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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
8 July 2009

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Enrique Yeves, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.


**Occupied Palestinian Territory

Tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion, which found that Israel’s construction of the wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory violated its obligations under international law.  But to this day, according to the West Bank branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the situation has not improved.  That Office therefore calls on the Israeli Government to comply with the Advisory Opinion, dismantle the wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and make reparation for all damage suffered by people affected by the wall’s construction.

The Office also calls on Israel to end the current regime of restriction of movement within, to and from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, so that Palestinian residents are able to exercise their rights to freedom of movement, work, education and health.  We have the full statement upstairs.

Meanwhile, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Maxwell Gaylard, also spoke in Jerusalem today about this topic.  He said, "There is still time to change the situation.”  He noted that UN humanitarian agencies are calling for a freeze in the construction of the wall in the West Bank and its re-routing to the Green Line, in light of both the Advisory Opinion and the humanitarian impact.


The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that its Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd, just welcomed to her office a group of Gazan youth that recently returned from a three-week recreational tour to Poland.  The trip, organized by the Polish Government, aimed to help children especially affected by the recent hostilities in Gaza.

The more than 70 children spent one week in Warsaw undergoing psychological and medical treatment, and the remaining two weeks touring Poland.  The tour included visits to castles, a water park, a zoo, and a cinema.  AbuZayd said that one of the children later told her that the day he got on the plane to Warsaw was “the best day of his life”.

One of the children, a twelve-year-old named Mahmoud Samouni, had lost 48 members of his extended family during the recent hostilities.


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For information media • not an official record

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