| Pirate Israel’s gains from the death of Arafat cannot be ignored!

Israel’s gains from the death of Arafat cannot be ignored ~

Jonathan CookThe National, Abu Dhabi.

It seems there are still plenty of parties who would prefer that the death of the long-time Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat continues to be treated as a mystery rather than as an assassination.

It is hard, however, to avoid drawing the logical conclusion from the finding last week by Swiss scientists that the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of a radioactive isotope, polonium-210. An inconclusive and much more limited study by a Russian team published shortly immediately after the Swiss announcement also suggests Arafat died from poisoning.

It is time to state the obvious: Arafat was killed. And suspicion falls squarely on Israel.

Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive. Without Israel’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, it may be impossible to secure a conviction in a court of law, but there should be evidence enough to convict Israel in the court of world opinion.

Israel had access to polonium from its nuclear reactor in Dimona, and has a long record of carrying out political assassinations, some ostentatious and others covert, often using hard-to-trace chemical agents. There is also plenty of evidence that Israel wanted Arafat “removed”. In January 2002, Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s military chief of staff, was caught on a microphone whispering to Israel’s then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, about Arafat: “We have to get rid of him.”

With the Palestinian leader holed up for more than two years in his battered compound in Ramallah, surrounded by Israeli tanks, the debate in the Israel government centred on whether he should be exiled or killed.

In September 2003, the cabinet even issued a warning that Israel would “remove this obstacle in a manner, and at a time, of its choosing”. The then-deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, clarified that killing Arafat was “one of the options”.

What stayed Israel’s hand – and fuelled its equivocal tone – was Washington’s adamant opposition. After these threats, Colin Powell, the US former secretary of state, warned that a move against Arafat would trigger “rage throughout the Arab world”.

By April 2004, however, Mr Sharon declared he was no longer obligated by his earlier commitment to George Bush not to “harm Arafat physically”. “I am released from that pledge,” he said. The White House too indicated a weakening of its stance: an unnamed spokesman responded feebly that the US “opposed any such action”.

So what about motive? How did Israel gain from “removing” Arafat? To understand Israel’s thinking, one needs to return to another debate raging at that time, among Palestinians.

The Palestinian leadership was split into two camps, centred on Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, then Arafat’s heir apparent. The pair had starkly divergent strategies for dealing with Israel.

In Arafat’s view, Israel had reneged on commitments it made in the Oslo accords. He was therefore loath to invest exclusively in the peace process. He wanted a twin strategy: keeping open channels for talks while maintaining the option of armed resistance to pressure Israel. For this reason, he kept a tight personal grip on the Palestinian security forces.

Mr Abbas, on the other hand, believed that armed resistance was a gift to Israel, delegitimising the Palestinian struggle. He wanted to focus exclusively on negotiations and state-building, hoping to exert indirect pressure on Israel by proving to the international community that the Palestinians could be trusted with statehood. His priority was cooperating closely with the US and Israel in security matters.

Israel and the US strongly preferred Mr Abbas’s approach, even forcing Arafat for a time to reduce his own influence by appointing Mr Abbas to a newly created post of prime minister.

Israel’s primary concern was that, however much of a prisoner they made Arafat, he would remain a unifying figure for Palestinians. By refusing to renounce armed struggle, Arafat managed to contain – if only just – the mounting tensions between his own Fatah movement and its chief rival, Hamas.

With Arafat gone, and the conciliatory Mr Abbas installed in his place, those tensions erupted violently into the open – as Israel surely knew they would. That culminated in a split that tore apart the Palestinian national movement and led to a territorial schism between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

In Israel’s oft-used terminology, Arafat was the head of the “infrastructure of terror”. But Israel’s preference for Mr Abbas derived not from respect for him or from a belief that he could persuade Palestinians to accept a peace deal. Mr Sharon famously declared that Mr Abbas was no more impressive than a “plucked chicken”.

Israel’s interests in killing Arafat were evident after his death. Not only did the Palestinian national movement collapse, but the Palestinian leadership got drawn back into a series of futile peace talks, leaving Israel clear to concentrate on land grabs and settlement building. Contemplating the matter of whether Israel benefited from the loss of Arafat, Palestinian analyst Mouin Rabbani observed: “Hasn’t Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] exemplary commitment to Oslo over the years, and maintenance of security cooperation with Israel through thick and thin, already settled this question?”

