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Bob Carr's "slick" manipulation of the facts

Bob Carr's "slick" manipulation of the facts Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Lebanon, United Nations, Updates    

During an interview with Radio National's Fran Kelly on April 10, former Foreign Finister Bob Carr raised a previously unreported story involving a vote in the UN General Assembly involving Israel. Carr used the story in an attempt to bolster his claim that then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard had been influenced by Australia's pro-Israel lobbyists to stymie any criticism of Israel.

A fairer interpretation of the evidence and facts of the case, however, creates a different picture - one of a rogue foreign minister being reined in for attempting to unilaterally downgrade Australia's relationship with Israel, without any policy consultation, justification or coordination with his prime minister.

UN strikes expose Palestinian internal tensions

UN strikes expose Palestinian internal tensions Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

To those who follow events in the West Bank, the reports coming out of the "refugee camps" administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would sound quite familiar. ...

Indeed, the image of the refugees throwing stones at police and receiving tear gas in response has to some extent defined Israeli/Palestinian relations at least since the eruption of the First Intifada in 1987.

This incident however, has one caveat. ... The police who were firing tear gas at, and apparently lobbing rocks back at, the protestors were Palestinian Authority police.

AIR
The UN effectively gives up on Syria

The UN effectively gives up on Syria Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Ever get the feeling that, after years of paralysis and stalemate, the international community have given up on resolving the crisis in Syria? The UN General Assembly (UNGA) 68th session has just wrapped up while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has announced that a Peace Conference for Syria will take place in Geneva in January, so this is an opportune time to assess the international community's role in promoting a return to peace in that troubled country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is a true supporter of peace in the Middle East

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is a true supporter of peace in the Middle East Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Op-eds, United Nations    

Australia's decision to change its position and abstain on two United Nations resolutions regarding settlements and the Geneva Convention was the act of a true supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Explaining the decision to change the vote, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the shift ''reflected the government's concern that Middle East resolutions should be balanced'' and said: ''The government will not support resolutions which are one-sided and which pre-judge the outcome of final status negotiations between the two sides.''

The reality is that the UN's entrenched biases against Israel - reflecting the imbalance of power between one Jewish state versus 22 Arab states plus 56 majority Muslim states - have rendered it ineffective as a mediator. Arab states have long sought to use the UN to delegitimise Israel and seek an affirmation of the narrative about Israel being a usurper state existing on ''stolen'' Palestinian land.

Updates
Even a UN interpreter has had enough with UN’s Israel bias

Even a UN interpreter has had enough with UN’s Israel bias Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, United Nations, Updates    

A video of a UN interpreter caught on a hot mic criticising the UN obsession with Israel is going viral since it was uploaded last week. It occurred during a session of the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly, in which nine motions criticising Israel were passed. The blogosphere is abuzz, and commentators are congratulating the interpreter for a rare, and surprisingly candid, statement, even if it was never intended to be made public.

The Yom Kippur War: Australian controversies of 1973

The Yom Kippur War: Australian controversies of 1973 Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Egypt, Media/ Academia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

This blog, the last instalment of a three-part series on the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, uses original Australian source material to obtain some insights into the Australian government's controversial response to the war at the time, as well as the persuasive but ultimately futile arguments used by Israel's supporters to convince Canberra to improve its response. Finally, the blog concludes with some observations about how the Australian coverage of the Yom Kippur War can tell us something about the way the Australian media views Israel today.

The Yom Kippur War in Australian editorials and analysis

The Yom Kippur War in Australian editorials and analysis Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: America, Australasia, Egypt, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

In June, AIJAC took a look back at the coverage of the Six Day War of 1967 in two major Australian newspapers, the Age of Melbourne and the Sydney Morning Herald. Now, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, we open the archives once again to look at the coverage of that war in Australia, this time expanding the scope of our research to include the Australian, as well as touching upon the coverage of the Canberra Times, and the Melbourne Herald.

As a much longer war, there is more to take in, so the retrospective will be split into two parts. This blog will discuss the editorials and some of the in-house analysis of the period, while the second will revisit some of the on-the-spot coverage by the newspapers' foreign correspondents covering the war. Finally, similar to our blog from June, we'll conclude by weighing some of the key contextual facts of the Israeli-Arab conflict that were widely understood by journalists at the time but are largely absent from the narrative in the news today.

The UN Resolution on Syria’s Chemical Weapons

The UN Resolution on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

On 27 September the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2118 that demands the eradication of Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014.  While the Resolution is a welcome development because it has high potential to significantly reduce Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, it is important to consider the costs of the Resolution.

Dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions under its new president

Dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions under its new president Categories: Iran, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Today’s Update offers analysis of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s powerful speech at the United Nations General Assembly overnight which came a day after his joint press conference with President Barack Obama where they offered a united front on the Iranian nuclear issue. In his address, Netanyahu reminded the world that Iran’s ambitions for nuclear weapons remains unchanged.

Describing Iran’s new so-called moderate President Hassan Rouhani as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, recounting Iran’s three decades of support for terrorism, and the regime’s deception in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Netanyahu insisted economic sanctions must remain in place substantive concessions are offered by the regime. Netanyahu also promised that Israel would act alone if it meant preventing Iran gaining the bomb. To read and or watch the speech, click here.

New US-Iran nuclear talks at the UN

New US-Iran nuclear talks at the UN Categories: International Security, Iran, United Nations, Updates    

Reports say that US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counter-part at the UN this week to discuss a nuclear weapons deal. The Iranians reportedly vetoed a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Obama following their respective speeches to the UN General Assembly (the full text of President Obama's speech is here.) This Update looks at the background to both these talks and the recent Iranian charm offensive under new President Rouhani, what to be wary of in any such talks, and what end result the US should seek to achieve in any nuclear deal.

Syria burns as the UN turns its gaze to Israel

Syria burns as the UN turns its gaze to Israel Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

As everyone digests the harrowing reports of nerve gas being used by the Syrian regime against its own people, and the US boosts its military posturing, one story that has seemingly been pushed to the side is the increasing irrelevance of the United Nations. ... After more than two years of dithering as Syria burns, the Security Council has patently failed in its mission to maintain international peace and security...

At the same time, UN activity has been continuing unabated over on Syria's south-western border. Earlier this month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed a model UN forum in Jerusalem. During his address, he reportedly made a rare admission of the unfair treatment which Israel receives...

Asia Watch: Temple Bombed in Jakarta Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Asia, NGOs, United Nations    

Jakarta was rocked on August 4 by a bomb exploding at the Ekayana Buddhist Centre - injuring three people among the 300 who had gathered to hear a sermon. A note found at the scene stated: "We respond to the screams of the Rohingya", indicating the attack was in response to violence against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar (Burma).

The Ekayana Buddhist Centre had been previously hailed as a symbol of Indonesia's tolerance towards ethnic Chinese Buddhists in Jakarta. However, the bombing has led to concern that the violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar may now be spreading to Indonesia.

Palestinian prisoners and the betrayal of the Human Rights regime

Palestinian prisoners and the betrayal of the Human Rights regime Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

On May 27, during the 23rd session of the Un Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay delivered her opening statement. While counting what she views as the most severe human rights abuses in the world she predictably listed Israel, this time for its treatment of Palestinian prisoners. It seems that no speech before the Human Rights Council would be complete without mentioning Israel.

UNHRC's Richard Falk in hot water again - this time for using his official position to attack an NGO critical of him

UNHRC's Richard Falk in hot water again - this time for using his official position to attack an NGO critical of him Author: Jeni Willenzik Categories: Israel, NGOs, United Nations    

In the latest controversy at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk used an official UN report meant to highlight injustices in the Palestinian territories to condemn an NGO critical of him. In the report, Falk blamed UN Watch, an NGO founded to monitor the performance of the UN against its charter, for discrediting his arguments and issuing criticism to UN diplomats and officials.

AIR
The increasing perils of peacekeeping for Australia and others

The increasing perils of peacekeeping for Australia and others Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The unrest in the Arab world commonly mislabelled as the "Arab Spring" has put a strain on United Nations and other peacekeeping forces in the region.

Peacekeeping troops - in which Australia currently and historically has played a role - have limited options for defence available to them according to their mandate, are intended to observe, liaise and act as a buffer between armies.

However, regional non-state actors filling a vacuum created from the weakened national authority in countries affected by the unrest have been increasingly taking advantage of the limitations of the peacekeepers by opportunistically using them as soft targets, bargaining chips and even human shields.

French decision sheds light on legality of West Bank settlements

French decision sheds light on legality of West Bank settlements Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: United Nations, Updates    

On 23 March this year, the Versaille Court of Appeal in France delivered a very significant judgment in a case brought by the Association France-Palestine Solidarité (France-Palestine Solidarity Association, or 'AFPS') and joined by the Palestine Liberation Organisation ('PLO'), against French companies Societé Alstom and Veolia Transport. The ruling sparked some debate within the Jewish media and -- more recently -- the international law blogosphere, but seemed to pass by the rest of the world largely unnoticed. Yet it was the first significant decision in a domestic court on many issues of international law that have been hotly debated for years, and the results may be important in the development of international law....

Five extreme reactions to the Boston Bombings

Five extreme reactions to the Boston Bombings Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

The confusion after the bombing of the Boston Marathon last week saw a number of reactions that were 'colourful' to say the least. Australians will be familiar with radio broadcaster Alan Jones' claim that the perpetrators were most likely "left-wing radical students", as well as Bob Ellis' rather bizarre speculation that "it seems to me likely that this was not al-Qaeda or a lone madman ... but more likely, much more likely, the NRA."

The most shocking reactions, however, did not come from Australians. Be it an unnerving sense of vindication or an incomprehensible conspiracy theory, AIJAC has compiled five of the most 'out-there' responses to the awful carnage that took place.

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Essay: A Lapse into Seriousness

Essay: A Lapse into Seriousness Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Few outside of certain circles would be aware that a draft of the report by the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (‘OHCHR') to the UN Human Rights Council (‘HRC') on last year's Gaza conflict was released in March.

Any report that the HRC releases on Israel should immediately arouse suspicion - it is not without reason that Israel is currently refusing to participate in any of the HRC's functions.

Media Week - One-Way Traffic

Media Week - One-Way Traffic Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

It is one of the seminal images that appeared over and over again in the early stages of last November's Second Gaza-Israel war. 
 
