Thursday, November 29, 2012

Palestine - The Nation

Palestine to be recognized as a "non-member state"    [Naharnet]

UN Votes to recognize Palestine
It appears the upcoming vote on the United Nations' recognition of Palestine as a "non-member state" could be a Middle East game changer -- it will legitimize Palestine as a political entity -- though not a member of the UN, yet. Support from neighboring Middle East states has enhanced President Mahmoud Abbas' [Fatah Party] prestige and builds his diplomatic credentials while Hamas has played the combatant role.

The violent confrontation between the Palestinian Hamas faction and the Israeli military, complete with videos of the resultant carnage in Gaza, have not served the image of Israel well.

We believe the combination of both Palestinian roles encouraged the UN to look favorably on Abbas' petition for statehood status as an alternative to a continued belligerent status between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

M. Begin - Designated Terrorist [KGB file]
The Palestinian statehood process is reminiscent of Israel's formative days, when Menachem Begin, labeled by the Soviets [NKVD (aka: KGB)] and later by the Brits as a "terrorist"; he led the Irgun faction in a series of attacks on the British colonial government forces which culminated in his bombing ofAra the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 -- killing 91 Brits, Arabs, and Jews.

Much like the political strife between Palestinian factions, Begin's violent Irgun was in direct conflict with the Haganah political faction; but later, they joined forces to fight the Arabs.

In 1947, the UN approved the partition of British-administered Palestine, resulting in the dual Jewish and Arab states. Somewhat later, Begin was elected Prime Minister of the UN-recognized state of Israel, thus he transitioned from Terrorist to Diplomat to an internationally accepted National Leader.  As the old saying goes "One man's terrorist is another's "freedom fighter".

Arafat - in healthier days
The UN vote comes in the midst of the exhumation of, and the investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat, who died mysteriously while under Israeli "house arrest" in 2004.  Israel denied any culpability; but, today's forensic science is tough to beat.  Arafat's widow agreed to the exhumation of his body to be tested for Polonium, which had turned up on some of his personal effects.

It seems that Polonium-210 is a highly effective, and very deadly assassination tool.  Mr Putin used it effectively to eliminate former a KGB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, whom Putin regarded as menacing to his political career.  Although today, Polonium is easily recognized and tracked back to the assassin, eight years ago, Arafat's death was presumed to be of natural causes, and he was quickly buried; unlike Radium, which hangs around for three millennia, Polonium-210 evaporates after about 275 days.

Size of a grain of salt
Who'd have dreamed that eight years later, his body would be exhumed and the forensic squints would be analyzing skin samples.  Although the Polonium-210 has long since disintegrated, there may be evidence of its presence through identifiable breakdown particles as the cause of death.  It's lethality is gauged at about 250,000 times that of hydrogen cyanide, so a dose the size of a grain of salt would be enough to have destroyed all of Arafat's major organs.

Now, the reason suspicious Palestinians are pointing the finger of suspicion at the Israelis is that Polonium-210 is not produced in high volume; that is, only 100 grams are produced each year under highly restricted environments -- in only the US, Russia, and, oops, Israel as part of the process of creating weapons grade fissionable material.

Creating an analytical environment relatively immune from Israeli accusations of "tainted evidence", Al Jazeera managed the study by taking Arafat's clothing and tissue samples to Switzerland's Lausanne University Institute of Radiation Physics, and to independent laboratories in France, Russia, and Switzerland.

So, the results of this inquiry should be announced in the not-too-distant future, and the UN may be unhappy with the findings.

President Abbas

In the meantime, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, will likely be pleased with the UN vote.  To the consternation of the Israelis, Palestinian "statehood" will give the Palestinians international legal status in declaring national territorial water and airspace rights.  Thus, Israeli violation of those rights will come with diplomatic and economic penalties imposed by UN member states -- and possible economic isolation.