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If Palestine Wins UN Observer State Status, Joining ICC to Refer Israel Would Go Through Ban Ki-moon, No Presser in 3 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 6 -- What's at stake if Palestine in the UN General Assembly seeks enhanced Observer State status? One thing is Palestine's possible membership in the International Criminal Court and the ability to refer to the ICC alleged crimes committed by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank.

  The legal adviser of a large European state highlighted this to Inner City Press, predicting that once the Palestinians won Observer State status with 130 or so votes, they would file a request to become party to the ICC's Rome Statute with UN Security General's top lawyer, Patricia O'Brien.

  It was said that while O'Brien might want otherwise, ICC membership for "States" is straightforward even if they are not members of the UN, as Switzerland until recently was not.

  Inner City Press on September 6 asked Switzerland's Permanent Representative to the UN Paul Seger if Palestine would be able to join the ICC if granted Observer State status.

Seger replied with a series of questions: "Does that automatically then allow Palestine to become a member of an international treaty? Each treaty has its own conditions and prerogatives for joining such an instrument. It is up to the member states of each international instrument to decide whether or not the conidtions are met to become a party of that treaty."

Seger turned and asked a Swiss mission staffer, "In case of ICC, who is the depository?"

The Swiss staffer replied, "The Secretary General."

Seger concluded, "So it will be the S-G who will determine whether or not Palestine is qualified to join that."

Ban & Netanyahu shake, Ban answer on ICC for Palestine not shown

  Ban Ki-moon has not held a sit-down question and answer session with the press at UN headquarters for some time -- despite a commitment to do them at least monthly, the last one appears to be a full three months ago, on June 6.

  When Ban held a stakeout upon gaining a second term, his spokesman went out of his way to call on the UN's own radio station for a softball question.  In stakeout's since, he and his team have excluded obvious tough questions.

  Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien has denied several requests to come and give a briefing. It is not in substance a hypothetical question: what will Ban's UN do? Watch this site.

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As UN Fails to Pass Israel or Gaza Statements, Palestine Says May Be Military

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- After the UN Security Council broke up its Friday meeting without agreeing on any statements, Inner City Press asked the Permanent Observer of Palestine Riyad Mansour if the killings in southern Israel constituted a terrorist attack."

  Mansour replied, "If there are clashes involving military forces on both sides... it would be difficult to have anyone make any description... without knowing all the facts." Video here, from Minute 5:35.

  Inner City Press earlier on Friday reported exclusively, on this argument that since there was a bus containing Israeli soldiers, it was not a terrorist attack, and that a separate statement on Gaza was being proposed. At the stakeout, Inner City Press asked Mansour if Palestine could have lived, or could still live, with two statements.

  "Two separate statements to be adopted together," he said, "today, was not accepted."

  Inner City Press asked if he thought the Security Council might have to reconvene this weekend.

"It depends if they want to exploit this incident to look for an escapegoat for social pressures inside Israel, and what we'll be doing in September," Mansour replied, "if there are extremists on part of the Israelis, and maybe other extremists, to divert from issues they are facing, it might be convenient to intensify the fighting... in Gaza." Video here, from Minute 10:57.

Mansour at stakeout Aug 19, Lebanon not shown

While US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo at least came out to issue a short statement that it was unfortunate a standard anti-terror statement could not be agreed to, Lebanon's delegation did not come out to speak. Later Inner City Press was told Lebanon's position is that it offered to "meet the US half way," and have two statements. Lebanon should speak more. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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