Tuesday, March 13, 2012

468 Palestine vote exposes US duplicity; Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US Intelligence

Palestine vote exposes US duplicity; Al-Jazeera Director resigns after
Wikeleaks reveals ties to US Intelligence

(1) Palestine vote exposes US duplicity, alienates allies in MidEast -
Robert Fisk
(2) Abbas says he expects Security Council to finish debate on Palestine
in weeks, not months
(3) Abbas UN speech: Annotated extracts
(4) Abbas' speech to the General Assembly
(5) Israel may withhold 40% of Palestinians' revenue as punishment for
UN vote - Finance Minister
(6) Congressional bill would make U.S. funding of UN conditional on how
it votes on Palestine
(7) Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US
Intelligence

(1) Palestine vote exposes US duplicity, alienates allies in MidEast -
Robert Fisk


From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:25:41 -0400 (EDT)

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-why-the-middle-east-will-never-be-the-same-again-2357514.html

Robert Fisk: Why the Middle East will never be the same again

The Palestinians won't achieve statehood, but they will consign the
'peace process' to history.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Palestinians won't get a state this week. But they will prove – if
they get enough votes in the General Assembly and if Mahmoud Abbas does
not succumb to his characteristic grovelling in the face of US-Israeli
power – that they are worthy of statehood. And they will establish for
the Arabs what Israel likes to call – when it is enlarging its colonies
on stolen land – "facts on the ground": never again can the United
States and Israel snap their fingers and expect the Arabs to click their
heels. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East. It's over: the
"peace process", the "road map", the "Oslo agreement"; the whole
fandango is history.

Personally, I think "Palestine" is a fantasy state, impossible to create
now that the Israelis have stolen so much of the Arabs' land for their
colonial projects. Go take a look at the West Bank, if you don't believe
me. Israel's massive Jewish colonies, its pernicious building
restrictions on Palestinian homes of more than one storey and its
closure even of sewage systems as punishment, the "cordons sanitaires"
beside the Jordanian frontier, the Israeli-only settlers' roads have
turned the map of the West Bank into the smashed windscreen of a crashed
car. Sometimes, I suspect that the only thing that prevents the
existence of "Greater Israel" is the obstinacy of those pesky Palestinians.

But we are now talking of much greater matters. This vote at the UN –
General Assembly or Security Council, in one sense it hardly matters –
is going to divide the West – Americans from Europeans and scores of
other nations – and it is going to divide the Arabs from the Americans.
It is going to crack open the divisions in the European Union; between
eastern and western Europeans, between Germany and France (the former
supporting Israel for all the usual historical reasons, the latter
sickened by the suffering of the Palestinians) and, of course, between
Israel and the EU.

A great anger has been created in the world by decades of Israeli power
and military brutality and colonisation; millions of Europeans, while
conscious of their own historical responsibility for the Jewish
Holocaust and well aware of the violence of Muslim nations, are no
longer cowed in their criticism for fear of being abused as
anti-Semites. There is racism in the West – and always will be, I fear –
against Muslims and Africans, as well as Jews. But what are the Israeli
settlements on the West Bank, in which no Arab Muslim Palestinian can
live, but an expression of racism?

Israel shares in this tragedy, of course. Its insane government has led
its people on this road to perdition, adequately summed up by its sullen
fear of democracy in Tunisia and Egypt – how typical that its principle
ally in this nonsense should be the awful Saudi Arabia – and its cruel
refusal to apologise for the killing of nine Turks in the Gaza flotilla
last year and its equal refusal to apologise to Egypt for the killing of
five of its policemen during a Palestinian incursion into Israel.

So goodbye to its only regional allies, Turkey and Egypt, in the space
of scarcely 12 months. Israel's cabinet is composed both of intelligent,
potentially balanced people such as Ehud Barak, and fools such as
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Ahmadinejad of Israeli politics.
Sarcasm aside, Israelis deserve better than this.

The State of Israel may have been created unjustly – the Palestinian
Diaspora is proof of this – but it was created legally. And its founders
were perfectly capable of doing a deal with King Abdullah of Jordan
after the 1948-49 war to divide Palestine between Jews and Arabs. But it
had been the UN, which met to decide the fate of Palestine on 29
November 1947, which gave Israel its legitimacy, the Americans being the
first to vote for its creation. Now – by a supreme irony of history – it
is Israel which wishes to prevent the UN from giving Palestinian Arabs
their legitimacy – and it is America which will be the first to veto
such a legitimacy.

