Tuesday, March 13, 2012

440 Obama's last card: To Veto or not to Veto (UNSC resolution on Palestine)

Obama's last card: To Veto or not to Veto (UNSC resolution on Palestine)

(1) Obama's last card - Will he play it?
(2) US is trying to head off UN Resolution against Israeli Settlements
(3) U.N. Resolution on Israeli Settlements puts Obama in Bind
(4) Would the isolation of America persuade Obama not to Veto?
(5) J Street says No Veto - Eight US admins have asked Israel to stop building settlements
(6) Hillary opposes UNSC resolution on Israeli settlements but stops short of Veto
(7) Visa, Mastercard & PayPal enable donations for Settlements - but not to Wikileaks
(8) Russia's Medvedev backs independent Palestine
(9) Former EU leaders say Israel must be forced to obey international law
(10) Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil recognize Palestinian state

(1) Obama's last card - Will he play it? EU leaders

From: AlanHart.net <noreply@alanhart.net> Date: 15.12.2010 11:34 AM

By Alan Hart

December 14, 2010

http://www.alanhart.net/obama%e2%80%99s-last-card-will-he-play-it/?utm

President Obama ought to have trouble sleeping at night knowing that by allowing Israel to continue its illegal settlement activity on the occupied West Bank he has made himself, and his country, openly complicit in the Zionist state's defiance of international law. In a different America that ought to be enough to have any president removed from office.

Do I have a picture in my mind of a different America? Yes. In a recent interview with Der Spiegel, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, said that most Americans are "stunningly ignorant" about the world. By definition a different America would be one in which Americans were aware of the fact that almost everything they have been conditioned to believe about the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel is Zionist propaganda nonsense. (Properly informed Americans would understand, for example, why continued, unconditional White House and Congressional support for the criminal state of Israel is not in America's own best interests and is, actually, provoking a real and growing threat to them).

My main point comes down to this. Now that he doesn't have to honour any of the promises Secretary of State Clinton is said to have made to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a desperate (and predictably doomed) effort to persuade him to deliver a 90-day settlement freeze, Obama does have one last card that he could play.

For an Israel that is becoming a pariah state in the view of many people around the world, the promise that mattered most was that Obama would go on doing what all of his predecessors have done - veto any resolution in the Security Council that was not to Israel's liking.

In the coming days, weeks and months it's not impossible that the Security Council will be asked to vote on resolutions condemning Israel. One might call for recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 (pre-war) borders. This would be, effectively, a demand for Israel to end its occupation. Another might call for sanctions to be imposed on Israel if it goes on defying international law.

Until Obama's decision not to confront Netanyahu over settlements, there was little or no prospect of a resolution aimed at calling Israel to account getting as far as the Security Council. But that prospect is now a real one because the European Union is openly exasperated by Obama's lack of leadership on the matter. (Privately, some if not all EU leaders may well share Eric Margolis's view that Obama has shown himself to be "utterly without spine" and "terrified" of the Zionist lobby).

In her public statement, Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs chief, said this: "I note with regret that Israel has not been in a position to accept an extension of the moratorium as requested by the US, the EU and the Quartet. The EU position on settlements is clear - they are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace."

But that was a only the tip of an EU iceberg. For some months my sources have been telling me that almost without exception European governments, behind closed doors, are really "pissed off" with Israel, and were hoping that once the U.S. mid-term elections were out of the way, Obama would be ready to read it the riot act and apply some real pressure.

A hint of what lies below the tip of the EU iceberg was made public in a letter 26 members of the European Former Leaders Group (EFLG) wrote to Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, with copies to the governments of its 27 member states. It called for strong measures against Israel in response to its colonial policy and refusal to abide by international law.

One of the letter's main proposals was that the EU should announce that it will not accept any unilateral changes to the 1967 border that Israel carried out against international law, and that the Palestinian state must cover an area the same size as the area occupied in 1967, with East Jerusalem its capital. To leave as little room as possible for ambiguity, the letter also recommended that the EU should support only minor land swaps on which the two sides agreed.