Mr Abbas’ strategy may be facing its ultimate test now, as the Palestinian negotiating team once again tries to coax out of Israel the barest concessions on statehood at the risk of being blamed for the talks’ inevitable failure. The effort already looks deeply misguided.

While the negotiations have secured for the Palestinians only a handful of ageing political prisoners, Israel has so far announced in return a massive expansion of the settlements and the threatened eviction of some 15,000 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

It is doubtless a trade-off Arafat would have rued.

Jonathan Cook is an independent journalist based in Nazareth

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ArafMandHug

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| Sovereign Palestine: Abbas Submits Weak UN Status Bid!

Palestine deserves full UN membership. It’s entitled to all rights and privileges afforded other Member States. Getting them is simple. It should have happened years ago.
Palestine satisfies all essential criteria. On November 15, 1988, it achieved statehood.
Previous articles explained. Security Council vetoes can’t prevent UN admission. General Assembly Member States have sole authority.
A two-thirds majority admits full de jure members. A simple majority admits observer ones. Palestine has more than enough support for either.
Why Arafat didn’t seek UN admission he can’t explain. In 2004, Israel murdered him. It’s indisputable. Clear evidence proves it.
Abbas has lots of explaining to do. He’s a longtime Israeli collaborator. He’s a traitor. Israel made him president for that reason.
Palestinians have good reason to expect a watered-down, meaningless UN bid. That’s all they’ll get. The fix is in. It shouldn’t be that way.
Abbas seeks nonmember observer status. With it come significant rights. Getting them requires not requesting they be excluded or omitting them from draft text language.
Full rights permit joining specialized UN agencies. They include the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Law of the Sea Treaty (LST), NPT, International Court of Justice (ICJ), and International Criminal Court (ICC).
Membership gives Palestine control of its territorial waters and air space. Other rights are afforded.
Suing Israel (at the ICJ) and Israeli officials (at the ICC) for genocide, as well as crimes of war and against humanity is permitted. By or after 2017, Israel can also be sued for criminal aggression.
November 29 is D-Day (decision day). UN Member States will vote. Palestine will easily gain upgraded nonmember observer status. At issue is what comes with it. It depends on what’s excluded.
Abbas submitted a 316-word draft. It calls for resuming peace talks with Israel. Doing so is meaningless and insulting. Abbas knows it. Going through the motions is a charade.
Peace isn’t possible without a legitimate partner. Palestine never had one. It doesn’t now.
Talks were stillborn from inception. One observer called them “the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history.”
Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands. Nothing short of unconditional surrender is acceptable. Decades of on and off talks were futile. Dealing with Netanyahu assures no resolution.
Israel spurns peace. Netanyahu calls pursuing it “a waste of time.” The so-called “peace process” is more slogan than reality. It’s a duplicitous charade.
Abbas’ draft language said nothing about halting settlement construction. It doesn’t request membership in UN agencies and treaties. That’s key.
Without it, upgraded status is meaningless. Vital rights are denied. Abbas seems headed in that direction. It shouldn’t surprise.
He sold out Palestinians at Oslo. He became Israel’s enforcer. He supports occupation harshness.
Israel made him president. He lives a privileged lifestyle. His own people suffer. He’s near retirement. He doesn’t want to spoil things now.
On November 26, the London Guardian headlined “Britain ready to back Palestinian statehood at UN.”
Statehood is not at issue. Britain’s “generosity” comes with strings. It wants Palestine denied all rights. It wants no anti-Israeli recriminations.
It wants Palestinians to behave like good little boys and girls and do whatever Israel wishes.
It wants occupation harshness continued. It wants no change in Gaza’s siege.
It wants Israel allowed to steal all parts of Judea and Sumaria it wishes.
It wants settlement construction to continue unimpeded.
It wants peace process hypocrisy to resume without preconditions.
It wants Palestine’s observer status to be impotent and meaningless.
Expect Abbas to accede to all demands. He cares only about his own status and welfare. He’s a duplicitous traitor. He’s also a pathetic spent force. Hamas emerged from Pillar of Cloud resolute and resilient.
Throughout eight days of terror bombing and shelling, Abbas was largely sidelined and silent. His support was rhetorical, not real. He wants Hamas destroyed.
