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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UN’

Did Kerry Cancel His Meeting with Abbas Because the PA Broke Its Word?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

For a second time this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry abruptly cancelled a scheduled meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Reporters were told late Tuesday evening that Kerry’s meeting today (Wednesday) with Abbas was cancelled, with few details added. “We are no longer traveling tomorrow,” a senior State Department official said simply.

Abbas breached the conditions of his agreement with Israel – and the United States – by signing a PA application for membership in 15 United Nations agencies and organizations. “The demands (for membership) will be sent immediately,” Abbas announced at a briefing. “This is not a move against America or any other party. It is our right and we agreed to suspend it for nine months.”

The deadline for completion of the framework agreement talks was set for April 29. But Abbas has not actively participated in direct talks for months, according to reports quoting government minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua). Nor has the PA made any “good will gestures” towards Israel comparable to those forced upon the Jewish States by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the PA’s unilateral move is one that turns the clock back more than a year, dialing back efforts by John Kerry to keep the entity from attempting to unilaterally gain recognition in the U.N. as an independent sovereign nation. It also is a return to its attempt to evade the agreement it signed in the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords in 1993.

Two days earlier the PA chairman was have met with Kerry in Ramallah following talks between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Secretary of State. But the meeting in Jerusalem ran longer than expected and John Kerry had to race for his flight to make a two-day meeting in Brussels.

The Israeli-PA negotiations over a “framework agreement” have been limping along for months now, with Israel making what appears to be all of the concessions. As a ‘good will gesture’ to bring Abbas to the table and keep him there, Israel agreed to free 104 PA terrorist prisoners in four separate tranches linked to the PA leader’s active participation in the talks. Three of the four have already been made, with some 78 terrorists freed.

The fourth and final group of terrorists scheduled to be released last week, however, included 20 Israeli Arab citizens – and at that point both government ministers and the entire Israeli population balked.

PA Accuses Israel of ‘Blackmail,’ Threatens Return to UN

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Palestinian Authority is accusing Israel of “blackmail” and instead says it is heading back to the United Nations to appeal for recognition as a sovereign nation if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry can’t force Israel to release 30 terrorists.

The group comprises the final of four tranches to have been released last Friday from Israeli jails. Included were at least 20 Israeli Arab citizens, a controversial list opposed by nearly all of the ministers in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, especially in view of the fact that all of the major concessions since the talks began — as before — seem to have been made by Israel only.

Incensed PA officials rejected the alternate proposal advanced instead of the release last Friday by Israel’s government. Israel allegedly offered to released hundreds more terrorist prisoners if the PA continue final status negotiations beyond the April 29 deadline – but this time take the talks more seriously.

The response of Israel’s “peace partners” was not encouraging.

“Israel is practicing a policy of blackmail and linking its agreement to releasing the fourth tranche of prisoners with the Palestinians accepting an extension of the negotiations,” a PA official told news agencies in Ramallah.

“If Kerry doesn’t provide a clear answer on the release of the 30 prisoners [we] will initiate steps for acceptance to United Nations organizations,” Mustafa Barghouti, an independent PA parliament member, told news agencies Monday night.

The move would be a clear violation of all agreements the PA has made with Israel and the United States.

Since July 2013, Israel has freed 78 PA Arab terrorists and made numerous other concessions that endanger the security of its citizens in “good will gestures” to encourage the PA to remain at the negotiating table.

But the four-stage release of terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails was conditioned upon the active participation in direct talks by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas — and the Arab leader has not made good on his end of the deal.

It’s an old pattern, this “let’s talk some more about it but I can’t sit down with you until you give me what I want” — a game as beloved, familiar and ingrained in the Middle East as that being played out with Washington by the Iranians in Tehran.

Youngsters and tourists quickly learn the drill in the storefront alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City market. And it’s profitable and even fun, until it turns deadly.

Survival makes it essential to learn to tell when the game is deadly, and when you can’t, it is equally important to have enough sense to trust your friends to tell you when it is.

Netanyahu Planning to Visit Pro-Israel Australia

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The wheels have been set in motion for Binyamin Netanyahu become the first Prime Minister to visit Australia, the Australian reported Wednesday.

It said that his diary has been cleared for a week-long visit starting on July 14 in the capital of Canberra and then with business and community leaders in Melbourne and Sydney.

Israel and Australia are interested in promoting economic ties, especially in the areas of information and defense technology.

However, no final decision has yet been made on the trip, and plans could be upset by the constantly changing security situation in and around Israel.

Netanyahu has visited Australia as a diplomat and in 2001 opened Chabad Rabbi Joseph Gutnick’s new synagogue, a replica of Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn.. Kevin Rudd, when he was foreign minister  in 2012  invited Netanyahu  to visit, and the Prime Minister told the Australian in 2012, “In a world where Israel is vilified, castigated, where a beleaguered democracy is defending its very life against radical Islamist forces, we don’t always get credit. We don’t always get fair play. We feel that happens more often than not with Australia.”

