It seems that Mahmoud Abbas cannot delay elections any longer! He is not the elected leader of the Palestinian people and he no longer has the support of the international community now that Fayyad has gone. Truly his time has come!
Palestine unity govt talks begin: Abbas
RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced the start of talks on forming a national unity government, the official Wafa news agency said.
The announcement came on the last day of the statutory two-week period after the April 13 resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank.
The consultations will take place “in accordance with the Doha Declaration and the timetable set up by the Palestinian leadership in meetings in Cairo on the reactivation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation” in February, Abbas told the news agency on a visit to Italy.
Abbas urged all Palestinian movements to cooperate so he can issue two decrees, one on forming a unity government “composed of two independent personalities” and a second fixing a date for elections, Wafa reported.
Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip, said that “any government must be formed in accordance with the reconciliation agreement and in consultation and agreement with Hamas”.
“There has been no consultation with Hamas on this matter so far,” Abu Zuhri said, warning against “any unilateral steps”.
Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly failed to bridge their political differences despite signing an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement in 2011. There have been no substantive moves to implement the accord.
Hamas rejects the interim peace accords which Fatah leaders signed in the 1990s with Israel. Peace talks between Israel and Abbas have been stalled since 2010 over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Palestinian basic law required forming a new administration because of Fayyad’s resignation.
“Abbas’s step has thrown the ball into Hamas’s court to agree on a date for holding elections and they will be responsible for the failure if they do not accept,” Abu Youssef said.
It’s hard not to admire Lieberman for his frankness! He doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t mask a racist agenda with politically-correct expressions of tolerance and respect.
At the same time it’s hard to imagine the international repercussions should the Israeli government really try to act upon Lieberman’s suggestions. One can only imagine the scenes of mayhem, with Arabic people being rounded up throughout Israel, turfed out of their homes, arrested, deported … Surely it would be the beginning of the end for Israel.
Lieberman: Send Anti-Israel Arabs to ‘Palestine’
By Maayana Miskin
Arab citizens of Israel should live under the Palestinian Authority, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday. Lieberman spoke following a march against the state of Israel that was held Tuesday, Independence Day, in the Israeli ArabWadi Ara region.
“The hate march of the Israel haters, those who support and continue in the path of the Mufti of Jerusalem, who gathered today in Wadi Ara to mourn the foundation of the state of Israel, all serve as more proof that any agreement with the Palestinians needs to include Israeli Arabs,” he declared.
“An agreement without that will not be a ‘permanent agreement,’ but merely a ‘ceasefire agreement’ until the next round and the next demands,” he continued.
“The fact that they enjoy, and take advantage of, Israeli democracy and freedom of expression to mourn Israel’s creation, while at the same time keeping quiet about the murder of Palestinians in Syria, is evidence of their hypocrisy and of their true goals,” Lieberman added.
“These people need to find their place as citizens of the Palestinian Authority that they identify with and whose flag they wave, and to get their ‘national insurance’ and unemployment money from it,” he concluded.
Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beytenu, previously ran under the controversial elections slogan, “No loyalty, no citizenship.” Lieberman and other party leaders suggested giving state benefits only to those willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the state – a proposal that was widely seen as aimed primarily at Israeli Arabs.
Certainly he is no Yasser Arafat. Even so, John Taylor’s analysis of Abbas is a bit harsh. Certainly the President of the Palestinian Authority has done his best to gain ground for the Palestinian people, even if his efforts have been largely inconsequential.
The problem in many ways did begin with Arafat, who promised to pursue Palestinian statehood only through non-violent means. Abbas, his successor, has remained true to the commitment to non-violence, and this has gained the Palestinian people absolutely nothing! Israel has continued to build settlements, withhold monies owed, imprison Palestinians without trial, demolish homes, etc., and gives absolutely nothing in return for Abbas’ quiet compliance. Hamas, on the other hand, fires rockets from Gaza and refuses to disavow militant resistance. Hamas seems to acheive results!
Surely this is a lose-lose situation for Israel and the US, and yet President Obama only confirmed the status quo in his recent visit, offering absolutely nothing to Abbas and the Palestinian people beyond his formal greetings! God knows what Abbas can do for his people now beyond making a quiet exit from the political scene.
Mahmoud Abbas: Obama and Bibi’s Man in Palestine
Palestinian Authority boss Mahmoud Abbas has no self-respect and no respect for his constituents. Although the US has rarely shown much sympathy for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Obama’s visit to Israel reached a new low. After saying the US-Israeli alliance is “eternal, it is forever,” visiting the grave of Theodor Herzl and pontificating about the Dead Sea Scrolls, looted by the Israelis from the Rockefeller Museum in east Jerusalem, the President proceeded to abandon all official US efforts to halt Israeli settlement construction on the West Bank. Was all this a problem for Mahmoud Abbas? No it wasn’t! “Welcome Mr. President! Welcome to Ramallah! Welcome to our ever shrinking fragment of Palestine!”