Does Israel have a right to exist? The question is a tired trap,
regularly and stupidly trotted out by Israel's so-called supporters; to
me, too, on regular though increasingly fewer occasions. States – not
humans – give other states the right to exist. For individuals to do so,
they have to see a map. For where exactly, geographically, is Israel? It
is the only nation on earth which does not know and will not declare
where its eastern frontier is. Is it the old UN armistice line, the 1967
border so beloved of Abbas and so hated by Netanyahu, or the Palestinian
West Bank minus settlements, or the whole of the West Bank?

Show me a map of the United Kingdom which includes England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it has the right to exist. But show
me a map of the UK which claims to include the 26 counties of
independent Ireland in the UK and shows Dublin to be a British rather
than an Irish city, and I will say no, this nation does not have the
right to exist within these expanded frontiers. Which is why, in the
case of Israel, almost every Western embassy, including the US and
British embassies, are in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem.

In the new Middle East, amid the Arab Awakening and the revolt of free
peoples for dignity and freedom, this UN vote – passed in the General
Assembly, vetoed by America if it goes to the Security Council –
constitutes a kind of hinge; not just a page turning, but the failure of
empire. So locked into Israel has US foreign policy become, so fearful
of Israel have almost all its Congressmen and Congresswomen become – to
the extent of loving Israel more than America – that America will this
week stand out not as the nation that produced Woodrow Wilson and his 14
principles of self-determination, not as the country which fought Nazism
and Fascism and Japanese militarism, not as the beacon of freedom which,
we are told, its Founding Fathers represented – but as a curmudgeonly,
selfish, frightened state whose President, after promising a new
affection for the Muslim world, is forced to support an occupying power
against a people who only ask for statehood.

Should we say "poor old Obama", as I have done in the past? I don't
think so. Big on rhetoric, vain, handing out false love in Istanbul and
Cairo within months of his election, he will this week prove that his
re-election is more important than the future of the Middle East, that
his personal ambition to stay in power must take first place over the
sufferings of an occupied people. In this context alone, it is bizarre
that a man of such supposed high principle should show himself so
cowardly. In the new Middle East, in which Arabs are claiming the very
same rights and freedoms that Israel and America say they champion, this
is a profound tragedy.

US failures to stand up to Israel and to insist on a fair peace in
"Palestine", abetted by the hero of the Iraq war, Blair, are
responsible. Arabs too, for allowing their dictators to last so long and
thus to clog the sand with false frontiers and old dogmas and oil (and
let's not believe that a "new" "Palestine" would be a paradise for its
own people). Israel, too, when it should be welcoming the Palestinian
demand for statehood at the UN with all its obligations of security and
peace and recognition of other UN members. But no. The game is lost.
America's political power in the Middle East will this week be neutered
on behalf of Israel. Quite a sacrifice in the name of liberty...

(2) Abbas says he expects Security Council to finish debate on Palestine
in weeks, not months


http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/24/us-palestinians-israel-council-idUSTRE78N16720110924

U.N. will take weeks on Palestinian bid: Abbas

(Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday he
expected the Security Council to finish debating his nation's
application for full United Nations membership in weeks, not months.

By Ali Sawafta

AMMAN | Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:34pm EDT

Speaking to journalists on his plane back from the General Assembly in
New York where he presented the request to U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon, Abbas said Security Council members had initially appeared
unenthusiastic about discussing the application.

But the mood appeared to change after he made a speech to the General
Assembly on Friday, pressing the case for an independent Palestinian
state alongside Israel, he said.

The United States, Israel's closest ally, has said it will block the
application. Both governments say direct peace talks are the correct way
for Palestinians to pursue peace. Washington holds veto power in the
15-member Security Council.

"We are talking about weeks not months," Abbas said of the Security
Council deliberations, adding that the process could take a maximum 35 days.

Lebanon's U.N. ambassador said the Security Council would convene on
Monday to discuss Abbas's application.

Abbas's statehood bid reflects his loss of faith after 20 years of
failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, and alarm at Israeli
settlement expansion in occupied land that Palestinians want for a state.

Talking about a return to peace talks with Israel, Abbas said: "We will
not deal with any initiative which does not contain a halt to settlement
or the '67 borders."

Apart from the U.S. veto threat, it was unclear if the required nine of
the body's 15 members would support the bid. ...