Distraught Palestinian father Jihad Masharawi, holding the dead body of his 11-month-old son, Omar, who was reported to have been the victim of an Israeli rocket hitting the family home.
 
Except on March 6 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that its investigation into the circumstances of Omar's death suggests he was most likely a victim of a rocket fired by Hamas or one of its affiliates that fell short.
 
So, yes, in a very real sense, Omar was a symbol - a tragic victim of the callous indifference of the so-called Palestinian resistance movement that is based in, and operates from, built up civilian areas in Gaza.

 Foxes guarding the Human Rights henhouses: A UN tradition continues

Foxes guarding the Human Rights henhouses: A UN tradition continues Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Africa, Iran, Sudan, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

UN agencies dedicated to the promotion of human rights, mandated with the protection of the world's most vulnerable and marginalised populations, have long been subject to widespread criticism for their politicization, hypocrisy, and anti-Israel bias. Over and over again, the UNHRC has proven to be plagued with the same problems which haunted its predecessor - most notably appointing egregious human rights violators to high-profile leadership positions.

How the Turkish Prime Minister condemned himself by calling Zionism a ‘crime against humanity’

How the Turkish Prime Minister condemned himself by calling Zionism a ‘crime against humanity’ Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on March 1 offensively equated Zionism to racism and fascism at the "Fifth Alliance of Civilizations Forum" in Vienna. During the forum, Erdoğan reportedly stated: "Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity."

Erdogan's decision to refer to Zionism, which is the foundation of the Jewish state and the movement of Jewish self-determination, as a "crime against humanity" is inflammatory, wrong and dangerous.

Hamas' housing demolitions met with deafening silence

Hamas' housing demolitions met with deafening silence Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Europe, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Are NGOs imposing a double standard when it comes the demolition of Palestinian houses?

That is the question that Elliott Abrams asked Wednesday on his blog on the Council of Foreign Relations' website.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian news website Ma'an reported that Hamas was moving ahead with plans to demolish 75 homes belonging to the Abu Amrah clan in the al-Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza. The Hamas government claims the homes were built illegally. The family is protesting the move, and resisting relocation.

Israel refuses to participate in UN "human rights" farce

Israel refuses to participate in UN "human rights" farce Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Israel, Libya, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Israel has been making headlines recently for its failure to show-up to its "Universal Periodic Review" ("UPR") session at the United Nations Human Rights Council ("HRC") and for refusing to cooperate with a recent "fact-finding mission" into settlements in the West Bank. ...

Sadly, it appears that the reforms to the UN Human Rights Commission and its re-branding as the "Human Rights Council" have had little effect...

Briefing on the Problematic UN Human Rights Council Report on Israeli Settlements

Briefing on the Problematic UN Human Rights Council Report on Israeli Settlements Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Earlier today, this blog noted that Israel has been boycotting the United Nations Human Rights Council due to the Council's habitual singling-out of Israel for unfair, unwarranted, and utterly biased criticism.

A report on settlements in the West Bank, the commission of which spurred Israel's decision to cease cooperation with the Council, has just been released. Sadly, the Report entirely vindicates Israel's position on the matter.

Below is an itemised critique of the Report, highlighting numerous examples of errors and misinformation...

Egypt's Islamist Spring/More UN hypocrisy

Egypt's Islamist Spring/More UN hypocrisy Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Two years after the Arab Spring erupted in the Middle East, sweeping away long standing governments and leaders, the biggest winners are unquestionably the Islamists, particularly in Egypt. Today's Update considers the strategic outlook. To the north of Israel, Syria is roiling in the blood of 60,000 dead as the Assad regime and Islamist rebels clash. To the south of Israel, Egypt’s streets are once more filling up with protesters as the Muslim Brotherhood boldly exposes its antisemitic and anti-democratic colours at breakneck speed, while its offshoot in Gaza is approaching its sixth year of rule.

Washington Post points out: Settlements are not the main barrier to peace

Washington Post points out: Settlements are not the main barrier to peace Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Israel received strong international criticism when it announced its plans to build homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, in response to the Palestinian unilateral move to obtain ‘observer state' status at the UN General Assembly.

The Washington Post has responded to the wave of international criticism in an editorial on January 2 by noting that such criticism is "counterproductive because it reinforces two mistaken but widely held notions: that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible."

Hamas over-reporting civilian casualties in Gaza, again

Hamas over-reporting civilian casualties in Gaza, again Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The most heartbreaking consequence of any conflict is the unavoidable toll taken on the local civilian population. Sadly, in the hyper-politicised realm of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, these events seem unable to remain mere tragedies. Instead, each civilian killed takes on the additional mantle of a propaganda point scored in the conflict of public opinion.

This leads to the unfortunate tactic that Hamas and other Gaza-based groups seem to have adopted of cynically exploiting international sympathy...

AIR
Setting Things Straight

Setting Things Straight Author: Alan Baker Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Now that the dust has settled on the Palestinian UN upgrade bid; now that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has received his applause and kudos from the UN Plenary, from the Europeans, and from many Israelis as the hero and saviour of the Palestinian people; now that the UN General Assembly has returned to its regular and wasteful agenda of repetitive, pointless, and inane resolutions; now that some Israeli legal and non-legal commentators are already forecasting that Israeli leaders, officials, officers, and settlers are about to be put on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity; now that Palestinian lawyers are busy preparing their criminal charges against Israel - now it is perhaps the time to place things in their correct proportion, without misleading exaggeration, imaginative embellishment, wishful thinking, and false predictions.

Editorial: A Wrong Turn Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

The United Nations General Assembly vote on November 29, upgrading the Palestinian mission at the UN to the status of an "observer state" was a unilateral move which violated a core tenet of the Oslo Accords, stipulating that neither party would attempt to unilaterally change the legal status of the West Bank and Gaza.

While the UN vote may lack the authority to effect such change, it's clear that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to use the vote as a political crowbar in order to pry away the West from their allegiance to the principles set in place by the vastly more weighty UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967.

AIR New Zealand: NZ's Vote for Palestinian UN upgrade

AIR New Zealand: NZ's Vote for Palestinian UN upgrade Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Palestinians, United Nations    

Questions have been raised by some members of New Zealand's Jewish community over the country's recent vote in favour of the United Nations (UN) resolution that Palestine be given "non-member state" status at the international organisation.

There has been some surprise, and even annoyance, that - under Prime Minister John Key's Israel-friendly government - New Zealand did not abstain on the vote.

UN discusses Syrian conflict for an hour, spends five hours condemning Israel

UN discusses Syrian conflict for an hour, spends five hours condemning Israel Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

After the current conflict in Syria had commenced, observations quickly began piling-up that it was receiving noticeably less coverage than it would if it were taking place just over Syria's eastern border in Israeli territory ... Occasionally, something comes up that really illustrates the extent to which the international community treats the mass murder in Syria as completely insignificant in comparison to even the most marginal allegations against Israel.

A perfect example is the recent UN General Assembly ('GA') discussion on Syria -- the first since last August -- as depicted in...

Updates

The aftermath of the PA UN bid and the debate over Israeli building in settlements Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update deals with the aftermath of the UN vote to upgrade Palestine to "non-member state" status last week, the Israeli response in terms of announcements of preparations to build new housing units in east Jerusalem and settlements, and the strong reaction this decision has promoted from many foreign governments, including Australia's.

Behind the 'Palestine' vote, a paradox

Behind the 'Palestine' vote, a paradox Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

In order to fully understand all the implications of the upgrade of Palestinian status to non-member observer state at the United Nations, it is worthwhile to begin by revisiting their more ambitious first attempt to bring Palestinian UN membership to a vote in the United Nations Security Council last year.

At the time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the notion of bringing a resolution to the General Assembly naming "Palestine" a "non-member state" as too weak a gesture - not worth the damage such a move would cause the PA, especially regarding US aid.

Palestine's spurious UN bid relied on some unsavoury supporters

Palestine's spurious UN bid relied on some unsavoury supporters Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, Sudan, United Nations    

"Mr President: independence, freedom, the right to self-determination; these are principles that have been enshrined in the United Nations Charter." Those words were spoken by Daffa Alla Elhag Ali Osman, the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN as he introduced the draft resolution at the General Assembly to recognise the non-member state of Palestine.

Nothing could better signify the absolute farce taking place before the representatives of the international community than the government of Sudan pontificating about justice and human rights. As Osman spoke, the government that he represents was busy waging a brutal campaign to deny the Nuba people the rights to independence, freedom and self-determination.

What Palestinians think they have achieved from passage of the UN "Non-member state" resolution

What Palestinians think they have achieved from passage of the UN "Non-member state" resolution Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Western countries that abstained or voted for the United Nations General Assembly resolution on Thursday upgrading the Palestinian representation in the UN to that of a non-member state have depicted their decision as a vote in favour of a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians and a two-state solution.

However, Palestinian officials have been telling their own people that the vote was a substantive step towards forced Israeli capitulation, not compromise. Significantly, Palestinian officials say they intend to argue that their increased recognition of statehood automatically entitles them to massive political dividends, including a presumption of final borders.

Voting for "lawfare", not Palestinian statehood

Voting for "lawfare", not Palestinian statehood Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

It appears that Australia chose to abstain from the UN General Assembly's vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation from "observer" to "non-member state". This was reportedly due to lobbying from within the Labor Party - particularly by former foreign minister Gareth Evans - to the effect that Australia would be on the "wrong side of history" if it were to "resist the tide of international sentiment now in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood".

UN vote on PA upgrade to "non-member state" status

UN vote on PA upgrade to "non-member state" status Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The Palestinians introduced a much-anticipated resolution giving "Palestine" a status of "non-member state" at the UN General Assembly on Monday.  A vote is expected today, New York time, which is Friday here, and the Australian Government's decision to abstain has been much in the news given that Prime Minister Julia Gilliard was reportedly forced by cabinet and caucus colleagues to abandon her own preference to vote "no". This Update is devoted to analysis of the significance and likely effect of the resolution - which is widely expected to pass easily.

Essay: The Great Refugee Trap

Essay: The Great Refugee Trap Author: Nitza Nachmias Categories: NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations    

The twentieth century experienced some of the worst instances of population displacement in history: the 15 million ethnic Germans forced out of their homes in Eastern Europe after World War II; the millions of Muslims and Hindus fleeing the newly established states of India and Pakistan during the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947; the millions of Armenians, Greeks, Turks, Finns, Bulgarians, Jews, and Kurds, among others, driven from their lands and resettled elsewhere.