He said so before Cast Lead began. He knew about it in advance. He endorsed it. He likely had advance Pillar of Cloud knowledge. He did nothing to help his own people. He spurns them. He’s their enemy, not ally.
Expect pathetically little from his UN bid. Why else would Israel, Washington, and other Western states permit it.
On November 27, Haaretz headlined “Israel, US hold secret talks on softening Palestinian Authority‘s UN bid,” saying:
Israel and Washington conspire like they always do. At issue is neutralizing Palestine’s bid. “Softening” means neutering or castrating.
On Sunday, Netanyahu’s representative, Isaac Molho, left for Washington. He’s meeting with senior administration and State Department officials.
Earlier, Israel and Washington went all-out to subvert Palestine’s bid. It’s proceeding as planned. Tactics changed. Focus now is on making it meaningless.
Obama officials say they “will try to soften the wording, in an attempt at damage limitation.” It’s more than that. They want full Israeli authority unimpeded.
They want no ICJ or ICC lawsuits. They want everything Britain demands and then some. They want Palestinians denied all rights. Obama and Netanyahu agree.
Language is being drafted. Washington and Israel want it inserted in Abbas’ draft before Thursday’s vote.
Earlier, Congress threatened to suspend, cut, or cease UN funding if Palestine gets nonmember observer status. Freezing or cutting off US funding supplied Palestine was also mentioned.
Israel promised tough retaliatory measures. Threats included revoking privileges afforded PA officials, canceling work permits for Palestinians in Israel, halting tax transfers, and greatly expanding settlement construction.
Avigdor Lieberman wants the PA destroyed. Softer language changes things. Haaretz said after the UN vote, “Israel will introduce sanctions against the Palestinians” but they won’t be as harsh as originally planned.
“Only if the Palestinians use the UN decision to advance moves at the (ICC) will Israel consider more drastic steps.”
An unnamed senior Israeli official said:
“We have to be clever, not just right. There will be measures in reaction, but they will be relatively moderate.”
He has temporarily freezing tax revenues in mind. Doing so is easily “reversible.” Israel wants Palestinian enforcers paid. They’re needed. They’re complicit in assuring occupation harshness.
Settlement construction will continue unimpeded. So will land theft and dispossessions. Palestinians will be forced off their own property. Their homes will be demolished. Jewish development will replace them.
Hundreds of new housing units will be announced. Illegal outposts will be authorized. Palestine will be shrunk in size to near extinction. UN status Palestine gets will be impotent to stop it.
Washington and Israel plan it that way. Expect Abbas to acquiesce. He always does. The fix is in. Palestinians always end up on the short end. Some day things will change. When, who knows.
A Final Comment
On November 27, at around 2PM regional time, Haaretzheadlined “Israel-US efforts to soften wording of Palestinian UN bid has failed, official says.”
Abbas submitted his draft days earlier. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said language won’t change. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. What’s proposed is weak. The text left much to be desired.
Haaretz said Palestinians refused new language to “prevent them from filing (ICC) criminal charges….”
Having authority is toothless without using it. Abbas and other key PA officials spurned Palestinian rights for years. Expect no change now.
Haaretz said “Palestinians made clear to the US and several prominent European Union that they (will only) provide an oral guarantee” not to file ICC charges for about six months.
Before submitting his draft last week, Abbas inserted language some EU countries requested. It included:
  • peace talks would resume with no preconditions; and
  • a statement to the effect that Member States affirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, peace, and a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders.
Haven’t we heard all that before? It’s repeated ad nauseam. It’s gone on for decades. Policy doesn’t follow rhetoric. Occupation harshness continues.
Peace talks are meaningless without a legitimate partner. Palestine never had one. It doesn’t now.
For over 45 years, UN pledges and resolutions afforded Palestinians no rights. Nothing changed now. Measures without teeth are worthless.
Rhetoric falls woefully short. Nations able to help, don’t. UN nonmember observer status changes nothing.
Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Occupation harshness won’t change. Palestinian suffering continues. What matters is ending it. Nothing else.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour
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| Quisling Abbas: Collaborating with the Enemy!

