Hamas says party united against UN bid

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas is united in its rejection of President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for UN membership despite reports of internal divisions, a party spokesman said Saturday.

Fawzi Barhoum told Ma’an there was “no controversy” within the movement, and that all party decisions were being decided in comprehensive consultations with officials.

The spokesman said comments made Saturday by Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal in Tehran reflected the party position clearly and without ambiguity.

Mashaal said resistance was the only option left for Palestinians at a conference in the Iranian capital, The Associated Press reported.

“Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed,” Mashaal said.

Barhoum warned against attempts to “drive a wedge” between Hamas leaders, saying efforts to sow discord within the party would not succeed or “bring those who do it any good.”

He added: “Hamas confirms the credibility of its leaders, as we all adopt the same stance and stress the same issues.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also downplayed reports of controversy within the party.

He dismissed a recent report in the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper which said recent comments by Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh did not reflect the party’s official stance.

Haniyeh has repeatedly criticized Abbas’ bid for full membership of the United Nations as a unilateral move and urged the president not to “beg for a state.”

Abu Zuhri said Haniyeh’s comments were in line with the party’s stance that the UN bid was a potentially dangerous unilateral move.

“An independent state should be established on liberated lands first, rather than declaring a state while occupation continues,” Abu Zuhri said.

Abbas told reporters on Saturday that while Hamas officials publicly slammed the UN bid, several Hamas leaders had phoned him privately to congratulate him on the initiative.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip after ousting forces loyal to Abbas’ Fatah party in 2007.

The party’s leadership is in exile in Damascus.

(www.maannews.net / 01.10.2011)

RESISTANCE TAKES CIA HEADQUARTERS IN TRIPOLI, HEAVY FIGHTING CONTINUES

Tonight the Green Flag was raised over areas of Tripoli; Tripoli Airport is partially under Libyan control, and CIA Staffers in Tripoli spent the night captured by Special Operations Forces in a house with the Green Flag hoisted above it. Heavy fighting continues throughout Libya. Reports that Libyan Government Spokesperson Dr. Moussa Ibrahim had fallen or was captured are revealed as disinformation. The Libyan Government criticized China´s support of NATO´s Imperialist War.

During the early morning hours special operations units of the elite 32nd Brigade commanded by Khamis Ghadafi initiated assaults on strategically significant locations inside Tripoli. The special operations units were backed by resistance inside Tripoli. Several checkpoints were destroyed, and the Green Flag was raised over several areas in Tripoli and parts of Tripoli Airport.

In the early morning hours CIA Staffers in the Tripoli CIA Headquarters were amazed when they realized that the Green Flag had been hoisted on top of their building, and that they were briefly taken prisoners by a special operations unit. Besides the chock of capture, non of the CIA Staffers has been hurt, and all were released with no other harm than a dent in their self-confidence.

Russian Intelligence source provided a brilliant example of Intelligence Staffers somewhat special humor when giving a brief. “The CIA Guys” he said “Spent a Night in the Green Zone“. A cynical remark that refers to the Green Zone in Baghdad, which was the only secure area of operations for US Troops and their proxy government after the invasion of Iraq. The most significant result of the attack is that the special operations teams managed to secure a cache of important CIA documents. The Russian Intelligence Source explains that the Libyan Government will provide the documents to the press as well as the United Nations Security Counsel via secure channels as soon as possible.

Reports that Dr. Moussa Ibrahim, spokesperson of the Libyan Government had been captured proved to be disinformation, and Dr. Moussa Ibrahim will address the Libyan people and the world as soon as time and safety permits. The Libyan government criticized China for it´s transfer of Libyan money to the TNC, asking why China, a socialist country, is supporting NATO´s imperialist war in Northern Africa. This question has acute significance for China and the Chinese Government, who sooner or later will have to respond to NATO´s North African and Middle Eastern Ambitions. According analyst William Engdahl and other experts, the North African NATO Campaign is part of a war effort with the ultimate goal to destabilize China.

After yesterdays admission by a high ranking NATO commander that NATO has failed in Libya there have been numerous optimistic responses. How ever, the war in Libya, absent a long over due and rigorous response by key UN Security Counsel members Russia and China, the Libyan war is bound to last months and years.