The signatories were:

Chris Patten, UK, (co-chair), former Vice-President of the European Commission; Hubert Védrine, France, (co-chair), former foreign minister; Andreas van Agt, Netherlands, former prime minister; Frans Andriessen, Netherlands, former finance minister and former Vice-President of the European Commission; Guiliano Amato, Italy, former prime minister; Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Netherlands, former minister and vice-prime minister; Hans van den Broek , Netherlands, former foreign minister and EU Commissioner; Hervé De Charrette, France, former foreign minister; Roland Dumas, France, former foreign minister; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Austria, former European Commissioner; Felipe Gonzales, Spain, former prime minister; Teresa Patricio Gouveia, Portugal, former foreign minister; Lena Hjelm-Wallén, Sweden, former deputy prime minister; Lionel Jospin, France, former prime minister; Jean Francois-Poncet, France, former minister and senator; Romano Prodi, Italy, former President of the EU Commission and prime minister; Mary Robinson, Ireland, former President; Mona Sahlin, Sweden, chairman Swedish Social Democratic Party; Helmut Schmidt, Germany, former chancellor; Clare Short, UK, former minister; Javier Solana, Spain, former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy; Thorvald Stoltenberg, Norway, former prime minister; Peter D. Sutherland, Ireland, former Director-General of the WTO; Erkki Tuomioja, Finland, former foreign minister; Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia, former president; Richard von Weizsäcker. Germany, former President.

They noted that "The year 2011 will be of critical importance in determining the fate of the Middle East, perhaps for many years to come." And one year on from their last report in December 2009 they said (my emphasis added):

"We appear to be no closer to a resolution of this conflict. To the contrary, developments on the ground, primarily Israel's continuation of settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) including in East Jerusalem, pose an existential threat to the prospects of establishing a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian state also embracing Gaza, and therefore pose a commensurate threat to a two-state solution to the conflict... We consider it vital that the Council should identify concrete measures to operationalize its agreed policy and thence move to implementation of the agreed objectives. Europe cannot afford that the application of these policy principles be neglected and delayed yet again. Time to secure a sustainable peace is fast running out... It is eminently clear that without a rapid and dramatic move to halt the ongoing deterioration of the situation on the ground, a two-state solution, which forms the one and only available option for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, will be increasingly difficult to attain... The EU has stated unequivocally for decades that the settlements in the OPT are illegal, but Israel continues to build them. Like any other state, Israel should be held accountable for its actions... It is the credibility of the EU that is at stake. The EU position could not be clearer, but - as we have argued above - failure to act accordingly, in the face of contraventions and disregard by Israel, undermines the EU and its credibility in upholding international law... At stake are not only EU relations with the parties directly involved in the conflict but also with the wider Arab community, with which the EU enjoys positive diplomatic and trade relations."

One possible translation of that is something like, "Europe can no longer allow its own best interests to be damaged by support for Israel right or wrong."

It's no secret that Israel's deluded leaders and many of its brainwashed Jewish people don't give a damn about what the EU really thinks because, they believe, only America matters. That has been the situation to date, but could it be about to change?

There's a case for saying "Yes, perhaps", but not in the way Israelis might imagine. In their letter the 26 said that "key U.S. figures" had suggested to them that "the best way to help President Barack Obama in his efforts to promote peace was to make policy that contradicts US positions" and which imposed consequences and costs on Israel.

One possible implication is that European leaders have been made aware that Obama needs and wants to be able to say behind his own closed doors something like: "If we don't require Israel to act in accordance with international law, we're heading for trouble with Europe and will become as isolated in the world as Israel is. We cannot let this happen."

Which brings me back to Obama's last card. The fact is that he does not have to instruct the US ambassador to the UN to vote against Israel in the Security Council. An American abstention would be enough to empower the nearest thing we have to world government to be serious about calling and holding the Zionist state to account for its crimes. And that could be, I repeat could be, a game changer.

(2) US is trying to head off UN Resolution against Israeli Settlements

From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: 21.01.2011 09:30 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8264918/US-trying-to-stop-UN-resolution-against-West-Bank-settlements.html

US trying to stop UN resolution against West Bank settlements

Washington is desperately trying to head off a United Nations resolution condemning Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and the disputed West Bank territories that is presenting Barack Obama with one of the most acute dilemmas of his presidency.

By Alex Spillius, Washington  6:24PM GMT 17 Jan 2011

Senior Palestinian officials said on Monday they were undeterred by American appeals to abandon the resolution, which has been circulated among the 15 members of the UN Security Council and could be discussed as early as Wednesday at a meeting on the Middle East.

