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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nadia Bilbassy-Charters... Israel-Palestine: The genie has long been out

Nadia Bilbassy-Charters
Saturday, 01 December 2012

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http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2012/12/01/252743.html

I lived in Gaza until I finished high school. At my time there was no Hamas and no rockets but like most Gazans our lives were controlled by the Israeli military occupation authority. If I needed to go abroad to pursue higher education, I had to apply for a permit to leave and one to return home. When my ailing father needed medical treatment he needed to do the same, a system similar to the one that prevailed in the former soviet blocks. The only Israelis we would meet were soldiers with M16’s, and Uzi submachine guns. It wasn’t until much later that I met with Israel peace camp volunteers who would come to my university in the West Bank to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

My long journey as a reporter took me across the world; Europe, Africa, South Asia and now the USA where I report for MBC Television as their chief correspondent. In the process, I met many more Israelis who shared my belief and saw that the peaceful future of Israel can only be guaranteed by a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the establishment of a Palestinian state in West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as the capital.

The latest crisis in Gaza has put things into sharp focus. I have relatives and friends who still live there and were at the mercy of Israeli warplanes. They are ordinary citizens with no sympathy to Hamas, trapped in the one of the most densely populated areas on earth, who continually see their hopes crashed; their future unknown. I also have Israeli friends who live in Tel Aviv and were at the receiving end of Hamas’s rockets. With the cease-fire both Hamas and Israel managed to buy time until the next crisis erupts.

I have always advocated for a secular democratic Palestinian state where human rights are respected, free media and an independent judiciary system are the norm and not the exception, where minorities are treated with equal rights. This future state should serve as a model to many Arab countries; after all, we waited almost 60 years, so might as well have it close to perfect. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King should be our icons; violence and military solutions to a political conflict can never achieve the full aspiration of the Palestinian people.

If President Obama thought that this conflict can be managed by ignoring it, the latest event is Gaza should serve as a wake-up call. Anyone can tell that the Middle East is always capable of going from bad to worst. Keeping the status quo is not a good strategy.

The biggest loser out of this situation is the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas. He has pursued a non-violent path but in return has seen Israeli settlements expanding in the West Bank and the dream of getting closer to the establishment of a Palestinian state slipping away.

Now he has gone to the U.N. to upgrade the status of Palestine to an observant state. The U.S. adamantly opposed. What message will this send? It is simple, if you fire rockets we can reach a settlement with you, and open few border crossings and ease the blockade, Hamas got in eight days when Abbas couldn’t achieve in eight years. President Obama can’t afford to not have another attempt at solving this conflict, it has gone for so long, it has claimed so many innocent lives and it’s vital for the security of Israel and to the interests of the United States in the region.

Religious parties become political when the circumstances allow them to do so, which leads to support out of despair. I went back to Gaza to work as a young reporter for the French News agency, AFP, during the first Intifada, in December 1987, I saw the birth of Hamas then, the Israeli calculation at the time was if the PLO can be weakened by another force, then divide and rule will serve the Israeli interest. How wrong they were. When you have the genie out, it’s hard to put it back in the bottle.

U.S. leadership and involvement is more needed now than ever. Mr. President, appoint a new envoy and start again. As your last envoy said regarding Northern Ireland, “we had about 700 days of failure and one day of success.” This is as worthy of a cause.

(Nadia Bilbassy-Charters is a Chief Correspondent in Washington DC for Al Arabiya TV and MBC TV. She reports on U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis the Arab world.)

Britain and US condemn Israel's Jewish settlement plan

Foreign secretary William Hague expresses 'extreme concern', while US state department says actions are counterproductive
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/01/britain-us-condemn-israel-settlement

 [AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER DECENCY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE & PEACE... and hopefully Palestine]

Delegates celebrate Palestine's upgrade to an observer state at the UN general assembly. Israel's announcement came a day after the decision. Photograph: APAimages / Rex Features

Friday, November 30, 2012

In Gaza, surge of support for Hamas starts to fade

" “What kind of victory?” asked Um Ram Abu Rokba, covered in traditional Islamic attire as she walked home from afternoon prayer. “They are lying to the people. It is a kind of blackmail.”

