Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Verhofstadt: Merkel and Sarkozy threaten the continued existence of the Euro

“At a debate today in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt urged the leaders of France and Germany to set aside short term national interests in favour of the survival of the EU:

"There has been much media speculation in recent days that the end of the euro is close. This is less because of the inability of Greece, Italy or Spain to control their debt but the inability of Germany and France to agree on the necessary steps to save the Euro.

"In the past France and Germany have represented the driving force of European integration. Today their differences threaten the EU's very survival."

"Sarkozy refuses to accept fiscal union with its implications of a transfer of sovereignty to a collective and objective judge of sound budgetary policy such as the European Commission or European Court of Justice."

"On the other hand, Chancellor Merkel calls one week for closer political union and the next she blocks proposals that go in this direction such as a common European redemption fund to reduce excessive debt, proposed by her own council of economic advisors.

"It is a very dangerous moment to be playing a game of 'chicken' with Europe's future, waiting to see who will blink first. Their indecision and inconsistency are doing great harm to the Union. It is imperative that they both lift their opposition to some of the practical options on the table to stabilize the current market turbulence that risks engulfing us all."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Belgian leaders agree on federal budget

“A 19-month political feud between Belgium's political leaders had ended with a budget deal that met the European Union structure a day after a debt downgrade.

The budget envisages a fall in Belgium's public deficit to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012.

"There is an agreement," the spokesperson for Elio Di Rupo, the French-speaking Socialist premier-to-be, told the AFP news agency.

Di Rupo had been trying to form a government based on a six-party coalition. But he tendered his resignation on Monday after talks for the 2012 budget - agreement on which is a condition for forming a government - ground to a halt.

King Albert II, who had stepped in throughout negotiations to soothe tempers and urge politicians to find agreement to end 18 months without a formal government.

"As a next step, he has asked the chief negotiator to form a government as quickly as possible," the palace said in a statement.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ban Ki-moon's message for Solidarity Day with the Palestinian People

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November:

"Sixty-four years ago on this day, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181, proposing the partition of the mandate territory into two States. The establishment of a Palestinian State, living in peace next to a secure Israel, is long overdue.

The need to resolve this conflict has taken on greater urgency with the historic transformations taking place across the region.  I call on the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to show courage and determination to seek an agreement for a two-State solution that can open up a brighter future for Palestinian and Israeli children.  Such a solution must end the occupation that began in 1967, and meet legitimate security concerns.  Jerusalem must emerge from negotiations as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all.  And a just and agreed solution must be found for millions of Palestinian refugees scattered around the region."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Israeli security forces: Turkey nearing military intervention in Syria

"Israeli security forces officials said Wednesday that they believe Turkey is nearing a military intervention in Syria, in order to create a secure buffer zone for opposition activists.

Thus far, Ankara has given shelter to some 20,000 refugees who escaped the deadly crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad's security forces, and also housed Syrian opposition groups."

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29

“The United Nations' (UN) International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is annually observed on November 29 across the world, including Pakistan to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The day is also known as Solidarity Day that provides an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine is still unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.
Special meetings are held to observe Solidarity Day in some UN offices, councils, government bodies and organisations that have a special interest in the issues encompassing the event.”

Yemeni President Saleh signs power transfer deal to step down

"Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a Gulf initiative on Wednesday to hand over power to his deputy as part of a proposal to end months of protests that have pushed the Arab country to the brink of civil war."

بسيوني: السلطات الأمنية البحرينية استعملت القوة المفرطة وغير المبررة

"أعلنت لجنة تقصي الحقائق المستقلة حول قمع الاحتجاجات في البحرين أن السلطات الأمنية استعملت القوة المفرطة وغير المبررة ضد المحتجين، في حين قبِل الملك حمد بن عيسى آل خليفة تقرير اللجنة وتعهد بمحاسبة المتجاوزين.

فقد قال رئيس اللجنة شريف بسيوني في كلمة ألقاها بحضور ملك البحرين إن اعترافات المحتجزين انتزعت بالقوة وإن معتقلين تعرضوا للتعذيب.

وأضاف في الجلسة الرسمية لإعلان التقرير، أن 35 شخصا قتلوا في الاضطرابات بينهم خمسة من أفراد الأمن، كما حث على إعادة النظر في أحكام أصدرتها السلطات بحق من اتهمتهم بالمسؤولية عن الاضطرابات."

