Israel’s military conduct. Sixteen days of violence have claimed the lives of almost 700 people, including hundreds of Palestinian civilians. Millions of Israeli civilians have been menaced by rocket fire.


Photographer: Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Palestinian children inspect a destroyed mosque following an overnight Israeli military… Read More

Civilian Deaths

The mounting civilian casualties have driven international efforts to halt the third major round of violence between Israel and Gaza since 2009. Complicating things is the hostility between the new government of Egypt, a traditional mediator of Gaza truce deals, and Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The 30 members of Amin al-Dosouqi’s household fled their home in the Shuja’iya neighborhood of Gaza City that has taken one of the worst beatings of the war.

“I saw bodies of women and children thrown to the roadside, with no one able to take them to the hospital,” the 65-year-old al-Dosoqui said.

“We haven’t seen such a war before,” he added. “I was a young man in 1967 when Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank, the war in 1967 wasn’t as violent, barbaric and ferocious as it is now. Even the wars in 2008 and 2012 weren’t as ferocious.”

Ferocious Battles

Fighting was also fierce in southern Gaza, where 30 people were killed, said Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry. Residents and security officials said tanks stationed in the area along Israel’s border bombarded houses. Ambulances were unable to collect casualties because the shelling was so intense, they said.


Photographer: Hassan Mohammed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister… Read More

The Palestinian death toll has topped 665, with more than 4,300 wounded, the ministry said. Three civilians have been killed in Israel, including a Thai worker who died in an attack today. At least 29 soldiers have died in combat and one is missing.

Fighting first escalated July 8, when Israel intensified air strikes after weeks of rocket fire and aerial bombardments. Israel said it invaded Gaza last week to destroy a network of infiltration tunnels militants dug under the Gaza-Israel border. Today, Ya’alon said the objectives would be widened.

“We are preparing for the next stages of battle once the tunnels have been taken care of,” he said in a visit with troops on the border. “We must get ready for more serious steps inside Gaza, and the units who are on notice must prepare to enter.”

Truce Call Spurned

Hamas spurned a truce proposal Egypt put forward last week after Israel accepted it, saying it didn’t guarantee lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israel and Egypt have tightly controlled Gaza’s borders since 2006, citing security concerns. The embargo has battered Gaza’s economy and confined the territory’s 1.8 million people to a 140-square-mile (363-square-kilometer) patch of land.


Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg Finance LP via Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg, majority shareholder of Bloomberg LP and former New York mayor,…Read More

Kerry announced no breakthroughs after meeting yesterday with Egyptian officials in Cairo. Today, he took his truce mission to Israel and the West Bank, joining United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem. “We made some steps forward but there is still work to be done,” he said at a joint news conference with Ban.

Kerry is also meeting today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Demilitarization

Tony Blinken, the U.S. deputy national security adviser, told NPR radio “there has to be some way forward that does not involve Hamas raining down rockets on Israeli civilians.” An end result needs to be “some form of demilitarization,” he added. He didn’t say how Gaza might be disarmed.

Israeli markets have been largely unaffected by the violence. The shekel has appreciated 0.3 percent against the dollar since July 8 while the benchmark TA-25 index rose 1.2 percent in the period.

One of the 2,200 rockets the army says have fallen on Israel in the past two weeks fell about a mile (2 kilometers) from Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv yesterday, prompting the suspension of dozens of international flights. Israel opened a small southern airport to international flights as an alternative today. “There was no reason to stop the flights,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz said in comments broadcast on Israel Radio.

Rockets Depleted

Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and majority shareholder of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg News, arrived in Tel Aviv today after flying there on Israel’s El Al airline to demonstrate it is safe to fly to there.

Militants still have as many as 4,500 rockets in their arsenal, after they fired more than 2,000 and the Israeli army destroyed 3,500, army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said today. Israel, the U.S. and the European Union list Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Pillay’s allegations of possible Israeli war crimes drew a furious reaction in Israel, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor accusing her of making “intolerably biased statements” based on newspaper reports.

“Her embarrassingly shallow and populist affirmations” do a “huge disservice to actual human rights,” Palmor said in an e-mailed statement.

Israel says Hamas uses civilians, including children, as human shields by placing rocket launchers and weapons caches in or near homes, mosques, hospitals and schools.

While Pillay, in her testimony to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, criticized Gaza rocket fire for endangering the lives of Israeli civilians, most of her testimony dwelt on the Israeli military’s operations.

Insufficient Warnings?

Preliminary UN figures indicate about three-fourths of the Gazans killed were civilians, including about 150 children, she said, criticizing Israeli warnings to evacuate homes as insufficient. Citing accounts of deadly Israeli attacks on houses, a center for the disabled and a hospital, she said “these are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

After Israel’s last offensive, the UN conducted a war crimes investigation and accused Hamas and Israel of potential war crimes. The panel’s head, Richard Goldstone, later said new information on the events may have produced different conclusions.

By Bloomberg

 

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