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The U.N. Has Absolutely No Idea How Economic Growth Works by Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve been at the United Nations this week for both the 14th Session of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters as well as the Special Meeting of ECOSOC on International Cooperation in Tax Matters.

As you might suspect, it would be an understatement to say this puts me in the belly of the beast (for the second time!). Sort of a modern-day version of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

These meetings are comprised of tax collectors from various nations, along with U.N. officials who – like their tax-free counterparts at other international bureaucracies – don’t have to comply with the tax laws of those countries.

In other words, there’s nobody on the side of taxpayers and the private sector (I’m merely an observer representing “civil society”).

I could share with you the details of the discussion, but 99 percent of the discussion was boring and arcane. So instead I’ll touch on two big-picture observations.

What the United Nations gets wrong: The bureaucracy assumes that higher taxes are a recipe for economic growth and development.

I’m not joking. I wrote last year about how many of the international bureaucracies are blindly asserting that higher taxes are pro-growth because government supposedly will productively “invest” any additional revenue. And this reflexive agitation for higher fiscal burdens has been very prevalent this week in New York City. It’s unclear whether participants actually believe their own rhetoric. I’ve shared with some of the folks the empirical data showing the western world became rich in the 1800s when fiscal burdens were very modest. But I’m not expecting any miraculous breakthroughs in economic understanding.

What the United Nations fails to get right: The bureaucracy does not appreciate that low rates are the best way of boosting tax compliance.

Most of the discussions focused on how tax laws, tax treaties, and tax agreements can and should be altered to extract more money from the business community. Participants occasionally groused about tax evasion, but the real focus was on ways to curtail tax avoidance. This is noteworthy because it confirms my point that the anti-tax competition work of international bureaucracies is guided by a desire to collect more revenue rather than to improve enforcement of existing law. But I raise this issue because of a sin of omission. At no point did any of the participants acknowledge that there’s a wealth of empirical evidence showing that low tax rates are the most effective way of encouraging tax compliance.

I realize that these observations are probably not a big shock. So in hopes of saying something worthwhile, I’ll close with a few additional observations

  • I had no idea that people could spend so much time discussing the technicalities of taxes on international shipping. I resisted the temptation to puncture my eardrums with an ice pick.
  • From the moment it was announced, I warned that the OECD’s project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) was designed to extract more money from the business community. The meeting convinced me that my original fears were – if possible – understated.
  • A not-so-subtle undercurrent in the meeting is that governments of rich nations, when there are squabbles over who gets to pillage taxpayers, are perfectly happy to stiff-arm governments from poor nations.
  • The representative from the U.S. government never expressed any pro-taxpayer or pro-growth sentiments, but he did express some opposition to the notion that profits of multinationals could be divvied up based on the level of GDP in various nations. I hope that meant opposition to “formula apportionment.”
  • Much of the discussion revolved around the taxation of multinational companies, but I was still nonetheless surprised that there was no discussion of the U.S. position as a very attractive tax haven.
  • The left’s goal (at least for statists from the developing world) is for the United Nations to have greater power over national tax policies, which does put the UN in conflict with the OECD, which wants to turn a multilateral convention into a pseudo-International Tax Organization.

P.S. The good news is that the folks at the United Nations have not threatened to toss me in jail. That means the bureaucrats in New York City are more tolerant of dissent than the folks at the OECD.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

Obama administration lied, exposed as architect of anti-Israel UN action

“It also has come to light that Kerry held a meeting in December with senior Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat. Documents believed to have been leaked by Egypt confirm that Kerry and Erekat discussed forwarding the resolution, a charge that senior White House officials continue to deny.”

The Obama administration will leave behind a long, long record of dishonesty and betrayal.

“White House On Defense After Being Exposed as Architect of Anti-Israel U.N. Action,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, December 29, 2016:

Senior Obama administration officials are scrambling to provide explanations after multiple reports, including in the Washington Free Beacon, identified the White House as being a chief architect of a recent United Nations resolution condemning the state of Israel, according to conversations with multiple former and current U.S. officials.

On the heels of the hotly contested resolution, which condemned Israel for building homes in its capital, Jerusalem, senior Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, have been identified as leading the charge to ensure the anti-Israel measure won approval by the U.N. Security Council.

The administration’s denials of this charge broke down during the past several days as multiple reporters confirmed the Obama administration worked behind-the-scenes to help shape and forward the resolution.

The Free Beacon disclosed on Monday that Vice President Joe Biden phoned Ukraine’s president to ensure that country voted in favor of the resolution. While the White House issued multiple denials, further reports from Israel and Europe have confirmed a phone call between the leaders did in fact take place.

It also has come to light that Kerry held a meeting in December with senior Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat. Documents believed to have been leaked by Egypt confirm that Kerry and Erekat discussed forwarding the resolution, a charge that senior White House officials continue to deny.

White House National Security Council official Ned Price described such a meeting as a “total fabrication,” despite public documents highlighting the powwow between Kerry and Erekat.

