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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Security Council’

Minister Steinitz: Intelligence Says Assad Army Used Chemical Weapons

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Minister of International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Kol Israel Thursday morning that Israel’s Intelligence service estimates that the Assad army indeed attacked its own civilians using chemical weapons, adding that it was not the first time the Syrian army has done this.

Steinitz said the worldwide condemnation of Assad’s war crimes have been mere lip service, since no concrete steps have so far been taken to stop Assad’s ongoing massacre of his countrymen.

The minister called the UN inspection just begun in Syria “a joke.”

“The UN isn’t inspecting yesterday’s events, but events that took place half a year ago. Moreover, the designation of the investigation, to find out whether or not chemical weapons were used—without investigating who used them—is outright ridiculous,” the minister said.

Last night, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did call for an investigation of Wednesday’s gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus, where as many as 1,300 people are said to have been killed. It is not clear, however, if his call is heeded by the Security Council.

Labor MK Benjamin Ben Eliezer, who is considered a leading candidate to become the next president of Israel, said that what goes on in Syria is nothing less than a holocaust and a genocide, and the world—which condemns Israel for every tiny misstep—is standing by without doing anything.

Ben Eliezer emphasized that the red line drawn by President Obama has long since been crossed, and that Israel must remain on alert to prevent any of the Syrian chemical weapons from falling into Hezbollah or al-Qaeda hands.

The Syrian government is denying any involvement in the attack, accusing the rebels of staging a propaganda ploy. And Assad’s traditional patron, Russia, is not flinching in its unabashed defense of its man.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday that a homemade rocket carrying unidentified chemical substances had been launched from an area controlled by the opposition, Reuters reported.

“All this cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation,” Lukashevich said. “This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of UN experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there.”

Thirty-five member countries have called for the UN inspection team which has just arrived in Damascus to be allowed to investigate the newest attack.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said, “This represents, no matter what the consequences are, a serious escalation with grave humanitarian consequences and human consequences. We very much hope that we will be able to conduct the investigation. Dr. Sellstrom and his team are in place in Damascus. We hope that they will be given access to the area by the government.”

The UN Security Council met in an emergency session over the incident, with protesters demonstrating outside its headquarters. When it ended, Argentina’s UN ambassador, Maria Cristina Perceval, told reporters: “There is a strong concern among council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and the situation must be followed closely after a closed-door emergency meeting of the council.”

Which means the council is not explicitly calling the inspection team to investigate, it only welcomed Ban Ki-moon’s calls for one.

“The members of the Security Council also welcomed the determination of the Secretary-General to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation,” said Perceval, who is president of the council this month.

In other words, Russia said Nyet, and the new incident will remain outside the purview of the inspectors.

Prosor Urges UN to Condemn Syrian Fire on Golan on Tisha B’Av

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told the U.N. Security Council, “ I urge you to condemn the incident and the Syrian government’s grave violation of the Separation of Forces Agreement” in which Syrian mortar hit the Golan Heights on Tuesday, Tisha B’Av. “The fasting and prayers of thousands of Israelis commemorating the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av were interrupted by a barrage of mortar shells fired from Syria,” Prosor stated.

“At the same time, and in a grave violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, tanks, trucks and armored vehicles belonging to Syrian government forces entered the buffer zone.

“Israel is an island of stability in a region steeped in violence, blood and destruction, and we expect that the Security Council will do everything in its power in order to maintain stability,” Prosor  added.

Have We Been Overlooking Southern Lebanon?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It’s relatively quiet on Israel’s Lebanon border for the moment and a good time to pay attention to the things going on their that don’t get reported outside of Israel.

Things like this matter of explosions in rural villages that have the grim misfortune of being occupied by the Hizbullah terrorist forces.

In the early morning of 17 December, a loud explosion was heard in the town of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon… 2.5 kilometers from the Israeli border. Lebanese media did not report any injuries, and this was confirmed by the mayor of Tair Harfa…

The explosion occurred in a munitions depot belonging to Hizbullah. The building where the munitions were stored is located on the outskirts of the town near residential dwellings. There is a school about 300 meters from the munitions depot.

Immediately following the explosion, dozens of Hizbullah men sealed off the area and proceeded to erase all evidence of the incident, flattening the warehouse and removing what was left of the arms and explosives that had been stored there.

