US vows UN Security Council veto of proposal on Palestinians

Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour speaks to members of the UN security council during an emergency session on Israel-Gaza Conflict at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 02 June 2018
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US vows UN Security Council veto of proposal on Palestinians

UNITED NATIONS: The US is vowing to veto an Arab-backed resolution that asks the UN chief to propose measures to ensure “international protection” for Palestinian civilians.
A vote on the measure — which comes after weeks of urgent discussions but no agreement on any action about escalating violence in Gaza — was at one point expected Thursday evening. Then diplomats said it would be delayed and now the council is scheduled to vote at 3:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Friday.
The Kuwait-sponsored draft resolution “deplores” and demands a halt to “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” by the Israeli military, while it also “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian areas.”
US Ambassador Nikki Haley lambasted the proposal for discussing “excessive” Israeli force while making no mention of Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave.
“It is a grossly one-sided approach that is morally bankrupt and would only serve to undermine ongoing efforts toward peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Haley said in a statement Thursday evening. Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, also has sharply criticized the proposal.
The Security Council has been deeply divided and paralyzed over dealing with the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After a series of emergency meetings about Gaza — the latest just Wednesday — the UN’s most powerful body so far hasn’t been able to agree even on a press statement.
The draft resolution expresses “grave concern” at the escalation of violence and tensions and the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories, especially since the start of a series of mass protests at the Gaza border on March 30.
Over 110 Palestinians were killed and thousands wounded by Israeli military fire. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas of trying to attack under the cover of the protest.
Then Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group bombarded southern Israel with rockets and mortars Tuesday, and Israel responded by striking targets throughout Gaza. It was the largest flare-up for violence between the sides since a 2014 war. Hamas said Wednesday it had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel.
The draft resolution calls for urgent steps “to ensure an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire.” It asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a written report within 60 days ways to ensure “the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including recommendations about “an international protection mechanism.”
The draft also urges immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access and “tangible steps” toward reconciliation between different Palestinian factions.
At Kuwait’s request, the council has held multiple emergency meetings on the border clashes. Tuesday’s torrent of rockets and mortars prompted the US to call for Wednesday’s meeting, where UN Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov said the latest escalation in Gaza was a warning of “how close to the brink of war we are every day.”
Both the US and Kuwaiti ambassadors said their nations had proposed press statements on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that had been blocked in recent weeks.
Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies and have fought three wars since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007.


US is trying to make Iran ‘surrender’ through sanctions says Iran’s vice president

Updated 15 August 2018
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US is trying to make Iran ‘surrender’ through sanctions says Iran’s vice president

  • Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri accused the US of trying to force Iran to surrender through the imposition of sanctions
  • The new sanctions targeted Iranian purchases of US dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector

The United States is trying to make Iran surrender through the imposition of sanctions, Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said on Wednesday.
New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week, and President Donald Trump said companies doing business with the country will be barred from the United States.
“The first priority for all of us under a sanctions situation is to work toward managing the country in a way that brings the least amount of damage to people’s lives,” Fars News quoted Jahangiri as saying. “America is trying by applying various pressures on our society to force us to retreat and surrender.”
The new sanctions targeted Iranian purchases of US dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector, though the toughest measures targeting oil exports do not take effect for four more months.
Few US companies do much business in Iran so the impact of sanctions mainly stems from Washington’s ability to block European and Asian firms from trading there.
President Hassan Rouhani made similar comments to Jahangiri, although he did not specifically refer to the United States.
“We will not let the enemy bring us to our knees,” Rouhani said, according to state TV. “If the enemy thinks they will defeat us they will take this hope to the grave with them.”
Washington had said Iran’s only chance of avoiding the sanctions would be to accept an offer by Trump to negotiate a tougher nuclear deal than the international accord struck in 2015. Trump pulled the United States out of this agreement with world powers in May.
“America itself took actions which destroyed the conditions for negotiation,” Rouhani said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). “There were conditions for negotiation and we were negotiating. They destroyed the bridge themselves,” he said. “If you’re telling the truth then come now and build the bridge again.”
Iranian officials have already rejected Trump’s offer and on Monday Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, also ruled out the possibility of talks.
The Iranian economy is beset by high unemployment and a rial currency which has lost half its value since April. The reimposition of sanctions could also make the economic situation worse.
Rouhani said the economy is the biggest problem facing the country.
Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp price rises of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption. The protests over the cost of living have often turned into anti-government rallies.