As groups of children gathered around her, Abu Rokba, who would give only her nickname, said, “The Jews are hurt, we are hurt. If they lose a child, they cry. If we lose a child, we cry. It is the same. My own wish is only peace and security.”"

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-gaza-surge-of-support-for-hamas-starts-to-fade/2012/11/29/adf3b9ac-3a2f-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story.html?hpid=z2

Nikki Kahn/THE WASHINGTON POST - Young boys pick through the ruins of a recently bombed building, gathering books from the wreckage, in Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza on Nov. 28, 2012.

The Vatican welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non- member Observer State of the United Nations.

The Vatican: On  the  altar  wall  is  a  magnificent  Michelangelo painting,   the   Last   Judgment

http://www.news.va/en/news/communique-of-the-holy-see
2012-11-30 L’Osservatore Romano

 Today the General Assembly has given majority approval to the Resolution by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the United Nations.

 1.  The Holy See has followed actively the steps which have led to this important decision, while striving to remain neutral between the Parties, and to act in accordance with its particular religious nature and universal mission, and in consideration also of its specific attention to the ethical dimension of international problems.

 2.  The Holy See considers, moreover, that today’s vote should be placed within the context of the efforts of giving a definitive solution, with the support of the international community, to the question already dealt with by Resolution 181 of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 1947. That document is the juridical basis for the existence of two States, one of which has not been constituted in the successive sixty-five years, while the other has already seen the light.

 3On 15 May 2009, while departing from “Ben Gurion” International Airport, Tel Aviv, at the conclusion of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the following: No more bloodshed! No more fighting! No more terrorism! No more war! Instead let us break the vicious circle of violence. Let there be lasting peace based on justice, let there be genuine reconciliation and healing. Let it be universally recognized that the State of Israel has the right to exist, and to enjoy peace and security within internationally agreed borders. Let it be likewise acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland, to live with dignity and to travel freely. Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream.

 4.  In the wake of that appeal, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2011, expressed the hope that the competent Bodies of the United Nations would adopt a decision which would help give concrete implementation to that goal.

 5.  Today’s vote manifests the sentiment of the majority of the international community and recognises a more significant presence to Palestinians within the United Nations.  At the same time, it is the conviction of the Holy See that this result does not constitute, per se, a sufficient solution to the existing problems in the Region: which, in fact, can only find an adequate response through the effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians.

 6.  Therefore, the Holy See, at various times, has invited the leaders of the two Peoples to restart the negotiations in good faith and to avoid actions, or the placing of conditions, which would contradict the declarations of goodwill and the sincere search for solutions which could become secure foundations for a lasting peace. Moreover, the Holy See has made a pressing appeal to the International Community to increase its commitment and to encourage its creativity, through the adoption of suitable initiatives which may help to achieve a lasting peace, that respects the rights of Israelis and of Palestinians. Peace needs courageous decisions!

 7.  Considering the outcome of today’s vote of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to encourage the International Community, and in particular the Parties directly concerned, towards concrete action in view of the aforementioned objectives – the Holy See welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non- member Observer State of the United Nations. It is a propitious occasion to recall also the common position that the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation expressed in the Basic Agreement of 15 February 2000, intended to support the recognition of a internationally guaranteed special statute for the City of Jerusalem,  and aimed, in particular, to safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, respect for and freedom of access to its Holy Places.

NYTimes: Israel Pushing Settlement in Disputed Area of Jerusalem

A laborer worked at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem last June. Ronen Zvulun/Reuters  More Photos »

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/01/world/middleeast/israel-moves-to-expand-settlements-in-east-jerusalem.html?ref=global-home&_r=0

Israel Pushing Settlement in Disputed Area of Jerusalem

By
Published: November 30, 2012

JERUSALEM — As the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the Palestinians’ status Thursday night, Israel took steps toward building housing in a controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1, where Jewish settlements have long been seen as the death knell for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said on Friday that the decision was made late Thursday night to move forward on “preliminary zoning and planning preparations” for housing units in E1, which would connect the large settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem and therefore make it impossible to connect the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Israel also authorized the construction of 3,000 housing units in other parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the official said. 