How can any Palestinian, Israeli or anyone else for that matter, respect Abbas when he puts aside his role as the guarantor of his peoples’ lives and property and welcomes the man who just acquiesced to Israeli colonization in what remains of Palestine? Obama even promised the Israelis that the US would continue to oppose any Palestinian effort to find international legal redress for their plight, a pledge consistent with a US boycott earlier in March of a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.
If Abbas had the least bit of personal or political courage he would have said firmly to Obama: “You are not welcome here.”
Only a fool doesn’t recognize that Obama values Mahmoud Abbas only because he is a willing tool of the Israelis. The Palestinian Authority’s major role these days seems to be restraining resistance to the Israeli occupation while ignoring Israel’s galloping land seizures, settlement construction, check points, closures and house demolitions. Israel holds hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge and the Palestinian Authority now also locks up those opposed to political cooperation with Israel, particularly Hamas supporters.
By now it must be clear to every resident of the West Bank that Uncle Sam has nothing meaningful to offer the Palestinian Authority except money to buy its corrupt leadership and to pay its security forces, but only if the Authority functions as an adjunct to Israel’s West Bank security apparatus. No Israelis were killed on the West Bank in 2012. But what did protecting Israeli settlers get the Palestinians? Nothing! West Bank colonization was not derailed by Palestinian passivity. In fact, the absence of an armed resistance to Israel settlement building actually facilitated construction; meanwhile the Israeli military continued to employ lethal force against unarmed Palestinian protestors.
In a speech to a select group of Israeli young people Obama stated, “Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace…” Fair enough, but the problem with Obama’s new stance on Israeli settlement construction is that it places the decision to build or not to build firmly in the hands of the Israeli government. And further, and even more outrageous, Obama promised Uncle Sam’s best efforts to keep illegal settlement construction beyond the reach of the International Criminal Court. Obama seems to have learned an important lesson from the horse whipping Netanyahu gave him in the Oval Office a few years ago: official US opposition to Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories is a policy no one in the US government wanted to take responsibility for.
What can Abbas and the Palestinians expect from the new Israeli government? No letup in settlement building, that’s for certain: Appointed to the Economics and Trade portfolio in Netanyahu’s new cabinet was Naftali Bennett, former chief of the Yesha Settlers Council. Bennett’s view of the West Bank is simplicity itself, “…there is no such thing as an occupation of one’s own land.” Uri Ariel, the new Housing and Construction Minister, a man who built his political career advancing Israel’s colonization of the occupied territories, stated his Ministry’s goal will be “many more” settlers and that “there can be only one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea-Israel.” Avigdor Liberman, the incumbent Foreign Minister and ex Moldovian night club bouncer, has already stated his opposition to a settlement freeze as has Netanyahu’s Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, no surprises in either case.
Abbas now finds himself in an impossible position: He can no longer pretend to his constituents that the Obama Administration will restrain Israeli settlement building. But if Abbas takes Obama’s advice and returns to direct negotiations without preconditions, Palestinian weakness preordains failure. A child can’t bring a child molester to justice alone.
In fact the Palestinians have achieved nothing negotiating within the Oslo framework. As the leaked Palestine Papers reveal, when the Palestinians began negotiating with the Israelis more than twenty years ago they offered numerous territorial concessions in the Old City of Jerusalem and on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority even agreed to limit the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees to a mere 10,000 out of five million. Negotiation results? No political settlement and 500,000 Israeli settlers in 200 illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Those figures alone show the extent of the disaster which has befallen the Palestinians since the start of the “peace process.”
Abbas’ strategy of throttling the Palestinian resistance with the hope of receiving something in return from the Israelis and the Americans has clearly failed. Abbas’ regime has been so subservient to American and Israeli interests that it even refused to forward the Goldstone Report on war crimes during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza to the UN Human Rights Council for action.
Abbas has brought the Palestinians to the edge of another great tragedy, second only to the Nakba of 1948, which will likely see Israeli colonization preclude the establishment of a Palestinian state and squeeze the indigenous population into ever smaller Bantustans. Events have entirely discredited Mahmoud Abbas and senior members of the Palestinian Authority. Their democratic mandate expired years ago and their shameful collaboration with Israel has profited the Palestinians nothing. They should resign immediately.
The Palestinians need to recognize that cooperation with the American government is a dead end. Obama’s trip to the Holy Land shows, if additional evidence were needed, that the US is wholly in Israel’s camp and that Uncle Sam has absolutely no intention of providing the Palestinians with the kind of leverage which would enable them to negotiate a fair settlement with Israel. The US will continue to ignore international law as it pertains to colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories. It will also ignore the reprehensible and outrageous Israeli policies which have caused untold suffering to 1.5 million people in Gaza.
