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At the UN, Carter's Palestine Book Is Pulled, as Gaza Explains Qatar's Lebanon Objection

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- The conflicts of the Middle East reverberated through the UN on Thursday, from Lebanon to Gaza to the UN's own bookstore.

            The Security Council hastily scheduled consultations for Thursday afternoon, on a draft Presidential Statement (PRST) on Lebanon. Hours later, U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad emerged to say that "one member of the council would like to just make a generic statement rather than a specific name" of who is violating Resolution 1701 about Lebanon.

            One reporter facetiously asked, "They mentioned that the objections of Qatar, to the naming, sorry, a member of the Security Council, excuse me I'm sorry I've misspoken, is the reason why you don't have a PRST today.  Are you willing to entertain the request of that member to remove the direct mention of Hezbollah?"

            No one, including the Qatari Ambassador, denied it was Qatar. The language at issue chides the Secretary General of Hezbollah for saying recently that his forces can reach any place in Israel.  But Inner City Press' source say that the stand-off is not only about naming names in this text, but goes back to the Council's failure to approval a Presidential Statement on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. This angered Qatar, and now there is a diplomatic fight on the Lebanon statement. The Council reconvenes Friday morning.

Jimmy Carter at the UN, 2005 -- his book pulled from UN bookstore, 2007

            Thursday at the UN's noon press briefing, a correspondent asked who is in charge of the sale and placement of items in the UN's bookstore. While Ban Ki-moon's Associate Spokesman said he would look into it, Inner City Press' requested at the store Jimmy Carter's recent book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," which had been displayed on the front table.

            The sales clerk checked his computer, and saw that the title was still listed. He accompanied Inner City Press to the front table, and verified that the books was no longer on display. He made a phone call. Inner City Press asked, "Will any more be sold?" The sale clerk shook his head. "Finito," he said. Finished.

            By then, the Associate Spokesman had "said that the Department of Public Information has oversight over the bookstore."

            It was later said that this UN Department of Public Information got involved and the book was pulled. Who made the complaint is not known. While in the store on Thursday, Inner City Press noticed still on sale the propaganda tome, "The UN Development Program: A Better Way?" (click here for review) and, for example, "River of Lost Footsteps: A History for Burma." And what if the Myanmar regime complains? Developing.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund, while UNDP won't answer.

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540