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State of recognition
Written by Joseph Massad @ Al-Jazeera
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 15:20
Whether the UN grants the PA status as a state or refuses to do so, either outcome will be in Israel's interest.
What is at stake in Barack Obama's vehement refusal to recognise Palestine as a mini-state with a disfigured geography and no sovereignty, and his urging the world community not to recognise it while threatening the Palestinians with retribution? What is the relationship between Obama's refusal to recognise Palestine and his insistence on recognising Israel's right to be a "Jewish state" and his demand that the Palestinians and Arab countries follow suit?
It is important to stress at the outset that whether the UN grants the Palestinian Authority (PA) the government of a state under occupation and observer status as a state or refuses to do so, either outcome will be in the interest of Israel. For the only game in town has always been Israel's interests, and it is clear that whatever strategy garners international support, with or without US and Israeli approval, must guarantee Israeli interests a priori. The UN vote is a case in point.
Possible outcomes Let us consider the two possible outcomes of the vote and how they will advance Israeli interests:
The ongoing Arab uprisings have raised Palestinian expectations about the necessity of ending the occupation and have challenged the modus vivendi the PA has with Israel. Furthermore, with the increase in Palestinian grass-roots activism to resist the Israeli occupation, the PA has decided to shift the Palestinian struggle from popular mobilisation it will not be able to control, and which it fears could topple it, to the international legal arena. The PA hopes that this shift from the popular to the juridical will demobilise Palestinian political energies and displace them onto an arena that is less threatening to the survival of the PA itself.
The PA feels abandoned by the US which assigned it the role of collaborator with the Israeli occupation, and feels frozen in a "peace process" that does not seek an end goal. PA politicians opted for the UN vote to force the hand of the Americans and the Israelis, in the hope that a positive vote will grant the PA more political power and leverage to maximise its domination of the West Bank (but not East Jerusalem or Gaza, which neither Israel nor Hamas respectively are willing to concede to the PA). Were the UN to grant the PA its wish and admit it as a member state with observer status, then, the PA argues, it would be able to force Israel in international fora to cease its violations of the UN charter, the Geneva Conventions, and numerous international agreements. The PA could then challenge Israel internationally using legal instruments only available to member states to force it to grant it "independence". What worries the Israelis most is that, were Palestine to become a member state, it would be able to legally challenge Israel.
If the UN vote passes, the PLO will cease to represent the Palestinian people [EPA]
This logic is faulty, though, because the Palestinians have not historically lacked legal instruments to challenge Israel. On the contrary, international instruments have been activated against Israel since 1948 by the UN's numerous resolutions in the General Assembly as well as in the Security Council, not to mention the more recent use of the International Court of Justice in the case of the Apartheid Wall. The problem has never been the Palestinians' ability or inability to marshal international law or legal instruments to their side. Instead, the problem is that the US blocks international law's jurisdiction from being applied to Israel through its veto power. The US uses threats and protective measures to shield the recalcitrant pariah state from being brought to justice. It has already used its veto power in the UN Security Council 41 times in defense of Israel and against Palestinian rights. How this would change if the PA became a UN member state with observer status is not clear.
True, the PA could bring more international legal pressure and sanctions to bear on Israel. It could have international bodies adjudicate Israel's violations of the rights of the Palestinian state. The PA could even make the international mobility of Israeli politicians more perilous as "war criminals". This would render Israel's international relations more difficult, but how would this ultimately weaken an Israel that the US would shield completely from such effects as it has always done?
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for death-row inmate Troy Davis.
Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.
Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia.
"Monday September 19, 2011, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles met to consider a clemency request from attorneys representing condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis. After considering the request, the Board has voted to deny clemency," the board said in a statement Tuesday morning.
The five-member parole board votes in a secret ballot.
Davis has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not kill MacPhail. International figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte, and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated.
He has been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay two hours before he was to be executed.
Since Davis' conviction in 1991, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. There also have been questions about the physical evidence - and, according to some, the lack thereof - linking Davis to the killing.
Amnesty International reacted angrily to the clemency denial on Tuesday.
"It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice," Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.
"Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system," the statement said.
Yemen forces open fire on protesters; 50 dead in two days...
Written by Oppression.org
Monday, 19 September 2011 20:11
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Thousands of protesters backed by military defectors seized a base of the elite Republican Guards on Monday, weakening the control of Yemen's embattled president over this poor, fractured Arab nation. His forces fired on unarmed demonstrators elsewhere in the capital, killing scores, wounding hundreds and sparking international condemnation.
The protesters, joined by soldiers from the renegade 1st Armored Division, stormed the base without firing a single shot, according to witnesses and security officials. Some carried sticks and rocks. They used sandbags to erect barricades to protect their comrades from the possibility of weapons fire from inside the base, but none came and the Republican Guards eventually fled, leaving their weapons behind.
Although the base was not particularly large - the Republican Guards have bigger ones in the capital and elsewhere in Yemen - its capture buoyed the protesters' spirits and signaled what could be the start of the collapse of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year-old regime.
"It was unbelievable," said protester Ameen Ali Saleh of storming the base on the west side of the major al-Zubairy road, which runs through the heart of Sanaa. "We acted like it was us who had the weapons, not the soldiers."
"Now the remainder of the regime will finally crumble," said another demonstrator, Mohammed al-Wasaby. "Our will is more effective than weapons. The soldiers loyal to Saleh just ran away."