By contrast, the 600,000 Arabs who fled their homes in mandatory Palestine and the nascent state of Israel during the 1947-48 war have been kept in squalid camps for decades by their Arab hosts as a means of derogating Israel in the eyes of the West and arousing pan-Arab sentiments. And as if to add insult to injury, the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), established in December 1949 as a temporary means for relieving the plight of the newly-displaced refugees, has transformed into a permanent organisation that has substantially exacerbated the problem whose resolution it was supposed to facilitate.

Major human rights abusers again elected to UN Human Rights Council

Major human rights abusers again elected to UN Human Rights Council Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: United Nations, Updates    

On Monday the UN General Assembly elected 18 countries to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Sadly, as is the usual pattern, at least six of those elected are major human rights abusers who do not meet the criteria the UN itself set for membership of the Council.

"Pakistan, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, and UAE systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens," said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, "and they have consistently voted the wrong way on U.N. initiatives to protect the human rights of others."

Palestinians finally submit draft statehood request: analysis and implications

Palestinians finally submit draft statehood request: analysis and implications Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Last night, the long-awaited Draft Resolution for the Palestinian UN statehood bid was filed by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine. The Draft's most substantive point is the request to alter Palestine's status in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This is contained in the third paragraph, which reads that...

Editorial: Taking Council Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, United Nations    

The successful conclusion of Australia's long-fought efforts to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) is very welcome. Congratulations are due to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, his deputy Richard Marles, and all the professionals who crafted a winning strategy - particularly in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean - to achieve this emphatic outcome.

Australia's success is well-deserved - as a middle-level, principled, democratic nation and good global citizen, we won the respect and ultimately the support of others internationally, on our own merits and without compromising our values or beliefs.

As the excitement subsides over the victory, there is no time to rest on our laurels. Australia's focus should now be shifting to the question of how to best use its energies at the UN over the next 24 months.

"Palestine" as a "State" of Mind

"Palestine" as a "State" of Mind Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Last year, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN Security Council (UNSC), attempting to have "Palestine" admitted to the UN as a member state. It soon became clear, however, that the Council was not going to approve the bid, as "Palestine" does not yet meet the criteria for statehood.

AIJAC congratulates Australian Government on emphatic UN Security Council success

AIJAC congratulates Australian Government on emphatic UN Security Council success Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases, United Nations    

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today welcomed the election of Australia to a two-year temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council in New York overnight, and congratulated the Australian Government on achieving this outcome.

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler stated, "AIJAC welcomes a successful end to Australia's long-fought efforts to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. We also congratulate the Australian Government - especially Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, his deputy Richard Marles, and all the professionals who worked diligently to achieve this very happy outcome so emphatically. Our success is well-deserved - as a middle-level, principled, democratic nation and good global citizen, we won the respect and ultimately the support of others internationally, on our own merits and without compromising our support for Israel."

AIR
The UN's forgotten policy of resettling Palestinian Refugees

The UN's forgotten policy of resettling Palestinian Refugees Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The issue of Palestinian refugees is arguably the single largest impediment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. None of the other 'final status issues' -- borders, security, and sovereignty over Jerusalem -- seem to leave such a gulf between the positions of the two parties that a compromise is difficult to imagine. Yet, as new research demonstrates, the refugee situation could have been solved very early on.

The solution to the borders issue is relatively clear: Israel will hold on to the major population blocs in the West Bank in exchange for equivalent land from Israel proper. Similarly, current security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority ('PA') has already gone most of the way towards resolving this issue. Jerusalem is a little more contentious, however there are several proposals that could be adopted...

Sketching out a red line for stopping Iran's nuclear program

Sketching out a red line for stopping Iran's nuclear program Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update takes us to New York, at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Taking centre stage is a headline grabbing speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the predictably defiant, caustic and offensive anti-Israel speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas once again announced a renewed effort to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority at the UN to non-member observer state. The gathering also offered US President Barack Obama an opportunity to speak out on US foreign policy ahead of November elections, while Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi had his first turn at a UN podium. Finally, for Australia, this session was fraught with import, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech before the plenum culminating her government’s intensive effort to secure Australia’s first temporary seat on the UN Security Council since the 1980s.

Media Week - Sound off; Clear as mud

Media Week - Sound off; Clear as mud Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC Radio National's "360documentaries" series (9/9) featured a 50-minute program from Australian anti-Zionist activist Peter Slezak with interviews he recorded on a recent trip to Gaza and the West Bank.

The program's producer was Cathy Peters - the Marrickville Councillor from the NSW Greens party who was instrumental in proposing the notorious BDS motion in 2010.

Despite this pedigree, ABC presenter Kirsti Melville meekly introduced Slezak as a "Jewish writer and commentator" without mentioning his activism.

The program itself is the equivalent of "the best of the worse of the anti-Israel" NGO and UN brigade featuring the usual array of one-sided claims. Neither Hamas nor any Palestinian violence was so much as mentioned.

UNWRA, Hamas and the plight of refugees

UNWRA, Hamas and the plight of refugees Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Israel came under some criticism lately when Israeli authorities were refusing to allow entry to a group of Eritrean asylum seekers stuck at the Egyptian border. The Israelis eventually relented after one week and permitted some of the asylum seekers to cross the border.

One of the most prominent critics of this incident was William Tall, the local representative from the UN High Commission for Refugees ('UNHCR'), one of the two UN bodies tasked with catering to the world's refugee populations.

The other body is, of course, the UN Relief and Works Agency For Palestine Refugees -- which regularly goes by the acronym 'UNRWA'.

The omission of the 'FPR' from the acronym makes it sound as though UNRWA were simply another arm of the UN, rather than an organisation established soleley to cater to one population. Unfortunately, the 'FPR' is a part of UNRWA's name and mandate, which must be glaringly apparent for the unfortunate Africans who attempt to find refuge in Israel...

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UNESCO bucks own experts to pass Palestinian "emergency measure"

UNESCO bucks own experts to pass Palestinian "emergency measure" Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Last Friday at the 36th meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, held in St. Petersburg, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List as an endangered heritage site, registered under the location "Palestine."

You may be thinking "Another pro-Palestinian vote at the UN, so what else is new?" But the baffling and telling part of the story is not simply that the motion passed, but that it passed despite the better judgment of UNESCO's own advisory body and secretariat, and even against the wishes of the church's own custodians.

Romirowsky: Challenging UNRWA

Romirowsky: Challenging UNRWA Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Palestinians, United Nations    

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), formed as a temporary organisation in 1949 to take care of the immediate needs of the Arab refugees from Israel's existential War of Independence, has evolved into a sprawling, politically compromised advocate of the Palestinian narrative, according to Asaf Romirowsky, an adjunct scholar at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Romirowsky, who has devoted a decade of post-graduate studies to UNRWA, visited Australia in early June.

Declassified documents from '67 show Israel's willingness to trade land for peace

Declassified documents from '67 show Israel's willingness to trade land for peace Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Jordan, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Did Israel's government covet the land it captured as part of the defensive war of June 1967, which ended with Israeli forces in control of the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza?

For the most part, not at all, according to 200 pages of newly declassified transcripts from cabinet and committee meetings in the days following the war, released by Israel's National Archive this month.

The blindness behind the NGO petition to end the Gaza blockade

The blindness behind the NGO petition to end the Gaza blockade Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Fifty international charities and UN agencies have made a joint media appeal to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Some of the charities that have signed the petition have Australian branches including: Amnesty International, Oxfam, Care International, War Child and HelpAge International.  The petition states:

"For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: 'end the blockade now'".

The petition appears to overlook a number of key issues which are discussed in this blog post.

Important new observations from UN's Syria observer mission

Important new observations from UN's Syria observer mission Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

They have now observed that they are being ignored -- at least when theyaren't being shot at:

According to UN officials, UN vehicles are shot at almost every day in Syria.

Mr Ban [Ki-moon] told the 15-nation council that UN observers had seen Syrian military convoys approaching villages and tried to stop tank assaults against populated areas, but had been "ignored".

... Ban said shots were fired at the UN convoy which tried to get into the village of Al-Kubeir.

Fortunately, the observers were able to relay this information to the Secretary-General in time for him to take some incredibly tough action...

The ABC and UNRWA

The ABC and UNRWA Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC radio's "World Today" reported on the growing recognition that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) may actually be perpetuating the ongoing Palestinian refugee issue (see AIJAC's update from June 6 2012 for more on the issue).

Unfortunately, a serious issue suffered from the not-so-subtle insinuation that the enterprise is essentially a right-wing plot to deprive aid to Palestinians rather than a question of who should rightfully be deemed a Palestinian refugee and how it might just be hampering solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

UNRWA and Refugees/ More Glorifying of Terrorism

UNRWA and Refugees/ More Glorifying of Terrorism Categories: Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

There has been considerable comment of late, both in Australia and the UN, about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the wake of a legislative proposal being discussed in Washington, and a recent grant of increased aid provided to UNRWA in Canberra. This Update provides some background on the controversy over UNRWA, and the idea behind the UNRWA-related legislative amendment which passed out of a Committee in the US Senate last week.

First up is a backgrounder on the American UNRWA proposal, sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk, written by American scholars Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky (Mr. Romirowsky is currently visiting Australia to speak at the annual Limmud Oz conference of Jewish educators.) They make it clear that the intent of the Kirk legislation is not to cut off Palestinians from needed aid, but to provide some clarity about the state of UNRWA's clients, the vast majority of whom are not refugees by the standards applied to every other refugee population in the world.

Australia and the Massacre in Syria

Australia and the Massacre in Syria Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Following the shocking reports and images of the massacre that occurred in the Syrian village of Haoula on May 25, there has been a chorus of international outrage. The UN reported that 108 people were killed among them 49 children and 34 women, by the Assad regime and pro-Assad militia ‘Shabiha'.

AIJAC welcomes Australia decision on May 29 to expel Syrian Chargé d'Affaires, Jawdat Ali, and another diplomat, from Australia.

AIR
Australia’s Budget 2012-13: Foreign Aid

Australia’s Budget 2012-13: Foreign Aid Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, United Nations, Updates    

The Australian Budget was announced on May 8, and in order to bring the budget into surplus the Government decided to delay its promise to raise foreign aid spending to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015/16, pushing this goal back until 2016-2017.

This blog post looks at highlights from the foreign aid budget, and also considers the case for improving the effectiveness of Australian aid in the Palestinian Territories.

