Posts tagged UN
Thus saith the LORD
“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
UNITED NATIONS – The Palestinians’ push for upgraded status at the United Nations is likely to succeed, the president of the UN General Assembly said on Friday, while warning the United States against cutting UN funding over the issue.
Having failed last year to secure full UN membership due to US opposition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last month he would ask the 193-nation General Assembly to approve a less ambitious promotion of the Palestinian Authority’s observer status to “non-member state,” like the Vatican. It is currently considered an “entity.”
Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian president of the General Assembly, said Abbas was consulting with UN member states and was expected to call for a meeting on the Palestinian issue as early as next month, shortly after the November 6 US presidential election.
“Most people expect that it is going to be the second half of November,” the 37-year-old former Serbian foreign minister told Reuters in an interview.
“If they decide to go for it after these consultations, which is what President Abbas announced in his speech in September, most people expect that this is going to pass.”
The United States and Israel have warned the Palestinians against seeking a status upgrade, suggesting that it could have financial implications for the Palestinian Authority.
UN diplomats and officials say they are also worried about a possible reduction of UN funding from the United States, which supplies 22 percent of the regular UN budget.
Jeremic said he did not want to lecture Washington, but voiced concern about a possible suspension UN funding due to the Palestinian issue, which he said would have “dire financial implications” for the United Nations.
“I don’t think this would be in the interests of the United States to cut the financial aid, but I am not in a position to say to the United States what is it they should do,” he said. “They know what is best for them, and that’s what they are going to do.”
The US Congress froze some $200 million in much-needed financial aid to the Palestinians after they took their statehood campaign to the United Nations last year. Western officials say further aid reductions are likely, along with a possible freezing of UN funding.
The United States cut funding to the UN education and science agency, UNESCO, last year after it admitted the Palestinians as a full member.
A 1990s US law prohibits US funding to UN organizations that grant full membership to any group that does not have “internationally recognized attributes” of statehood.
Jeremic stressed that the Palestinians were not seeking UN membership, but to be recognized as a “non-member state.”
Such an upgrade could nevertheless be uncomfortable for Israel. Being registered as a state rather than an entity would mean the Palestinians could join bodies such as the International Criminal Court and file complaints against Israel for its continued occupation.
The Palestinians need a simple majority for the upgrade, but predict that between 150 and 170 nations out of the 193 UN member states will vote in favor. source – JPost
President Barack Hussein Obama said some AMAZING things today in his speech at the United Nations. He praised the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood, and said they have the FULL SUPPORT of America. He defended the Prophet Mohammed. He said that when Muslim “extremists” kill Americans, it is the Muslims who suffer more than we do. And in closing he said that America must follow the words of Ghandi, and be guided by Ghandi’s beliefs. But don’t take our word for it – read it for yourself.
Among the many gems in Obama’s One World Government speech to the United Nations this morning. Everything you read is a direct quote:
- “Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than ten Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; and several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.”
- “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.”
- “It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support.”
- “We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.”
- “… crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.”
- “It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. Since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that has taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.”
- “We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy put us on the side of the people.”
- “We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were not being served by a corrupt status quo.” Click here to read the full transcript of Obama’s speech at the United Nations…
In a speech at the United Nations this morning, President Obama says the attacks on America across the Muslim world over the last two weeks are also an “assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded.”
“The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America,” Obama stated, according to a prepared transcript of his remarks. “We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and the Libyan people. And there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region – including Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen – have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. So have religious authorities around the globe.”
Then, President Obama broadened his argument, saying the United Nations was also under attack.
“But the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America,” said Obama. “They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.”
Obama also made a broader case against extremism, saying, “Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.”
A politics based only on anger –one based on dividing the world between us and them – not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces. Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than ten Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; and several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.
And president Obama made the case that the world come together. “Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support,” said Obama. source – Weekly Standard
Signs of the times
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
Flashing the peace sign, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the UN on Monday that Iran is unconcerned by Israeli threats of attack but prepared to defend itself, adding that Israel has ‘no roots’ in the history of the Middle East and would be ‘eliminated’.
The Iranian president made the remarks as he attended the first full day of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. Israeli delegates walked out of the conference as he began to speak.