Bassiouni: excessive force in Bahrain crackdown

“The head of a special commission that investigated Bahrain's unrest said Wednesday that authorities used torture and excessive force against detainees arrested in crackdowns on the largest Arab Spring uprising in the Gulf.

Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni — making the first official comments on report's findings — also said there was no evidence of Iranian links to Bahrain's Shiite-led protests in a clear rebuke Gulf leaders who accuse Tehran of playing a role in the 10-month-old showdown in the Western-allied kingdom.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Egypt's military rulers to announce transfer of powers to Supreme Court

"Egypt's ruling military council was expected to announce Tuesday that it would transfer powers to the state's Supreme Court and hand over the reins of leadership to civilian elements, local media reported.

The reports came just before the leader of the military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was scheduled to address the nation after four days of deadly clashes between security forces protesters demanding a change in leadership."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Broker trying to end Belgium's world-record government stalemate offers to resign

“The government broker trying to end Belgium's world record government stalemate has offered to resign, plunging the negotiations to new depths.
The royal palace announced Monday that the king will consider the offer but reminded the six negotiating parties that the impasse at the 526-day-long talks needs to end soon to keep financial markets at bay.
Last month, Francophone socialist Elio Di Rupo clinched a breakthrough on a constitutional revision to grant more autonomy to Dutch-speaking Flanders and Francophone Wallonia.
But the talks are now stuck on the 2012 budget proposals. Di Rupo's Socialists have been unable to agree with the Dutch-speaking Liberals on additional taxation and austerity measures.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Verhofstadt message to Egypt's military: enough is enough

“Yesterday the security forces used unnecessary violence to clear Tahrir Square. Some thousands of demonstrators were still sleeping when police started to knock down their tents and beat people. They turned a peaceful demonstration into a violent clash which injured a thousand people and killed two. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces said today that it will handover its power to civilian rule by the end of 2012, if the chaos ends. This is totally unacceptable, certainly from an institution that claims it wants to install democracy.

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader in the European Parliament said: “It is expected that today again thousands of demonstrators will fill Tahrir Square to demand the military hand over their power to civilian rule. We urge the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, as well as the Egyptian government and the state media to stop creating violence and chaos. If the military will not organise presidential elections soon, the EU should consider stopping the aid it is giving to Egypt.””

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saif al-Islam tells Reuters he is fine after capture

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi told Reuters on Saturday that he was feeling fine after being captured by some of the fighters who overthrew his father and he said injuries to his right hand were suffered during a NATO air strike a month ago.
Asked by Reuters correspondent Marie-Louise Gumuchian on the plane which flew him to the town of Zintan if he was feeling all right, Gaddafi said simply: "Yes."

Reluctant to speak at length, the London-educated 39-year-old son of Muammar Gaddafi was asked about bandages on the thumb and two fingers of his right hand. "Air force, air force," he said. Asked if that meant a NATO air strike, he said: "Yes.”

Seif al-Islam Qadhafi captured

“Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam - the only wanted member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large - was captured as he traveled with aides in a convoy in Libya's southern desert, Libyan officials said Saturday. Thunderous celebratory gunfire shook the Libyan capital as the news spread.

A spokesman for the Libyan fighters who captured him said Seif al-Islam, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, was detained about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the town of Obari with two aides as he was trying to flee to neighboring Niger. But the country's acting justice minister later said the convoy's destination was not confirmed.”


Friday, November 18, 2011

Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Second Committee Approves Text Relating to Permanent Palestinian Sovereignty over Resources in Occupied Territories

"The General Assembly would demand that Israel stop exploiting, damaging, depleting, and endangering the natural resources in occupied Arab lands, according to the terms of one of seven draft resolutions approved today by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

By other terms of that text, titled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”, the Assembly would recognize the right of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples to claim restitution for such illegal actions.

Further by the draft, the Assembly would call upon Israel to cease all actions that harmed the environment in all the territories under its occupation, as well as the destruction of infrastructure, including water pipelines and sewage networks.  The Committee approved the text by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States) with 7 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Panama, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu)."

