Archive | November 29th, 2012

DIMONA GETS A SYNAGOGUE

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WAR AND POLITICS FROM A LEFT-CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE: DIMONA GETS A SYNAGOGUE

There’s a new god being worshipped in Israel—the god of nuclear weapons.

The Zionist state has built a new synagogue. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary there, you might think—other than the fact that the Israelis have chosen to put their new house of worship in a rather  peculiar place: smack dab in the middle of their Dimona Nuclear Facility. Yes, folks, UN weapons inspectors can’t get in to inspect the place for nuclear weapons, but on Tuesday of next week a premiere inauguration ceremony will be held at the site featuring special invited guests who will get to oooh and ahhh over the unveiling of a Torah scroll. It kind of reminds me of the title of a book published several years ago by Mark Gaffney: Dimona: The Third Temple?

According to the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, the initiative to build the synagogue began roughly a year ago when the Israeli Rabbi David Abuhatseira contacted American Jewish billionaire Ira Rennert about the lack of any appropriate worship facility for employees at the plant.

“The rabbi claimed that having a synagogue at the reactor would reflect a combination of tremendous holiness and power, which is very important”—so says an unnamed source quoted in the story. “The rabbi asked us to make the preparations as soon as possible and construction of the synagogue was completed only recently. The building, located inside the reactor, is brand new, very fancy, and contains some 300 places.”

Thousands of people work at the plant, some of them there even during holidays, and up until now there was no synagogue, the newspaper goes on to report.

Just to connect a few dots here: Israel Hayom is the newspaper owned by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the chief funder of the Mitt Romney campaign, while Ira Rennert got rich dealing in junk bonds and buying up companies, many of them in bankruptcy. Today, with a net worth of approximately $5.9 billion, he has holdings in mining and metals, including lead smelters and coal mines. According to Wikipedia:

Rennert caused controversy among his neighbors by building a beach front home in Sagaponack, New York considered one of the largest occupied residential compounds in America.[33] The house outraged locals, who claimed Rennert originally planned to use it as a spa, a hotel, or a religious retreat. Rennert denied such allegations, and the local paper later issued an apology.[34] Rennert named his home after the adjoining body of water, Fairfield Pond. The house faces theAtlantic Ocean and its grounds measure 63 acres (250,000 m2). The buildings, which total over 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2), including the 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) main house, have an Italianate facade, 29 bedrooms, and 39 bathrooms. The house has a dozen chimneys and a Mediterranean-style tile roof as well as a 91-foot (28 m) long formal dining room, a basketball court, a bowling alley, two tennis courts, two squash courts, and a $150,000 hot tub. Its property taxes in 2007 were $397,559.00. Based on these taxes, the home is currently valued at $198 million[22] making it the most valuable home in the United States. Besides his house in Sagaponack, Rennert owns a duplex apartment on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, a home in Israel, and a Gulfstream V jet.
Rabbi David Abuhatseira (also spelled Abuhatzeira) is described here as “one of the most prominent kabbalistic rabbis in Israel,” and is also recognized as “the spiritual leader of Chesed and Misgav” (a Jewish charity in Israel). The same site also informs us that “Chesed and Misgav is proud to have the support of Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes as the chairman of the board.”

During a three day Israeli bombing of Gaza back in March of this year, Shalom Nir-Mozes, an influential media personality in the country as well as the wife of former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, called for an escalation of the attacks to include even the “passive residents” of the Palestinian coastal territory.

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Court: Extradite Serb-Israeli wanted for genocide

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Alexander Zvtkovic is suspected of involvement in killing up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica massacre.

ed note–the only reason Israel is doing this is because  Zvtkovic is not Jewish, even though his wife is. By doing this, Israel can maintain the illusion that she is a ‘nation of laws’ while at the same time does not violate her decades-old policy of not extraditing Jews for prosecution in Gentile countries.

jpost.com

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to extradite Serb-Israeli Alexander Cvtkovic to Bosnia-Herzegovina for genocide.

Cvtkovic is suspected of involvement in the 1995 “Srebrenica massacre,” in which upwards of 8,000 Muslims were murdered after Serb forces overran the town during the 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia.

The 43-year-old Cvetkovic was alleged to be a former member of the 10th Sapper’s Unit of the Bosnian-Serb army.

The request for his extradition was submitted by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina on August 29, 2010.

The defense had claimed, among other things, that Cvetkovic was stunned by the charges.

It argued that he had been a soldier, but did not participate in the actions attributed to him.

However, according to the testimony of some eyewitnesses, Cvetkovic took part in a massacre at the Branjevo Farm on July 16, 1995.

Derzen Ardomovic, who testified at the trial of other suspects in the Srebrenica massacres, served in the same unit as Cvetkovic. In his testimony, Ardomovic said that on that day, their commanding officers informed them that in a few minutes, buses carrying Muslims from Srebrenica would be arriving and that they were to be executed.

When the buses arrived, Ardomovic said, the commanders ordered the soldiers to remove them and escort them to the place where they were to be executed. The soldiers led the people, whose eyes were blindfolded and their hands tied, a distance of 100-200 meters from the bus, Ardomovic had testified.

“There they shot them in the back in accordance with a command from Brano Gojkovic [one of the commanders]. Eight soldiers took part in the execution. All of them obeyed the commands and fired at the victims with their automatic rifles,” Ardomovic said.

He added that at one point, Cvetkovic complained that the executions were taking place too slowly and suggested using an M-84 machine gun to kill the Muslims.

The other soldiers agreed and used it to open fire on two groups of captives, he said.

Ardomovic estimated that between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the soldiers killed 1,000 to 1,200 Bosnians.