The prime minister’s office refused to comment on whether the settlement expansion — first reported on Twitter by a reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz — was punishment for the Palestinians’ success in obtaining nonmember observer state status at the United Nations, but it was widely seen as such....READ MORE

Many Palestinians are mystified over why Israel would oppose the UN move. It's not violent, it recognises Israel and it's legal...

Ibrahim Khamis in the Al-Amari cafe in a Ramallah refugee camp. 'If we are a country,' he says, 'then it will be recognised that we are occupied.' Photograph: Guardian

UN vote on Palestinian statehood just another cautious step forward

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/29/palestinian-statehood-united-nations-vote

The card players of the Al-Amari cafe have been around long enough to take a sceptical view of the United Nations vote on Thursday to recognise Palestinian statehood.

The men at the regular morning gathering inside one of Ramallah's dense refugee camps have seen invasion, occupation and peace talks come and go over the years. They've listened to pledges from Arab leaders that Israel would be crushed from existence, and heard promises from American presidents of an independent Palestine living in harmony with a Jewish state. None of that has come to pass.

So the card players agree that a vote at the UN only goes so far. But that doesn't mean they think it's not significant.

Husni Khalil, 65, said the vote mattered because Israel had never explicitly recognised a Palestinian state, even though it demanded that the Palestinians recognise a Jewish state. That, he reasons, is because Israel wants to seize as much land as it can in the West Bank.

But now the UN decision will stand in opposition to Israel's attempts to make historic and religious claims to territory that is supposed to be part of an independent Palestine.

"Instead of the land belonging to Israel, as the Israelis claim, the world will see that it belongs to us but is occupied by Israel. Palestinians want to live in peace alongside Israel. That's all we want. But they have to recognise we are a country, a state," he said.

Ibrahim Khamis, a 58-year-old driver, breaks from the card game because he wants to be heard. "This is important because we will be recognised as a country, not a disputed land. And if we are a country, then it will be recognised that we are occupied," he said.

Many Palestinians are mystified over why Israel would oppose the UN move. It's not violent, it recognises Israel and it's legal, they say. The conclusion some reach is that Israel is only paying lip service to a Palestinian state.

Majed Reehan, a 40-year-old accountant, who mentions in an aside that working with numbers gives him an advantage at cards, said Palestinians have followed the path of concessions, negotiations and meeting the requirements for recognition laid down by everybody from Bill Clinton to Tony Blair. So the UN vote is a just step.

"We have proved to the world we can build institutions and we can build a proper state. We have proved to the world we deserve a state. We have done what was asked of us," he said. "The UN vote is a step forward but we will still be a state under occupation. Maybe it will not automatically improve things but it is something."...READ MORE

My letter to CSM RE US support for Mahmoud Abbas's UN bid for Palestine could save two-state solution


RE US support for Mahmoud Abbas's UN bid for Palestine could save two-state solution
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/1129/US-support-for-Mahmoud-Abbas-s-UN-bid-for-Palestine-could-save-two-state-solution-video

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to Palestine and to all the countries that affirmed Israel's existence- and the dire need for Palestinian statehood.

"Now, more than ever, it makes no sense for Israel and the West to "punish the PLO" by making it harder for the Palestinian Authority to govern in the West Bank and handing Hamas yet another unearned and undeserved victory" Hussein Ibish

Who voted is not as important as the fact that there was a vote- and because of that vote Palestine, diplomacy and peace won.  Now what...  Do we spin the news to foolishly empower Hamas and Islamist tyranny, or do we do what we can to help shape a fully secular two state solution to once and for all actually end the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Do we let hate mongers and cynics dominate the conversation- or do we give the children of Palestine and the children of Israel a chance to grow up free and able to help build a just and lasting peace based on full respect for international law and basic human rights.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
Now, more than ever....

UN welcomes State of Palestine

Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas' Speech at the UNGA

"64 years is a long time to be denied your own state. No more stalling, no more excuses. Palestinians must live in freedom and dignity – it is time for them to have the recognition they deserve." Desmond Tutu


Rally to support Abbas & the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status

PBS NEWSHOUR: How Will the Palestinian UN Move Impact Prospects for Mideast Peace?

