a different side of Israel

Tag: Palestinian Statehood

Mazal Tov to the Palestinian Authority!

On Monday, they became a full member of the U.N. cultural and educational agency. As a result, U.S. lawmakers have threatened to withhold roughly $80 million in annual funding to UNESCO if it approved Palestinian membership. Currently, the United States provides some 22 percent of UNESCO’s funding.

Huge cheers went up in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after delegates approved the membership in a vote of 107-14 with 52 abstentions. Eighty-one votes would have been required for approval in a hall with 173 UNESCO member delegations present.

The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership while, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and France voted in favor. Britain abstained.

Meanwhile, the NGO, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions has presented the United Nations with a case that Israel targeted Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency and spoiling the quality of life. Israel made no comment.

Since Saturday, Israel has been under a constant salvo of grad missiles. With upwards of ten Israeli civilians killed and dozens wounded.

As a result of Israel’s response, 12 Palestinians have been killed, all of them members of the terrorist organization, Al Ahrar and Islamic Jihad and among them one of the group’s chief bomb makers. Islamic Jihad has vowed revenge saying ‘Our response shall be in the depths of the Zionist entity.’

Palestinian’s Do The UN

On Wednesday, the Palestinians received approval for a statehood bid for full membership in Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as part of their broader campaign for recognition as a state by the United Nations Security Council. But full membership in Unesco could mean a legally mandated cutoff of all contributions from the United States, both dues and voluntary.

Currently, the peace-process is at an impasse, according to the PLO, as a result of expanded settlement construction by Bibi. Israel who has just returned murderous Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Shalit was pounded Sunday and Monday by rockets fired at civilian areas.

Existing United States legislation will cutoff of money to the United Nations or any of its agencies should they grant “full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” Currently, the United States contributes 22 percent of Unesco’s budget.

The first approval came in a vote by Unesco’s executive board of 58 nations. Full membership would require approval by the 193-nation General Conference. Membership would permit Palestinian officials to seek the protection of Palestinian historical sites by the cultural organization.

Sponsored by several Arab states, the executive board approved a draft resolution for membership by a 40-to-4 vote. Fourteen delegations have abstained, including ones from France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, while America, Latvia, Germany and Romania in opposing the measure; Russia joined African and Arab states to support the bid.

Hillary Clinton said:

“Unfortunately there are those who, in their enthusiasm to recognize the aspirations of the Palestinian people, are skipping over the most important step, which is determining what the state will look like, what its borders are, how it will deal with the myriad issues that states must address…”

However, Palestinian officials have said that failure at the Security Council would push them to seek an upgrade in their United Nations status to that of a “non-member state.”

Aren’t You Glad I Said Gilo?

The United States is warning that should the Israel expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the prospect of peace with the Palestinians will be put in peril. The truth is that should the Jewish County not expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians will still not recognize Israel; there will be no peace. So there is actually nothing that can be “placed in peril” in the first place.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined a wave of global condemnation of Israel’s decision to build 1,100 new homes in the town of Gilo which is situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and is home to some 500,000 Israelis. She said the move could be seen as “provocative” and “counter-productive”.

The European Union’s head of foreign policy, Lady Ashton, says that the settlement expansion “threatens the viability of the agreed two state solution” and calls for the decision to be reversed. However, a two-state solution has not necessarily been agreed to.

The negotiator for the Palestinian Saeb Erekat told the press that the move was “a slap in the face”.

The Middle East Quartet which is made up of the European Union, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations is now attempting to bring both the Palestinians and Israel to the negotiating table within the next month.

The Palestinians called for a freeze on settlement construction as a condition for joining renewed peace-talks. However the building in Gilo should not come as a surprise as Bibi, after his UN speech stressed to the press there would be no renewed settlement freeze. The expansion of Gilo has been planned for more than two years and will still be subject to a round of public consultation before it is finally approved. The Quartet is anxious to restart peace negotiations before the United Nations Security Council votes on the Palestinian bid for statehood.

Six Years without Gilad Shalit

It’s been 6 years since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. This is the Shana Tova (New Year) greeting that was mailed out to politicians and government officials by the family as a reminder.

A few days ago the Palestinian Prime Minister made his bid for Statehood and now waiting for an answer from the UN Council. You would expect that kidnapping and holding a soldier prisoner without basic humanitarian conditions or official communication, would be considered sufficient grounds for immediate disqualification of the bid. But not at the UN.

Gilad’s family will be spending yet another holiday at their tent outside the government offices in Jerusalem. They count the days (now 1920) since they saw their son. May this be the year Gilad comes home.

Obama Drops a Bomb on Abbas

Call it strategic Jew-baiting, call it what you will.

President Obama has finally swallowed that pill. He has fallen in line, put peace interests behind… a two-state solution may now never happen.

