Bolton: Blame Obama for Palestinian State Status

December 12, 2012

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton blamed the Obama administration for failing to block the U.N.’s defacto recognition Thursday of a sovereign Palestinian state, saying the White House never took the issue “seriously.”
john-bolton“This is a reflection of an ongoing failure by the Obama administration to take this issue seriously,” Bolton told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren Thursday night, adding that the president should have moved more forcefully in October, when the Palestinian Authority was made a member of the U.N. and its affiliated organizations.
“It never should have been. Palestine is not a state,” Bolton said. “That’s a fact. And when the U.N. engages in this kind of activity, it just shows a real lack of administration commitment to stop it from happening.”
Bolton said the Obama administration could have taken a page from the playbook of former Secretary of State James Baker more than two decades ago when a similar effort to change the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s observer status at the U.N. from an “entity” to a “non-member state,” the same status held by the Vatican.
“We’ve been through this before. We did this 20 years ago and defeated the Palestinians,” Bolton said. “And this is how we did it. Secretary of State Jim Baker issued a statement saying he would recommend to the president that the United States make no further contributions, voluntary or assessed, to any international organization which makes any change in the PLO’s status as an observer organization.
“If the administration had simply done what Jim Baker did 20 years ago, this thing would have been deader than a doornail,” Bolton added.
The former ambassador, now a Fox News contributor, said he sees plenty of trouble ahead as the United States, Israel and other nations react to the new Palestinian status.
Pointing to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who has threatened to introduce legislation to cut off U.N. aid, Bolton suggested that other members of Congress could move as well to end funding for other U.N.-affiliated groups with which the Palestinians can now claim association.
He said Israel should also prepare seriously for a move by the Palestinians to take complaints about Israel to the international criminal court now that they have standing in the U.N.
He noted that it would be “a big mistake on their part” for Israel to downplay the problems that such a move could create.
Read more at NEWSMAX
{Matzav.com Newscenter}


UN hosts art exhibit picturing ‘Palestine’ as all of Israel

December 11, 2012

I’d call it the final betrayal, but it’s happened so many times before that who knows when the final betrayal will really be. The United Nations is currently holding an exhibit in its own headquarters that depicts ‘Palestine’ as including the entire State of Israel.

On November 29th the General Assembly granted “Palestine” the status of “non-member observer state” under the pretense that the move brought the world closer to a two-state solution. But that same evening Palestinian UN representative Riyadh Mansour opened an exhibit entitled “Palestine – Memories Dreams Perseverance.”  The political message is not subtle, with the works bearing titles such as “homeless,” “delirious in exile,” and “to Jerusalem we travel.”

The emblems of a long list of Palestinian terrorist organizations include the familiar shape in which Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are all combined into the only and only Palestine.

Here is a close-up of the logo on the cover page of Abbas’s speech:

It’s a perfect fit with the message now embedded in the UN public exhibit.