In recent weeks, the Palestinians have prepared a draft that would declare all settlements illegal and demand an immediate halt to their construction. The appeal to the Security Council is part of a Palestinian strategy to exert pressure on the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. US-brokered talks between the two sides collapsed recently when he refused to extend a partial ban on settlement-building.

The US, which has frequently wielded its veto at the Security Council in support of Israel, finds itself isolated in its opposition to the resolution, which would probably be supported by all other 14 members of the Security Council, including Britain and the other permanent members.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said recently: "We continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the long-standing conflict and outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We do not think that that is a productive path for the Palestinians or anyone to pursue."

Compromises are being explored, which could include referring to settlements as "illegitimate" rather than "illegal" and would allow the US to abstain. However an abstention could still be seen as hostile towards Israel.

Robert Danin, formerly deputy to Tony Blair at the international Quartet on the Middle East now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "This is extremely awkward for the US. President Obama may have to use the veto for the first time on something that he agrees with the substance of. It is somewhat ironic."

Early in his presidency Mr Obama demanded that the Israelis stop building settlements, describing them as an obstacle to peace, only for Mr Netanyahu largely to stand his ground.

But the US president does not want to undermine Israel, which relies on US support, while failing to veto the resolution would lead to accusations of betrayal and weakness from Republicans. Jimmy Carter was the last US president to support a resolution against settlements, in 1980, and is thought to have paid a political price.

Every US president since has used the veto against similar resolutions, but Mr Obama has presented himself as a multilateralist and friend of the Arab world.

"President Obama doesn't want to be seen as a unilateralist and a global bully. A veto would be an exertion of American power in a way that goes against the image of the US that the president wants to project," said Mr Danin.

A spokesman for the Palestinian delegation to the UN said: "Our goal is not to put anyone in a difficult position. We want everybody on board especially on the issue of settlements on which we have a unified international position that it's illegal and an obstacle to peace."

(3) U.N. Resolution on Israeli Settlements puts Obama in Bind
From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 22.01.2011 12:23 PM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110121/wl_time/08599204332600

By TONY KARON – Fri Jan 21, 2:40 am ET

It was always going to be a struggle for the U.S. to dissuade its Arab allies from going ahead with a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. But last week's "people power" rebellion in Tunisia has made Washington's effort to lobby against the plan more difficult. Tunisia has given the autocratic leaders of countries such as Egypt and Jordan more reason to fear their own people. For those regimes, symbolically challenging unconditional U.S. support for Israel is a low-cost gesture that will play well on restive streets.

Going ahead with the resolution, which was discussed on Wednesday at the Security Council and demands an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is, of course, a vote of no-confidence in U.S. peacemaking efforts. And it creates a headache for the Obama Administration over whether to invoke the U.S. veto - as Washington has traditionally done on Council resolutions critical of Israel. The twist this time: the substance of the resolution largely echoes the Administration's own stated positions.(See pictures of settlements in Israel.)

Washington had hoped that signaling its intention to veto such a resolution would force the Palestinians and their Arab backers to hold it back. But they went ahead and placed it on the Council's agenda (a vote is unlikely for a few more weeks), putting the U.S. on the spot. After all, the Obama Administration has demanded that Israel end settlement construction to allow peace talks to go forward. After a 10-month partial moratorium expired last September, Israel resumed vigorous construction, and has resisted pressure from Washington for any further freeze. U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said on Wednesday that the U.S. opposed bringing the settlement issue to the Council "because such action moves us no closer to a goal of a negotiated final settlement" and could even undermine progress toward it. But that argument is unlikely to convince most of the international community, given the obvious stalemate in the peace process - there are no negotiations under way, and the Palestinians have refused to restart them until Israel halts its settlement construction. Initial responses at the Security Council reflect unanimous international support for the demand that Israel stop building settlements. If a vote were held today, the U.S. would be the only possible nay.

Long before the Tunisia events, the Arab leaders most invested in the peace process had begun to realize that the strength of Israel's support in U.S. domestic politics had undermined Washington's ability to operate as an evenhanded peace broker. The move to the U.N. has actually been months in the making. That, and the growing chorus of countries in Latin America and elsewhere recently recognizing Palestinian statehood on the 1967 borders reflect a mounting international frustration with a U.S. peace effort whose operating principle has largely been to remain within the bounds of what the Israeli government will accept.

