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UN Resolution 2334 Is good For “Israel”

By Gilad Atzmon – December 25, 2016

On 23 December the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity as illegal, and demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem”.

For once, the USA decided to join the rest of humanity and didn’t veto the resolution. The message is obvious: if Zionism was a promise to make the Jews people like other people, its failure is colossal. The Jewish State and its lobbies are people like no other. 14 out of 15 members of the UNSC voted against Israel, the US abstained. In the most clear terms, the UNSC denounced the Jewish state’s treatment of the Palestinian people. If Israel would be an ordinary state, as Zionism initially promised, it would take some time to reflect on the resolution and consider the necessary measures to amend its public image. But as one would expect, the Jewish State did the complete opposite. It took the path of the bully and decided to punish the world.

In his first reaction to the resolution Israeli PM Netanyahu told his followers that the Security Council’s behaviour was “shameful.” He also harshly denounced President Obama’s choice to abstain. A list of American elected spineless characters were quick to cry havoc and promised to correct the damage. Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to “return to Israel for consultations.” A scheduled visit of the Ukrainian PM in Jerusalem next week was cancelled. Netanyahu also ordered to block the shekel pipeline to some UN institutions.

But things may be slightly more complicated than they look at first glance. If the One (Bi-National) State is an existential threat to Israel being the Jewish state, then the recent UN resolution is obviously a last attempt to revive the Two-State Solution. It, de facto, legitimises the existence of the Jewish State within the pre-1967 borders. The resolution provides Israel with a practical and pragmatic opportunity to dissolve the West Bank settlements. Banks and businesses may start to refrain from operating in the occupied territories. Israeli military personnel serving in the occupied territories are about to become subject to the scrutiny of international law. Netanyahu, so it seems, made a fuss about the resolution, but the resolution plays into his hands. It provides him with an opportunity to break the stalemate with the Palestinians. Netanyahu knows it. President Obama knows it, the president-elect will be advised about as soon as he takes some time off Twitter.

But if the resolution serves Israeli national and security interests, why did Netanyahu react like a bully? The answer is simple. Bibi is a populist. Like president-elect Trump he knows what his people are like. He knows what the Jews and the Israelis seek in their leader. They want their king to celebrate Jewish exceptionalism. They want their master to perform contempt towards the Goyim. PM Netanyahu knows very well that David Ben Gurion (the legendary first Israeli PM) dismissed the UN, famously saying “it doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, the only thing that matters is what Jews do.”

It is far from clear whether Ben Gurion was really dismissive of Goyim. However, he was loved by his people for conveying the image as if he did. Bibi follows the same rule. In the public eye, he is dismissive of the UN, he is full with contempt to the nations and Goyim in general. But in practice he knows that the resolution is essential for the existence of the Jewish state. It is probably the last opportunity to scale down the pretentious Zionist dream and make it fit with the reality on the ground. Let me reassure you, I don’t hold my breath. In reality it is actually the Israelis who don’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 5 Comments

Accused of supporting Palestinian political prisoners: MK jailed, stripped of immunity

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 25, 2016

Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and Member of Knesset, is currently being held by Israeli forces on charges of attempting to bring cellphones to imprisoned Palestinians denied the ability to communicate with their families or political organizations. Ghattas has frequently visited with imprisoned Palestinians, including Palestinians from ’48, long-time prisoners held since the pre-Oslo era, and Palestinian political leaders.

Palestinian prisoners are routinely denied access to communications, whether with their families or their colleagues and comrades. Unlike Israeli criminal prisoners, they are denied access to telephone calls with their family members and can only receive short visits through a glass wall. Family visits are regularly denied under a pretext of “security.” In addition, many Palestinian political prisoners are leaders of the Palestinian movement, targeted for their leadership and political role. The denial of their communications and isolation of these prisoners is an Israeli attempt to silence and disrupt the Palestinian national liberation movement.

On Thursday, 22 December, Israeli authorities announced that Ghattas was being stripped of his parliamentary immunity and had been detained; his arrest was extended until four days until Monday, 26 December on the grounds of “security of the state.” The further extension of his detention will be considered at the Rishon Letzion court at 4:00 pm, while a protest will gather outside organized by Palestinian political groups in ’48 Palestine demanding his immediate release.

