September 20, 2011 |
Diplomats on Tuesday raced to nail down a plan to deflect the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, crafting a face-saving formula that could lessen the immediate prospect of a Security Council veto, which the Obama administration desperately sought to avoid. Under the plan, the council decision on the application for recognition, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to make Friday, would be put off indefinitely. That would buy time for the U.S. to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and would keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians.
September 19, 2011 |
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the heroine falls down a rabbit hole into a confusing fantasy world. Writing today, Carroll might have placed Alice in the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans this week to seek U.N. recognition of statehood. If Alice was perplexed by the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts, it would be interesting to see her reaction to a president whose mandate has long expired applying for statehood over territory, part of which he is too afraid to visit.
September 18, 2011 |
Recent college graduate Reem Qadan is exactly the kind of young, energetic West Bank resident the Palestinian Authority hopes will hit the streets this week when it makes its historic case for U.N. membership and statehood recognition. But rather than use her Facebook page to coordinate plans with friends to join the rallies, the 21-year-old is posting critical messages dismissing the United Nations bid as a "tale of collective mismanagement" by Palestinian leaders. Many of her Facebook friends echoed the sentiments and said they planned to skip the rallies.
September 15, 2011 |
Rebuffing international pressure to soften their positions and return to the negotiating table, Israelis and Palestinians announced separately Thursday that they were moving forward with an expected diplomatic battle next week at the United Nations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23, after which he will submit a formal application to admit Palestine into the international body as a state, according to his foreign minister, Riad Malki.
September 15, 2011 |
Later this month, the Palestinian Authority intends to go before the United Nations to request recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Although there is strong backing for the bid, the United States, in the name of supporting Israel, has stated its willingness to use its Security Council veto power to keep the Palestinians from joining the U.N. as a full voting member. The U.S. has also refused to join in a more symbolic General Assembly vote that could change the Palestinians' status from a "nonvoting observer entity" to a "nonvoting observer state.
September 9, 2011 |
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that no amount of international pressure or any last-minute concessions, including a settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would stop him from taking the Palestinian statehood plan to the U.N. Security Council this month. In a briefing with foreign journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas brushed aside warnings he said he had received this week from American officials about a possible confrontation with the United States, as well as the flurry of diplomatic efforts launched by the Mideast "quartet" — the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — to craft a compromise.
September 6, 2011 |
Palestinians have everyone guessing about their next move. Defying the United States and Israel, the Palestinian Authority is expected this month to apply for full membership in the United Nations. If the Obama administration vetoes the application in the Security Council as expected, Palestinian officials are likely to turn to the General Assembly to upgrade their status from non-member "entity" to non-member "state. " Gaining de facto statehood recognition from the international body could allow Palestinians to join key U.N. institutions, such as the International Criminal Court.
August 13, 2011 |
A year ago, Palestinian Authority employee Fida Jiryis took out a $100,000 mortgage to purchase an apartment in Ramallah, one of thousands of first-time Palestinian home buyers to benefit from a recent push to improve the West Bank economy in preparation for eventual statehood. But several weeks ago, the 36-year-old copy editor sold her property in a panic when the Palestinian Authority cut June salaries by half and warned that it would be unable to meet July's payroll at all. Though the authority eventually paid full July salaries after workers threatened a general strike, officials say future paychecks remain at risk.
May 18, 2011 |
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is back on the tightrope. The last time he tried a high-stakes balancing act with rival Hamas, he famously plunged off the wire. After the militant group won parliamentary elections in 2006 and was promptly boycotted by Israel, the U.S. and Europe, an attempt at a unity government unraveled into open warfare between the rival Palestinian factions. But in the wake of a May 4 reconciliation deal with the Islamist Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel label as a terrorist organization, he's gambling on a better safety net this time.
May 12, 2011 |
The world shared the American people's gratitude for the special forces who rid us of Osama bin Laden, but there was one flagrant exception. "We condemn the assassination of an Arab holy warrior," declared Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas regime in Gaza, who also deplored "the continuing American policy … of shedding Muslim blood. " This is the same Hamas that has launched hundreds of suicide bombers and thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Hamas terrorists have held Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, in solitary confinement for nearly five years without a single Red Cross visit.