Abbas: Collaborating with the Enemy ~ Stephen Lendman.

mahmoud-abbas-benjamin-netanyahu

Previous articles explained Abbas’ longtime collaboration with Israel. He sold out long ago for whatever benefits he derives.

He’s Israel’s enforcer. He ill serves and insults Palestinians. His presidency is illegitimate. Israel rigged his 2005 election. In January 2009, his term expired.

He’s still in office. At least for now, Washington and Israel want him there. He’s more stooge than statesman. He’s a duplicitous puppet.

He replicates fascist Quisling Norway, Vichy France, and other Nazi-controlled collaborationist regimes. Instead of serving his people, he betrayed them.

He subverts Palestine’s liberating struggle. Collaborating with the enemy is treason. Abbas and likeminded Fatah officials are guilty on multiple counts.

What did he know and when about Pillar of Cloud?

He knew about Cast Lead in advance. On November 30, 2010, Reuters headlined “Israel says Abbas, Egypt warned on Gaza war – leaks,” saying:

Ahead of Cast Lead, Israel “conferred with the Western-backed Palestinian leadership and with Egypt….”

Leaked US diplomatic cables quoted a senior Israeli official confirming it. Haaretz reported the same thing. Mubarak and Abbas were briefed in advance.

Haaretz said “Israel tried to coordinate the Gaza war with the Palestinian authority.” WikiLeaks released US diplomatic cables confirming it.

In June 2009, months before Cast Lead, Israeli Defense Minister Barak met with US congressional members.

He also “consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas.”

He “received negative answers from both.” Previous leaked information reported the same thing. WikiLeaks provided “the first documented proof.”

Abbas denied getting advance word. He lied. Mubarak said nothing either way.

Reuters said Abbas “urged Israel to crush Hamas during the war.”

Avigdor Lieberman held ministerial positions under Sharon and Ehud Olmert. In April 2009, he became Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister.

He explained Abbas’ involvement, saying:

“Over the past year, I witnessed (Abbas) at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, (he) called us personally, applied pressure, and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power.”

Though out of government during Cast Lead, a senior Olmert official called his comments “essentially accurate.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said this information “reaffirms the fact that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer fit to represent our people, who conspired against his people during a war.”

Abbas was never fit to serve. That’s why Israel and Washington chose him.

WikiLeaks also disclosed that Hamas spokesman Salah Al-Bardaweel said:

“We have not ruled out that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority could have contributed in one way or another in the war against Gaza for political reasons such as bringing down the Hamas movement and regaining control.”

More from WikiLeaks suggested it. Washington’s Tel Aviv embassy said Fatah officials asked Israel to attack Hamas.

According to a June 2007 dispatch, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin said “demoralized” Fatah officials wanted help to destroy Hamas.

“They are approaching a zero-sum situation,” said Diskin, “and yet they ask us to attack Hamas. They are desperate. This is a new development. We have never seen this before.”

He added that “Fatah is in a very bad shape in Gaza. We have received requests to train their forces in Egypt and Yemen. We would like them to get the training they need, and to be more powerful, but they do not have anyone to lead them.”

He also praised Shin Bet’s “very good working relationship” with Abbas at the time. His internal security service collaborates with Israel. He understands that “Israel’s security is central to (his) survival in the struggle with Hamas….”

At the time, Fatah collaborated with Washington to oust Hamas. An abortive coup failed. More information surfaced.

WikiLeaks published a June 12, 2007 cable. It said Israeli military intelligence head Amos Yadlin told US embassy officials that Hamas retaining power in Gaza was advantageous.

“Although not necessarily representing a GOI (government of Israel) consensus view,” said Yadlin, “Israel would be ‘happy’ if Hamas took over Gaza because the IDF could then deal with Hamas as a hostile state.”

Israel’s imperial agenda needs manufactured enemies. Having them facilitates violence and instability. They also help justify small and larger-scale wars.

Like Pillar of Cloud, Cast Lead was planned months in advance. Its aim was to advance Israel’s imperium.

It involves controlling all valued parts of Judea and Samaria, depopulating much of Palestine, and confining remaining population elements to canonized worthless scrubland.