Another witness, known only by his initials Z.I., also testified that Cvetkovic had been one of eight Serb soldiers who carried out the execution at the farm.

He said that a bus carrying captured Muslims arrived every 20-30 minutes at the farm. The soldiers were ordered to escort groups of 10 passengers at a time to a spot near the bus. The passengers ranged in age between 18 and 60. There were a few in military uniforms but most of the victims were dressed in civilian clothing.

Cvetkovic immigrated to Israel with his wife and children in 2006 and received Israeli citizenship because his wife is Jewish. He was living in Carmiel and worked in a factory and in construction before his arrest.

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Germany will not back Palestinian U.N. bid: government spokesman

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by crescentandcross

reuters.com

Germany will not back a Palestinian bid for a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations, the government spokesman said on Wednesday.

The United Nations is due to hold a vote on Thursday on an upgrade of Palestinian status at the 193-member body to an observer state from an observer entity.

“We are assessing the situation and want as much agreement as possible with our European partners… But it is certain that Germany will not vote for such a resolution,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.

RELATED–

William Hague says UK may abstain in Palestinian UN vote

bbc.co.uk

Foreign Secretary William Hague has suggested the UK is likely to abstain in a key vote on upgraded diplomatic status at the UN for Palestinians.

He said the UK would not oppose moves to recognise the Palestinians as a “non-member observer state”.

But he said he needed a number of assurances, principally that the Palestinians would seek negotiations with Israel “without pre-conditions”.

Palestinian diplomats said they had rejected the “unrealistic” demands.

The vote on upgrading the Palestinians from their current “permanent observer” status is seen as a symbolic milestone in Palestinian ambitions for statehood.

However, a yes vote would also have a practical diplomatic effect as it would allow the Palestinians to participate in debates at the UN and improve their chances of joining UN agencies, although the process was neither automatic nor guaranteed.

In a statement to MPs, Mr Hague set out the conditions he said were needed for the UK to back the move, suggesting they would not be “difficult” to achieve.

‘Public assurances’

The first was an “indispensable” assurance had to be given by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinians were committed to return to negotiations with Israel without any conditions.

  • Nations in favour of or likely to support the bid: France, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Turkey, China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria
  • Nations against or likely to oppose the bid: Israel, US, Germany, Netherlands,
  • Nations set to abstain: UK (needs assurances that the Palestinians would seek negotiations with Israel “without pre-conditions”), Australia, Belgium, Colombia

He said the Palestinians must also agree not to seek membership of International Criminal Court (ICC), as any move to extend the jurisdiction of the court over the occupied territories could derail any chance of talks resuming.

“Up until the time of the vote itself, we will remain open to voting in favour of the resolution, if we see public assurances by the Palestinians on these points,” he said.

“However, in the absence of these assurances, the UK would abstain on the vote. This would be consistent with our strong support for the principle of Palestinian statehood, but our strong concern that the resolution could set the peace process back.”

‘Unworkable’

Mr Hague said he had made it clear to Mr Abbas that he believed pushing the issue to a vote was premature as the focus should be on a return to negotiations but the UK must make its position clear in the run-up to the decision.

The Palestinians’ ambassador to the UK said Mr Abbas had rejected the British conditions in a phone call with the foreign secretary.

“He told Mr Hague the resolution would remain unchanged and called the conditions unrealistic and would provoke a public anger,” Manuel Hassassian told the BBC.

The request not to join the ICC was “absolutely unworkable”, he stressed, and entering negotiations without any strings attached meant abandoning the key demand that the construction of settlements on the West Bank must be frozen.

Mr Hassassian said he considered Britain’s planned abstention as a “face-saving” gesture.

“The UK is keen on striking the right diplomatic balance; namely, it is committed to the two-state solution but it also wants to stick to the US line on the Palestinian statehood bid, which is totally opposing it.”

‘Two-state solution’

Observers say the application is likely win approval in the 193-member UN General Assembly when it is put to a vote, because it needs only a simple majority to pass.

According to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), more than 130 countries now grant the Palestinians the rank of a sovereign state.

France, Spain and Norway are among those to be urging the General Assembly to raise the Palestinians’ UN status.

The US and Israel oppose the move, citing concerns that the Palestinians are trying to seek full statehood via the UN, rather than through negotiation as set out in the 1993 Oslo peace accords under which the Palestinian Authority was established.

The Labour leadership have long backed the call for recognition, arguing it is an opportunity to “support the cause” of a two-state solution and would boost the position of moderate Palestinians.

‘Betrayed’

In a short debate in the House of Lords – the UK Parliament’s second chamber – to mark the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, independent peer Baroness Tonge said the Palestinians had been “totally betrayed” by successive British governments.

The 1917 Declaration, in the form of a letter by the then foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, is regarded as the first significant assertion by a world power of their support for a Jewish “national home” in what was then known as Palestine.

Baroness Tonge, a frequent critic of Israel who quit the Lib Dems earlier this year, added: “By making our government’s support for the UN bid conditional on Palestine not pursuing Israel through the ICC, is the government not admitting Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank and is seeking impunity for that country?”

But Labour peer Lord Turnberg said he thought the UN application was “more of a distraction than a help” to efforts for peace.

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Children Face the Fallout of Gaza War

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by Mel Frykberg

As Israel and Hamas separately celebrate the ceasefire and their “victory” over the other following Israel’s blistering eight-day military assault on the Gaza strip, civilians continue to pay the price.

According to the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR), more than 160 Palestinians lost their lives by Nov. 21, the last day of the bloody confrontation between the world’s third most powerful military and Palestinian fighters. The dead included at least 103 civilians, 33 of them children. More than a thousand Palestinians were wounded, including 971 civilians — 274 of them children.

