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Italian Commentary Says Qatari Investments Behind EU Countries Vote on PA Status
Sunday, December 2, 2012


Commentary by Giuseppe Marino and Gian Micalessin: “This Is How Fragile Europe Sold to the Emir Its Vote for Palestine

First they bought Europe, then its vote: the shadow of Qatar`s billionaire investments is behind the diplomatic earthquake that led Italy and Europe to support the recognition of Palestine as an observer state at the UN. Due to the continuing (economic) crisis, these investments are capable of making the Old Continent lose its head and inducing it to accept the unknown factor that is fundamentalism.

The prologue to this looming revolution were the Libyan and Syrian crises. In both cases, several European countries supported rebel groups closely linked with Islamic fundamentalism, relying exclusively on the “guarantees” provided by Doha. The vote on Thursday (29 Nov) at the Glass Place is the most spectacular demonstration of how the 326 trillion cubic meters of gas (the world`s third largest reserve) above which Qatar floats are now the real lever for manoeuvring Europe, which is beset by an economic, political, and ideological crisis.

Italy is a telling example: not satisfied with having its energy investments taken away from under its nose in Libya, and having foregone important orders in Syria, it had no hesitation about dumping the political line that has bound it with Israel for over a decade. This amazing diplomatic somersault was the logical outcome of Mario Monti`s recent visit to the emirate. During this visit, Qatar Holding LLC was given the go-ahead for directing its investments in agreement with the Italian Strategic Fund, a holding company controlled by the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (financial institution controlled by Italian Government). Following an initial 300 m euros, there is the prospect of bold operations for several billions, operations that could give Doha control of 3 percent of the ENI (Italy`s National Hydrocarbons Body) and allow it to enter the control room of many of the peninsula`s banks that are in poor shape.

Italy is not the first nor is it the only country that has been wooed by Qatari gold. In fact, if one cross-references the map of the European vote at the UN with that of the emirs` investments, this is a very revealing exercise: the only No to recognizing Palestine came from the Czech Republic, one of the few countries not to have benefited from the emirate`s billions. London, for its part, had no hesitation in abstaining, thus breaking its traditional political alliance with Washington. Behind this decision were the almost 2 bn euros paid by Qatar to purchase the Harrods department store, the 95 percent funding of London`s monumental Shard Tower -- Europe`s tallest building -- and the joining in the shareholders capital of Shell, the United Kingdom`s flagship oil company (as published).

The map of Doha`s investments in Spain, Portugal, and France is even more revealing. After selling to Qatar real estate on the Champs Elysee for 500 million, the control of Paris Saint Germain (soccer club), the TV rights for its soccer games, and the Mirage strike bombers used to bomb Libya, Paris has turned into the greatest advocate of a pro-Palestinian European policy. Spain and Portugal are most definitely no less interested. Madrid`s Yes vote for Palestine was preceded by the purchase of the Malaga soccer club, and investments of 2 bn euros that led to the acquisition of 6 percent of Iberdrola, a Spanish electricity company on the verge of financial meltdown. This move was replicated exactly in Portugal, where the Qatar Investment Authority controls 2.018 percent of Energias de Portugal.

Naturally, this uncontrollable desire for investment conceals the political aims of Hamad Bin-Khalifah al-Thani. In October, the emir of Qatar was the first head of state to give legitimacy to HAMAS by visiting Gaza and offering the fundamentalist organization investments of over 300 m euros. The emir also had no qualms about granting hospitality to the most controversial leaders of the fundamentalist organization. Khalid Misha`l, the head of HAMAS, who is the mastermind of the strategy of suicide attacks, has for years been using a comfortable luxury residence that has been made available to him in Doha. This is not strange at all for an emir who is prepared to facilitate the political rise of HAMAS in the West Bank also by exploiting his wealth. What is a bit more unusual is Europe`s willingness to engage in such political-strategic trafficking.

(Description of Source: Milan il in Italian -- Website of right-of-center daily owned by the Berlusconi family; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Iran Commentary Calls UN Vote `Deviation From Palestine`s Ideals`
Jomhuri-ye Eslami Online
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Editorial: “A Resolution To Deviate From the Ideals of Palestine

A Resolution To Deviate From the Ideals of Palestine On 30 November 2012, the widely advertised news was announced that the UN General Assembly finally voted to promote Palestine`s status in this organization to a non-member observer, and hence Palestine has apparently Palestine will elevate its status a notch higher. This event can additionally mean to be a prelude to the official recognition of an independent Palestinian country, of course, alongside the existence of the usurper Israeli regime.

