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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Gazans attack Ban Ki Moon's vehicle

From Ma'an:
Dozens of people threw shoes and stones at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's convoy as it entered the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Ma'an's correspondent said.

No one was injured during the hostile welcome and the vehicles, which crossed into the Hamas-ruled territory from southern Israel, pushed through the crowd and sped away.

Ban is visiting the region to try to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Many of those who protested as the UN convoy passed were family members of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons. They hit the vehicles with signs bearing slogans accusing Ban of bias towards Israel and of refusing to meet the relatives of Palestinian prisoners.
Who is Moon meeting in Gaza?

From WaPo:
In Gaza, he met with U.N. relief officials, aid groups and human rights organizations.

He also visited a U.N.-funded housing project in southern Gaza, where protesters held up signs saying, “We want to lift the siege on Gaza” — referring to Israeli restrictions on the entry and exit to and from Gaza of people and goods.

Ban’s visit was being heavily secured by Hamas security forces, but he will not be meeting with members of the Hamas government, who are widely shunned internationally over their refusal to renounce violence.
Islamic Jihad came out with a statement criticizing Moon, saying that Gazans don't need financial assistance or food, but rather someone to stand besides them. Given that UNRWA is a dedicated UN agency with a huge budget dedicated to only Palestinian Arabs, and that the UN has dedicated more time and resources to their problems than to any other people on Earth, this is a curious claim.

There is a long history of Palestinian Arabs attacking UN personnel; the first UNRWA report in 1950 mentions a few of them.
The Syrian office of the Agency, located in Damascus, was destroyed by explosives and a bomb was thrown at a truckload of workers in Lebanon. Threats of violence have been made against individual employees of the Agency.
The UN's criticism of these attacks has always been muted.

(h/t Ian)