Three of the Palestinian civilians killed were journalists who died after repeated Israeli attacks on media buildings where Palestinian and foreign journalists were working. Six Israelis were killed as indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza targeted Israeli cities.

But the war and its consequences have been the hardest for Gaza’s children, unable to comprehend the volatility and the political intricacies in the place they call home.

“Mamma, mamma,” cries Muhammad Abu Zour, 7, in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza city. His head is bandaged and one of his eyes is purple and badly swollen. His eyes flicker upward and backward.

“There is a possibility that he has severe brain damage as there is internal bleeding within his skull,” nurse Sana Thabat, 23, from Gaza’s Shifa Hospital tells IPS.

Muhammad was wounded last week after Israeli F-16 fighter jets targeted his family home as the occupants slept. The shelling killed two women from the Abu Zour family; Sahar Fadi Abu Zour, 20, Nisma Helmi Abu Zour, 21; and Muhammad’s little brother Eyad Abu Zour, 5.

The Israeli jets had been targeting the home of an alleged militant next door. The Zeitoun neighborhood is densely populated by civilians and far from any Hamas military compounds.

In another case of Israeli “collateral damage,” 11 members of the Dalu family, including four women and four children, were killed when an Israeli missile hit a four-story house belonging to Jamal Mahmoud Yassin al-Dalu 52, in the north of Gaza city last Sunday.

Alia Kalajar, 23, from Shijaiya in Gaza weeps silently as she holds the hand of her 7-year-old daughter Nisma. “Nisma has stopped talking, and we don’t know if she will ever talk again. She has a head fracture and is bleeding internally too,” Kalajar tell IPS.

The little girl fell from her home on the third floor of a building that was struck by an Israeli drone. Nineteen Palestinian civilians were injured in that strike.

Abdel Azis Ashour, 6, from Zeitoun has shrapnel injuries in both his legs. He was playing with his seven brothers and sisters last Tuesday when an Israeli drone targeted his neighborhood.

His cousin was killed and five other civilians were injured. But the little boy remains cheerful despite the grim circumstances and the pain he is in. “I’m not afraid of the Israelis,” he tells IPS as he flashes the V-for-victory sign.

Shifa Hospital staff has been forced to work long hours with limited medical equipment and dwindling supplies of medicines.

“I’ve seen so many dead and injured children. In the end one becomes a little numb to the situation,” nurse Adnan Bughadi, 22, from Shijaiya tells IPS. “Most of us have been working double shifts to cope with all the wounded, and it is very tiring. At one stage the floors were covered in blood and there was a shortage of beds for the wounded.”

“The hospital is running low on some essential medicines and has run out of others,” nurse Thabet tells IPS. “I find it very distressing seeing the number of children and other civilians killed, but what can we do? We have to keep going.”

The PCHR has called for an international fact-finding mission “to investigate war crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and to take necessary measures to prosecute the perpetrators.”

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It rains rocket from Gaza, never bombs from IsraHell

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Conservative Friends of Israel

Alistair Burt is the UK Foreign Office minister in charge of Middle East affairs. He is also a former officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby group. He resigned from that position when he became a minister, but leopards don’t suddenly change their spots.

Judge for yourself.

I sent a question through my MP asking why government ministers such as Burt quote exact numbers of rockets fired from Gaza without also giving the corresponding numbers of bombs, rockets, shells and other ordnance poured into Gaza by the Israeli military.

In his letter of reply Burt says: “There are no reliable statistics on the number of bombs and other ordnance fired by the Israel Defence Force on Gaza and Israel does not make public this information”.

In that case, should he not make it clear when quoting Gaza’s rocket numbers that Israel refuses to provide numbers of their own vastly superior missiles used to bombard Gaza?

Yesterday in Parliament David Amess, another officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel, was playing the familiar game of planting parliamentary questions designed to deflect attention from Israel’s malodorous reputation. He asked Burt what recent reports the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs [William Hague] had received on the number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel since 30 October; what recent discussions he has had with the government of Israel on such attacks; and if he would make a statement.

It is astonishing that in all its discussions with Israel’s ministers the Foreign Office hasn’t managed to extract data on Israeli bombing and rocket attacks.

Burt obligingly replied: “We have received reports that 287 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel between 30 October and 14 November. According to Israel Defence Forces figures, 1,443 rockets were fired during the period 14-21 November.” He added that Hague spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on 17 and 21 November and he, Burt, spoke to him on 21 November and again on 22 November.

Such precision is of course commendable but grossly lopsided and plainly calculated to mislead Parliament and public. It is astonishing that in all its discussions with Israel’s ministers the Foreign Office hasn’t managed to extract data on Israeli bombing and rocket attacks.

Burt, I venture to suggest, ought to paint a balanced picture and not simply regurgitate Israeli propaganda without caveats and facts from the other side. He should inform the Israeli authorities that British ministers will not in future quote figures for Palestinian rockets unless accompanied by corresponding numbers of Israel’s. These should then be cross-checked with Palestinian and independent sources for proper monitoring.

The same goes for any remarks about Iran’s so far non-existent nuclear weapons. There should be equal emphasis on Israel’s vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

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Perpetual conflict by IsraHell design

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Israel's perpetual conflict

For a moment or two the slaughter of Palestinian civilians and the destruction in Gaza City has ceased. But the oppression, intimidation and terror throughout the occupied Palestinian territories continue unabated.

Israel’s operation “Pillar of Cloud” has done its destructive work and blown over, until the next time Israel feels the urge to wreak chaos, kill civilians and tear families apart. How many times must we watch this slaughter, how many more tears will be shed, lives ruined, futures denied? As the peace activist Izzeldin Abuelaish put it, “How many more massacres can Palestinians stand? How many can onlookers tolerate?”

