Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category


The attempt to resolve the ongoing, albeit highly uneven, exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza has now reached the United Palestine_election_mapNations Security Council (UNSC). The draft proposal, initially pushed by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, bears many of the same hallmarks as the most recent Egyptian ceasefire proposal. The United States came late to the game, but at least so far, it appears supportive of the idea. It remains to be seen how this will play out as the proposed resolution nears Security Council consideration.

The goals of the West are clear. One, resolve the current violence. Two, remove the difficult blight of the assault on Gaza, which is a much more powerful motivator for people to join pro-Palestinian protests than the more banal occupation of the West Bank. And three, bring the Gaza Strip back under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Read more at LobeLog.

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Samantha Power is certain to win confirmation for the post of Ambassador to the UN. Her execrable testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday all but sealed the deal. And why now, when a so-called human rights defender has the support of people like Alan Dershowitz, who advocates the destruction of entire Palestinian villages, and other notable bleeding hearts like John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Max Boot and others. I report for IPS here.

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In this week’s piece for Souciant, a rundown of some of the effects of the surprisingly impactful Palestinian victory at the UN General Assembly.

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My latest for LobeLog examines the machinations by Israel, the US and the UK around the PLO bid for upgraded status at the UN General Assembly, particularly the ridiculous conditions that they tried to get Mahmoud Abbas to accept.

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Australia has long been one of the countries that often, though not always, have voted in the United Nations General Assembly with the United States and Israel in votes

Australian PM Julia Gillard and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

overwhelmingly going against them. It had been made clear by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that this would be the case again. She promised that Australia would oppose the rather tepid resolution the Palestinians are bringing to the general Assembly to upgrade their status to Non-Member Observer.

But her “best” intentions were thwarted by a revolt within her own party, Labor, when her cabinet ministers warned her that Labor’s parliamentary caucus would vote against her decision to support the Israeli position and that this could cause a crisis that might even bring down her government. So, Gillard has decided that Australia will abstain in the UN vote.

The significance of this is not lost on Israel, though the scant global attention being paid to it indicates that it is lost on many others. Australia’s close relationship to Israel is long-standing, and has been consistent through both center-left (which is Labor) and center-right governments. (more…)

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Pasted below is the full text, as it currently stands, of the resolution the Palestinian Authority is planning to bring to the UN General Assembly, apparently on November 29.

The resolution is extremely mild, calling for the State of Palestine to be accorded the same status in the GA as the Vatican has. It also calls for a two-state solution, the resumption of talks based on the relevant resolutions and past negotiations, and for the Security Council to consider “favorably” the application for full membership submitted last year.

None of this can be considered radical or extremist, and most of it is obviously necessary if there is to be any progress toward any resolution. While it can be argued that the two-state solution has already passed the point where it can be reasonably implemented, this remains the stated goal of the US, EU, Palestinian Authority, Arab League and even Israel. It’s pretty hard to see any reasonable argument against this resolution, and even harder to see why this would send the US and Israel into the tizzy it has(more…)

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For my International Law class (for those who don’t know, I’m working on my Master’s Degree at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy), I was asked to write a UN resolution and a strategy for getting it adopted. I thought folks here might be interested in seeing what i came up with, as sort of a thought experiment.

The UN General Assembly Hall

Keep in mind, the idea here was to be realistic and come up with a resolution that made sense to present. I am in the role of an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, and the time was supposed to be mid-2011, so I could focus on the real possibility, at the time, of going to the UN that coming September. The scope is narrow, so I’m not trying to get him to rethink his entire approach to the occupation.

So, of course, I’m recommending a General Assembly, rather than a Security Council approach.

Comments are welcome. The resolution I wrote is pasted below. The longer strategy paper (in an MS Word document)  is at this link(more…)

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