The Security Council resolution is not an alternative to peace negotiations, its sponsors say. In fact, the text urges the parties to resume final-status talks based on existing frameworks, which require a settlement freeze. The Obama Administration has repeatedly described the ongoing settlement construction as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. The resolution uses the term illegal because existing Security Council resolutions have declared all Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be in violation of international law. But whether the Obama Administration vetoes a resolution whose contents it is substantially in agreement with may be settled by a domestic political debate. (See "What if the Palestinians Turn to the U.N.?")

A bipartisan group of 16 U.S. Senators, led by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, has urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to veto the resolution: "Attempts to use a venue such as the United Nations, which you know has a long history of hostility toward Israel, to deal with just one issue in the negotiations, will not move the two sides closer to a two-state solution, but rather damage the fragile trust between them."

But a number of senior former U.S. diplomats and officials, including former Reagan Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci and former Assistant Secretaries of State Thomas Pickering and James Dobbins, have written to President Obama urging him to support the resolution, which they argue is not incompatible with negotiating an end to the conflict nor a deviation from the U.S. commitment to Israel's security.

"If the proposed resolution is consistent with existing and established U.S. policies," the former officials write, "then deploying a veto would severely undermine U.S. credibility and interests, placing us firmly outside of the international consensus, and further diminishing our ability to mediate this conflict." (Comment on this story.)

Whichever way the U.S. elects to vote on the resolution, the episode is another indication that events in the Middle East are rapidly slipping beyond Washington's control. Whether the evidence is in the formation of an Iraqi government or the collapse of a Lebanese one, it has become palpably obvious to friend and foe alike in the Middle East that the U.S. influence in the region has sharply declined. In fact, Washington could ironically help its Arab allies by wielding the veto to protect Israel from U.N. opprobrium on the issue of settlements - by offering them a low-cost opportunity to grandstand in defiance of the U.S. That won't solve the domestic crises in those countries, but it will play well on Arab streets, where symbolically standing up to the U.S. and Israel is precisely what has made Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, more popular than any Arab leaders are with the Arab public.

(4) Would the isolation of America persuade Obama not to Veto?

From: AlanHart.net <noreply@alanhart.net> Date: 24.01.2011 11:28 AM

Posted: 23 Jan 2011 05:54 AM PST

http://www.alanhart.net/would-the-isolation-of-america-persuade-obama-not-to-veto/

January 23, 2011 

Despite strong U.S. opposition, a proposed resolution condemning Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank did make it to the UN Security Council. It was not put to a vote and no vote is expected for some time, if ever, because of the probability as things stand of an American veto. But given growing global support for the resolution, there is a case for wondering if President Obama can remain Zionist-like in his own implicit defiance

Introduced by Lebanon, the resolution states that “Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” And it demands that Israel cease “immediately and completely” not only all settlement construction in the occupied territory including East Jerusalem, but also “all other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”

Washington had hoped that signalling its opposition to the proposed resolution would be enough to cause its Palestinian and other Arab sponsors to back away from taking it to the Security Council. Deputy American UN Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said the U.S. opposed bringing the settlement issue to the Council “because such action moves us no closer to a goal of a negotiated final settlement and could even undermine progress towards it.” She also said the Security Council should not be the forum for resolving the issues at the heart of the Israel/Palestine conflict. In my view that has to be among the most ridiculous statements any diplomat has ever made in any place at any time.

When the Arab sponsors discovered that they do have testicles and refused to be intimidated by Uncle Sam, the result was a huge embarrassment for Obama because, as noted by Tony Karon in an article for Time, the resolution’s substance “largely echoes the Administration’s own stated positions.” In Ha’aretz under the headline Settlements issue isn’t Israel’s problem, it’s Obama’s, Natasha Mozgovaya was more explicit. The resolution has put Washington “in the awkward position of having to veto a resolution it absolutely agrees with.”

That was why a number of former senior U.S. diplomats and officials wrote to Obama urging him to support the resolution. They included former Reagan Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, and former Assistant Secretaries of State Thomas Pickering and James Dobbins. They said the resolution is not incompatible with negotiating an end to the conflict and does not deviate from the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. They added:

“The proposed resolution is consistent with existing and established U.S. policies, deploying a veto would severely undermine U.S. credibility and interests, placing us firmly outside of the international consensus, and further diminishing our ability to mediate this conflict.”

