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After Israel Election, UN's Ban Speaks Through If-Asked, Running Scared?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 18, more here -- The day after Israel's election, the UN did not issue any statement as it does on other elections. Instead, its deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq waited to be asked the question, then read out word for word an "if-asked" about Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's position that was not put online as a statement, nor put on the counter in the UN Spokesperson's office. Ban's UN, it seems, is running scared.

 Here is Ban Ki-moon's If-Asked:

“The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the preliminary results of yesterday's Israeli general elections and hopes for the rapid establishment of a new Government that reflects the will of all Israeli voters. It is incumbent on the new Israeli Government, once formed, to create the conditions for a negotiated final peace agreement - with the active engagement of the international community - that will end the Israeli occupation and realize the creation of a viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security alongside Israel. This includes the cessation of illegal settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Secretary-General firmly believes this is also the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state. He urges the Israeli Government to resume, without further delay, the transfer of the tax revenues it is obligated to dispense to the Government of Palestine in accordance with the Paris Protocol.”

  Back on January 5, days after the UN Security Council rejected Palestine's draft resolution, Palestinian Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour wrote to UN Security Council President Christian Barros of Chile  to complain of Israel's decision to withheld Palestinian tax revenue, calling it piracy.

   Mansour  said “Israel, the Occupying power, has resumed the theft of Palestinian tax revenues in direct retaliation for the legitimate, steps taken by the Palestinian leadership,” including filing to join the International Criminal Court.
  Mansour said “we reiterate such such an action constitutes an act of piracy” and asked the UN Security Council members to “uphold their responsibilities toward addressing this illegal situation in all its manifestations.”

  Inner City Press on January 5 asked Barros about a new Palestine resolution; he said he hadn't been informed of one, formally or informally, but that he'd read media reports there might be a move "next week."

 Now it's been far longer. But now, with the results, how much longer?


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