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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’

US Clams Up on Whether Foreign Aid Helps PA Post Bond in Terror Suit [video]

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

The U.S. State Dept. clammed up Monday when asked bothersome questions concerning a federal court decision Monday to drastically lower the bond the Palestinian Authority has to put up in a $665 million lawsuit against the Ramallah-based regime.

Spokesman John Kirby also refused to say whether the judge had lowered the bond enough to satisfy the United States, which intervened in the case by arguing that a higher bond could bankrupt the Palestinian Authority and might damage the non-existent “peace process.”

TheJewishPress.com reported here yesterday :

The judge in a New York terrorism case that ended in a victory for the plaintiffs…imposed a $10 million bond on the defendants, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The defendants must also make $1 million monthly payments during the duration of any appeals of the $655 million award to the plaintiffs at the end of the jury trial back in February…

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, which included the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin, had requested a $30 million monthly bond be paid into an account until the case is resolved.

State Dept. spokesman John Kirby, who is supposed to provide information while making every effort to avoid embarrassing the government, made the Obama administration look a bit stupid Monday by turning on the tape recorder to repeat “no comment” over and over instead of directly answering questions.

Associated Press journalist Matt Lee asked:

Is that [$10 million bond]– in the Administration’s view, is that too much to be asking? Does this place an undue – does the Administration believe it places an undue burden on the Palestinians?

Kirby reiterated the facts of the U.S. intervention and concluded:

And I’m not going to be able to comment further.

Lee then asked:

Well, is the United States concerned at all that some or any of this money will be actual money that you might have provided to the Palestinians in the past?

Guess what Kirby answered?

I’m just not going to be able to comment further, Matt.

And when Lee asked why not answer, Kirby reiterated:

I’m not going to be able to comment further on this particular case.

Well, maybe Kirby could comment on Lee; question if “the judge in making his determination today, took your statement of interest on board, or is this onerous to the Palestinians or unhelpful to U.S. foreign policy?”

And Kirby turned on the tape recorder again to say:

I mean, I understand the question, Matt. I’m just not going to be able to comment further today.

Al Quds reporter Sayeed Erekat chimed in to ask:

You being their largest contributor, giving the Palestinians close to $500 million a year, will you guarantee those, like a loan guarantee for $10 million and 1 million more a month?

And Kirby answered, of course:

I don’t have anything further to add on this today.

The no-answer session begins at 48:32 in the video below.

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Abbas Insists He Will Visit His ‘Sister’ Iran

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Mahmoud Abbas has an insatiable appetite.

The Palestinian Authority chairman insisted this week that he will visit Iran, which he referred to as a “sister and neighbor state” in comments made to Polish journalists

He declared his intentions the same day of his reported resignation from the PLO Executive Committee, an announcement that has been denounced as false and reiterated as true a dozen times.

Iran has not been particularly in love with Abbas because he removed, at least for English media, the adjective “armed” from noun “resistance,” the Arab code word for terror.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was president of Iran in 2012, invited Abbas to visit but was rejected.

Since then, a lot has happened. Iran and Hamas have had an off-an-on relationship reflecting Middle East instability, particularly in Syria where Iranian Revolutionary Guards are trying to keep Basher al-Assad’s regime from falling.

Abbas, a modern Jules Verne who has circled the world several times since taking over the Palestinian Authority after Yasser Arafat’s death, has built up universal diplomatic for the Arab dream of annihilating Israel, if not by force then by simply shrinking its borders and setting off the demographic weapon called “refugees” to finish off of what would be left of the country.

Now that Iran is holding on to its uranium cake and eating it at the same time, Abbas sees political opportunity. Bringing in Iran under his international umbrella would go down well with the folks in Ramallah while showing up Hamas.

Whether or not the Iranian regime really will welcome him is a question.

Abbas sent envoys to Tehran two weeks ago to discuss “the Palestinian situation” with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency:

Our relationship with Iran is an urgent necessity concerning international and regional developments.