Both conflicts are more about weakening Hamas than destroying it. They also involve waging war on civilian men, women, children, infants and the elderly.

Doing so is official Israeli policy in all conflicts. Israel considers all Palestinians combatants or potential future ones.

Perhaps Abbas and other Fatah officials knew about Pillar of Cloud in advance. Maybe they approved or urged it.

During eight terror bombing days, Abbas’ comments were delayed, weak, meaningless and insulting.

He did nothing to help beleaguered Gazans. Nor during Cast Lead. Both times he went along with Israeli slaughter and mass destruction.

Issam Younis serves as Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights general director. On November 20, Maan News published his “Letter to Abbas: Visit us in Gaza.” In part it said:

“This is a historic moment, that must be taken up. We’ve waited for you in Gaza for six days. We’re still waiting; your people who are being attacked and slaughtered in Gaza.”

“It is not acceptable anymore – no matter what those surrounding you make it look like to you – that you do not come. I do not invite you to show solidarity with Gaza, but to be in Gaza and with Gaza.”

“The advocates of divide can stay back in Ramallah. This scandalous schism must end now and here; the schism that made your people bleed.”

“We are waiting to know that you have ordered PLO diplomats in Geneva, New York, Vienna, and Paris, and in all UN offices, to immediately act to convene the UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, UNESCO and others to condemn the crimes perpetrated against our people in Gaza, and do all they can to secure that these crimes be investigated and punished.”

“It is regrettable we have not so far seen any meaningful diplomatic effort that matches the size of blood and suffering in Gaza.”

“We are waiting for the orders to our veteran diplomats to be set on fire and approach the European Union and other powers to mobilize the much-needed pressure on the occupying state.”

On November 4, Younis also challenged Hamas. Maan News published his open letter, saying:

He remains “an advocate of the right of Hamas to govern, and I absolutely reject the double standards employed by the international community towards the movement.”

“The financial and political sanctions on Gaza are simply unjust and scandalous. Hamas won a free and fair election in 2006. The world was well aware that Hamas would win in the elections.”

“At the same time, he challenged Hamas to act more like a government than a ‘movement.’ ”

“The issue here is not about calling into question the intentions or desires of the people in power. It is more about the actual process of governance in such a unique situation like Gaza.”

“What is needed is for the government to interact openly with society, with all of its social and political structures. Society also has a duty to reciprocate and to be open to interacting with the government.”

On November 23, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass headlined “War highlights Abbas’ mutual alienation with Gaza.”

She discussed both Younis letters. Abbas was abroad when Israeli terror bombing began. He returned. He had to. Yet he waited two days before speaking publicly.

His comments were weak, unacceptable and duplicitous. He showed which side he’s on.

He also convened Palestinian PLO leaders. “(H)e didn’t even invite the Hamas representative in the West Bank.” He failed to show solidarity with Gaza.

“It is not clear whether the Hamas government would (let him come) as part of an overall conciliation agreement” or for any purpose.

During Cast Lead, his security forces prevented Palestinian protests. This time he didn’t “dare (stop) people from marching toward Israeli Defense Forces checkpoints in the West Bank (to) demonstrate against the attacks on Gaza.”

Doing so fell far short of what’s needed. Palestinians need leaders serving them, not Israel. Abbas is a collaborative traitor. He’s also a pathetic spent force.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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| Quisling Righting Wrongs: Only a tepid Palestinian Authority UN upgrade bid!

Tepid Palestinian Authority UN Upgrade Bid ~ Stephen Lendman.

Instead of going for easily within reach full UN membership, Abbasprefers settling for less. Why he’ll have to explain.Others say it reflects his longtime collaboration with Israel. Doing so betrays his own people. Why they tolerate him, they’ll have to explain.

If he follows through as planned, he’ll get what he asks for. He’ll upgrade Palestine from observer to non-member status. It’s like being club member with most rights but not all. Non-member states can’t vote.

Full de jure status requires following simple procedures that work. Abbas categorically refuses. Who knows if he even follow through on his lesser pledge.

He breaks many more promises than he keeps. He cares more about his own status than Palestine’s. That’s how collaborationists govern. Trust and honor aren’t in their vocabulary. Betrayal defines it.

