Posts tagged statehood
In UN week, Saudi says to ease Palestinian crisis
(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will pay $200 million to the Palestinian Authority, the official Palestinian news agency said on Monday, funds that will ease a financial crisis faced by the authority as it prepares to apply for full U.N. membership this week.
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf called Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to tell him his government would transfer the funds, the WAFA agency reported.
A shortfall in funding from Arab states including Saudi Arabia had been identified as the cause of the crisis which has highlighted the authority’s vulnerability as President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to press the Palestinians’ statehood agenda at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York.
Last week, both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank identified the authority’s financial crisis as a danger to the state-building program which Fayyad’s administration has led over the last two years.
In the last three months, the authority has twice failed to pay salaries to its 150,000 employees on time and in full. The success of the state-building plan was one of the reasons cited by Palestinian officials for their decision to go to the United Nations, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.
The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self government in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, remains reliant on foreign aid to fill a deficit projected at $900 million this year.
WAFA said Alassaf called Fayyad while the Palestinian prime minister was on his way back to the Middle East from New York, where he had attended a meeting of international donors which support the Palestinian Authority.
The Fayyad plan aimed to ready the Palestinians for the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
But the U.S.-backed peace process which they hoped would yield their independence has ground to a halt — another reason Palestinian officials give for pursuing their diplomatic step at the United Nations.
Abbas has said he will on Friday submit an application for full membership for a state of Palestine. The United States, another major donor to his administration, has said it will block such a move.
Washington says only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians can advance the cause of peace.
Last month, Abbas appealed for Arab financial support to help the Palestinians deal with “pressures and threats” from Israel and its allies which he said were a risk to the plan to seek U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood. source – Reuters
Catholic priests throw their support behind Palestinian statehood
Priests in the Holy Land used their sermons on Sunday to give their blessing to the Palestinians’ bid for United Nations membership.
The retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, the first Palestinian to hold the post since the Crusades, was to preach in the Roman Catholic church in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
A joint statement by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran priests pledged their “support for the diplomatic efforts being deployed to win international recognition for the State of Palestine… on the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as our capital.”
The priests went further than their bishops, who in a statement this week confined themselves to a call for intensified prayer and diplomatic efforts ahead of the Palestinian membership request, to be sent to the UN Security Council on Friday.
“Palestinians and Israelis should exercise restraint, whatever the outcome of the vote at the United Nations,” the bishops said.
“We call upon decision-makers and people of good will to do their utmost to achieve the long-awaited justice, peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look set for a UN showdown next week, with Abbas planning to push for membership for a Palestinian state and Netanyahu arguing against it. ”Despite the pressures that we face, Palestine goes to the UN on the 23rd of this month to seek admission as a full member,” Abbas told Egyptian television on Wednesday. source – BREITBART
OSLO, Norway — Norway’s foreign minister says the Scandinavian country will back Palestinian officials in their appeal to the U.N. for statehood.
In a Facebook post late Saturday, Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote “Palestinians have the right to go to the U.N.” and Norway is “ready to recognize a Palestinian state.”
Dramatic speech in Ramallah
Palestinian leader says PA to proceed with UN bid in September because President Obama endorsed Palestinian state; ‘I’m going to the UN in order to demand our legitimate rights and secure full membership,’ he says.
The Palestinian Authority will be seeking full United Nations membership in its statehood bid later this month, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.
“I’m going to the UN in order to demand our legitimate rights and secure full membership for the state of Palestine,” the Palestinian president said in Ramallah. “We hope to secure full membership.”
We are the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and we intend to keep going until we secure full independence, he said.
“We are going to the Security Council,” Abbas added, but then made it clear that “all options are open” and that a final decision has not been made yet.
Abbas said the Palestinians will be aiming to “secure independence in the 1967 borders and its holy capital, Jerusalem.” He also urged his countrymen to avoid violence, saying “we must avoid force.”
Let’s get ready to rumble!
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will address the UN General Assembly on Friday next week, setting the stage for a potentially dramatic diplomatic showdown with the Palestinians. He will speak on the same day that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, is due to deliver a landmark speech calling on the global body to support Palestinian statehood.
“The General Assembly is not a place where Israel usually receives a fair hearing,” Mr Netanyahu said on Thursday. “But I still decided to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it.”
The Israeli government, which opposes the Palestinian UN bid, had originally considered sending Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to New York. Mr Peres is widely seen as a less divisive figure on the international stage than the prime minister. However, a failure by Mr Netanyahu to turn up at the UN next week could also have been interpreted as an unnecessary snub to the UN at a time when Israel is already facing growing diplomatic isolation.
The announcement suggests that the Israeli government now has little faith in the last-ditch effort by US and European negotiators to stop the Palestinian drive for statehood at the UN. According to several officials and diplomats, Mr Abbas on Wednesday rebuffed an alternative “package” that was drafted and presented by Tony Blair, the international community’s Middle East envoy.
The deal would have involved a statement by the Middle East Quartet (the US, UN, Russia and the European Union) calling for a return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The statement would have included a timeline for negotiations and clearer terms of reference than were offered in the past – for example on the likely borders of a future Palestinian state. The package, according to several people involved in the talks, also held out the promise of a UN resolution, though one that would have stopped short of endorsing Palestinian statehood at this point.
Mr Abbas, however, told Mr Blair that the deal on offer was not sufficient. Palestinian officials said it fell short of, among other things, the Palestinian demand for Israel to freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements. It was also unclear whether the Israeli government itself was ready to accept the Quartet statement – a key point for Palestinian negotiators.