The Palestinians should pursue Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories through the International Criminal Court and in every other venue they can access. Security cooperation with Israel should end forthwith-unless settlement activity is terminated. Products made in Israel should join the boycott the Palestinians already have in place against goods produced in Israeli settlements-unless Israel lifts the siege of Gaza. Palestinians abroad should support local BDS efforts. Unarmed resistance of every sort should be organized recognizing, however, that it is likely that such efforts will likely be met with deadly force. All political prisoners should be released, especially members of Hamas. The armed forces of the Palestinian Authority should prepare themselves to defend Palestinians, not protect Israeli settlers.
Is resistance the correct course? It is certainly a recipe for further, potentially much greater, Palestinian suffering and death. Is there any other choice? What is best for the Palestinians is not for me to decide. I can only observe that the right to resist a foreign occupier is both a natural and legal right and that history celebrates those who fight to free their countries from foreign occupations while the Quislings, Lavals and Petains are rightly consigned to the dust bin of history.
Is this the dark side of the Arab Spring? It seems that there is an increasing crackdown on social networking across the Arab world. Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef was arrested last week for allegedly insulting the President, Mohamed Morsi, and now two Palestinian men have been given prison terms for their online activities, including something no more serious than a ‘like’ on Facebook!
Certainly this trend is not going to endear the Palestinian government to ‘the West’, and this at a time when Palestinian statehood is receiving increasing European support. Even so, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas may consider it far more politically opportune to go with the flow of their Arab neighbours than please the US and Europe.
In the last week, two Palestinians have been sentenced to prison terms for online libel and slander of politicians. Meanwhile, an arrest order has been issued for a popular Egyptian satirist, raising fears of a crackdown on freedom in the region.
The Magistrate’s Court in Salfit, West Bank, sentenced a 29-year-old Anas Ismail to 6 months in jail, on charges of “libel and slander against former communications minister” as he was found guilty of “Liking”hostile messages towards the politician on Facebook.
One of the posts demanded the dismissal of the politician and another phrase demanded accountability from the minister.
According to Ismail, “Preventive Security locked me up for 17 days, on charges of libel and slander, and last Thursday I was sentenced in absentia by the Court of Salfit to six months in prison,” quotes Alresalah publication.
Ismail, who works in computer programming and is active in social media said “I was summoned 10 times in the past six months over my activity on social networking pages.”
Also on Thursday, a court in Bethlehem sentenced a journalist to a one-year term for publishing a photo on Facebook comparing President Mahmoud Abbas to a traitor.
Mamdouh Hamamreh, a reporter for the Hamas-linked Al-Quds TV, was accused of photoshopping a picture in 2010 showing Abbas next to a villain in a popular TV drama about French colonial rule in the Levant, with a photo caption reading: “They’re alike.”
Hamamreh was found guilty of insulting the president and, “spreading seeds of hatred” and “publishing false information.”
The next day, Abbas pardoned the journalist saying his office never filed a complaint against Hamamreh.
read the rest of this article here: rt.com…
Things are moving forward for the Palestinian leadership! While Egypt’s President, Mohamed Morsi, proclaims justice for Palestinians as the foremost issue for the Islamic world, more European countries come on board in recognising the full statehood of Palestine!
This is a victory both for the government in Gaza, who hosted a visit by Morsi recently, and for Mahmoud Abbas, who had Palestine’s status in the United Nation upgraded. The stage now seems well set for the formation of a unity government. This is something Israel has worked hard to prevent but, according to this press release, the details of that government are being worked out in Cairo today!
Cyprus Gives ‘Palestine’ Full Diplomatic Status
By Elad Benari
Cyprus has given the “state of Palestine” an embassy, even though it still says that a “Palestinian state” needs to be established through negotiations with Israel.
AFP reported Cyprus said on Friday it has upgraded its relations with the Palestinian Authority to full diplomatic mission status, one of just eight European Union countries to do so.
The decision was announced by the Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis during an official visit by the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
“I informed my Palestinian counterpart of the decision of the government to upgrade the status of the Palestinian diplomatic representation in Cyprus from that of a Diplomatic Mission to that of an Embassy of the State of Palestine,” Marcoullis told reporters, according to AFP.
She said that this “important decision” was in line with the recognition of a Palestinian state in 1988 by Cyprus, and follows seven other EU members that have recognized a Palestinian State — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
A Cyprus Representation Office opened in Ramallah in 2009.
Malki said the decision sent a “very important message,” adding, “We hope this courageous step taken by Cyprus will be taken by others in the European Union.”
Read this article in full here: www.israelnationalnews.com…
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