Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Israeli Protestors Throw Stones at U.N. Commissioner's Convoy

(taken from naharnet)

Israeli protestors threw stones at the convoy of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights Tuesday as she visited the town of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of Palestinian rocket attacks.As commissioner Louise Arbour arrived in the town, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an adjacent industrial zone, seriously wounding a man and causing a fire that sent plumes of black smoke into the sky, a police source said.Protestors later stoned Arbour's convoy as it made its way through the depressed town, although no one was hurt, said an AFP correspondent.

Arbour, who on Monday visited the site of a deadly botched Israeli shelling in the Gaza town of Beit Hanun, heavily damaged by an incursion this month, said protecting civilians the entire region was "an absolutely critical issue.""I saw people in Beit Hanun, civilians, mothers who lost their children, who feel... terribly exposed, terribly vulnerable, extremely afraid, very abandoned and I have a sense there is the same thing here," she said in Sderot.

She called on Israel to look for "partnership" to build a sustainable atmosphere for peace, even as troops staged an incursion into a neighborhood of Gaza City, leaving two Palestinians dead -- a militant and an elderly woman."Israel has responsibility for its citizens by legal means, in respect of international law, including international humanitarian law,"

Arbour told reporters after visiting the site of the latest rocket attack in Sderot."It has to look for support and partnership to build an atmosphere where peace would be sustainable. I think other measures are very short term."Sderot has borne the brunt of Palestinian rocket attacks, particularly since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 following a 38-year occupation.A total of six people have been killed from rocket attacks on Sderot since the second Palestinian uprising broke out in September 2000.Arbour's visit to the region comes after the U.N. Human Rights Council voted last Wednesday to send an urgent fact-finding mission to Beit Hanun to examine the impact of Israel's attack on Palestinian homes.

Thirty-two countries, mainly from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, voted for the resolution introduced by Arab and Islamic nations, which was subsequently denounced by Washington as "imbalanced."Israel also criticized the vote and has since lashed out at a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for a probe into the botched shelling.More than 300 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched operations in the territory in late June in a bid to recover a soldier seized by militants and to halt persistent rocket attacks.(AFP)

Beirut, 21 Nov 06, 11:04

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