Israel effectively annexes Palestinian land near Jordan Valley

Separation barrier route in Kibbutz Merav area changed leaving 1,500 dunams on Israeli side; may be first transfer of Palestinian-owned land to community on sovereign Israeli territory.

"Israel carried out a de facto annexation of Palestinian land northeast of the Jordan Valley and given it to Kibbutz Merav. Merav, part of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, is about seven kilometers northwest of the parcel.

The route of the separation barrier in the area was changed so that the plot in question, about 1,500 dunams (375 acres), would be on the Israeli side."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Verhofstadt: "Nothing less than full economic and fiscal union including eurobonds will do"

“Intervening in an important debate today in Strasbourg on the future scope and structure of economic governance in Europe, Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE group leader) drew attention to widening spreads on European bond markets - even amongst AAA countries - and called for a bold and global step forward towards economic and fiscal union - the missing piece from the EMU project dating back 20 years to the Treaty of Maastricht.

"The Eurozone crisis has reached a very dangerous point. We are now witnessing increasing spreads on interest rates between national sovereign bonds and the benchmark German bund even for countries with a AAA credit rating like France which is now having to pay twice as much interest on its borrowing than Germany. What then is the value of such ratings ?

"The longer we delay decisive action to resolve the crisis, the more costly and radical the measures required.."

"Now a bold and global vision is necessary and a comprehensive plan that should include at least the following 7 measures:

1. Real economic government for the eurozone with enhanced powers and strong leadership from the European Commission;
2. A convergence plan that will align key national economic policy decisions affecting productivity, labour costs, tax policy and investment;
3. Full implementation of the strengthened Stability Pact and strict application of sanctions for sinners;
4. A global growth strategy that builds upon EU2020 and the Euro Plus Pact;
5. The creation of a permanent European Monetary Fund taking decisions by weighted majorities;
6. Agreement on a system of European stability bonds to bring discipline and stability to the bond markets;
7. Immediate strengthening of measures to bring down debt using both the EFSF and a mechanism for collective debt reduction as proposed last week by Germany's Council of Economic Experts."”

Guy Verhofstadt on Economic governance

Speech by the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt on Economic governance

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

مجلس الأمن: فلسطين ليست دولة

لجنة العضوية التي عيَّنها مجلس الأمن للنظر في طلب عضوية فلسطين في الأمم المتحدة قالت أن "فلسطين لم توفِ المتطلبات الضرورية للدولة حيث أن السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية لا تسيطر على جزء من اقليمها وهو قطاع غزة" مما شكل "عقبة رئيسية أمام قرار مجلس الأمن بشأن الطلب الفلسطيني". قد يكون هذا صحيح من ناحية القانون الدولي، لكن تم توظيف هذا الأمر لأسباب سياسية بحتة.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Verhofstadt: Greek Crisis Trigger and Not Cause of EU Financial Crisis

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Union Parliament, and former Belgian Prime Minister and possible candidate for the 2014 EU Commission presidency, proposes federal union as the means to break the deadlock and solve Europe's financial crisis.

Speaking to the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Verhofstadt outlined comprehensive and detailed proposals for solving the EU's financial crisis. Verhofstadt states that with the launch of the Euro there was no public authority strong enough to penalize members who breached the rules. He calls the Greek crisis the trigger and not the cause of the crisis. The EU has used an intergovernmental method to solve its problems and he states "markets are asking for more unity and a transfer of powers to the European Institutions."”

Friday, November 11, 2011

Palestinian UN bid goes to a divided Security Council

“The Palestinian bid for U.N. membership went to a divided Security Council Friday after its admissions committee approved a report saying there is no consensus among the 15 council nations.

For Palestine to become a U.N. member state, it needs the recommendation of the Security Council. That requires nine "yes" votes — which the Palestinians don't appear to have — and no veto by a permanent member. The U.S. has said it will veto a resolution supporting Palestinian membership if necessary.
When the admissions committee met last week, diplomats said China, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon announced their support for Palestinian membership. France, Britain and Colombia announced they would abstain, and Bosnia later announced it would, too.

While Nigeria, Gabon, Germany and Portugal didn't announce a final position, diplomats said Nigeria and Gabon will likely vote "yes" and Germany and Portugal will abstain or vote "no."”