One senior Obama administration official who spoke to the Free Beacon said the White House did not help draft the resolution, as Israeli leaders have suggested in recent days.

“We’ve been entirely clear that this was an Egyptian resolution,” said the official, explaining that the effort did not originate with the White House. Reports of a meeting between Kerry, Erekat, and White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice are not correct, the official said.

However, these claims have been disputed by multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon both on and off the record about the situation.

Jonathan Schanzer, a Middle East expert and vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that he spoke with U.S. officials in September who admitted that “a U.N. measure of some shape or form was actively considered,” a charge that runs counter the White House’s official narrative.

“We know that this administration was at a minimum helping to shape a final resolution at the United Nations and had been working on this for months,” Schanzer said.

“This isn’t terribly dissimilar from the administration’s attempts to spin the cash pallets they sent to Iran,” he added, referring to the administration’s efforts to conceal the fact that it sent the Iranian government some $1.7 billion in cash.

“The fact is, the administration has been flagged as being an active participant in this U.N. resolution,” Schanzer said. “Now they wish to try to spin this as inconsequential. This was an attempt by the administration to lead from behind, as they have done countless times in the past and which has failed countless times in the past.”

As with the meeting between Kerry and Erekat, the phone call between Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been confirmed multiple times by a plethora of sources in the United States, Israel, and Europe following the Free Beacon’s initial report.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a weekly cabinet meeting that “the Obama administration initiated [the resolution], stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

The administration has not yet addressed the discrepancy between its own narrative and that being revealed in the press….

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Obama’s ‘final solution’ for the state of Israel

On December 28th, 2016 John Kerry gave his final speech as the outgoing U.S. Secretary of State.  Kerry’s “Remarks on Middle East Peace” lasted 1 hour and 13 minutes. In his speech Kerry outlined President Obama’s “final solution” for the state of Israel.

One phrase struck me. Kerry stated, “Israel can be Jewish or democratic – not both.”

But Israel is already Jewish and democratic. There have been Israeli Arab members of the Knesset ever since the first Knesset elections in 1949. There are currently 17 Arab members of the Knesset, and 59 former Arab members. Kerry asked:

How would Israel respond to a growing civil rights movement from Palestinians, demanding a right to vote, or widespread protests and unrest across the West Bank? How does Israel reconcile a permanent occupation with its democratic ideals? How does the U.S. continue to defend that and still live up to our own democratic ideals?

Israel already recognizes the right of every Israeli citizen, Jew or Arab or Christian or Druz, el al, to vote. Israel has been dealing with terrorism against the Jewish state since 1949 and throughout its history, from ancient Rome to the PLO and HAMAS.

The U.S. continues to defend Israel because it is the basis, the foundation, of our own democratic ideals. Founding Father John Adams in a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp dated February 16, 1808 wrote:

“I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations …

They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.”

There are no Jewish members of the PLO nor in HAMAS, which controls the Gaza strip. Additionally, those nations surrounding Israel are Muslim and undemocratic, abiding by shariah laws that reject non-Muslims. Why? Because the Koran says so.

So what is Kerry projecting on behalf of President Obama? What has been, and clearly is, Obama’s “final solution” to end the conflict in the Middle East?

Answer: A Jew free Palestinian state.

Kerry focused on Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samara, historic land that has belong to and had been occupied by, the Jewish people for thousands of years. Kerry sees these settlements as the existential threat to a two state solution stating:

So the settler agenda is defining the future of Israel. And their stated purpose is clear. They believe in one state: greater Israel. In fact, one prominent minister, who heads a pro-settler party, declared just after the U.S. election – and I quote – “the era of the two-state solution is over,” end quote. And many other coalition ministers publicly reject a Palestinian state. And they are increasingly getting their way, with plans for hundreds of new units in East Jerusalem recently announced and talk of a major new settlement building effort in the West Bank to follow.

Then Kerry asks, “So why are we so concerned? Why does this matter? Well, ask yourself these questions: What happens if that agenda succeeds? Where does that lead?”

May I suggest that a one state solution leads to what now exists in the Jewish state of Israel. A pluralistic society where all segments of the population, regardless of religious affiliation or ethnicity, live in peace side by side as individuals.

Kerry laments:

So if there is only one state, you would have millions of Palestinians permanently living in segregated enclaves in the middle of the West Bank, with no real political rights, separate legal, education, and transportation systems, vast income disparities, under a permanent military occupation that deprives them of the most basic freedoms. Separate and unequal is what you would have. And nobody can explain how that works. Would an Israeli accept living that way? Would an American accept living that way? Will the world accept it?

Under a united Jewish state of Israel Palestinians do have access to real political rights, education, transportation systems, serve in the IDF and have enhanced economic opportunities in what is know as “the startup nation.”

If you want to know what an independent Palestinian state would look like and act just look at the Gaza strip. A radicalized Islamic state that is Jew free where its citizens have no political rights and suffer under a regime more interested in arming itself for the sole purpose of killing non-Muslims and an exporter of terrorism globally.

The only option going forward for President-elect Trump is a one state solution.