(3) Abbas UN speech: Annotated extracts

From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:25:41 -0400 (EDT)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15043422

BBC, 23 September 2011

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has submitted his bid to the United
Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state and made a speech, to
rapturous applause, to the General Assembly. The BBC's diplomatic
correspondent Jonathan Marcus interprets the key phrases in his address.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "The Question of Palestine is intricately linked with the
United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and
agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - UNRWA
- which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of
Palestine refugees, who are the victims of al-Nakba [Catastrophe] that
occurred in 1948.

"We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United
Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our
region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the
Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international
legitimacy of the United Nations."

JONATHAN MARCUS: From the outset, he makes clear that this UN route,
although forced upon the Palestinians, in their view by lack of progress
elsewhere, is nonetheless an entirely natural and legitimate step, as
the UN has been intimately involved in the Palestine dossier from the
outset.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in
this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. Everyone
had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations, which had
begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of
President Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with
Egyptian and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within
one year.

"We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and
sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and
proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch."

JONATHAN MARCUS: This paragraph underlines the Palestinians' view that
it is the failures of the so-called peace process that has brought them
to this moment.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of
colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and
all of the brutality of aggression and racial discrimination against our
people that this policy entails.

"This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian
law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure
of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the
burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration
of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and
Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region."

JONATHAN MARCUS: This is the core of Mr Abbas' case - Israel is busy
creating new facts on the ground, making the establishment of a
Palestinian state more difficult as the years go by.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "Yet, because we believe in peace and because of our
conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had the courage
to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of
absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice -
justice that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical
injustice committed against our people.

"Thus, we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the
territory of historical Palestine - on all the Palestinian Territory
occupied by Israel in 1967."

JONATHAN MARCUS: In Mr Abbas' view, Palestinians have already made and
have been prepared to make difficult concessions. Their aspirations, he
says, are limited in territorial terms to the Palestinian areas held by
Egypt and Jordan since 1948 and captured by Israel in the 1967 War.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "The goal of the Palestinian people is the realisation of
their inalienable national rights in their independent State of
Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the
West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel
occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of
international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed
upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with
Resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which
presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli
conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace."

JONATHAN MARCUS: Mr Abbas makes no mention here of the sorts of land
swaps or territorial adjustments that Israel has insisted upon, and
which have been backed by successive US presidents, most recently Barack
Obama.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the
renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in
all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements
signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel."

JONATHAN MARCUS: Whatever happens, the Palestinians renounce violence;
seeking recognition is the next stage in an essentially political struggle.

MAHMOUD ABBAS: "I am here to say on behalf of the Palestinian people and
the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the
Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking. I say to
them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where
they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity.

"Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls
of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and
equity between two neighbouring States - Palestine and Israel - instead
of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the other."

JONATHAN MARCUS: This is by far the best turn of phrase in the speech
and certainly the best sound-bite: "bridges of dialogue" versus
"checkpoints and walls of separation".

The speech, which was strong on setting out the Palestinians' historic
case and clearly played well among his supporters, included a
strongly-worded appeal for dialogue with Israel in skilfully-worded terms.

(4) Abbas' speech to the General Assembly

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1059080--it-is-time-for-the-palestinian-people-to-gain-their-freedom

'It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom'

Toronto Star, Fri Sep 23 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23

Excerpts from the speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered
to the United Nations:

The Palestine question is intricately linked with the United Nations via
the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the
essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East—UNRWA—which embodies the
international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees,
who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948.

We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United
Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our
region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the
Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international
legitimacy of the United Nations.

A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in this hall
addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. Everyone had high
hopes for a new round of final status negotiations, which had begun in
early September in Washington under the direct auspices of President
Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with Egyptian
and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year.
We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and
sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and
proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.

After this, we did not give up and did not cease our efforts for
initiatives and contacts. Over the past year we did not leave a door to
be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be taken and we did not
ignore any formal or informal party of influence and stature to be
addressed. We positively considered the various ideas and proposals and
initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of these
sincere efforts and endeavours undertaken by international parties were
repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which
quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last
September.

The core issue here is that the Israeli government refuses to commit to
terms of reference for the negotiations that are based on international
law and United Nations resolutions, and that it frantically continues to
intensify building of settlements on the territory of the State of
Palestine.

The occupation is racing against time to redraw the borders on our land
according to what it wants and to impose a fait accompli on the ground
that changes the realities and that is undermining the realistic
potential for the existence of the State of Palestine.

