Returning to a prospect first raised after last year’s flotilla affair, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has broached supporting recognition by the US Senate of the Armenian genocide as part of a diplomatic offensive against Turkey, the Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sept. 9. The report came ahead of a meeting of a meeting of Foreign Ministry officials to discuss Israel’s response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to downgrade Ankara’s diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Amazingly, the report also claimed Lieberman had suggested that Israel back the PKK Kurdish guerillas (which will doubtless fuel the endless conspiracy theories in Turkish nationalist circles that the Kurds are the pawns of a Zionist conspiracy against the Muslim world). (AFP, Sept. 10; YNet, Sept. 9)
Showdown at UN looms
The White House is meanwhile keeping up the pressure on Palestinian authorities to drop their plan to put statehood to a vote at the United Nations this month. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is said to be weighing whether to apply through the 15-member Security Council for full membership—which the United States has vowed to veto—or to go directly to the 193-member General Assembly, where there is no veto and a pro-Palestinian majority. The General Assembly cannot grant UN membership to Palestine, however; it can only declare it to be an observer state. But this would still allow Palestine to join a host of international agencies and treaty groups—including the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, where it could bring complaints against Israel. The Palestinians have been seeking admission to the ICC for nearly two years, and the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has indicated that General Assembly acceptance would make the difference. (Although a further jurisdictional dilemma is raised by the fact that Israel is not a member of the ICC.) (NYT, Sept. 9)
More “price tag” attacks
On Sept. 8, the IDF reported new “price tag” by presumed far right settlers on Palestinian targets in the West Bank. In the first incident, a mosque in the West Bank village of Yitma, near Nablus, was vandalized with graffiti. In the second incident, two Palestinian vehicles were torched in the village of Kablan. Vandals also broke into an army base outside the Beit El settlement, slashing tires and breaking windows on 13 vehicles. It was the first such “price-tag” attack against an IDF base, and drew major condemnation from the Israeli government. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “This was an abhorrent crime directed against commanders and vehicles, the mission of which is to protect the lives of Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria.” The attacks came after the IDF razed three homes at the Migron settler outpost. (JP, Sept. 10)
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