As David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s nominee to become the ambassador to Israel said in a pre-election interview with The Algemeiner in early November:

“It is inconceivable there could be a mass evacuation on that magnitude, in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement,” Friedman said. “It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria to be ‘Judenrein [void of Jews],’ any more than it makes sense for Israel to be ‘Arabrein [void of Arabs].’ It’s not fair.”

The two-state solution is dead. Long live the one-state solution.

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The Malice of the Leader of the Democratic Party

President Barack Obama is the leader of the Democratic Party. It is expected that after he leaves office on January 20th, 2017 he will continue to be the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party.

His legacy is the legacy of the Democratic Party.

In my column “How Democrats Fundamentally Changed from the Party of JFK to the Party of BHO” I asked, “Where are the Blue Dog Democrats? Purged from the BHO Party? As Ronald Reagan once said he did not leave the Democratic Party, rather the Democratic Party left him. So it is with many Democrats. The BHO Party has left them in the lurch.”

The Democratic Party has become the party of protests, anarchists and tribalism. They cling to illusions of racism, bigotry and embrace an anti-American world view. 

We have been writing about how President Obama has warmly embraced Islam as a person, as President and as the leader of the Democratic Party. Since his election in 2008 there has been malice, with forethought, against America in general and Israel in particular.

In a May 2015 column Dissected: President Obama’s Anti-Israelism Jerry Gordon wrote:

Both Vic Rosenthal’s Abu Yehuda  blog post, “For Obama it’s a Moral Crusade” and Brett Stephens’ Tuesday Wall Street Journal column,“The Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis” suggest that the President’s comments sinuously convey anti-Israelism.

Rosenthal gives the following evidence:

Some of the reasons I and others find Obama anti-Israel are these:

  1. His stubborn attempts to force Israel into a suicidal agreement with the Palestinians.
  2. His acceptance (regardless of his words) of a nuclear-armed Iran, and his efforts to stop Israel from acting against it.
  3. His open contempt for our Prime Minister.
  4. His taking the Turkish president’s side in the Mavi Marmara affair, and forcing PM Netanyahu to apologize to the Turks.
  5. His acceptance of Hamas claims that the IDF acted ‘disproportionally’ in Gaza (as shown by his demand for an immediate cease-fire and imposition of an arms embargo during the recent war).
  6. The aforementioned leaks about Israeli actions in Syria and elsewhere.
  7. His acceptance of the anti-Israel narrative that Israel’s right to exist rests on the Holocaust and that it must be balanced against the rights of the ‘deserving’ Palestinians (as expressed in his 2009 Cairo speech).
  8. His attempts to interfere in Israeli politics, including trying to defeat Netanyahu at the polls. It’s ironic that American money was used to help get out the presumably anti-Netanyahu Arab vote — and then Obama bitterly criticized Netanyahu for telling his supporters that they should get out and vote because the Arabs were!
  9. The double standard he displays: compare his condemnation of the PM for his election-day remark with his lack of response to the daily barrage of Israel-hatred and veneration of terrorists coming from the official Palestinian media. Or look at his expressed concern for Palestinians suffering the indignities of checkpoints against his failure to mention the almost daily Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism.

I could go on, but this should be enough to show that the belief that Obama is anti-Israel is substantive, not simply a political reflex as he suggests.

Obama and Democratic Party have now shown malice toward Israel.

This malice began when Obama was first elected to the Presidency. His remarks about embracing Israel, and its people, and having their backs was a fabrication, a political calculation to lure them into a spiraling chamber of death.

The Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews under Adolf Hitler. President Obama has given the followers of Mohammed another signal that its alright to exterminate the state of Israel – the definition of malice. Obama with one abstention has made possible the unthinkable.

Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an opponent of Adolf Hitler, wrote, “Not to act is to act, not to speak is to speak.” Obama chose not to act, not to speak, at the United Nations on December 23rd, 2016.

That is his and the Democratic Party’s legacy.

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President Obama let an anti-settlement resolution pass the UN Security Council, breaking his word to Israel and abandoning our best ally in the Middle East to those who hate Israel–maybe setting the stage for a Biblical prophecy written in Zechariah 14.

“The day of the Lord comes…all nations [United Nations?] will gather against Jerusalem to battle. The city shall be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished…Then shall the Lord go forth to fight against those nations.”

“The day of the Lord” has already been signaled by several ‘when-then’ signs in 2015,” says Dr. Richard Ruhling, author on Bible prophecy. He cites the Iran Nuclear Treaty, also promoted by Obama as a “peace and safety” sign in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5. The rare solar eclipse on the equinox and blood moon also signals “the day of the Lord” in the last verses of Joel 2.

But how will God “fight against those [Muslim] nations as stated above? In the Bible, God says, “There is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning.” Isaiah 46:9,10. In the book of beginnings, the 22nd chapter of Genesis, God tested Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Muslims say the son was Ishmael and they celebrate the ram sacrifice, calling it Al-Adha. Which is the true holy book?