At the same time, the occupying Power continues to impose its blockade
on the Gaza Strip and to target Palestinian civilians by assassinations,
air strikes and artillery shelling, persisting with its war of
aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted in massive
destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the thousands
of martyrs and wounded.

The occupying Power also continues its incursions in areas of the
Palestinian National Authority through raids, arrests and killings at
the checkpoints. In recent years, the criminal actions of armed settler
militias, who enjoy the special protection of the occupation army, has
intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks against our
people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques, fields,
crops and trees. Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has
not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for
the crimes of the settlers.

These are just a few of the examples of the policy of the Israeli
colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is responsible for the
continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage
the peace process.

This policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution
upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution
aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure
of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.

In addition, we now face the imposition new conditions not previously
raised, conditions that will transform the raging conflict in our
inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of
a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of
Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to
accept being dragged into.

All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral
actions and are not based on any earlier agreements. Indeed, what we
witness is a selective application of the agreements aimed at
perpetuating the occupation. Israel reoccupied the cities of the West
Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military
occupation by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines
whether or not a Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part
of the Palestinian Territory. And it is confiscating our land and our
water and obstructing our movement as well as the movement of goods. And
it is the one obstructing our whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.

I confirm, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole
legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which will remain
so until the end of the conflict in all its aspects and until the
resolution of all final status issues, the following:

1. The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their
inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine,
with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank,
including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in
the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international
legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution
to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as
stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus
Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve
a just and comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we
are working to achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the
release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without
delay.

2. The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of
violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms,
especially state terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between
the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

3. We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the
conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy.
Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to
return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted
terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete
cessation of settlement activities.

4. Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the
Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its
construction of the racist annexation wall, and they receive support for
their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian
law and international conventions and has the support of peace activists
from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive, inspiring
and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people, armed
only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of
bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.

5. When we bring our plight and our case to this international podium,
it is a confirmation of our reliance on the political and diplomatic
option and is a confirmation that we do not undertake unilateral steps.
Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it;
rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of
Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities, the
occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe
that all the countries in the world stand with us in this regard.

I am here to say on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian
Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the Israeli government
and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say to them: Let us urgently
build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom,
security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of
checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations
based on parity and equity between two neighbouring States — Palestine
and Israel — instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and
eliminating the other.

It is no longer possible to redress the issue of the blockage of the
horizon of the peace talks with the same means and methods that have
been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful over the past years. The
crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is more dangerous are
attempts to simply circumvent or postpone its explosion.

It is neither possible, nor practical, not acceptable to return to
conducting business as usual, as if everything is fine. It is futile to
go into negotiations without clear parameters and in the absence of
credibility and a specific timetable. Negotiations will be meaningless
as long as the occupation army on the ground continues to entrench its
occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues to change the
demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which to
alter the borders.

It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of
the world. Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only
occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel to remain a state above
the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting
the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the
United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions
of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?

... It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and
independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of
Palestine refugees in the homeland and the diaspora, to end their
displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take
refuge more than once in different parts of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy—the
Arab Spring—the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for
independence.

The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives,
for them to be able to sleep without wailing for the worst the next day
will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return
home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for
students to be able to go to their schools and universities without
checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be
able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take
care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land
and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the
settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are
uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of
years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released
from the prisons to return to their families and their children to
become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they
have sacrificed.

My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the
rest of humanity. They believe what the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said:
Standing here, staying here, permanent here, eternal here, and we have
one goal, one, one: to be.

We profoundly appreciate and value the positions of all states that have
supported our struggle and our rights and recognized the State of
Palestine following the Declaration of Independence in 1988, as well as
the countries that have recently recognized the State of Palestine and
those that have upgraded the level of Palestine's representation to
their capitals. I also salute the Secretary-General, who said a few days
ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years ago.

Be assured that this support for our people is more valuable to them
than you can imagine, for it makes them feel that someone is listening
to their narrative and that their tragedy and the horrors of Al-Nakba
and the occupation, from which they have so suffered, are not being
ignored. And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief that
justice is possible in this world. The loss of hope is the most
ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.

I say: The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after
decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering,
to live like other peoples o the earth, free in a sovereign and
independent homeland.

I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I, in
my capacity as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the
Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, submitted
to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, an
application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June
1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of
the United Nations.