After US Senator John McCain yesterday stated that Russia should look at Libya as an example of what can happen inside Russia, and encouraged Russians to rise against Putin,  Russian intelligence sources replied to nsnbc, that McCain should get up to date with the crimes of the US. Something “like” in Libya, namely US sponsoring of Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks has been going on in Russia and allied neighboring countries for decades. The absence of key players responses in the Security Counsel is by many interpreted as one more sign that the United Nations has utterly lost it´s credibility. It can also be interpreted as a function of the fact that NATO has over stepped it´s limits to such a degree, that other than diplomatic responses are seriously considered. The absence of rigorous and unified responses by Arab countries and members of the African Union is tangible too. Of all countries, Jordan showed solidarity with Libya and a rejection of NATO´s aggression, when it denied 100 wounded TNC “rebels” that had been flown to Amman for medical treatment to enter the country and asked the pilot to return to Libya. Can it be that the Hashemite Royal Family of Jordan has intelligence that provides evidence for, that it is on NATO´s “hitlist” over Arab states where a post-modern coup is planned. It is not unlikely that the Islamic Action Front in Jordan, in spite of it´s statements that it has no plans of ousting the Jordanian Government in February, is being quietly armed and prepared by the CIA.

According to confirmed reports from inside Libya the latest military development shows significant victories of the Libyan Defense Forces, but to speak about a decisive battle or victory would be utterly premature. Parts of Tripoli and parts of Tripoli Airport are under Libyan control. The attacks on Bani Walid and Sirte have been repelled and there are reports of possible counter attacks. A TNC interrogation and torture center in Tripoli has been stormed by popular resistance. NATO paratroopers, possibly from the 82nd Airborne out of Ft. Bragg North Carolina that was dropped at Ras Lanouf to secure Oil Refinery installations and pipelines is meeting heavy resistance. Though the Libyan Military, the Tribal Militia, Volunteer Forces form inside and outside Libya are winning on all fronts, the war on Libya is far from over.

Among the massacres and the murder, the calls for urgent humanitarian help for the battered population in the besieged cities of Libya is overheard as if the ears of the world had been deafened by gunfire. When even Medicins Sans Frontiers withdraws urgently needed help, the world needs to see urgent change, the UN DOING of the UN, the UN DOING of the IRC, and the establishment of a truly international community of independent nations, including humanitarian aid where it is needed, when it is needed.

(libya360.wordpress.com / 01.10.2011)

Three injured in Israeli air strike north of Gaza

Three Palestinians were injured as Israeli jets targeted a group of militants east of town of Beit Hanoon, North of the Gaza Strip Saturday evening, local medical sources reported.

Medical staff spokesman, Adham Abu Silmya, told the Maan News Agency that the wounded residents were transferred to some hospitals north of the Gaza Strip; one of the injuries was described as a critical condition.

The Israeli military spokeswoman admitted that an Israeli air strike targeted a group of Palestinians north of the Gaza Strip, claiming that the group was intending to fire rockets towards Israeli cities near the Gaza Strip.

However, the Palestinian factions did not claim any responsibility for intention to launch missiles towards Israeli inhabitants near Gaza.

(www.imemc.org / 01.10.2011)

Five lessons learned from Palestinian UN bid

Editor’s note: In light of the recent show-down at the UN, analyst Yousef Munayyer makes some observations on the state of the Palestinian struggle.

1. Washington is broken and won’t be fixed any time soon

The Palestinians came to the United Nations in the hopes of putting forward a membership application because they had come to understand that domestic
dynamics in the United States made it impossible for Washington to be an
even-handed broker. If the Obama administration can’t get Netanyahu’s right-wing
government to halt settlement expansion – an Israeli obligation under international law and the US-initiated Road Map for Peace – how could they possibly press Netanyahu to dismantle settlements, divide Jerusalem and admit refugees when the time came to get serious?