How far outside the international consensus the U.S. already is on account of its unconditional support for Israel right or wrong was demonstrated by the fact that the resolution attracted the support of 120 nations. Diplomats were certain that the U.S. was the only one of the five permanent members on the 15-country Security Council with veto power that would have vetoed if the resolution had been put to a vote when it was introduced. In other words, without a U.S. veto it would have passed. That would have more or less confirmed Israel’s pariah status in much of the world and just might have been a game-changer.

In contrast to the Zionist lobby in America which has naturally been urging – ordering? - Obama to veto, J Street, the “dovish” Jewish advocacy group which is pro-Israel and more or less anti-AIPAC, is among those who understand that a veto would not be in America’s own best interests. Or Israel’s, despite what its deluded leaders assert to the contrary. In a statement J Street said:

“As a pro-Israel organization and as Americans, we advocate for what we believe to be in the long-term interests of the state of Israel and of the United States… Ongoing settlement expansion runs counter to the interests of both countries and against commitments Israel itself has made,.. While we hope never to see the state of Israel publicly taken to task by the United Nations, we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.”

Because J Street almost certainly speaks for far more silent and troubled American Jews than AIPAC does, that’s quite an important statement.

The advocacy group Americans for Peace Now was more explicit in its message to Obama. It not only urged him to avoid vetoing the resolution, it also said this:

“It is indefensible that the Netanyahu government, heedless of the damage settlement activity does to Israel’s own interests and indifferent to the Obama Administration’s peace efforts, has not only refused to halt settlement activity but has opened the floodgates, including in the most sensitive areas of East Jerusalem. In this context, the move by the United Nations Security Council to censure Israel’s settlement activity should surprise no one… Vetoing this resolution would conflict with four decades of U.S. policy. It would contribute to the dangerously naive view that Israeli settlement policies do no lasting harm to Israel. And it would send a message to the world that the U.S. is not only acquiescing to Israel’s actions, but is implicitly supporting them.”

It might well have been their fear of a Tunisian domino effect that helped to embolden the regimes of the sponsoring Arab states to defy a U.S. administration on this occasion. Their challenge to America’s unconditional support for Israel was, as Tony Karon noted, “a low-cost gesture that will play well on the restive street.“ At least for a while, I add. (The truth about the Arab street is that for the past 40 years very many people on it have been humiliated and angered not only by Israel’s arrogance of power and American support for it, but also by the complete failure of their own governments to use the leverage they do have to put real pressure on the U.S. to oblige Israel to end its occupation of all the Arab territory it grabbed in 1967).

If the sponsoring Arab regimes have the will to keep the heat on Washington over the resolution and insist that there must be a vote on it at some point in the not too distant future, and if the number of nations who support the resolution stays firm and better still increases, crunch time for Obama on the Israel-Palestine conflict will arrive.

If and when it does he will have three options: to veto; to order America’s vote in the Security Council to be cast for the resolution; or to abstain. An American abstention would have the same practical effect as a “Yes” vote – the resolution would be passed.

A veto would protect Obama from the wrath of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress. But it would also propel America further down the road to isolation, perhaps to the point where, like Israel, it was regarded as a pariah state by much of the world. Can Obama or any American president really afford that?

But an American vote for the resolution or even an abstention would, of course, put Obama into head-on confrontation with the Zionist lobby. Could he come out of it a winner (and, some will add, remain alive)?

My crystal ball doesn’t tell me the answer, but it does indicate how he could be the first American president to break the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on America policy for the Middle East. If he went over the heads of Congress and used his rhetorical skill to explain to his people why it is not in America’s own best interests to go on supporting Israel right or wrong, there’s a chance that he could win the argument. Americans are not stupid. What they are, most of them, is extremely gullible because of the way they have been mis-informed, lied to, by a mainstream media which, for a number of reasons, is content to peddle Zionist propaganda.

It’s your call, Mr. President. The fate of the region (the Middle East) and quite possibly the whole world will be determined by it.