The “developments” are nothing more and nothing less than the deal with Iran, which virtually every world leader with the exception of President Barack Obama acknowledges, implicitly or tacitly, as an exponential increase in Iran’s prestige and influence.

Abbas is not likely to get much out of any revival of relations with the paranoid Iranian regime except for more headlines, but that is the oxygen that has kept him alive politically.

Update: Erekat Denies Report Abbas Quit as PLO Exec Committee Chairman

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has denied the report that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, 80, resigned Saturday as chairman of the PLO executive committee.

Erekat also denied the report that more than half of the 18-member executive committee has also resigned.

The move allegedly was taking place in an attempt to force new elections, according to PLO official Wassel Abu Yussef, who spoke with the AFP news agency.

The denial came about an hour after news of the resignation by Abbas was flashed by news agencies around the world.

Erekat was quoted by The Jerusalem Post Arab affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh as saying such resignations are submitted to the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council, and not the executive committee.

According to the report by Toameh, the executive committee did, however, vote Saturday night to approve Erekat’s appointment as PLO Secretary-General. Also at that meeting, the committee decided to begin preparations to convene the Palestinian National Council “as part of Abbas’s efforts to bring new faces to the leadership.”

Al Arabiya reported that The Palestinian National Council has called for a new election to be held within 30 days to choose the next leader of the PLO executive committee.

For months, there have been rumors that Abbas has suffered health problems. Political infighting has added to the stress, along with the April 2014 breakdown in talks between the PA and Israel.

Abbas has been chairman of the PLO since former chairman Yasser Arafat died. He has served head of the Palestinian Authority since 2005, although he was only elected to the position for a four-year term. He also remains as head of the PA’s Ramallah-based ruling Fatah faction.

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was actually named as PLO executive committee secretary-general last month, just after Abbas had suspended Yasser Abed Rabbo from the position. The move leaves Erekat as effective head of the PLO for the time being. It is not clear why Abbas preferred Erekat over Rabbo for the role.

The executive committee is the highest decision-making body of the PLO and acts on behalf of Palestinian Arabs on all matters, including actions in the United Nations and negotiations on peace with Israel. It was in the position of PLO secretary-general that Abbas signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Saeb Erekat Takes Over as Head of PLO

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

 

Saeb Erekat, who has been Mahmoud Abbas’ key man in so-called negotiations with Israel, has moved into the chair of the secretary-general of PLO, two weeks after Abbas appointed him to the post.

Erekat is the most likely successor to Abbas, who now is 80 years old and is serving his seventh year beyond the four-term to which he was elected in the first and last PA elections.

Assuming there will be new elections some day, Erekat may face opposition from Mohammed Dahlan, who was Abbas’ strong man in Gaza until he became too strong and a threat to Abbas.

Another likely candidate is arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his involvement in the murder and injuries of hundreds of Israelis, which makes him the most popular man in the Palestinian Authority.

As head of the PLO, Erekat is its top leader except for Abbas. The PLO is in effect the senior organization to the Palestinian Authority.

Ashraf Khatib, a senior adviser for the PLO negotiations affairs department, told the Ma’an News Agency that Erekat is not being groomed as Abbas’ successor and that he was appointed to head the PLO to help restructure the organization.

Erekat replaces Abed Rabbo, who was fired by Abbas, reportedly because of suspicions that he and Dahlan were conspiring to undermine Abbas and take over the Palestinian Authority.

Erekat has become increasingly belligerent towards Israel. Last month, he recommended that the PLO withdraw its recognition of Israel, try to bring Hamas under the PLO umbrella and escalate the “peaceful struggle” against Israel, meaning “let’s kill the Jews.”

 

 

 

 

he PLO umbrella and escalate the “peaceful struggle” against Israel, meaning “let’s kill the Jews.”

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Israeli officials continue to analyze The Schabes Report sparked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and authored by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Most have noted the striking anti-Israel bias in the report.