Ghattas emphasized following a three-hour interrogation session – before his arrest –  that the Palestinian prisoners are human beings first and foremost and that he has always acted to support the prisoners as a humanitarian and moral manner, emphasizing the suffering and isolation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the importance of highlighting the cause of the prisoners.

Ghattas’ detention is being pursued on the pretext that he “poses a risk to the security” of the state or its citizens. His political party, Balad or the National Democratic Aliance (NDA), has engaged in a series of protests demanding Ghattas’ freedom from this “political targeting.”  Awad Abdel Fattah said that “This arrest is a continuation of the political persecution of our leadership, our people in general, and the national movement.” MK Jamal Zahalka said that “Despite all borders and laws, he has acted only to help his imprisoned people. We refuse to take the issue of prisoners for granted.”

Ghattas visited Palestinian prisoners Walid Daqqa and Basel al-Bisra in the Ketziot Negev prison last week; he is accused of bringing them several cell phones. While Israeli officials also claimed that he had brought “encrypted messages” to the prisoners, Ghattas and his lawyer Lea Tsemel noted – as was confirmed even by the judge in the case on Friday, 23 December – that these were the political documents and publications of the Balad party and “not a security matter.” Daqqa has spent over 30 years in Israeli prison.

Ghattas noted that the decision to pursue him and strip his immunity was clearly a political action, as other members of Knesset had not had their immunity stripped despite charges of rape, harassment, theft, embezzlement and bribery, including people who were later convicted and sentenced.

In addition to the arrest of Ghattas – which follows on a series of arrests and raids that targeted the NDA’s political activities – and the repression of Palestinian organizing in Palestine ’48, the Israeli state is also attempting to further isolate Palestinian prisoners. On Tuesday, 20 December, the Knesset approved a bill by Internal Security minister Gilad Erdan to prevent MKs from visiting Palestinian security prisoners, obviously targeting MKs who are Palestinian citizens of Israel. Erdan openly spoke to his motivations, saying that “these visits provide a popular platform for the prisoners… and thus impact the security of the state.”

Palestinian lawyer Jehad Abu Raya wrote that “The detentions and harassment of Palestinians and their leaders in 1948 Palestine, including the Knesset member Basel Ghattas, are part of a strategy which Israel has pursed against its Arab citizens since the Nakba. This strategy is aimed at domesticating and defeating Palestinians and at punishing whomever is tempted to challenge the Jewish state.”  He noted the ongoing imprisonment of Palestinians in ’48, including Sheikh Raed Salah and former MK Said Nafaa.

Ghattas also participated in the third Freedom Flotilla to break the siege on Gaza. In response to the arrest of Ghattas, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition issued a statement highlighting the isolation and silencing of Palestinian prisoners and calling for phones to be distributed to Palestinian prisoners. “The Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails… are entitled to their basic right of communication with their loved ones. If the system does not allow it, civil disobedience is the only route.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Basel Ghattas and all Palestinian political prisoners. The political persecution of Ghattas is another attempt to suppress Palestinian organizing and existence in Palestine ’48 and to isolate and cut the communications of Palestinian political prisoners. It is part and parcel of the campaign of isolation and silence waged by the Israeli occupation against over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian student 19, sentenced to 16 years in Israeli prison

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 25, 2016

In another example of the lengthy sentencing practices especially targeting Palestinian youth and women in Jerusalem, Shorouq Dwayyat was sentenced to 16 years in Israeli prison by a Jerusalem court on Sunday, 25 December. Dwayyat, 19, from the village of Sur Baher, was also fined 80,000 NIS (approximately $21,000.) She was shot by an Israeli settler and seized by occupation forces on 7 October 2015 in eastern Jerusalem and accused of attempting to stab an Israeli settler. Witnesses reported that she was harassed by the settler prior to the alleged incident.

Dwayyat is a student at Bethlehem University who was studying history and geography. She graduated from high school, achieving a result of 90% in the national secondary Tawjihi examinations in 2015.
Classes at the university were cancelled for two days after her shooting and arrest in October 2015.

Dwayyat was severely injured by the four bullets lodged within her body, unlike the Israeli man she was accused of attempting to stab, who suffered no serious injuries. Following the court’s ruling, the Israeli Interior Ministry stripped the imprisoned Dwayyat of her Jerusalem residency, claiming “breach of trust,” using the case as a mechanism to further the Israeli state policy of attacking Palestinian existence in Jerusalem. Amjad Abu Assab of the Prisoners’ Committee in Jerusalem said that “this is a racist policy… with the aim of killing the spirit of challenge by Jerusalemites and preventing any manifestation of rejection of occupation in the occupied city of Jerusalem.”