During the week-long Israeli military storm, and amid the circular argument espoused by the Israeli military spokespeople and repeated ad infinitum by Israel’s spineless allies, that when Hamas stops firing rockets, Israel will cease its brutality, 162 Palestinians were killed and, according to Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, 1,039 injured – half of whom were women and children. Homes, schools, mosques, universities, places of work and infrastructure were reduced to rubble. So much for Israel’s “surgical strikes”!

On the other side, according to the United Nations six Israelis were killed and 219 were injured by the 1,456 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. Despite the heavy civilian loss of life on the Palestinian side, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the BBC that “Israel will do “everything in its power” to avoid civilian casualties in the conflict with Hamas”.

Israel boasts the fourth most powerful armed forces in the world, thanks largely to the US arms industry and taxpayer. Compared to its sophisticated arsenal, the Palestinians of Gaza’s rockets are mere firecrackers. But the bully always uses overwhelming force, first, because he usually has it and, secondly, because he is itching to use it.

Human Right Watch proclaims that “there is no justification for Palestinian armed groups unlawfully launching rockets at Israeli population centres”. Sitting comfortably on the moral high ground, it is easy to pronounce the platitude that violence is never justified. However, if, as the people of Gaza do, you live in an open air prison without hope or justice, where intimidation and abuse is a daily affair and manipulation and control the norm, where your dignity has been stolen and your liberty denied, then it is not surprising that provocations will bring an exasperated scream of frustration and hate.

Assassination and truce

Israel has been carrying out “targeted killings” for years. With America legitimizing extra-judicial assassinations, there is nothing to stop Israeli’s secret service Mossad or its air force from killing whoever they like and whenever they choose. Israel is, after all, the champion of democracy in an area besieged with unstable dictatorships.

Writing in Haaretz newspaper, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin said that Israel’s assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the commander of Hamas’s military wing, on 17 November “killed the possibility of achieving a truce and also the Egyptian mediators’ ability to function”. According to Human Rights Watch, the “targeted assault” also killed “at least five civilians… [and] wounded at least 115 people, including 26 children and 25 women”.

Israel’s action was guaranteed to provoke a response from Hamas, which promised that Israel would “pay a heavy price” and followed up its promise by firing 85 rockets immediately after Jabari’s assassination”. This in turn allowed Israel to unleash it’s baying military, who are forever waiting with violent anticipation for an excuse to respond with their customary excessive force.

Shooting civilians in a barrel

Palestinian children continue to be a favourite Israeli target. According to the website If Americans Knew, “1,477 children have been killed” since the new millennium was rung in. They make up 45 per cent of Gaza’s population, a demographic that terrifies an aging Israel. The frightened, entrapped civilians of Gaza make easy pickings for the Israeli forces that target them like fish in a barrel. In Israel’s previous blitzkrieg on the Gaza Strip, the 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead, 1,417 residents of the Strip were killed of which, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, 318 were minors.

As would be expected, many of the children that survive are traumatized. The Gaza Community Health Programme estimates that “half Gaza’s children – around 350,000 – will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder”. The latest attacks on innocent civilians will serve to intensify the children’s mental suffering and anguish.

One of the authors of the UN’s Goldstone report, Colonel Desmond Travers, cited a psychiatrist in Gaza as saying that children who are exposed to so much violence “have no option but to terminate their childhood and move into a different frame, [and] the likelihood is that they will never stabilize”. With their childhood lost, they become radicalized, hateful of those that have killed their parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Hatred and resentment that fulfills the intentions of the aggressor: an enemy is, after all, essential in the mind of the oppressor, allowing a perverted justification for continued violence and suffering.

Cause and destruction

The recent round of killing and mayhem is the latest in a long series of violent acts perpetrated by Israel. It is necessary to maintain perspective and apportion responsibility appropriately, and to view current events in a broad context – these are rational requirements of understanding that Israel and its supporters are always at pains to negate.

Israel’s carefully planned and interconnected policies, according to Human Rights Watch, “have no conceivable security justifications”. They deliberately perpetuate suffering and generate conflict, and include the illegal occupation of the West bank, the siege of the Gaza Strip, extended settlement building, the false imprisonment of Palestinians – men, women and children – the illegal use of the draconian “administrative detention” orders, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the torture of Palestinians held in Israeli custody, including children, the withholding of business permits, the blocking of humanitarian aid to Gaza and on and on.

The list is long and is burgeoning with actions that violate all manner of international laws and countless United Nations resolutions – violations that individually and collectively add up to little more than state criminality. Or, to give it it’s technical term, conforming to the authoritative US military definition – terrorism. And, let us never forget, all this happens with the tacit support of the USA, which bankrolls the whole illegal business. According to If America Knew during fiscal year 2011 the US provided Israel with at least 8.2 million dollars per day.

Ideologically-driven political positions and cowardly media coverage, which promote the nonsensical argument that the peace loving Israeli warplanes are simply reacting, reluctantly, to Palestinian terror, support and justify continued Israeli violence, hinder peace and serve neither the Israeli population or the Palestinian people. Israel is painted as the victim that is being persecuted simply for wanting a homeland for its long-suffering people. Such perverse propaganda omits a mountain of facts. As the website If America Knew states“in every cycle of violence Palestinians are killed first and in far greater numbers”.

Gaza gasping for air

Israel’s highly restrictive border closures, which were imposed after Hamas was democratically elected in 2006, have according to the CIA caused “the near collapse of the private sector that had relied on export markets”. Consequently, the population has become reliant on large-scale humanitarian assistance led by UN agencies.”