The United States is an exceptional place and it is a country that believes in its exceptionalism. Washington likes to believe it can do anything, and it can do and has done many things. But there is one thing it simply cannot do and that is even-handedly broker a deal between Israel and Palestinians. This has to do almost entirely with US domestic politics. Whether you blame the Israel lobby or accept the narrative that Americans en masse have a special connection with Israel, there is no doubt that America is solidly in Israel’s corner.

The Israelis have long since recognised this; that is why they insist no other state or alliance of states mediates this conflict. Most Palestinians have long since recognised this and now, after 20 years of failed negotiations, even those among the Palestinians which have been most committed to a US-led peace process have come to the same conclusion.

If there was any doubt about how Washington’s domestic politics handicaps its ability to broker, it was erased by President Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Without even a modicum of recognition of Palestinians’ suffering and without one word of condemnation for Israeli colonialism, President Obama rang in the US election season.

Might this change in the future? Sure. There are certainly signs that indicate that Americans in general are becoming more educated about the Palestinian plight and are becoming more hesitant to automatically support Israel’s every move. Yet this nascent change has not transcended into the level of America’s political elite, and lawmakers are probably as solidly pro-Israel today as they have ever been. Continued Israeli intransigence, colonisation and massacres such as the 2008-2009 war on Gaza might expedite this process, but Palestinians cannot afford to wait until American policy actually changes. For Palestinians, there is already too little of Palestine left to wait another day.

Every credible Republican candidate for president in 2012 is hammering Obama for being too hard on Israel when in reality he has defended Israel at every critical juncture and made military aid to Israel the single largest expenditure in the 2010 foreign aid budget. Obama, who came to Cairo backed with the “hope and change” momentum that put him in office, was at the same time secretly providing Israel with one-tonne bombs months after the war on Gaza. Can you imagine the political storm Obama would be embroiled in if he actually exerted any real pressure on Israel?

Because of these domestic politics, the Palestinians have realised what the Israelis have long sought after: the reality that Washington won’t make Israel do what is necessary to create a Palestinian state. Frankly, it’s about time.

2. Palestinian unity is a necessity

Many people might put the beginning of divisions in the Palestinian polity at 2006 when the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) routed Fatah in Legislative Council elections. In reality, divisions have been developing for decades – in large part due to the decaying of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its unofficial marriage to the Palestinian Authority.

For months, PLO Chairman and Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas travelled the world in the hopes of securing votes and recognition
for Palestinian statehood. The PLO leadership executed a series of complex and
calculated diplomatic manoeuvres to bring Palestine’s case for statehood to the
United Nations. Indeed, this was planned for some time and required a significant investment of time from the leadership. Yet, when the moment of truth arrived and when Palestine’s case was brought before the UN, despite dramatic pressure from the United States and its allies, the Palestinians, who needed more than ever to be united, were split on this critical issue.

Hamas refused to endorse the statehood bid and much of the Palestinian diaspora, as well as advocates on behalf of Palestinian refugees, did not back the endeavour because they either believed it would leave them disenfranchised  or that it would fail to change the status quo. In the mere weeks prior to the confrontation in New York, an intense legal debate was taking place over whether or not this statehood bid would jeopardise various Palestinian rights.

Regardless of what one’s position or political affiliation is, it is hard to deny that the UN bid underscores the significant challenge facing Palestinians: the desperate need for reformed and representative institutions to speak for them. As Palestinians brace for what is to come and formulate strategy on how best to achieve their goals, there has never been a better or more urgent moment for Palestinian leaders and advocates of all stripes to unite in the face of Israeli occupation.

Mahmoud Abbas made important strides toward aligning himself with Palestinian public opinion and popular regional sentiments by standing up to the United States under pressure and delivering a strong speech at the UNGA. This is the kind of stance that most Palestinians can unite behind as they have grown tired of the failed strategy of negotiations. He could be doing himself and Palestinians a favour if he takes this opportunity to create a broad and representative coalition of allies, based on confronting the Israeli occupation despite its main sponsor the United States. Of course, his words must be followed by actions.