Whatever Abbas does or doesn’t do, Israel’s position is clear. It won’t tolerate Palestinian self-determination. It’s going all-out to subvert UN upgrade status.

In June 2011, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s opposition. Pursuing it will hinder the peace process, he said. Unstated was his contempt for peace and unwillingness to tolerate it.

Nonetheless, he said:

“First, it would violate the agreements between the Palestinians and Israel but it would also harden the Palestinian position because if the UN General Assembly adopts the Palestinian positions in advance of negotiations why should they negotiate?”

“So such a resolution is backed by an overwhelming majority including the leading countries of the world, that could actually push peace back by hardening Palestinian positions, by pushing negotiations further away.”

“Peace will only come from negotiations. It will be a negotiated peace. It cannot be imposed from the outside, not by any power and certainly not by one-sided UN resolutions.”

On October 19, Haaretz headlined “Palestinian push for UN status upgrade likely to succeed, says GA president,.”

GA president Vuk Jeremic sees Palestine easily gaining upgrade status. A simple majority is needed. Up to 170 of the UN’s 193 states may vote yes.

He warned Washington against cutting UN funding if it’s gotten. He added that it’s not in America’s best interest to do so. Perhaps he knows less about US governance than he thinks.

Two US laws, among others, show Washington plays hardball. In 1990, legislation enacted prohibits funds “for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as a member state.”

In 1994, another law bars funding to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”

These laws targeted Palestine. Congress also affords itself latitude. Either of these measures can be used to suspend, cut, or cease UN funding if only an upgrade to non-member status is gotten.

Cutting off US aid to Palestine is also likely. Expect Israel to enforce its own harshness. That’s how rogue states operate. Their rules and standards alone apply. Do things their way or else.

Last year, Congress froze about $250 million in Palestinian funding after UN membership ambitions surfaced at the UN. Last October, UNESCO admitted Palestine as a full member. It happened despite intense US and Israeli opposition.

Retaliation followed. Washington suspended funding. Instead of supporting the move, it acted irresponsibly as expected.

Abbas perhaps will act shortly after US elections. Jeremic expects it later in November. “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,” he said.

On October 26, Haaretz headlined “Ahead of Israel election, PA bid in UN may push Netanyahu to harsh unilateral reaction, diplomats say.”

Israel affords Palestinians no rights. Occupation harshness explains what no one should tolerate. Netanyahu and hardline officials around him warned other countries about supporting Palestine’s UN upgrade.

Intense efforts are ongoing to block it. The peace process will collapse, they warned. Of course, it never existed, but Israeli officials didn’t explain. A third Intifada could erupt, they claim. Again, no explanation followed.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials also object to the timing. Israel’s election campaign will be in full swing. Ministers and Knesset members may vie with each other over who can be tougher.

A former unnamed senior Israeli official said:

“Even today, the atmosphere in the Prime Minister’s Bureau is one of ‘this time, we’ll show them what’s what.’ Likud ministers will pressure him, the polls will scare him.”

“And from there it’s not far to a response that would bring about a violent conflagration or the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.”

Of course, nothing will happen unless Israel and/or Washington push. They’ve done it so often on any pretext, ones they manufacture, or none at all. Challenges to their authority aren’t tolerated. They demand things their way all the time.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials warned other governments of a scenario under which Israel “goes crazy” following the UN vote. A ministry document said:

“We suggest that the European Union take Israel’s political needs into account. Israel is entering a campaign season, and consideration must be given to the fact that its government, too, is liable to find itself under political pressure to respond suitably to unilateral Palestinian moves.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was warned that upgrading Palestine would be a “game-changing move.” Unilateral Israeli actions would follow.

A senior Netanyahu official said:

“We’re asking all these states to make the dangerous ramifications of this move clear to the Palestinians.”

“We’re telling the Europeans openly that if (Abbas) goes to the UN, he won’t be a partner in the eyes of Israel’s leadership the day after.”

“We’re also explaining that the gap between the decision made at UN headquarters in New York and the reality on the ground is liable to be so large it will lead to frustration, and thence to violence.”

Measures being considered include revoking privileges afforded PA officials, canceling work permits for Palestinians in Israel, halting Palestinian tax transfers, and greatly expanding settlement construction.

Abbas could be treated like Arafat. First he was isolated. Then he was poisoned with polonium and killed. Israel plays no holds barred hardball. It gets away with it because world leaders don’t object.

Abbas will be heavily pressured to dissuade him. It may work. If not, Israel plans to lobby 100 or more UN member states. It hopes to persuade enough to vote no or abstain to matter.

If Abbas keeps his pledge, what better time for an overwhelming supportive UN endorsement. It’s likely. Israel often pulls this stunt and others like it. Perhaps it’s gone to the well too often. If not now, eventually.

Expect playing hardball with the rest of the world sooner or later to come back to bite. Now’s as good a time as any. In the fullness of time we’ll know.

Echoes will be heard in Washington. Your turn is next. Hopefully it’s coming sooner than expected. Humanity depends on it.

A Final Comment

On October 28, AP and Haaretz headlined “Palestinian officials: Abbas moving forward with bid for UN recognition,” saying:

He’s expected to ask General Assembly members to approve upgrading Palestine to “nonmember state” status on November 15 or 29. So far, however, no final decision was made.

“Both dates are symbolic.” November 15 is the 24th anniversary of Palestine’s 1988 declaration of independence. The State of Palestine exists. The PLO adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.

November 29 is the 65th anniversary of the 1947 UN Partition Plan. It granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population) and 42% to Palestinians.

It designated Jerusalem international city (a corpus separatum – separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council.

The PLO’s UN upgrade position paper was distributed to EU governments last week. 

It argues that approval is necessary to “achieve the ultimate objective of the two-state solution and to expedite its realization at a time when Israel is incessantly and recklessly undermining that solution and the prospects for achieving a just peace.” 

Decision day approaches. Soon enough we’ll know if Abbas follows through. If so, General Assembly approval should be rubber stamp. 

Uncertain only is by how much and how Washington and Israel will react. Harsh recrimination is likely. That’s how rogue states operate. 
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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Nabil Elaraby says more than 100 nations have already recognized Palestine as a state!

| Settlements undermining Peace prospects: Palestinians reject Netanyahu call to drop UN recognition initiative!

Palestinians reject Netanyahu call to drop U.N. initiative ~ Reuters.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves after making a televised statement to Reuters at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

RAMALLAH, West Bank |

(Reuters) – The Palestinians will press ahead with a bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations, a senior official said on Monday, brushing off a request by Israel to halt the initiative.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has renewed his call for an immediate resumption of peace talks and has warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against making any unilateral moves in the U.N. General Assembly.

“Yesterday I invited President Abbas to start direct negotiations without preconditions,” Netanyahu told Reuters television in Jerusalem, a day after repeating an appeal to the Palestinian leader for renewed dialogue.

“Unfortunately, I have still not heard back from the Palestinian side … I hope they won’t go to one-sided action in the U.N. because that will only push peace back and will only produce unnecessary instability,” he said.

With the negotiations frozen since 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, Abbas plans to ask the U.N. General Assembly this month to upgrade the Palestinian’s diplomatic status at the world body.

They are currently registered as an “observer entity”, but want to become an “observer state”, granting them access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

Commenting on Netanyahu’s call to talk now, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said any direct talks must await the U.N. vote, which the Palestinians look certain to win in the face of Israeli and U.S. objection to the unilateral move.

“When we return from the U.N. General Assembly and are a non-member state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital, the way to direct negotiations will be open to achieve security and stability on this basis,” Abu Rdainah said.

Netanyahu has said a return to the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a 1967 war would leave it with indefensible borders.

U.S. President Barack Obama drew Israeli ire last year when he called for the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state to be based on the 1967 boundaries with mutually agreed land swaps.

The United States has also firmly criticized Palestinian maneuvering in the United Nations, saying it violates the 1993 Oslo accords, which were intended to pave the way to a “final status agreement” within five years.

Netanyahu’s latest comments on talks followed criticism from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and ex-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni – potential centrist opponents in Israel’s January 22 general election – that he has not done enough to restart negotiations.

On Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres telephoned Abbas, a spokeswoman for Peres said, without disclosing any details of the conversation. The official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, said the two men discussed the peace process.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Elana Ringler in Jerusalem; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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