Livelihoods have been destroyed and unemployment has rocketed to over 40 per cent, with a similar number living below the official poverty line. The 1.65 million residents of Gaza, living on this tiny 320 square kilometer slither of land, are, according to the United Nations Development Programme, “denied the exercise of basic human rights related to access to safe and potable water, sanitation, housing, health [and] education”. The people are completely isolated and trapped. Israel denies Gaza an operational port, control of its airspace and freedom of movement, either abroad, into the West Bank or across the border into Israel.

B’Tselem reports that “entry of residents of the Gaza Strip to Israel for family visits or to enable spouses to live together is forbidden”. The West Bank and Gaza are recognized as one territory under the 1995 Oslo Accords. As such, movement to and from one area to another should be unrestricted, and all resources, in particular water, should be shared. However, as B’Tselem states, the Interim Agreement stipulates that “residents of the Gaza Strip … are not allowed to obtain water from the West Bank”.

Israel is suffocating Gaza and destroying its economy, infrastructure and society. As B’Tselem puts it, “import and export of goods is limited, and frequently stopped completely. In addition, only a small number of Gazans have been allowed to work in Israel, and tens of thousands of Gazans have lost their source of income.”

It’s worth noting that in 2011 the GDP per capita of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was 2,900, US dollars, compared with their Israeli neighbours’ 31,500 dollars. The seas around Gaza are also controlled by Israel, with the exception of a three-mile radius, reduced from the 20 miles stated in the Oslo Accords, thereby prohibiting fishing and the docking of international shipping. Injustice and intimidation is the shadow under which the people of the Gaza Strip live. It is time long overdue that their human rights were observed and international law honoured, allowing the men, women and children presently persecuted to live decent and dignified lives.

Crying out for justice, desperate for peace

Peace is a universal goal seemingly not shared by Israel’s leaders, certainly not in relation to the Palestinian people. The word has been perverted to justify positions of hostility by an Israel that seeks not the implementation of peace and works not for its realization. The word has no meaning when actions that work against peace continue as they do.

The people of Palestine are desperate for peace and no doubt most decent Israelis share this desire. Is there the will among the politicians whom the innocent rely on? Have Israel’s allies the courage to do what is right for the people, observe and implement international law, remove the diplomatic support and stop funding the occupation? Is there the will to go beyond platitudes and act, for as a wise man has explained, “nothing happens by itself, man must act and implement his will”.

Let the will be the will of the people for peace, for the ending of death and suffering, for the chance to live together, free from fear. It is to this end that all parties must now work. Let an atmosphere of hope be created, for enough pain and suffering have been wrought on the Palestinian people. Enough death and heartache! Enough anger and insecurity!

Let this “Pillar of Cloud” be the storm that reveals a new day of peace and harmony, based on sharing and justice. The choice in the region and more broadly for humanity is stark and clear: share and save the world or continue in the ways of separation, division and violence. Sharing offers the possibility of justice settling upon what was once truly a Holy Land, allowing for trust to be slowly built and peace to gently germinate and flower.

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The genocidal yearnings of Israelis

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Deir Yassin massacreBy Lawrence Davidson

By the middle of the 19th century the multi-ethnic empire was on its way out as the dominant political paradigm in Europe. Replacing it was the nation-state, a political form which allowed the concentration of ethnic groups within their own political borders.

This in turn formed cultural and “racial” incubators for us (superior) vs. them (inferior) nationalism that would underpin most of the West’s future wars. Many of these nation states were also imperial powers expanding across the globe and, of course, their state-based chauvinistic outlook went with them.

Some history

The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and as such had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.

Zionism was born in this milieu of nationalism and imperialism, both of which left an indelible mark on the character and ambitions of the Israeli state. The conviction of Theodor Herzl, modern Zionism’s founding father, was that the centuries of anti-Semitism were proof positive that Europe’s Jews could not be assimilated into mainstream Western society. They could be safe only if they possessed a nation-state of their own. This conviction also reflected the European imperial sentiments of the day. The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and as such had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.

This sense of superiority would play an important role when a deal (the Balfour Declaration) was struck in 1917 between the World Zionist Organization and the British government. The deal stipulated that, in exchange for Zionist support for the British war effort (World War I was in progress), the British would (assuming victory) help create a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. It was no oversight that neither side in this bargain gave much thought to the Palestinian native population.

Years later, beginning in 1945 (at the end of World War II), the British were forced to officially give up the imperial point of view. They came out of this war with a population burdened by extraordinary high war taxes. Retaining the empire would keep those taxes high and so the British voter elected politicians who would transform the empire into a commonwealth, granting independence to just about all Britain’s overseas territories. One of those territories was Palestine.

It is interesting to note that in other colonies, where large numbers of Europeans resided, the era following World War II saw their eventual evacuation as power shifted over to the natives. Kenya and Algeria are examples which show that this process was hard and bloody, but it happened. And when it did happen, the official imperial mindset was defeated. That does not mean that all Europeans (or Westerners) saw the light and ceased to be racists, but that their governments eventually saw the necessity to stop acting that way.

Some consequences

Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, this process of decolonization never occurred. In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own. They got their chance after the British evacuated in 1947. Soon thereafter, the Zionists began executing a prepared plan to conquer the “Holy Land” and chase away or subjugate the native population. And what of that imperial point of view which saw the European as superior and the native as inferior? This became institutionalized in the practices of the new Israeli state. That made Israel one of the very few (the other being apartheid South Africa) self-identified “Western” nation-states to continue to implement old-style imperial policies: they discriminated against the Palestinian population in every way imaginable, pushed them into enclosed areas of concentration and sought to control their lives in great detail.

…in the case of Palestine, this process of decolonization never occurred. In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own.

If one wants to know what this meant for the evolving character of Israel’s citizenry who now would live out the colonial drama as an imperial power in their own right, one might take a look at a book by Sven Lindqvist entitled Exterminate all the Brutes (New Press 1996). This work convincingly shows that lording it over often resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings.