3. Security collaboration is very valuable to Israel

The extremely pro-Israel Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, did her best impression of the big, bad wolf when she convened a hearing the week before the UN General Assembly and invited some of the most right-wing analysts on this issue to testify on the question of cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the UN bid. But as much as the Chairwoman, her pro-Israel colleagues and the witnesses huffed and puffed, no one was ready to blow the PA house down.

Why? Well, as a number of the witness pointed out, the prospect of cutting aid to the PA meant the likely collapse of the US-funded and trained PA security apparatus which is in close and consistent communication with the IDF on security.

At a time when the Palestinians were moving to further isolate Israel in the international community by requesting statehood at the UN, the Israel-friendly US Congress was hog-tied. They couldn’t use PA funding as leverage because of the risk it posed to Israel, and if there was any doubt, one only had to read a report from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs supporting continued aid to the PA despite the UN bid. Ultimately, Congress may have passed non-binding resolutions on the PA aid issue, but it’s unlikely they will use the power of the purse in ways that might indirectly cost Israel.

What this means is that the Palestinians have gained a better understanding of the precise value of security collaboration with the Israelis. It is clear that Israel would rather risk further isolation than risk losing PA security collaboration. One of the main reasons why the occupation persists is because Israel reaps the benefits of the occupation including land and water resources, but pays minimal costs in exchange.

Completely disbanding Palestinian security so that chaos ensues will not help anyone, especially not the Palestinians, but there is also no sense in the Palestinians providing Israel with cost-free security and getting nothing in return – except continued settlement expansion. Now that it is clear just how valuable this security coordination with the Israelis is, the Palestinians should use it for leverage and halt all coordination.

4. Israel is vulnerable to international isolation, but so is Washington

Remember in February when the US Ambassador to the United Nations essentially
vetoed US policy on Israeli settlements when she cast the lone “no” vote in a UN
Security Council session? Fourteen states voted for the resolution and only the
United States voted against, even though the resolution was actually pieced together from statements made by US officials. It was not an unfamiliar position for the United States. In fact, before that veto, the United States has been the sole veto on 41 previous UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law since 1972.

But something was different this time. The United States was furiously lobbying to secure “no” votes on the Security Council, precisely because it did not want to be seen as the primary obstacle to Palestinian statehood. Why do the optics suddenly matter after decades of automatic and contempt-free American vetoes for Israel’s sake?

Simply put, the world is a different place today than it was a mere eight months ago. When Susan Rice had last raised her hand alone, Hosni Mubarak was one week out of power and the United States was still trying to figure out what was happening in a region where they have traditionally held sway. Egypt has since demonstrated that public opinion is likely to play a much greater role in policy toward Israel. Turkey, another major regional player and long time NATO ally, has all but terminated relations with Israel after the travesty of justice called the Palmer Report.

This is yet another sign of America’s waning influence in the region. But it is also another important signal to the Palestinians. Yes, America may continue to support Israel blindly because of its domestic politics, but at the same time the costs for doing so continue to increase. Going forward, Palestinian strategies that further expose the incongruence between US policy vis-à-vis Israel and its interests in the region will only force more American elites to ask the all important questions that too few are asking today.

5. Real – not symbolic – changes alone will alter the status quo

The UN General Assembly came and went and, just as most serious observers expected, there is little change on the ground. The Israeli occupation – the status quo – still persists. The reason the status quo has continued is because there are entrenched interests on both sides which make it difficult for either party to make game-changing decisions. The Israeli occupation will only end when the costs of maintaining it exceed the benefits of further entrenching it. Right now, the costs of the Israeli occupation to the Israelis are minimal. It benefits from usurping land and resources and avoids the politically costly move of dismantling settlements.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority is assisting in alleviating the costs of occupation through extensive security collaboration with Israel. International donors are largely footing the bill for the PA’s security apparatus.

The Ramallah-based Authority’s most significant challenge to this, thus far, has been in the form of the statehood bid. While further international isolation will raise the costs of occupation for the Israelis, it won’t have an immediate impact.

