Last night the European Union again failed to present a Common Foreign Policy with regards to Palestine. Following on from last years split on the admission to UNESCO, the EU split on upgrading Palestine from being an “nonmember observer entity” to “nonmember observer state” at the United Nations. Bringing it to the same level as the Vatican City in the UN System.
While overall the UN General Assembly vote was 138 Yes, 9 No and 41 Abstentions, this time round the EU Split 14 Yes, 1 No and 12 Abstentions. They were as follows (countries in Italic changed vote since 2011):
Countries Voting Yes
Country Voting No
Again Some Common Policy? Its interesting to note that most countries softened there positions. Italy, Denmark and Portugal went from Abstain to Yes. Germany, Netherlands and Lithuania went from No to Abstain. Sweden did a straight switch from No to Yes.
Slovenia was the only country to change from a Yes vote and Abstained.
This vote shows that the Czech Republic is the only country still out-rightly opposed to the recognition of Palestine in International Bodies for the moment.
Of course what this vote really shows is the utter shambles that is the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is when it comes to Palestine.
At the end of the day, I am delighted that Palestine is now the 194th country recognised by the United Nations.
The application for membership was accepted by 107 Yes votes to 14 No votes with 52 Abstentions. The EU was split as follows;
Countries voting YES:
Countries voting NO:
Countries who Abstained:
So that meant the EU split 11 Yes, 5 No and 11 Abstentions. Some Common policy there?
The question of Palestinian membership of the United Nations is going to be a long protracted one as long as the United States is threatening the use of the Veto on the UN Security Council. This is holding up a vote in the UNGA on Palestine’s membership. But at least now the Palestinians have an idea of the amount of support they have within the UN System.
Of course the fallout of this vote will not show in the EU’s CFSP and will be ignored. But the big fallout will either be the US withholding funding from UNESCO or withdrawing from the organisation completely.
For now though the idea of a Common Foreign Policy is a long way off, and today’s vote proves that.
The applicant Countires to the EU voted as follows:
FYR Macedonia: ABSTAINED
The potential Candidate Countries voted as follows:
Bosnia and Herzegovina: ABSTAINED
Kosovo: Not a member
To see a full list of how countries voted check out the post on
How this will work out for Israel is a different matter, but I am slowly changing my mind on the conflict. It is hard to see a way out of the issue for Israel without resorting to some sort of military action to protect itself?
The more I read, both anti-Israel and Pro-Israel the more I seam to agree with Israels military actions (I am very much against their Economic Blockade which is collective punishment). How long could you live in a country consistently under bombardment with reacting. You cannot always turn the other cheek.
As in all conflicts there is collateral (ie Civilian) casualties. The Israeli Defence Forces will take a lot of casualties as well due to the fact that Gaza is small area and has highly urbanised areas which always lead to high death tolls on all sides.
The Observer calls the military operation a return “the failed strategies of the past” and that “While Hamas’s offensive capacities will be blunted for a while, the likelihood, as with Hezbollah after Lebanon in 2006, is that it will quickly rebuild its military strength.”
I’m not so sure that Hamas will be able to rebuild as fast as Hezbollah have as the Economic Blockade and the destruction of the supply tunnels will limit how quickly Hamas can rearm.
I can see why a large percentage of Israeli’s are supporting the current action, but I do hope to a quick end to this as the longer it takes the more casualties on both sides.
Image by David M* via FlickrThis post is sort of inspired by a friends status update on Facebook which says the following:
F…. thinks the EU and NATO should take unilateral action to protect the citizens of Gaza. But that’s obviously wishful thinking…
Now the issue of the people of Gaza has propped up again in the media as Hamas lets the cease-fire lapse.
There were two things I read today, one blog and one editorial, that made me nod in agreement on this issue.
Firstly the blog. Bock has an excellent post calling the Israeli air strikes that killed 200 Palestinians “Murders” and I can’t help to agree with him. As he points out
They murdered 200 people in Gaza, the most densely-populated place on the face of this planet. They bombed the hell out of a people hemmed in by the Israeli-built concrete wall. Men, women and children. They bombed their own concentration camp.
And why? Rocket attacks on Israel. But how many did they kill? One. While this is tragic does it really mean that Israel can launch air strikes that kill 200 times that? Does it not make it a bit out of balance?
On to the Editorial. Today’s Observer has an excellent editorial on this. It points out that a ground invasion could be “imminent”. The editorial also points out two of the main causes of the heightened hostilities
It is a depressingly familiar scenario, a cycle of provocation and reprisal that periodically escalates into full-blown war. There is no simple account of events leading up to the current confrontation that does justice to the amassed sense of grievance on both sides. But two specific events have played a decisive role: the decision earlier this month by Hamas to end a six-month ceasefire and elections in Israel due in February.It is a depressingly familiar scenario, a cycle of provocation and reprisal that periodically escalates into full-blown war. There is no simple account of events leading up to the current confrontation that does justice to the amassed sense of grievance on both sides. But two specific events have played a decisive role: the decision earlier this month by Hamas to end a six-month ceasefire and elections in Israel due in February.
While the cease-fire didn’t halt all attacks on Israel it did allow things to temper, but with elections around the corner Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Leader of the Kadima Party, and Binyamin Netanyahu, of Likud, trying to out do each other on being hardliners on the Palestinians. In recent comments Ms Livin, who is also the designated Acting Prime Minister, said that the rocket attacks were “unbearable” and that the Hamas administration in Gaza should be “toppled”.
The current Prime Minster was badly damaged by ground operations against militants in Lebanon in 2006. Would a new Israeli leader be damaged by a ground assault in Gaza?