I call upon Mr. Secretary General to expedite transmittal of our request
to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of
the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership. I also
appeal to the states that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine
to do so.

The support from the countries of the world for our endeavour is a
victory for truth, freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy,
and it provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the
chances of success in the negotiations.

Your support for the establishment of the State of Palestine and for its
admission to the United Nations as a full member is the greatest
contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land.

I thank you.

(5) Israel may withhold 40% of Palestinians' revenue as punishment for
UN vote - Finance Minister

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-21/israel-may-hold-palestinian-taxes-on-un-vote-steinitz-says.html

Israel May Hold Palestinian Taxes on UN Vote, Steinitz Says

Bloomberg September 21, 2011

By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Tal Barak Harif

(Updates with Obama meeting with Abbas in 10th paragraph.)

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Israel may withhold as much as 40 percent of
Palestinians' financial revenue should they persist in pushing for a
vote on statehood at the United Nations, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
said.

“It will be very difficult for us to continue to collaborate with a
hostile Palestinian entity,” Steinitz, 53, said in an interview
yesterday at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York. “Maybe we will tell
the Palestinians, 'OK, collect your own tax. Why should we do it for you?'”

Israel collects about $1.2 billion in fees each year for the Palestinian
Authority and has withheld the money in the past during disputes with
the Palestinians. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S.
Senate have called on President Barack Obama to reduce the Palestinians'
annual $500 million in foreign aid if they proceed at the UN's September
meeting.

“It's not up to me alone to make the decision, but in my view, if they
want to use their automatic majority in the UN, then I think we won't be
able to cooperate with such an assault on Israel's very legitimacy,”
Steinitz said. “We are concerned about the Palestinian attempt to betray
the very essence of the peace process.”

Steinitz was appointed finance minister at the end of March 2009, when
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government took office.

Economic Arsenal

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon warned the Palestinians that a
formal request for UN recognition would lead to Israeli countermeasures.
“There must be implications if the Palestinians realize their threat,
because this is a clear violation of all agreements, it is irresponsible
and we can't ignore it,” he said on Israel Radio.

Israel's ability to hurt its neighbor economically is a key tool the
Jewish state has at its disposal to try and dissuade Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from asking the UN Security Council on
Sept. 23 to recognize a Palestinian state and accept it as a full
member. As Israel's top ally, the U.S. has said it would use its veto
power in the 15-member UN body to prevent Abbas from reaching his goal.

“Everything depends on continuation of aid and the Palestinians being
able to access their own money from the Israelis, in terms of stability
and keeping things calm on the ground,” said Hussein Ibish, a senior
fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a Washington-based group
that advocates for a peaceful end to the conflict. “The grimmest
scenario is the U.S. and Israel both deciding to punish the Palestinians.”

Obama Support

U.S. assistance to the Palestinians for 2010 totaled $740 million,
directly and through organizations including UN aid agencies, according
to a State Department fact sheet. Israel's champions in the U.S.
Congress have threatened to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority as
punishment for seeking a UN vote.

For Obama, who is scheduled to meet in New York with Netanyahu this
morning and Abbas this afternoon, the pressure to be seen as
unwaveringly on Israel's side is mounting ahead of the 2012 elections.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said yesterday that Obama's
policy in the Middle East was “naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview on CNN's “Piers
Morgan Tonight” that Obama “is trying, to the best of my judgment, to be
even-handed with the Palestinians.”

'Start to Move'

Barak said that Obama isn't “part of the problem; he is part of the
solution” and that it was “up to us, and mainly our counterparts,”
including Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad,
“to shoulder the burden of leadership and start to move.”

Palestinian negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh on Sept. 13 dismissed concerns
that the U.S. would cut funding if the Palestinians go to the UN. He
also suggested Israeli threats to retaliate by holding back tax and
customs revenue shouldn't be taken seriously.

“Cutting off funds to the Palestinians carries with it a lot of
repercussions that are not exactly in favor of Israel,” said Marwan
Muasher, a vice president at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington and
Jordan's first ambassador to Israel. “If the Palestinian people see that
their lifeline is cut off by Israelis, that might be the trigger for
large-scale demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, especially in the
context of what's been happening in the Arab World.”

Steinitz also said retaliation from Israel won't go as far as annexing
the West Bank, as called for by some members of Netanyahu's ruling Likud
party.

“I don't think that this will be our reaction,” he said. “Maybe because
we always want to leave room for the future peace process.”