“We believe these last-minute moves were not for the sake of restarting peace talks, but for the sake of preventing the Palestinians from going to the UN,” one Palestinian official based in Ramallah said.
Mr Abbas is still facing strong pressure from senior US officials to step back from the UN move. However, most officials and diplomats believe that there is now little chance of stopping a Palestinian bid for statehood, which could take place either at the UN Security Council or in the UN General Assembly. Mr Abbas himself is scheduled to give a television address on Friday night, amid speculation that he will use the broadcast to finally reveal the precise Palestinian proposal for statehood at the UN. source – FT
They divided My land
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” Joel 3:2
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinians on Thursday officially launched their campaign to join the United Nations as a full member state, saying they would stage a series of peaceful events in the run-up to the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly later this month.
Some 100 Palestinian officials and activists gathered at the U.N. offices in Ramallah for a short ceremony, where they announced their plans in a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The letter urges Ban to add his “moral voice in support of the Palestinian people.”
“Families of the tens of thousands of victims of Israeli occupation, including those martyred, wounded and imprisoned, and countless others who were expelled from their homes or lost their homes and their property, hope that you will exert all possible efforts toward the achievement of the Palestinian people’s just demands,” it says.
The letter was handed over by Latifa Abu Hmeid, a 70-year-old woman who lost one son in fighting with Israel and has seven other sons in Israeli prisons because of alleged militant activities.
Officials said Abu Hmeid was selected to deliver the document because her personal story reflects the plight of the Palestinians. A resident of a West Bank refugee camp, her house has been twice demolished by Israeli authorities as punishment for her sons’ activities, they said.
The Palestinians have decided to turn to the U.N. to recognize their independence after two decades of unsuccessful peace efforts with Israel. The latest round of talks broke down a year ago.
The campaign seeks recognition of an independent Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel rejects a return to its 1967 lines.
While any U.N. vote will be largely symbolic, the Palestinians believe a strong international endorsement will boost their position and put pressure on Israel should negotiations resume. Israel has been lobbying the international community to oppose the vote, saying peace can only be achieved through negotiations.
The letter says the campaign will include a series of peaceful events “in various international cities and capitals” leading up to the Sept. 21 opening of the General Assembly. Two days later, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the gathering in New York and ask for admission to the United Nations.
It remains unclear whether the Palestinians will turn to the Security Council or the General Assembly.
The Council needs nine votes out of 15 and no veto from any of its permanent members to pass a decision. However, the United States, which opposes the Palestinian bid, is expected to veto any request in the Council.
The Palestinians could then seek admission as a “nonmember state” of the General Assembly, like the Vatican.
Approval in the Assembly, which is dominated by developing nations sympathetic to the Palestinians, is assured. But the vote would not be legally binding. The Palestinians say they will continue their campaign until they gain full U.N. membership.
Although the Palestinians say their campaign will be peaceful, Israeli military officials fear that mass demonstrations in the West Bank could turn violent.
Security forces have been preparing for the possibility of violence, conducting exercises and stockpiling what they say is “non-lethal” riot-control equipment like tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades.
Israeli West Bank settlers, meanwhile, came under suspicion Thursday in the latest of a string of attacks against Palestinians and the Israeli military in the West Bank.
Two cars were torched and Hebrew-language slogans were spray-painted on a mosque in the Nablus area, and three dozen trees were uprooted from Palestinian farmland in the same area, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The Israeli military said it was investigating.
No one claimed responsibility for the acts, but settlers have carried out similar acts before, in some cases in retaliation for Israeli government actions against settlers, a practice they call “price tag.” Earlier this week, a West Bank mosque was set afire.
Settlers are also suspected of having infiltrated an Israeli military base early Wednesday, smashing windows, slashing the tires of about a dozen vehicles and spray-painting graffiti alluding to the demolition of three homes in an unauthorized settler outpost earlier this week.
Separately, the military demolished five West Bank shacks and three water cisterns it said Palestinians built without authorization in the West Bank. U.N. officials said 20 people were left homeless.
The demolitions occurred days after military officials had promised to halt the practice, saying the policy was not equally enforced in Jewish settlements. Military officials did not return messages. source – Yahoo News
The Obama Promise
So what is the ‘Obama Promise’, you ask? It’s a new radio ad campaign that will tout Palestinian statehood based on words of US President Barack Obama, in a speech he gave last year to the United Nations regarding statehood for the Palestinians. Here’s a sample of that speech:
““When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel,”
Part of a speech Obama gave in 2010 to the United Nations General Assembly is featured in an ad aimed to rally support for the Palestinians upcoming bid for statehood at the United Nations on Sept. 20, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The Palestinians use of the remarks is at odds with the Obama administration’s current all-out push to stop the Palestinians from pursuing their statehood bid. U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East David Hale is set to hold talks Wednesday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge him to reconsider the statehood effort and instead return to direct negotiations with Israel.
During the 36-second radio spot starring Obama, Abbas tells listeners “If he said it, he must have meant it.”
Although U.S. officials described Obama’s statement in the 2010 speech simply as an expression of hope, Abbas has called the statement the “Obama promise,” Reuters wrote.
Both the U.S. and Israel have said they strongly oppose the planned Palestinian bid, and the U.S. has said it would veto the bid at the U.N. Security Council. If the U.S. uses its veto, Palestinian officials have said they plan to apply for an upgrade in status to a nonmember U.N. state. In addition to Obama’s remarks, the ad campaign features excerpts from speeches by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and verses from the late national poet Mahmoud Darwish. source – Politico