mahmoud abbas

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The following article illustrates just how powerless Mahmoud Abbas’ government really is! Abbas has insisted on renaming all PA Authority stationary and official letterhead with the proud title ‘State of Palestine’, but when Israel says it won’t honour passports that carry the new title or logo, Abbas immediately backs down.

Who am I to judge, but in his ongoing attempts to ‘cooperate’ with the occupying forces, Abbas consistently achieves nothing for his people. Perhaps images broadcast around the world of tens of thousands of Palestinians unable to move through checkpoints would have seen the issue quickly decided in Abbas’ favour? Even so, who am I to judge?

Father Dave

source: www.algemeiner.com…

Israel Rejects Possible Use of “State of Palestine” Passports

Israel has warned Palestinian Authority officials that it will not honor passports with the “State of Palestine” printed on it. The Palestinian Authority has responded by saying that it will not rush to print passports or identification cards bearing the name “State of Palestine” due to concerns that such a move will prevent Palestinian Arab movement through Israeli crossings.

“As far as the Israelis are concerned, we are not going to overload the wagon of our people by putting ‘State of Palestine’ on passports,” PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday. “They (Israelis) will not allow them to travel.”

Erekat said the new emblem will be used in correspondence with countries that have recognized a state of Palestine.

“At the end of the day, the Palestinian Authority won’t cause trouble for its people,” Nour Odeh, a spokeswoman for Abbas’ government, said, according to Israel Hayom.

Last week PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree to officially change the name of the PA to “State of Palestine” following its status upgrade at the United Nations in November.

Palestinian Authority diplomatic missions around the world have been told to use the new names, including those in countries that did not vote “yes” at the General Assembly, said Omar Awadallah, a PA Foreign Ministry official.

According to Israel Hayom, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev dismissed the name change as pointless but declined comment on whether Israel would retaliate in any way. “Instead of looking for gimmicks, Palestinians should negotiate with Israel to bring about the end of the conflict,” he said. “That will lead to a situation of two states for two peoples.”

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What is Mahmoud Abbas up to?

Normally when we speak of a government ‘rubber-stamping’ something we mean that the action is quite trivial, but in this case it’s the rubber-stamps and the office stationary that are being changed and it all seems highly significant!

Surely the change of name, in and of itself, will do little to affect the international standing of the Palestinian people, apart from aggravate Israel. Perhaps Abbas’ rationale is the morale-building effect he foresees for the Palestinian people themselves?

Father Dave

source: www.saudigazette.com…

Palestinian Authority gives way to the ‘State of Palestine’

Mohammed Mar’i

Saudi Gazette

RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered all Palestinian institutions to stop using the term Palestinian National Authority on official documents, a report said Friday.

The state-run Wafa news agency said that Abbas asked the institutions, including all Palestinian missions abroad, to replace the term with “the State of Palestine” in accordance with the UN recognition of Palestine as a nonmember observer state.

The report said that the change went into effect immediately, and was applied to official documents, seals and medals.

The report said that the embassies should “coordinate the change with the (Palestinian) Ministry of Foreign Affairs” to handle it with the countries that opposed the Palestinian move at the UN General Assembly.

According to presidential decree, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), with whom Israel signed the Oslo Peace Accords, will not change its official documents, signs and seals.

On Sunday, a senior PLO official recommended that the Palestinian Authority (PA) add the label “State of Palestine” to all of its official documents and signs. Sa’eb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and head of its Negotiations Department, also suggested that the PA prepare a new constitution, achieve reconciliation with Hamas, and seek membership in UN conventions and agencies following the upgrading of the status.

The PLO official said that following the UN vote, the “occupation has become an occupation of a member of the UN by another member. This requires creating a new political dynamic and approach between the international community and Israel.”

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Abu Mazen’s status on the world stage seems to be sky-rocketing! He has had an audience with the Pope! What next – the Queen of England perhaps?

Certainly it is a good thing to see Christians standing in solidarity with their Palestinian brethren when so much of the Western church seems to hold them in contempt. Let’s hope though that these diplomatic gestures will achieve something concrete.

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

source: Al-Bushra

Solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires talks, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Just weeks after the Vatican praised Palestine’s boosted status as a non-member observer state at the United Nations, Pope Benedict XVI met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a private audience at the Vatican.

During the “cordial” talks in the papal library Dec. 17, the two men discussed the need to restart talks between Israelis and Palestinians in a way that respects the rights of all parties involved, said a statement from the Vatican press office.

In discussions about the U.N. vote last month, the Vatican said it was hoped Palestine’s new U.N. status “will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both,” the statement said.

The two leaders also talked about the broader situation in the Middle East, which is “troubled by numerous conflicts,” and expressed hopes that “the courage for reconciliation and peace will be found,” the Vatican statement said.

The contribution Christian communities can offer in promoting the common good for the territories and the whole region was also discussed, it said.

As Abbas arrived, the pope greeted him in English, saying, “Welcome, it’s good to see you.” The president replied, “I’m very glad to see you here again.” Abbas had met with the pope at the Vatican in June 2011.

The pope and Abbas spoke privately for 25 minutes before the president introduced his eight-man delegation. The pope gave Abbas a painting of the fountains in the Vatican gardens.