This process was met with a wide range of reactions, such that some in absolute optimism or, in other words, naively viewed it as the world standing against Israel. And in contrast, some called it useless and worthless. Therefore, the review of these reactions, as well as the legal weight of this resolution for Palestine and the role it can play in the Palestinians achieving their aspirations and their liberation from the grip of the usurping Zionist regime is beneficial.

During a speech following the UN General Assembly resolution -- which was ratified with 138 yes votes, nine no votes, and 41 abstention votes -- Mahmud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority -- whose record as an opportunist element is known to all -- who tries to introduce himself as the spokesman for the people of Palestine, considered this decision to be a great victory for the Palestinian nation and a huge achievement for the Arab and Islamic ummah and the free world.

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon also considered the conditional membership of Palestine in this organization to be a prelude to the formation of a Palestinian country, subject to the Palestinians officially recognizing Israel and promising to ensure the peace, stability, and security of their Zionist neighbor. He asked all Palestinian groups, jihadist groups in particular, to responsibly collaborate with the achievements made for the formation of the country of Palestine under the leadership of Mahmud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and to assist in realizing peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, to officially recognize Israel, and the continue their participation in the peace process.

With a seemingly and slightly different stance than that of America`s and the Zionist regime`s and by casting a yes vote for this resolution, European countries led by England called it a step toward Israel being officially recognized by the Palestinians and a necessary step for the start of reconciliation negotiations and at the same time, they asked Israel to not take a negative stance against the UN General Assembly`s decision and to resume direct talks with the Palestinians in order to put an end to conflicts in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the stances of America and the Zionist regime, who did not afford the Palestinian side any rights and considered a good Palestinian to be a submissive, compromising, and dead Palestinian, said that the UN General Assembly`s decision was unfortunate and in a coordinated stance announced that this decision will lead to Palestine becoming a country and that they do not afford the Palestinians to join the United Nations; therefore they casted a no vote because it is useless.

On the other hand, while taking a stance against the participation of Mahmud Abbas in the UN General Assembly meetings as the representative of the Palestinian nation, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Organization opposed this assembly`s decision and considered it to be a diversion from the Palestinian Intifada and the assurance of the official recognition of the existence of the sinister Zionist regime, as well as relinquishing a large portion of the Palestine`s Islamic territory. The stances of other Palestinian jihadist groups were also the same.

Therefore, the sum of these reactions shows that despite widespread media propaganda presenting this resolution as a large step toward the restoration of Palestinian national rights, the motion of the General Assembly was an effort organized by Europe`s leadership to suppress the Intifada, and to compromise Palestine`s ideals by politicizing it. A number of opportunists calling this resolution “the issuance of Palestine`s birth certificate” in their manipulative speech at the UN General Assembly, while the oppressed Palestinian nation still have many incurable wounds on their bodies and must witness the burial of their martyrs every day, is nothing but a fallacy in order to reverse the truth and to consolidate the reconciliation process. More than 60 years have passed since the tyrannical occupation of the Palestinian territory, the displacement of a nation, the killing of innocent women and children, and the depriving of a people of this land from their fundamental and legitimate rights and the world has not taken one step toward changing this condition. The imposing of dozens of destructive wars on the regional nations, the killing of tens of thousands of individuals, and the displacing of millions of people are clear indications of the mission and nature of the Zionists, events which are taking place in front of the eyes of international communities, the United Nations in particular, and because of the Westerners` discriminatory and vindictive policies, we are witnessing these conditions, the clear example of which happened recently as Israel invaded Gaza.

The only use the half-hearted acceptance of the Palestinians as a non-member observer country has for the Palestinian nation is that from now on, they have the right to complain to the Court of Arbitration at The Hague against the invasions and crimes committed by the Zionist regime, which are not expected to stop! And in return they should whole-heartedly accept the abasement resulting from the continuation of talks with the Zionist regime, the official recognition of this usurper regime, and disregarding the confiscation of a major portion of Palestinian territory, and to call all this abuse membership in the United Nations, which has not benefited any of its members, save the veto-wielding members.

