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On Palestine, Kerry to Meet Netanyahu & Lavrov, Of ICC & French Puppets

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 12, updated -- Amid reports that if a Palestine resolution fails this month in the UN Security Council, Palestine will immediately join the International Criminal Court, Inner City Press on December 11 asked the State of Palestine's Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour about it. Video here.

  On the possible resolution(s), US Secretary of State John Kerry in Colombia was asked, "is there a resolution that you think you could support?"

  Kerry replied, "what we’re trying to do is... a way to help defuse the tensions and reduce the potential for more conflict, and we’re exploring various possibilities to that end, which is why I’m also meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu."

   Later on December 11, the State Department's deputy spokesperson said, "Secretary Kerry will meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Rome on [Sunday] to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including recent developments in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the region, as well as current initiatives at the UN.  They will also discuss Ukraine and Syria."

  So what does this mean, on the resolution(s)? Inner City Press on December 11 asked Palestine's Observer Riyad Mansour if the US was engaged in any negotiations on the resolutions proffered by Jordan or France. He said no, then added "you are a smart journalist," asking if France would do this work without coordination with or against the interests of the US. Afterward another journalist joked this meant, "French puppet." So what's up?

  Back on December 11, Inner City Press asked Mansour about the relation between the resolution(s) and Palestine joining the International Criminal Court.

  Mansour said the two are not conditional, and that Palestine wants to join the ICC, as is being urged at the current session of the ICC Assembly of State Parties at which Palestine is now a non-member state. Video here.

  Meanwhile the US Continuing Resolution / Omnibus on Capital Hill has this to say:

"None of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’ in this Act may be made available for assistance for the Palestinian Authority, if after the date of enactment of this Act—

"(I) the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians; or

"(II) the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians."

  Earlier this week, Palestine's Riyad Mansour was in UN Conference Room 1, with Palestine a non-member state, which no one opposed when proposed. Now this.

  Earlier this month Palestine and the Arab League said Jordan would be pushing in the UN Security Council for a vote in December on a draft resolution which would set a timeline to end Israel's occupation, now January is being mentioned.

  At first the commitment was to have a vote in November, when Australia was president of the Security Council. It didn't happen. On December 2, Inner City Press asked the Council president for December, Chadian Ambassador Mahamat Zene Cherif, why only a "Middle East debate" and not a vote on a Palestine resolution is on the Program of Work for December.

  Ambassador Cherif said he is not yet seized of any Palestine resolution. Amid talk of a French resolution -- French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said on December 2 there is "no rush" on a resolution -- now Jordan's Ambassador Dina Kawar says "We're going to try to make it before Christmas. If not, it will be in January."

  As Inner City Press exclusively reported, based on Security Council communications, Chad was pressured to not schedule any meetings after December 19. It pushed back, and scheduled one for December 22. But that's it.

  Already, the delay has been long. It was cold, for example, at the UNRWA event held just outside the UN on December 2, photographed by the Free UN Coalition for Access, here. In one month's time, Venezuela and Spain join the Security Council, along with Angola, Malaysia and New Zealand. Wouldn't the draft get more "yes" votes in January 2015 than in December 2014?

   Rather than analyze this, Reuters for example again vaguely reports that "some diplomats have described the Palestinian-drafted text as 'unbalanced.'" For whom? Now Reuters adds, "some Western Council diplomats." So helpful.

 Back on October 21 as the Palestine debate of the UN Security Council went on in the Council chamber, Inner City Press conferred with a range of Council sources about the pending draft resolution to set a time frame to end Israel's occupation.

Negotiations were held on the draft last week but only at the “expert” level, not of Permanent Representatives of the Council's 15 members. Supporters of the current draft, according to Inner City Press' sources, include China and Russia, Argentina and Chile, Chad and it was assumed Nigeria, although sources say Nigeria in consultations said they didn't yet have instructions.

France was described as more excited by the draft than either the US or the UK, as not have a problem with a time frame to end the Occupation but wanting unstated changes to the draft. France did not put forth amendments, a source told Inner City Press, guessing that France didn't want to “embarrass” the US Administration before the November mid-term elections.

The UK was described as less enthusiastic, but as somehow “softened” by the recent vote in Parliament favoring recognizing Palestine as a state.

Talk turned to the new members of the Security Council coming in on January 1, with Malaysia instead of South Korea seen as a shift in favor of Palestine as a state. (This reporter's Security Council elections coverage is collected here.) Angola and Venezuela are seen as supportive and “even Spain,” as one source put it to Inner City Press. But what about New Zealand? We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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