US Opposes UN Condemnation of Illegal Israeli
Settlements But Allows Hoisting Palestinian Flag
Palestinians hoist flag in Washington for first time
Published today (updated) 19/01/2011 12:36
WASHINGTON (AFP) –
The Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Tuesday
hoisted its national flag for the first time, a highly symbolic gesture
that drew an angry response from a senior US lawmaker.
State Department, enmeshed in an uphill struggle to revive stalled
Middle East peace talks, said that the ceremony was approved several
months ago and did not change the status of the Palestinian
representation in Washington.
Maen Rashid Areikat, the envoy to
the headquarters of the General Delegation of the PLO to the United
States, raised the flag at a ceremony watched by journalists and others,
the mission said.
The statement said delegates from the State
Department and Arab League Ambassador Hussein Hasouneh attended the
"This flag symbolizes the struggle of the Palestinian
people for independence," Areikat was quoted by his mission as saying.
The flag "also is a clear message that the Palestinian people and
the PLO are central players in the equation of the Middle East, without
whom there will be no peace, security and stability in the region," he
But House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, blasted the move as "part of the Palestinian
leadership's scheme to manipulate international acceptance and
diplomatic recognition" of their future state.
charged that US President Barack Obama's administration was rewarding
the Palestinians, whom she accused of refusing to negotiate with Israel
while seeking "shortcuts to statehood."
will interpret such actions as tacit US recognition of a Palestinian
state. These actions send precisely the wrong message to foreign
governments," said Ros-Lehtinen.
But US State Department
spokesman Philip Crowley said: "The granting permission to raise the
flag does not change their fundamental status."
The move came
after direct US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians
ground to a halt late last year over Israel's refusal to renew a partial
freeze on Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.
It also came as
Arab nations prepare to formally put a resolution to the UN Security
Council on Tuesday demanding a condemnation of Israel's settlement
building in Palestinian territories.
But no vote was expected for
several days as Palestinian and other Arab negotiators try to persuade
the US administration not to veto the resolution, diplomats said.
"Our view hasn't changed ... We do not think that New York or the UN
Security Council is the right forum for this issue, and we'll continue
to make that case," Crowley said.
"I'm not going to speculate on
what happens from this point forward," he said when asked about a
possible US veto.
A senior State Department official told
reporters on the condition of anonymity that the Palestinians have "been
told we think this is a bad idea ... We're encouraging them not to move
Report: US to oppose condemnation of settlements
Published today (updated) 19/01/2011 12:56
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) --
The US opposes the submission of a Palestinian and Arab draft
resolution condemning the expansion of settlements in the West Bank at
the United Nations, the US State Dept. says.
Philip Crowley was quoted by Israel's Channel 10 as saying that the only
way to establish a Palestinian state is through direct negotiations with
The channel's website said Crowley’s remarks came
in response to a UN Security Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday to
discuss a draft resolution requested by the Palestinians and the Arab
group at the UN.
The spokesman has asserted that the US
administration opposes bilateral steps, and so will oppose any attempt
to seek recognition of independent Palestinian state through the
Channel 10 drew a conclusion based on
Crowley’s remarks that the US would veto condemnation of Israel’s
settlement construction despite that the US administration has been
demanding that Israel freeze that construction.
Asked to explain
why the US would be opposed to the Security Council recognizing
Palestinian statehood even though it was the same UN body that
recognized the state of Israel in 1948, Crowley said the circumstances
were different and that seeking recognition now will seriously harm the
The United States traditionally vetoes
resolutions which condemn Israel, even though US President Barack Obama
has spoken out strongly against Israel's settlement building projects.
"The American position has been all along that they don't want
the Security Council to be involved in this issue," Palestinian
ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters.
"We tried, we are
trying, we will continue to try to show that it would be very useful for
the Security Council to act on this draft resolution," Mansour added.
"And we hope that the United States of American [will] not obstruct
this effort at the Security Council," particularly after Israel's new
move to approve another 1,400 housing units in East Jerusalem, the envoy
If passed, the resolution would put pressure on Israel's
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the settlements, which PLO
negotiators have said pose the stumbling block to the launch of new
Direct talks with Israel, brokered by the United
States, were abandoned in September after Israel refused to extend a
moratorium on settlement building. Israel says the construction should
be an issue discussed in direct talks.
If the United States
indicates that it will veto the resolution, Arab states may decide
against calling for a vote to avoid a confrontation on the world stage,
Copies of the resolution were first distributed
to the Security Council members on December 17 and there have been
informal contacts with the major powers since then.
permanent members of the Security Council -- Britain, France, China and
Russia -- are believed to see no reason to veto the motion, and the
Palestinian mission believes 14 of the 15 nations on the council would
back it now.
"The United States is the key, we need to know their
intentions," said one ambassador from an Arab nation, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
AFP contributed to this report.
For The First Time, PLO Mission In DC Raises Flag Outside
Wednesday January 19, 2011 02:00 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
In a symbolic move towards the recognition of an independent
Palestinian State, the Palestinian mission in Washington raised the
Palestinian flag outside its office building.
Palestinian Flag -
Image Reprented From Palestine Note
Maan Erekat, the Palestinian
envoy to Washington, expressed hopes that this step could boost the
efforts to achieve an international recognition of the independent
“This is a historic day”, Erekat said, “I will remember
it as long as am alive”.
Palestinian government spokesperson, Dr.
Ghassan Khatib, stated that this step comes several months after the
United States decided to raise the level of Palestinian representation
Khatib added that raising the flag at the
representative office in DC, is similar to moves made by several
countries around the world, especially in Europe.
Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, reaffirmed his country’s commitment
to an independent Palestinian state, and added that Russia is committed
to this recognition that was first made in 1988.
Guyana along with Argentina, Bolivia, and several other South American
Countries recognized the Independent Palestinian State.
Guyana, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil,
Chile and several other South American Countries recognized the future
state and expressed their support to the Palestinian legitimate right to
independence and statehood.
The wave of recognition is expected
to continue while Middle East peace talks remain in a deadlock due to
Israel’s ongoing settlement construction and expansion, ongoing home
demolition and violations in Jerusalem, and ongoing invasions and
attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.