U.N. urges Israeli restraint in hunt for teens, warns of violence

admin   •   June 24, 2014   •   1212

Iris and Uri Yifrah (foreground), Bat-Galim Shaer (back L), and Avi Fraenkel (back R), the respective parents of missing Israeli teens Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali, walk outside the Shaer family home in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Talmon June 23, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/FINBARR O’REILLY

(Reuters) – A senior United Nations official on Monday urged Israel to exercise restraint in its search for three missing teenagers it accuses the Hamas Islamist group of kidnapping, while warning the Security Council that violence in the region could escalate.

Israel’s army said it had detained another 37 Palestinians overnight as it searched and extended a crackdown on Hamas, which has denied having any knowledge of the missing teens. The Israeli military says it has detained 361 people since the Israeli students went missing on June 12.

“As the search for the missing youth continues, we call for restraint in carrying out the security operations in strict compliance with international law, and avoiding punishing individuals for offenses they have not personally committed,” U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman said.

“The rising death toll as a result of Israeli security operations in the West Bank is alarming,” he told the Security Council during a monthly meeting on the Middle East.

The crisis has aggravated tensions in the West Bank which, along with East Jerusalem and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the Palestinians want as part of a future state.

After his public briefing, Feltman spoke to the council behind closed doors. He warned the 15-nation body there could be a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israel.

“The situation on the ground is very bad,” Feltman was quoted as saying by a council diplomat in the room, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. “I fear we might get to the point of a third intifada.”

Other diplomats confirmed Feltman’s closed-door warning.

Council members also attempted to agree on a statement to the press to condemn the alleged kidnapping of the Israelis. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin presented a draft statement but diplomats present at the meeting said both Jordan and the United States proposed amendments.

It soon became clear, diplomats said, that the U.S. and Jordanian delegations would be unable to agree on a mutually acceptable statement to the media. Washington, Israel’s traditional protector on the council, wanted no condemnation of Israel while Jordan demanded a tough rebuke of the Jewish state.

“Unfortunately members of the Security Council were not able to find common ground,” Churkin told reporters. “Some delegates want to have very strong language condemning Israel, another delegation did not want to have any reference to Israel at all.”

Council statements must be approved unanimously.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor issued a statement after the council meeting defending Israeli actions aimed at finding the missing teenagers.

“Some nations behave as if Israel should roll out the welcome mat for Hamas,” he said. “Israel will not allow this terrorist group to trample on its citizens. Israelis are acting in self-defense to defend our nation from the terrorist networks that surround us.”

The Permanent Observer for the Palestinian territories, Riyad Mansour, condemned the “massive aggression against our people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau)

Israel allows re-entry of foreign caregivers

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The State of Israel’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) has allowed the entry and re-entry of foreign workers in the caregiving sector, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said in an advisory.

These include Filipino caregivers who were not able to return to Israel due to the travel restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“The re-entry policy covers licensed foreign caregivers who left Israel to visit their home country prior to the country’s March 18, 2020 travel restriction as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19,” the POEA said.

Israel’s Ministry of Interior also expanded the entry outline of foreign workers in the caregiving section including issuance of work permits for foreign caregivers entering Israel for the first time. 

“The entry of both vacationing and new caregivers will be subjected to an official application from the employer/patient’s family with the Population and Immigration Bureau, as well as required to follow all the conditions on their quarantine,” the agency explained. 

As such, upon arrival in Israel, the caregiver must undergo quarantine for 14 days in a facility which is not at the employer/patient’s home. 

The expenses and financial needs of the caregiver during the entire quarantine period will be shouldered by the employer, while the worker will not be paid of his/her salary during the quarantine.

53 Filipinos stranded in Israel back in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A group of 53 Filipinos who were repatriated from Israel has arrived in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement on Monday, the DFA said the repatriates landed in Manila on Friday after leaving Istanbul on Oct. 1.

The Filipinos were assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv under the voluntary repatriation program (VRP) of Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA), the department added.

The flight included six senior citizens, a student, a lady with a medical case, and a one-and-a-half-month-old baby born in Israel who was issued an emergency travel document by the embassy.

The embassy said Filipinos have long wanted to go home but were stranded in the country due to the global pandemic and the series of lockdowns imposed by the Israeli government.

“Many of them have overstayed their visas in Israel, and I am glad that they will be able to at last reunite with their families after a long absence,” Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial said.

Imperial said the embassy and Israel’s immigration authority have been working together since last year to ensure orderly treatment for Filipino with no valid visas to enable their return to the Philippines.

“The embassy evaluates the applications and endorses them to PIBA, for further assessment and approval,” he said.

“VRP grantees are exempt from arrest and detention, and are provided free plane tickets to the Philippines,” he added.

The ambassador also expressed gratitude to Filipinos who have provided assistance to stranded fellowmen and those affected by the lockdowns.

The DFA said the second batch of 36 VRP grantees from Tel Aviv is expected to arrive in Manila on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Duterte to join first virtual UN General Assembly debate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.

Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.

According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.

The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.

This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.

The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.

“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.

Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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