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News, January 2011

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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Following Israeli Policy Dictates, US Prefers Negotiation to Palestinian UN Drive  

Editor's Note:

The following news stories help researchers and readers understand how the US has no policy in the Middle East, just following the Israeli policy dictates.

US prefers negotiation to Palestinian UN drive

Published yesterday (updated) 02/01/2011 12:44


The United States reacted Friday to a Palestinian and Arab draft resolution set to go to the United Nations urging the Israeli occupation government to halt its illegal only-Jewish settlement activities, saying only that it preferred negotiations.

"On the Middle East, our view remains unchanged. The only viable path is through a negotiated agreement that resolves the core issues and ends the conflict," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

A senior Palestinian official said Thursday that the UN Security Council would receive in the coming days a draft Palestinian and Arab resolution calling for the new settlements halt.

Following a breakdown of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians over settlements, the Arab League said on December 15 it would seek a Security Council resolution against Israel, ordering a halt to Jewish settlements.

It also called on the United States, which has vetoed resolutions against Israel in the past, not to obstruct such a move.

The draft resolution is due to come before the United Nations in January, when Bosnia takes the rotating presidency of the Security Council from the United States.

It will test whether the United States is willing to use its veto in support of Israel which is concerned over the Palestinian strategy. Israel has reportedly ordered its own diplomats to mount a counter-offensive.

If the Palestinians lose this battle, they are considering calling for their territories to be placed under international administration.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians launched on September 2 were suspended three weeks later after an Israeli moratorium on settlement building expired and Israel refused to renew it.

Abbas: "The New Draft is Designed to Gain the U.S. Support"

Friday December 31, 2010 12:10 by Ane Irazabal - IMEMC & Agencies

In the following days, P.A. and other Arab states will bring a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council, calling to condemn Israel for its illegal settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Abbas stressed on Thursday, with regard to a possible U.S. veto, that the draft follows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's rhetoric.

The announcement was made in Brazil on Thursday, where Abbas will attend the investment act of Brazil's new president Dilma Rousseff on Saturday.

The new move aims to achieve a new Security Council resolution that would declare the settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem to be illegal and an "obstacle to peace."

"We will go before the Security Council in the coming days to stop the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, capital of a Palestinian state, which is a red line for all Palestinians and Arabs," Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told AFP.

The draft resolution is due to be presented to the United Nations in January, when U.S. finishes the rotating presidency of the Security Council and Bosnia acquires the post.

Abbas stressed on Thursday that the new draft is designed to gain the U.S. support, as it uses the "same words" that the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uses to criticize the settlements and, therefore, he "doesn't see why" the U.S. would veto the move, Haaretz quoted.

However, the United States House of Representatives recently approved a resolution opposing an unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and vetoing any resolution by the United Nations Security Council with regard to supporting unilateral movements made by Palestinians. Israel also remarked that with these actions, the Palestinians prove that they do not believe in negotiations.

The illegality of the settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank has been ratified by international law and criticized by both the E.U. and the U.S.

In addition, it has become one of the most sensitive issues with regard to the U.S. led failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The talks started on September 2 and were suspended three weeks later, due to Israel's refusal to renew the moratorium on settlement freeze.

Israel says direct negotiations best path to peace

Published yesterday (updated) 02/01/2011 13:17


Face-to-face (endless and without conclusion) negotiations are still the best path to peace with the Palestinians, an Israeli official said Saturday dismissing calls for a new peace plan as premature.

On Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas called for the international community, spearheaded by the peacemaking Quartet of the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union, to come up with a new approach.

"We demand that the Middle East Quartet and the various UN bodies, headed by the Security Council, draft a peace plan which conforms with international law, instead of keeping up negotiations which do not solve the problem," he said, without elaborating.

But Shahar Azrami, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, disagreed.

"Israel has been quite adamant in the last few months in trying to get the Palestinians to sit with Israel around the negotiating table and only once this option is exhausted should we think about trying to reach new solutions," Azrami told AFP.

"We haven't reached the moment yet, at least as far as Israel is concerned, in which we give up negotiations," he said.

On Friday Abbas laid the cornerstone of a new Palestinian embassy in Brazil, part of a strategy to clinch recognition of Palestinian statehood from as many countries as possible as a prelude to going to the Security Council and asking to be admitted as a full UN member.

Brazil was the first of several Latin American states that recognised Palestinian statehood this month within the borders of 1967, the boundaries that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in that year's Middle East war.

Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador have followed suit and Uruguay said it will do likewise later this year.

The Israeli occupation government opposes such moves and has reportedly ordered its own diplomats worldwide to mount a counter-offensive.

"It would be more viable to seek peace in the immediate neighbourhood, that is through direct negotiations with Israel rather than elsewhere in the world, be that in South America or in the United Nations," Azrami said.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the first for nearly two years, began on September 2 but stalled after a 10-month Israeli settlement-building freeze expired three weeks later and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to renew it.

Abbas says talks cannot resume as long as Israeli settlement construction continues.

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