There is evidence that the Zionists who created and now sustain Israel suffer from this process. For a long time Israeli government officials tried genocide via a thought experiment. They went about asserting that the Palestinians did not exist. The most famous case of this was Golda Meir, who on 15 June 1969 claimed that “there were no such thing as Palestinians They do not exist.” One of the reasons she gave for this opinion was that the Arabs of Palestine never had their own nation-state.

Others took a different approach by denying not so much the existence of Palestinians, but rather their humanity. At various times and in various contexts, usually in response to acts of resistance against occupation, Israeli leaders have referred to the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs” (Menachem Begin); “grasshoppers” (Yitzhaq Shamir); “crocodiles” (Ehud Barak); and “cockroaches” (Rafael Eitan).

Of course, these sentiments were not confined to the Israeli leadership. They soon pervaded most of the Zionist population because the old imperial superiority-inferiority propaganda had become a core element of their basic education. The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labelled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others”.

The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labelled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others”.

From the Zionist standpoint, this entire process has worked remarkably well. Today all but a handful of Israeli Jews dislike and fear the people they conquered and displaced. They wish they would go away. And, when their resistance gets just a bit too much to bear, they are now quite willing to see them put out of the way.

Thus, during the latest round of resistance rocket fire from Gaza and the vengeful killing that came from the Israeli side, we heard the following:

  • “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water” (Eli Yishai, present Deputy Prime Minister)
  • “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing… We need to flatten entire neighborhoods … flatten all of Gaza” (Journalist Gilad Sharon in the Jerusalem Post)
  • “There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down … kill the Gazans without thought or mercy.” (Michael Ben-Ari, Member of the Knesset)
  • Gaza should be “bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt” (Israel Katz, present Minister of Transport);
  • Gaza should be “wiped clean with bombs” (Avi Dichter, present Minister of Home Front Defence);
  • Israeli soldiers must “learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy” (prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef)
  • Numerous, spontaneous demonstrations of ordinary Israeli citizens, both in the north and south of the country, where there could be heard chants and shouts such as “They don’t deserve to live. They need to die. May your children die. Kick out all the Arabs.”

What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security”.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the outside world was watching, there can be little doubt that the famed Israeli armed forces would have been tempted to do all that these ministers, clerics and citizens wished. After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to a cease fire, a group of Israeli soldiers showed their frustration by using their bodies to spell out (in Hebrew) the words “Bibi Loser” (Bibi is a nickname for Netanyahu). It was a pre-arranged photo-op and the picture can now easily be found on the web. What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security”.

Conclusion

Throughout history it has been standard operating procedure to demonize those you fight and demote to inferior status those you conquer. But as Lindqvist’s work shows, there was something different about the way Europeans went about this business. The deeply racist outlook that underlay modern imperialism made it particularly perverse. Now that apartheid South Africa is no more, the Israelis are the last surviving heirs to that dreadful heritage. So much for a “light unto the nations”. That proposition has quite failed. Wherever the Israelis and their Zionist cohorts are leading us, it is not into the light, it is to someplace very, very dark.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The genocidal yearnings of Israelis

British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

NOVANEWS
Israeli criminality

“Promise not to prosecute Israeli war criminals, not to go for full UN membership, not to seek justice but submit to rigged talks, and we’ll support you”

By Stuart Littlewood

Britain’s Foreign Office, on its website, states loudly and clearly:

The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle is clear. Those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice whether they are Israeli or any other nationality. We are also committed to ensuring that UK systems are robust in meeting its international law obligations.

Yet ugly rumours are flying that the British government twisted the arm of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and told him the UK would support Palestine’s modest upgrade to “observer state” at the UN (to be decided on 29 November) only if he pledged not to pursue Israeli war criminals through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a statement issued on 27 November by the Palestinian MIssion in London, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian says:

It was reported recently in several media outlets that in exchange for its – the British government’s – support of the Palestinian UN bid it wants guarantees from Abbas including: (1) That the Palestinians will not bring cases against Israeli officials to the ICC or other UN agencies… (2) That the Palestinians will not use UN observer status as a basis for a renewed appeal to the UN Security Council for full membership to the UN… (3) That Abbas will commit to renewing peace talks with Israel without preconditions.

Such steps would undermine the Palestinian leadership and its credibility with its own constituents. The British government is once again putting conditions for its support to the Palestinian people instead of shouldering its historic responsibility towards them… I urge the British government to fulfil its responsibility and stand at the right side of history by recognizing the state of Palestine and voting in favour of an enhanced Palestinian status at the UN.

This morning the Palestinian embassy in London was unable to verify that any such pressure was put on Abbas. But that is not to say it didn’t happen and numerous media sources got it wrong. The conversation was likely to have taken place in Ramallah, and Ramallah is not noted for its responsiveness to media questions.

A last-minute message from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) communications office reads:

I can confirm that there has been British pressure to deprive of our right to ratify an international treaty. I can also ratify that we have been very clear in telling the UK that we are not going to compromise on our sovereignty. The resolution haven’t been and will not be modified to adequate any objection to our right to self determination and protection of our people.

What exactly that means I don’t know. And they still won’t say who put the squeeze on Abbas.

If nothing else, this episode demonstrates once again the deplorable state of the PLO/PA media skills.

If indeed any attempt were made by the UK government to deprive the Palestinians of the status, privileges and freedoms enjoyed by their neighbours it would be a deep disgrace on the people of Britain.

Solemn and binding obligations to pursue war criminals – do they mean nothing?

It was established at Nuremberg after World War II that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society.

All states that are party to the Geneva Conventions – and that includes the UK – are under a solemn and binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

…what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain.