Footnote

If the U.S. endorses the Whitewash Israeli inquiry into Israel’s deadly attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla last May, we’ll know that the prospects of Obama putting America’s own interest first at crunch time are very, very remote, to say the least.

(5) J Street says No Veto - Eight US admins have asked Israel to stop building settlements
http://www.jstreet.org/blog/?p=1381

New J Street Policy Statement on Settlement Expansion & UN Security Council ResolutionPosted by: Amy Spitalnick | January 20th, 2011 10:43 am

Following the introduction of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion, J Street released a new policy statement:

J Street shares the growing global frustration at the lack of progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and at the Israeli government’s continued expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line.

J Street grounds its work in a deep commitment to the security, survival and character of the state of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people. As a pro-Israel organization and as Americans, we advocate for what we believe to be in the long-term interests of the state of Israel and of the United States. Ongoing settlement expansion runs counter to the interests of both countries and against commitments Israel itself has made.

For over forty years and across eight Presidential administrations, the United States has made it crystal clear that Israel needs to stop building settlements over the Green Line. As President Obama put it in his June 2009 Cairo speech, “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”

Our opposition to settlement expansion does not contradict our belief that ultimately some Jewish settlements and a clear majority of settlers on the West Bank close to the Green Line, and the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, will be incorporated within the borders of Israel in return for swaps of equivalent land with the state-to-be of Palestine.

It pains us that against its own self interest and despite clear warnings from the United States and the rest of the international community, the Netanyahu government has nonetheless chosen to continue expanding settlements, rendering a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly hard to achieve.

The Resolution introduced in the United Nations Security Council this week condemns Israel’s ongoing settlement activity and calls on both parties to continue negotiating final status issues in an effort to resolve the conflict in the short term.

These are sentiments that we share and that we believe a majority of Jewish Americans and friends of Israel share.

We would urge the government of the state of Israel to recognize that it is in Israel’s own interest to stop further building over the Green Line, and to immediately sit down with the United States and the Palestinians to establish a border and security arrangements that define where it can and cannot continue to build.

Barring that, we urge the Obama administration to put forward quickly, and with strong international support, its own bold, proactive diplomatic initiative, including ideas for establishing borders and security arrangements.

The lack of movement on the diplomatic front has created the vacuum from which the present Security Council Resolution has emerged. By asserting clear leadership in a serious effort to reach a two-state resolution of the conflict, the United States can likely defer immediate consideration of this new Resolution by the Security Council.

Our preferred outcome would be Israeli or American action that averts the need for such a Resolution. However, if the Resolution does come to a vote, we urge the Obama administration to work to craft language, particularly around Jerusalem, that it can support condemning settlement activity and promoting a two-state solution.

While we hope never to see the state of Israel publicly taken to task by the United Nations, we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 10:43 am

(6) Hillary opposes UNSC resolution on Israeli settlements but stops short of Veto

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Clinton-Opposes-Palestinian-UN-Move-on-Settlements--114319174.html

Clinton Opposes Palestinian UN Move on Settlements

David Gollust | Washington

20 January 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday expressed opposition to a draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The proposed resolution was introduced Wednesday and has broad support on the council.

Clinton, for now, is stopping short of threatening a U.S. veto of the resolution if it comes to a vote in the Security Council.

But she says the only viable way to get a two-state settlement of the Middle East conflict is through the face-to-face talks the United States has been trying to broker.

The draft resolution, backed by the Arab league and the Palestinian Authority, declares that Israeli settlements in areas occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and a major obstacle to achieving peace.

The measure is co-sponsored by nearly 120 U.N. member countries and U.N. diplomats say it would probably be supported by 14 countries on the 15-member Security Council if it came to a vote.

The United States has traditionally vetoed resolutions seen as one-sided against Israel and Clinton’s comments Thursday raised the prospect of another veto.

At a press event with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the Secretary said the United States continues to believe, strongly, that the only way to a two-state solution of the conflict is through negotiations by the parties themselves.

"Therefore, we don’t see action in the United Nations or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about that desired outcome.  Our position on settlements remains as it has been.  I clearly spoke out about that on many occasions, and will continue to do so.  But, ultimately, the Palestinian and Israeli people have to make a decision about whether they can engage in negotiations that will result in compromise on both sides to obtain what we believe will be not just two states living side by side in peace and security, but a much better future for the children of both Israelis and Palestinians," she said.

