Gaza Conflict: Not Just About Rockets. It's Also About Gaza's UN Status
Section: Middle East
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued for forty-five years with both sides adopting similar strategies. Most Middle-East experts agree that the solution must be that the Palestinians have a homeland and Islamic interest require a sharing of areas where Christian, Jewish and Islam have shared holy sites. Most also agree that Israel requires security that cannot be assured just by its superior military force but by a fundamental change in the policies, hearts and minds of the Islamic countries that surround it. Thus far, wise leadership has not prevailed over militarism, nationalism, racism and terrorism. Each time Israel attacks and kills innocents, the Palestinian militants know that new recruits will be lining up to join their cause and most of the world will condemn Israel. Thus, one recurrent pattern has been militant attacks on Israel countered by stronger attacks by Israel’s military which breed more hostility on both sides. Israel then becomes more fearful of future attacks and imposes more sanctions on the Palestinians which in turn creates more Palestinian hostility and Palestinian militants. The U.S. has consistently supported Israeli interests in the region and so for the most part hasn’t played the role of a true peacemaker.
In fact, the idea mentioned on Mitt Romney’s 47% tape seems to be shared by many in Washington including both sides of the isle. That idea, is that hatred is so extreme on the Islamic side that not peace can be had. Therefore, a policy of containment of the Palestinians is the only solution. In fact, the Gaza trip is contained by an Israel blockade that has been in place since 2007.
Israel continues to block air and sea trade with Gaza which Palestinians view as a violation of prior agreements but Israel argues that continued militancy prevents them from lifting the blockade. More recently, Palestinians have refused to engage in peace talks until Israel halts its settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which Palestinians views as their homeland.
Peace negotiations have broken down for two years. Both sides argue the other isn’t negotiating in earnest. In reality, there is little that Gaza can negotiate with. Gaza is a densely populations U.N. “entity” that is poor, lacks legal status, has no military and is blockaded by Israel which insures little economic development.
Internationally, most agree there is only one possible solution. Both sides must begin to show concern for the other and work toward solutions that end the frustrations and indignities of the Palestinians that fuel the militancies and in return Israel must see a genuine reduction in threats to the safety of its citizens.
President Shimon Peres, Israel’s Nobel Peace Prize winner endorses President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan for a U.N. bid for nonmember status. However, the President of Israel is a ceremonial head of state position. The prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the idea. Seeking elevated status from observer entity to nonmember state at the United Nations would allow the Palestinian Authority to join the International Criminal Court, which has previously rejected complaints against Israel due to Gaza’s lack of U.N. status. The bid and vote on the Palestinian Authorities membership is scheduled to take place on November 29th and experts agree the measure should pass on that day. Israel doesn’t recognize the International court. However, the U.N. could impose sanctions against Israel and offer greater AID to the Gaza.
In the past, the Palestinian Authority has attempted to become a full member U.N. state but this action was blocked by the Obama administration and congress blocked all aid so many Palestinian Authority workers have been working without pay for the past year. A vote for non-member status doesn’t require U.N. Security Council approval so the U.S. and Israel can’t block the vote which should heavily favors acceptance. President Abbas full U.N. speech from September where he argued for full membership status is presented in the above video.
The Israeli Gaza blockade has caused poverty and high unemployment in the region which have also been a fuel for militancy. Although many news reports claim the Egyptian border is open, most of the time it has also remained closed. In retaliation for a Gaza bid for full U.N. status, U.S. congress has stopped 192 million dollars in AID to the Palestinian Authority which has caused increased economic problems in the region. President Obama signed a waiver removing the block in April, citing security reasons.
The U.S. is successful in blocking Gaza’s bid for full UN membership. Abbas begins the process of applying for UN non-member status.
A call from President Obama over the weekend to the President of the Palestinian Authority weekend isn’t successful in halting his bid. The U.S. and Israel renew threats of financial sanctions such as withholding tax revenues and AID to Gaza. Israel began lobbying European Nations to reject the Palestinian Authority bid.