Ahmadinejad also said it was not too late for dialogue with the United States to resolve differences.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and has criticized U.S. President Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran denies that it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.
‘Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists. … We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves,’ Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the UN General Assembly.
He refused to speak of the state of Israel by name and instead referred only to the ‘Zionists’, and when asked about author Salman Rushdie he made no attempt to distance himself from recent renewed threats on the author’s life emanating from an Iranian semi-official religious foundation.
He said: ‘If he is in the U.S., you should not broadcast it for his own safety.’
Rushdie, an Indian-born British novelist who has nothing to do with the video, was condemned to death in 1989 by Khomeini, Iran’s late leader, over his novel The Satanic Verses, saying its depiction of the Prophet Mohammad was blasphemous.
UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York today that “free speech” has limits, especially when religious beliefs are involved.
“All of this freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals. … Some people abuse this freedom. This effort to provoke, to humiliate others by using (religious) beliefs cannot be protected in such a way.”
Ban, speaking in advance of the 2012 General Assembly, answered reporters’ questions on the impact of the controversial YouTube video about the Islamic prophet Muhammad which allegedly sparked attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in Libya and Egypt last week.
The attacks left four dead, including U.S.-Libya Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It was the first time in more than 30 years that a U.S. ambassador was killed in the field.
While Ban was quick to criticize U.S. policy on free speech, he pointedly refused to address other governments that restrict freedom of expression.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has flaunted his government’s official policy of aiming to “eradicate” the state of Israel and Jews in general and who will attend the General Assembly next week, escaped any Ban criticism during his meeting with reporters.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who issued a muted response to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and who also will visit the General Assembly, received a pass from the U.N. chief.
While insisting that free speech was an “inalienable” human right, Ban added that such “absolute” rights do have limits.
“All human beings have inalienable rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, but at the same time, freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals.”
On the controversial YouTube video, Ban broke with Washington’s insistence that such speech is legally permissible and not actionable under U.S. law.
“My position is that freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right should not be abused by such disgraceful, such shameful acts.” The U.S. mission to the U.N. declined to provide any comment on behalf of Ambassador Susan Rice.
Richard Grenell, a senior U.N. diplomat during the Bush administration, was quick to weigh in.
“The secretary-general is wrong; there are no exceptions to freedom of speech,” he said. “There is no U.N. approval process on it. You can certainly disagree with what someone says, but no one has the right to silence another’s voice.”
Former U.S./U.N. Ambassador John Bolton who sponsored Ban’s candidacy in 2006 told WND.com: “The United States will stand by the First Amendment, alone if need be.” source – WND
JERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinians will ask the United Nations to upgrade their status in the world body by year’s end, enabling them to pursue Israel through the international courts, a senior Palestinian official said on Thursday.
The request to become a non-member “observer state” rather than just an “observer entity”, would give the Palestinians the same U.N. rank as the Vatican, enhancing their legal rights at a time when peace negotiations with Israel have hit a wall.
Such a motion would only need majority backing in the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly, where the Palestinians can rely on substantial support and resolutions cannot be vetoed by Israel’s most powerful ally, the United States.
“The day after (we get) non-member statehood, life will not be the same,” said the veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, speaking in his office in the West Bank city of Jericho.
“Yes, the occupation will continue, the settlements will continue, the crimes of the settlers may continue, but there will be consequences,” he told reporters.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought full statehood recognition at the United Nations last year. This ambitious drive had to pass through the U.N. Security Council, but failed to gather enough votes in the face of fierce U.S. lobbying.
Abbas will address the General Assembly on September 27, after which his aides will consult other nations before presenting the watered-down request to become an observer state, claiming as Palestinian territory the lands that Israel seized in the 1967 war, with East Jerusalem as their capital.
Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and built 120 settlements across the occupied West Bank, with some 500,000 Israelis living beyond the so-called 1967 green line, originally an armistice line rather than the legal boundaries of a Palestinian state.
“After the U.N. vote … Palestine will become a country under occupation. Israel will not be able to say that this is a disputed area,” Erekat said. “The terms of reference for any negotiations will be about withdrawal, not over what the Israelis say is legal or not legal.”
