Posts tagged UN
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — American diplomats led a walkout at the U.N. General Assembly Thursday as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a sweeping attack on the United States and major West European nations, calling them “arrogant powers” ruled by greed and eager for military adventurism.
The two U.S. diplomats, who specialize in the Middle East, were followed out of the chamber by diplomats from more than 30 countries. They included the 27 European Union members, Australia, New Zealand, Somalia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Macedonia, a U.N. diplomat said.
Ahmadinejad’s speech contrasted what he called the poverty and unhappiness in most countries against the riches and power of the U.S. and unnamed European nations that he accused of perpetuating wars, causing the current global economic crisis and infringing on “the rights and sovereignty of nations.”
He attacked the United States and European colonial powers for abducting tens of millions of Africans and making them slaves, for their readiness “to drop thousands of bombs on other countries,” and for dominating the U.N. Security Council He singled out the U.S. for using a nuclear bomb against Japan in World War II and imposing and supporting military dictatorships and totalitarian regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“It is as lucid as daylight that the same slave masters and colonial powers that once instigated the two world wars have caused widespread misery and disorder with far-reaching effects across the globe since then,” Ahmadinejad said. “Do these arrogant powers really have the competence and ability to run or govern the world?”
The Iranian president answered by calling for “the shared and collective management of the world in order to put an end to the present disorders, tyranny and discriminations worldwide.”
Ahmadinejad made no mention of his disputed re-election in June 2009 when Iranian security forces systematically crushed opposition protests, the current internal political turmoil that has sharply diminished his power, or Iran’s nuclear program which the U.S. and its allies believe is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
“While President Ahmadinejad is lecturing the world from the U.N. podium,” Human Rights Watch’s U.N. Director Philippe Bolopion said, “dissent is still being crushed ruthlessly in Iran and basic rights demanded by millions in the Arab world are brutally denied to Iranians who are demanding the same.”
“The world assembly should take with a grain of salt the remarks of a leader who said nothing about the public hanging yesterday of a 17-year-old in his own country,” he said.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad noted “the widespread awakening in Islamic lands … (in) the pursuit of the realization of justice, freedom and the creation of a better tomorrow.” He said “our great nation stands ready to join hands with other nations to march on this beautiful path.”
The Iranian leader accused the U.S. of threatening to place sanctions on anyone who questions the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States with sanctions and military action.
Without naming the United States, he asked: “Who imposed, through deceits and hypocrisy, the Zionism and over 60 years of war, homelessness, terror and mass murder on the Palestinian people and on countries in the region?”
Ahmadinejad accused some unidentified European countries of still using the Holocaust “as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists.” He also said any question about the foundation of Zionism is condemned by the U.S. “as an unforgivable sin.”
Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said: “Mr. Ahmadinejad had a chance to address his own people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories.”
When the idea of an independent fact-finding investigation of “the hidden elements” involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was raised last year, he said, “my country and myself came under pressure and threat by the government of the United States.”
“Instead of assigning a fact-finding team, they killed the main perpetrator and threw his body into the sea,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to the U.S. military’s killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in early May. source – Yahoo News
The rising tide
Israel’s military, Shin Bet security service and police went on elevated preparedness for trouble Wednesday night, Sept. 21, after receiving information that the Palestinian Hamas and other radical groups were preparing to stage violent confrontations with Israel on the West Bank, exploiting the anti-US mood sweeping Palestinian areas after President Barack Obama’s UN speech
Western Middle East experts rate his address as the most supportive of Israel ever delivered at the world body by any US president. It has stirred powerful emotions of resentment and disappointment among the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Crowds gathered in Ramallah and the streets of West Bank towns Wednesday – originally to celebrate the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ application for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood – instead shouted anti-US slogans and burned American flags.
Hamas and its radical allies determined to seize the moment for taking charge of the rallies set up by the Palestinian Authority and the rival Fatah for the rest of the week in the expectation of a UN victory.
The intelligence received in Israel reveals directions to all the extremist organizations close to Hamas, like for instance the Association of young Muslims on the West Bank, to go into action Thursday and build up to a climax Friday, Sept. 23. They were told to break into Jewish settlements to vandalize and torch homes, taking their model from the mass storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sept. 10.
Friday, Palestinians were told to mob the checkpoints guarding Jerusalem, make for Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount. Riots and start a rampage there which would be sure to attract world attention to the Palestinian protest against President Obama and US support for Israel.