If the governments in the world are not aware, at least the people of Palestine well know and have truly experienced this truth that all of the tragedies they have faced so far and in the past six decades were caused by this organization`s inattention to the legitimate rights of this nation and its support for the iniquities and crimes committed by the usurper Zionist regime; the same organization that wants to honor the oppressed Palestinian nation with their membership; the same institution that played an effective and fundamental role in institutionalizing the crimes of the usurper Zionist regime, which has always supported the crimes of the Zionists.

The nation of Palestine will not restore its lost rights through membership in such an organization, and what can return Palestine`s lands to them and end the black era of occupation is combat and Islamic resistance, which has to date been able to result in destabilizing the Zionist regime. And it is under this same combatant spirit that the Palestinian people can be assured that the future belongs to them.

(Description of Source: Tehran Jomhuri-ye Eslami Online in Persian -- Website of conservative daily officially licensed to Supreme Leader Khamene`i, but aligned with Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani;

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

FM Baird Comments on Canada`s Support for Israel at UN, Criticizes Abbas, EU
The Jerusalem Post
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Report by Herb Keinon: “Canada FM to `Post`: Canada will not let the Jews or Israel stand alone”

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who stood up and delivered a strong speech against the Palestinian bid at the UN on Thursday, told The Jerusalem Post that “the bottom line is we will not let the Jewish people and the State of Israel stand alone when the going gets tough.” Baird, in a phone interview from New York, said he had “absolutely no hesitation” about taking the podium and opposing the Palestinian bid, something he knew was not a popular position in the hall.

Baird spoke to the packed UN hall Thursday night after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, and in between the pro-Palestinian speeches of the Indonesian and Turkish foreign ministers. “This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. Will the Palestinian people be better off as a result? No. On the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raise unrealistic expectations while doing nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people,” Baird said in his speech. “Any unilateral action, from either side, outside of the bilateral framework outlined above is ultimately unhelpful.”

Baird told the Post he had absolutely “no hesitation” delivering the speech, even though he was well aware that he was facing “a tough crowd.” He said that Canada proactively made the decision to speak at the session, and that when Abbas tabled this resolution a year ago, “I felt that we wanted Canada`s voice to be heard, and heard loudly.”

The Canadian foreign minister criticized Abbas for the hostile tenor of his address. “Knowing that he had such overwhelming support, this would have been an occasion for him to reach out to the government and people of Israel, to embrace the Jewish state, to talk about his hopes for peace and be magnanimous,” he said. “Unfortunately it was a rather aggressive speech that will really do nothing to advance the cause of peace or the peace process.” Baird said this would have been the time for Abbas to “embrace a two-state solution, to embrace mutual respect, tolerance and cooperation -- but I think on all those counts he failed.”

Baird added that he was “disappointed with some countries in Europe for failing to stand up. I thought the Czech Republic was courageous to take the position it did and stand alone in the European Union. I certainly admire their leadership.” The Czech Republic was the only EU country to vote against the Palestinian resolution, and -- along with Israel and Canada -- made up a group of nine countries that opposed the bid.

Asked if Canada does, or is expecting, to pay a price in the world for its unabashed support of Israel, Baird said, “It is the price of leadership. It is the price of courage.” He said his government`s policy was about “doing what is right, standing up for Canadian values even when it is not popular to do so.”

He also did not sound overly concerned about paying a domestic price for this position. “There is no doubt that Israel has its detractors in Canada, particularly among a good number of elites, but I think few are going to be surprised by our position,” he said. “People know where we stand, and there is certainly a lot of support of Israel as well.”

(Description of Source: Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post (Electronic Edition) in English -- Right-of-center, independent daily; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Italy vote on Palestinian status seen as break with ex-premier`s foreign policy
BBC Monitoring European
December 01, 2012

Commentary by Franco Venturini: “The Consistency of a U-Turn”

With yesterday`s vote at the UN in favour of the resolution presented by the Palestinian [National] Authority to become an “observer state,” Mario Monti`s Italy has done a double U-turn: It has abandoned continuity with the Berlusconi government`s foreign policy and decided to voice its convictions with a clarity that is outside our diplomats` tradition of seeking compromise.

The unavoidable upshot of this was to bring down on itself “surprise” and “disappointment” (from Israel and, less so, from the United States), which perhaps would not even have been mentioned to other countries that are culturally more inclined than ours towards decision making. But, in truth, the political logic that guided Italy`s decision has in a way been solidly consistent. In fact, despite a lively internal debate (with the Farnesina [Foreign Ministry] being more cautious than Palazzo Chigi [prime minister`s office] and the Quirinale [presidential palace]), this logic has led to the elimination of any misunderstanding in connection with a basic point: Italy is fully preserving its ties of friendship with Israel and continues to consider its right to self-defence and to protect its citizens untouchable.