The Bible offers further detail with a militant ram sacrificed in Daniel 8. We know Alexander the Great conquered the Medes and Persians (named in verse 20) at the Battle of Arbela in 331 BC. But Gabriel told Daniel that his vision was “at the time of the end.” Verse 17.

Iraq and Iran are where the Medes and Persians were. The end-time application is half fulfilled as Saddam is dead. Iraq and Iran are enemies of Israel, but Israel was also the son of Isaac. The sparing of Israel is the sparing of Isaac when militant Islam is sacrificed. What’s coming will show the Bible as the true holy book.

Moderate Muslims are closer to biblical religion than much of the US with its alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, crime, violence, Hollywood, TV, perversions and rock music that their leaders hate and call it Christianity.

One problem is Israel’s large secular component that has little interest in its spiritual heritage in spite of godly leaders like Netanyahu. The US is no better. 60 million abortions and a re-defining of marriage by the Supreme Court invites judgment on the US as well, says Ruhling who sees Passover as the time when judgment came to Jerusalem in 70 AD.

If Jerusalem suffers judgment at Passover in April, America should expect judgment a month later as clues like “the days of Noah” suggest. Destruction came with Passover timing, but in the 2nd spring month.

Then Muslims or Palestinians in Jerusalem claiming victory over the Jews, should beware. “The Lord shall roar…from Jerusalem and the heavens and earth shall shake.” Joel 3. They will get the message, but so will the US as the earthquake initiates ‘the day of the Lord’ in Joel’s 2nd chapter, 10th verse.

How history repeats may be reminiscent of God executing judgment on Egypt and taking Israel to a covenant, later saying, “I am married to you” in Jeremiah 3. Paul included that history of the Exodus when he said, “All these things happened to them for tupos—types… ends of the world.” 1 Corinthians 10.

EDITORS NOTE: For more information, readers can visit Ruhling’s website at http://MayJudgmentDay.com or get a copy of his eBook, The Alpha & Omega Bible Code.

Democrats Abandoned Isreal on December 23, 2016: A date that will live in Infamy

The leader of the Democratic Party has decided to abandon Israel on December 23rd, 2016 and Democrats knew full well that he would. To understand why this happened one must read President Obama’s 2012 speech to the United Nations.

Barack Obama said in a speech before the United Nations on September 25th, 2012 that, “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”

Democrats stood by the President, knowing that he was speaking directly to the Arab world, Israel, and those in the United States and beyond, who did not fully embrace the “religion of peace.”

Democrats knew their President stood squarely on the side of Islam and Islamists and they did nothing.

President Obama commented on Benghazi stating:

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.

It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith.  We are home to Muslims who worship across our country.  We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe.  We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video.  And the answer is enshrined in our laws:  Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

This about Tunisia, now a hot bed of terrorism and the home of the Berlin Christmas market slaughter:

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring.  And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.

This about the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt:

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.

This about Yemen:

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.

This about Libya:

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

And this about Syria:

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.

Each of these statements were honey to the ears of Democrats and the Arab world and the Muslim community.  But for those who understood his real message, knew it was a death knell for the Israelis, Syrians, Libyans, Egyptians, Yemenis, Europeans and Americans.

Obama was saying that the future belongs to Islam. History will call December 23rd, 2016 a date that will live in infamy but the foundation of the betrayal of the Christian world was laid on September 25th, 2012.

And Democrats were silent.

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President Obama’s act of folly and betrayal of Israel

President Obama yours was the unkindest abstention in the history of the U.S. actions as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Yesterday, in a deliberate act of retribution and in consort with four council members, two imperialist Islamic member states of the Organization of Islamic States, Malaysia and Senegal, New Zealand  and Venezuela, an ally of Iran, you abandoned the Jewish nation of Israel; this country’s only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.

This act of infamy was given a standing ovation by all 14 members of the Security Council. The Palestinian representative declared it a “day of victory.”

Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon demurred, calling it a “victory for terrorism.”

History will mark your action as an ignominious faithless act of betrayal of your oath of office and long-standing friendship of America towards the Jewish nation of Israel. A nation that shares the foundational values of our country.

Your abstention and the vote of UN Security Council approving Resolution 2334 dismembers Israel’s eternal capital of Jerusalem violating its existing right to negotiate just and secure borders.

Your act and that of the Security Council will not bring peace. Instead it will inflame Islamic terrorism against our ally Israel.

You have brought shame and dishonor on your office and reputation of this country and its people you were elected to faithfully serve.Your legacy following the end of your final term in office is forever tarnished by this act of folly.

The irony of your misguided conduct comes on the eve of the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah, meaning ‘consecration’, celebrating the victory two millenia ago by the Maccabees, the few against the many, blessed by Ha Shem. These warrior priests rose up with the cry of the High Priest Mattisyahu, “whoever is for for God, follow me.” Their mortal combat achieved a victory over the foreign tyrannyof Syrian-Greek despot, Antiochus, occupying ancient Judea. It was a victory in furtherance of the inalienable right of freedom to worship emblazoned in the First Amendment of our Constitution. An ancient victory that also affirmed the State of Israel’s right to the land of its Jewish fore-bearers and descendants.