Please VOTE YES for PALESTINE...Please step up and support secular non-violent efforts by Palestine in hopes of ending the Israel-Palestine conflict.


The Palestinian Choice—And Ours

Palestinians warn: back UN statehood bid or risk boosting Hamas

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People


Verbicide: Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti resists the political language of stupidity and hate.

Why Americans Don't Understand Palestine


The Brotherhood’s true colors

Gaza: no lessons learned




The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The Arab Peace Initiative


"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

The Office of International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/)   Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:
Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

".... it being clearly understood that nothing
          shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
          rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."
******

Now, more than ever....

"Now, more than ever, it makes no sense for Israel and the West to "punish the PLO" by making it harder for the Palestinian Authority to govern in the West Bank and handing Hamas yet another unearned and undeserved victory....

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ought to vigorously pursue his offer of resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, which means dropping the settlement-freeze demand. The West should reciprocate by restoring financial aid to the PA and other efforts aimed at improving the situation on the ground in the West Bank. And Israel should cooperate in those efforts and abandon the policy of punishing the PLO by degrading the ability of the PA to effectively govern in the West Bank." Hussein Ibish

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ought to vigorously pursue his offer of resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, which means dropping the settlement-freeze demand. The West should reciprocate by restoring financial aid to the PA and other efforts aimed at improving the situation on the ground in the West Bank. And Israel should cooperate in those efforts and abandon the policy of punishing the PLO by degrading the ability of the PA to effectively govern in the West Bank.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/no-victory-at-un-unless-palestinian-unity-is-the-result#ixzz2Di2VvQrg
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ought to vigorously pursue his offer of resuming negotiations with Israel without preconditions, which means dropping the settlement-freeze demand. The West should reciprocate by restoring financial aid to the PA and other efforts aimed at improving the situation on the ground in the West Bank. And Israel should cooperate in those efforts and abandon the policy of punishing the PLO by degrading the ability of the PA to effectively govern in the West Bank.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/no-victory-at-un-unless-palestinian-unity-is-the-result#ixzz2Di2VvQrg
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Faceboo Hussein Ibish

UN welcomes State of Palestine

Palestinians celebrate resolution
The U.N. General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 29, despite intense opposition from the United States and Israel. More than 130 countries voted and the resolution elevates their status to "non-member observer state," which Palestinians hope will provide leverage in their dealings with Israel.
A Palestinian boy in traditional clothes waves a Palestinain flag during a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 29, 2012. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood by supporting a resolution to upgrade the U.N. observer status of the Palestinian Authority from "entity" to "non-member state." REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas' Speech at the UNGA


Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas' Speech at the UNGA 

President Mahmoud Abbas called in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday on the world community to support his bid for membership in the UN and for statehood, describing it as support for truth.
“The support of the countries of the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth, freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations,” he said.
“Your support for the establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land,” said Abbas to a roaring applause.
He said he had submitted an application for UN membership shortly before making his speech, urging the UN Secretary-General “to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council.” He called upon the members of the Security Council “to vote in favor of our full membership.”
Abbas received a warm welcome and standing ovation when he took to the podium of the UN General Assembly to make his 40-minute long speech. Following is an official translation of the full text of the speech.
Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I wish to extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.
I reaffirm today my sincere congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and prosperity.
I also congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the helm of the United Nations.  This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United Nations.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Question Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - UNRWA - which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of the United Nations.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. Everyone had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations, which had begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of President Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with Egyptian and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year. We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals.  But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.  
After this, we did not give up and did not cease our efforts for initiatives and contacts.  Over the past year we did not leave a door to be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be taken and we did not ignore any formal or informal party of influence and stature to be addressed. We positively considered the various ideas and proposals and initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of these sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.
The core issue here is that the Israeli government refuses to commit to terms of reference for the negotiations that are based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and that it frantically continues to intensify building of settlements on the territory of the State of Palestine.
Settlement activities embody the core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial discrimination against our people that this policy entails.  This policy, which constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would begin a new era for our region.
The reports of United Nations missions as well as by several Israeli institutions and civil societies convey a horrific picture about the size of the settlement campaign, which the Israeli government does not hesitate to boast about and which it continues to execute through the systematic confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the construction of thousands of new settlement units in various areas of the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and accelerated construction of the annexation Wall that is eating up large tracts of our land, dividing it into separate and isolated islands and cantons, destroying family life and communities and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families.  The occupying Power also continues to refuse permits for our people to build in Occupied East Jerusalem, at the same time that it intensifies its decades-long campaign of demolition and confiscation of homes, displacing Palestinian owners and residents under a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing them away from their ancestral homeland.  In addition, orders have been issued to deport elected representatives from the city of Jerusalem.  The occupying Power also continues to undertake excavations that threaten our holy places, and its military checkpoints prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques and churches, and it continues to besiege the Holy City with a ring of settlements imposed to separate the Holy City from the rest of the Palestinian cities.
The occupation is racing against time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of Palestine.
At the same time, the occupying Power continues to impose its blockade on the Gaza Strip and to target Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes and artillery shelling, persisting with its war of aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted in massive destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the thousands of martyrs and wounded.
The occupying Power also continues its incursions in areas of the Palestinian National Authority through raids, arrests and killings at the checkpoints.  In recent years, the criminal actions of armed settler militias, who enjoy the special protection of the occupation army, has intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks against our people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques, fields, crops and trees. Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for the crimes of the settlers.
These are just a few examples of the policy of the Israeli colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process.
This policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence.
In addition, we now face the imposition new conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians, citizens of Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to accept being dragged into.
All of these actions taken by Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier agreements.  Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements aimed at perpetuating the occupation.  Israel reoccupied the cities of the West Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military occupation by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines whether or not a Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the Palestinian Territory.  And it is confiscating our land and our water and obstructing our movement as well as the movement of goods.  And it is the one obstructing our whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 1974, our deceased leader Yasser Arafat came to this hall and assured the Members of the General Assembly of our affirmative pursuit for peace, urging the United Nations to realize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, stating: “Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand”.
In 1988, President Arafat again addressed the General Assembly, which convened in Geneva to hear him, where he submitted the Palestinian peace program adopted by the Palestine National Council at its session held that year in Algeria.
When we adopted this program, we were taking a painful and very difficult step for all of us, especially those, including myself, who were forced to leave their homes and their towns and villages, carrying only some of our belongings and our grief and our memories and the keys of our homes to the camps of exile and the Diaspora in the 1948 Al-Nakba, one of the worst operations of uprooting, destruction and removal of a vibrant and cohesive society that had been contributing in a pioneering and leading way in the cultural, educational and economic renaissance of the Arab Middle East.
Yet, because we believe in peace and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice - justice that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine - on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.
We, by taking that historic step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace to be made in the land of peace.
In the years that followed - from the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations leading to the Oslo agreement, which was signed 18 years ago in the garden of the White House and was linked with the letters of mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel, we persevered and dealt positively and responsibly with all efforts aimed at the achievement of a lasting peace agreement.  Yet, as we said earlier, every initiative and every conference and every new round of negotiations and every movement was shattered on the rock of the Israeli settlement expansion project.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I confirm, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the following:
1. The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,  which Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.  To this we adhere and this is what we are working to achieve.  Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.
2. The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.
3. We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy.  Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities.
4. Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive, inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets, tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.
5. When we bring our plight and our case to this international podium, it is a confirmation of our reliance on the political and diplomatic option and is a confirmation that we do not undertake unilateral steps.  Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.
I am here to say on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making.  I say to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity.  Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring States - Palestine and Israel - instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the other.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Despite the unquestionable right of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as stipulated in international resolutions, we have accepted in the past few years to engage in what appeared to be a test of our worthiness, entitlement and eligibility. During the last two years our national authority has implemented a program to build our State institutions.  Despite the extraordinary situation and the Israeli obstacles imposed, a serious extensive project was launched that has included the implementation of plans to enhance and advance the judiciary and the apparatus for maintenance of order and security, to develop the administrative, financial, and oversight systems, to upgrade the performance of institutions, and to enhance self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid.  With the thankful support of Arab countries and donors from friendly countries, a number of large infrastructure projects have been implemented, focused on various aspects of service, with special attention to rural and marginalized areas.
In the midst of this massive national project, we have been strengthening what we seeking to be the features of our State: from the preservation of security for the citizen and public order; to the promotion of judicial authority and rule of law; to strengthening the role of women via legislation, laws and participation; to ensuring the protection of public freedoms and strengthening the role of civil society institutions; to institutionalizing rules and regulations for ensuring accountability and transparency in the work of our Ministries and departments; to entrenching the pillars of democracy as the basis for the Palestinian political life.
When division struck the unity of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue for restoration of our unity.  We succeeded months ago in achieving national reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the coming weeks.  The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.
The reports issued recently by the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and the International Monetary Fund confirm and laud what has been accomplished, considering it a remarkable and unprecedented model.  The consensus conclusion by the AHLC a few days ago here described what has been accomplished as a “remarkable international success story” and confirmed the readiness of the Palestinian people and their institutions for the immediate independence of the State of Palestine.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is no longer possible to redress the issue of the blockage of the horizon of the peace talks with the same means and methods that have been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful over the past years.  The crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is more dangerous are attempts to simply circumvent it or postpone its explosion.
It is neither possible, nor practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if everything is fine.  It is futile to go into negotiations without clear parameters and in the absence of credibility and a specific timetable.  Negotiations will be meaningless as long as the occupation army on the ground continues to entrench its occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues to change the demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which to alter the borders.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a moment of truth and my people are waiting to hear the answer of the world.  Will it allow Israel to continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world?  Will it allow Israel to remain a State above the law and accountability?  Will it allow Israel to continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.
The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.
At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy - the Arab Spring - the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.
The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities without checkpoints obstructing them.  The time has come for sick people to be able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years.  The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed.
My people desire to exercise their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity. They believe what the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said: Standing here, staying here, permanent here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We profoundly appreciate and value the positions of all States that have supported our struggle and our rights and recognized the State of Palestine following the Declaration of Independence in 1988, as well as the countries that have recently recognized the State of Palestine and those that have upgraded the level of Palestine’s representation in their capitals.  I also salute the Secretary-General, who said a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years ago.
Be assured that this support for our people is more valuable to them than you can imagine, for it makes them feel that someone is listening to their narrative and that their tragedy and the horrors of Al-Nakba and the occupation, from which they have so suffered, are not being ignored.  And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief that justice is possible in this in this world. The loss of hope is the most ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.
I say: The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth, free in a sovereign and independent homeland.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to inform you that, before delivering this statement, I submitted, in my capacity as the President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full member of the United Nations.
I call upon Mr. Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favor of our full membership. I also call upon the States that did not recognized the State of Palestine as yet to do so.
Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,
The support of the countries of the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth,freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations.
Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your support for the establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy Land.
I thank you.