Palestinians must recognise that shifting the dynamic that perpetuates the status quo involves real changes on the ground and not simply symbolic gestures. If the statehood bid results in the ability to redress grievances with Israel in the International Criminal Court than that might raise the costs of occupation in the long term, so long as other states are compliant in enforcing legal decisions. But that’s the long term, and in the long term we will all be dead, and given the rate of Israeli settlement expansion, aiming for the long term means there will not be anything of Palestine left for the Palestinians.

The shift away from the cost-free occupation dynamic has to happen immediately and Palestinians can begin to do this in the way their counterparts across the Arab world made revolutionary change happen. Through mass mobilisation, ending no-strings-attached security collaboration and encouraging sanctions on the state and popular level against Israel until it meets it obligations, the Palestinians can begin to do to the Israelis what the so-called broker Washington failed to do: make them realise the occupation has to end.

The UN statehood bid didn’t change the world – it didn’t even change things on the ground in occupied Palestine – but what it did do is to make a number of international players show their cards. The Palestinians would be remiss if they did not use this information to build strategies for the future.

( english.aljazeera.net / 01.10.2011)

 

 

Fatah leader: Arab countries will cover shortfall if US blocks aid

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Arab countries will cover a budgetary shortfall if the United States blocks aid to the Palestinian Authority, a senior Fatah official said Saturday.

Muhammad Shtayyeh told Ma’an that Arab and Islamic countries had promised to fund the PA if the US followed through on threats to cut aid over the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

The UK newspaper The Independent reported Saturday that the US Congress had blocked nearly $200 million in aid for the PA in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’ request to join the UN.

Shtayyeh said the US Congress decided to block the aid six weeks ago, but that it was “unlikely” that Washington would stick to the decision.

But, “if the US administration wants to cut aid, then each session has a different discussion,” Shtayyeh said, adding that it was “unbelievable” that the US would take such a step.

“It is regrettable that the Congress blocked that money, as it is unbelievable to exchange political positions for money.

“It is unbelievable that any Parliament imposes sanctions on a people just because that people seeks self-determination and independence.”

Shtayyeh noted that while the US Congress had decided to withdraw Palestinian aid, Israel had not stopped delivering Palestinian tax revenue to the PA.

“This is very embarrassing to the US,” he said.

An Israeli government report submitted to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in September urged the international community to continue funding the PA, warning that a financial crisis in the West Bank was exacerbated by a decline in donor aid.

US pro-Israel lobby groups have also urged Washington not to cut funding to the PA, warning that sanctions could undermine US-funded security cooperation between Israel and the PA.

Shtayyeh noted that the US Congress implemented a similar decision in 2006 when Hamas won the elections, despite a consensus that the vote was democratic.

He said the US administration had managed to bypass Congress’ decision and continued to send money to the PA by channeling funds allocated to Iraq to the West Bank government.

Meanwhile, he expected the European Union to continue funding as the EU did not “use their money to blackmail Palestinians.”

The EU announced Saturday that it would transfer €9.9 million to the PA on Monday, representing its third quarterly payment to fund the government’s social protection program.

Shtayyeh said the effect of US sanctions on the PA should not be overestimated as most of the funds were allocated to NGOs and the private sector.

But Palestinian Monetary Authority Governor Jihad al-Wazir told Reuters in September that the withdrawal of US aid would have “a major impact on the economic situation in the West Bank.”

“Really, the risk of a PA collapse is very real under the financial strain, without US assistance, without donor assistance in general,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit.

If the US were to withdraw aid to the PA, al-Wazir said it is unlikely to be made up by other donor countries.

“I think it will be highly, very difficult at this stage, because Arab support also hasn’t been forthcoming as much as it should have when it comes to budget support,” said al-Wazir, who oversees operations in both the West Bank and Gaza.

PA officials have blamed a shortfall in aid from Arab states for the PA’s current fiscal crisis. In the last three months, the authority has twice failed to pay salaries to its 150,000 employees on time and in full.

Palestinian and American officials are currently embroiled in a diplomatic struggle at the United Nations as Palestine’s bid for membership awaits a Security Council vote.

Washington has vowed to veto the application, but it would not need to exercise this option if the PLO fails to secure nine votes from the 15-member council.