Current Foreign minister Julie Bishop angered the Palestinian Authority by questioning claims that expanding Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria violates international laws.

Last year, Bishop told Austria’s representative in the United Nations to withdraw Australia’s support of a resolution for an order to stop ”all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories.” Joining only eight other countries who abstained in the lopsided anti-Israel vote. Six countries, including the United States and Canada, voted against the resolution.

Former Labor governments in Australia condemned a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Lesser of Two Evils May Replace Falk on Anti-Israel UN Council

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be deciding at its annual spring session in Geneva this month on a replacement for Richard Falk, the body’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights who has a history of anti-Israel bias.

U.N. watchdog groups, the United States, and Israel are closely monitoring the selection process.

The applicant list has recently been reduced by the vetting committee from 10 to three, with the candidates perceived as being the most biased against Israel now out of the running, according to UN Watch. The council president, currently Baudelaire Ndong Ella of the Gabonese Republic, will select one of the candidates to be put for a vote in front of the entire council later this month.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, told JNS.org that usually, the president follows the vetting committee’s recommendation and picks the leading candidate, although he has no obligation to do so. The president may even choose a candidate already eliminated in the vetting process.

Appointed by the council to a six-year non-renewable term in 2008, Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University who endorsed boycotts against the Jewish state, has been a perennial thorn in the side of Israel supporters, current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Before becoming the special rapporteur, Falk was a member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories.

The three remaining candidates for the job include Christina Cerna, adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School; John Cerone, professor at Boston’s New England Law School; and Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Of the three, both UN Watch and the Israel-based NGO Monitor regard Chinkin’s record as the most biased against Israel.

“Chinkin was in our ‘rogues’ gallery,” said Neuer, referring to a list his organization compiled to expose anti-Israel sentiments among the original group of candidates. “She co-wrote the Goldstone Report, so she has a record of being enormously biased, someone who’s so biased that she doesn’t even know when she has disqualified herself for a fact finding mission.”

Neuer was referring to Chinkin’s participation in the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in 2009, also known as the Goldstone Report for its chairman, South African jurist Richard Goldstone. She also signed a January 2009 letter in the British Sunday Times newspaper that condemned Israel for war crimes and declared it to be the aggressor in its conflict with the Palestinians.

“It was ridiculous that she continued to serve on the Goldstone commission [without recusing herself],” argued Neuer in referencing the letter.

“Goldstone had the courage and the moral backbone to renounce his own report and Chinkin was one of the main people who denounced Goldstone for that process,” added Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor and a political science professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University. “Goldstone acknowledged that they didn’t have the information, the evidence they presented was not convincing regarding Israel and Chinkin denounced him for that.”

The top two candidates currently do not rank on UN Watch’s “rogues list” nor do they have dossiers at NGO Monitor. But David Michaels, B’nai B’rith International’s director of intercommunal affairs, argued that on a certain level, it didn’t matter who occupies Falk’s position.

“The post itself, by its nature, is explicitly discriminatory against Israel. It’s meant to focus only on alleged violations of Palestinian rights with no consideration at all of violation of Israeli rights or of Palestinian misdeeds,” explained Michaels. “Whereas all other 192 member states of the U.N., including Iran, North Korea, Syria, China [and] Russia are all addressed under one item… Israel has its own permanent agenda item.”

Michaels said that there are NGOs and Human Rights Council members worried about the credibility that is lost within the organization when it appears as systemically against Israel as it currently does.

“It’s an offense against the only democracy in the Middle East, the only Jewish state, but also it just shows in a very stark way that the [U.N.] bodies neglect the most severe and heinous areas of human rights violations in the world,” he said.

At his position, Falk has made public statements against Israel and the United States, positions that Steinberg feels borders on anti-Semitism.

“I’ve been in meetings with him and he uses the ‘I’m Jewish, therefore I can’t be accused of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic’” defense, said Steinberg, adding, “He uses that defense a lot and my challenge to him was, ‘In what other way are you Jewish other than in this hostility towards Israel and your Jewish connections?’”

Without taking a position on who should succeed Falk, the U.S. State Department seemed to welcome the end of the special rapporteur’s tenure.

“As we have stated before, we oppose his deeply flawed and one-sided mandate, as well as Agenda Item 7 under which it was created, the only HRC agenda item to focus on one specific country,” a State Department official told JNS.org. “Falk has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments, including his most recent outrageous comments [accusing Israel of genocide] in an interview with Russia Today. His reports and rhetoric have done nothing to advance a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The UNHRC regular session in Geneva is expected to handle most of the Israel-related issues on its agenda on March 21. Despite advocacy from organizations like B’nai B’rith, UN Watch, and NGO Monitor, among others, few expect the UNHRC and its anti-Israel majority to take the Palestinian issue off its permanent agenda anytime soon.

Dmitriy Shapiro wrote this article for JNS.org.

Richard Falk Blames Israel for Sins of Egypt and Palestinian Authority

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Richard Falk, whose official title is “U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories,” is furious that Gaza fisherman are being shot at, angry about the “blockade” on Gaza, and is upset beyond imagination at those who violate Palestinian Authority Arabs freedom of expression and assembly and who use “excessive use of force.”