UNIFIL soldiers arrived in the area, but access to the actual site of the blast was blocked by Hizbullah. Lebanese army soldiers were also denied access to the site. This is the fourth explosion that has occurred in the last few years in Hizbullah munitions depots in South Lebanon…

UN Security Council Resolution 1701… calls for the disarmament of the Hizbullah and prohibits the storage of arms near the border with Israel. The Hizbullah’s military network in southern Lebanon includes munitions depots as well as military outposts. Most of the military infrastructure is located in populated areas, in dozens of Shiite villages in the south

The arms, missiles and explosives are stored near residential homes and other civilian buildings such as schools and mosques. Hizbullah is endangering innocent Lebanese civilians, in order to conceal its military activity in southern Lebanon, in direct contravention of UN Resolution 1701.[more]

Experience tells us no one in the international news media is going to pay any attention to yet another series of Arab-on-Arab attacks. They will rouse themselves only when Hizbullah’s well-entrenched and armed-up-the-wazoo irregulars open fire on Israel villages, towns and cities whereupon Israel will hit back.

The presence of Iran-funded and Iran-inspired Hizbullah is hardly new. A bevy of UN conventions, multilateral agreements and Lebanese undertakings mean nothing if we are thinking of disarmament and supervision (the UN’s soldiers are told by the Hizbullah that they can’t look in – and no one does anything about it).

When Hizbullah decides it’s time to open fire, there will be war, and Israel – which cannot absorb the mass damage that will follow from the firing of even parts of the vast Hizbullah arsenal of south-pointing rockets (an astounding 50,000 of them, according to a report this week) will have no military or political option other than to deliver devastation to the places from which Hizbullah is firing.

Israel’s preoccupation with the existential threat that Hizbullah poses is not widely shared in Europe. Here’s an extract from a long analysis published in the New York Times this past August:

Washington and Jerusalem insist that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with bloody hands, and that it is working closely with Tehran to train, arm and finance the Syrian military’s lethal repression of the uprising there.

Yet, the European Union continues to treat it foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement… Israeli and American officials have attributed the Bulgarian bus bombing [July 2012] that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists, to Hezbollah and Iran…

While the group is believed to operate all over the Continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year, up from 900 in 2010 [according to] Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual threat report…

Hezbollah has maintained a low profile in Europe since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, quietly holding meetings and raising money that goes to Lebanon, where officials use it for an array of activities — building schools and clinics, delivering social services and, Western intelligence agencies say, carrying out terrorist attacks. European security services keep tabs on the group’s political supporters, but experts say they are ineffective when it comes to tracking the sleeper cells that pose the most danger…

Good Morning, We’re Having a Palestinian State and Israel Kind of Approves

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

In yesterday’s State Department press conference, Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed that the U.S. will be voting “no” on the effort by Mahmoud Abbas to raise the United Nations status of the Palestinian Authority so that “Palestine” will move from being merely an “observer” to what is known as a non-member observer state.

At this time, the only official U.N. non-member observer state is the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, which is the representative of the Vatican.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas landed in New York last night.  The Resolution endorsing the change is expected to be voted upon in the U.N. General Assembly this Thursday, Nov 29.

The government of Israel is adamantly opposed to the change in status for the Arab Palestinians, and is hoping that other countries will support its position.

But, in a surprise announcement, a top diplomatic Israeli official in Jerusalem told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that Israel no longer intends to dismantle the Oslo Accords if Abbas goes through with his UN gambit.  Technically, such a move negates the Oslo process, and Israel has long threatened to consider the Oslo Accords fully abrogated if the Arab Palestinians attempt to achieve results outside of negotiations.

It was not readily apparent what response, if any, the government of Israel will have to a change in status for “Palestine” at the U.N. But the announcement made Tuesday was in conflict with statements made over the past few weeks by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in which he threatened that the Oslo process would be cancelled if Abbas went forward with his effort at the U.N.

Thus far only the U.S. has officially declared its intention to vote against the Palestinian statehood resolution.  Nuland explained the U.S. position to reporters yesterday, Nov 27:

We’re focused on a policy objective on the ground for the Palestinian people, for the people of Israel, which is to end up with two states that can live peacefully next to each other. Nothing in this action at the UN is going to take the Palestinians any closer to that. So yes, we’re going to oppose it because we think it is the wrong move. We think it makes other steps that might improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis harder. Other countries will make their own decision. This is not a new issue. We’ve been talking about it for more than a year, and so we’re just going to have to see what happens later on in the week.

It is anticipated that Canada will vote against the Resolution, and Germany may abstain, but already both France and Britain have publicly stated they are committed to voting in favor of the resolution.  Switzerland and Portugal are also expected to support the measure.  No doubt the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will all vote in favor of the measure.

Unlike a Resolution in the Security Council, in the General Assembly there is no such thing as a veto.  A simple majority vote is all that is necessary for the measure to pass. Full member status can only be obtained through a vote at the Security Council. Last year Abbas went to the Security Council to seek full member status for “Palestine.” The United States, however, made clear its intention to veto the measure, and the effort was withdrawn.

After some badgering by reporters over whether the change in status would have any impact on the peace process, Ms. Nuland said, categorically, “We oppose any move in the General Assembly. We think it’s going to make the situation harder.”