U.S. officials have argued that unilateral steps, those taken without Israel’s consent, complicate peace efforts, and the United States has also opposed the recent recognition of Palestinian statehood by several Latin American countries.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama Thursday, a group of more than 50 former U.S. diplomats, cabinet officials and others urged the administration to support the draft resolution.

The group, including former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering and former chief U.S. Middle East diplomat Richard Murphy, said it is time for a "clear signal of U.S. objectivity" on the Middle East dispute.

They said the proposed resolution is consistent with U.S. policy, and that a veto would undermine U.S. credibility and interests, and put the United States "firmly outside" the international consensus on the issue.

U.S. policy once held that settlements were illegal but the wording has been softened in recent years.

In his 2009 speech in Cairo, President Obama said the United States does not accept the legitimacy of settlement activity, which he said undermines peace efforts and should stop.

The State Department said Thursday that Secretary of State Clinton will discuss peace efforts early next month in a meeting in Germany with fellow foreign ministers of the international Middle East Quartet.

The informal grouping of the United States, Russia,  the European Union, and the United Nations, was formed in 2002 and has focused lately on building the infrastructure for a Palestinian state.

(7) Visa, Mastercard & PayPal enable donations for Settlements - but not to Wikileaks

From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 15.12.2010 05:30 AM

Funding Illegal Israeli Settlements?
Priceless.

By Bernard Keane

December 14, 2010 "Crikey"

http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/13/funding-illegal-israeli-settlements-priceless/
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27067.htm

Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law.

It appears at least one of the major credit cards also enables donations to an extremist Jewish group that has placed a bounty on the lives of Palestinians.

All three have in the last week ceased enabling donations to WikiLeaks. Neither Mastercard nor Visa have explained the basis for their decision to do so. PayPal has backed away from its initial claim that the US State Department told PayPal WikiLeaks had broken the law after the claim was discredited. This is the third occasion on which PayPal has suspended payment services for WikiLeaks.

(8) Russia's Medvedev backs independent Palestine

From: Iskandar Masih <iskandar38@hotmail.com> Date: 19.01.2011 10:36 AM

By Barak Ravid and Reuters

18.01.2011

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70H3VV20110118
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/medvedev-as-we-did-in-1988-russia-still-recognizes-an-independent-palestine-1.337774

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev endorsed a Palestinian state on Tuesday, saying Moscow had recognized independence in 1988 and was not changing the position adopted by the former Soviet Union.

Making his first visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Russian head of state, Medvedev stopped short of issuing a ringing declaration of recognition of Palestinian statehood by the modern Russian Federation which he represents.

"Russia's position remains unchanged. Russia made its choice a long time ago ... we supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem," Medvedev said.

Israel has been alarmed in the past two months by a string of recognitions by Latin American states including Brazil and Argentina, which some analysts say could be a precursor to a move by the Palestinians to seek full United Nations membership if efforts to revive moribund peace negotiations fall through.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has confirmed that is one of his options. At a news conference with Medvedev in Jericho he thanked Russia for being "one of the first states in the world to recognize the state of Palestine in 1988".

Communist Moscow recognized a Palestinian state declared by the late Yasser Arafat, in a move that won broad support in the Soviet bloc and developing world but had little real impact on diplomatic and political realities.

The Palestinians today say 109 states out of 192 United Nations member countries recognize their statehood. Israel has warned that a "unilateral declaration" of statehood would set back the peace process.

A senior Israeli intelligence official told a Knesset committee on Tuesday he expected more recognitions by the time of the UN General Assembly in September.

Medvedev drove into the West Bank in a convoy from Amman airport in Jordan, crossing over the historic Allenby Bridge in an unusual route for a head of state that was dictated by an Israeli foreign ministry strike, which had forced him to cancel the Israel leg of his trip.

Officials said they could not remember when a visitor of that level had used the Allenby crossing, which was shut down to normal traffic for the occasion. The crossing is controlled by Israeli immigration and security.

Medvedev drew applause from Palestinians when he noted that "this is the first visit of a Russian president to Palestine not united with a visit to another country" -- a clear reference to Israel which would normally have been his first stop. ...

Israel apologized to the Kremlin for having to cancel Medvedev's first trip when foreign ministry diplomats who would normally prepare it stepped up their strike action last month to win better pay and conditions.