She is one of 52 Palestinian women – including 12 minor girls – imprisoned in HaSharon and Damon Israeli prisons and now is serving one of the longest sentences. The longest-held Palestinian woman prisoner, Lena Jarbouni, is serving a 17-year sentence in Israeli prison. The recent trend of particularly elevated sentences include those against Maysoon Musa (15 years), Nurhan Awad (13.5 years) and Israa Jaabis (11 years).

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

‘US mercenaries stumbling block to peace in Syria’

Press TV – December 25, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held their third telephone conversation over the past month. They exchanged views about the latest developments in Syria, particularly since the full liberation of the strategic city of Aleppo from the grip of militants. The two presidents also stressed the importance of boosting cooperation to help resume dialogue among all Syrian factions to find a political solution to the nearly six-year-long crisis.

In an interview with Press TV, Max Igan, radio host and political commentator, cast doubt on the likelihood of a successful peace negotiation between Syrian opposition groups and the government, asserting that many of these groups are not genuine opposition groups.

“It would be really good if this would happen but getting all groups to attend is going to be a problem. Also the problem is what these groups are and where they’re coming from, [and] who’s funding them,” the analyst said.

“It is all very well to have groups with some sort of political ideology attend, but when you have groups such as many of these terrorist forces [which] are in fact a mercenary army, they are going to go where the money leads them. They’re just going to do what they [are] paid to do. That is the unfortunate reality of what is happening in Syria,” Igan underscored.

There are rogue elements within the US establishment who have been funding these groups since the beginning of the war in Syria but the government is not in a position to expose them because it’s going to be the source of massive embarrassment for the whole country, Igan argued.

“I don’t think much will come out of this because you’re going to continue to have this underlying force which is funneling money and weapons in there with one clear goal which is to bring about regime change and to get what they want in Syria. The danger is that this could turn into a global conflict. If the United States is not prepared to address this corruption within its own government and root wrap these criminals,” it could end up in a major conflict between the East and the West, he warned.

Since March 2011, Syria has been gripped by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies.

The Takfiri terrorists operating in the Arab country have suffered major setbacks over the past few months as the army has managed to liberate a number of areas from their grip.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Obama’s Halloween Scare: Temperamentally Unfit President Threatened War with Russia

By Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.12.2016

If one wishes to believe NBC News’s «exclusive» report, President Barack Obama almost delivered the Halloween scare of all time on October 31, 2016, just a week before he accused Donald Trump of being «temperamentally unfit» to be commander-in-chief.

On Halloween, Obama activated the White House’s «Red Phone» – which is not a phone but a Washington to Moscow «hot line» communications link that was originally a teletype connection, then a fax, and, finally, email – that provides a direct line to the Russian President in the Kremlin – and informed the Russian president that if alleged Russian hacking of computers tied to the U.S. election did not stop, the United States would respond with «armed conflict» against Russia.

Not since another fateful October, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, had the United States come so close to an all-out war with Russia. However, in the case of President John F. Kennedy, the presence of Soviet offensive nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba were cited in U-2 photographic intelligence presented publicly by U.S. ambassador Adlai Stevenson before the United Nations Security Council. In the case of Obama, the only intelligence he possessed that alleged Russia was behind hacking Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers was a Secret report, not released to the public, ginned up by Obama’s Sunni Wahhabi-crazed Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan.

Obama, according to NBC News, warned Putin personally against hacking Democratic Party computers during the G-20 meeting in China in September. When Obama, obviously urged on by Brennan, felt the Russian hacking was continuing, he sent a stark message over the Red Phone to the Kremlin, in part stating, «International law, including the law for armed conflict, applies to actions in cyberspace». While Obama and Brennan continue to refuse to present to the public the contents of the CIA’s Secret report alleging Russian hacking of the DNC, they had no problem revealing that Obama almost pushed the nuclear trigger on Russia. Only a madman would resort to such action based on the flimsiest of intelligence from the Cold War-era troglodyte Brennan.

The only proof that the CIA and its contractors could offer up was that a group of hackers, known as «Fancy Bear», used an Android smart phone application developed by a Ukrainian artillery officer to target Soviet-era D-30 Howitzers that was purloined and re-purposed by the Russian military intelligence directorate against DNC computers. Even Hollywood movie producers would reject such a script as too silly for film audiences to take seriously.