Latest UN Human Rights exemplar: Venezuela

Latest UN Human Rights exemplar: Venezuela Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: United Nations, Updates    

The UN Human Rights Council has long had a well-deserved image problem - due in no small part to the fact numerous egregious human rights offenders are regularly elected to serve on it, where they block effective scrutiny of themselves and their non-democratic allies. The latest episode in this sorry history is the unopposed bid by Venezuela for a seat on the 47 nation Council, despite the fact that Venezuela has a very poor record on human rights.

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Strange Australian commentary on the UN's controversial "peace plan" for Syria

Strange Australian commentary on the UN's controversial "peace plan" for Syria Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The Syrian Government's decision to accept UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan has been met with a lot of scepticism to say the least. A number of experts have been predicting that the initiative would only paper-over the Assad regime's continued violence and that there would be negative consequences felt in Syria as a result.

Another by-product of the issue has been some rather strange commentary emerging from Australia. Anthony Billingsley, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, has written his thoughts about the Annan plan on Australian academic blog site The Conversation. His reasoning is a little difficult to follow – in more than one instance, his assessment of the geopolitics seems either misinformed or contradictory, particularly in regards to the American and Israeli role in the Syrian uprisings (emphasis added)...

UNHRC green-lights Goldstone II: The settlements

UNHRC green-lights Goldstone II: The settlements Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: United Nations, Updates    

We've seen this movie before.

Coming soon from the same producers of the discredited Goldstone Report on the 2009 Gaza War - the UN Human Rights Council - is a sequel: A "fact-finding" mission to investigate the impact of Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Palestinians. Co-sponsors of the resolution that authorised it include Syria and Iran.

 UN Commission on the Status of Women singles out Israel for condemnation

UN Commission on the Status of Women singles out Israel for condemnation Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has done it again - in its annual session it condemned only one country - Israel, while ignoring the human rights violations of women around the world, including especially the current crisis in Syria - where women are being raped and murdered...

UNESCO half-heartedly condemns Syria, but leaves it on its Human Rights bodies

UNESCO half-heartedly condemns Syria, but leaves it on its Human Rights bodies Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

On March 8, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) published a condemnation of human rights violations perpetrated by Assad's regime in Syria. The resolution was passed with 35 votes in favour, and 8 opposed, making UNESCO the third UN agency (after the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council) to address the human rights situation in Syria. However this condemnation seems inconsistent with UNESCO's treatment of Syria, since Assad's representatives are still sitting in two UNESCO committees dealing with human rights issues: the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations and the Committee on International Non-Governmental Organisations...

UN pre-occupied with politicising Gaza's status

UN pre-occupied with politicising Gaza's status Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Why does the United Nations continue to consider the Gaza Strip to be "occupied territory" when Israel dismantled all settlements and withdrew the IDF from the area as part of its disengagement in September 2005?

Even Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since it overthrew the Palestinian Authority in June 2007, concedes that Gaza is no longer occupied...

When propaganda masquerades as fact

When propaganda masquerades as fact Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

To its great discredit, the Melbourne Age has republished a Guardian newspaper feature that alleges mistreatment by the Israeli judicial system of West Bank Palestinian youths detained on suspicion of terrorism.

As a previous AIJAC blog post revealed, many allegations of Palestinian children being tortured, kept in solitary confinement, denied legal representation, and forced to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, rely on half-truths, manipulation of facts and figures and unsubstantiated claims by anti-Israel organisations.

That is, organisations with anti-Israel political agendas that extend beyond the remit of the specific goals they profess to be concerned with and into areas of delegitimising the Jewish state.

Palestinian rights activist confirms Hamas puts terror bases in civilian areas

Palestinian rights activist confirms Hamas puts terror bases in civilian areas Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations    

A Palestinian human rights activist has inadvertently confirmed what Israel has always insisted, that terrorist groups live, train, operate and run riot throughout the Gaza Strip's residential neighbourhoods.

In a piece written for the Palestinian website Maan, Gaza human rights activist Mahmoud Abu Rahma reveals that the "resistance movements" are so entrenched and widespread in residential areas that civilians are suffering frequent injuries because of their activities.

 

HRC resolution on Syria diagnoses problem, but offers no solutions

HRC resolution on Syria diagnoses problem, but offers no solutions Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The Assad regime's brutal crackdown in Syria has resulted in the death of more than 4000 people including at least 300 children, according to the UN.

On December 2, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution condemning the continued widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities.

The resolution was in response to findings of a new investigative report on human rights conditions in Syria prepared by the an independent Commission of Inquiry established by HRC which found that Assad regime's authorities and members of its military and security forces committed 'gross and systematic violations of human rights'.

The resolution while welcome clearly does not go far enough. It diagnosed the problem but proposed to do nothing at all useful to remedy it...

Responses to gay Israel slur

Responses to gay Israel slur Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Following on from this post concerning an accusation of Israel supposedly "pinkwashing" its public image by spruiking its record on gay rights to hide alleged injustices, a number of gay writers have penned scathing responses in the Jewish and international media.

Writing in the Forward, Jay Michaelson gives a critique of the piece by Sarah Schulman in the New York Times that began the whole kerfuffle...

 The 1947 UN Partition Plan mis-remembered by the UN

The 1947 UN Partition Plan mis-remembered by the UN Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

On 29 November 64 years ago, the UN General Assembly voted on the partition plan, and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 was adopted by a vote of 33 to 13, recommending the establishment of two states - Arab and Jewish. The Jews accepted the partition plan, the Arabs did not and five Arab states went to war with Israel.

However, November 29, is not called ‘Israel day' but rather the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People'. Marking this day at the UN was a General Assembly resolution on the "Question of Palestine" which condemned Israel, pre-empted the results of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and failed to acknowledge Israel's legitimate security rights, amongst other concerning features of the resolution.

In response to the UN resolution, Ron Prosor, UN Representative to Israel delivered a stirring speech that condemned the UN's consistent attack on Israel and outlined the real reasons that have so far prevented peace...

Dershowitz: UN an important reason why there is no peace

Dershowitz: UN an important reason why there is no peace Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

World-renowned Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz gave an important speech at "The Perils of Global Intolerance: the United Nations and Durban III" conference that took place on 22 September 2011 - designed to coincide with and counter the UN Durban III conference which promoted an anti-Zionist agenda and focussed on Israel as the world's sole nation mentioned as a source of "racism." It has just been made publicly available.

In his speech Dershowitz condemned the UN for failing to live up to its own Charter, and began his speech with this statement:

"One important reason why there is no peace in the Middle East an be summarised in tragically in two letters - U.N. That building dedicated in theory to peace has facilitated terrorism, stood idly by genocide, given a platform to Holocaust deniers, and disincentivised the Palestinians from negotiating a reasonable two state solution."

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon should broaden its focus

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon should broaden its focus Author: Michael Immerman Categories: International Security, Iran, Lebanon, Middle East, Syria, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

In the latest development from the ongoing saga surrounding the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the UN will be holding off on the prosecution of the suspected assassins for the time being.

As reported, legal proceedings against Mustafa Badreddine, Salam Ayyash, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra, Hezbollah members considered responsible for the assassination of Hariri, will not proceed in absentia.

Rather, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the UN-backed body tasked with prosecuting and resolving this matter, will wait for Lebanese authorities to arrest the four suspects.

AIR
More UN DysfUNctionalism

More UN DysfUNctionalism Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Middle East, NGOs, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

In another example of UN dysfunctionality, Syria has been admitted as the Arab representative to UNESCO's human rights committee, just a day after a UN report criticised the country's massacre of 3,500 anti-government protesters.

The decision is even more bizarre in light of the Arab League suspension of Syria over the Assad regime's human rights' abuses.

Negotiations only way ahead in Israel-Arab conflict

Negotiations only way ahead in Israel-Arab conflict Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

One of the many admirable characteristics of the Australian archetype is a propensity for plain speaking.

So it is to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's credit that Australia sent the Palestinian Authority a clear message by voting against admitting the non-existent state of Palestine to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In essence Australia was reaffirming its repeated stance that the only way to end the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is through negotiations.

As it is, the Palestinians will now apply to 16 other UN affiliated bodies for admission on the specious basis of being a state, which they are not yet according to the criteria set out under international law.

Only one path can lead to two states

Only one path can lead to two states Author: Mark Leibler Categories: Australasia, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

Australians should be proud of the fact that our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have consistently and publicly supported, with bipartisan agreement, a genuine, negotiated two-state resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is why Australia wisely voted against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO and why Australia should vote against Palestinian 'statehood' if and when it comes to the United Nations General Assembly.

UNESCO: Palestine -  in, Freedom of Speech - out

UNESCO: Palestine - in, Freedom of Speech - out Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Eric Falt, assistant director general for external relations and public information at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has issued an official letter of protest from UNESCO's director general, Irina Bokova regarding a cartoon which UNESCO claimed constituted incitement.

This could have been an encouraging sign that UNESCO is finally acting against incitement, racism and specifically antisemitism prevalent in Arab and Muslim media, especially in the state-sponsored press. However, the cartoon that so inflamed UNESCO officials was published in Haaretz, an Israeli independent newspaper, which is protected under Israel's laws regarding freedom of the press. Moreover, the only incitement that seemed to concern UNESCO is incitement against UNESCO.

Updates
Iran responds to IAEA by threatening to destroy Israel... again + Australia feels the fallout

Iran responds to IAEA by threatening to destroy Israel... again + Australia feels the fallout Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, International Security, Iran, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

As outlined in yesterday's update, the UN's atomic energy watchdog has just released a report that just falls short of definitively stating that Iran has a nuclear weapons program - seemingly the closest that the UN ever comes to an unequivocal condemnation of a country that is not Israel. The report has emerged amid rumours that Israel is gearing-up for an attack on Iran and is busy soliciting support from allies in the UK and the US.

Predictably, Iran did not respond with steps to assure the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful, but instead blamed an American conspiracy and then threatened to destroy Israel.

Iran denies the allegations and says the evidence used by the U.N. nuclear watchdog was fabricated by the United States and its allies. It has insisted that its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity and ensuring an independent fuel supply for its nuclear power plants.

... "If smoke columns rise from our nuclear facilities, then this scenario could happen in other areas," said Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces. "The Dimona station in Israel is the easiest...