“It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted,” said a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response.

“This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas.”

Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, was found to have been a past legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clear conflict of interest that he tried to conceal from the United Nations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israel revealed the history, forcing Schabas to resign in February 2015.

“The Commission of Inquiry … lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations,” the ministry added.

The human rights watchdog agency NGO Monitor noted in a separate statement that the report was an “improvement” over its UN investigation-generated predecessors, including the 2009 Goldstone Report.

However, “it still quotes extensively from biased and unreliable political advocacy NGOs,” noted the agency.

“The UNHRC report would be entirely different without the baseless and unverifiable allegations of non-governmental organizations,” said Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor.

“Despite efforts to consult a wider array of sources, the report produced by McGowan Davis and her team lacks credibility as a result of NGO influence.”

NGO Monitor’s initial review of the Commission of Inquiry’s “detailed findings” showed that NGOs were referenced, cited, and quoted at a high volume: B’Tselem was the most referenced NGO with 69 citations, followed by Amnesty International (53), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (50), and Al Mezan (29). UNWRA and UN-OCHA were also featured throughout the report.

NGOs were also sourced for factual claims beyond their capabilities: in one instance, the report repeated B’Tselem’s conclusions about whether individuals in Gaza “posed [] danger to other persons.”

Human Rights Watch, as opposed to a military expert, was quoted with regards to the “lethal radius for a 155mm high explosive projectile.”

Breaking the Silence was cited as the basis for the accusation that the IDF adopted “the vast scale of destruction…as a tactic of war.”

The lack of military expertise in the Commission and the UN staff clearly hampered the investigation and the resulting publication,” continued Herzberg. “In particular, the COI makes numerous assertions about feasible precautions, identification of military objectives, military necessity, and standards applied by reasonable commanders.

“In at least four independent studies by military experts, including Richard Kemp, the former head of British forces in Afghanistan, former senior U.S. generals and the former senior military officer for NATO all concluded that not only did Israel exceed the requirements of international law in the Gaza Conflict, but that its precautionary efforts to protect civilians were unprecedented in the history of warfare.”

NGO Monitor and UN Watch have prepared an independent, fully sourced and detailed book on the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict, called “Filling in the Blanks, which provides an alternative narrative to The Schabes Report. The book is available to readers for download in PDF format by clicking here.

Netanyahu Notes UNHRC’s ‘Singular Obsession With Israel’ in The Schabes Report

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Netanyahu Notes UNHRC ‘Singular Obsession With Israel’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted Monday in a statement to media that once again, a United Nations “independent commission” tasked with investigating a conflict between Israel and Palestinian Authority terrorists has produced a biased report.

Speaking to reporters about The Schabes Report released Monday afternoon (June 22, 2015) by the Independent Commission of Inquiry, Netanyahu pointed out, “Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law.

“Time and again it is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They deliberately target civilians while deliberately hiding behind Palestinian civilians. The Palestinians civilians they use as human shields include children, and they deliberately target our civilians while deliberately putting their civilians in harm’s way.”

The report did not mention the term “human shields” even once in its 34-page advance executive summary.

“In defending itself against such attacks, Israel’s military acted, and acts, according to the highest international standards,” Netanyahu said. During the conflict, the IDF dropped countless leaflets written in Arabic over areas marked for battle due to the numerous military targets within: each time, the leaflets warned residents to evacuate the area due to an impending battle. The flyers were followed up with automated phone calls to house phone lines and text messages to cell phones, in Arabic. Yet the Commission nevertheless insisted the IDF did not take enough measures to ensure Gaza’s civilian survival.

“The report in hand was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution; it was given an obviously biased mandate; it was initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson who received money from the Palestinians and was forced to resign.”

The Commission chairperson, Professor William Schabes, was found to have been a former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization – a clear conflict of interest. When this information was made public by Israel, Schabes had no other recourse but to resign his post, which he did in February 2015, just one month prior to the completion of the probe.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel,” Netanyahu observed. “It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined. In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel that against all the countries of the world combined.