Abbas, who is president of the Palestinian National Authority, gave the pope a picture of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The pope said, in Italian, “It’s very beautiful. Thank you.”

The artwork, made up of large painted tiles, had an inscription — in English and Arabic — that said, “Presented by President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) President of the State of Palestine,” reporters said.

Reporters traveling with the Palestinian delegation said that “it was not the first time” Abbas referred to the Palestinian territories as a Palestinian state since the U.N. General Assembly voted last month to grant Palestinians observer status.

Abbas’ visit to the Vatican was part of a larger “tour of thanks,” reporters said, expressing gratitude to world leaders for their support of Palestine’s increased status at the United Nations.

Last month, 138 member states voted to boost Palestine’s status from “entity” to “non-member state” — the same status held by the Holy See — in an implicit recognition of Palestinian sovereignty. Israel, the United States and Canada were among the nine states that voted against the motion. Forty-one countries abstained.

The Vatican had praised the United Nations vote, but called for full recognition of Palestinian sovereignty as necessary for peace in the region. Pope Benedict has repeatedly called for a two-state solution to “become a reality, not remain a dream.”

After meeting the pope, Abbas met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for relations with states.

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Father Roy writes: The Palestinians are seeking a final status solution to the conflict. Israel’s Negotiating Strategies are well-known. Saeb Erekat has emphasized that the Palestinian leadership has allotted six months for the initiative to succeed.   Peace, Roy 

Palestinians to launch 6-month initiative to restart talks with Israel

Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says initiative, to be launched next month in cooperation with international officials, conditioned on demand to release prisoners, call to halt settlement construction.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday that the Palestinian Authority plans to launch a new initiative to renew negotiations with Israel, which would include the release of prisoners and a halt to settlement construction.

Speaking on Ramallah-based Voice of Palestine radio, Erekat said that he will be initiating the move in cooperation with international officials next month, in an effort to renew talks with Israel over a final status solution.

Erekat said the initiative includes the resumption of negotiations from where they were left off, with an insistence on ending the occupation. Erekat emphasized that the Palestinian leadership has allotted solely six months for the initiative.

After the UN General Assembly’s vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state last month, Israel immediately announced that in response for what it deemed the “unilateral” move, it will move ahead with the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as with plans to build in the contested E-1 corridor, which links Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the settlement construction plans, specifically those in E-1, a “red line.”

Israel and European states have been embroiled in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis since the plans were announced. Several European countries, including Britain, Germany and France, have been putting heavy diplomatic pressure on Israel to reverse its decision and are considering diplomatic steps against it.

The Obama Administration has also condemned the move. “We reiterate our long-standing opposition to Israeli settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week.

Negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have been at a stalemate since 2010.

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Father Dave

Father Dave

We have reached crisis point for Israel/Palestine.

Things have been moving rapidly over the last few weeks:

Operation Pillar of Cloud might have been designed to solidify Netanyahu’s electoral standing but it had some unexpected consequences. The visit of Mohamed Morsi to Gaza gave de facto international recognition to the Hamas government, and Hamas’ leader, Khaled Meshaal, has never looked stronger!

Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas – Chairman of Hamas’ rival faction, Fatah, and President of the Palestinian National Authority – has won recognition for Palestine as a non-member state at the UN, and can now likewise work from a position of strength with regards to both negotiations with the Israeli government and in his efforts to bridge the Fatah-Hamas divide.

Netanyahu’s response was vitriolic – the withholding of revenue for government employees in the West Bank and then the announcement of thousands of new settlement blocks in the highly sensitive area known as E1!

We should not underestimate the significance of these new settlements. If they go ahead, they will lie between Gaza and the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state a complete impossibility.

The Fatah spokesperson responded to Netanyahu’s announcement by saying that this was a ‘red line’, and that these settlements would be the final nail in the coffin for the long-hoped-for two-state solution. Meshaal then responded with a defiant speech before thousands of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip, promising to take back all of modern-day Israel “inch-by-inch”, which he said he would never recognize.

Netanyahu has now responded to Meshaal with equal aggression, stating that Israel will never withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it did from Gaza, meaning that the Palestinians have his promise that the Occupation will never end!

And so the battle-lines are drawn, but not in quite the same way as they were in the first and second intifada.  Israel is now enjoying less support internationally than at any time since 1948! And with Avigdor Lieberman ever on the rise in Israeli politics, it is likely that Netanyahu’s government will move even further to the right in the coming days and months, and further away from any language of peace, which can only result in even greater international isolation.

So what will happen next?

God only knows!

A full-blown third intifada, complete with rockets and every form of violence that the beleaguered Palestinians can muster is certainly a real possibility.

Alternatively, it may be that Abbas in unity with Meshaal are now in a position of strength from which they can leverage for a genuine contiguous Palestinian state set along the pre-1967 borders. Certainly the two Palestinian factions could count on broad international support for such a push. We can only pray!

What cannot happen now is that business continues as usual, with Netanyahu pretending that he’s working peacefully for the establishment of a Palestinian state while simultaneously expanding the settlements so as to ensure that it can never happen.

Father Dave
www.fatherdave.org…
www.how2changetheworld.com…