Leaked UN report reveals cognitive dissonance on Palestinian statehood

Leaked UN report reveals cognitive dissonance on Palestinian statehood Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Just after the Palestinian Authority admitted that they are not going to win the votes needed to secure UN Security Council recognition as a state, a report prepared for the Security Council on the subject has been leaked to the media. The report, written by the UN's Committee For the Admission of New Members, has has been leaked to American Arabic news network Al Hurra and published by Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch. The general impression from the report is that the Committee was unable to determine whether or not Palestine can qualify for statehood, but there were a few points that were a little curious.

For starters, see if you can pick what stands out from the following paragraph...

Palestinians admit that they do not have statehood support

Palestinians admit that they do not have statehood support Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

A breaking report from the AP reveals that the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Malki, has admitted that they have failed to muster the nine votes needed in the UN Security Council in order to approve their statehood bid.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told The Associated Press Tuesday, "It is clear now, with the U.S. counter effort and intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes." They can still apply to the General Assembly.

That the US has been campaigning strongly against the bid is unsurprising given the difficult situation that the PA has been placing the Obama administration in through its recent UN antics...

UNESCO vote on Palestine triggers UN backlash

UNESCO vote on Palestine triggers UN backlash Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The acceptance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was criticised within the UN by none other than the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

In an interview during the G20 summit in Cannes, France, he warned against further attempts by the Palestinians to join other UN bodies and agencies and stated that such efforts are "not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody." He warned that "millions and millions" of people could be affected if UN agencies suffer budget cuts as a result of the Palestinian bids: "This will have implications for all the agencies of the United Nations. When an organisation is not properly functioning because of a lack of resources, you have to think about the millions and millions of people who are being impacted and affected," he said.

Ban's concerns are based on actions by the United States and Canada, which contributed 25% of UNESCO's funding, and have cut off their funding following the PA vote.

The Palestinians and UNESCO/ An Attack on Iran? Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update features two comments on the vote by the UN Educational, Social and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) to admit "Palestine" as a full member on Monday, a measure opposed by the Australia (see AIJAC's media release on the Australian vote here).  It also contains some comments on reports originating in the Israeli press alleging that the Israeli Government is stepping up preparations for a possible military strike on Iran's nuclear program.

Is the PA qualified to protect Christian and Jewish holy sites?

Is the PA qualified to protect Christian and Jewish holy sites? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

As Fairfax's Ruth Pollard reported this morning, now that they have been admitted to UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will begin pushing for heritage protection of holy sites in the West Bank.

JERUSALEM: Significant religious sites throughout the West Bank, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, will be among the first to be pushed forward for world heritage status now Palestine has been granted membership of UNESCO.

A Palestinian Authority spokesman there were many sites and shrines in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that until now had been unprotected because of a lack of recognition and funding.

''Now we will be able to protect them and make sure they are known around the world,'' he said. ''We believe that becoming a member of the UNESCO is an overdue right for a country that has such a significant amount of heritage sites.''

This follows from a bid launched earlier this year to gain heritage status for the Church of Nativity, believed to be the site where Jesus was born. The idea of the PA being responsible for the care of this church and other non-Muslim holy sites should raise a few eyebrows amongst those who are even vaguely familiar with their recent history...

Goldstone assaults 'Apartheid Slander'

Goldstone assaults 'Apartheid Slander' Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

South African Judge Richard Goldstone has written an op-ed in this New York Times on 31 October condemning the false allegation that Israel is an ‘apartheid' state. He writes:

"The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony."

This is the same Goldstone who did a great deal of damage to Israel by lending his name to the biased UN fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict in 2009 which condemned Israel for deliberately killing civilians and war crimes while all but ignoring the Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel.

Goldstone later recanted his support for the report after realising that much of the information relied upon in the ‘Goldstone Report' was not credible and biased. In an op-ed in the Washington Post in April this year he stated, "if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

AIJAC says UNESCO vote “undermines genuine progress towards peace”

AIJAC says UNESCO vote “undermines genuine progress towards peace” Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Media Releases, Palestinians, United Nations    

The decision of the General Assembly of UNESCO to "further the folly and fiction" that there is a State of Palestine which can participate in international organisations "undermines genuine progress towards peace", the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said today, while stressing that "it is heartening to see that the Australian government was not party to the cynical and destructive political decision".

"The Palestinian leadership is fully aware that they do not control a 'State' and rather than work on state-building and peace building are indulging in self-defeating grandstanding" Mark Leibler, National Chairman of AIJAC said.

Two victims from Palestinian UNESCO ploy: UNESCO and the US

Two victims from Palestinian UNESCO ploy: UNESCO and the US Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The admission of Palestine into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, little more than a symbolic victory for the Palestinian Authority (PA), has severe repercussions on the largest funder of both the PA and UNESCO: The United States. As AFP has reported, US legislation prevents US funding of any UN body that admits the Palestinians as a member.

"We were to have made a $US60 million ($A57.11 million) payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday.

Nuland said the Palestinian admission "triggers longstanding (US) legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO."...

In 1949, who wanted a Palestinian state? Only Israel!

In 1949, who wanted a Palestinian state? Only Israel! Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

It won't stop the revisionist propaganda underpinning the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence campaign, but newspaper accounts from 1949 prove that the nascent State of Israel supported the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza and opposed the land being absorbed by surrounding Arab countries.

AIR
AIJAC UPDATE - The political and moral costs of the failure to sanction Syria

AIJAC UPDATE - The political and moral costs of the failure to sanction Syria Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Europe, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

Today's Update looks at Syria, Iran and Turkey against the backdrop of the veto by China and Russia of sanctions by the UN Security Council against the Assad regime in Damascus for its ongoing violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. The resolution was supported by nine members but, significantly, Lebanon, which occupies a temporary seat on the Security Council, abstained from the vote, as did South Africa, India and Brazil. After the vote the EU indicated it intended passing its own sanctions against Syria. Meanwhile Turkey's PM Recep Erdogan continues to use the Syria issue and relentlessly attacks Israel for his own regional ambitions. We offer a number of articles that reveal the changing dynamics in the Middle East that are are not receiving sufficient attention in Australia and elsewhere.

Iran's Holocaust denial and 9/11 conspiracies becoming "stale"

Iran's Holocaust denial and 9/11 conspiracies becoming "stale" Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Europe, Iran, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

In an amusing slip up captured by Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch, Dr Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been photographed sitting behind the Israeli desk. As Lynch notes, Iran rejects Israel's existence to such an extent that Iranian representatives are not permitted to utter the word "Israel" and rather refer to the "Zionist entity", making the photo (above) sadly ironic.

In fact, Iran seems to have been making the headlines a little over the last two days. Continuing the trend of leaving the important issues to the last minute, Iran's nuclear program is again on the agenda while the world's leaders are still gathered in New York. Graham Allison argues in today's Washington Post that the US should take-up the offer Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made at the beginning of last month to stop enriching uranium in exchange for being sold pre-enriched uranium...

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Explaining the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock

Explaining the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock Categories: Israel, Middle East, Multimedia, Palestinians, United Nations    

AIJAC Senior Policy Analyst Jamie Hyams interviewed on ABC News24 (28/9/11) explains why Palestinian intransigence and not Israeli settlement building is the real reason peace talks have not resumed since 2008.

He also discusses why the announcement of approval for a proposed application to build 1,100 homes in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo does not warrant international attention or condemnation.

 

Updates
UNESCO Board Recommends Palestinian Membership

UNESCO Board Recommends Palestinian Membership Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

On October 5, the Palestinians passed the first stage towards full membership at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), when the UNESCO board voted in favour of a Palestinian state being given UNESCO membership.

Forty of the 58 countries voted in favor, 14 abstained and the four countries that voted against were the US, Germany, Romania and Latvia.

The Palestinian application for UNESCO membership will now move to the General Conference, where UNESCO's 193 member states will vote on it. The next General Conference is scheduled from October 25 to November 10. A two-thirds majority of conference members is necessary for membership.

The Palestinian application to UNESCO has been highly criticised. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

"I ... would urge the governing body of UNESCO to think again before proceeding with that vote because the decision about status must be made in the United Nations and not in auxiliary groups that are subsidiary to the United Nations."

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Russia and China veto Syria sanctions

Russia and China veto Syria sanctions Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Asia, China, Russia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

After weeks of controversy over a Palestinian statehood bid of little real consequence, some in the UN have been attempting to shift their focus onto one of the many situations in the world in which innocent people are being killed on a daily basis. To this end, the UN Security Council attempted to pass a motion to prevent Syria's ongoing crackdown on dissenting citizens. Initially, the European countries were attempting to sanction Syria through imposing an arms embargo. As Foreign Policy's UN correspondent Colum Lynch reports, even a watered-down version of this that merely condemned Syria and did not call for any tangible sanctions was vetoed by Russia and China...

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AIJAC UPDATE - The Principles and Principals of the Gilo Housing Project

AIJAC UPDATE - The Principles and Principals of the Gilo Housing Project Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

Today's Update looks at last week's controversial approval for a proposed plan to build 1,100 homes within the boundaries of the Jewish suburb of Gilo in Jerusalem. Gilo lies just over the Green Line and is now home to 40,000 Israelis. As Commentary's Jonathan Tobin explains, Gilo is a symbol for many Israelis, having been a target for numerous terrorist sniper shootings during the Second Intifada and "was the laboratory where Palestinian terrorists sought to discover whether they could force Jews into abandoning their homes. They failed".

Netanyahu and Abbas at the UN Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Today's Update focuses on the recent events at the UN. The Palestinians submitted their formal application for full membership of the UN, and both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly. The Palestinian application is here, the speech by Abbas is here and the speech by Netanyahu is here. Following the speeches, the Quartet of the UN, the European Union, Russia and the US released a proposal for the resumption of negotiations. Israel has decided to accept the proposal, but the Palestinians seem likely to reject it.

Israeli PM Netanyahu speaks to the UN General Assembly

Israeli PM Netanyahu speaks to the UN General Assembly Categories: Israel, Middle East, Speeches, United Nations    

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

 

US President Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly

US President Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly Categories: America, International Security, Middle East, Speeches, United Nations    

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations - the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.

War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilization. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes.

 

On ABC Lateline, Palestinian official's veiled rejection of Israel's existence

On ABC Lateline, Palestinian official's veiled rejection of Israel's existence Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

ABC TV Lateline's Ali Moore interviewed Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath last night about the PA's UN statehood bid. Shaath , an experienced statesman, gave what on the surface may be perceived as a compelling argument for supporting the statehood bid; however, further analysis reveals inherent problems in his argument.