GOING TO COURT
Israel says Palestinians can gain independence only through direct negotiations, and has lobbied hard behind the scenes against their latest U.N. gambit, fearful of the consequences. Face-to-face talks brokered by the United States collapsed in 2010 over the issue of continued settlement building.
As an observer state, Palestine could not only participate in assembly debates, but also join various U.N. agencies, such as the Law of the Sea Treaty and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is based in the Hague.
The ICC rejected in April a Palestinian request to look into alleged crimes in the Palestinian Territories, because they were not full U.N. members. Erekat indicated that Palestinians would turn again to the ICC after the forthcoming assembly vote.
“Those who don’t want to appear before the international tribunals must stop their crimes and it is time for them to become accountable,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated in private he fears Palestinians might accuse his government of violating the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition on forced displacement of populations by establishing settlements.
Looking to dissuade Abbas and head off a U.N. showdown, Israel has threatened to withhold tax revenues that are vital to the well-being of the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.
The United States might also impose financial penalties, while some European nations are urging Palestinian caution.
“We have invested heavily in the Palestinian Authority and we do not want to see that investment jeopardised,” said a European Union diplomat, suggesting that a number of European states might vote against the Palestinian U.N. resolution.
Some 120 countries have already granted the Palestinians the rank of a sovereign state, but Erekat said they hoped to win the votes of between 150 and 170 nations at the United Nations to hammer home U.S. and Israeli isolation on the issue.
However, the Palestinians are undecided whether to push for a vote ahead of the U.S. election in November – timing which might anger President Barack Obama – or just after. ”Whatever, it will happen well before the end of the year,” Erekat told Reuters. source – Yahoo News
Operation IMCMEX-12 has begun
British and US warships have joined a major naval exercise in the Persian Gulf as tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear power programme increase. British forces are taking part in a joint operation conducted by the navies of more than 30 countries to sweep the area – a major transit point of maritime trade – clean of mines.
“The UK is committed to a standing presence in the Gulf to ensure freedom of navigation in international waters such as the Straits of Hormuz,” said defence secretary Philip Hammond.
“Disruption to sailing in the strait would threaten regional and economic growth. Any attempt by Iran to do this would be illegal and unsuccessful.”
The show of strength in exercises that include naval deployment by Saudi Arabia, the US and France was designed to warn off Tehran from contemplating disrupting trade routes in the ongoing diplomatic poker game over its nuclear ambitions and Israel’s threat of a strike.
The Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman is one of the most heavily used trade waterways in the world. Some 35 percent of the world’s oil shipments – about 18 million barrels a day – pass through the 21-mile-wide channel.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been putting pressure on President Obama to threaten Iran with military intervention if Tehran takes its nuclear programme further.
“It’s important to place a red line before Iran – that actually reduces the chance of a military conflict because if they know there’s a point, a stage in the enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they’ll face consequences, I think they’ll actually not cross it,” Netanyahu told CNN.
Iran’s atomic energy chief accused the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, of being infiltrated by “terrorists and saboteurs” after power lines to a nuclear enrichment plant were blown up.
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani said that just after the explosion at the underground plant of Fordow, an inspector from the agency asked to visit the facility.
“Does this visit have any connection to that detonation? Who, other than the IAEA inspector, can have access to the complex in such a short time to record and report failures? Terrorists and saboteurs might have infiltrated the agency and might be making decisions covertly,” said Abbasi-Davani.
Military officials involved in the Gulf naval exercises played down the political significance of the operation.
“This exercise is about mines and the international effort to clear them,” said Vice-Admiral John Miller, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command.
“The work we will do here will strengthen relationships and enhance mine counter-measures interoperability among participating navies,” said exercise director Rear Admiral Kenneth Perry.
A US fleet spokesman also said that the navy manoeuvres will take place out of actual Strait of Hormuz itself.
Known as IMCMEX-12, the naval exercise will see the participation of two British mine counter measures vessels (MCMV) and one Royal fleet auxiliary vessel. The warships are part of the six-strong British fleet, which includes four MCMVs a frigate and a destroyer, currently present in the area. source – IBT