'Probability of Friction'

In a separate interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., Barak said
UN recognition of a Palestinian state would “raise the probability of
friction because a state has self- evident rights.” If the Palestinians
try to exercise those rights “on the ground, that will meet with our
effective control of the area,” he said.

Fayyad is wrapping up a two-year program of strengthening the courts,
roads, schools and other institutions that would form the basis of a
Palestinian state, a process the International Monetary Fund says has
largely succeeded.

“We are looking for this week being a week that produces an outcome that
we can use to reaffirm our cause and bring us closer to our date with
freedom,” Fayyad told reporters on Sept. 19 in New York after a meeting
with donors.

Arab Pledges

Saudi Arabia said on Sept. 20 that it would pay $200 million to the
Palestinian Authority to help Fayyad out of a financial crisis that has
left him struggling to pay his employees in a slowing $13 billion
economy and reliant on foreign aid to narrow a budget deficit of about
$1 billion.

Still, Arab donors don't always follow through on pledges. In a July 3
news conference at his office in Ramallah, Fayyad said that only Oman,
Algeria and the United Arab Emirates had fulfilled foreign-aid commitments.

“Palestinians can expect generous pledges from Arab states, but must
doubt they'll actually arrive,” Ibish said in an interview. “There's a
real shortfall between what's been pledged and what's been delivered.”

By contrast, Israel's economy is “very vibrant,” Steinitz said in an
interview with Tom Keene yesterday on Bloomberg Television's “Midday
Surveillance.”

Months of turmoil in the Middle East have had a “very minimal” effect on
Israel's economy, even as diplomatic ties with Egypt and Turkey
deteriorate, he said. Trade with Turkey grew “significantly” in the
first half. The IMF raised its forecast for the nation's growth rate for
2011 yesterday from 3.8 percent in April.

Economic Growth

Steinitz said the economy will grow 4.5 percent to 4.7 percent this
year, more than double the 1.6 percent rate the IMF predicted yesterday
for developed nations.

Still, the cost of insuring Israeli government debt against non-payment
through five-year credit-default swaps rose to 189 this week, the
highest for more than two years, according to data provider CMA, which
is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the
privately negotiated market.

The minister has used his economic arsenal against Fayyad before. In
May, he delayed transfer of the custom fees -- almost $100 million for
the month -- until Palestinian officials offered proof the money
wouldn't go to the Islamic Hamas movement, which controls Gaza and is
considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European
Union.

Two months later, Fayyad said he would have to slash June paychecks by
50 percent for 151,000 civil-service employees. International donors
have pledged $971 million this year to the Palestinian Authority, about
a quarter of its $3.7 billion budget.

“It's not truly independent yet,” said Steinitz, who was a lecturer in
philosophy at Haifa University before he entered the Knesset in 1999 as
a member of the Likud party. “The economy is surviving only because of
influx of funds from abroad.”

--With assistance from Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv, Alisa Odenheimer
and Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem, and John Brinsley in Tokyo. Editors:
Riad Hamade, Kenneth Fireman, Ben Holland, Louis Meixler.

To contact the reporters on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United
Nations at fjackson@bloomberg.net; Tal Barak Harif in New York at
tbarak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at
rhamade@bloomberg.net

(6) Congressional bill would make U.S. funding of UN conditional on how
it votes on Palestine


From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2011 12:55:21 -0400

House Reps Reach Across The Aisle to Block Palestinian Statehood

By Paul Mutter

Foreign Policy in Focus

September 17, 2011

http://www.fpif.org/blog/house_reps_reach_across_the_aisle_to_block_palestinian_statehood

House Reps Reach Across the Aisle to Block Palestinian Statehood

By Paul Mutter, September 17, 2011

If one thing has the potential to unite the fractious U.S. House of
Representatives, it is the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN.
First up, we have Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Chairwoman
of the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, pushing a bill that
would make U.S. funding of UN agencies conditional on how the body votes
this month on Palestinian statehood. But the bill, which was just
presented in the House, would also allow the U.S. to suspend financial
support to the Palestinian Authority. ...