In the telephone conversation that Monti had with Netanyahu yesterday and thereafter in the statement on its vote at the Glass Palace, this line was confirmed on the part of Italy precisely in order to respond to the Israeli prime minister`s main concern: that a Palestinian appeal to the international Criminal Court or to other panels connected to the UN could in the future hinder Israel`s` right to defend itself against HAMAS or Iran.

Monti made a similar speech to Mahmud Abbas: in exchange for its Yes vote, Italy is asking that the Palestinian [National] Authority works to resume peace negotiations without any preconditions (that is, without first obtaining a freeze on Israeli settlements), and that it does not immediately seek to join the International Court - which, anyway, has no rights to disavow Israel`s right to self-defence or to pass retroactive judgment. Abbas “verbally” accepted, and this was the detail that lies behind Italy`s impulse to cross the Rubicon.

In fact, the British were willing to vote Yes, on condition of obtaining similar pledges from the Palestinian leader, but in writing. Initially, Italy found this stance reasonable, but when Abbas said that he could not modify a draft that had already been made public, and London decided to abstain, there was a dilemma: Would it be best for Italy to follow in Great Britain`s footsteps and abstain, or were the verbal pledges that had been obtained such as to make a pro-Abbas vote preferable?

Had this been the only issue, perhaps the vote would have been an abstention. But within the government there was also a strong desire to avoid any ambiguity and to remain consistent with the repeated endorsement of the two-state solution - Palestinian and Israeli - living side by side in peace and security. The intention was to find the necessary determination to “engage in foreign politics,” in particular considering that a majority of divided Europe was about to vote in favour of Abbas, unlike what happened last year, when the Palestinians were admitted into UNESCO.

This is how Italy`s Yes was born. Now, to defend its arguments it needs to follow this up. In fact, it would not make much sense to show political courage at the UN and then remain incapable - and this applies both to Italy and Europe - of facilitating the resumption of negotiations, of really managing the new possibilities for the Palestinians, of really containing Israel`s desire to get even, by redirecting it in a constructive manner, and of really convincing Barack Obama that in his second term a different and greater commitment is required in favour of peace in the Middle East - starting precisely with the endless war between Israelis and Palestinians.

Text of report by Italian leading privately-owned centre-right daily Corriere della Sera website on 30 November, 2012

© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Israeli Source: Pro-HAMAS Qatar `Bitter Enemy`, Should Change Behavior
The Jerusalem Post Online
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Report by Herb Keinon: “Senior Diplomatic Source: Qatar is a Bitter Enemy of Israel

Reflecting intense anger and frustration at Qatar for its diplomatic and financial support of HAMAS, a senior diplomatic source on Wednesday characterized the Persian Gulf state as a “bitter enemy of Israel.” “Qatar is an opportunistic regime,” which is one of the “most problematic regimes” in the region, the source said. Without elaborating, the source said Israel should be using some of the leverage it has with Qatar to induce it to change its behavior.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, visited Gaza last month, the first foreign leader to do so since HAMAS took power there in 2007. That move angered Jerusalem because it gave HAMAS strongly desired legitimacy. This visit was followed by a pledge from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to follow suit and visit Gaza as well. Erdogan, according to another Israeli source, did not go ahead with the move because of US President Barack Obama`s request that he not do so.

The characterization of Qatar as a “bitter enemy” comes some four years after Doha suspended its trade ties with Israel following Operation Cast Lead. In 2010, Qatar signaled an interest in renewing ties with Israel if Jerusalem would allow it to play a major role in the rebuilding of Gaza. Qatar also wanted an Israeli statement recognizing its role in the region, something Jerusalem was hesitant to do, both because of concern about Qatar`s growing ties with Iran, and not wanting to get in the middle of Qatar`s rivalries with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar and Israel established trade relations in 1996, and since then there have been various high-level meetings between Israeli and Qatari officials in secret at international conferences.Not all the meetings have been in secret, however, and then foreign minister Tzipi Livni went to Doha in 2008 for a conference, where she met the emir and senior government officials.

(Description of Source: Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post Online in English -- Website of right-of-center, independent daily; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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