Inner and Outer Ugliness: Congress Proves Once Again it is Occupied Territory

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By Richard Edmondson

In the photo above we see US Congressman Ed Royce of California discussing HR 11, a resolution he introduced condemning the UN Security Council for its recent action on Israeli settlements. You’ll also notice, to Royce’s right, Florida  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair with a pink hairbrush.

The scene is from a debate in Congress which took place on January 5, 2017. Royce and a number of other congressional representatives (342 of them in all) became hot and bothered over the UN’s pointing out (correctly of course) that the settlements are illegal. The photo is a screen shot I took from a C-Span video.  It’s a long video, more than eight hours, but if you advance it to about the 5:19:52 mark, you can watch the entire House debate on HR 11, which not surprisingly includes a lot of groveling to Israel (hat tip to Greg Bacon).

Just to refresh your memory, the Security Council, by a vote of 14-0 with 1 abstention, passed a resolution on December 23 “condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.” Voting in favor were Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Uruguay, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, UK, Ukraine; the lone abstention was by the US.

The Security Council action was welcomed by a good many people the world over, although Benjamin Netanyahu threw a temper tantrum, claiming to have “absolute” proof the Obama administration had been secretly behind it. Other critics accused the US of a “betrayal” of its longtime “ally,” and an enormous amount of controversy erupted over the issue in the waning days of 2016 and carrying over into the new year.

Of course, anytime a dispute emerges between the US and Israel, members of Congress can always be counted upon to side with the latter rather than with their own nation–and this time was no exception.

“Today we put Congress on record objecting to the recent UN Security Council resolution that hurt our ally, that hurt Israel, and I believe that puts an enduring peace further out of reach,” fretted Royce.

Let me call once again your attention to the image of Ros-Lehtinen brushing her hair, for throughout a good portion of Royce’s speech, the Florida congresswoman–apparently unaware she was on camera–seemed preoccupied with primping and applying makeup to herself, this presumably in an effort to make herself look “beautiful.”

In the first frame of the montage below we see her with the pink hairbrush, followed by a shot of her rummaging in her purse. In the third frame she pulls out what appears to be lipstick or eyeliner (I’m not an expert on women’s makeup), and lastly applying it with her right hand while still holding the container with her left hand.

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In the following three frames we see a now cosmetically-adorned Ros-Lehtinen giving her speech before Congress and the C-Span cameras:

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“Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel, has been under constant attack by the United Nations,” she claimed.

The Security Council resolution that occasioned Ros-Lehtinen’s diatribe specifically is entitled UNSC Resolution 2334. I put up a post about it on December 24 that contains its full text. The measure expresses “grave concern” that settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” It also:

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

For Ros-Lehtinen, however, UNSC Resolution 2334 was nothing more than an execrable attempt to “delegitimize” Israel–and all the more reason why swift passage by Congress of HR 11 was needed to repudiate it!

This resolution, Mr. speaker, will not undo the damage that has been done at the Security Council, but it sends an important  message to the world that the United States Congress resoundingly, and in a strong bipartisan manner, disapproves of the vote taken on resolution 2334, and it sends a warning to the nations that will gather in Paris next week to discuss the peace process that there will be repercussions if there is a move to introduce a parameters resolution before the 20th and in an effort to further isolate Israel. Our closest friend and ally, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel,  has been under constant attack by the United Nations. Abu Mazen and the Palestinians have pushed a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, to achieve unilateral statehood recognition.

For some reason–I’m not quite sure why–the sight of Ros-Lehtinen primping and then fulminating at the podium brought to mind a picture I once saw of an economically-impoverished elderly woman kissing a bird.

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I first came across this image several years ago in a poem posted by Nahida the exiled Palestinian, whose website, Poetry for Palestine, can be found here. Her poem is entitled “Beauty.”  It is not a lengthy poem at all. In fact, it contains a mere five very short, but very powerful, lines:

Sometimes, beauty is mistakenly understood;
Assuming that
If someone is beautiful, they are always good,
When truth is
When someone is good, they are always beautiful.

The woman whose picture accompanies the poem is beautiful in a way that Ros-Lehtinen is not. In addition to berating the Security Council, the Florida congresswoman also attacked the UN Human Rights Council.