Your action Friday , December 23, 2016 suborned that ancient legacy that this country was founded on to uphold 234 years ago with fight for Independence from another occupying tyranny.

It will now be left to a new Congress and your successor as President to redress your betrayal of our country and ally Israel.

Full text of UNSC resolution, approved Dec. 23, demanding Israel stop all settlement activity

The Times of Israel

Approved by 14-0, with US abstaining, text seeks action ‘to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-state solution’

Text of Egyptian-drafted resolution 2334 on settlements, approved by the UN Security Council, on December 23, 2016.

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,

Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,

Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,

Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,

Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,

Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,

Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2016. (UN Photo)

Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2016. (UN Photo)

Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;

5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;

7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;

8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;

9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;

10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;

11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;

13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Trump Influenced Egypt to Delay a U.N. Resolution that would have irreparably harmed Israel

A vote was scheduled by the U.N.for this past Thursday concerning Israeli settlements which would have irreparably harmed Israel. In the past the U.S. would have vetoed such a resolution. However it is now reported Obama wasn’t going to veto it.

Fortunately for Israel Donald Trump in an unusual move for a President Elect publicly called for Obama to veto the resolution sending Egypt a clear message of Trump’s position. As a result Egypt has postponed a vote on the resolution. This will give President Trump the opportunity to veto it when it is rescheduled.

From all of us who support Israel, thank-you President Elect Trump.


Trump influenced Egypt’s decision to postpone anti-Israel UN vote, diplomats say

Egypt postponed a vote on an anti-Israel UN resolution it had sponsored shortly after US President-elect Donald Trump called for a veto of the measure, which would have condemned Israeli building in Judea and Samaria.

US President-elect Donald J. Trump has implicitly called for outgoing US President Barack Obama to veto a UN Security Council resolution scheduled for Thursday afternoon, which would have condemned Israeli construction in all areas gained by the Jewish state during the Six-Day War in 1967, when it was threatened with extinction by the surrounding Arab countries.

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” Trump wrote on his Facebook page. “This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” Trump added.

Read more…

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How Mark Steyn Skillfully Out-smarted ‘Open Borders’ Advocates

Everyone has been sending me the below video of the debate in Toronto on Friday on the issue of mass migration going on literally around the world, but most visibly now in Europe.

Yesterday, I finally watched the debate and it was all everyone said it was!

Here at World Net Daily, reporter Leo Hohmann gives us the highlights.  You may watch the video of the full debate below. He begins:

Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn delivered a stinging rebuke of the progressive stance on mass migration of mostly male Muslim refugees into Europe at a recent debate in Toronto.

Steyn faced off April 1 with opponents in the Spring Munk Debates on the issue of refugee resettlement and whether Western countries should welcome thousands of Muslims from the Middle East and Africa.

The Munk Debates, founded by Peter Munk, allow the audience to pick the winners based on online voting. When the dust had settled, Steyn’s team was declared the winner. The scores are based on how many viewers report their positions being changed on the issue from pro to con or vice versa.

When the debate started, 77 percent of viewers reported being in favor of refugee resettlement as put forth by the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

By the end of the debate, only 55 percent agreed with that position and the “cons” moved from 23 percent to 45 percent.

Steyn, and his debating partner Brit Nigel Farage, won by changing the minds of 22% of the debate audience which came in stacked against them with 77% in favor of supporting those lines in the d*** Emma Lazarus poem, which by the way, I said here should be removed from the Statue of Liberty for its role in perpetuating a historical inaccuracy.

Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour

Continue Hohmann’s summary and then near the end note this mention from Pro-refugee debater, Louise Arbour former UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

Arbour said her definition of a “refugee,” based on the current state of armed conflict, should include “virtually every civilian who is not a combatant unless he is a war criminal.”

I can’t impress upon you enough how important it is to stop this campaign to change the definition of what defines a “refugee.”

Every chance they get the one-worlders are promoting this idea that any unhappy person on the move is a legitimate refugee entitled to special treatment wherever he or she wants to go.  A legitimate refugee must be able to prove that he/she is persecuted for his religion, race, political persuasion and so forth.

Someone migrating to get a job, or healthcare, or running from crime or war is NOT a legitimate refugee! 

If you have never read Mark Steyn’s “America Alone: The End of the World as we Know It,” you must.  Here at Amazon. When first published a decade ago, Steyn, in analyzing the demographic time bomb Europe was facing, could not have imagined the size and scope of the present invasion and how it would speed up the inevitable end of Europe as we know it.

By the way, most “refugee” advocates in the US are also attempting to expand the definition of ‘refugee’ to include the Unaccompanied Alien Children flooding our borders in recent years.

VIDEO: Global Refugee Crisis Debate: Louise Arbour + Simon Schama vs Nigel Farage + Mark Steyn:

VIDEO: Donald Trump on the ‘future of American Relations’ with our ‘cultural brother’ Israel

On Monday, March 21, 2016 leading GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. In this speech he laid out his  position on support for the State of Israel. He spoke on the Iran “bad” deal and Iran’s proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon,  Yemen and the threat to Saudi Arabia.

