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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 3-Nov-2011
3-Nov-11 World View -- Fallout spreads from Greece's call for referendum

Web Log - November, 2011

3-Nov-11 World View -- Fallout spreads from Greece's call for referendum

Israel is widely condemned for approving new settlements

This morning's key headlines from

* Israel approves 2,300 new settlements as punishment for Palestinian Authority
* Israel receives harsh international criticism for settlement approval
* Israel's Netanyahu says that the settlements are a 'basic right'
* Syria claims to have accepted an Arab League peace plan
* New Gaza flotilla expected tomorrow
* IMF will hold back Greece's bailout payment until referendum vote
* Greece announces plans for a December 4 referendum
* Greece shrugs off talk of a Greek army coup

Israel approves 2,300 new settlements as punishment for Palestinian Authority

Israeli settlements in West Bank (AFP)
Israeli settlements in West Bank (AFP)

Israel's government has approved new construction of 2,300 new settlement units in the West Bank, presumably as punishment to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its unilateral moves to gain UN recognition as a state, including the PA's recent recognition as a member of UNESCO. The approval is said to be the first installment in a larger plan to be decided upon in the near future. It also includes a freezing of the transfer of funds to the PA under extant agreements. Israel National News

Israel receives harsh international criticism for settlement approval

US, UK and EU government officials all strongly criticized Israel's plans to build new settlements in the West Bank. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague leveled harsh criticism at and condemned Israel's announcement, calling it "a serious blow to the Quartet's efforts to restart peace negotiations." EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton joined the US in condemning Israel's settlement plan, saying that she was "deeply concerned by the latest Israeli decisions to expedite settlement activities in response to Palestinian accession to UNESCO. Israeli settlement activity is illegal under international law including in east Jerusalem and an obstacle to peace. We have stated this many times before. We call on Israel to reverse this decision and call on both sides to continue their engagement with the Quartet on advancing peace efforts." The foreign minister of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, said, "This Israeli escalation is a blow to international peace efforts," and that Jordan "demands Israel stop its illegal provocations and action, and take practical steps towards peace talks with the Palestinians." Jerusalem Post

Israel's Netanyahu says that the settlements are a 'basic right'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel's decision to accelerate settlement building was a fundamental right, not punishment for the Palestinians joining UNESCO. Netanyahu said that the whole of Jerusalem as Israel's "eternal, indivisible capital", and that "Jerusalem will never return to the state it was in on the eve of the Six Day War." However, Netanyahu contradicted a senior Israeli government official who had said on Tuesday that the announcement was "punishment after the vote at UNESCO." AFP

Syria claims to have accepted an Arab League peace plan

After months of torture and bloody massacres on its own unarmed protesters, the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad says that it has agreed to a peace plan proposed by the Arab League. The plan calls for an end to all government violence, release of political prisoners, and to allow foreign journalists into the country to monitor the situation. Negotiations will begin in Cairo in two weeks. However, the opposition wants Assad to leave, and don't want negotiations with Assad, so the deal may well fall apart. VOA

New Gaza flotilla expected tomorrow

A new "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla left Turkey on Wednesday, and is expected to approach Gaza early Friday morning, with the purpose of breaking Israel's blockade of Gaza. Previous flotilla attempts in the past few months were prevented from leaving by their host countries, Greece and Turkey, respectively. In this case, the flotilla plans were kept secret, so that they would not be stopped. The first flotilla had a confrontation with Israeli defense forces on May 31, 2010, resulting in the deaths of nine Turks. Disagreements over whether Israel should apologize have caused a major rift between Israel and Turkey. Haaretz

IMF will hold back Greece's bailout payment until referendum vote

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

The fallout from Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision to call for a referendum on Greece's eurozone membership continues to grow, as furious officials try to decide what to do next. Greece was due to receive an €8 billion bailout installment in the next few days, but now the payment is in doubt. International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde has canceled the payment until the planned referendum has taken place:

"I welcome the prime minister’s indication that the referendum which has been announced will take place as soon as possible so that the euro summit agreement can be implemented expeditiously.

As soon as the referendum is completed, and all uncertainty removed, I will make a recommendation to the IMF Executive Board regarding the sixth tranche of our loan to support Greece’s economic program."


Greece announces plans for a December 4 referendum

Prime Minister George Papandreou is being condemned by furious EU leaders Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, as well as by politicians in Athens. He will face a vote of no confidence of Friday, and if it succeeds, then the referendum will be canceled and instead there will be new elections. Sarko and Merkel summoned Papandreou to an emergency summit meeting in Cannes on Wednesday, to tell him that Greece will not receive any more loans until the issue is resolved. However, Papandreou insisted on going forward:

"The Greek people want us to remain in the euro zone,» he told reporters after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. «We are part of the euro zone and we are proud to be part of the euro zone.

Being part of the euro zone means having many rights and also obligations. We can live up to these obligations. I do believe there is a wide consensus among the Greek people and that's why I want the Greek people to speak."

Papandreou announced that the referendum will take place on December 4. Expect to see total chaos in Europe until then, as everybody works to convince the Greek people to vote to say in the eurozone. Kathimerini

Greece shrugs off talk of a Greek army coup

Greece has a history of military coups, and the firing on Tuesday of top army generals has raised concerns in the foreign press that a coup might be in progress or imminent. However, Greeks are shrugging off these concerns, saying that the army no longer has enough political power. According to one analyst, the move is simply pure politics, done at a time when Papandreou fears losing the planned vote of no confidence. "To reshuffle the top brass is (something) typically done by outgoing governments, which appoint some of their own to top position before leaving power. We do not think that the move was indicative of increased coup risks, simply because the Greek army of today is not likely to even mull coup ideas." Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Nov-11 World View -- Fallout spreads from Greece's call for referendum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Nov-2011) Permanent Link
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