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United Nations voted to recognize a sovereign Palestine.

The United Nations voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.

Palestine is a sovereign state

UNITED NATIONS (SaebPress) – The United Nations voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of a sovereignPalestinian state after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world body to issue its long overdue “birth certificate.”

The resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by a more than two-thirds majority of the 193-member world body, a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

The assembly approved the upgrade despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinians by withholding funds for the West Bank government. U.N. envoys said Israel might avoid harsh retaliation as long as the Palestinians did not seek to join the International Criminal Court.

Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned that the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their UN status.
The United States immediately criticized the historic vote. “Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path peace,” UN ambassador Susan Rice said. And US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton called the vote “unfortunate” and “counterproductive.”

The United States and ‘Israel’ voted against recognition, joined by Canada, the Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the General Assembly shortly before the vote “defamatory and venomous,” saying it was “full of mendacious propaganda” against Israel. He called the vote meaningless.

The much-anticipated vote came after Abbas denounced Israel for its “aggressive policies and the perpetration of war crimes” from the U.N. podium, remarks that elicited a furious response from the Jewish state.

“Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel,” Abbas told the 193-nation assembly after receiving a standing ovation.

“The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine,” he said.

‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuresponded quickly, condemning Abbas’ critique of Israel as “hostile and poisonous,” and full of “false propaganda.”

“These are not the words of a man who wants peace,” Netanyahu also said in a statement released by his office in Israel.

At least 17 European nations voted in favor of the Palestinian resolution, including Austria, France, Italy, Norway and Spain. Abbas had focused his lobbying efforts on Europe, which supplies much of the aid the Palestinian Authority relies on. Britain, Germany and others chose to abstain.

The Czech Republic was unique in Europe, joining the United States, ‘Israel’, Canada, Panama and tiny Pacific Island states likes Nauru, Palau and Micronesia in voting against the move.

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called for the immediate resumption of peace talks.

“The Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded,” she said.

“The United States calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions on all the issues that divide them and we pledge that the United States will be there to support the parties vigorously in such efforts,” Rice said.

She added that both parties should “avoid any further provocative actions in the region, in New York or elsewhere.”

(Times of India and Reuters contributed to this report )

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Culture & Arts

Ghassan Kanafani, the era of revolutionary Palestinian media

Palestine’s Ghassan Kanafani, a writer, artist, journalist and politico has left a lasting legacy in the Arab world.

Ghassan Kanafani
Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian revolutionary.

Some of the biggest names in the world of literature – Dickens, Hemingway, Garcia Marquez – got their start in journalism. Their reporting tends to be forgotten; their prose is what lives on.

Ghassan Kanafani is a name you can add to that list. Kanafani was a Palestinian writer who, through books like Men in the Sun, humanised the Palestinian condition of dispossession and displacement. He was, however, first and foremost a journalist.

Palestine’s Ghassan Kanafani, a writer, artist, journalist and a revolutionary has left a lasting legacy in the Arab world.

He was also a product of 1960s Beirut – a period when the city was a magnet for young reporters, revolutionaries, migrants and misfits, as well as host to the Palestinian leadership in exile. It was in Beirut that Kanafani produced Al Hadaf, a forward-thinking Palestinian magazine, that has been somewhat lost in the mists of time.

The Listening Post‘s Tariq Nafi reports from Beirut, Lebanon, on the legacy of Ghassan Kanafani and the era of Palestinian revolutionary media. 

Contributors:

Refqa Abu-Remaileh – Professor of modern Arabic literature and film, Director of “PalREAD – Country of Words” project, Free University of Berlin

Elias Khoury – Novelist and playwright

As’ad AbuKhalil – Professor of political science, California State University

Source: Al Jazeera

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US Cornered at UNSC while attempting to extend arms embargo on Iran.

Shaath ‘the US is seeking to corner China and Russia for propaganda purposes‘

US Cornered at UNSC

Washington has stepped up calls for the extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran, which will expire in October under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Trump administration has threatened that it may seek to trigger a snapback provision spelled out in the Iran nuclear deal of all sanctions on Iran if its attempts to extend the UN arms embargo fail.

UNSC

Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly said that the US has no authority to invoke the snapback mechanism as it is no more a party to the 2015 accord. “It has no right to extend an arms embargo on Iran, let alone to trigger snapback,” China’s UN mission wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “Maintaining [the] Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the only right way moving forward,” it added

The US has circulated a new anti-Iran resolution at the UN Security Council calling for an extension of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, before it expires in October. The resolution reportedly urges member states to stop all arms sales to and from Iran. It also asks them not to provide Tehran with technical training, financial resources, and other services related to weapons program.

The new draft is almost identical to the previous one Washington circulated in June, which failed to gather support. US envoy to the council, Kelly Craft, has said Russia and China are likely to veto the resolution.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also told reporters that the measure is “eminently reasonable,” alleging that “one way or another we will do the right thing.” He went on threatening Tehran with more sanctions through a mechanism embedded within the Iran nuclear deal, from which the US has unilaterally withdrawn.

Pompeo  added  “We’re deeply aware that snapback is an option that’s available to the United States, and we’re going to do everything within America’s power to ensure that that arms embargo is extended,” he claimed. “I am confident that we will be successful.”

Shaath ‘the US is seeking to corner China and Russia for propaganda purposes

Wednesday, in an Interview with Press TV with Saeb Shaath, Author and Middle East affairs expert and Michael Springmann, Author and former U.S diplomat, Shaath said, “The US strategy always is to have Russia and China abstain in that regard in the UNSC and obviously not to veto, the USA’s resolution.

Shaath, pointed out that “ But, today and right now the strategy is working maybe with other members of the Security Council, so the USA intending  from this as Pompeo hinted and Craft the US representative  in the Security Council that Russia and China are not coming round and obviously they are going to veto the resolution.”

Shaath then questioned their motives “So why are they doing this? [Pompeo & Craft] they are doing this, to try to corner China and Russia for propaganda purposes, as Craft said to pot the spot light on the Chinese and Russian.”

Shaath went on to say, “Since the Trump administration maintains that quitting the deal does not prevent it from invoking the provision of the snap back mechanism, which is sanctions according to what they envisaged in the Iran nuclear deal.”

Shaath pointed out “ Other member states, as you mentioned in your report, like  France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China are trying to negotiate a solution which might prevent the USA from taking such a step, but until now there is no clear compromise has emerged among them”.

‘U.S. seeks to blackmail UNSC member states’

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to the Vienna-based international organizations, has said that it looks like the U.S. attempts to blackmail the UN Security Council members.

“Looks like an attempt to blackmail the UNSC Member States. US position on arms embargo against #Iran and #SnapBack is very weak not only from the viewpoint of common sense but also in legal terms,” he said in a tweet on Thursday.

‘U.S. plans to impose indefinite arms embargo on Iran have no prospects’

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Washington’s plans to introduce an indefinite arms embargo against Iran have no prospects.

“The stubborn shattering of the JCPOA through new anti-Iranian ideas, which include the proposal to impose an indefinite arms embargo against Iran, simply does not honor the United States. It is clear that this course has no prospects,” Zakharova said at a briefing, Sputnik reported.

Those members of the JCPOA, who have maintained a genuine full commitment to the nuclear deal, will continue to fight for its preservation and sustainable implementation, she said.

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Beirut a disaster-stricken city after port’s explosion.

Declaring Beirut a “disaster-stricken” city, announcing a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities.

Explosion in Beirut's port

Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council an emergency meeting in the early hours of Wednesday. Following the session, a statement by the council, said President Michel Aoun, had decided to release 100 billion Lebanese pounds in emergency allocations from the 2020 budget.

The council recommended forming a committee tasked with investigating the blast and present its findings within five days, to impose the maximum punishment for those responsible.

It further suggested declaring Beirut a “disaster-stricken” city, announcing a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities.

 The blast took place on Tuesday in port warehouses near central Beirut storing highly explosive material, specifically ammonium nitrate, commonly used in both fertiliser and bombs.

The explosion — the most powerful ever in Beirut— flattened much of the strategic port and left buildings in ruin.

Germany’s geosciences center GFZ said the explosion triggered a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, which was also felt as far away as Cyprus over 200 kilometers across the Mediterranean.

The Lebanese Red Cross said on Wednesday in a statement, ‘’until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas”.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised there would be accountability for the fatal incident, “I promise that this catastrophe will not go unpunished and those responsible will be held accountable.” he said during a speech.

Hassan Diab went to say that “Beirut is grieving… All of Lebanon is disaster-torn. Lebanon is going through a quite ordeal that could only be faced with national unity and solidarity among all Lebanese from all backgrounds and regions. We are going through a disaster that could only be overcome with determination and tenacity to face this serious challenge and its destructive consequences”.

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