The Palestinian extremist groups will be venting their rage not just on the US but also Britain, France, Germany and the West at large.
At UN headquarters in New York, meanwhile, debkafile’s exclusive sources disclose that the Palestinian delegation and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, under extreme pressure to back away from their application for UN recognition, have informed Lebanese President Michel Suleiman who presides over the UN Security Council session Friday that their application will be filed on that day as planned. However, they will not insist on having it debated at once or put to vote.
Our sources report that this is the first crack in the Palestinian determination to go through with their UN initiative against all odds.
A western source in New York told debkafile that the Palestinians have begun to finally wake up to the virtual impossibility of their motion being carried by the Security Council.
Straight after the Obama speech, US diplomacy threw all its resources into persuading every Security Council member to oppose or at least abstain from endorsing the Palestinian motion. As of now, Nigeria, Gabon, India and Bosnia have agreed to consider withholding their support.
The key points President Obama highlighted in his address to the opening of the UN General Assembly Wednesday, Sept. 21 were:
- There are no short cuts to peace. It can only be achieved through negotiations – not statements and resolutions at the United Nations.
- Ultimately it is up to Israel and the Palestinians to agree on borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem.
- I also believe a genuine peace can be attained only between the Palestinians and Israelis themselves.
- The Palestinians deserve a territorial base for their state. (Ed: The 1967 borders were not mentioned.)
- But they must acknowledge the very real security concerns Israel faces every day.
- Israel is surrounded by neighbors who have repeatedly waged war against it. Its people are killed by missiles on its borders and suicide bombers. Other children are taught to hate them and far bigger nations want to wipe them off the map.
- They deserve a historical state in their historical land just as the Palestinians deserve a stated for which they have waited too long.
- Peace depends on compromise. Each side has legitimate aspirations and both must learn to stand in the other’s shoes.
- The US president stressed that the US is unshakably committed to Israel’s security.
Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama stressed peace cannot be imposed on the parties and a UN resolution will not bring the Palestinians a state.
‘UN statehood bid is only alternative to violence’
Senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Wednesday that the Palestinians’ statehood bid at the United Nations is the only alternative to violence, stressing that the UN move will give the Palestinians the change to promote their rights.
“The UN is the only alternative to violence,” Shaath said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“It will be very costly to us and the Israelis. Our new heroes are Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King.”
Shaath also said that the Palestinians plan to give the UN Security Council time to mull its statehood bid, which they are due to submit on Friday, before turning to the UN General Assembly.
“President [Mahmoud] Abbas doesn’t want [people] to suspect we are not serious by pleading to two committees,” Shaath said. “We will give some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly.”
Shaath explained that the UN move is part of a non-violent strategy to seek the support of the international community after Israel has not ended the occupation and widened the settlements.
“We are not seeking to join the mafia or al-Qaida, we seek membership of the UN. It will give us the right to promote our rights,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, urging the Palestinians to renew negotiations with Israel, rather than seek statehood at the UN. source – Haaretz
Hypocrisy at it’s finest
After 2 and one half years of telling the Palestinians that they should have their own state, Obama now tells them they can’t. Let’s see how well that plays out.
President Obama said Wednesday there is no “shortcut” to Middle East peace, as he urged the Palestinians to abandon their push for a statehood vote before the United Nations. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, the president restated his belief that the Palestinians deserve their own state but said a vote at the United Nations is not the way to achieve it.
“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” said Obama, who at the same forum a year ago called for an independent Palestine.
He said the decades-old impasse will be resolved only by “negotiated settlement,” something he said could not happen until “each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes.” Obama, while stating the vision of Palestinian statehood has been delayed for “too long,” used his address to assure Israel that his administration empathizes with its concerns and will stand by the Jewish state.
“Let us be honest with ourselves. Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it,” Obama said. While Palestinians must know the territorial basis for their state, he said, the Israelis have be assured of their security.
“Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them,” Obama said.
The speech was just one element of the administration’s pressure campaign, in public and behind the scenes, to head off the vote on Palestinian statehood.
The president met after his address with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to be followed by a meeting hours later with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The two foreign leaders, who have not agreed to meet with each other, are on a collision course at the United Nations, requiring U.S. officials to intervene in a bid to ratchet down the dispute.