The last presidential visitor from Moscow was Medvedev's predecessor Vladimir Putin, now the Russian prime minister, in 2005. Medvedev expressed his understanding for the cancellation, saying it would not harm relations with Israel.

He was due to meet Jordan's King Abdullah later on Tuesday.

Medvedev: As we did in 1988, Russia still recognizes an independent Palestine

Russian president makes announcement after meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank; Israeli officials fear recognition will cause a domino effect of other states following Russia's lead, including China.

(9) Former EU leaders say Israel must be forced to obey international law

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/former-european-leaders-sanction-israel-over-settlement-building-1.329767

December 10, 2010

Former European leaders: Sanction Israel over settlement building

26 former top EU officials, including ex EU chief Solana and former German President Richard von Weizsacker, urge world powers to confront Jerusalem over its refusal to obey international law.

By Akiva Eldar

A group of 26 senior former European leaders who held power during the past decade are calling for strong measures against Israel in response to its settlement policy and refusal to abide by international law.

In an unusual letter sent Thursday to the leadership of the European Union and the governments of the EU's 27 member states, the signatories, including former heads of state, ministers and heads of European organizations, criticize Israel's policies.

Among those signing the letter are the former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, former German President Richard von Weizsacker, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales, former president of the EU Commission and former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

The group drew up a series of recommendations to the current EU leadership during a meeting in London in mid-November.

The sharply worded document joins a decision by the governments of South American countries, including Brazil and Argentina, to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. In addition, the European Union Council has decided to support the Palestinian Authority's decision to establish an independent state and put an end to the occupation.

The letter's timing is also related to an announcement by the U.S. administration about the failure of the negotiations with Israel on extending the freeze on settlement construction. The former European leaders note that key American figures had suggested to them that the best way to help U.S. President Barack Obama in his efforts to promote peace was to make policy that contradicts U.S. positions come at a cost to Israel.

The European leaders are backing the Palestinians' efforts to rally international support for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state as an alternative to the negotiations that have reached an impasse. They note that the Palestinians cannot expect to be able to set up an independent state without international political and economic assistance.

As such, they are calling on the European Union to play a more effective and active role vis-a-vis the United States, Israel and others. They also want it made clear that a European Union decision to upgrade relations with Israel and other bilateral agreements will be frozen unless Israel freezes settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

They also propose that the EU announce that it will not accept any unilateral changes to the 1967 border that Israel carried out against international law, and that the Palestinian state would cover an area the same size as the area occupied in 1967. This would also include the establishment of a capital in East Jerusalem.

The leaders recommend that the EU support only minor land swaps on which the two sides agree.

(10) Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil recognize Palestinian state

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/argentina-joins-brazil-in-recognition-of-a-palestinian-state-1.329220

Mon, December 06, 2010 Kislev 29, 5771

Argentina joins Brazil in recognition of a Palestinian state

Argentine President sends Abbas letter stating it recognizes a Palestinian state defined by 1967 borders; Uruguay says it will recognize Palestine in 2011.

By Haaretz Service

Argentina and Uruguay announced Monday that they intend to join Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state, provoking sharp criticism from Israel, French news agency AFP reported.

"The Argentine government recognizes Palestine as a free and independent state within the borders defined in 1967," AFP quoted Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, reading a letter sent by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner wrote to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

Shortly after Argentina's move, Uruguay announced that it too would recognize a Palestinian state starting from 2011. "Uruguay will surely follow the same path as Argentina in 2011," Uruguayan deputy foreign minister Roberto Conde told AFP.

"We are working towards opening a diplomatic representation in Palestine, most likely in Ramallah," he said.

The Foreign Ministry called the announcement "regrettable" and said that Israel viewed this decision with severity, and it would not help change the situation between Israel and the Palestinians.

On Friday Brazil said it has recognized a Palestinian state based on borders at the time of Israel's 1967 conquest of the West Bank.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry said the recognition is in response to a request made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Silva sent a letter to Abbas on December 1, saying Brazil recognizes Palestine and hopes that the recognition will help lead to states of Israel and Palestine "that will coexist peacefully and in security."

The announcements by the three South American countries came as Middle East peace talks were on a hiatus since the temporary settlement freeze ended in late September.

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