Read the whole thing


After Obama win, U.S. backs new U.N. arms treaty talks

November 8, 2012
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) (news.yahoo.com) Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee’s call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade.
U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge Washington denies.
The month-long talks at U.N. headquarters broke off after the United States – along with Russia and other major arms producers – said it had problems with the draft treaty and asked for more time.
But the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama’s win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.
U.N. diplomats said the vote had been expected before Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election but was delayed due to Superstorm Sandy, which caused a three-day closure of the United Nations last week.
An official at the U.S. mission said Washington’s objectives have not changed.
“We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout,” the official said.
“We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms,” he said.
U.S. officials have acknowledged privately that the treaty under discussion would have no effect on domestic gun sales and ownership because it would apply only to exports.
The main reason the arms trade talks are taking place at all is that the United States – the world’s biggest arms trader accounting for more than 40 percent of global conventional arms transfers – reversed U.S. policy on the issue after Obama was first elected and decided in 2009 to support a treaty.
‘MONTHS AWAY’ FROM DEAL?
Countries that abstained included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran. China, a major arms producer that has traditionally abstained, voted in favor.
Among the top six arms-exporting nations, Russia cast the only abstention. Britain, France and Germany joined China and the United States in support of the resolution.
The measure now goes to the 193-nation General Assembly for a formal vote. It is expected to pass.
The resolution said countries are “determined to build on the progress made to date towards the adoption of a strong, balanced and effective Arms Trade Treaty.”
Jeff Abramson, director of Control Arms, a coalition of advocacy groups, urged states to agree on stringent provisions.
“In Syria, we have seen the death toll rise well over 30,000, with weapons and ammunition pouring in the country for months now,” he said. “We need a treaty that will set tough rules to control the arms trade, that will save lives and truly make the world a better place.”
Brian Wood of Amnesty International said: “After today’s resounding vote, if the larger arms trading countries show real political will in the negotiations, we’re only months away from securing a new global deal that has the potential to stop weapons reaching those who seriously abuse human rights.”
The treaty would require states to make respecting human rights a criterion for allowing arms exports.
Britain’s U.N. mission said on its Twitter feed it hoped that the March negotiations would yield the final text of a treaty. Such a pact would then need to be ratified by the individual signatories before it could enter into force.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. interest group, strongly opposes the arms treaty and had endorsed Romney.
The United States has denied it sought to delay negotiations for political reasons, saying it had genuine problems with the draft as written.
(Editing by Xavier Briand)

Obama apologetic about boycotting Ahmadinejad’s U.N. speech

September 28, 2012

Obama is all about being sensitive when he sodomizes people who are is his supporters. Just ask Amb Stevens. No one was “cruel” enough to point out that sending a gay men to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood was a bad idea.

(Leo Rennert) (from: american thinker via writing the wrongs) As expected, the U.S. delegation boycotted Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. But the reason given by the Obama administration for this gesture is, to say the least, perplexing. Here’s the official explanation, as related by Erin Pelton, the spokeswoman for the U.N. mission to the United Nations:

“Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.”

So far so good. But not so good when Pelton gets around to why the American delegation wasn’t in the hall when Ahmadinejad went through his tirades. Here’s how she put it:

“It’s particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the UNGA on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States decided not to attend.”

I had to read that sentence several times to get its full significance. And then it hit me. It turns out that the reason for the U.S. boycott wasn’t due to Ahmadinejad’s lengthy history of genocidal threats to eliminate the Jewish state, which one might assume prompted other diplomats, including the Canadian and Israeli delegations, to boycott his speech.
No, the Americans kept away not because of Ahmadinejad’s repulsive record, but because the Obama administration didn’t want to offend Jews on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest date. But this in turn suggests that it might not have boycotted the Iranian leader if he spoke at the U.N. on any other day. Say, the day before or the day after Yom Kippur. And this is more than a mere supposition about some presumably innocent slip. Team Obama is well known for its reverence of the U.N. and its determination to “engage” in diplomacy some of the world’s worst tyrants, usually getting nothing in return. Given this predilection, it’s not really a great surprise that only Yom Kippur stood in the way of the administration turning its back on Ahmadinejad. On any other day, it could or would have been different.
Or in other words, plain and simple, it wasn’t Ahmadinejad who prompted the U.S. boycott — it was the Jews. The boycott came with an apology to Tehran on Yom Kippur – the day of Repentance. How fitting.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers


Now There’s a Photoshop for You

September 28, 2012

(Volokh) Here’s the photo of Netanyahu’s Iranian bomb / red line image, from his speech today to the UN:

And here’s a version by David Ferguson (Snicker Snack Baby):

Thanks to Powerline and Instapundit for the pointer.


133 states support Israeli proposal at UN

December 4, 2011
(ynetnews.com) UN General Assembly members vote in favor of proposal promoting developing nations’ access to farming technology. A majority comprised of 133 states voted at the United Nations General Assembly Friday in favor of an Israeli proposal to make farming technology more accessible to developing African nations. Arab countries, who opposed the measure for political reasons, led a group of 35 nations who abstained from the vote.

The measure proposed by the Jewish state is expected to aid the Arab world among other regions, and is in line with the UN policy to eradiate hunger and poverty.
Iraq expressed objection to the proposal on behalf the Arab states, claiming that Israel is exploiting the developing world’s needs to make political gains and to mask “illegal and destructive” policies. Nevertheless, the Arab states did not vote against the measure.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor thanked the General Assembly members for backing the proposal, noting that the support indicates international recognition of Israel’s contribution to the world, particularly in the technology field.
The diplomat accused the Arab nations of attempting to sabotage the initiative solely due the fact that it was submitted by Israel. He claimed that while Israel acts to promote progress and technology, the opposing nations make efforts to preserve “rhetoric and ignorance.”
Some 75% of the world population lives in poverty and depends on agriculture for survival. The Israeli proposal aims to empower women in rural areas, promote food security and farmer education, and slow down the effects of climate change.


The scourge of clientitis

November 23, 2011
IDF clientitis - Shahak Shaath.jpg(Caroline Glick) For many years, observers of the US State Department on both sides of the American political spectrum have agreed that State Department officials suffer from a malady referred to as “clientitis.” Clientitis is generally defined as a state of mind in which representatives of an organization confuse their roles.
Rather than advance the cause of their organization to outside organizations, they represent the interests of outside organizations to their own organizations. In some cases, diplomats are simply corrupted by their host governments. For generations US diplomats to Saudi Arabia have received lucrative post-government service jobs at Saudi-owned or controlled companies, public relations firms and other institutions.
Often, the problem is myopia rather than corruption.
Diplomats who speak to foreign government officials on a daily basis often simply ignore the context in which these foreigners operate. They become friends with their interlocutors and forget that the latter are also agents of their governments tasked with promoting foreign interests in their dealings with US diplomats.
In Israel the situation is similar. Here, too, Foreign Ministry officials have a tendency to give preference to the positions of the governments or institutions to which they are assigned over the interests and positions of the Israeli government that sent them to their posts.
For instance, in September 2008, shortly after the UN allowed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to use his speech at the UN General Assembly to accuse the Jews of controlling the world in a bid to poison and destroy it, then-Israeli ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev gave an interview to Army Radio in which she said her primary duty is “correcting the UN’s image in the eyes of the people of Israel.”
Since the scourge of clientitis among diplomats is widely recognized, governments are often able to consider its impact on diplomats when they weigh the credibility or wisdom of recommendations presented by their professional diplomats.
LESS WELL recognized and therefore largely unconsidered is how clientitis has negatively impacted the positions of military commanders.
Clientitis first became prevalent in the US Armed Forces and the IDF in the 1990s. In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, the Clinton administration began transforming in earnest the US armed forces’ role from war fighting to nation building. In Israel, with the onset of the peace process with the PLO in 1993, the IDF was ordered to change its operating guidelines. From then on, peacemaking was to take priority over war fighting and defeating terrorists.
Since September 11, 2011, the US military has vastly expanded its nation building roles around the world.US military commanders are promoted more for prowess in acting as diplomats-in-uniform than for their capacity to train and employ soldiers to kill and defeat the enemy. Commanders deployed to train the al-Qaida-infested Yemeni or Afghan militaries; liaise with the Hizbullah-dominated Lebanese Armed Forces; or train the Iranian-penetrated Iraqi military have little personal incentive to warn against these missions.
So, too, in working with their local counterparts on a daily basis, like their State Department colleagues, these US military officers have a marked tendency to ignore the broader context in which their local colleagues operate. And so, like their civilian colleagues at the US embassies in these countries, military commanders have a tendency to become the representatives of their foreign counterparts to the Pentagon and to Congress.
In the case of the IDF, in 1993 the entire General Staff was encouraged to embrace clientitis. Then prime minister and defense minister Yitzhak Rabin’s decision in 1993 to appoint IDF commanders to lead negotiations with the PLO politicized the IDF to an unprecedented degree. Only generals who completely supported the peace process and forced their underlings to completely support it could expect promotion.
This political corruption of the IDF survived the destruction of the peace process in 2000. Due to successive governments’ decisions to continue negotiating with the Palestinian Authority despite its refusal to make peace with Israel and its sponsorship of terrorism, the IDF has continued to participate in negotiations with the PA and lead liaison efforts with the Palestinian security forces.