Abbas has threatened to bring his statehood push before the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. plans to veto the measure but would rather not get to that point, as the veto could further hurt U.S. standing in the Middle East. Still, Abbas could take the proposal straight to the General Assembly, where the Palestinians are seen as having the support to win what amounts to a symbolic recognition of statehood and slightly elevated status within the United Nations.
The White House, and the Israelis, maintain that the Palestinians cannot achieve statehood in any practical sense through a U.N. vote in New York. They say statehood can only be achieved through direct negotiations.
But Obama’s efforts to once again revive those negotiations have fizzled over the past year. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the leading candidate in the Republican field for the presidential nomination, on Tuesday sharply criticized Obama for his Middle East policy. Referencing the president’s criticism of Israeli settlements and public call for a return to the pre-1967 borders, Perry blamed the president for the current situation at the U.N.
Obama said Wednesday he was “frustrated” by the lack of progress over the past year.
During his speech, Obama also hailed what he called a “time of extraordinary transformation,” as he touted the Arab Spring gains of protesters across the Middle East.
He particularly highlighted the NATO-led mission in Libya to aid rebels fighting against Muammar Qaddafi. “This is how the international community is supposed to work,” Obama said. He said uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the resolution to an election dispute in Cote d’Ivoire, are signs of a changing world.
“This has been a remarkable year,” Obama said. “Something’s happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be. … Dictators are on notice.” He said the international community will still “have to respond to the calls for change” elsewhere in the region, pointing to the repressive behavior of regimes in Syria and Iran, among others. source – Fox News
The Arab Spring has come to Israel’s doorstep
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Flag-waving Palestinians filled the squares of major West Bank cities on Wednesday to rally behind President Mahmoud Abbas’s bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations in the face of U.S. and Israeli objections.
“We are asking for the most simple of rights, a state like other nations,” said Sabrina Hussein, 50, carrying the green, red, black and white Palestinian national flag at a demonstration in Ramallah.
Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under 1990s interim peace deals, gave school children and civil servants the day off to attend events in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron.
A large mockup of a blue chair, symbolizing a seat at the U.N., and giant Palestinian flags hanging from buildings provided a backdrop for the Ramallah rally, where attendance peaked at several thousand.
Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank, which it calls Judea and Samaria, and to Jerusalem. It claims all of the city as its capital, a status that is not recognized internationally.
Palestinians said more people would have showed up if the authorities had better advertised the events. They also said the political divide between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which governs Gaza, had curtailed the turnout.
The main venues were far removed from Israeli military checkpoints on city limits and the rallies were peaceful.
But away from the gatherings, more than a hundred Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on the edge of Ramallah. The soldiers responded with teargas and used a “screamer” — a device that emits an ear-splitting high-pitched sound to disperse crowds.
There also were disturbances in the divided West Bank city of Hebron.
Later in the day in New York, U.S. President Barack Obama was due to meet Abbas to urge him to drop plans to ask the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state. Washington says statehood should be achieved through peace talks.
Abbas has said he will present U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with a membership application on Friday. The move requires Security Council approval and the United States, one of five veto-wielding permanent members, says it will block it.
At the Ramallah rally, Amina Abdel Jabbar al-Kiswany, a head teacher, said the U.N. bid was a step toward statehood, but not a solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which direct negotiations have failed to resolve.
“It’s a cry of desperation,” Kiswany said.
Reflecting anger with U.S. policy, a Palestinian, his face covered by a scarf, climbed the stage scaffolding and set ablaze an American flag. Earlier, some of the demonstrators had tried to stop the flag burning.
Washington’s pledge to veto the bid for U.N. membership has added to deep Palestinian disappointment in Obama. The Palestinians have long complained of what they see as Washington’s complete support for Israel at their expense.
“America talks about human rights. They support South Sudan. Why don’t they support us?” said Tamer Milham, a 26-year-old computer engineer, referring to the new state of South Sudan which was admitted to the United Nations in July.
U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed a year ago after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month limited moratorium on construction in Jewish settlements in areas Palestinians want for a state.
Netanyahu has called the Palestinian demand of a halt to settlement building an unacceptable precondition and urged Abbas to return to negotiations. Palestinians hope to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinian Authority has held sway only in the West Bank since Hamas Islamists opposed to his peace efforts with Israel seized Gaza in a brief civil war in 2007.
Hamas has dismissed the U.N. bid as a waste of time and there were no rallies in the Mediterranean enclave, where Palestinians argue that Abbas should be devoting his energies to bridging the internal political divide. source – Yahoo News
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.”