But we also have House Democrats, despite Obama's vow to exercise the
U.S.'s veto power in the UN Security Council against the Palestinian
effort, joining with Republicans in proposing punitive actions against
the Palestinians. Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Republican Eric
Cantor of Virginia have introduced a (non-binding) resolution, drawing
hundreds of signatures, which would strip the Palestinian Authority of
the US$600 million worth of aid payments it receives from the U.S.
government. Democratic Congressman of NJ Steve Rothman, who sits on the
powerful House Appropriate Committee, and who supports cutting aid to
the Palestinians if they proceed at the UN, had the following to say to
Washington Jewish Weekly:

The P.A. is acting irrationally and against its own interests. These
resolutions are unambiguous, and when put into effect ... will have a
devastating impact on the Palestinian economy. Most of the Palestinian
leadership has decided to turn a blind eye to the terrible consequences
that will result upon their own people.

Another Democratic-backed resolution is aimed at U.S. allies who have
expressed support for the Palestinian initiative. It would "prohibit
Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP) assistance to countries that
vote in the UN General Assembly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian
state in the absence of a negotiated border agreement between the
Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority." So far, it's main
supporters are all Democrats -- Steve Israel and Eliot Engel of NY,
Robert Brady of Pennsylvania and Steve Rothman of NJ. None of these
individuals are no-name Congressmen: Israel, a member of several Israeli
caucuses in the House, was appointed by Nancy Pelosi to serve as the
head of the 2012 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and, along
with Rothman, sits on the House Appropriations Committee. Engel is a
member of the aforementioned House Foreign Affairs Committee. Brady has
a seat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The multibillion-dollar FMFP is overseen by the Department of Defense
but ultimately answers to Congress because it was established during the
Cold War by Congress through a law called the Foreign Assistance Act.
The bill, first reported on by Washington Jewish Weekly, is based on the
rationale that foreign countries that oppose Israel should no longer
receive U.S. military assistance. ...

These bipartisan Congressional efforts show just how much Washington is
willing to gamble on Israel's behalf this September. While some
Democrats have announced their opposition to the GOP's UN-targeted bill,
the FMFP and aid suspension resolutions may yet be one "liberal"
defense-slashing bill we might see many Congressional Republicans
supporting.

Might. After all, the defense industry sells many of the same weapons to
both Israel and countries like Saudi Arabia. Who cares who recognizes
who as long as both keep buying!

Paul Mutter is a graduate student at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism
Institute at NYU and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

(7) Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US
Intelligence


From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 20:25:41 -0400 (EDT)

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/20/2416502/al-jazeera-director-announces.html

Posted on Tuesday, 09.20.11

Al-Jazeera: Director announces resignation

BY MAGGIE MICHAEL

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAIRO -- The Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel has announced Tuesday that
its director has stepped down after serving the network for eight years.

Wadah Khanfar's resignation follows release of documents by Wikileaks,
purporting to show he had close ties with the U.S. and agreed to remove
some content in response to American objections.

The leaked 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable indicated that Khanfar was in
constant contact with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, responding
to U.S. complaints of negative coverage and promising to tone down items
on the station's website. The cables referred to Qatari Ministry of
Foreign Affairs as "MFA" which passed him some of the DIA reports.

Al-Jazeera said in a statement that Khanfar expressed his desire to
resign in July, and that his replacement was arranged one month ago to
"to ensure a smooth transition." The statement did not refer to the
leaked cable.

The cable, written by the U.S. embassy in Doha, said the website piece,
"Live Testimony Concerning Tal Afar," showed 10 witnesses giving their
accounts of U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Khanfar, according to the cable, "had taken a look at the piece and had
two images removed (two injured children in hospital beds and a women
with serious facial injury)."

Khanfar also referred to "a non-paper" agreement between the station and
U.S. government, in his criticism of another August report by DIA
pointing to a "violation to the station's agreement." Khanfar responded
by saying "as a news organization, we can't sign agreements of this
nature, and to have it here like this in writing is of concern to us."

On his Twitter account, Khanfar justified his resignation as prompted by
the network needs for "renewal and change," and commented on several
tweets linking his resignation to the leaked U.S. embassy cables, by
saying, "(I am) entertained by all the rumors of why I have resigned."

The cable's disclosure of the Qatari-based network's cooperation with
the U.S. government is a stark contrast with Al-Jazeera's reputation as
a harsh critic of U.S. policies.

At the same time, the United States shown little openness to the
network, and Al-Jazeera's English language service has limited access to
American viewers.

The Qatar-funded station praised Khanfar for "outstanding contributions"
and named his successor, Sheik Ahmad bin Jasem bin Muhammad Al-Thani, a
Qatari businessman and member of the royal family.

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