"64 years is a long time to be denied your own state. No more stalling, no more excuses. Palestinians must live in freedom and dignity – it is time for them to have the recognition they deserve." Desmond Tutu

"64 years is a long time to be denied your own state. No more stalling, no more excuses. Palestinians must live in freedom and dignity – it is time for them to have the recognition they deserve." Desmond Tutu

The Elders

"The UN recognised Israel in 1949. Now it's time to afford the Palestinians that recognition." Mary Robinson

"The Palestinian UN bid is a peaceful, diplomatic act; one that could help revive the stalled Middle East peace. Delaying the vote would only mean more stalled negotiations, settlement expansion and insecurity." Martti Ahtisaari

  "The US and Europe support the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Voting in favour of the Palestinian UN resolution today will help to secure one, bringing us closer to peace and security for Palestinians AND Israelis." Gro Harlem Brundtland

Two-state solution on the line | The Elders

Rally to support Abbas & the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status

People wave Palestinian flags during a rally in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, supporting the resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority's United Nations observer status from "entity" to "non-member state" November 29, 2012. The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS)



A Palestinian girl stands in front of a Palestinian Authority symbol during a rally supporting the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state on Thursday but success could exact a high price: delaying an independent state of Palestine because of Israel's vehement opposition.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)



AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh



Members of a Palestinian boy scout marching band play their instruments during a rally in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, supporting the resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority's United Nations observer status from "entity" to "non-member state" November 29, 2012.  REUTERS/Marko Djurica

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, right, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at U.N. headquarters Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Palestinians hold pictures of President Mahmoud Abbas and wave Fatah flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state on Thursday but success could exact a high price: delaying an independent state of Palestine because of Israel's vehement opposition. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

PBS NEWSHOUR: How Will the Palestinian UN Move Impact Prospects for Mideast Peace?

