Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category


After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stirred up some controversy by terming Israel’s recent bombardment of Gaza a “war of genocide” Netanyahu_speechat the UN General Assembly last week, there was some speculation that the Israeli prime minister would come in breathing fire. But all Benjamin Netanyahu presented in his Monday address was the same old smoke.

Netanyahu was expected to rail against the Palestinian Authority leader, but he merely said he was “refuting” Abbas’ “lies” and instead focused on bringing his two favorite themes together: the Islamic State (IS) and Hamas are the same thing, and Iran is trying to fool the world with a moderate president while trying to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Read more at Lobelog

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Reaction to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly today was swift and sharp. One of the most incisive

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN general Assembly, 9/26/14

Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN general Assembly, 9/26/14

Israeli columnists, Chemi Shalev of Ha’aretz, broke it down very well. He considered Abbas’ speech to be a welcome gift to the Israeli right. And I agree with him. But that’s not really the point.

Abbas has often used the UN podium as a way to be more direct and combative than he usually is regarding Israel, de-emphasizing the “partner for peace” charade and instead being more of an advocate for and leader of the Palestinian cause. But this time, he really turned up the heat. His reference to the attack on Gaza as “genocide” was calculated to play very well in Ramallah and Gaza City, and he willingly sacrificed the rest of the world’s approval. (more…)

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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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