Palestinian resolution on settlement construction presented to UN Security Council
In the UK and international news today, BBC Online reports that the Arab states formally submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. The council will meet today to discuss the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process without any voting expected. Several papers note that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday and voiced Russia’s support for the right of the Palestinians to have a state with its capital in East Jerusalem. In other news, UK Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah yesterday and pledged an additional £17 million in aid to Palestinian state building efforts. The Telegraph notes that the Palestinian diplomatic mission to the US for the first time hoisted the Palestinian flag outside its offices in Washington. The paper also notes that a deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak’s new faction, Atzmaut, has been reached and the four Labour Knesset members who left the party with Barak on Monday have been given new portfolios in Netanyahu’s government. The Telegraph and BBC Online note that a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed in clashes that took place yesterday in Gaza between Palestinian gunmen and the Israeli army. Reuters reports that opposition in Syria hailed the efforts of the uprising in Tunisia saying that it proves that peaceful democratic change is possible. Sky News reports that the evidence against those indicted in the UN tribunal into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri is “credible and compelling”.
In the Israeli press, Haaretz reports that the Head of the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Services) Yuval Diskin told a Knesset committee yesterday that Al-Qaeda affiliated groups are behind the escalation of attacks coming from Gaza. All papers note that the Palestinian mission in Washington hoisted the Palestinian flag above its offices for the first time yesterday. The Jerusalem Post notes that UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday to discuss regional developments and the situation of minority groups in Israel. The paper also notes that Labour MK, Amir Peretz said he and three other Labour MKs who considered leaving the Labour party will stay and will change the faction’s constitution. Most papers also report that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday and reaffirmed Russia’s recognition for the Palestinian right to statehood. All papers note that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss will hold a hearing next week for incoming Chief of Staff Yoav Galant to determine whether Galant’s real estate dealings should halt his appointment. Haaretz reports that UN sources indicated that Spain may be the first EU country to officially recognise a Palestinian state.