(www.maannews.net / 01.10.2011)

Militairen Egypte wijken voor dreiging boycot

De militaire machthebbers in Egypte hebben er vandaag mee ingestemd de omstreden kieswet te wijzigen, daags voor het aflopen van een ultimatum van 60 politieke partijen. Deze hadden gedreigd anders niet mee te doen aan de parlementsverkiezingen in november.

Partijen krijgen ook het recht om mensen kandidaat te stellen in de kiesdistricten waar eenderde van alle zetels wordt vergeven. De militairen wilden daar eigenlijk alleen ‘onafhankelijke’ kandidaten toestaan. De partijen waren echter bang, dat op deze manier aanhangers van de verdreven president Mubarak in het parlement konden komen.

De Opperste Raad van de Strijdkrachten nam de macht in Caïro over in februari, toen Mubarak moest wijken voor een volksopstand. Het besluit tot wijziging van de kieswet werd genomen na een vergadering van de chef van de generale staf met de Democratische Coalitie, waarin het Moslim Broederschap en tientallen andere politieke partijen zijn vertegenwoordigd.

(www.parool.nl / 01.10.2011)

Low turnout in round 2 of Bahrain vote

DUBAI (AFP) — Voters turned out in low numbers for a second round of by-elections in Bahrain on Saturday boycotted by the Gulf state’s Shiite opposition, witnesses said.

The elections were held to replace 18 MPs of the main Shiite opposition formation al-Wefaq, who resigned in February shortly after Shiite-led protests sparked a deadly response from authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Four deputies were elected on September 24 in the absence of any competitors, and five seats were allocated. In nine districts, “no candidate received 50 percent of the vote”, necessitating the second round.

Witnesses said less than a dozen voters in 20 minutes turned up on Saturday at the largest polling station in Sehla, while a sole voter cast his ballot over the same period in the Shiite village of Sanabes.

Polling was brisker in special stations set up outside Shiite districts to allow voters to take part without being identified.

“Obviously if al-Wefaq were here it would have been better but I understand their decision to boycott,” said one voter, Khaled Ibrahim, 48.

An independent candidate in Sehla, Ali al-Haddad, said he would not have run if al-Wefaq had taken part, calling for the release of political prisoners and the rehiring of sacked employees for taking part in anti-regime protests.

The first round was held in an atmosphere of tension. The opposition reported a low voter turnout but the government said 51 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots.

The interior ministry said 22 people were arrested last month for attempting to obstruct the vote by closing roads, damaging cars in a parking lot near a polling station or by pouring oil in front of another.

(www.maannews.net / 01.10.2011)

Israeli air strike wounds three Palestinians in Gaza

(Reuters) – An Israeli air strike wounded three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Israeli military and Palestinian medical officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air strike targeted a militant squad that was preparing to launch rockets across the border into Israel.

Palestinian medical officials in Gaza said the strike in the town of Beit Hanoun wounded three men, one of them critically. The men were taken to hospital for treatment and no militant group claimed them as members.

The Israel-Gaza border has been mostly quiet since the Jewish state and the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, agreed to a ceasefire after five days of cross-border violence in August when 15 Palestinians, including five civilians, and one Israeli were killed.

(www.reuters.com / 01.10.2011)

Israel to confiscate land of 40 Bethlehem villagers

BETHLEHEM  (Ma’an) — Israeli forces notified villagers near Bethlehem that their  land will soon be confiscated, local residents said Wednesday.

Land  owned by 40 families in Battir village — 148 dunams of vegetable,  fruit and olive groves — is earmarked for confiscation, villagers told  Ma’an.

According to the notices received by villagers, the area  is close to the train line to Jerusalem and next to the East Jerusalem  settlement of Gilo, in which Israeli authorities approved the building  of 1,100 new homes on Tuesday, sparking international condemnation.

The  notification of the Israeli Ministry of Finance’s intention to purchase  the lands said the acquisition was for military and security purposes.

Battir  resident Nidal al-Zaghir told Ma’an the land confiscation “will be a  great loss for the village, as they will lose many of their houses,  water wells and agricultural lands.”

(www.israel-palestinenews.org / 01.10.2011)