And Abbas is going to the UN with the support from an unexpected source – longtime political rival leadership of Hamas is now supporting the U.N. bid.  No clear explanations have been offered for this about-face.  However, there are those who suspect Hamas anticipates victory over Abbas’s Fatah as the sole representative of the Arab Palestinian people.  If so, then they will be the representative party at the United Nations.

It is widely expected that the U.N. Resolution will pass, but even if it does “Palestine” will not be a full member of the UN.

A draft copy of the Resolution, dated 26 Nov 2012,  was obtained by The Jewish Press.  The Resolution reiterates all of the demands the Arab Palestinians have made, with no concessionary language whatsoever, and includes demands for the release of prisoners, the “right of return,” the cessation of all Israeli “settlement” activities, including in “East Jerusalem,” that the capital of “Palestine” will be “East Jerusalem,” and,

the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfills the vision of two States, an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel, on the basis of the pr-1967 borders.

The Resolution also calls on the Security Council to favorably consider the application submitted last year to the United Nations for full membership for ”Palestine.”

Clinton: Security Council, Germany, to Meet Iran in Istanbul April 13

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Iran and the group of five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have agreed to meet in Istanbul on April 13 for the latest round of nuclear talks.

Secretary Clinton made the announcement at a news conference Saturday following a security conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Iran and the six major powers met in Istanbul 14 months ago.

Clinton also urged Persian Gulf Arab states to develop a coordinated defense strategy against Iranian missiles, in collaboration with the US military.

Israel’s Letter to UN Regarding Gaza Rocket Attacks

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General United Nations New York

Excellency,

I write this letter as one million people in southern Israel continue to be terrorized yet another weekend fearing for their lives, enduring barrage after barrage of rocket attacks. During the past 48 hours, over 150 rockets were fired at Israeli communities, including over 40 grad missiles. These rockets are targeted at civilians – one of them falling directly on a school. I ask you, Excellency, to picture how different the current situation would be if the children would have been in school at the time the rocket fell.

In previous letters, the latest of which was sent just a few days ago, we warned of the dangers of inaction by the international community. We alerted the Council that these attacks had the potential to ignite a serious escalation of the conflict, which could affect the entire region. The events of the last two days have proven the danger of silence on behalf of the international community at large, and the Security Council, in particular.

For the sake of security and stability in our region, the Security Council and all responsible members of the international community must immediately and unequivocally condemn and do everything in their power to stop the rocket fire that continues to rain down on Israeli civilians, in violation of every precept of international law.

The number of rockets launched in only 48 hours proves that the smuggling of advanced weaponry by the Iranian regime into the Gaza Strip continues unabated. Every weapon smuggled into the area not only threatens Israeli civilians, but also diminishes Gaza’s prospects for a prosperous future by transforming residential communities into rocket launching pads. Member States’ obligations to prevent this illegal activity is an integral part of numerous UN Security Council resolutions including UNSC resolution 1860, but the latter receives hardly any attention from the international community.

Israel holds the Hamas terrorist organization fully responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, where it remains in de facto control. Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.

I should be grateful if you would have this letter distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Allow me, Excellency, to renew to you the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours truly,
Ambassador Haim Waxman
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Israel to the
United Nations

Arab League, Western Nations to Seek Another UN Resolution on Syria

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Arab League states are partnering with western nations again to draw up a resolution on the Syrian unrest, which is to be debated and voted on in the General Assembly this week.

The resolution, aimed at maintaining the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is very similar to the resolution that Russia and China vetoed just over a week ago. Though General Assembly resolutions carry less significance, they can’t be vetoed.

Foreign ministers from the Arab League states also urged the formation and dispatch of a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping mission to Syria. In response, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “stressed that action on the specific requests of the League will be a matter for the Security Council to consider.”

UN Security Council Debates: Syria

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The UN Security Council has been engaging in contentious debate over a draft resolution concerning the ongoing strife in Syria.

The resolution, based on the contours of an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and make way for a new unity government, has also increased tensions between the US and Syrian’s patron, Russia.

Russia has been steadfast in its intentions to veto the Western-Arab draft resolution unless it has language that unequivocally rules out military intervention in Syria. The draft “is missing the most important thing: a clear clause ruling out the possibility that the resolution could be used to justify military intervention in Syrian affairs from outside. For this reason I see no chance this draft could be adopted,” said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union.

“We all have a choice,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in comments before the Security Council, “stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there.”

Russia and China vetoed a resolution last fall condemning the Assad regime, and Russia continues to supply Syria with military equipment despite Western calls to halt such transfers.

Western diplomats would like to see a Security Council vote take place this week, but the impending Russian veto figures heavily into their calculus.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/un-security-council-debates-syria/2012/02/01/

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