A key point that Shaath was attempting to put across was the PLO's supposed recognition of Israel:

Up till this minute, Israel have not recognised the right of the Palestinians to a Palestinian state on the border of '67. We still recognise Israel as an Israeli state...

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Israel welcomes proposal by Quartet, Palestinians negative as usual

Israel welcomes proposal by Quartet, Palestinians negative as usual Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

On 23 September, when the Palestinians presented their application for full membership to the UN, the Middle East Quartet (consisting of the US, EU, Russia and the UN) announced a proposal to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations.

The Quartet statement urged the parties "to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions."

The operational paragraphs of the Quartet proposal included:

"1. Within a month there will be a preparatory meeting between the parties to agree an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation.
2. At that meeting there will be a commitment by both sides that the objective of any negotiation is to reach an agreement within a timeframe agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012. The Quartet expects the parties to come forward with comprehensive proposals within three months on territory and security, and to have made substantial progress within six months..."

Tony Blair, the Quartet's envoy to the Middle East, said that if the Israelis and Palestinians are serious about peace, they should respond positively to the initiative.

Israel did immediately respond positively to the Quartet's proposal, however, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas did not, responding instead negatively.

 

PA President Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly

PA President Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Speeches, United Nations    

The Question Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - UNRWA - which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of the United Nations.

Scribblings: The PA UN bid UNplugged Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Palestinians, United Nations    

The AIR has previously canvassed numerous critical arguments concerning the Palestinian bid to have their "statehood" recognised at the UN. These include: that it avoids badly needed negotiations, violates the Oslo Accords, feeds Palestinian illusions about achieving their goals without compromise, courts violence, may damage the standing of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in its competition with Hamas, endangers Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on which the valuable Palestinian economic achievements of recent years rest, and risks the financial collapse of the already fiscally shaky PA government.

Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire Author: Marc Ginsberg Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

The unilateralist gambit by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ram through a resolution on Palestinian statehood in the UN General Assembly will produce little more than the mirage of a fleeting diplomatic triumph.

No matter the hoopla surrounding it, the UN vote will certainly not represent a watershed moment for Palestinian statehood. Like a well-camouflaged detour leading nowhere, the diplomatic kabuki theatre may, in reality, do more harm than good for the cause of Palestine - a cause I have passionately supported since my formative years living in the Middle East.

 

Origins of the Palestinian UDI bid

Origins of the Palestinian UDI bid Author: Jonathan Schanzer Categories: America, Palestinians, United Nations    

The Unilateral Declaration of Independence, or UDI, initiative was reportedly born in May 2005, when Abbas attended the summit of South American and Arab states in Brazil, where he met with President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva. Lula is said to have promised Abbas that, toward the completion of his second term ending January 1, 2011, he would rally support among Latin American states for the Palestinians to declare independence at the United Nations.

AIR

Palmer vs Goldstone: lessons learned Author: Gerald Steinberg & Gidon Shaviv Categories: Israel, United Nations    

Criticism of Israel is usually the foregone conclusion of any UN commission, particularly when human rights or humanitarian issues are involved.

However, the recent Palmer Commission report deserves special notice. It investigated events surrounding the deaths of self-styled "peace activists" who were attempting to run an Israeli naval blockade on Gaza in May 2010.

Abbas losing support over hypocrisy in the UN

Abbas losing support over hypocrisy in the UN Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

As expected, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for Statehood to the UN Secretary General. The application can be downloaded HERE. In addition to this, both Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly and their two speeches (below) have provoked international uproar, especially in light of the speech one day earlier by US President Barack Obama. As The Australian reported, this was a different Obama from the one who spoke previously in the same forum.

That persistence has put the Palestinians on a collision course with the US and Israel. A frustrated Mr Obama told world leaders yesterday in his UN speech that "there are no shortcuts" to peace...

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Durban III Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, United Nations, Updates    

This year's Durban III Conference also known as "World Conference Against Racism" held on 22 September in New York has lived up to expectations by promoting antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

The participants at the conference voted on a political statement affirming the declarations of the original Durban forum, in which Palestinians were labelled as "victims of racism".

In addition, a key speaker was Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who spoke about the "human rights violations perpetrated by the Zionist regime" against the Palestinians.

Durban III was boycotted by major democracies for its antisemitic and anti-Zionist agenda including: Australia, Israel, the USA, Canada, Holland, the Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Britain, France and Poland.

 

Updates
Drama at the UN

Drama at the UN Categories: Antisemitism, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

As readers are aware, the UN General Assembly session for 2011 has begun in New York amidst considerable drama of various sorts. While the media focus has mainly been on the status of the Palestinian bid to gain UN recognition as a state, there's a great deal more going on. This Update focuses on the various dramas occurring.

Factsheet: The Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence bid at the UN

Factsheet: The Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence bid at the UN Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Reference, United Nations    

KEY ISSUES

It will not establish a Palestinian state under international law

  • It is expected that the UN resolution will be blocked in the Security Council by US veto, and will pass in the General Assembly where it is non-binding.  The General Assembly cannot by itself establish or recognise a state, it can only admit new members after being nominated by the Security Council.
  • The General Assembly has already recommended the creation of a Palestinian State previously and the resolutions have not created a Palestinian state.
  • the Palestinians do not meet the traditional test for statehood – particularly the test of effective government – premature and unilateral recognition of an “unripe” Palestinian state could have a prejudicial effect on other regional conflicts. 
  • While it is arguable that the West Bank, or Gaza could meet requirements for statehood, the resolution being sought does not meet requirements for statehood as it seeks recognition of a united and independent Palestinian state on Gaza, West Bank and east Jerusalem.

In Palestinian statehood bid endgame, the real loser will be peace

In Palestinian statehood bid endgame, the real loser will be peace Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

As the day of reckoning for the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, now reportedly slated for Friday, draws ever closer, there is a frantic last-minute effort to avert the potentially disastrous showdown in favour of peace talks. Such talks are widely recognised as the only possible way to reach a genuine and lasting solution to the decades-old conflict. For example, Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair said yesterday that:

"What we will be looking for over the next few days is a way of putting together something that allows their claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized whilst actually renewing the only thing that's going to produce a state, which is a negotiation directly between the two sides...

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New Zealand withdraws from Durban III Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, United Nations, Updates    

New Zealand has decided to withdraw from the Durban III conference to be held on 22 September in New York. The previous two Durban "anti-racism" conferences are known to have been hijacked by antisemitism and anti-zionism, and as noted in a previous blog post, the document released for this conference make it clear that this one is unlikely to be an improvement.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully stated:

"We remain concerned that the commemoration of the 2001 Durban Declaration could re-open the offensive and anti-Semitic debates which undermined the original World Conference. For these reasons, we have decided not to participate".

In addition, Poland is also attempting to distance itself form from Durban III, as it has been reported that Poland does not plan to send an official delegation to participate in Durban III.

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The Key Point on the Palestinian UN bid Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

AIJAC readers may be interested to read an interesting Q&A featured by the Guardian on the Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

Answering readers questions on this topic are Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine and Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli journalist and writer who is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

It interesting to note that Ibish is not enthusiastic about the Palestinian UN bid as he is concerned that it may result in economic turmoil for the Palestinians with the US threatening to cutoff of US aid

In addition, Klein makes a critical point regarding Israeli security and how the establishment of a Palestinian can be both an existential necessity and an existential threat.

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Palestinian state not necessarily open to Palestinian refugees

Palestinian state not necessarily open to Palestinian refugees Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

If a Palestinian state is not primarily for the benefit of the supposedly long-suffering Palestinian refugees, then what is the point of it? Nothing highlights the urgency of this question more clearly than the admission by a senior Palestinian diplomat that Palestinian refugees will not automatically become citizens of a new Palestinian state.

All you need to know about the Palestinian UN statehood campaign

All you need to know about the Palestinian UN statehood campaign Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

With September 20 the Palestinian Authority's proposed date to seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state - also known as the "unilateral declaration of independence" (UDI) - we present selected quotes and links to a series of articles that explain everything a person might reasonably need to know about the issue.

Durban III - UK to withdraw Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, United Kingdom, United Nations, Updates    

The Jewish Chronicle reported on September 14, that the UK will not participate in upcoming UN sponsored Durban III anti-racism conference to be held on September 22 because it did not want to engage in an event with antisemitic association. The Durban conferences are known to have been hijacked by antisemitism and anti-zionism. British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the Durban conferences saw "open displays" of "deplorable anti- Semitism," and said it would be "wrong" to engage in such events.

The UK is now the tenth UN member state to have pulled out of Duban III, and it joins the company of Israel, Germany, the US, Canada, Italy, Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands who have already withdrawn from the Durban conference.

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Australia reportedly singled out for intimidation at the UN

Australia reportedly singled out for intimidation at the UN Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Australasia, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations    

With the approaching Palestinian unilateral bid for statehood during the UN session which started this week, diplomats in New York revealed to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that pro-Palestinian pressure is a major factor underlying their countries' decision-making on whether to support or oppose the vote. According to the diplomats quoted by the newspaper, votes on the matter are largely based on countries' attempts to prevent retaliation against them from regional groups sympathetic or loyal to the Palestinian cause. Moreover, Australia was specifically mentioned in the article as a particular target for such efforts.

Europe and the UN resolution on a Palestinian State Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The European Union (EU) is divided on how they will vote on the upcoming UN resolution to recognise an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

This weekend, European foreign ministers are set to meet in Poland (the current president of the EU) in a final effort to find a unanimous position on the Palestinian UN resolution. However, it is clear that there are stark differences between the 27 members of the EU.

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UN Palmer Report: Blockade of Gaza Legal

UN Palmer Report: Blockade of Gaza Legal Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

The release of the United Nation's 'Palmer Report' into last year's flotilla incident aboard the Mavi Marmara has vindicated Israel by finding that its naval blockade of the Gaza strip is legal under international law. Moreover, Israel has the right to enforce that blockade - including in international waters. It has also rebutted many of the false claims and assumptions that have been made about the flotilla incident and about the broader situation in Gaza.

The UN investigative committee headed by former prime minister of New Zealand Sir Geoffrey Palmer, an expert on maritime law, was established by the UN to examine the Israeli raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.