The Al Monitor argues that Israel is siding with Hamas over the Palestinian Authority as a result of the U.N. bid. The editorial states Israel has been arguing that the Palestinian Authority is no longer relevant and needs to go. However, at the same time they are arguing that the most relevant issue is the Palestinian’s Authority’s U.N. bid. Obviously, both arguments can’t be correct.
The WashingtonPost reports that Gaza rockets hit sourthern Israel for three days straight.
The Christian Science Monitor reports Israel and its supporters are attempting to end the Palestinian Authority by causing an economic collapse within Gaza. Experts state the economic crisis is the worst since 1993. The article cites authorities that argue international AID to Gaza needs to increase and Israel and the U.S. need to stop blocking AID to Gaza.
Israel newspapers state that Israel will topple the President of the Palestinian Authority over his attempt to obtain non-member status for the Palestinian Authority YNet News, Jerusalem Post and this is also confirmed by US sources.
Reuters reports Israel is also considering breaking the 1993 Oslo accords that established Gaza. Reuters quotes Israeli Finance Minister admitting that the bid for U.N. status is perceived to be as big a threat to Israel as the rockets. Palestinian organizations have been protesting U.S. and Israeli attempts to block of the bid.
Militant Hamas leader Ahmed el-Jabar is killed in an Israeli air-strike.
Palestinians say 15 are dead and 118 are wounded in 20 attacks along the Gaza strip as part of what Israel refers to as operation “Pillar [or Cloud] of Defense.”
The Daily Beast explains why they believe Israel started the war and gives statistics on the relative numbers of lives lost by each side. They argue a military solution is not possible. The conclusion is
“Why, then, would Israel choose to revert to a failed strategy that will undoubtedly only escalate the situation?”
A second Daily Beast Editorial by Gershon Baskin gives a detailed analysis of the situation and argues the killing of Ahmed al-Jabari a known militant leader was a mistake as he may have been able to broker a peace deal because he didn’t believe in Hamas rocket attacks.
Only one US ally, the Netherlands, states it won’t support the Palestinian bid for nonmember status.
Sharif Nashashibi for Alarabiya News quotes Israeli Prime Minister as stating he will destroy the Palestinian authority if they go ahead with the UN bid. Nashashibi believes Israel has maneuvred itself into a corner.
November 17th Israeli newspaper time line for the day. Three Israelis and 35 Palestinians have died so far.
A New York Times Editorial argues that peace looks doubtful because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focuses on security, continued settlement building and rejects the two state solution.
War propaganda starts to appear in Israeli newspapers. An editorial in The Jerusalem Post argues that Palestinians not involved in the rocket attacks deserve to die more than Southern Israelites.
The Daily Beast reports that eight reporters were injured by an Israeli rocket targeting Hamas communication devices which raises questions about whether Israel is following standard conventions to protect journalists.
The Jewish Press reports that a Israeli District court has ruled that war crimes cases for both sides can now be tried in Israel.
CBC reports the Palestinian death toll reaches a hundred as Egypt seeks a Gaza truce. The Israeli death toll remains at three. CBS reports that the Palestinian death toll rose because Israel targeted homes of militants. In response, a number of U.S. papers run stories about Israel’s attempts to minimize casualities. These sorts of authorities are examples of an illogical persuasive technique referred to as an Appeal to Authority.
World leaders call for a cease fire. Over 700 Palestinians are wounded including 200 children.
Turkey labels Israel a Terrorist State. Turkey has not been happy with Israel who has never apologized for nine Turkish citizens killed while associating with Palestinian activists in 2010.
A State Department Press Briefing announces
“The Egyptians have been playing a leading role in trying to get this de-escalated. We’ve been supportive of those efforts. We’ve been in close contact with them at all levels – Morsi, Qandil, Amr, et cetera.”