Blame it on Hamas. Blame it on Abbas. Blame it on Arafat alone, or old Ariel Sharon.

Reactions among the Palestinians to U.S. President Barak Obama’s speech at the United Nations last week are beginning to accumulate; and the consensus features some very very ugly responses.

Here is part of a column byAdel Abd al-Rahman, a Palestinian journalist from al-Hayat al-Jadida, a Palestinian Authority daily:

“The black president’s speech was blacker than the tar thrown at the Palestinians, because his main concern is to guarantee Jewish votes and AIPAC’s financial and propagandist support.
The idea that Jews control American politics is of course not new in Arab political discourse, nor is it uncommon for Arab media outlets to play up the race of senior U.S. officials. The Saudi press, for instance, made much of former Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice’s race in both its texts and cartoons. Nonetheless, it’s still strange that people determined to be accepted as an equal among nations wouldn’t be ashamed of projecting such a vicious worldview through an official media organ.”

MJ Rosenberg of al Jazeera wrote in his column:

“The Palestinian issue is the one issue on which all Muslims are united. Whether Saudi, Iranian, Indonesian, or Afghani, the one issue that brings Muslims together is the belief that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are terrible wrongs, supported by the US. Muslims aren’t the only ones who feel this way, as will be demonstrated by the overwhelming vote for the Palestinian statehood resolution that the US and Israel will stand virtually alone in opposing.

The Obama administration should keep that in mind when it decides how it will handle the vote. Promoting the two-state solution, starting with a vote FOR a Palestinian state at the UN, is not only the moral thing to do – just as it was when the US supported Israel’s statehood at the UN in 1947 – but it is also the right thing to do from the standpoint of America’s security. For Israel’s sake, for the Palestinians’, and for our own, the President should tell the US ambassador to the UN to vote ‘yes’.”

Rosenberg is wrong about the blockade on Gaza and the settlements in Judea and Samaria. With Hamas in the picture, the former is here to stay – even if it was Kadema’s fault that Hamas is so powerful – the latter is Abbas’ fault on account of his racism.

NyTimes video about Ariel…

Obama’s speech…

Paid Riots in Egypt, Jewish News Station Launch & Palestinian Statehood on the way

After being evacuated amidst the recent violent protests, four Israeli diplomats and security personnel will be returning to Israel’s embassy in Cairo. The return comes amidst reports by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that the protesters were actually paid to attack the embassy.

The envoys will return to Cairo to a different building and work to retain the Jewish Country’s diplomatic presence in Egypt. The ambassadors left almost two weeks ago after Egyptian demonstrators stormed Israel’s embassy in Cairo, necessitating the emergency rescue of its staff by Egyptian commandos.

Egyptian protesters who were recently questioned by Egyptian security reportedly said that they were offered money to cause the riots. The riot and protest participants were bused to the area, then given dinner and envelopes containing money, according to al-Ahram.

Just Journalism and JN1
In other news, Just Journalism, the organization set up three years ago to monitor media coverage of Israel, is closing its doors. A statement announcing the closure on its website this afternoon told supporters: “Despite our extremely modest budget it has become increasingly difficult to financially sustain the operation in the current economic environment”.

Along with daily online briefings, Just Journalism published more detailed reports to expose “skewed” reporting of the Jewish Country.
Its advisory board includes MP Denis MacShane, political commentator Robin Shepherd, think-tank head Douglas Murray and the editor of Standpoint magazine Daniel Johnson.

Meanwhile, Ynet reports that the first-ever Jewish news network will commence broadcasting this week:

Jewish News 1 (JN1) was born as an alternative to the world’s leading news networks – CNN, Fox News and Sky News. But its main goal is to serve as the Jewish version of al-Jazeera, which has won the hearts of tens of millions of Arab viewers over the past 15 years.

According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, the channel will be broadcast via satellite to Europe, North America and the Middle East. In Israel it will be offered by the Yes satellite company.

“Jewish News 1” will broadcast news from Israel and the world 24/7. The network has already set up studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev, and additional studios will be opened in Washington, Paris and London in the coming months.

The network has 12 correspondents, all foreigners, who are currently deployed in six countries. The casting of reporters to cover the news in Israel, Europe and Russia will be completed in the coming days.

The network will begin its broadcasts in English, but its managers seek to offer news in seven additional languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German.

“We’ll broadcast everything that is newsworthy,” says Alexander Zanzer, the channel’s editor-in-chief in Brussels, where the station is based. “Alongside general news, we’ll offer economic and cultural items, as well as a peek into educational projects. Everything you can see on other global news channels, you’ll be able to see on our channel as well.”

Palestinian Statehood on track…
In other news, Palestinian diplomats are planning to submit their application for statehood to the United Nations Security Council on Friday, even as world leaders are pressuring President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace negotiations with Israel as an alternative. The quartet of powers involved in brokering peace—that is the U.N., the European Union, U.S., and Russia—hope to set up a feasible timeline for new negotiations, alongside a pledge supporting Palestinian statehood should the negotiations fail. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Sunday, however,“Unfortunately, we didn’t get any solid or even medium-sized [offer] at all. As a result, yes, we are firm in our decision to go to the Security Council.”

Palestinian Statehood Bid

The former Foreign Secretary of Britain, Jack Straw has called on MPs to back the Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations.

The British government has not yet confirmed whether it will support the bid if a vote goes ahead. The U.S. will not back the move. Straw wrote to every member of British Parliament urging them to help the Palestinian cause for statehood.

“It is vital that the UK and other European countries have the courage to point the way forward.” He added that the UN, World Bank, the EU and the IMF have all deemed the Palestinians “ready for statehood” and said: “We all understand the fears that Israelis have for their security, but it will not enhance their security to deny the right of self-determination permanently to the Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S. would not admit that homosexuality would not be tolerated in a Palestinian state. Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post, points out that the price for being gay in the Hamas-ruled
Gaza Strip is the death penalty:

The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?”

In an April broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aksa TV, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Syrian academic Muhammad Rateb al- Nabulsi said, “Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”

But homosexuals aren’t all who are strongly unwelcome in the proposed Palestinian State. Ha’aretz reported:

The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to “be separated.”

Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States, made the comment just as the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, was preparing to offer up Palestinian statehood to a vote in the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

The left-wing Israeli daily also reported that Hamas is not backing Abbas’ statehood bid. Further evidence that the PA and Hamas are not altogether reconciled:

The Islamist Hamas movement said Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to approach the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood was a “tactical” move, part of a negotiations process, and therefore could not be backed. The move was not based on principles and “Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it,” Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.

Jews Against Obama?

With the first round of GOP primary debates already underway, a lingering question is whether President Obama honored the Jewish vote he had so clearly secured when he won the 2009 presidential race.

Republican Bob Turner’s upset victory last Tuesday in the special election for the mostly Democratic congressional seat in New York’s ninth district is said to be a referendum on Obama’s failed economic policies and relations with Israel.

House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night that voters from New York “delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government. It’s time to scrap the failed ‘stimulus’ agenda and the misguided policies on Israel and focus on getting America back to creating jobs again.”

Obama’s campaign is downplaying the suggestion that Jewish voters are turning against the president. Pete Sessions, the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman however said in a statement that the race demonstrates “voters are losing confidence in a president whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel.”

Other issues are lingering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya where a NATO assisted coup on the Qadaffi regime will win control over the region for the al-Qaeda.

Democratic State Assemblyman who lost to Turner, David Weprin, is an Orthodox Jew while Turner is a Catholic who has managed to maintain a stronger pro-Zionist stance than his Jewish opponent.

Ed Koch, former New York Mayor and Jerusalem Post columnist said this summer he was endorsing Turner as a way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel.

Executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks said in a statement “without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.”

Abe Novick wrote on his blog over at Jerusalem Post:

“From Rick Perry to Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum et al., their backing is clear. During the last decade, especially since President George W. Bush had to confront the reality of terrorism head on, the GOP has worked to position itself as the more supportive party, favorable and in line with Israel and therefore to many Jewish voters. At the same time, for the past several elections, Democrats have taken the Jewish vote for granted. Behind the scenes, JStreet, the leftwing lobbying organization, has been overly influential on the Obama administration and has shaped and influenced its policy vis-à-vis Israel.”

Nonetheless, Abe Novick writes:

1. Prior to yesterday’s win in the Brooklyn-Queens district where Anthony Weiner had been the Democratic Representative to Congress, a Democratic polling firm (Public Policy Polling) found that 54% of all voters in the Weiner district and 68% of Jewish voters, disapproved of Mr. Obama’s position on Israel. Additionally, 37% of all voters and 58% of Jewish voters said Mr. Obama’s Israel position was “very important” in deciding their vote. Yesterday, even in the heavily Democratic district where they have a 3-1 majority, Republican Bob Turner won. Moreover, in a district that is 40% Jewish, Turner is a 70-year-old Catholic who won against David Weprin, a Jewish Democrat. If that’s not a wake-up call, then the Whitehouse needs to install air raid sirens from Israel.

2. In the midst of the upcoming U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, the Obama Administration has only recently publicly said they plan to veto it in the Security Council. Why the long wait in making a public statement and elongating the mystery? Meanwhile, he has sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton off in a last minute attempt to beg and cajole the PA not to go through with it. By not understanding that the PA is now one-half Hamas, due to their alliance, he’s dealing with a terrorist organization and one that does not and will not recognize Israel.”

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