The UN’s Goldstone report and the international law panel appointed after the Gaza flotilla incident raised the issue of Israel’s impunity and unaccountability.

But what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain. The government recently watered down UK law on universal jurisdiction, arguing that foreign politicians they happen to like, no matter how thuggish, should never be made to feel unwelcome. The overriding principle that no-one, regardless of nationality, should feel able to commit war crimes with impunity, is sacrificed so that the likes of former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, with the blood of thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded on her hands, can go shopping in London.

Livni, the pin-up girl of the Knesset, is reported to be making a comeback in Israeli politics at the head of a new party in January’s elections. It seems our Foreign Office chaps are hopelessly smitten by her.

Meanwhile, mountains of evidence of Israel’s war crimes are just waiting to be tested in the International Criminal Court.

The purpose of the ICC is “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”. The court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by nationals of a state party or on the territory of a state party since July 2002.

One hundred and fifteen states have signed up. The UK is one of them, and so too is Afghanistan. But rogue states like the US, Israel and Saudi skulk in the outer darkness.

A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified. Three — Israel, Sudan and the United States — signed and then, presumably realizing their conduct was not up to the standards expected and no doubt wishing to undermine its work whenever it suited them, “unsigned”.

Palestine declared its voluntary acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2009, but whether it should be regarded as a “state” as required by Article 12(3) of Rome Statute has been the subject of much debate. In April this year the ICC General Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court would not accept a Palestinian demand to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel until Palestine was recognized as a state by the UN General Assembly. “In order to proceed we need the General Assembly of the UN accepting Palestine as an observer state. As soon as this is done we can proceed.”

If the ICC does acquire jurisdiction, it will inherit a whole shed-full of damning evidence gathered not only by Goldstone but many other organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Arab League Fact Finding Committee.

Consequently, Israel and its obedient friends America and Britain are getting edgy.

In the meantime ,the PLO Executive Committee’s Hanan Ashrawi has announced that Palestine’s final resolution was submitted to the UN on 26 November, so all this last-minute bickering and arm-twisting is academic. It has been too late to change the wording since last weekend.

Asked whether Palestine would file complaints with the ICC, Ashrawi said it would be for the Palestinian leadership to decide. She also said that the PA would not abandon any of the inalienable Palestinian rights guaranteed by international law.

Within Palestinian ranks there seems to be a measure of unity. Hamas’s chief-in-exile, Khaled Meshaal, and fellow political bureau member Izzat al-Rishq said on 26 November that they supported Abbas in going before the United Nations, but warned that Palestinian “constants and rights” must not be compromised nor any inch of Palestinian land sacrificed.

Whether Hamas’s leaders-on-the-ground are quite so enthusiastic isn’t clear. However, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said “nobody is against statehood, and [my government] supports any political move to establish a Palestinian state on the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, UKComments Off on British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria’s Conflict

NOVANEWS

nytimes.com

The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions.

While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters.

The most urgent decision, likely to come next week, is whether NATO should deploy surface-to-air missiles in Turkey, ostensibly to protect that country from Syrian missiles that could carry chemical weapons. The State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Wednesday that the Patriot missile system would not be “for use beyond the Turkish border.”

But some strategists and administration officials believe that Syrian Air Force pilots might fear how else the missile batteries could be used. If so, they could be intimidated from bombing the northern Syrian border towns where the rebels control considerable territory. A NATO survey team is in Turkey, examining possible sites for the batteries.

Other, more distant options include directly providing arms to opposition fighters rather than only continuing to use other countries, especially Qatar, to do so. A riskier course would be to insert C.I.A. officers or allied intelligence services on the ground in Syria, to work more closely with opposition fighters in areas that they now largely control.

Administration officials discussed all of these steps before the presidential election. But the combination of President Obama’s re-election, which has made the White House more willing to take risks, and a series of recent tactical successes by rebel forces, one senior administration official said, “has given this debate a new urgency, and a new focus.”

The outcome of the broader debate about how heavily America should intervene in another Middle Eastern conflict remains uncertain. Mr. Obama’s record in intervening in the Arab Spring has been cautious: While he joined in what began as a humanitarian effort in Libya, he refused to put American military forces on the ground and, with the exception of a C.I.A. and diplomatic presence, ended the American role as soon as Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was toppled.

In the case of Syria, a far more complex conflict than Libya’s, some officials continue to worry that the risks of intervention — both in American lives and in setting off a broader conflict, potentially involving Turkey — are too great to justify action. Others argue that more aggressive steps are justified in Syria by the loss in life there, the risks that its chemical weapons could get loose, and the opportunity to deal a blow to Iran’s only ally in the region. The debate now coursing through the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A. resembles a similar one among America’s main allies.

“Look, let’s be frank, what we’ve done over the last 18 months hasn’t been enough,” Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, said three weeks ago after visiting a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. “The slaughter continues, the bloodshed is appalling, the bad effects it’s having on the region, the radicalization, but also the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing Syria. So let’s work together on really pushing what more we can do.” Mr. Cameron has discussed those options directly with Mr. Obama, White House officials say.

France and Britain have recognized a newly formed coalition of opposition groups, which the United States helped piece together. So far, Washington has not done so.

American officials and independent specialists on Syria said that the administration was reviewing its Syria policy in part to gain credibility and sway with opposition fighters, who have seized key Syrian military bases in recent weeks.

“The administration has figured out that if they don’t start doing something, the war will be over and they won’t have any influence over the combat forces on the ground,” said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer and specialist on the Syria military. “They may have some influence with various political groups and factions, but they won’t have influence with the fighters, and the fighters will control the territory.”