In response to the following question
“Okay. But Gaza is fast sliding into a catastrophic humanitarian situation. Are you prepared to aid Gaza directly or to take some sort of urgent measures to alleviate the suffering, perhaps lifting the blockade?”
The State Department said
“The most important urgent matter is to de-escalate this conflict on both sides to – including the fact that Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel.”
Several questions were not answered
“Okay. For the second day straight, the Israelis bombed a Shuruq media tower and killed and injured some people that are not affiliated with Hamas or Hamas militants. According to Protocol I, Article 79 of the Geneva Convention, that is a war crime. Do you concur?”
" I’d like to ask about your – the conversations you’re having with Israel about this. Isn’t there – are you not at any point asking them to sort of maybe rein things in? There is an issue of proportionality here. I mean, I think we had something like 1,350 targets in Gaza have been struck by the Israelis as opposed to 570 rockets that were struck into southern Israel."
“I mean, there is a difference there, isn’t – the difference there, but – and also about the technology that’s being used. Could you tell us whether the U.S. is asking Israel to at least have a proportionate response to these attacks?”
A CNN poll, that election results suggest are somewhat skewed toward Republicans, finds most Americans believe attacks against Palestinians are justified. This poll, however, is not so much an opinion poll as it is an analysis of the success of the US media to keep relevant facts from its citizens. That is, it’s a complacency poll or an indicator of the effectiveness of war propaganda in the US.
A large number of reports from U.S. allies also attack the status of the Palestinian Authority President who still wants to make a bid for U.N. nonmember status on November 29th. For example, The New York Times gives a report that attempts to completely discredit the President of the Palestinian Authority and his attempt to apply for non-member U.N. status on the 29th. It’s clear that the administration and Israel would like to see the President replaced with someone who doesn’t want to make the UN bid. The article concludes by suggesting that both Israel and Hamas would like to see the Palestinian Authorities leadership derailed.
With talk of a cease-fire, alleged Hamas gunman kill six alleged Israeli spies but thus far the report hasn’t been confirmed.
Aljazeera argues that Islamic outrage at Israel’s attempts to “crush” the resistance have lead to atrocities that outrage the Arab world. The story argues that Israel’s aggression will lead to publicity about the untenable conditions in Gaza and lead to Israeli concessions. However, others argue that Israeli will view any concessions as giving-in to militancy.
VOA reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is expected to see Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah today before flying to Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Some sources report that Gaza may also be asking for a time line for the lifting of the six year Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The Nation reports on the absurd response of MSNBC to the conflict.
The U.S. blocks a U.N. resolution for a cease fire claiming the resolution is too one-sided against Israel.
The Huffington Post provides a good comprehensive article on the problem of starvation in the Gaza strip and how the Israeli blockade is contributing to increased starvation.
A number of other stories appear in leading US newspapers attempting to minimize the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority.
The Economist breaks down all the shocking causalities from this war and others in the Middle East.
The Huffington Post has a great report about the Israelite citizenry being kept from seeing the true Gaza strip.
Glenn Greenwald for the Guardian makes a strong argument that explains why the status quo is what the Netanyahu-led government wants and that is why the blockade that stifles Gaza strip economic development has continued.
A Hamas militant bus bombing wounds 27 Israelites in Tel Aviv.
News sources report a truce between Hamas and Israel that will begin at 2pm EST where Clinton and Egypt will manage the talks. President Obama issued two statements
“President Obama spoke to President Morsi today. The President thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal. President Morsi expressed appreciation for President Obama’s efforts in this regard.
President Obama and President Morsi agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza.
President Obama reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Egypt, and welcomed President Morsi’s commitment to regional security. "
In a second statement, President Obama said
“President Obama spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu today and reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security.”
The President made clear that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians."
The President expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem."
The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself."
The President said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.
The President said that he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs."
No American thanks were issued to the President of the Palestinian Authority.
The UK threatens Palestinian Authority over the U.N. bid. However, former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, supports the idea and threats fall short of actually stating they would oppose the bid. As usual, the U.S. and Israel appear to have few allies.