The Fancy Bear operation was concocted by a company called CrowdStrike, co-founded by a Russian-American named David Alperovitch, who just also happens to be a senior fellow at the CIA-linked Atlantic Council. News articles about CrowdStrike strongly suggest it exists to ratchet up cyber-war tensions with Russia, China, and North Korea based on hyped-up network security «vaporware» products being sold at top dollar prices to tech-ignorant government customers.

Obama sent his war message to Russia based on his «Fancy Bear» intelligence over a special email channel to reduce the risk of nuclear war resulting from cyber-security threats. The cyber-security email link was installed in 2013 as part of the hot line network linking by satellite the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington, DC and Moscow. Little did the architects of the nuclear hot line realize that it would one day be used to proffer a «Fancy Bear» scenario that could have led to nuclear war.

Obama was acting upon the policies crafted by the neo-conservative Cold Warriors who continued to dominate his administration’s diplomatic and intelligence infrastructures as they had those of George W. Bush. These same neocon circles saw hope in the presence on the Trump team of the arch-neocon war hawk John Bolton, Bush’s Senate-rejected ambassador to the United Nations.

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, a fierce neocon critic of Trump during and after the presidential campaign, wrote of her wish for Trump to follow the advice of Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, a member of the infamously-neocon Kagan family and brother-in-law of Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the architect of Obama’s «color revolutions» in Ukraine and Macedonia. Kagan believes that Russia’s worst «sin» has been to «redraft the global order» laid down by the United States and NATO following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Kagan, Rubin, Nuland, and others in their neocon circle of war mongers hope that Trump will confront Russia militarily, as Napoleon Bonaparte had done in the 19th century. The neocons are not very good students of history, as the fate of Napoleon’s foray into Russia is well-known to even the most basic reader of European history. At the very least, Kagan has called on Trump to set the clock back to the Cold War era of Washington challenging Russia militarily in all the world’s hotspots: The Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In another tip of the hat to the Cold War, Kagan recommends that Trump refuse to recognize the retrocession of Crimea, the result of an overwhelming popular referendum favoring such retrocession, «no matter how permanent it seems to have become».

That same line of thinking could be adopted by Russia, which could announce that it recognizes the independent Kingdom of Hawaii, regardless of its forced annexation to the United States in 1898. If the neocons want to return to 19th century big power politics, so can Russia. If the United States wants to continue to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine, Russia can recognize Hawaii as an independent state and permit the «Hawaiian Kingdom Government» to establish an embassy in Moscow and accredit a Hawaiian government ambassador-in-exile. While such a dramatic measure might have been considered necessary had Hillary Clinton and her neocon war hawks won the U.S. presidential election, Trump’s oft-stated desire for much improved relations with Russia should render moot such extreme diplomatic countermeasures.

So far, Trump does not seem inclined to listen to the parasitical neocons who have infested every recent U.S. administration since Ronald Reagan’s. Trump would be wise to seek the counsel of those of his advisers who are not even remotely supportive of neocon dogma.

Trump will face the problem of cleaning house of the neocons currently embedded in the CIA and State Department. The neocon newspaper-of-record, The Wall Street Journal, has let it be known that the U.S. intelligence and foreign policy establishments should encourage anti-Russian protests by Islamic groups at Russian diplomatic missions in the Middle East and elsewhere. The paper appeared heartened by the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey and the outbreak of protests by Islamist groups at Russian missions in Istanbul, Beirut, and Kuwait. The Journal wrote the killing of the Russian ambassador «was glorified throughout the region».

The neocons would relish in the United States encouraging jihadist groups to target Russian interests in the Middle East and elsewhere as they did during the Cold War when they nurtured jihadist groups to fight the Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan. That gambit led directly to the creation of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. This would represent a turning back of U.S. policy to the late 1970s and 1980s, an era that represents the halcyon days for the war-mongering neocons.

The White House continues to insist that Obama’s Halloween war message to Putin sunk in, since the alleged hacking is claimed to have ceased on November 8, Election Day. However, DNC acting chair Donna Brazile claims the hacking continued on and past Election Day. If Brennan and his fellow war-mongers had actual evidence that Russia had been behind the hacks, then why do they continue to insist that the hacking stopped on November 8, when Brazile clearly claims they had not? The easiest explanation is that the Russian government was not the source of the computer hacking events and they were being carried out by some other party or were invented by the «Fancy Bear» fabulists at CrowdStrike. Perhaps some interests wanted an Election Day war to begin with Russia, which would mean a declaration by Obama of a national state of emergency and a postponement of the election, as had occurred in New York City on September 11, 2001, the previous time the Red Phone was used by the White House.

