“The ‘civilized’ world’s silence is more deafening than the explosions covering the city like a shroud of death and terror.”
– Vittorio Arrigoni on the world’s silence of Israel’s inhumane war crimes during Operation Cast Lead
IMEMC – Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that he is willing to continue to cooperate with the United States and the Obama Administration to achieve a peace agreement with Israel based on the two-state solution.
The statements of Abbas came on Tuesday evening during a meeting, in Jordan, with the visiting U.S. Middle East Envoy, David Hale, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported.
Hale told Abbas that the United States is committed to the two-state solution, and will continue its efforts to reach this goal, and stressed on the importance of the resumption of peace negotiations between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.
Abbas said that “he appreciates the stances of the U.S. Administration as it considers peace in the Middle East as a top priority”, PNN reported.
The Abbas-Hale meeting was attended by member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Dr. Saeb Erekat, and official presidency spokesperson Nabil Abu Rodeina.
The meeting took place while the U.S. and Israel continue their financial sanctions on the P.A. for heading to the United Nations, and for managing to upgrade the status of Palestine at the General Assembly to a nonmember state.
Tel Aviv and Washington said that the state of Palestine can only be achieved through direct peace talks between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.
The U.S. and Tel Aviv also rejected a decision made by President Abbas Sunday ordering the Palestinian Authority to start issuing Palestinian Passports, ID Cards, Postage Stamps and License Plates carrying “State Of Palestine”, instead of the Palestinian Authority.
U.S. State Department Spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, stated that, until peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the United States will not refer to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) as the state of Palestine.
Palestinian president asks government to stop using “Palestinian Authority” on public documents, as budget woes worsen.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked his West Bank-based government to prepare for replacing the words “Palestinian Authority” with “State of Palestine”.
The order by Abbas on Sunday applies to all public documents, but Palestinian officials said on Monday they will not rush to issue new passports and ID cards to avoid confrontation with Israel.
Hassan Alawi, a deputy interior minister in the Palestinian Authority, said documents and stationery with the new emblem will be ready within two months, but all documents Palestinians need in their dealings with Israel will only be changed if there is a further decision by Abbas.
Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, dismissed the name change as insignificant, but declined comment on whether Israel would retaliate in any way.
“Whether the changes are really implemented is unsure because of the political situation right now,” said Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, reporting from Jerusalem. “But the move is to regain momentum after the UN vote.”
In late November, Abbas won UN recognition of a state of Palestine in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, overriding Israeli objections to the largely symbolic step.
The UN bid gave the Palestinians new diplomatic leverage by affirming the borders of a future state of Palestine in lands Israel captured in 1967, but changed little in the day-to-day lives of Palestinians.
Set up two decades ago as part of interim peace deals with Israel, the self-rule government was meant to be temporary and replaced by a fully functioning state of Palestine – to be established through negotiations with Israel.
However, those talks repeatedly broke down, and for the past four years the two sides have been unable to agree on the terms of renewing the negotiations.
In an apparent response to the UN move, Israel in December halted its monthly transfer of about $100m in tax rebates it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. That sum amounts to about one-third of the monthly operating costs of the Palestinian Authority, which now only takes in about $50m a month in revenues.
Israel has said it used the withheld money to settle Palestinian Authority debt to Israeli companies, and it is not clear whether the transfers will resume.
As a result, the Palestinian Authority is on the “verge of being completely incapacitated”, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned on Sunday.
In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, Fayyad attributed his government’s “extreme jeopardy” and unprecedented financial crisis to failure by Arab countries to send hundreds of millions of dollars in promised aid.
The 22-nation Arab League has not kept a promise to make up for the funds Israel withholds, Fayyad said.
The cash crunch has gradually worsened in recent years, and the Palestinian Authority now has reached the point of not being able to pay the salaries of about 150,000 government employees, Fayyad said.
While European countries have kept their aid commitments, about $200m in US aid was held up by Congress last year – a sum President Barack Obama’s administration hopes to deliver to the Palestinians this year, along with an additional $250m in aid.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Palestine may complain to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the United Nations Security Council does not take action over Israeli settlement plans, which are illegal under international law, stated Mahmoud Abbas’s political adviser, Nimr Hammad.
Hammad said that several European countries were lobbying the United States to take a serious position against Israeli settlements at the 15-member council.
On Wednesday, the US was the only council member that did not make a statement opposing Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements around Jerusalem.
The other 14 countries on the council issued statements as a “Plan B” after it was clear the US would veto a resolution on the issue, India’s UN ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Hammad said if the UN Security Council did not take action against Israeli settlements, Palestine would consider complaining to the International Criminal Court, an option made available by Palestine’s admission as a non-member state to the UN in November.
The Security Council resumed talks on a resolution condemning settlements after Israel said last month it would build 3,000 more homes in the West Bank including East Jerusalem after Palestine’s succesful bid at the UN, which deeply angered Israel. Israel has since announced plans to build thousands of more units.
Diplomats have stated that it has become quite apparent that the United States is unwilling to support a resolution.
Cabinet authorises 3,000 units in illegal settlements in occupied territory, a day after UN upgraded Palestine’s status.
The decision was approved by a cabinet of nine senior ministers led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu [Reuters]
The Israeli government has approved the construction of 3,000 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, less than 24 hours after the UN voted for Palestine to be upgraded to a non-member observer state, according to Israeli media reports.
The homes will be built both in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but the government did not stipulate in which settlements.
According to a report in Haaretz, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu also plans to “promote planning and construction” in the so-called E-1 area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, a major settlement with nearly 40,000 inhabitants.
Hagit Ofran, who runs the Settlement Watch project at Peace Now, said the announcement would not mean immediate construction in the E-1 area. “There is no plan ready for implementation,” she said. “In order to build, they must approve plans.”
The Obama administration has tried to discourage construction in E-1, which would cut off East Jerusalem from surrounding Arab towns and further carve up the West Bank, already riven by Israeli settlements and military checkpoints.
The White House issued a brief statement on the announcement, which used largely the same language that the US has used for years in condemning Israeli settlement expansion.
“We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements,” said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman. “We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution.”
The decision was made by Israel’s “security cabinet,” a forum of nine senior ministers led by Netanyahu.
Israel’s government had threatened to approve further construction in the settlements as a possible response to Palestine’s bid for recognition. The prime minister’s office would not comment on whether the announcement was punishment for the UN vote.
Palestinian officials have anyway described it as a meaningless threat: Even before the bid, Netanyahu’s government has been approved thousands of new settler homes each year.
Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies
Allow me to sum this up: Illegal, Illegal, ILLEGAL.
So, when discussing Israel’s right to “defend” itself Obama stated that “no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders”
However Obama is also the same person to authorize drone strikes going into Pakistan, Yemen, etc.
That is one heck of a contradiction.