 

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Anti-Zionism, Media/ Academia, United Nations, Updates    

Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough has written an op-ed in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald on the recently released "Palmer Report" - the UN investigation into last year's flotilla incident. As we noted yesterday, the report, while critical of Israel's operational response, essentially vindicated Israel's blockade of Gaza and was very critical of IHH, the Turkish Islamist group that organised the flotilla. A flotilla participant himself, as well as publicly sympathetic to its aims, McGeough had this to say on the first 3/4 of the report:

The panel headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer sharply criticises the flotilla organisers and suspects their motives - why so many passengers, why so many journalists, why so little aid? It stops well short of "they deserve what they got" but it describes the flotilla as a "dangerous and reckless act . . . exposing a large number of individuals to the risk that force [would] be used . . . and people [would get] hurt...

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AIR
Iran's latest nuclear gambit

Iran's latest nuclear gambit Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, United Nations, Updates    

According to recent reports Iran may be attempting to strike back at the West for the alleged cyber warfare that it has been suffering in recent months. As AP has identified, Iranian involvement may be behind recent attacks on US internet giants, as well as the CIA.

AMSTERDAM -- Hackers who broke into a Dutch web security firm have issued hundreds of bogus security certificates for spy agency websites including the CIA as well as for Internet giants like Google, Microsoft and Twitter, the government said Monday.

Experts say they suspect the hacker - or hackers - operated with the cooperation of the Iranian government.

While these hackings serve as further proof of Iran's persistent belligerence to the West, it is not only in the US and Europe that public opinion has been turning against the Islamic Republic...

UN Palmer Report - Blockade of Gaza is Legal

UN Palmer Report - Blockade of Gaza is Legal Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nation's "Palmer Report" into last year's flotilla incident on the Mavi Marmara has vindicated Israel by finding that the naval blockade of the Gaza strip, including Israel's right to enforce the blockade including in international waters is legal under international law and it has also rebutted many of the false assumptions that have been made about the flotilla incident.

The Palmer Report found:

"Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."

The Palmer Report also urged that all future efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza should be done "through established procedures and the designated land crossings in consultation with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority", discouraging future Gaza flotillas.

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PA spin on unsteady path to unilateral statehood

PA spin on unsteady path to unilateral statehood Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Palestinians, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

As reported by Al Jazeera, the US has begun a serious attempt to prevent the Palestinian unilateral statehood bid at the UN later this month. The Palestinian Authority, however, has remained steadfast and continued its refusal to back down.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the US has launched an attempt to persuade the Palestinians not to seek statehood at the annual UN General Assembly meeting beginning on September 20.

"When it comes to going to the United Nations, I think the train has left the station," Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah's central committee who is overseeing the UN bid, said on Sunday...

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A No vote at the UN is a Yes vote for Israeli-Palestinian peace

A No vote at the UN is a Yes vote for Israeli-Palestinian peace Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

Australia should vote against any United Nations resolution that attempts to replace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as the only route to Palestinian statehood.

If a "Yes" vote produced a Palestinian state that resolved all the issues of borders, refugees, settlements, and Jerusalem, Israel would be the first to support it.

Unfortunately, as it stands, the resolution the Palestinians are seeking absolutely will not help end the conflict and will almost certainly exacerbate it.

 

Updates
US Congress standing up to Palestinian UN bid

US Congress standing up to Palestinian UN bid Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Haaretz has reported on a new bill being introduced into US Congress which would see US funding for the UN substantially reduced if the Palestinian UN statehood bid wins the upcoming vote.

A republican congresswoman introduced a bill on Tuesday, along with 57 co-sponsors, asking Congress to block U.S. funds for any United Nations entity that supports giving Palestine an elevated status at the UN.

The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is also seeking to ban U.S. contributions to the UN Human Rights Council and an anti-racism conference seen as a platform for anti-Israel rhetoric...

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Prof. Efraim Inbar on Palestinian statehood Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

AIJAC guest Professor Efraim Inbar from Bar-Ilan University is in today's Australian on the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations.

He notes:

Unfortunately, General Assembly resolutions cannot fix a Palestinian national movement that is hopelessly fractured and dysfunctional.

The UN cannot turn the Palestinian factions into one political entity. Can the UN bring Gaza and the West Bank together to present reasonable interlocutors for Israeli negotiators? Can it mellow Hamas's lust to kill Jews and to eradicate Israel? Can it eradicate the "shaheed" death culture?

Is the UN in a position to infuse pragmatism into Palestinian political culture?

The Dangers of Palestinian UDI Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update deals with some new writing exploring the problems and pitfalls associated with the Palestinian intention to unilaterally seek UN recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state - sometimes termed a "Unilateral Declaratation of Independence" or UDI - next month.

We lead with a short primer on the whole issue compiled by Uriel Heilman of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Heilman has a useful summary of the various legal rules relevant to the effort, including what the UN General Assembly can and cannot do for the Palestinians. He also has a brief but helpful examination of the many uncertainties that will follow the UN effort and the various ways it could lead to violence or make peace more difficult.

Bringing Gaddafi to justice may be a trial for NATO

Bringing Gaddafi to justice may be a trial for NATO Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes, Libya, United Nations, Updates    

If the hiding place of recently deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is found, there is always the question of where, how and even if he will be brought to trial. Lawyer/activist Geoffrey Robertson has written an op-ed in today's Sydney Morning Herald, calling for Gaddafi to be handed-over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) rather than summarily executed or given a farcical show-trial a la Saddam Hussein. Robertson argues that only an ICC trial would truly expose Gaddafi as the monster that he is.

There must be no repeat of the Bush administration's error of allowing Saddam to be speedily executed for a minor offence while his greatest atrocities, such as the 1988 chemical attack at Halabja, which killed 7000 civilians, went uninvestigated and unprosecuted...

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The PA should listen to the silence

The PA should listen to the silence Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

If called upon to march on Israel's borders from the West Bank in the event a Palestinian state is unilaterally established on the 1967 borders come September; are Palestinians going to spoil their leaders' party by not providing the numbers?

But what do you do if you hold a rally and the main beneficiaries of the event won't show?

Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is worried because his own people are currently disinterested in attending anti-settlement protests.

September mourn or dawn?

September mourn or dawn? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if the Palestinian campaign to have the UN declare its support for a state on the 1967 borders on September 20 will spill over into the "Third Durban Conference" which starts two days later?

In other words, will Durban III, being held to mark the 10th anniversary of the first, descend into the abject anti-Israel and antisemitic hate fest that marred the original and overshadowed the second?

And will the debate about UN recognition of Palestinian statehood be used to stoke the fires?

SMH editorial backs unhelpful course Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

On August 9, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) published an editorial "Fence-sitting, but the wisest course", which advocated that Australia abstain on the UN General Assembly resolution that is expected to seek UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

The editorial was commenting on news that Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd held different positions on the Palestinian UN bid. According to the Age's Daniel Flitton, Rudd wrote to the Prime Minister suggesting that Australia abstain on the Palestinian UN resolution, while Gillard has declared strong support for Israel. The SMH editorial declared, "we believe Rudd's advice is the sound course".

Abstaining on the resolution is not a "sound course" but rather a counter-productive course. Australia should not merely abstain but should vote against the resolution in the interests of Middle East peace and a two-state solution. Unilateral acts by the Palestinians will not achieve either peace or statehood, but are likely to escalate the conflict.

The Twilight Zone at the UN

The Twilight Zone at the UN Author: Allon Lee Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran, United Nations, Updates    

"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man" may have kicked off each new episode of the Twilight Zone but it can equally be applied to the alternate reality that is the United Nations.

Bizarrely, this week, North Korea assumed the presidency of the UN's Conference on Disarmament despite being under a sanctions regime for its nuclear weapons program.

 

Syria Under Fire as Assad Slowly Loses Supporters

Syria Under Fire as Assad Slowly Loses Supporters Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

Another stark reminder of the astounding brutality displayed by the Assad regime in Syria surfaced last week when the Guardian translated and published a harrowing account of Syrian woman Samar Yazbek's shocking torture at the hands of Syrian authorities.

Two huge men entered the room. They stood in readiness, in plainclothes. One of them stood to the right and the other to the left. With a signal from his eyes, each seized me by the shoulders, though not roughly. They seized me as if I were some object, easy for them to move. I did not resist when they started to lift me out of my chair. I even stood up, surprised at what was happening...

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Palestinian UN bid - 'land for war'? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This blog post looks at the Palestinian UN bid and considers analysis from:

Veteran Washington insider Steven Rosen who writes that the current proposal for UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state does not meet the legal requirements for statehood.

Efarim Karsh and Asaf Romirowsky who have written an article in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the UN should not support the Palestinian UN bid, because it threatens to create a precedent of "land for war" rather than "land for peace".

Benedict Brogan, Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph who writes that Netanyahu's gesture to negotiate a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with land swaps demands a "swift and positive response from David Cameron and William Hague".

AIR
UN 'Statement’ on Syria and Western Policy Options

UN 'Statement’ on Syria and Western Policy Options Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Following on from Daniel's blog post regarding the UN Security Council 'statement' condemning the violation of human rights in Syria, this blog post considers the weaknesses of the UN statement in that it did not call for regime change, support the Syrian demonstrators or contain provisions for punitive measures or sanctions.  In light of the UN's inability act, this blog looks at Western policy options that could put pressure on Assad to go.

 

Iran arms Syria as UN shifts into low gear

Iran arms Syria as UN shifts into low gear Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Iran, Russia, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepped-up their assault on the opposition stronghold of Hama yesterday. As reported by Nada Bakri for The New York Times:

Ignoring mounting condemnations, the Syrian military sent tanks, armored vehicles and snipers on Wednesday into the symbolic center of Hama, a rebellious city that has emerged as a linchpin of the nearly five-month uprising, in what appeared a decisive step by President Bashar al-Assad to crush opposition to his rule.

The military's assault on Assi Square, the scene of some of the biggest demonstrations against Mr. Assad's leadership, was an event that many activists and residents had thought impossible, evidence of the government's determination to retake by force a city that suffered one of the most brutal crackdowns in Syrian history in 1982.

This blog has been closely following the situation in Syria...

Do Syrians need our Assistance to Halt Ongoing Massacres?

Do Syrians need our Assistance to Halt Ongoing Massacres? Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Syria, United Nations, Updates    

The Assad regime in Syria has been continuing its vicious assault on the city of Hama, which began on the weekend. As The Jerusalem Post reports:

AMMAN - Syrian tanks pounded residential neighborhoods across the city of Hama on Monday in the heaviest barrage of a two-day assault to crush street demonstrations against President Bashar Assad, witnesses said.