Susan Collins ( R ) and Ben Cardin ( D ) introduce a bill in the Senate to denounce President Abbas’ bid for UN status 1, 2. One report said the Senators were claiming that this bid interferes with the two state solution. Of course, a two state solution would also lead to a UN bid. Another false U.S. argument is that the Palestinian Authority is bypassing direct negotiations with Israel in favor of the bid. The Palestinian Authority is actually bypassing negotiations because Israel continues to build settlements in its occupied territory. It’s been a long-standing policy of Palestinian leaders to not negotiate while Israel when building settlements. The article admits that Gaza would easily win approval if the UN bid proceeds on the 29th.
November 22nd Palestinian death toll is at 160 and 1,200 injuries.
Although there is no claim that the cease-fire involved having Hamas publicly deny that they are in favor of the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. bid, Hamas states this shortly after the Palestinian Authority President Abbas claims he received a phone call from Hamas stating they do support the bid bid. Talks between Hamas, Israel and Egypt will apparently leave out the legitimate government of Gaza – The Palestinian Authority. Abbas also rejected Hillary Clinton’s request to delay the November 29th U.N. bid in a meeting between the two today in Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank where the President resides. Protesters condemned Clinton’s lack of support for the U.N. bid. Abbas wants the U.N. to confirm the 1967 border agreement.
Israel has long doubted that enforcement of the 1967 border agreement will resolve the problem. About two-thirds of all Palestinians are ancestors or people who originally lived within Israel’s borders. Many argue they are kept out of Israel due to their nationality while Israel argues that given the widespread support for terrorism and militancy against Israel within the community, a simple border agreement will not stop the attacks against Israel. In addition, it will further undermine the safety of Israel as critical buffer zones will fall into Palestinian hands.
Forward reports that the U.S., Hamas and Egypt may be brokering a deal to remove President Abbas from power. The organization that the U.S. labels as a terrorist organization, Hamas is responsible for the rockets being fired at Israeli seems like an unlikely ally of the U.S. and Israel but they could be installed in power on the condition of not supporting the UN bid.
The U.N. bid would be a victory for President Abbas’ more moderate Fatah party and rest control of Gaza away from Israel, U.S and Hamas. The API also reported last month that the U.S. may seek to suspend funds to U.N. agencies that would support relief efforts in Gaza.
The European Voice reports Israel is considering partial or full annulment of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which established the Palestinian Authority in an effort to remove President, Mahmoud Abbas. In other words, they’re planning on breaking the treaty.
Press TV reports on a Palestinian Authority representative’s visit to Russia to garner support for the UN’s November 29th bid which if successful could press ahead with war crimes trials against Israel. israeli President Shimon Peres argues that Abbas not Hamas is the way toward peace.
The asymmetry of the reporting is obvious. In fact, most stories linked to in this report, which represent the most insightful analyses The Impartial Review News could find, only report one side or the others body count and not both.
The central role of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s U.N. bid has been ignored in the press. It’s likely that if Egypt and Clinton succeed in their attempt to bring about a truce, a central issue will be the U.N. bid and it’s also seems very likely that the bid played a role Israel’s recent military escalation.
Israel’s current administration clearly feels they need strong control over Gaza for its own security and Gaza as a UN nonmember state could go to court and lift Israel’s blockade and even charge Israel with war crimes.
However, Shimon Peres, a very wise man in Israel politics, has argued grabbing an ice cube with too much force may cause it will slip away from you. A blockade that allows economic development in Gaza while allowing Israel to inspect goods for weapons may be the best solution to the current crisis but if the Palestinian Authority believes they can get more from becoming a nonmember state, then the conflict could escalate both militarily and politically.
The U.S. and Israel would attempt to make a strong case that a Gaza entrance to the US would great an endless war. Not a very strong argument, given 45 years of conflict but one that they will certainly make.
by Todd Miller
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