SUMMARY As Palestinians go to the United Nations to ask for more recognition, Margaret Warner talks to Ghaith al-Omari and David Makovsky about why the different Palestinian factions are seeking a status change and how it may affect tensions with Israel and longterm peace prospects.  
 
MARGARET WARNER: For more on the Palestinian bid for greater recognition at the United Nations, I'm joined by David Makovsky of the Washington Institute For Near East Policy, and Ghaith Al-Omari, executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine.

Welcome back to both of you.

Let's start by explaining, why is this such a big deal? You have got the U.S. vociferously opposed to it. Why is this such a big deal, first of all, for the Palestinians?

GHAITH AL-OMARI, American Task Force on Palestine: For President Abbas, the stagnation in the peace process over the last couple of years, his lack of any diplomatic achievements throughout that period, and the fact that we have seen Hamas gaining more and more mainstreaming in the region and beyond the region makes it...READ MORE

Please VOTE YES for PALESTINE...Please step up and support secular non-violent efforts by Palestine in hopes of ending the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Letter I just sent to my Seantors, Congressman, Representatives & President Obama

Dear  ______

Please step up and support secular non-violent efforts by Palestine in hopes of ending the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Don't let hate mongers and cynics and crazy lunatics and Hamas sabotage and destroy Palestine's quest for real freedom and a just and lasting peace based on full respect for international law and basic human rights.

Palestinian men, women and children should not be further disenfranchised and punished because they dare dream of building a real state... nor should Palestinian men, women and children be further disenfranchised, punished, impoverished, displaced and alienated because Israel has refused to take negotiations and the Arab Peace Initiative seriously.

People can spin anything and everything a million different ways- do what you can to spin Palestine's application into respect for the political process necessary to end the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fully secular two state solution ASAP.

Show the way with real diplomacy- and compassion. Please VOTE YES FOR PALESTINE- and yes for peace.

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab


My letter to the Phil Inq RE letters 11-29-2012 Folly of Palestinian cause- What might have been- Conditions for peace


The case for Palestine: As Abbas has said, the upcoming General Assembly vote is not aimed at de-legitimizing Israel. It follows the Palestinian National Council’s declaration in 1988 of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. It also follows the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by the Arab League at its Beirut Summit in 2002 (and to which Israel has yet to respond)

RE: letters- Folly of Palestinian cause
http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20121129_Letters_to_the_Editor_.html

Dear Editor,

Sad to see today, November 29th, the day that Palestine is to address the United Nations regarding upgrading Palestine's status in hopes of achieving actual sovereign statehood soon, that your letters column is so very very anti-Palestine.

I agree that Islamists, including Hamas, are a huge problem- but demonizing and dismissing mainstream and secular non-violent Palestinian efforts to end the Israel-Palestine conflict with a two state solution makes the situation even worse... Hussein Ibish of The American Task Force on Palestine wisely points out that " How we choose to influence Palestinian political realities will have a profound impact on our vital national interests. Like everybody else, we have to decide which group of Palestinians we want to empower based on our own values and national interests, and act accordingly" The Palestinian Choice—And Ours

Sincerely,
Anne Selden Annab

NOTES
The Palestinian Choice—And Ours

Palestinians warn: back UN statehood bid or risk boosting Hamas

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People


Verbicide: Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti resists the political language of stupidity and hate.

Why Americans Don't Understand Palestine

The Brotherhood’s true colors

Gaza: no lessons learned





The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The Arab Peace Initiative

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

The Office of International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/)   Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:
Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

".... it being clearly understood that nothing
          shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
          rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."