Earlier on Monday, residents said at least four civilians were killed by tank fire on the second day of attacks on the city, where memories are still vivid of the brutal suppression of an uprising in 1982....

Editorial: Up A Tree Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Palestinians, United Nations    

The Palestinian Authority's (PA) bid to unilaterally seek UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines in September appears to be losing momentum - not least among Palestnians...

The PA's plan to seek UN recognition of nominal statehood cannot lead to anything good for either Palestinians or Israelis, as even many Palestinians are now acknowledging. The US will likely veto any resolution on statehood in the Security Council, which alone has authority to grant UN entry, so the Palestinians will have to instead go directly to the UN General Assembly and seek recognition as a non-member observer state.

Updates
State of Tension

State of Tension Author: Members of the Friends of Israel Initiative Categories: Palestinians, United Nations    

The unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and its international recognition, would be a huge mistake.

A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is essential, but can be achieved only through honest negotiations - not by one party imposing a unilateral decision.

Over the past two years, the Palestinian Authority has refused to sit at the negotiating table with the Israeli government, hiding behind the excuse of construction work on a few West Bank settlements. At the same time, it has been negotiating the creation of a national unity government with Hamas - a terrorist group whose stated aim is the elimination of Israel. A Palestinian "government" of a unilaterally established, self-declared "Palestinian state" in which Hamas is a member will make negotiations, to say nothing of a peace agreement, impossible.

 

After September

After September Author: Pinhas Inbari Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

For the most part, the international community is tired of the unending Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the prospect of the United Nations "ending" it in September by recognising Palestinian statehood is appealing to many. Moreover, many in the international community consider a solution based on the 1967 borders to be fair.

The Pitfalls of the Palestinian UN Strategy/ The increased Gaza Threat Categories: Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update features some more comment on the pitfalls of the problematic Palestinian strategy of seeking unilateral recognition of statehood at the UN.

First up is the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl, who argues that this policy is additional blunder by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. He points out that reconciliation with Hamas, part of the strategy to present a unified Palestinian front, has gone nowhere, Palestinians are increasingly questioning what a UN vote can accomplish, and economically, the PA is in deep trouble. He even raises the possibility that Abbas may be seeking to provoke Palestinians to take to the streets in a third Intifada.

Can the PA (or Europe) Afford Palestinian Independence?

Can the PA (or Europe) Afford Palestinian Independence? Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Europe, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, United Nations, Updates    

The Palestinian Authority (PA) "is broke", and according to a recent New York Times article, "the immediate cause of the crisis is the failure of foreign - especially Arab - donors to fulfill promises of aid." According to AP, Arab donations have decreased dramatically over the past couple years, as "in 2009, the Arab countries gave $462 million, a contribution that dropped to $287 million in 2010 and $78.5 million this year."

The predicament has led even the usually optimistic PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to declare that "this is, without doubt, the worst financial crisis the Palestinian Authority has ever faced", noting that there could not be a worse time for this, with the PA's planned unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) coming up at the United Nations in September.

More than 150,000 state employees, whose salaries support a million people, had their wages cut in half this month. Palestinian banks have lent the government more than $1 billion and do not want to lend more. Some ministries have temporarily lost electricity because they have not paid their bills. Last week, the government ordered a reduction in the price of bread, leading to bakery strikes. Garbage is piling up.

UNRWA and Alternatives for Palestinian Refugees

UNRWA and Alternatives for Palestinian Refugees Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nations Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA) - set up in 1949 to look after the humanitarian needs of Palestinians - has long been the subject of controversy, with critics accusing it of deliberately perpetuating the refugee problem....

Now Israeli researcher Arlene Kushner has written, in the latest edition of Middle East Quarterly, a detailed compendium and deconstruction of many recent examples illustrating, in her words "The propensity for senior UNRWA staff to make inappropriate, incendiary, and highly politicized statements - in stark contrast to the organization's mandate."...

A new article at the Jerusalem Post offers an interesting example of what might be done if UNRWA's insistence that Palestinian refugees must never be resettled, but must stay in refugee camps until the conflict is over, could be bypassed.

 

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

While this year's Gaza flotilla barely caused a stir, the ongoing saga of last year's continues. Last night, the UN's Palmer Commission confirmed rumours that the report that the release of the report they have prepared on last year's effort will again be delayed in the hope that Israel and Turkey will settle their differences. As Herb Keinon reports in The Jerusalem Post:

The United Nations on Monday officially confirmed that the planned release Wednesday of the UN's Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara has been postponed until late August. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday was now expected on...

Durban III - An Exodus Begins?

Durban III - An Exodus Begins? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, United Nations, Updates    

Over the weekend, the Czech Republic, Italy and Holland have all pulled out of the UN's September 22 meeting to commemorate the 2001 Durban conference, a supposed anti-racism meeting that turned into a mass display of antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda. Canada, Israel and the US have already stated that they will not be attending the "Durban III" summit.

As the explanations for the pullout given by the Czech Republic, Italy and Holland demonstrate, we can expect this years Durban III summit to be a repeat of the first Durban conference in 2001 - which essentially labeled Zionism as racism, and Israel as the world's only racist state.

 

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians?

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Africa, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Sudan, United Nations, Updates    

Amid the cheers over the birth of the new nation state of the Republic of South Sudan, some commentators are noting the largely overlooked significance of what has just occurred, not least for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process eventually leading to a two state solution.

Compared with South Sudan, Palestine is the French Riviera. This raises serious questions about the moral justification for the Palestinians to take extreme stands that make compromise so difficult, while they continue to act as a bottomless drain on the ultimately limited resources the developed world can provide in aid.

 

AIJAC UPDATE - How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial "anti-boycott" law

AIJAC UPDATE - How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial "anti-boycott" law Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians, Syria, Turkey, United Nations, Updates    

AIJAC's latest email Update looks at why and how the 2011 Gaza flotilla gambit fizzled out. In contrast to 2010's headline-grabbing political stunt that acted as a Trojan Horse for the Turkish Islamist IHH charity resulting in needless deaths and injuries, this was no replay.

AIR
The world's eyes unable to focus on Iran

The world's eyes unable to focus on Iran Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Israel, Quartet, United Nations, Updates    

This blog has been closely following the inexplicable failure of the Western World to apply proper scrutiny to Iran, as well as the internal strife that is currently gripping the Islamic Republic. A very poignant editorial in today's Jerusalem Post argues that the UN, too, has failed to apply adequate attention to the Ayatollah regime. The Post points-out the incredible amount of attention that the Palestinian Authority's upcoming statehood bid in the UN is receiving, juxtaposing this with the relatively negligible consideration given to Iran.

Former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, noted this disturbing fact in a meeting Tuesday with The Jerusalem Post editorial staff.

More Foxes Guarding Henhouses at the UN Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Asia, Iran, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nations, in its infinite wisdom, has just allowed North Korea to become the chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament....

This UN decision follows the election last week of Iran as one of the Vice-Presidents of the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly (with Qatar as President). Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon controversially made a statement appearing to endorse an Iranian conference on “Terrorism” where not only were the US, Britain and Israel accused of fomenting terrorism, but  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly alleged that Washington manufactured the Holocaust and the 9/11 attacks as pretexts to put down Muslims.

UN call will not end this crisis

UN call will not end this crisis Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Op-eds, Palestinians, United Nations    

The Palestinian Authority is busily lobbying European nations to support a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state by the United Nations this September. The reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah appears to be targeted towards the same end. As such, it is worth considering what the outcome of such a move would be. Would it create a Palestinian state in accordance with international law? Would it end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Updates
UN Tribunal Judge - Bashar Al-Assad ordered murder of Rafiq Hariri

UN Tribunal Judge - Bashar Al-Assad ordered murder of Rafiq Hariri Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Lebanon, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

A new revelation has just added to the intense scrutiny already aimed at the repressive Assad regime in Syria in the wake of its bloody efforts to suppress a popular revolt over the past 3 months.

Detlev Mehlis, a German judge who previously headed a UN enquiry into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has gone farther than even before in fingering the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as directly responsible for the murder.

Speaking on German radio:

Detlev Mehlis said Syrian President Bashar Assad "ordered Hariri killed" because he feared the premier was cooperating with France and the US in order to overturn the Syrian regime and disarm Hezbollah.

Iran ups the stakes at UN Author: AIJAC staff Categories: International Security, Iran, United Nations, Updates    

Today's Update looks at the shameless spectacle of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations this week, which saw the delegations from the US, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand and others walk out.

AIJAC Congratulates Australia for its role in helping Israel achieve membership of UN subgroup Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases, United Nations    

AIJAC's Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said, "Australia should be congratulated for its role in facilitating Israel's membership of this subgroup. I hope this means Israel will finally be allowed to take part in all UN activities. For too long, Israel has been denied equal treatment at the UN. This is a small, albeit much delayed, step toward an end to the anti-Israel ground rules and hostile sentiment that has long prevailed in the halls of the UN."

AIR New Zealand: UN-Focused Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

When the report on the United Nations inquiry into the most recent Israel-Gaza conflict was released, I immediately thought that it would be interesting to observe what type of comment it generated in New Zealand. Although Kiwis often have little time for the United Nations, the conflict itself had generated a lot of attention and heat.

AIR

UN-healthy Fixations Author: Adam Frey Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Israel, United Nations    

Continuing its yearly tradition, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) debated and voted on a cavalcade of recycled anti-Israel resolutions during its November sessions. This annual rehashing of the same anti-Israel ritual presents an opportunity to review Australia's voting record on the issues and assess the progress in combating the anti-Israel bureaucracy entrenched at the UNGA and UN generally.

Updates

AIJAC expresses mixed feelings about Australian UN Voting on the Middle East Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases, United Nations    

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today welcomed the Australian Government's commitment to maintain the principle that Australian voting on United Nations resolutions on the Middle East should be based on both an understanding of "Israel's legitimate security concerns" and the commitment to only support resolutions which are helpful in achieving "a two-state resolution of the conflict which results in a secure Israel living beside a viable Palestinian state."

Head to Head Author: AIJAC staff Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, International Jewry, International Security, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism, United Nations    

As has become traditional in the lead-up to a federal election, the Australia/Israel Review posed a series of questions to Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd focusing on international security, the Middle East, and domestic polices of special interest to the Australian Jewish community.