In a monthly report to the UN Security Council today, the UN political affairs department has just reported that:
(1) “[Palestinian] Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad briefed AHLC [Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, meaning major donors] members as well as Arab League Foreign Ministers that commitments of donor funding for 2010 remain critically below what is necessary to ensure that the Palestinian Authority can meet expenses. Reforms have steadily lowered the budget deficit, reducing PA reliance on donor funding for budget support. However, despite continuing generosity from some donors, commitments for 2010 remain insufficient to ensure that the PA can meet expenses in both Gaza and the West Bank, and the Palestinian Authority faces increasing difficulties to borrow from domestic banks to cover this shortfall”.
(2) Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are “at an impasse”.
(3) “The Quartet envoys have been in regular contact and Principals are discussing a proposal to meet soon to review developments”. Oh, yes, and on the settlements: the UN report noted that the UNSG had recently “reaffirmed that settlement activity is illegal under international law and contrary to the Roadmap”, and also “expressed disappointment that the moratorium had not been renewed”.
(4) “Despite Palestinian efforts, Israeli security forces, citing security concerns, conducted 353 operations in the West Bank during the reporting period, in which 6 Palestinians were killed, including two leaders of Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades allegedly involved in the killing of four Israelis near Hebron on 31 August. Also 157 Palestinians were injured and 330 arrested. Incursions on this scale weaken efforts to build genuine security cooperation. One Palestinian laborer [n.b. – the UN report to the Security Council did not characterize him either as a “terrorist” or an “infiltrator”] was killed while trying to reach East Jerusalem through the barrier, and another suffered a fatal heart attack. A total of 44 violent incidents were recorded between local Palestinians and settlers, in which 6 Palestinians and 4 Israelis were injured”.
(5) “Despite efforts to ease restrictions on movement and access, the number of obstacles [n.b. – a nice word. Not “roadblocks”, not “checkpoints” — maybe including a number of dirt mounds or boulders blocking roads?] in the West Bank remained at 508“. Personally, I think the UN monthly report should contain a special chapter on the disgraceful and scandalous conditions at Qalandiya Checkpoint…
(6) “There were renewed confrontations in sensitive areas of East Jerusalem during the reporting period, underscoring the tensions caused by the presence and expansion of settler communities in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods”…
(7) “The status of the four Palestinian lawmakers from the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform bloc [they are facing “deportation” from Jerusalem] remains unresolved. This unsustainable situation needs a sensible resolution that ensures they are not expelled from Jerusalem.
(8) Despite “modest gains”, it was reported that “the situation in Gaza remains a source of serious concern” … and “the current imports still represent a third of the June 2007 pre-blockade weekly average. We reiterate that the appropriate way to meet needs in Gaza is through the further opening of legitimate crossings”.
(9) At the moment, construction materials are allowed only for projects under UN supervision, and the report stated that “the UN will present additional programmes of work, before the end of the year and will also continue to work with the Government of Israel to streamline implementation arrangements. One immediate step would be for Israel to expand the working hours and days for which the Karni crossing is open”.
(10) The UN report called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit, as well as “humanitarian access [to him] without further delay” — and it noted “reports of a resumption of efforts to conclude an agreement that would secure his release in exchange for the release of a number of the more than 9000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails”.
(11) And, “the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident will discuss and review the interim reports, once it had also received a report from Israel. The Israeli Commission to examine the maritime incident of 31 May 2010 continues its proceedings which are now at an advanced stage”…
Also, on Lebanon:
(12) “The Secretary-General expressed his support for the work of the Special Tribunal stressing that it is independent, with a clear mandate from the Security Council, through its resolutions 1664 (2006) and 1757 (2007), to uncover the truth and end impunity, and that no one should prejudge the outcome”.
(13) During the past month Israeli air violations took place on an almost daily basis.