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At UN, Resistance to Calling Attack in Israel "Terrorist," As Soldiers On Board

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- As the Security Council met behind closed doors Friday about the attacks in southern Israel, sources in the meeting told Inner City Press of a move to remove from the US introduced draft Press Statement the characterization as "terrorist" the shooting at a bus with Israeli soldiers on it.

"It's going to be a long meeting," one of the sources said. Beyond the move to strip out the word "terrorist," there's a proposal to condemn Israel's actions after the attack. Palestinian Observer Riyad Mansour told the Press that Israel has killed eight civilians in the Gaza Strip, including two children.

Asked if he thought the briefing by UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez Taranco was even handed, Mansour responded with a question: do you think it might not be fair?

That was the implication of Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari on August 18, when he told the Press that while he had given information about developments in his country to the UN Secretariat, some did not pass it on to the Security Council.

Another source inside the Council meeting derived Taranco's briefing as being based only on "open source" information, meaning surfing the Internet. We shouldn't be making decision on this scanty information, the Council source said. But so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

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With Israel Statement Stalled at UN, 3 Views of Lebanon: Quid Pro Quo?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- After the attack in southern Israel, a boilerplate draft press statement of condemnation was circulated in the UN Security Council. But, Western spokespeople complain to the Press, Lebanon balked, saying that language about the wider Israel - Palestine issue should be included.

  The first critique of this, from a Western permanent member of the Council, is that all that is proposed is the same standard statement as issued recently on the attacks in Israel.

  Another Western critique, from more pro-Palestinian European nation not currently on the Security Council, is that Lebanon is erring by trying to link the Palestinians, or "all Palestinians," to the attacks: "Leave them out of it."

  Some interested member states complain they can't get a straight answer from the Lebanese Mission to the UN, there are different views, here and back in Beirut.

   Inner City Press asked a representative of the Lebanese Mission, who said that any statement "should be balanced."

  They returned with a new argument for blocking the proposed statement on the attack: since "the Americans" never want a Council statement condemning "settler violence," nothing should come out on this one. "But then you know what the Israelis will say."

 Earlier in the week, Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN Ron Prosor told reporters that

[The Palestinians] have climbed on a tree and the higher they climb the higher they request a ladder. What is going to happen in the end is that they will fall from the tree – but they won’t just hurt themselves, they will [hurt] everyone else in the vicinity....The United States has articulated their position that they would veto such a resolution at the Security Council. So if that is the case, there is no way the Palestinians will become a new member of the United Nations. Then there is the General Assembly, a quest on the Palestinian side to upgrade their position...That upgrade will not change anything, except in the United Nations itself."

Inner City Press asked Prosor about the Durban III event slated for September 21. He called it “anti-Semitic and racist” and praised the "boycott" declared by the US, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands.

These were quotes approved for release by the Israeli Mission. Meanwhile on Friday morning, Palestinian Observer Riyad Mansour told the Press, I will be back to speak, tell you colleagues! And so it goes at the UN.

Update of 11:29 am -- Palestine's Mansour told the Press there will be a (closed) Council meeting on Friday afternoon; he said eight civilians have been killed in Gaza including two children, wants a statement on that.  Inner City Press asked if Palestine wants it all in a single consolidated statement. Let's see, he said, we don't want to negotiate against ourselves.

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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