عدم قبول فلسطين في الأمم المتحدة

"قدمت لجنة القبول في عضوية الامم المتحدة تقريرها الى مجلس الامن الدولي الذي اجتمع اليوم الجمعة، والذي حمل عدم قبول فلسطين في الامم المتحدة بعد مشاورات منذ تقديم الطلب الفلسطيني في ايلول الماضي.

وكانت 8 دول اعضاء في مجلس الامن الدولي مع التصويت وقبول فلسطيني عضوا كاملا في الامم المتحدة وهي "روسيا ، الصين ، الهند ، البرازيل ، جنوب افريقيا ، نيجريا ، الغابون ، لبنان" ، في حين عارضت الطلب الفلسطيني 7 دول "الولايات المتحدة ، بريطانيا ، فرنسا ، المانيا ، كولومبيا ، البوسنة والهرسك" في حين كان موقف البرتغال بالامتناع عن التصويت ."

UN Security Council panel fails to agree on Palestinian statehood bid

"A UN Security Council committee said on Friday it had failed to reach agreement over a Palestinian application for full membership in the United Nations, the Portuguese UN ambassador said.

The decision by the council's admissions committee brought the Palestinian Authority's push for UN recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, one step closer to collapse.

It is now up to Palestinians, who have so far been unable to secure the nine votes needed to pass a Security Council resolution favoring their UN bid, to decide whether or not to call a vote on their application."

Palestinian statehood bid stillborn in Security Council

Palestinian officials have admitted their bid for statehood in the United Nations in all likelihood has failed.
A UN Security Council committee that has been considering the Palestinian application for recognition as a member state was expected to issue a final statement last night saying that it had been unable to muster majority support for the bid.
The committee released a draft statement earlier this week that made the same point.
Without the approval of the Security Council, the Palestinian application for UN membership cannot be considered by the 193-nation General Assembly, where it probably would have been approved. Palestinian officials said they still hoped the Security Council would hold a vote to ''name and shame'' those who stood against them.
''We believed that those who do not think we deserve a state should say so publicly and not hide behind a technicality of not reaching a consensus,'' a spokesman for the Palestinians, Xavier Abu Eid, said. Such a vote seemed unlikely, however.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Stance on Palestine UN Membership

Whereas it has become increasingly unlikely that Palestine would acquire full UN Membership - not only because the United States has undertaken to veto its application at the Security Council, but also due to the fact that a number of Security Council Members announced that they would abstain from voting – the focus should now move to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
If Palestine were able to garner a resolution from UNGA recognizing it and upgrading its status to an observer non-Member State, this would not be superfluous – at least from a legal perspective. This could in effect pave the way for Palestine to join other international bodies, as this step would serve as a “certificate” of its existence as an independent and sovereign State. Palestinians would then have at hand a legal document to attach to their application for membership at international organizations.
However, we should bear in mind that some international organizations - such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) - require unanimity to grant membership. Again, politics has a role to play here.
On the other hand, it is worthwhile shedding light on two prominent international bodies, namely the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Concerning the ICJ, some Palestinian politicians and, unfortunately, legal scholars too argue that if Palestine’s status at UNGA were upgraded, that would automatically open the way for Palestine to turn to this Court. This actually falls short of accuracy.
First and foremost, all Members of the United Nations are in that capacity (or ipso facto) also States Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Given the fact that Palestine may not obtain UN  Membership, that in turn would result in not granting it the above-mentioned status with respect to ICJ Statute. However, Palestine could become a State Party to the Statute on conditions set out by UNGA, but – more importantly – upon the recommendation of the Security Council, where any of the five permanent members could veto ! Morever, Israel’s consent to submit to the jurisdiction of the ICJ is a condition sine qua non. Otherwise, the road to the ICJ would be blocked.
Regarding the ICC, Palestine is required to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in order to enable it to exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory. As such, the Palestinian Legislative Council must ratify the Rome Statute. Otherwise, Palestine could accept the jurisdiction of the ICC on an ad hoc basis (case by case). An UNGA resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent and sovereign State would enhance the latter’s position, as only States could follow any of the aforesaid tracks.
In conclusion, in order for Palestine to become a full UN Member State, the only option may be to keep on knocking the door of the Security Council, accompanied by intensive diplomacy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Palestinians ready backup plan head of expected holdup at UN

Palestinians officials said Wednesday they are resigned to defeat in their quest for full membership at the United Nations and have resorted to a backup plan.