Another person who has been consulted and briefed on the administration’s thinking about Syria said, “The U.S. won’t be able to maintain the position where it’s been,” adding, “Whatever we do will be done in close coordination with the allies.”

Senior Congressional officials and diplomats in the region said that they had not been briefed on any impending policy shifts and expressed doubts any would be made until Mr. Obama had selected his new national security team, including new secretaries of state and defense, a new director of the C.I.A. and perhaps more. In recent months, these officials and diplomats said that the administration had kept them updated about its Syria policy.

Until now, the United States has offered only limited support to the military campaign against the Syrian government, instead providing nearly $200 million in humanitarian and other nonlethal aid. In addition, a small number of C.I.A. officers have operated secretly in southern Turkey for several months, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border would receive weapons.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition are funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries overseen mainly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, American officials said. Even that limited effort is being revamped in the wake of evidence that most arms sent to Syrian opposition fighters are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, not to the more secular opposition groups supported by the West.

American officials say the administration is now weighing whether the United States should play a more direct role in supplying the opposition fighters with weapons to help ensure that the arms reach the intended groups.

“The problem right now is that we don’t have much visibility into where these weapons are going,” one senior administration official said recently. “That’s the problem with outsourcing the issue.”

On the more immediate concern about defending Turkey, NATO is expected to act on the Patriot missile request next week. On Wednesday night, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, told an audience at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard that “we’d be very much in favor of” the Turkish request for Patriot missiles “in terms of protecting the security of our ally.” The Patriot PAC-3 is the most modern air defense system in the American and NATO arsenals.

In the case of the impending deployment to Turkey, the missiles could come from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. While they could reach into Syrian territory, their range is limited. Turkey requested the missiles after Syrian artillery and mortar fire landed inside Turkish territory, killing several civilians.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria’s Conflict

U.N. set to implicitly recognize Palestinian state, despite US, Zionist threats

NOVANEWS

 

The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.

A resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority’s U.N.observer status from “entity” to “non-member state,” like the Vatican, is expected to pass easily in the 193-nation General Assembly.

Israel, the United States and a handful of other members are planning to vote against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the Palestinians, which takes place on the 65th anniversary of the assembly’s adoption of resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been leading the campaign to win support for the resolution, and over a dozen European governments have offered him their support after an eight-day conflict this month between Israel and Islamists in the Gaza Strip, who are pledged to Israel’s destruction and oppose his efforts toward a negotiated peace.

The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and U.S. Middle East peace envoy David Hale traveled to New York on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to get Abbas to reconsider.

The Palestinians gave no sign they were turning back.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated to reporters in Washington on Wednesday the U.S. view that the Palestinian move was misguided and efforts should focus instead on reviving the stalled Middle East peace process.

“The path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York,” she said. “The only way to get a lasting solution is to commence direct negotiations.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reiterated U.S. warnings that the move could cause a reduction of U.S. economic support for the Palestinians. The Israelis have also warned they might take significant deductions out of monthly transfers of duties that Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.

Despite its fierce opposition, Israel seems concerned not to find itself diplomatically isolated. It has recently toned down threats of retaliation in the face of wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.

“The decision at the United Nations will change nothing on the ground,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem. “It will not advance the establishment of a Palestinian state. It will delay it further.”

‘SLAP IN THE FACE’

Granting Palestinians the title of “non-member observer state” falls short of full U.N. membership – something the Palestinians failed to achieve last year. But it would allow them access to the International Criminal Court and some other international bodies, should they choose to join them.

Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestinian Liberation Organization official, told a news conference in Ramallah that “the Palestinians can’t be blackmailed all the time with money.”

“If Israel wants to destabilize the whole region, it can,” she said. “We are talking to the Arab world about their support, if Israel responds with financial measures, and the EU has indicated they will not stop their support to us.”

Peace talks have been stalled for two years, mainly over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world.

In the draft resolution, the Palestinians have pledged to relaunch the peace process immediately following the U.N. vote.

As there is little doubt about how the United States will vote when the Palestinian resolution to upgrade its U.N. status is put to a vote sometime after 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority has been concentrating its efforts on lobbying wealthy European states, diplomats say.

With strong support from the developing world that makes up the majority of U.N. members, the resolution is virtually assured of securing more than the requisite simple majority. Palestinian officials hope for more than 130 yes votes.

Abbas has been trying to amass as many European votes in favor as possible.

Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland all pledged to support the Palestinian resolution. Britain said it was prepared to vote yes, but only if the Palestinians fulfilled certain conditions.

Diplomats said the Czech Republic was expected to vote against the move, potentially dashing European hopes to avoid a three-way split in the vote. Germany and the Netherlands said they planned to abstain, like Estonia and Lithuania.

Ashrawi said the positive responses from European states were encouraging and sent a message of hope to all Palestinians.

“This constitutes a historical turning point and opportunity for the world to rectify a grave historical injustice that the Palestinians have undergone since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948,” she said.

A strong backing from European nations could make it awkward for Israel to implement harsh retaliatory measures. But Israel’s reaction might not be so measured if the Palestinians seek ICC action against Israel on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity or other crimes the court would have jurisdiction over.

Israel also seems wary of weakening the Western-backed Abbas, especially after the political boost rival Hamas received from recent solidarity visits to Gaza by top officials from Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia.

Hamas militants, who control Gaza and have had icy relations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, unexpectedly offered Abbas their support this week.

One Western diplomat said the Palestinian move was almost an insult to recently re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama.

“It’s not the best way to convince Mr. Obama to have a more positive approach toward the peace process,” said the diplomat, who was planning to vote for the resolution. “Three weeks after his election, it’s basically a slap in the face.”

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on U.N. set to implicitly recognize Palestinian state, despite US, Zionist threats

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