Trump laid out three strategies to deal with Iran:

  1. Stand against all of Iran’s efforts to “destabilize and dominate” the region (Middle East).
  2. Totally “dismantle Iran’s global terror network.”
  3. Enforce the Iran nuclear deal like “you’ve never seen a contract enforced before.”

Trump then called out the “utter weakness and incompetence” of the United Nations. Trump said the UN is not a friend to democracy, freedom, the United States or Israel.

Trump’s comment “with President Obama in his final year, yeah!” got a standing ovation.

Trump noted that Obama may be the “worst thing” that ever happened to Israel. Trump called any effort by the Obama administration to impose any UN imposed agreement between Israel and the Palestinians a “total disaster.” Trump said as President he would veto any such resolution.

Trump was adamant that rewarding Palestinian terror knife attacks, such at that which slaughtered American veteran and West Point graduate Taylor Force in Tel Aviv, cannot happen, ever.

Trump repeatedly stated he would veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state of Israel.

Trump said as President “the days of treating Israel as a second class citizen will end, on day one.” Palestinian incitement and Jew hatred has to stop, said Trump. Glorifying martyrdom is a “barrier to peace.” Palestinians must end the “education of hatred, and end it now.”

He noted that Obama continually punishes our friends and rewards our enemies. He called Hillary Clinton a “total disaster.”

Trump observed that when America stands with Israel the chances of peace rises “exponentially.” He promised to move the U.S. embassy to the “eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem” and that there is “no daylight between America and its most reliable ally Israel.”

He concluded with “my Daughter Ivanka Is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.”

Trump’s speech was a major foreign policy statement on the Middle East in general and toward Israel specifically. He set his red lines in the sand.

Now we must wait for November 8th to see if he will be the man to implement them.

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Making Eli’s Chicago Cheesecake — A Job Americans won’t do?

The new UN High Commissioner for Refugees, after visiting Senator John McCain in Washington and signing an agreement to get more money from U.S. taxpayers, visited Eli’s Cheesecake Company in Chicago.

McCain and Grandi

Arizona Senator John McCain [photo right] warmly greets new UN High Commissioner for Refugees as Grandi comes to D.C. for his annual dip into the U.S. Treasury. Grandi is ‘head hunter’ for American big business.

We learn that a federal refugee contractor lines up jobs for refugees with Eli’s!

Contractor RefugeeOne took in $2.1 million from taxpayers in 2014 to act as an employment service for refugees.  It brags that it brought 16,000 refugees to Chicago since 1982!

What! no Americans willing to make cheesecake? Or, is there some special tax incentive for Eli’s to hire foreign labor?

The UN trumpets the news here:

CHICAGO, United States, March 18 (UNHCR) – During a week-long visit to the United States, the head of the United Nations refugee agency welcomed Washington’s longstanding commitment to resettling more refugees than any other country and emphasized that managing the refugee crisis is a global responsibility.

Speaking on a visit to Chicago, where he met with refugees, US lawmakers and resettlement agencies, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “Resettlement addresses the needs of the most vulnerable and is the safest way to move people from one country to another. Refugees flee terror, they don’t bring terror to countries. Their arrival is very carefully vetted, so there should be no fear.”

[….]

While in the Midwestern city, Grandi visited RefugeeOne, a Chicago area non-profit that works with refugeesfleeing war, persecution and terror, helping them to build new lives of safety, dignity and self-reliance.

Marc_Schulman

Eli’s CEO Marc Schulman

 

Finding employment is a major step for a refugee to become self-reliant and one of the businesses that RefugeeOne has long partnered with is Eli’s Cheesecake Company, which has been employing refugees for over 25 years.

[….]

“It takes UNHCR to protect us, RefugeeOne to place us in jobs and people like Marc to help us become productive,” he added, referring to the President of Eli’s Cheesecake Company.

Eli’s CEO Marc Schulman gets cheap immigrant labor and bakes cakes for Obama!

RefugeeOne is a subcontractor of three BIG contracting agencies of the US State Department:  Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

So, no low income Americans want the jobs? Or, it just isn’t cool enough for these Christian charities to help Americans first?

See Leo Hohmann at WND about African Americans being hammered by competition with immigrant labor, here.

The United Nations Must Consider This Torture by Haley Halverson

The United Nations must recognize that all individuals have an inherent right to be free from the sexual exploitation, objectification, and violence which are inherently found in prostitution and pornography.

The experiences of physical, mental, and verbal abuse commonly experienced in both pornography and prostitution are consistent with torture and should be addressed accordingly. This is why the National Center on Sexual Exploitation submitted two important reports to help inform the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez, as he formulates a thematic report on gender perspectives on torture. These documents, The Gender-Based Torture Found in the Pornography Industry and On a Street Corner Near You: Pimps as Practitioners of Torture, addressed research and precedent in international codes that the UN ought to apply to a formal recognition of pornography and prostitution as forms of torture.

