FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is a news report, drawn from wire services, which was
the lead international news story in today's SAUDI GAZETTE. Since none
of my Western news sources made any mention of this 156-7 vote by the UN
General Assembly (which, unlike the veto-hobbled, intimidation-prone and
highly unrepresentative UN Security Council, is rarely referred to as
the "international community"), you may not be aware of it.
Among the seven member states voting *against* a cessation of all acts
of violence and terror by *both* sides in Israel/Palestine are the
Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, three component parts of the
former U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands which are now "freely
associated states" of the United States, with U.S. postal zip codes,
which are obligated by their respective "Compacts of Free Association"
to be guided by the United States in matters of foreign policy but which
managed to slip into UN membership when the dam broke after the break-up
of the former Soviet Union and normal vetting as to the true
"sovereignty" of candidates for membership was lost in the flood.
(Palau's Ambassador to the UN, Stuart Beck, is an American citizen and a
Harvard College classmate of mine with his "day job" in the
entertainment business.) Nauru is a Pacific island with 10,000 people
which has been in effective bankruptcy since its reserves of fossilized
bird droppings, covering most of the island's territory, were mined out.
Australia (also known as "Oz") is a larger Pacific island which appears
to have declared itself a /de facto/ "freely associated state" of the
United States, without (so far) a US postal zip code. The United States
and Israel are well-known advocates and practitioners of violence and
The final three paragraphs of this news report note the public call by
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister for the assassination of Palestine's
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. My Western news sources also deemed
this to be non-newsworthy. In defense of my Western news sources,
Israel's advocacy and practice of violence and terror are so consistent
and long-standing that deeming such a high-level appeal to murder
non-newsworthy may reflect a justifiable journalistic judgment.
*ISRAEL* * FLAYED AT U.N.*
*/UNITED NATIONS (Agencies)/*
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Friday to deplore a
deadly Israeli artillery attack in Gaza , six days after the United
States vetoed a similar measure in the Security Council.
The assembly voted 156-7 with six abstentions to approve a resolution
put forward by Arab states that also urged the Jewish state to
immediately withdraw its troops from Gaza .
Palestinian UN Observer Riyad Mansour told the assembly that last
Saturday’s veto by Washington , Israel ’s closest ally, sent a message
to the Jewish state “that it can continue to commit crimes and acts of
outright aggression with impunity.” The Nov. 8 shelling of Beit Hanoun
killed 19 civilians, including seven children and five women.
Voting “no” were the United States , Israel , Australia , the Marshall
Islands , Micronesia , Nauru and Palau . Abstaining were Canada , Ivory
Coast , Papua New Guinea , Tonga , Tuvalu and Vanuatu .
US Ambassador John Bolton said the assembly resolution, like the one
before the Security Council, was a “one-sided, unbalanced” text that
raised questions about the world body’s ability to confront global problems.
“We believe that the United Nations is ill-served when its members seek
to transform the organization into a forum that is little more than a
self-serving and polemical attack against Israel or the United States ,”
Arab diplomats said they took particular umbrage at Israeli UN
Ambassador Dan Gillerman for cautioning delegates a “yes” vote would
make them “accomplices to terror.”
“The blood of poor innocents will be on your hands.”
Gillerman accused Qatar , the sole Arab member of the Security Council,
of pressing for a quick vote last Saturday because it had learned of a
major guerilla attack in the works and feared it might embarrass Arab
states if it occurred before a vote.
Qatari Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser flatly denied Gillerman’s
accusation, telling Reuters: “That is not correct. We don’t know
anything about that.”
The resolution called for the immediate cessation of all acts of
violence and terror by both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and asked
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to set up a fact-finding mission to look
into the Beit Hanoun attack.
The call for a UN inquiry into the attack delayed assembly action for
hours as the UN body’s budget committee debated whether the effort would
duplicate a similar mission ordered by the UN Human Rights Council in
“How many fact-finding missions does it take for the UN to screw in a
lightbulb?” asked Bolton .
In the end, the budget committee approved the new panel’s estimated
$130,000 budget by a vote of 143-5 with two abstentions.
Israel should ignore Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wipe out the
Hamas leadership and walk away from the US-backed “road map” peace plan,
Israel ’s new deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said Saturday,
laying out his views on the conflict with the Palestinians.
Lieberman said Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Foreign
Minister Mahmud Zahar should be targeted by Israeli forces.
“Mahmud Zahar and Haniyeh should no longer be able to move freely. They
and their belongings should be attacked,” said Lieberman, who joined the
government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the end of October.