Last week, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported, “An Egyptian naval ship opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday, a Palestinian union official said.”

The following day, the Chinese Xinhua news agency wrote, “Islamic Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip organized Sunday a sit-in at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, urging the Egyptian government to reopen the terminal which was closed after the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last year….

“Since toppling Morsi, the new army-backed Egyptian government has been partly opening the Rafah crossing, allowing the entry of only patients, students in foreign countries and holders of foreign visas and passports.”

Today, the Egyptian Ahram reported, “The Egyptian army has destroyed eight more tunnels used for smuggling along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, an army spokesman said on Sunday.”

Earlier this month, the French AFP news agency told readers around the world, “Palestinian authorities on Thursday imposed a blanket ban on all rallies in support of Egypt and Tunisia after the security forces were accused of harsh conduct towards demonstrators.

“The move came just hours after Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the Palestinian security forces and police for forcibly breaking up a pro-Egypt gathering in the West Bank city of Ramallah a day earlier….

“Police punched, kicked and detained participants in the demonstration, as well as at least two journalists and a HRW research assistant,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement, adding that the police “began beating demonstrators without warning.”

“The PA’s suppression is but a continuation of its crackdown on activists and anyone expressing dissent,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is a clear violation of our basic rights.”

Palestinian Authority Security chief Adnan al-Damiri said in a statement, “The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority forbid any interference in the internal affairs of another country, be it Arab or other, and respect the will of the people to decide their destiny.”

Now, take all of those points, connect the dots and come up with this conclusion: Israeli policies in Judea, Gaza and Samaria amount to apartheid.

That is what Falk concluded Monday in order to show everyone that he failed Logic 101, otherwise known as his final report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Falk lies in answers to “who shoots at Gaza fishermen and who prevents Palestinian Authority Arabs from protesting?”

“The humanitarian situation in the Hamas-ruled enclave is dire amid fuel shortages,” he added, according to Reuters. Falk insists that Gaza still is “occupied” by Israel because it allegedly controls border, air space and coastal waters. That is two-thirds correct. Israel does control the air space and the coastal waters, in what the United Nations has said is a legal blockade. Falk ignores that any sane nation controls waters and air space used by terrorists trying to destroy it.

The borders on land controlled by Israel and Egypt. Israel allows hundreds of tons of goods, including building materials that can be used to build rocket weapons factories and missiles, to flow into Gaza. Egypt does not.

As for excessive force, Falk gave no examples, but the above quote from the Palestinian Authority’s own unofficial media says it all. Hundreds of reports have shown week in and week out that the Palestinian Authority regime is not less repressive than that of Egypt.

Gaza Firm Offers Private Bodyguards

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Gaza’s first personal security business has opened up, but its owner says terrorists will not be accepted as customers.

“Secure Land” director Abdul Qader al-Arbid told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that clients will; include banks, hotels, celebrities and banks but not terrorists looking for protection from rival gangs.

“We only work with the private sector,” Arbid said. “This is how security companies work across the world.”

The company’s bodyguards’ first assignment last week was to protect Mohammed Assaf, the winner of the Arab Idol singing competition. Hamas has allowed the company’s 32 security officers to use light weapons, when necessary,

Secure Land also will not provide bodyguards for international aid organizations, meaning that UNRWA, which has increasingly been confronted by Hamas, will have to find its own solution to keep its workers alive.

“We have no problems to have such companies here. We are ready to support and help them in their job,” said Islam Shawan, spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Hamas.

Hamas: UN Agency Proposed Textbooks for Gaza Too ‘Peaceful’

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Hamas has blocked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East from introducing new textbooks for 7th-9th grade students in Gaza because they do not match the Palestinian terrorist group’s violence-driven ideology.

“There is a tremendous focus [in the textbooks] on the peaceful resistance as the only tool to achieve freedom and independence,” said Motesem al-Minawi, a spokesman for the education ministry in Hamas-governed Gaza, the Associated Press reported. Hamas says it prefers “armed resistance” against Israel.

State Dept. Official Curses EU over Ukraine

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

An Assistant Secretary of State, who last year was the Department’s spokeswoman, has been caught using the unprintable four-word expletive in connection with the European Union virtually the same day Washington complained about Israel officials’ unflattering language towards Kerry.

A YouTube has been posted with the audio of a conversation which apparently took place between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. If it was not those two people, someone is doing a great impersonation.

The Kyiv Post reported the conversation, which was about American efforts to mediate a deal between the Ukrainian government and the opposition.

Pyatt and Nuland, or someone sounding like them, sound frustrated over the European Union’s lack of action to solve the political crisis in Ukraine.

Nuland told Pyatt, according to the audio on the YouTube, that Vice President Joe Biden would be brought into the mediation “to help glue this thing and to have the U.N. help glue it.”

She then said, “And you know, [expletive] the EU.” Click here for the YouTube phone conversation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/state-dept-official-curses-eu-over-ukraine/2014/02/06/

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