This would not be the first time that the United Nations addressed prostitution and pornography as forms of exploitation.

At the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, it was stated that, “Countries should take effective steps to address the neglect, as well as all types of exploitation and abuse, of children, adolescents and youth, such as abduction, rape and incest, pornography, trafficking, abandonment and prostitution.”(1) The United Nations must continue to build upon this history of recognizing the harms of these interrelated industries.

Due to the advent of the Internet, the problem of pornography has especially escalated to a pervasive and globe scale. An individual in Africa can watch the torture of an American woman, while someone in Germany can be downloading the digital evidence of sexual abuse that occurred in the Middle East.

One of the world’s largest pornographic websites recently released an annual review that revealed statistics on porn consumption by country. By percentage of traffic, the United States was the primary consumer of the videos, followed by the U.K., India, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico. The violent and sexualized torture that is inherently part of the nature of pornography must be recognized on an international level.

The treatment experienced by female pornography performers and prostituted persons is often identical to the treatment of women who are recognized as torture victims. It is therefore time for the United Nations to take a stand, and to fight for the dignity of all.

DOWNLOAD THE GENDER-BASED TORTURE FOUND IN THE PORNOGRAPHY INDUSTRY REPORT HERE.*

*Trigger warning for descriptions of scenarios and themes in pornography


(1) International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). (1994). 5.9. Retrieved February 02, 2016

ABOUT HALEY HALVERSON

Untitled design-5DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

Haley Halverson joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) as Director of Communications in May of 2015. Haley cares deeply about human rights and the issue of sexual exploitation, particularly regarding those exploited in the sex industry. In her role, Haley acts as a spokesperson for NCOSE and oversees strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, social media marketing, and creative video production.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for Media Research Center. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) where she double majored in Politics and interdisciplinary religious studies, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internship experiences in the DC area.

Since arriving at NCOSE, Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Post, the Washington Times, USA Radio Network, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, the Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

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UN ‘Green Climate’ Program Is a Slush Fund for Dictators by Marian L. Tupy

Wherever you stand on the subject of global warming, pay close attention to one under-reported aspect of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Paris Agreement. I am referring to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is a financial mechanism intended “to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.”

According to the current estimates, developed countries will be obliged to contribute up to $450 billion a year by 2020 to the GCF, which will then “redistribute” the money to developing countries allegedly suffering from the effects of global warming.

Lo and behold, Zimbabwe’s government-run daily “newspaper” The Herald reported that “Southern Africa is already counting the costs of climate change-linked catastrophes… In Zimbabwe, which has seen a succession of droughts since 2012, a fifth of the population is facing hunger… Feeding them will cost $1.5 billion or 11 percent of … the Gross Domestic Product.”

No doubt Robert Mugabe, the 91-year-old dictator who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is salivating at the prospect of some global warming cash. Beginning in 2000, Mugabe started to expropriate privately-held agricultural land. The result of what is euphemistically called “land reform” was a monumental fall in productivity and the second highest bout of hyperinflation in recorded history.

Some three million of Zimbabwe’s smartest people, including tens of thousands of doctors and lawyers, have left the country. Most of those who have remained behind are subsistence farmers with very little wealth. There is, in other words, very little loot left for the government to steal.

Thankfully for the Zimbabwean dictator, there are plenty of gullible Westerners willing to believe that the frighteningly vile, comically incompetent government isn’t at the root of Zimbabwe’s food shortages, but that global warming is to blame.

Of course, this is pure nonsense. Botswana and Zimbabwe share a border and their climate and natural resources are exceptionally similar. Yet, since 2004, food production has increased by 29 percent in Botswana, while declining by 9 percent in Zimbabwe. It is not drought but government policies that make nations starve!

As befits a dictatorship, Zimbabwe is one of the most corrupt places on earth. The notion that GCF funds will be will used for environmental “adaptation and mitigation” is a dangerous fantasy.

Like much foreign aid before it, most of the “green aid” money will likely end up in the pockets of some of the cruelest and most corrupt people on earth. Congress must stand firm and refuse to appropriate any money for the fund.

This post first appeared at Human Progress.

Marian L. TupyMarian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe departing after a state visit to the U.S.

Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?

FoxNews reported these developments following the success of North Korea’s satellite launching confirmed by the Pentagon:

We’ve been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

He said the Pentagon will, in light of this, begin “formal consultations” with South Korea over improvements to their own missile defense systems.

“We’d like to see this move as quickly as possible, but we’re beginning the consultations now in the coming days with the South Koreans and we expect that this will move in an expeditious fashion,” Cook said.

The U.S. and other world powers have condemned the launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

At an emergency meeting Sunday of the U.N. Security Council which includes the U.S., all 15 council members approved a statement condemning the launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said a new U.N. resolution targeting North Korea over its rocket launch and recent nuclear test must be adopted very quickly and include “unprecedented measures” that its leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t expect.