The officials said they would seek an upgraded observer status that would give them access to key international organizations. They were speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Security Council panel fails to reach consensus on Palestinian bid

“A draft report by a key UN Security Council committee, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, declared that members could not reach consensus on whether the Palestinians' UN statehood bid should be accepted.

"The committee was unable to make a unanimous recommendation to the Security Council," said the draft report of the council's committee on admitting new member states. It was circulated to all 15 Security Council members on Tuesday.

The four-page draft appears to confirm that the Palestinian move to join the world body as a full member, which Western envoys said was doomed from the outset due to a U.S. vow to veto it if it ever came to a vote in the council, is set to fail due to the council's irresolvable deadlock.”

Sarkozy calls Netanyahu 'liar'

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told US President Barack Obama that he could not "stand" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks the Israeli premier "is a liar."

According to a Monday report in the French website "Arret sur Images," after facing reporters for a G20 press conference on Thursday, the two presidents retired to a private room, to further discuss the matters of the day.
The conversation apparently began with President Obama criticizing Sarkozy for not having warned him that France would be voting in favor of the Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO despite Washington's strong objection to the move.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Netanyahu’s “legal” settlements

Netanyahu: "Israeli settlement in West Bank important, but must be done legally."

How could settlements be “legal” when the seizure of land and their construction contradict the concept and norms of international law?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

مسؤول مصري: الأسد باع الجولان لإسرائيل بمائة مليون دولار

"فجر محمود جامع الصديق، عضو اول مجلس الشورى في مصر والمقرب من الرئيس السادات مفاجأة من العيار الثقيل في حوار مع "إيلاف" بقوله ان السادات خصه بسر أثناء زيارتهما لسوريا في عام 1969 وأثناء وقوفهما فوق هضبة الجولان حيث قال له السادات: "إن هذه الهضبة دفعت فيها إسرائيل 100مليون دولار تقريبا بصك تسلمه - آنذاك - رفعت الأسد وحافظ الأسد وأودع الصك في أحد بنوك سويسرا وأن رقم هذا الصك موجود عند عبد الناصر."

Friday, November 4, 2011

France confirms it will abstain from UN vote on Palestinian state

"France says it will abstain when the UN Security Council votes on whether to admit Palestine as a full member of the world body.

Earlier this week, France voted to approve a similar Palestinian request for membership in UNESCO.

But the Foreign Ministry said Friday that, while Palestine's quest for statehood is legitimate, it has no chance of getting past the Security Council. That's because the United States, which wields the power to veto measures there, has said it will vote "no."

The ministry also said it was worried that the vote and its failure would unleash a violent reaction."

Palestinians Inch Closer to Rejection at U.N. Body

“The Palestinian bid for membership at the United Nations, which was doomed from the start by the threat of an American veto, moved another notch closer to rejection on Thursday at the Security Council, diplomats said.
The Council’s membership committee met in private, with member states laying out their individual positions on the Palestinians’ request, said diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic protocol. The membership committee is trying to produce a report by Tuesday, and indications are that the group will be unable to reach a consensus.
The report is likely to be a dry, diplomatic document that says some committee members support the Palestinian’s bid and others oppose it. A vote to forward the report to the General Assembly will probably take place on Nov. 11, diplomats said.
But a vote on the membership request itself — which was intended by the Palestinians to represent international recognition of statehood — might even be skipped if none of the 15 Security Council members demands one.
It appears unlikely that the Palestinians will be able to muster the nine votes needed to approve the membership resolution, which would allow the United States to avoid having to exercise its veto.
Admission to the United Nations as a full member state requires a recommendation from the 15-member Security Council, with a majority of nine votes and no veto from the five permanent members, which include the United States. A submission would then go to the General Assembly, where approval would require a two-thirds vote among the 193 members.
Some European nations that might have been expected to support the Palestinian bid have since said that they would abstain; these include France and Bosnia, diplomats said. During the committee meeting on Thursday, France indicated that it intended to abstain, according to diplomats.
If the membership bid fails in the Security Council, the General Assembly is expected to take up the matter. Members of the General Assembly cannot veto an initiative, but the body would be able only to confer advanced observer status on the Palestinians, much like the standing now held by the Vatican.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

مجلس الأمن يبحث اليوم طلب عضوية فلسطين

"يجتمع مجلس الامن الخميس لبحث مشروع تقرير حول طلب الترشيح الفلسطيني لنيل العضوية الكاملة في الامم المتحدة، ولكن خلافا لما حصل في اليونيسكو فان التصويت على هذه العضوية، المرجح حصوله بحلول نهاية العام، ستكون نتيجته سلبية.