“So, Israel treats this report as flawed and biased, and it urges all fair-minded observers to do the same.

“Such fair-minded observers recently investigated Israel’s conduct in the Gaza campaign. They include senior generals from the United States and NATO countries. They found that not only did Israel uphold the highest standards of international law, in the laws of armed conflict, they said that Israel exceeded the highest standards.

“Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies,” Netanyahu continued, “and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.”

UN Releases The Schabes Report: Israeli Self-Defense a ‘War Crime’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

A wave of disapproval, and perhaps resigned expectation rolled across most of Jewish Israel on Monday afternoon with the release of The Schabes Report (183 pages) by the “Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Professor William Schabes led the Commission, which included Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène.

(The complete 34-page advance executive summary of the report can be viewed by clicking here.)

A Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law, Schabes has been called “the world expert on the law of genocide and international law.” But Schabes was forced to resign in February 2015 after Israel publicly revealed that he had once been a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization – a clear conflict of interest. Justice Davis took up the mantle of leadership for the time remaining to the Commission.

Everywhere Israeli soldiers fought in the summer of 2014 was Occupied Palestinian Territory according to the United Nations. But even the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was forced to admit in The Schabes Report that Hamas controls the Gaza region.

As such, even the UN Commission was inspired to refer to the region’s terrorist rulers as a separate governing entity (see item five, page three of the 34-page advance executive summary of the report.) However, the Commission failed to note that it was the population of Gaza who in 2006 democratically elected Hamas* – a terror group whose charter still documents its vow to annihilate the State of Israel — to rule the enclave.

Instead, according to The Schabes Report, anything the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza to conduct their counter terror military campaign against “Palestinian armed groups” was considered illegal.

There was no mention of the term “human shields,” nor was there any reference to the military activities by Hamas that had provoked the war. Oddly, the Commission blamed the “Occupation” by Israel on page five in item 14: “The hostilities of 2014 erupted in the context of the protracted occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and of the increasing number of rocket attacks on Israel.”

The Commission continued its rant against Israel in a similar vein on page seven, in item six:

“The most important characteristics of the hostilities of 2014 … [were those] that reflect new patterns, notably attacks by Israel on residential buildings resulting in the death of entire families; Israel’s ground operations, which leveled urban neighborhoods; and violations by Palestinian armed groups and authorities in Gaza, including their reliance on attack tunnels.”

The Commission flatly implied that Israel had deliberately set out to murder Gaza civilians and destroy as many civilian residential structures as possible; thereby swallowing terrorist propaganda hook, line and sinker if not in fact actually helping to write the script.

This, despite numerous, concrete satellite imagery and other photographic evidence to the contrary made public during the war by the IDF – all disregarded.

Here’s a snippet from page 12, items 50-52, from the executive summary of the report:

1. The extensive use by the Israel Defense Forces of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, and their probable indiscriminate effects in the built-up neighborhoods of Gaza, are highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Such use may, depending on the circumstances, qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime. 2. In addition, the fact that the Israel Defense Forces did not modify the manner in which they conducted their operations after initial episodes of shelling resulted in a large number of civilian deaths indicates that their policies governing the use of artillery in densely populated areas may not be in conformity with international humanitarian law. 3. The commission examined several additional incidents, including attacks on shelters, hospitals and critical infrastructure, in which artillery was used. The use of weapons with wide-area effects against targets in the vicinity of specifically protected objects (such as medical facilities and shelters) is highly likely to constitute a violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Depending on the circumstances, indiscriminate attacks may qualify as a direct attack against civilians, and may therefore amount to a war crime.

For the record, according to international law, residential buildings become legitimate military targets when used for military purposes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/un-releases-the-schabes-report-israeli-self-defense-is-a-war-crime/2015/06/22/

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