Gaza has suffered hugely over the blockade, but this has helped Hamas who “”taxes” money and goods smuggled in and provides welfare services to the population. Under siege, its monopoly is secure.”taxes” money and goods smuggled in and provides welfare services to the population. Under siege, its monopoly is secure.”
There can be no negations as Israel, the EU and the US all see Hamas as a terrorist organisation, which it is, but Hamas has one the battle for the people’s Hearts and Minds in Gaza due to Israel actions and the refusal of the international community to condemn Israel.
Israel has made sacrifices. They have pulled down settlements in Gaza. But what have they gotten in return? Nothing. Of course there is the issue of the West Bank were things have, moderately, improved for Palestinians living under Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but progress under Mr Abbas cannot be used to win hearts and minds as it is nothing like the progress towards statehood that would allow Mr Abbas to claim his more moderate approach works better than the militant line taken by Hamas.
Moderates on both sides need to be backed, but how can this happen would both sides seam to be spiraling into hardliners due to actions of the otherside. But a Military offenseive against Gaza will not work as
Hamas craves confrontation because its support increases when ordinary Palestinians are collectively punished, as has happened under the blockade.
Israel would be foolish to invade Gaza, but with things heading the way they are, I would not be surprised if they do.
Well I have decided that I shall boycott all Israeli Goods. This dosent affect my new job, though we do only stock 1 line of Israeli products and I would never use it anyway. There is a handy list of Israeli products on this website
Why Boycott Israel?
The Palestinian people are experiencing their fortieth year of military occupation. The siege by the Israeli army and the economic blockade have devastated their daily lives so that ‘normal’ life is impossible.
Israel operates an entrenched system of racial Apartheid against its own non-Jewish inhabitants and has been illegally occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights since 1967. It has sought to further annex these lands and has systematically transferred its own civilian population into these occupied territories in contravention of international law. Israel continues to build the illegal Apartheid wall, annexing vast swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank and creating Palestinian ghettos, despite the ruling of the International Court of Justice that it is illegal
180 Palestinian organisations and unions, in response to Israeli onslaught, have called for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel.
1.4 million Gazans still without electricity twelve hours a day
Israel must finance the rehabilitation of the power plant it bombed in the Gaza Strip. This is one of the conclusions of B’Tselem’s new report, Act of Vengeance, which describes and analyzes the harsh effects of the Israeli Air Force’s destruction of the power plant in June. B’Tselem states that the bombing was illegal, and calls on the government to finance upgrading the infrastructure for transferring electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip; to reinstate legislation permitting individuals and entities harmed by the bombing to sue Israel for compensation; to open criminal investigations against the persons who planned and carried out the attack, with the intention of prosecuting them; and to prohibit the IDF from attacking civilians and civilian objects.
Some three months after the bombing, 1.4 million Gazans remain without a steady supply of electricity. The power stoppages significantly affect the level of health services they receive. The inability to refrigerate food has increased the risk of food poisoning. The water and sewage systems, which rely on a regular supply of electricity, have been severely impaired, with most city dwellers receiving water for two to three hours a day. B’Tselem warns that the sewage system in the northern Gaza Strip is liable to collapse and flood neighboring communities with raw sewage. Video: Family without electricity Video: Hospital without electricity Summary of the report The complete report (doc)
B’Tselem’s investigation leads to indictment On 18 September 2006, the Judge Advocate General’s Office indicted two soldiers from the Haruv Battalion who maltreated Palestinians in the Nablus District in August of this year. The soldiers were charged with assault in aggravated circumstances and with conduct unbecoming. After B’Tselem requested that this incident and seven other cases of beating and abuse of Palestinian by soldiers be investigated, the Judge Advocate General’s Office ordered the Military Police to investigate the cases. The indictments followed.
For years, B’Tselem has reported on security forces’ violence against Palestinian civilians. Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of such reports received by the organization. The decision to prosecute in this case is exceptional. B’Tselem hopes that the decision signals a change in policy; in the past, the military authorities paid little attention to incidents of this kind. The authorities generally do not give due importance to investigating and prosecuting cases of violence by security personnel against Palestinians. In failing to do so, they send a message to the forces in the field that the maltreatment of Palestinians is not a serious matter. Additional information Testimonies
Israel’s policy separates tens of thousands of Palestinian families For almost six years, Israel has prevented family unification between Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories and their spouses from abroad, and has prohibited family members from visiting the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. In their recently issued report, B’Tselem and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual point out that, during this period, Palestinians have submitted more than 120,000 requests for family unification, which await processing.
Israel’s policy has created a harsh reality for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians: spouses are unable to live under the same roof; children are forced to grow up in single-parent families though their parents want to live together; people do not leave the Occupied Territories to go abroad for medical treatment because Israel may not issue them a new visitor’s permit; women from abroad married to residents of the Occupied Territories face the constant threat of deportation. B’Tselem and HaMoked call on the government of Israel to begin immediately to process requests for family unification and visitor’s permits.
False representation On 22 August 2006, Naot Hapisga Modi’in Ltd. filed a prospectus in advance of making a public offering of bonds and options on the stock exchange. B’Tselem and Bimkom compared the information in the prospectus with the information they had accumulated during their investigation. They found many errors in the prospectus relating to the Naot Hapisga project that the company is building in the settlement of Modi’in Illit. The errors create a false picture in an attempt to conceal some of the substantial problems that the company faces in building the project.
Following B’Tselem and Bimkom’s letter to the Securities Authority, the company postponed the offering and changed many details in the prospectus. According to a report B’Tselem and Bimkom published in December 2005, the separation barrier was set to promote the expansion of the bloc of settlements centering around Modi’in Illit, in part by taking control of privately-owned Palestinian farmland.