The United States and China have been trying to agree on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Gordon Chang in a Fox News interview said the North Korean satellite launch is something to worry about. Chang is a veteran North Korea and China analyst, Forbes columnist  author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.  He said the Hermit State “demonstrated the mastery of missile technology.” He was referring to the three stage Unha-3 space vehicle launcher (SLV) that successfully placed a satellite in orbit. Chang further commented that the North Koreans demonstrated they have the means to successfully develop a true ICBM. An ICBM  , as we wrote in an NER/Iconoclast post, yesterday, that  both North Korea and its ready customer Iran could use at attack both coasts of this country. Where yesterday, we posted the news of the North Korean satellite launch with the question“is this a game changer?”  Chang’s comments and the reaction from the Obama White House suggest maybe it is.  US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, called it a missile launch because the SVL and a true ICBM she shared the same technology. That meant in the Administration’s view the successful satellite launch violated UN sanctions against missile testing. However, given the track record will the UN Security Council do anything about this latest North Korean action?

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

The success of the North Korean orbit prompted GOP hopeful Texas Senator Cruz at Saturday night’s to raise the question of whether we should pre-emptive attack North Korea’s missile launches.  Ironic, as this proposal was suggested by the current Administration Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Clinton Pentagon Chief William Perry, a decade ago.

DS-north-korea-13000-km-769x1024

The Administration is scrambling now that the Pentagon confirmed that the North Koreans successfully launched a satellite. Launched in a southerly direction, the 200kg.observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title.

The Pentagon is talking about providing South Korea with Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system to complete the shorter range missile defense umbrella that the Republic of Korea has in place.

As we said on the Sunday Lisa Benson Show yesterday “it’s great that the U.S. has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert. He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks  the means  to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex- CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed  in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

This issue came up in the ABC GOP New Hampshire debates, Saturday night. Sen. Cruz raised the matter of a preemptive attack against a future North Korean ICBM launch during those debates. We may have had a hand in prompting it. A twitter rally was held last week by the Nation Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show on the missile defense issue. The twitter rally sent out messages at the rate of 400 an hour, one of which caught the attention of a South Carolinian with a close connection to the Senator’s campaign staff. Another NSTFA twitter rally is on deck this Thursday night on the same issue.

The irony is the preemptive attack proposal originated a decade ago in 2006 in a Time Magazine article co authored by then Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, now Pentagon Chief and former Clinton Pentagon chief William Perry. Four nuclear and several space launches and missile tests later, we have a President whose response is to hold more UN sanctions talks with China at the UN that North Korea continually violates.

Meanwhile the North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Watch, the Fox News report with the Chang interview:

RELATED ARTICLE: In One Graphic, What Countries North Korea’s New Missile Could Hit

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Syrian civil war negotiations get off to rocky start

Dr. Riad Hijab, Syria's former Prime Ministe

Dr. Riad Hijab, Syria’s former Prime Minister : Syria’s Supreme Commission for Negotiations Convenes (PRNewsFoto/Office of Dr Riad Hijab)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia /PRNewswire/ — The Supreme Commission for Negotiations held its third meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday January 19-20, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Commission Coordinator Dr. Riad Hijab presided over a wide agenda with several deliberation sessions and reviews, in addition to consultations over outcomes from visits to various Arab and Western capitals.

Following a thorough review of the Commission’s proposed agenda to UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura; the Commission agreed to the appointment of Mr. As’ad Al-Zo’ubi as head of the negotiating team, Mr. George Sabra as deputy and Mr. Mohamad Alloush as chief negotiator. Appointment of the delegation was based on a rigorous selection criteria taking into account qualifications, expertise and ability to implement any future agreements on the ground.

Dr. Hijab confirmed that the Commission will request from the UN envoy to formally and directly issue invitations to the Commission to attend the negotiations.  Regarding the idea of a third delegation from outside the charter of the Commission, Dr. Hijab commented:

“The Riyadh Conference incorporated a diverse spectrum of Syrian opposition, including the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, the National Coordination Committee, moderate factions, political groups and independent figures who participated in the Cairo and Moscow conferences, as well as broad ethnic and religious representation and a significant number of independents.

We will not accept attempts by foreign parties to support a particular group at the expense of another, make proposals intended to challenge the credibility and mandate of the Supreme Commission for Negotiations, or to inject individuals in the form of a so-called third delegation, justifying their presence under unfounded pretexts merely to disrupt the political process and prolong the fighting in the name of combating terrorism.”

During the meeting several opposition groups proposed to suspend negotiations and consider the timing in the absence of full adherence by signatory states to UNSCR 2254, particularly:  lifting the siege to enable humanitarian agencies to deliver aid, releasing detainees, ceasing aerial shelling and artillery attacks against civilians.

In response to these valid reservations Dr. Hijab pointed out that, “Dates are not sacred, we will not go to any negotiations while our people suffer from shelling, starvation and siege… debased political bartering at the expense of the Syrian people is tantamount to callous extortion which we will not accept under any circumstance.”