“We’ve seen it at  the Human Rights Council where Israel is constantly demonized  and falsely accused of human rights violations while the real abusers of human rights go unpunished because that body has utterly failed to uphold its mandate,” she insisted. “This is a body that allows the worst abusers of human rights–like Cuba, Venezuela, and China–to actually sit in judgement of human rights worldwide. What a pathetic joke!”

It’s interesting that Ros-Lehtinen would single out Cuba, Venezuela, and China as being among “the worst abusers of human rights,” while saying nothing–zip–zero–about Saudi Arabia, a country that executes people by beheading and which currently holds the chair of the Human Rights Council.

 photo syrianchildren.jpg“Yet the only thing they can agree on is to attack Israel,” the congresswoman blubbered on, “the only democracy in the Middle East and the only place in the region where human rights are protected.”

Exceptions were taken to other UN deliberative bodies  as well.

“We’ve seen this scheme to delegtimize Israel at the General Assembly where in its closing legislative session, the General Assembly passed twenty–twenty–anti-Israel resolutions and only four combined for the entire world!” Ros-Lehtinen bellowed.

“These institutions have no credibility, and now we have the unfortunate circumstance of the White House deciding to abstain from this anti-Israel, one-sided resolution at the Security Council,” she added. “Our ally was abandoned, and credibility and momentum were given to the Palestinians’ schemes to delegitimize the Jewish state, to undermine the peace process, and while the damage has been done, Mr. Speaker, by this act of cowardice at the Security Council, we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage.”

What exactly she meant by “we will have an opportunity to reverse that damage” is unclear. Possibly the Trump administration has some plan to introduce a new measure at the UN. In any event, Ros-Lehtinen clearly seems to be a person of both inner and outer ugliness–though of course she is not the only member of Congress with such attributes. Perhaps the most groveling speech of all those given in Congress on January 5 was that delivered by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The cornerstone of our special relationship with Israel has always been right here in Congress, this institution,” said Ryan. “The heart of our democracy has stood by the Jewish state through thick and thin. We were there for her when rockets rained down on Tel Aviv; we were there for her by passing historic legislation to combat the boycott divestment and sanctions movement; and we’ve been there for her by ensuring Israel has the tools to defend herself against those who seek her destruction.”

“I am stunned! I am stunned!” the House speaker continued, “at what happened last month! This government, our government, abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most! Do not be fooled. This UN Security Council resolution was not about settlements, and it certainly was not about peace. It was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish democratic state. These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.”

If Ryan was the supreme groveler in the debate, Royce would probably have to rank a close second. One thing which seemed terribly to incense the California congressman about the Security Council resolution is that it doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to steal East Jerusalem.

“This dangerous resolution effectively states that the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, are in the words of the resolution ‘occupied territory.’ Why would we not veto that?” asked Royce.

“It also lends legitimacy to efforts by the Palestinian authority to put pressure on Israel through the UN rather than to go through the process of engaging in direct negotiations, and it puts wind in the sails of the shameful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” he added.

gzmrg4Royce also claimed that Israel, not Occupied Palestine, is suffering “bullying and harassment.” That may sound like the statement of someone living in a parallel universe, but it is a view shared by New York Congressman Eliot Engel, one of HR 11’s original cosponsors.

“Throughout its entire history the state of Israel has never gotten a fair shake from the United Nations,” insisted Engel. “Year after year after year member states manipulate the UN to bully our ally Israel, to pile on one-sided resolutions placing all the blame for the ongoing conflict on Israel.”

Even those representatives who spoke in opposition to HR 11, did so while expressing their support for Israel at the same time. One such member was Rep. David Price, a Democrat from North Carolina.

“The fact is, H Res 11 runs a real risk of undermining the US Congress as a proactive force working toward a two-state solution,” Price lamented. ” And in this period of great geopolitical turmoil and uncertainty, we must reaffirm those fundamental aspects of our foreign policy, including our strong and unwavering support for Israel, while also demonstrating to the world that we are committed to a diplomacy that defends human rights and promotes Israeli and Palestinian states  that live side-by-side in peace and security, a formulation that has characterized our country’s diplomacy for decades.”

Another who voted against HR 11 was Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois who is also married to Robert Creamer, the Democrat Party operative who was seen in a Project Veritas video discussing plans to have protestors show up at Trump rallies during the campaign. Schakowsky feels that a little bit of criticism of Israel is allowable at times, and furthermore she holds to this belief as a “proud Jew,” as she stated to her colleagues.

 photo thousandeyes_zps2c4c47c1.jpg“I stand here as a proud Jew and someone who throughout my entire life has been an advocate for the state of Israel, and I am standing here to oppose our H Res 11,” said the Illinois congresswoman. “And as a member of congress I have been committed to maintaining America’s unwavering support for Israel, which has lasted from the very first moments of  Israel’s existence. The US-Israel bond is unbreakable, despite the fact that the United States administrations have not always agreed with the particular policies of an Israeli government.”

Yes, to be sure, our own government and Israel’s have not always seen eye-to-eye, but funny how that never seems to stop the billions in US tax dollars flowing into the Jewish state’s coffers each year. Schakowsky went on:

Presidents from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush have each vetoed, and sometimes voted for, a UN resolution contrary to the wishes of Israel’s government at the time, and only the Obama administration, until two weeks ago, never, ever cast a vote against what Israel wanted. But opposition to the building of settlements on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war was, with the exception of the land, of course, that’s going to be swapped, agreed to by both parties, has been the official US policy for many decades, contrary, again, to the assertions of H Res 11.  It has also been the policy of the United States to recognize that the only long term solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the violence, the loss of life, is to create two states, one for the Palestinians and one for Israel.

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Exactly how a contiguous Palestinian state is going to be created in a West Bank splotched and dotted with all those settlements, is something Schakowsky left unaddressed. But having voiced a few mild criticisms of Israel, the congresswoman apparently felt an overwhelming need for balance–and so she tossed out a few criticisms of the Palestinians for good measure.

“A two-state solution is the only way Israel can continue as both a democratic and a Jewish state living in peace and security that has eluded her from the very beginning,” she said. “The building of settlements is an obstacle to achieving that goal–and of course settlements aren’t the only obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The US resolution reiterates the Palestinian Authority security forces must continue to counter terrorism and condemn all of the provocations.”

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Provocations? It’s an interesting word when referring to a people who have been resisting land theft and occupation for more years than most of us have been alive. It also gives rise to a question: How is it possible to carry out “provocations” against a country or governmental entity that technically speaking is in all likelihood guilty of the crime of genocide? Of course it’s unlikely you’ll get an honest answer to that question from Schakowsky or any other member of Congress.

At any rate, HR 11–a resolution which not only impugns the Security Council but even criticizes the United States–passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-80, with 4 abstentions. You can go here to see  the roll call on the vote.

It was Jeffrey Blankfort who first coined the old saying about Washington being Israel’s “most important occupied territory.” I think it was sometime back in the late eighties or the nineties when Jeffrey made that comment, and if anything, over the years, it has become more profoundly true than ever.

Syrian opposition says Palestinians are ‘living in paradise’

 

The Ugly Truth

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‘Israel’s help is vital,’ says representative of Free Syrian Army in rare meeting with Israelis; Zionist Union MK insists ‘Assad must go’

Times of Israel

A rare public meeting between Israelis and Syrians in Jerusalem on Tuesday was interrupted by Palestinian protesters who expressed outrage that Syrians would work with Israelis. The protesters met with a furious response from the Syrians, who accused them of failing to understand what true oppression involves.

“You are living in a paradise compared to Syria,” Issam Zeitoun, a liaison for the Free Syrian Army with the international community, told the protesters as they refused to stop shouting and allow the event to continue. “You should be ashamed.”

The altercation occurred at a packed hall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where a Free Syrian Army liaison and a Syrian Kurdish representative spoke to students at an event organized by the university’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

“I wasn’t surprised by what happened. I expect that people will behave like this when I speak at an Israeli institution because it is really a serious matter,” Zeitoun told The Times of Israel afterwards.

“Many Syrians and Palestinians see us as traitors,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can judge Syrians for speaking with Israelis in public.

“The intensity of the conflict, and the number of the people we have lost, is too great, and I will personally do all that I can and speak with everyone, not just in Israel, but around the world, in order to change the situation,” he added.

After the protests had died down, Zeitoun told the crowd that Israeli aid to Syrians, which includes Israel’s well-known medical assistance — more than 2,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013 — is not enough to influence the population to be more pro-Israel. He said there needed to be some action on the political level for the majority of Syrians to be swayed in its attitude to the Jewish state.

Zeitoun, who has become a familiar Syrian opposition representative in the Israeli press, argued that Israel should help create a safe zone in southern Syria, where he is from.

Zeitoun told The Times of Israel he did not believe Israel should intervene militarily, but should make itself felt politically in the Syrian conflict.

“Israel should play a role in getting the political cover from the Russians and the Americans [for a safe zone], and we’ll do the rest,” he said.

He argued that a safe zone could be created on Syria’s border with Israel, and would mark the start of a return to normalcy in the country, where civilian infrastructures such as schools and hospitals, not to mention civil society institutions, have been decimated by six years of bloody war.

The Syrian war has claimed over 400,000 lives, according to UN estimates, and driven millions from their homes.

The discussion was led by Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a former journalist who covered the Arab world in Israeli and Russian media, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the current chair of the Knesset’s caucus for Israeli-Kurdish relations. Syrian Kurdish author and journalist Sirwan Kajjo, who hails from the Syrian border town of Qamishili but now lives in Washington, DC, was also on the panel.

According to Svetlova, Israeli cabinet ministers, when they meet on Syria, often ask, “Who is there on the other side that we can talk to and prepare for the next stage?”

She noted that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which is committed to destroying Israel, has grown stronger after six years of fighting in Syria.

“In 2017 we will see the increasing influence of Hezbollah. We will have to make hard choices in regard to action or inaction in Syria,” she said.

Speaking to The Times of Israel after the event, Svetlova criticized those who argue it would be better to allow Syrian strongman Bashar Assad to retake control of the country and bring the war to an end. That would inevitably lead to another rebellion, she contended.

“Every forceful control of a population will end up in rebellion. When they say we need to bring Assad back from the grave, they forget that the slaughter, and the chaos that erupted after, was his doing. To bring back the dictatorship is never the answer,” she said.

Asked if she would accept Assad’s return alongside political reforms, she responded, “If he was going to bring political reforms, he would have introduced them already.”

“Bringing him back will be much worse. It will strengthen [Islamic State] and [its affiliate] the al-Nusra Front because they will have more relevance,” she said.

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‘The Last Bullet in the Peace Process’–Abbas Urges Trump not to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

In addition to writing to Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also reportedly has written letters to the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Arab League asking them to do what they can to stop the newly-elected president of the the US from moving the embassy.

Secretary of State John Kerry has waded into the controversy as well, warning that if the embassy is moved, “you’d have an explosion–an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even Israel itself, but throughout the region.”

A typically un-hinged-from-reality comment on the matter has come from an Israeli official. Ron Dermer, the ambassador to the US, said the embassy “move would be a great step forward to peace,” and he claims also that it would work to undo the “delegitimization of Israel.”

There are also now reports of worries that moving the embassy could increase security threats to State Department personnel in other countries besides Israel–but apparently this doesn’t concern Florida Sen. (and devoted Zionist) Marco Rubio.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” says Rubio. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

Rubio is referring to the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” approved by Congress in 1995, which calls for the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem but which also allows for a presidential waiver if it is deemed the move would harm US security interests. Every president from the time the law was passed up until today has exercised the waiver.

The PLO response to the move–at least as stated in the above video–would be a withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. There is also a warning that the Palestinian Authority could dissolve itself, effectively rendering Israel responsible for administering what are now referred to as the “Palestinian territories.” This would leave the Jewish state with the choice of either annexing the territories and giving Palestinians living within them the right to vote in Israeli elections–or, alternately, Israel could openly rule over a subject people who have no rights as citizens. This would basically remove the fig leaf cover and expose Israel once and for all as an apartheid state. Should it choose this latter course of action, doubtless it would become grist for the mill for a conference set to take place in Ireland and which I posted an article about four days ago.

The three-day conference is to be entitled “International Law & the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism, and Responsibility,” and as I reported, one of the questions its participants will examine is whether Israel has a legal right to exist under international law.

If Dermer and other Israeli officials are worried about the “delegitimization” they are experiencing now, doubtless the fires of illicitness will get hotter if the Palestinian Authority “hands the keys to the territories” back to Israel. Whether the PA will actually go through with that remains to be seen, however. And my own personal view is that it is something they probably should have done a long time ago.

However, if today’s resignation of a Palestinian mayor inside of Israel is any indication, we could perhaps seem something like that come to pass.

‘Know Hope: Life After Death in Palestine’: crowdfund appeal for new film

“After years on Israel’s most wanted list, a Palestinian militant leader renounces violence for cultural resistance. His losses are great but his hopes are greater.”

Tells the story of Zakaria Zubeidi, former head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who gave up armed struggle against Israeli occupation and helped to found a theater company–The Freedom Theatre. You can visit the “Know Hope” website here, and you can go here to visit the website of The Freedom Theatre.

Bethlehem Christmas

DEC. 24, 2016 9:26 P.M

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinians marked the occasion of Christmas Eve on Saturday morning in the southern occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem, which is traditionally held as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

 A parade lead by the Latin Patriarch of Palestine, Jordan, and the Holy Land Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is also the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, are set to arrive in Bethlehem in the afternoon and will be officially received at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem’s Manger Square.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah are also expected to arrive in Bethlehem later Saturday to partake in Midnight Mass.
Abbas released a statement Friday marking the occasion of Christmas, saying that “Despite the Israeli occupation, our presence in our homeland and the preservation of our cultural and national heritage are the most important form of resistance in the face of the darkness of a foreign colonialist occupying power.”
He described Christmas as “a Palestinian call for hope and justice,” which is “a unique message that we have been carrying generation after generation, as a precious treasure that began in Palestine and is celebrated all over the world.”
“We are about to mark 50 years of Israeli occupation, the longest military occupation in modern history,” he wrote in his statement, highlighting that despite Bethlehem’s religious and historical significance, the town “has not been spared the brutality exercised by decades of humiliation, colonization and Apartheid.”
“Jesus’ place of birth is a city now surrounded by 18 illegal Israeli settlements and divided by the illegal Annexation Wall, including the latest illegal Israeli steps to construct the Wall at the Cremisan Valley.”
“Israeli occupation policies have cut Bethlehem’s connection with Jerusalem, both an integral part of the occupied State of Palestine, for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity.”
He affirmed that the state of Palestine would continue to preserve its national heritage as well as “the historic status quo of all religious sites, including the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound” in occupied East Jerusalem.
He lauded the commitment of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to coexist peacefully throughout the centuries, and condemned “failed attempts” to divide them that he said “originate from those with a racist and colonialist mindset,” referring specifically to a recent law proposed by Israel to mute the Muslim call to prayer.
Abbas addressed all Palestinians in his message, “particularly our refugees in Syria and Lebanon, including al-Dbayeh and Mar Elia refugee camps, as well as those who will celebrate Christmas in Gaza and in our occupied capital Jerusalem.”“I salute our prisoners,” he added.
“The message of hope, the message of justice and peace brought by Jesus from a humble Grotto in Bethlehem shall prevail over the darkness of exile, colonization, unlawful imprisonment, and Apartheid.”

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It’s a song breaking through this fight…

UN Security Council Resolution 2334–“Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967…”

…adopted on December 23, 2016 by a vote of  14-0 with 1 abstention.

Israeli settlements are illegal

Voting in Favor: Russia, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Uruguay, France, Angola, Egypt, Japan, UK, Ukraine

Abstaining: US

Text of the Resolution:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,

Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,

Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,

Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,

Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,

Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,

Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;

5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;

7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;

8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;

9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;

10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;

11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;

13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

From Ma’an News:

Palestine Victorious Over UNSC Resolution, Israel Left ‘Abandoned’ by US

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian leadership and members of the international community were victorious after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution calling for an end to illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and reiterated that their existence is illegal under international law.

After days of diplomatic turmoil, the US shocked and outraged Israel by refusing to veto the resolution — by abstaining from the vote, US President Barack Obama allowed resolution 2334 to pass Friday night at the UNSC.

Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour noted that the resolution came after years of allowing Israel to “entrench its occupation and a one-state reality with absolute impunity, at times even being rewarded for its violations and intransigence”

“Against this backdrop,” Mansour said, “one Council resolution in nearly eight years is not disproportionate; it is shameful. But today’s vote rectifies this record and sets us on a new course.”

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the PLO Saeb Erekat described the event to Reuters news agency as “a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilized language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel.”

“The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation … but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line,” Erekat said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly called the resolution “a slap in the face to Israeli policy” and an “absolute international condemnation to settlements and unanimous support for a two-state solution.”

He said in a statement earlier marking the occasion of Christmas that “Despite the Israeli occupation, our presence in our homeland and the preservation of our cultural and national heritage are the most important form of resistance in the face of the darkness of a foreign colonialist occupying power.”

Spokesperson for the Hamas movement Fawzi Narhoum said that Hamas applauded the countries who “rejected the Israeli occupation’s aggressive settlement policies against the Palestinian people.”

“We ask for more such supportive positions seeking to bring justice to the Palestinian cause and end occupation.”

Leftist Palestinian faction the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also released a statement Friday welcoming the Security Council resolution, but warned that Israel and its allies would likely try to make the resolution null and void.

“Israel and its allies,” the statement said, “will try to impede implementation of the resolution or call attention to parts of the resolution’s content related to terrorism, violence, and incitement, which can be harmful to the Palestinians.”

Human rights organization Amnesty International called the decision to “finally” pass such a resolution a “welcome step.”

“This is the first time in almost four decades that such a resolution has been passed. During this time, settlements not only continued to be built, but at an accelerated pace,” Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York wrote in a statment, noting that resolution not only demands a halt to settlement building but also recognizes their illegality.

“Amnesty International has campaigned for many years on this issue. Israel’s settlement policy is inherently discriminatory and has resulted in grave human rights violations including destruction of homes, forced evictions, unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, and collective punishment.”

Israel reacts

Meanwhile, Israeli officials and their allies expressed shock and outrage over the resolution, accusing the Obama administration of colluding with Palestine while betraying a decades-long relationship of supporting Israeli policies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “would not abide by the terms” of the “shameful anti-Israel resolution.”

Netanyahu also reportedly instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal — two states that supported the resolution — to return to Israel for consultations. He also ordered the cancellation of a planned visit to Israel by Senegal’s foreign minister and the cancellation of all aid programs to Senegal, according to Israeli news site Ynet.

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the United States had “abandoned” Israel by abstaining from the vote, adding that “the heart aches that after eight years of friendship… and cooperation with Obama, this is his final chord” in the departing Obama administration.

Ynet quoted an anonymous Israeli official as saying that Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry “secretly cooked up” the “extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back.”

He said the resolution would be a “tailwind for terror and boycotts,” calling the move “shameful” and “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon for his part insisted that “Neither the Security Council nor UNESCO will rewrite history and to sever the link between the people of Israel and the land of Israel,” warning that “Efforts to attack Israel” would not help the peace process.

A number of US officials also reacted with dismay to the decision, with President-elect Donald Trump saying ominously in a Tweet, “Things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

Netanyahu had said after the resolution’s passage that he looked forward to working with Trump and the pro-Israeli members of the US Congress to reverse the damages of the “absurd” decision.

US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling the abstention vote by the US “absolutely shameful,” while Republican Senator John McCain said the move made the US “complicit in this outrageous attack” against Israel.

Leading up to the vote, US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who oversees the Senate subcommittee that controls United States’ UN funding, had threatened to cut funding for the UN and any nation that backed the measure.

However, critics have pointed out that dozens of past UN resolutions condemning Israeli policies in the occupied territory have not been supported by the political will necessary to enforce such measures.

Many expressed worry that the Friday’s resolution would also be merely symbolic — noting in particular the resolution did not authorize any form of sanctions to compel Israel to respect international law.

Despite the US government, particularly under Barack Obama, having routinely condemned Israel’s settlement expansions, US officials have yet to take any concrete actions to end settlement building and instead inadvertently encouraged the enterprise through consistent inaction over Israel’s violation of international law and continued support of the Israeli government through inflated military aid packages.

Amnesty International continued in their statement, saying that going forward, the UNSC “must now ensure this resolution is respected. Indeed, it should go further and demand that the state of Israel not only fulfil its legal obligation to halt settlement-building, but also dismantle its settlements and relocate its settlers outside Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is the only way to a just and durable peace.”

الزهار يفجر مفاجأة من العيار الثقيل داخل حركة حماس: مشعل وهنية يواليان قطر.. وخالد مشعل فرط في ثوابت ومبادئ الحركة.. ونحن طعنا سوريا

التواجد الإيراني في سوريا مهم لضمان التوازن في المنطقة.. والمجازر في سوريا تمثيليات وخداع لم يعد ينطلي على أحد

zaharr777

 بيروت ـ “راي اليوم” ـ كمال خلف:

أكد القيادي في حركة “حماس” محمود الزهار أنه يعكف على تشكيل تكتل داخل الحركة لضمان نجاحه برئاسة المكتب السياسي، مؤكدا أن التواجد الإيراني في سوريا مهم لضمان التوازن في المنطقة.

وقال الزهار، خلال مقابلة مع وكالة وطن المحلية  إنه يرى في نفسه الأحق برئاسة المكتب السياسي لحركة “حماس” بعد أن “فرط خالد مشعل بالثوابت والمبادئ التي قامت عليها ولأجلها الحركة” على حد تعبيره.

Hamas arrests two accused of firing rockets

وهاجم الزهار سياسات مشعل وإسماعيل هنية واتهمهما بموالاة قطر، مجددا التأكيد على أن الجمهورية الإيرانية هي السند الحقيقي للفلسطينيين، “فهي من تمدهم بالمال والسلاح لمقاومة العدو الإسرائيلي”.

وتطرق الزهار إلى الأحداث في سوريا، والتواجد الإيراني فيها، قائلا إن التواجد الإيراني في سوريا ضروري لضمان التوازن في المنطقة، وأن ما يشاع حول مجازر ارتكبت وترتكب في حلب هي عبارة عن تمثيليات من الغرب من أجل إسقاط نظام الرئيس بشار الأسد، مؤكدا أن هذه “التمثيليات والخدع لم تعد تنطلي على أحد وأصبحت مكشوفة للجميع”.

ورأى الزهار، في حديثه ، “أن حركة حماس أخطأت عندما غادرت سوريا”، محملا خالد مشعل مسؤولية ذلك.

وقال:

“نحن لا ننسى ما قدمته سوريا لنا من مساعدات، فلطالما كانت سوريا حاضنة حركة حماس والمقاومة الفلسطينية، ولكننا غدرناها ووجهنا لها طعنة في الظهر بسبب أن من كان يملك القرار في الحركة يسير وفق أجندات خارجية”.

وأكد الزهار أنه كان، وما زال، من أشد المعارضين للتدخل في ما يسمى “الثورة السورية” المدعومة من أميركا.

وفي الشأن الداخلي لحركة “حماس”، قال الزهار إن قيادات في الحركة على علاقة مع محور قطر وتركيا كانت خلف ملاحقة حركة الصابرين في قطاع غزة، وأنه أكد لإيران أن “حماس” ما زالت على عهدها بتأييد الجمهورية الإيرانية.

وحول الوضع الاقتصادي في قطاع غزة، أكد الزهار أن حركة “حماس” ستصادر رواتب موظفي “سلطة عباس”، كما وصفها، من أجل خلق فرص عمل للفقراء والمحتاجين، على حد تعبيره.

وأوضح أن حركة “حماس” ستشرع خلال الفترة المقبلة بإقامة مستشفى في رفح خاص بأبناء كتاب القسام وعائلاتهم فقط، وأن من يريد أن يعالج فيه من خارج المنظومة الحمساوية، يستطيع لكن بعد دفع الرسوم المطلوبة منه.

وفيما يتعلق بجمهورية مصر العربية، أكد الزهار أن “حماس” لم تتدخل في الشأن المصري وإن حدث ذلك في حالة ما، فإنه بعيد عن القيادة السياسية للحركة، والجناح العسكري فقط من يتحمل المسؤولية.

وطالب الزهار أبناء حركة “حماس” بتجديد الدماء في القيادة السياسية للحركة ومعاقبة من باع الحركة لصالح أجندات خارجية أو مصالح شخصية.

وحول ملف المصالحة الفلسطينية، أكد الزهار أنه لن يكون هناك أية مصالحة مع “عباس وسلطته” بسبب أن “الأيدولوجية بيننا وبينه تختلف”، وفق ما قال.

وبخصوص التقارب مع محمد دحلان، شدد الزهار على أن “دحلان هو أحد أبناء قطاع غزة وهو معارض لعباس وهناك التقاء للمصالح بيننا وبينه ولا مانع من التوحد في خندق واحد لمواجهة عباس وسلطته”.

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