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Sometimes, when I feel too miserable, I remind myself that there are people in Palestine, all the people of Palestine, who are more miserable than me. It doesn't alleviate my misery but I definitely feel less lonely.
Ummi, by Mahmoud Darwich, Marcel Khalifa

Before McCartney's performance this evening, a coalition of international aid agencies said that the Quartet of world powers charged with mediating the peace process - the UN, EU, US and Russia - is failing either to improve the lives of Palestinians or the prospects for reaching a settlement with Israel. Oxfam, Care International, Christian Aid, Save the Children and 17 other organisations said the Quartet was losing credibility because it had made inadequate progress or seen key indicators deteriorate since the Annapolis summit last November.

Israel continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land and there has been only a negligible improvement in the Palestinians' ability to move freely in their own territory, to work, reach their schools or access basic services, they said.

The number of obstacles - checkpoints, the West Bank security barrier and restricted roads - increased from 561 at the time of Annapolis to about 600 in August even though Tony Blair, the Quartet's envoy, made the issue of movement and access a priority. Blair is to brief leaders of the group when they meet at the UN in New York tomorrow.

Separate reports from the World Bank, IMF and the UN (also prepared for the Quartet meeting) present similarly gloomy views of the big picture in the conflict. Despite the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the Quartet has been unable to lift the blockade or secure an improvement in the humanitarian situation, the agencies said: 80% of Gaza's population remains wholly or partially dependent on aid, while stalled relief projects have yet to be resumed.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sophia, here is something for you.

Sophia said...

Thanks, Homeyra. It brightens my day, especially that you always have such an eclectic choice.
I will try to pass it on.

Since March 29th 2006