واعتبارا من الساعة 15,00 (19,00 ت غ) سيبدأ المجلس النظر في هذا التقرير الذي من المفترض ان يقدم رسميا في 11 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر الجاري الى جلسة نهائية يعقدها المجلس على مستوى السفراء حول هذا الموضوع.

وبعدها يتعين ان يطلب عضو واحد على الاقل من اعضاء المجلس ال15 احالة الطلب الفلسطيني على التصويت، الذي قد يجري بحلول نهاية تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر الجاري، ولكن حتما قبل نهاية العام، كما يؤكد دبلوماسيون.

وعندما سيجتمع مجلس الامن للتصويت على طلب العضوية لا بد من ان يحوز هذا الطلب موافقة تسعة على الاقل من اعضاء المجلس، شرط عدم استخدام اي دولة دائمة العضوية حق الفيتو الذي تتمتع به، من اجل صدور توصية ايجابية عن المجلس باحالة الملف على الجمعية العامة، ولكن الفلسطينيين لم يتمكنوا من حشد الاصوات التسعة اللازمة. ولكن حتى لو تمكنوا من حشد اصوات تسعة اعضاء في المجلس فان واشنطن حذرت علنا من انها ستستخدم حق الفيتو لوأد المبادرة الفلسطينية مع ما لهذا الامر من انعكاسات سلبية على صورة الولايات المتحدة في العالمين العربي والاسلامي."

Israel freezes UNESCO funding after Palestinian membership

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided Thursday to freeze funding to UNESCO after it had granted the Palestinians membership on Monday.

Israel transfers some $2 million to the UN cultural body yearly. A source in the Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu instructed to transfer those funds to initiatives working toward regional cooperation."

Greece could not exit euro without leaving EU

If Greece decided to leave the euro, it would also have to quit the European Union, according to the terms of the EU's treaties, the European Commission said on Thursday.

“"The treaties indeed confirm what we have been saying here: the treaty doesn't foresee an exit from the euro zone without exiting the EU, so indeed that is the current situation," European Commission spokeswoman Karolina Kottova said.
The comment was in response to a question about the provisions the EU treaties make for a country to leave the euro, but the spokeswoman did not refer to a particular member state.”

Palestinian win in UNESCO doesn't mean total victory at UN

“The acceptance of the Palestinian Authority as permanent member of UNESCO didn't really cause a stir at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Much like the Geneva-based Human Rights Committee, whose priorities and voting patterns rarely cause a stir among the UN member states in New York, UNESCO, an independent organization, does not get much respect.

At the UN headquarters, there is widespread tacit criticism thatsome of its agencies and branches seem to discover excessive independence – a critique that turns bitter, especially when regarding initiatives directly related to the most pressing and divisive issues being discussed in New York.
Diplomats in New York say that the large majority of UN members which voted for Palestinian membership in UNESCO (106 for, 14 against), is an expression of adulation that the Palestinian issue has garnered across the world. Such adulation was a product of a process that reached an unprecedented peak during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ September speech at the UN General Assembly.”

Catherine Ashton on the Israeli decision to expedite settlement activity

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission made today the following statement:

"I am deeply concerned by the latest Israeli decisions to expedite settlement activities in response to Palestinian accession to UNESCO.

Israeli settlement activity is illegal under international law including in East Jerusalem and an obstacle to peace. We have stated this many times before.

We call on Israel to reverse this decision and call on both sides to continue their engagement with the Quartet on advancing peace efforts."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Balfour Declaration - 2 November 1917

"The 1917 letter that made public the British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine led the League of Nations to entrust the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922.
The Balfour Declaration, a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild in which the British made public their support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was a product of years of careful negotiation."

Text of the Declaration:
"Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,

Arthur James Balfour"