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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Sep-2011
24-Sep-11 World View -- Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member

Web Log - September, 2011

24-Sep-11 World View -- Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member

Mullen's accusations send U.S.-Pakistan relations down unpredictable path

This morning's key headlines from

* Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member
* Abbas submits application to U.N. Security Council
* President Saleh makes surprise return to Yemen
* Mullen's accusations send U.S.-Pakistan relations down unpredictable path

Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member

Rapturous Palestinians react to Abbas's UN speech, broadcast live in Ramallah on Friday (Getty)
Rapturous Palestinians react to Abbas's UN speech, broadcast live in Ramallah on Friday (Getty)

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said:

"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?

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. Enough. Enough. ["Nakba" means "Catastrophe" - JX] 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."

Thousands of Palestinians crowded into an overflowing Clock Square in Ramallah. As Abbas began to speak the square fell almost entirely silent. But his pledge that "the people will continue their popular peaceful resistance" against occupation and "apartheid" was greeted with whistles, cheers and a rolling sea of flag waving. There were supporters on every visible rooftop waving the Palestinian flag and hundreds more dangling out of windows, craning to see the speech live on the big screens. IB Times and Guardian

Abbas submits application to U.N. Security Council

Abbas presents statehood application to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday (AP)
Abbas presents statehood application to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday (AP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the U.N. Security Council Friday to recognize a Palestinian state. The Security Council is expected to take weeks, perhaps months, to act on the statehood application. In his U.N. address, shortly after the Abbas speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will support Palestinian statehood, but only after a negotiated peace accord that guarantees Israel’s security. He said Israel left Gaza, uprooting settlements in 2005 to international applause, but was rewarded with a takeover of Gaza, and rocket attacks, by the militant Hamas. He said the core issue of the conflict is not settlements, but the Palestinians’ refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders.

"Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us.

Who’s there to stop us [from conducting negotiations]? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations?"

In the meantime, the United States and the other members of the Middle East Quartet - the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - offered a new proposal for direct talks Friday. VOA

President Saleh makes surprise return to Yemen

President Saleh in May (Reuters)
President Saleh in May (Reuters)

Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh made a surprise return to the capital city Sanaa on Friday. He returned from Saudi Arabia, where he has been recuperating from a terrorist bomb attack in early June. "I return to the nation carrying the dove of peace and the olive branch," he said on state television. But the military battle continued between Saleh's security forces and defectors who are backing anti-Saleh protesters. The fear is that Saleh's return will ignite further violence and civil war. Reuters

Mullen's accusations send U.S.-Pakistan relations down unpredictable path

U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen's testimony to the the Senate Armed Services committee on Thursday that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency was directly supporting the Taliban-linked Haqqani network that was conducting terrorist attacks against Americans and American allies in Afghanistan, has substantially increased tensions between America and Pakistan. (See "23-Sep-11 World View -- Admiral Mullen accuses Pakistan of terrorism in Afghanistan") According to U.S. officials, terrorists who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week, killing 34, left behind cell phones that showed that the terrorists were in contact with the ISI both before and during the attack. CBS News

Pakistan public opinion is sharply split over Mullen's accusations. The government is angrily denying the charges. Many people are expressing highly nationalistic demands that all contact with the U.S. be ended. However, many editorials are critical of the government. For example,

"A spate of reports has appeared of late in the western press, which, from the point of view of the Americans, would seem to buttress the case against Pakistan. Most allege that the Haqqanis are behind most of the attacks on US targets in Afghanistan. In the face of these clear signs from the US, Pakistan has been cautious, which is the correct posture. This however doesn’t stop the jingoists among the media and the retired bureaucratic community from advising Pakistan to stand up on its hind legs and pay the US back in kind. References are being made in Pakistan to America as an imperial hegemon which has been despoiling other states, starting with Vietnam and ending with Iraq and Afghanistan. This kind of rhetoric is misplaced because the question everyone has to answer next is: knowing all this, why did Pakistan become a strategic partner of the hegemon? Since this question can’t be answered — condemnation of past rulers of Pakistan will not do — let us focus on our internal weaknesses and approach the crisis realistically.

Also, quite crucially, we need to realise that regardless of what the reality on the ground may be, whether the Haqqanis are acting independently or what have you, the fact of the matter is that what Pakistan says in its defence is no longer being believed in foreign capitals. It doesn’t matter if the Foreign Office comes out with statements, as it did on September 20, the point is that no one abroad is ready to believe much of what we are saying."

A common fear is that the U.S. will take whatever military action it wants, within Pakistan's borders:

"Statements from the likes of Interior Minister Rehman Malik denying these charges and nudging the Americans to “prove” their allegations are tantamount to giving them a reason to go on an all out offensive. No one is now ready to believe that Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment has not played a double game with the US and, some would say, the Pakistani nation."

Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Daily Times (Pakistan)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Sep-11 World View -- Abbas asks U.N. to admit Palestine as a full member thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Sep-2011) Permanent Link
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