Had Obama authorized a military strike on Russia on Election Day, the civilian U.S. government would have morphed into the secret government where the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense’s Northern Command would have replaced the U.S. Congress and the courts as the government of the United States. It is likely that there would have never been an election, let alone a president-elect Trump.

See also:

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow weighs in on Obamaspeak, finally

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 25, 2016

Full eight weeks ago when I wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin must have had a game plan by honouring Henry Kissinger as a member of the hallowed Russian Academy of Sciences, it was a mere hunch. (See my blog Russia honours American icon on US election eve.) Isn’t that what Kremlinology is all about – taking a blind shot and undeservedly hitting bull’s eye? Politico has a riveting story this weekend with the tell-all title Kissinger, a longtime Putin confidant, sidles up to Trump: America’s pre-eminent ex-diplomat gets back in the mix. Could he help broker a deal with Russia?

On a serious note, though, the stunning thing is Putin’s sensational admission – characteristically enough, in parenthesis – at his annual marathon press conference in Moscow on Friday, that he knew it in his bones that Donald Trump would win. This is what Putin said at the press conference:

  • It seems to me that Reagan would be happy to see his party’s people winning everywhere, and would welcome the victory of the newly elected President (Trump) so adept at catching the public mood and who took precisely this direction and pressed onward to the very end, even when no one except us (Kremlin) believed he could win.

The press conference on Friday was payback time for all the fusillade fired at Russia and Putin personally through the past 5 -6 months from Washington, culminating in President Barack Obama’s unprecedented, finger-pointing at the Kremlin leader just a week ago, alleging he’d plotted Trump’s victory.

Putin fired back that Obama and his party men are shifting the blame for their own failures to Russia. He said the Democratic Party lost not only the presidential elections but also the Congressional elections and the Obama administration is responsible for the systemic reasons for it. Putin referred to the disconnect between the American political elites and the “broad popular masses”. He drew satisfaction that a substantial section of Americans shared Russian views on “the world’s organization”.

Putin said acerbically that a great Democratic president like FDR (“who knew how to unite the nation even during the Great Depression’s bleakest years”) would be turning in his grave. For, Putin added:

  • Today’s (US) administration… is very clearly dividing the nation. The call for the electors not to vote for either candidate, in this case, not to vote for the President-elect, was quite simply a step towards dividing the nation. Two electors did decide not to vote for Trump, and four for Clinton, and here too they (Obama administration) lost. They are losing on all fronts and looking for scapegoats on whom to lay the blame. I think this is an affront to their own dignity. It is important to know how to lose gracefully.
  • But it is very clear that the party which calls itself Democratic and will remain in power until January 20, I think, has forgotten the original meaning of its name. This is particularly so if you look at the absolutely shameless way they used administrative resources in their favour, and the calls to not accept the voters’ decision and appeals to the electors.

Putin defiantly challenged Obama to produce a shred of evidence regarding Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee website. He then weighed in heavily:

  • I think the most important thing is the information that the hackers revealed to the public. Did they compile or manipulate the data? No, they did not. What is the best proof that the hackers uncovered truthful information? The proof is that after the hackers demonstrated how public opinion had been manipulated within the Democratic Party, against one candidate rather than the other, against candidate Sanders, the Democratic National Committee Chairperson resigned. This means she admitted that the hackers revealed the truth. Instead of apologising to the voters and saying, ‘Forgive us, we will never do this again,’ they started yelling about who was behind the attacks. Is that important?

It is truly exceptional for a Kremlin leader to hold the torch light at the dysfunctional American system and to deliberate publicly in front of the western mediapersons on the deep-rooted rot in the US electoral politics. Arguably, Putin crossed the limits of diplomatic propriety. But then, Obama asked for a Christmas gift from the Kremlin before leaving the Oval Office by his own intemperate remarks about Putin ten days ago.

The Kremlin took a lot of nonsense from Obama over the years – much of it deliberately intended to humiliate the Russian elites, often personally mocking at Putin and lecturing at him and even commenting on his personal traits, and generally putting down Russia on the world stage as a failing state.

