Saturday, March 18, 2017

There should be no strong arm tactics at the United Nations.

There should be no threats or hostage taking as with Mr. Khalaf. She is a respected diplomat and dedicated to her work. Israel has taken some very extreme positions in regard to Palestine since the election of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Those changes noted by diplomats should be recorded and made part of the permanent record on human rights.

March 17, 2017
By Rick Gladstone and Somini Sengupta

The top official of a United Nations commission (click here) that published a report describing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid quit on Friday, saying the organization’s leader insisted that she withdraw it. The report provoked outrage from Israel and the United States.

The official, Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian diplomat who is executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, defended the report. Her resignation, barely two days after publication, punctuated the polarized politics of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

Ms. Khalaf’s resignation also reflected the pressure from the Trump administration on her boss, Secretary General António Guterres. President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has assailed what she and Israeli officials regard as a strong anti-Israel bias at the organization.

“When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N., it is appropriate that the person resign,” Ms. Haley said in response to Ms. Khalaf’s resignation. She praised Mr. Guterres for his “decision to distance his good office from it.”...

For the USA to throw it's weight around as if a bad school boy is humiliating. It shows there is no respect for the work of important people. Ms. Khalaf is an important person. I have no doubt she will be recruited into work elsewhere.

What should have occurred that didn't is for the USA and Israel to REGISTER THEIR OBJECTS with clarifying language so the permanent record is correct. Threatening to do horrible things to others and countries is not in the UN Charter as part of the diplomatic realm. It is called being civilized.

Mr. Guterres is relatively new to the job and will no doubt review all the chaos and send out letters to the leaders of the USA and Israel inviting them to participate in a civil engagement of the facts. I would expect the United Nations to engage Ms. Khalaf's work and permit other countries to register their understanding of the FACTS. Those facts should include a submission from the Palestinians as well.

March 17, 2017
By Tovah Lavaroff

Russia on Friday summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren (click here) to justify Israel’s air strike in Syria at a target near the city of Palmyra.

According to Channel 2 the strike hit close to Russian troops. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Koren’s meeting with the Russians, just one day after the ambassador presented his credentials, but did not expand on its content.

Israel and Russia have a mechanism by which to coordinate military activity so as not to create a diplomatic crisis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on March 9 for one day to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the dangers to Israel from Hezbollah and Iran in Syria.

On Friday, Netanyahu said of the air strike: “Our policy is very consistent. When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it.

This is how we acted and how we will continue to act. Our determination is strong and the proof that is that we are operating. Everyone should take this into account. Everyone.”...

I am afraid I have to agree with President Putin this time. It has been Israel's policy to intercept supplies on their way to Hezbollah. This is not an unusual activity for Israel. However, given the recent wind change in Syria and a reduction in violence, any such airstrikes risks an increase in violence. President Putin has military engagement within Syria. This could have ended differently and Israel never bothered to give a consideration to that fact. Where would be then if this escalated?

In defense of Israel; it has proven in the past it can strike with precision. That is what this airstrike appeared to be. According to reports I read there were no Israeli citizens injured or otherwise and the missiles fired from Syria were stopped by Israeli interceptors. 

As I stated, this could have ended differently, although any Israeli military official would argue otherwise. 

Other parties should have been aware. Israel, no doubt, acted because it did not want leaks or interference in carrying out their mission. 

At this point, all parties should meet at the United Nations Security Council to record all the information from all sides, including Russia and Syria. The reports should be recorded for the permanent record. I would like to know the posture of the USA military when this occurred in Syria.