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As Israel Faces Palestinian UN Bid, Leahy Eyes Aid Cut to Gaza Flotilla Unit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- Thirty five days before the Palestinian Authority has said it will ask for statehood at the UN, Israel is lobbying nations large and small to vote against the Palestinian's bid.

 Washington-based Ambassadors of small countries have been taken on trips to Israel; the country's central bank chief Stanley Fischer has handed a lobbying letter to Cote d'Ivoire's Alassane Ouattara, a former IMF official who is also reportedly a friend of Fischer who was recently deemed too old to face off against Christine Lagarde to head the IMF.

Meanwhile Israel faces problems both in New York and Washington. At the UN, the extended deadline from the release of the so-called Palmer report into the killing aboard last year's Gaza flotilla is a week away, with no sign that an apology agreement with Turkey will cut it off.

Ban & Barak on July 29, 2011, Palmer report not shown

  In Washington, Senator Patrick Leahy is floating a bill that would restrict US military aid to at least three units of Israel's armed forces, including the navy unit involved in the Gaza flotilla incident. When Ehud Barak visited the United States late last month -- click here for coverage from Inner City Press -- he tried to cut Leahy off at the pass. But Leahy's proposal is similar to restrictions on military aid to Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan. We'll have more on this.

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At UN, Ehud Barak Tells Press Assad Killed 2000 & Lost Legitimacy, Says IHH Has Gaza Flotilla Blame

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- After Israeli Defense Minister met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, he told the Press he had discussed “the region.” Inner City Press asked him, “Did you discuss Syria with the Secretary General?”

  Barak replied, “I mentioned the fact that we are watching it. We do not intend to be an influence on what happens there... We cannot ignore, what we see there is illegitimate behavior -- Assad if using weapons and his armed forces against his own citizens in a way that's caused the loss of two thousand lives. I believe he has lost his legitimacy.”

  Then Barak looked at the spokeswoman for the Israeli Mission to the UN and said he was being whisked away by the young lady. She had not called on Inner City Press which has a follow up questions that will have to wait for next time.

  Israel, or most Israeli politicians and diplomats, have tried to say little about Syria, thinking that to attack Assad would only help him domestically. But Barak has gone further.

  Asked about the Palmer report on the nine Turks killed on last year's Gaza flotilla, Barak said it is mostly the fault of the IHH, but he hopes something can be agreed between now and August 20.

   While Barak did not say it about the Palestinians' possible moves in September, a long time Permanent Representative gushed to Inner City Press that even with a US veto in the Security Council that could block UN membership, Palestine could ask for statehood, or what could be called statehood, in the General Assembly. We'll be here - 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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