As a consequence, whether due to the political views of officers on the ground, to institutional corrosion, or to officers’ inability to view the statements of their Palestinian counterparts in the broader context of Palestinian and regional power politics, these IDF “peacemakers” act as the PA security services chief lobbyists to both the Israeli and US governments.
IN RECENT conversations with senior sources on Capitol Hill, it became apparent that American military trainers who work with the Lebanese Armed Forces were highly influential in convincing Congress to end its opposition to renewed US military assistance to the LAF.
Congress put a temporary hold on US military assistance to Lebanon in August 2010 after a Lebanese army sniper murdered IDF Lt.-Col. Dov Harari and critically wounded Capt. Ezra Lakia. Both officers were stationed on the Israeli side of the border.
In April, when Hizbullah gained control over the new Lebanese government, the Obama administration again temporarily froze military assistance to the LAF.
In September Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati that the US would renew its assistance. In October, the Pentagon hosted Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwagi on an official visit.
According to Congressional sources, Congress has permitted continued military assistance to Lebanon, despite Hizbullah’s control over both the government and the armed forces, because of the outspoken support of the US military for the military assistance program.
So too, according to Congressional sources. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen’s decision to end her committee’s block on US military assistance to the PA’s security forces owed to IDF pressure to renew the assistance. That assistance was cut off in September following the PA’s bid to achieve statehood at the UN.
Following the aid cut-off Palestinian commanders warned that if the US did not renew its financial support for the US trained Palestinian security services, its soldiers would seek funding from elsewhere – including from terror sponsoring governments like Iran and Syria, and from Hamas, and Hizbullah.
Obviously these warnings were nothing more than acts of extortion. And despite outcries from the Obama administration, Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen held firm.
However, according to senior Congressional sources, Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen was unable to brush off entreaties by IDF commanders asking that the US renew its funding of these forces. Two weeks ago – just as the PA renewed its unity talks with Hamas – she lifted her committee’s block on military assistance to the PA.
THE IDEA that governments gain leverage over other governments by assisting them is not a new one. And it is certainly true. However, in all cases, the leverage gained by assisting foreign governments owes entirely to the other governments’ understanding that such assistance can and will be ended if they fail to meet certain benchmarks of behavior that are dictated from the outset.
Once a government’s threat of aid cut-off to another government is removed or is no longer credible, then the leverage the provision of aid afforded that government is lost. So long as the Palestinians believe that Israel will never cut off its support for Fatah and the PA security services, they will continue to sponsor terror and collaborate with Hamas and other terror groups without fear.
So long as LAF officers and soldiers believe that Hizbullah’s threat to attack the LAF is more credible than the US’s stated willingness to end its support for the Lebanese military, the LAF will continue to openly support war against Israel and collaborate with Hizbullah.
Proof that a state’s ability to leverage its foreign aid owes entirely to the credibility of a threat to cut off that aid came earlier this month in the aftermath of UNESCO’s decision to grant full state membership to “Palestine.” Due to US law, the Obama administration had no choice but to cut off all US funding to UNESCO in response to the move. As a consequence, the PLO’s bid to gain full membership in other UN institutions has floundered.
Not wishing to suffer UNESCO’s fate, no other UN institutions are willing to repeat UNESCO’s action And so the Palestinians’ great victory at UNESCO has become a Pyrrhic one.
The Obama administration never sought this outcome. As his representatives have made abundantly clear, if US President Barack Obama had the power to maintain US budgetary support for UNESCO despite its conferral of membership on “Palestine,” he would have done so.
But because the law is not subject to interpretation, US leverage over the UN actually increased in the aftermath of the UNESCO vote. Recognizing that actions have consequences, other UN agencies have buried plans of granting membership to “Palestine.”
Governments must give due consideration to the positions of their professional diplomats and military commanders as well as to those of allied countries when they weigh various policy options. But while doing so, legislators and policymakers must also take into account the built-in biases influencing the judgment of these professionals. Clientitis is a serious impediment to good judgment. And it is found wherever professionals are charged with building relationships, rather than achieving concrete goals.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.