Saleh went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment after a June attack on his Sanaa compound and has not returned to Yemen, but has resisted calls to resign.
A final showdown may well pit the Republican Guards, led by Saleh's son and heir apparent Ahmed, against the soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, another elite outfit that has fought in all of Yemen's wars over the past two decades, and their tribal allies in the capital.
The Republican Guards and the Special Forces, also led by the president's son, have long been thought to be the regime's last line of defense against the seven-month-old uprising.
The storming of the base capped two days of clashes in the capital that have left at least 50 people dead and nearly 1,000 injured, mostly demonstrators.
The Obama administration has begun a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a Palestinian plan to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.
The administration has circulated a proposal intended to be the basis of renewed peace talks with the Israelis - based on a formula that President Barack Obama outlined in May - in hopes of persuading the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to abandon the bid for recognition at the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly beginning Sept. 20.
The administration has privately made it clear to Mr. Abbas that it will veto any request that comes before the U.N. Security Council to make a Palestinian state a new member outright. But the United States alone does not have enough support to block a vote by the General Assembly to elevate the current status of the Palestinians' nonvoting observer ''entity'' to that of an nonvoting observer state.
Israel will neither apologise nor take responsibility for its commandos killing unarmed activists.
The release of the findings of the UN panel of inquiry into the May 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara, part of the Freedom Flotilla endeavoring to deliver aid to besieged Gaza, was recently delayed for the fourth time since the originally scheduled release date over three months ago.
Israel initially claimed the delay occurred at the behest of Turkey; Turkey claimed it happened at the behest of Israel. The latter version of events would seem to be validated by a Sunday report on Israel's Channel 2, according to which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked the US to delay the release another six months. According to Haaretz, the UN panel's findings will nonetheless be published this Friday.
Either way, the latest delay follows Netanyahu's unsurprising affirmation that Israel will not apologise for the deaths of eight Turkish activists and one 19-year-old Turkish-American activist shot - most of them execution-style - by Israeli commandos (IDF) who intercepted the ship.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a Turkish "Plan B" in the event that an Israeli apology does not indeed materialise.
Report: Israel sends 2 warships to Egyptian border
Written by Oppression.org
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 15:39
Report: Israel sends 2 warships to Egyptian border
Military sources tell AP Israeli Navy sent additional warships to maritime border with Egypt following intelligence indicating viable terror threat. Meanwhile, Iran set to send 15th Fleet to area as well as 'to thwart pirate activity'
Report: Israel sends 2 warships to Egyptian borderMilitary sources tell AP Israeli Navy sent additional warships to maritime border with Egypt following intelligence indicating viable terror threat. Meanwhile, Iran set to send 15th Fleet to area as well as to thwart pirate activity.
Egypt protester replaces Israel embassy flag with Egyptian
Written by Administrator
Sunday, 21 August 2011 05:15
An Egyptian protester Sunday clambered up to Israel's embassy in a Cairo highrise, took down its flag and replaced it with an Egyptian one as more than 1,000 people protested over the border deaths of their policemen.
The red, white and black Egyptian flag fluttered from the embassy as demonstrators cheered and chanted "Long live Egypt!" and lit fireworks in the night sky.
Dershowitz’s continuum of civilianality turns five
Written by Belén Fernández
Monday, 01 August 2011 01:09
Preliminary calculations suggest a breakdown of the civilian composition of this particular south Lebanese apartment complex as follows: 30 percent more-civilian civilians, 20 percent less-civilian civilians, 15 percent decidedly un-civilian civilians, and 35 percent undecided. (Photo: Amelia Opalinska)
Five years ago, Israel waged a 34-day war on Lebanon that resulted in the elimination of approximately 1200 persons in the targeted country, most of them civilians, as well as 43 Israeli civilians.
In a July 2006 opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, Harvard Law School’s resident piranha Alan Dershowitz placed the term “collective punishment” in quotation marks and announced the need for a “continuum of civilianality” to determine just how civilian Arab civilians were.
Two-year-olds, for example, are established as falling on the “more innocent” side of the continuum, while Dershowitz explains that “[t]here is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism.”
Voting and other forms of support for “a terrorist group” are of course presumably facilitated when said group is an official political party represented in the Lebanese government. Dershowitz’s categorization of “civilian” as an “increasingly meaningless word” meanwhile does not prevent him from employing the words “terrorism” and “terrorists” no less than 12 times in his brief piece.
Why Dershowitz bothers making distinctions between various levels of civilianality becomes even less clear with his announcement that
Hezbollah and Hamas militants… are difficult to distinguish from those ‘civilians’ who recruit, finance, harbor and facilitate their terrorism. Nor can women and children always be counted as civilians, as some organizations do. Terrorists increasingly use women and teenagers to play important roles in their attacks.
The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of southern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones. Those who voluntarily remain behind have become complicit. Some — those who cannot leave on their own — should be counted among the innocent victims.”
As the New York Times reported today: "The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them."
The anti-Islam bloggers and writers cited favorably by the Norway terrorist include Robert Spencer (64 citations), co-founder of the hate group Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), and Walid Shoebat (more than 15 citations), an "ex-terrorist" recently exposed as a fraud by CNN's Anderson Cooper. SIOA has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Norway terrorist also cited the anti-Islam blog of SIOA co-founder Pamela Geller. On her blog, Geller recently sought to minimize the war crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims.