Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court 161


Palestine is now a state. Membership of the United Nations is not in international law a pre-condition of statehood, and indeed is not compulsory for states. The existence of states not members of the UN is recognised in international law, not least by the UN itself. Palestine has just joined UNESCO for example under a provision which allows states which are not members of the United Nations to join if they get qualified majority support – which Palestine overwhelmingly did.

So the UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, under Article 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

It would also be a huge chance for the International Criminal Court to redeem its reputation. It is widely believed, particularly in Africa, that the ICC is merely a tool of western domination and used against those that the NATO powers want it used against. That is a bit unfair on the court, who are dealing with the cases brought before them according to the statutes. Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence, and become a watershed for both Palestine and the ICC.


161 thoughts on “Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mike W, your use of this term, ‘The Arabs’ really irritates. It’s use in this way is almost as bad as the anti-Semitic use of the term, ‘The Jews…’. And how magnanimous of Britain to ‘give’ ‘the Arabs’ their own lands! Your underlying assumptions are deeply imperialist and, I would argue, are bordering on the racist.
    .
    Your basic position, then, might be summed up as follows: ‘Oslo is dead. UNESCO will soon be dead. Palestine does not exist’.
    .
    Golda Meir lives again, it seems!
    .
    Now, I know these are complex matters. I know the history (eg. Iraq, 1940s). It is not clear-cut. And yes, the various Islamist movements are not beneficent in terms of their own people let alone others. But while arguing for complexity, you youself simplify the problem, you distill it down into what is basically, propaganda.

  • Walk Tall Hang Loose

    To Mike W.

    The San Remo Resolution/Balfour Declaration does NOT establish the legal basis for Israel. Mary has given the text, which calls for “the establishment IN Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

    A national home for the Jewish people is NOT the same thing as a Jewish state. For example, Scotland is the national home of the Scots, but it is not a state: it is a nation WITHIN the state called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    This is a long way from giving ALL of Palestine to the Jews as THEIR nation-state.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    So, Wendy, to go back to South Africa, the real (as opposed to public) position of the UK establishment (hard state, whatever) was that they supported white minority rule. Thatcher certainly exemplified that. However, they recognised that unless one has major influence on the leaders of the black majority, one would risk loss of the country with its major resources – gold, diamonds, primarily – to the USSR if and when white minority rule collapsed. With the demise of the USSR as a global force at the end of the 1980s (the Soviet withdrawl from Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, etc.) and with continuing social unrest in S. Africa’s major cities risking the destabilisation of the economy, it became clear to the power-brokers in Washington, London and Pretoria that firstly Communism/ the USSR was no longer likely to pose an existential threat to South Africa as part of the Western bloc and secondly, that they could do a deal with black non-Communist leaders that would maintain capitalism and their privileges, etc. in S. Africa and exclude redistribution of wealth to the majority of the black population. And so, in 1990, Mandela was released from jail.
    .
    Being an agent of MI6 (or even MI5) does not preclude greatness – witness, George Orwell. This is what I mean. We need to take some of our heroes down off pedestals and view them as they deserve to be viewed. Mandela is a great man, as I said in my original post. But the vision of S. Africa which became that of the (now extremely corrupt) ruling ANC bloc has not resulted in significant improvement in the lives of the vast majority of S. Africans of even the middle classes (of all colours), let alone the poorer people. It didn’t have to be that way; it could have been different. But that would have reqd a different economic vision – and the West was not willing to allow that to happen.

  • Mike W

    Let me get this right: Israel shouldn’t have been created, say you. Hard cheese! It exists and has existed for more than 60 years. The Kingdom of Jordan was created only a few years earlier. I don’t hear anyone suggesting it should be dismantled. At least Israel has a history going back millenia. Jews in Jerusalem and other holy cities like Hebron and Safed were living there long before the Muslims arrived in the 7th century, and they’ve been living there ever since. Britain gave Jews a national home, and the Arabs a number of states they’d never had under the Ottomans. The Arab nations and Iran kicked out their own Jewish inhabitants who in turn become refugees until they were re-settled in Israel. This is not a racial or territorial thing, it’s an existential struggle between different cultures – but yes, the Israelis are going nowhere; they have no home to go to. The Palestinian Arabs used to call themselves Egyptians or Jordanians, or Syrians etc. etc. and they *do* have other homes to go to.
    I would hope that the new Palestinian mini-state will form a confederation with Jordan and Egypt in order to be viable.

    Suhayl, I hear what you’re saying, but you’re wrong in accusing me of making propaganda. I believe everything I say. I wish I could believe you all say what you mean or believe. This is not an ideological struggle as far as I’m concerned. For most of you, I think that’s all it is. You have no idea how wrong you are and you’re afraid to admit I might be right.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    As I said, Mike W, I know the history and it is complex. No, I have never argued that Israel should not exist. I think it natural and entirely understandbale that Jewish people might want a land where they are not in the minority, after hat happened to them in lands where they were in the minority. And I agree that Israel is a fact. I beleive you beleive everyuthing you say – my refernec to ‘propaganda’ was not meant to suggest that you were being insincere, simply that you are propagating views which might be described as similar to Israeli state propaganda – always the same contentions which centre around the proposition that Palestinians do not exist. Well, tough. Those people who define themselves as Palestinians have existed now for at least as long as the state of Israel and have equal right to call themselves Palestinian as Israelis have to call themselves Israeli.
    .
    Well, suffice to say that as you well know, there are a number of Israelis who disgaree with your views, Mike W. Miko Peled, son of israeli general and war-hero, is one. Ronan Berelovitch, ex-IDF solider, is another. And of course, people such as Ilan Pappe, Amira Hass and others – Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, for example, there are many others.
    .
    Now, at the start, you claimed that Palestine/Israel was the focus of much comment, a disproportionate level of comment, and that people became inordinately impassioned about it all, the subtext of your contention being that we are all anti-Semites and that criticism of Israeli state policy equates to anti-Semitism 9and that Jews who engage in such criticism are self-haters, etc.). Yet you yourself appear to have become equally impassioned about the subject. So.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I don’t think an existential struggle b/w different cultures. the culture of Mizrahi (and many Sephardic) Jews is very similar to that of Muslim snd Christian Arabic-speaking peoples. No matter that they now sadly are ‘enemies’, they shared the same culture for hundreds of years and many aspects of their culture remain very similar. It’s a territorial issue. Both extremes try to make it into an existential struggle b/w cultures, but at root that is not the dynamic. The religious extremists in Israel are every bit as crazy as the Islamists – and unfortunately in israel the religious extermists are gaining the upper hand, pushing increasingly bigoted policies, etc. But the Palestine-Israel issue at root is territorial. It requres a political land settlement. And much else thereafter, but without the land settlement, nothing else will work.

  • Walk Tall Hang Loose

    Mike W: I accept the existence of Israel and have not suggested it should be ‘dismantled’ or that its Jewish inhabitants should leave, even though many, perhaps a majority, are 20th century immigrants, who have not been living there for millenia.
    .
    But the crucial question is what happens to the Arab Palestinians, who HAVE been living in Palestine for many generations at least(and many of whom may be descendents of Jews who converted to Christianity and/or later to Islam). No, they cannot go to Jordan or Egypt, because those countries will not accept them. And anyway, why should they leave their homes to make way for Jews from Europe and Russia? This is the fundamental illogic, injustice and inhumanity at the heart of Zionism.
    .
    The solution on offer is of two states with the starting point for negotiations being the pre-67 borders, as specified in numerous Security Council resolutions. The Israeli government says it will accept this, the Arab states will accept it, even Iran and Hamas say they will accept it if the Palestinian people vote for it. The only thing preventing negotiations starting immediately is the continuing colonisation by Israel of land outside the pre-67 borders.
    .
    Mike W. – please tell us honestly what is your vision of the future for Israel and Palestine: ethnic cleansing?

  • ingo

    Since Golda Meir muttered ‘that there is no such thing as a Palestinian they are all terrorist’ has the psychological management of consent gone into overdrive. If you are able to tell your people something for decades, 100 times/per annum and with conviction, extolling the pains of the past and the dangers that surround Israel, keeping them alive worldwide and prioritising their pain above all others, then the people will beleive you and take it up and tell their children and make them fear too.

    There was change apparent, but Sharon ruined it with his hardline policies, it was his Government that stopped schooling children together, since that day Israel has opposed its own interlect and abilities in favour of opposing the international community of equals, it took others land by any means, and by doing as was done to them in the past, to the Palestinians. If Ghaza was not one big concentration camp, shut off and fired at, then what was it?

    Release Marwan Barghouti and save Israel from eating itself in anger. If Bibi looks closely at the pros and cons he will realise that this is exactly what he needs, lets hope all this missile testing has not got to his pecker and switched the brain off.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, Mike W, wrt denial of the existence of the Palestinians, you’re in good company, it seems. Republican wannabee presidential candidate, Herman Cain, the man who, it seems, cannot pronounce the word, ‘Uzbekistan’. Mind you, that may simply be a reminder of Dubya and the obverse of the Obama ‘Pakistan’ moment when, for once, the Democrat candidate pronounced the word, ‘Pakistan’ correctly and was criticised for sounding too learned and snobbish as a result. Since then, Obama has tried to pronounce ‘Pakistan’ as incorrectly as he can manage – he still can’t bring himself to do it properly incorrectly, though. What a circus!
    .

    Anyway, Mr Cain says the Palestinians do not exist. And that is what Mike W seems to be arguing. It’s an extremist position, even in Israeli/US circles. Herman Cain, the right-wing Evangelicals, the insane lobby. here’s an article by Dan Ephron on the matter:
    .

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/10/31/another-cain-gaffe-he-questions-the-existence-of-the-palestinians.html

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Mike W,
    .
    I’m not here to give yet another history lesson (I’m on the limit now) but sorry I have a problem with the ‘old chestnut,’ “At least Israel has a history going back millenia. Jews in Jerusalem and other holy cities like Hebron and Safed were living there long before the Muslims arrived in the 7th century” – or as I call it ‘the keys to the kingdom’ needs a little thought.
    .
    While Garfinkel jumps from boulder to boulder looking for where David killed Goliath, Tel Aviv Uni Prof. Finkelstein’s four carbon-14 readings have set the chronology in stone looking backwards and forwards from the Herodian period.
    .
    The kingdoms of David and Solomon is one more chapter in a saga possessing deep theological, national and political roots and often compounded by interpersonal tensions and academic politics. The accounts in the holy scriptures have to date never been proved valid because the physical evidence from discoveries found by excavations (walls, pottery etc) and the accounts of the archaeologists/researchers are disputed.

  • Ken Waldron

    So Mike, Its not about land, its not about religion, and now you say its not about race, its about “Culture”.

    Do you seriously think Moroccan Jews shared the same culture as the Ashkenazi ?

    I can assure you that there are many kinds of Jews who live comfortably within many different cultures. In fact the majority of Jews still do so, so its not about culture.

  • Mike W

    Jeez, do I need to answer all of you at such a late hour?

    What I’m doing is passionately defending the country I love, that’s right – but what’s *your* justification. I doubt if there is even *one* Arab in this room. Oh and I wish some of you wouldn’t put words into my mouth. I never ever accused anyone here of antisemitism ( I may have thought it, but that’s for me to know )- though it’s interesting in a Freudian sense that you should suggest it…

    I’m an agnostic and no Bible expert as far as religion goes, but I do know that archeological finds in the Holy Land have validated a number of Biblical accounts. In any case, the land of Israel forms an integral part of the Jewish religion. It was never abandoned spiritually or physically by Jews. ‘Palestinians’ of course existed for centuries but only started calling themselves that from the 1960’s onwards. There wasn’t a Palestinian nation or a specific language there because most had come fairly recently to the region. The question now is what to do with the West Bank and Gaza. I see no reason to deny them a self-governing state with fixed borders if that is what they want. Whether they will settle for it and give up attacking Israel is the next question, and how soon they could be allowed their own airport and free airspace. Given that their borders are only a few miles from Israel’s centres of population, you can understand why people on my side tend to feel pretty nervous about it. It would need close co-operation with Jordan and Egypt and right now, the Arab spring is casting a dark shadow all over the Middle East…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “The question now is what to do with the West Bank and Gaza. I see no reason to deny them a self-governing state with fixed borders if that is what they want.” Mike W.
    .
    Jolly good.
    .
    Yes, Mike W, I can understand the nervousness. I know some people in Israel. And the Palestinians too are and would remain nervous, given how close Israeli military bases are to their centres of population. So, in a state of mutual nervousness, perhaps it would be better to proceed with getting the Palestinian state set up, as you rightly suggest, there is no reason to delay further. It is largely this further delay that generates more and more violence and extremism. And wrt the Arab Spring – though I share some of your foreboding – it also may present new opportunities. Good. So, the status quo is untenable and a proper Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is a rational way forward. I am glad that we gree on that at least. And that is the main catalyst for the future in relation to this issue.

  • Ken Waldron

    “There wasn’t a Palestinian nation or a specific language there because most had come fairly recently to the region.”

    Your proof of this is what? Perhaps Joan Peters “From Time Immemorial”? A well recognised fraud demolished many years ago by Norman Finkelstein.

    Excuse me, but I thought you were well read?

  • Ken Waldron

    My apologies Mike for a slightly knee jerk response to arguments presented so many times before. Suhayl is correct in what he says. There is no point in provocation or entrenchment in mythical rights. A solution is required to a pressing problem. Accentuate the positive.

  • Abe Rene

    In the long-term Israel has to live with Palestinians in the same small area of the globe, and therefore it makes sense to seek harmony with they, who are and will be your closest neighbours. An “existential conflict” mentality will not help.

    The way to long-term security for Israel is therefore by helping, not hindering, the creation of a Palestinian state that will be viable. Not stealing their water and land, which is not part of Israel. Nor withholding their revenue. Nor preventing them building an adequate quality of life for themselves, through infrastructure, economy, airports and fishing.

  • glenn

    Announcing “over and out” must mean the same to Mike W, as claiming to be “perusing peace and justice” does to the Israeli government. That is, to tell a lie.
    .
    So Mike W, one has to have experienced a circumstance for a good time, at least longer than the individual posing the challenge, preferably 100% experience, to have any right to comment? But then the next barrier would be brought up of course, that a lack of broader experience was lacking. Only if a view is contrary to yours, of course, otherwise we’re talking about “common sense” and a rightful “moral decision’ no matter how ignorant your supporter. (“Yeah, I say we bomb those guys, those… who are the ones throwing the stones again?”)
    .
    Mark W, this isn’t some lazy hangout. Have your disagreements and bigoted opinions – fine, but don’t accuse this blog’s residents to be uninformed and poorly read compared with yourself. Particularly on a subject where you are flat out morally bankrupt and spouting dismissible, worn out half-truths. Shame on you on a number of fronts.

  • mary

    I thought your accidental type ‘the religious extermists’ was rather apt Suhayl.

    .
    Immediately after the UNESCO vote was announced, Bibi said that he would hold on to Palestinian taxes and extend the building of settlements. Obama his poodle withdraws $60 million from UNESCO thus depriving some of this world’s needy of their services.

    .
    Bibi’s real family name is Mileikowsky and their association with Palestine began in 1920.
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzion_Netanyahu

    ‘In 1920 the family emigrated from Warsaw to Palestine. After living in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and Safed, the family settled in Jerusalem. Benzion studied in the Midrash for teachers run by David Yellin, and later went on to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specialized in History and was especially inspired by professor Joseph Klausner. His younger brother, mathematician Elisha Netanyahu, also studied at the Hebrew University, and later became the Dean of Sciences at the Technion.
    .
    Netanyahu’s father, Nathan Mileikowsky, used to sign some of his articles with the name Netanyahu. It was a common practice for Zionist activists at the time to adopt a Hebrew name and his son Benzion eventually adopted this family name. Following the same practice, Benzion Netanyahu occasionally wrote under the name “Nitay”. When his son Benjamin Netanyahu lived in the United States, he needed a name Americans could easily pronounce; he chose “Ben Nitay”.’

  • Mike W

    Good morning Palestine! It’s a very interesting blog you have here.

    Yeah, I did say goodbye meaning to leave, but something drew me back. Thanks for the constructive replies ( Suhayl, Ken and others ). On the other hand, some of you seem to be reading a lot into what I wrote, which means either that I didn’t express myself well enough, or else that you are projecting thoughts you want me to have in order to attack me more effectively. I won’t bother replying to those who are angry and insult me rather than debate ( hello Glenn ).

    I guess no-one here actually lives in Israel-Palestine so our opinions come from second-hand sources at best. I suggest a little less emotion and more thinking.
    Of course I admire Israel – there’s a lot to admire. Many of you seem to be motivated by hate for Israel rather than by love for the Palestinians – there isn’t such a lot to admire, is there? I don’t spend my time hating my enemies ( real or imagined ): I prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    Have a nice day !

  • Mike W

    Fascinating to learn about Bibi’s family background. It’s true that most of the Israeli leaders who created the state in 1947/8 had European backgrounds. It’s also true that Palestinian figures like Arafat or Edward Said came from Egypt rather than Palestine. So what? The majority of today’s Israelis are from Arabic countries, including North Africa. In other words, they come from Sephardi / Mizrachi, not Ashkenazy origins, and belong to the Middle East as much as their Arab neighbours. I don’t know the percentage of today’s Palestinians having grandparents who lived on the same land for generations. History books show that Ottoman Palestine was a poor and barren region that was sparsely populated until the turn of the 20th century. Around that time, Jews were told to go back to Palestine. It needed a Theodor Herzl to make it happen.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mike W, you have a good day too. Thanks for debating. Ken, Abe, cheers.
    .
    Mary, that is a good point actually. there was and maybe to some extent still is tension (and in the pst, much worse) b/w the Ashkenazi and other Jewish communities in Israel. Of course, the population of Israel also consists of Israeli Arabs (Palestinians who stayed after 1948 plus Bedouins), Druze, Armenians, Samaritans and others – so I assume those figures relate solely to the Jewish population of Israel?
    .
    Out of all this, Mike W does make a valid point about a growing proportion of the Israeli population being from the Near or Middle East – Iraqi, then Moroccan, are the largest two groups now in Israel, and apart from the older people, most of them were born in Israel. In some ways, this offers hope, but it’s a long way off, the distrust b/w the Mizrahi/Sephardic Jews and Arabs has been festering now for many decades. Apart from everything else, this aspect is a major tragedy, in my view. A sustained political settlement might represent the beginnings of a new paradigm. Panglossian? Maybe. And like Mike, I am not optimistic yet must sustain hope. It’s worth working towards.

  • amrikiyaaaa

    Who could have predicted that a tiny Palestine might have influence to force the US out of UN. Read the article here and expect the US becoming non-member of major international organizations. I wish Palestine was accepted to the Security Council with veto powers, then the US would withdraw itself from the SC and then the yankees wouldn’t be able to veto vital resolutions in the future or make illegal wars around the world.

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/11/01/senators_predict_massive_us_withdrawal_from_international_organizations

  • Mike W

    Suhayl, I’m quite impressed that, for an outsider, you appear to know a great deal about the Israel-Palestine situation. Mabrouk! – as the Arabs say.

    I don’t know if there is much left to add to this topic. I suspect that a lot of anti-Israel animosity comes more from headline-grabbing media tidbits and a generalized anti-Americanism or anti-capitalism than from a genuine knowledge of the facts on the ground. In a nutshell, it’s not cool to be pro-Israel; c’est la vie! If people keep reading only The Guardian or The Independent, they’ll never see Israel in a positive light. Hopefully the BBC is more impartial these days, despite Craig’s claims to the contrary.

    Take care!

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Mike W,

    I find your ‘Good morning Palestine!’ and your assumption there exists ‘hate’ for Israel among our contributors disturbing. I do not personally ‘hate’ anything Mick, because I have learnt to seek some good in anything.
    .
    You ‘..suspect that a lot of anti-Israel animosity comes more from headline-grabbing media tidbits and a generalized anti-Americanism or anti-capitalism than from a genuine knowledge of the facts on the ground.’ It does not. I happen to love the American people. Your assumptions are like stones in quicksand and your sarcasm affords no respect. I say that not out of anger and insults are not in my vocabulary. Your cloaked diatribe of Glenn, a long standing commentator is not required here.
    .
    According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the Arab population of Israel in 2010 is estimated at 1,573,000, representing 20.4% of the population.
    .
    populatiohttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/newpop.html
    .
    From 2000-on these Israeli Arabs have been subjected to the worse consequences of racial discrimination, thirteen killed protesting the Israeli government’s response to the Second Intifada. Most Israeli Arabs boycotted the 2001 Israeli Elections as a means of protest. Unfortunately this action helped the war criminal Sharon into power. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Arab advocacy organizations complained that the Israeli government had invested time and effort to protect Jewish citizens from Hezbollah attacks, but had neglected Arab citizens – No emergency info in Arab was posted and no bomb shelters were afforded them.
    .
    I found good in Israel in a conversation I heard from a young IDF enlisted soldier who said he had no idea why he was commanded to kick a Palestinian family out of their house, on high ground where they had lived for twenty plus years. Children left on the street while their parents frantically sought refuge from other family members.
    .
    This is the reality and this forms the basis of my aversion towards the Israeli leadership.

  • mary

    Quite Mark.
    .
    Anyway they are falling out with each other now.
    .

    Israeli PM orders investigation into Iran leak
    .
    Kuwaiti paper says Binyamin Netanyahu believes the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet may have leaked plans to thwart them
    .
    Ian Black, Middle East editor
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 November 2011 13.57 GMT
    .

    Israel’s prime minister has ordered an investigation into alleged leaks of plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it has been reported.
    .
    According to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, the main suspects are the former heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, respectively Israel’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.
    .
    Netanyahu is said to believe that the two, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, wanted to torpedo plans being drawn up by him and Ehud Barak, the defence minister to hit Iranian nuclear sites. Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition Kadima party, is also said to have been persuaded to attack Netanyahu for “adventurism” and “gambling with Israel’s national interest”.
    .
    The paper suggested that the purpose of the leaks was to prevent an attack, which had moved from the stage of discussion to implementation. “Those who oppose the plan within the security establishment decided to leak it to the media and thwart the plan,” it said.
    .
    Both Dagan and Diskin oppose military action against Iran unless all other options – primarily international diplomatic pressure and perhaps sabotage — have been exhausted. In January the recently retired Dagan, a hawk when he was running the Mossad, called an attack on Iran “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard”.
    .
    The Kuwait paper has a track record of running stories based on apparently high-level leaks from Israeli officials.
    .
    Even well-informed Israeli observers admit to being confused about what is going on behind the scenes.
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    “It seems that only Netanyahu and Barak know, and maybe even they haven’t decided,” commented Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, both respected Haaretz writers. “While many people say Netanyahu and Barak are conducting sophisticated psychological warfare and don’t intend to launch a military operation, top officials…. are still afraid.”
    .
    The idea that something significant is going on in this highly sensitive area was rekindled last week in comments by columnist Nahum Barnea, who wrote in Yedioth Yedioth Ahronoth that the officials running Israel’s military and intelligence services were opposed to a war with Iran.
    .
    “Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are the Siamese twins of the Iranian issue,” he wrote. “A rare phenomenon is taking place here in terms of Israeli politics: a prime minister and defence minister who act as one body, with one goal, with mutual backing and repeated heaping of praise on each other… They’re characterised as urging action.
    .
    “Netanyahu portrayed the equation at the beginning of his term as: [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is Hitler; if he is not stopped in time, there will be a Holocaust. There are some who describe Netanyahu’s fervour on this subject as an obsession: all his life he’s dreamed of being Churchill. Iran gives him the chance.”
    .
    The debate in Israel was further fanned on Wednesday when Israel successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran.
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/03/israeli-pm-investigation-iran-leak
    .
    The paper quoted looks very tabloid and like some NewsInt’l publication.{http://aljaridaonline.com/}

  • mary

    Netanyahu now follows suit by withdrawing funding of $2 billion from UNESCO.
    .
    Israel to halt UNESCO funding over Palestinian vote
    JERUSALEM | Thu Nov 3, 2011 7:24pm IST
    .
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it would freeze its funding to the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO following the group’s decision to grant the Palestinians full membership.

    A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said UNESCO’s decision this week damaged chances of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians and that Israel would halt its annual payments of $2 million.

    Israel’s main ally, the United States, has also stopped its financing, which accounts for 22 percent of the agency’s funds.

    The UNESCO vote on Monday was a diplomatic victory for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who in the absence of peace talks has pushed for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, a move opposed by Israel and the United States.

    A day after the vote, Israel announced it would speed up the building of some 2,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank and around Jerusalem, and freeze tax transfers to Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

    “Steps like these do not promote peace but make it more distant,” Netanyahu said of the UNESCO vote.

    Netanyahu has called on Abbas to return without preconditions to peace negotiations that collapsed over a year ago in a dispute over Jewish settlement. Abbas says Israel must first freeze settlement activity.

    The Palestinians are looking to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

    Israel later annexed East Jerusalem, a move that has not won international recognition. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and in 2007 the territory was taken over by Hamas Islamists, who are rivals to Western-backed Abbas and refuse to recognise Israel.

    (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

  • mary

    Israel, Occupied Palestine and Apartheid: John Dugard responds to Richard Goldstone
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    http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/new-in-ceasefire/israel-occupied-palestine-apartheid-response-richard-goldstone/
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    Earlier this week, in an op-ed in The New York Times, Richard Goldstone denounced those comparing Israeli state policies to apartheid South Africa. Renowned legal scholar and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories John Dugard responds.
    .
    Note: The NYT refused to publish this op-ed, giving Dugard only 250 words in its letters pages.
    .
    {http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=862921}

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