But, ironically, Obama ended up only contributing to Russia’s resurgence. History shows that Russia mobilises best under duress. But for such baptism under fire during Obama’s second term – US strategy to ‘isolate’ Russia, ‘regime change’ in Ukraine, western sanctions, deployment of ABM system in Central Europe, NATO forward deployments within 100 kilometers from St. Petersburg, et al – Russia might not have got its act together so comprehensively, as today. Putin’s extraordinary performance on Friday shows it. Read the transcript here.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Tunisians Protest against Return of Terrorists from Conflict Zones

Al-Manar – December 25, 2016

Hundreds of people took to the streets of the Tunisian capital to protest against the repatriation of fellow citizens suspected of having links with various extremist groups.

The protest took place after Germany announced that it would speed up the process of sending rejected Tunisian asylum seekers home, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said that authorities could not prevent the return of terrorists.

Tunisians staged a rally in front of the national parliament that was attended by hundreds of people.

People were holding placards that read “close the doors to terrorism” and “no tolerance, no return” as well as were waving Tunisian flags and singing the national anthem.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

UN General Assembly approves historic resolution prohibiting nuclear weapons

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons | December 23, 2016

The United Nations General Assembly today approved a historic resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The vote follows a decision on 27 October by the General Assembly’s First Committee – which deals with disarmament and international security matters – to begin work on the new treaty despite fervent opposition from some nuclear-armed nations.

The resolution was adopted by a large majority, with 113 UN member states voting in favour, 35 voting against and 13 abstaining. Support was strongest among the nations of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. A cross-regional group comprising Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa initiated the resolution and are likely to lead next year’s negotiations.

At a UN budget committee meeting earlier this week, the United States attracted the ire of other nations when it objected to a funding request for the planned four weeks of negotiations on the treaty, to be held at UN headquarters in New York. But under intense pressure from supporters of nuclear disarmament, it eventually withdrew its objection, and the committee authorized the request.

In a leaked document distributed to all NATO members in October ahead of the First Committee decision, the United States – which possesses some 7,000 nuclear weapons – urged its allies to oppose the resolution and to boycott the negotiations, fearing that the treaty would erode the perception that nuclear weapons are legitimate for certain nations and make it more difficult for NATO to engage in nuclear war planning.

A number of close US allies that voted against the resolution or abstained have indicated their intention to participate in the negotiations anyway, in order to help shape the treaty. For example, the Netherlands, which hosts US nuclear weapons on its territory and abstained from voting, has confirmed that it will take part, and Japan’s foreign minister, despite opposing the resolution, wants his country to attend.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is urging all nations to take part. “Every nation has an interest in ensuring that nuclear weapons are never used again, which can only be guaranteed through their complete elimination. We are calling on all governments to join next year’s negotiations and work to achieve a strong and effective treaty,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

ICAN stressed that the negotiations should proceed whether or not nuclear-armed nations agree to participate. “As a matter of principle, weapons that are indiscriminate in nature and are intended to cause catastrophic humanitarian harm should be prohibited under international law. This new treaty will place nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as other weapons of mass destruction,” said Fihn.

“We believe that, through its normative force, the nuclear weapon ban treaty will affect the behaviour of nuclear-armed nations even if they refuse to join it. It will also affect the behaviour of many of their allies that currently claim protection from nuclear weapons, including those in Europe that host nuclear weapons on their territory. It will contribute significantly towards achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.”

The negotiations will be divided into two sessions, from 27 to 31 March and from 15 June to 7 July. ICAN plans to send a large delegation of campaigners to both sessions. The campaign is urging governments to make every effort to conclude the treaty by the end of the four weeks of negotiations, noting that much preparatory work has already been done, including by a UN working group that met in Geneva this year.

The treaty is likely to include provisions similar to those found in existing treaties banning biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. These include prohibitions on use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and transfer, as well as assistance, encouragement or inducement of anyone to engage in any of these prohibited activities.

Multilateral negotiations for nuclear disarmament have been deadlocked for two decades, as all nine nuclear-armed nations have invested heavily in upgrades to their nuclear forces. Alternative proposals for advancing a nuclear-weapon-free world have failed to gain traction or produce results. A majority of UN member states view the ban treaty approach as the most viable and promising pathway forward.

Text of the resolution →

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment