News Release

* Al-Qaeda Wants U.S. to Stay? * Palestinian U.N. Membership

GARETH PORTER, porter.gareth50 at gmail.com
Porter is an investigative journalist and historian specializing in U.S. national security policy and author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. He just wrote the piece “Slain Writer’s Book Says U.S.-NATO War Served Al-Qaeda Strategy,” which states: “Al-Qaeda strategists have been assisting the Taliban fight against U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan because they believe that foreign occupation has been the biggest factor in generating Muslim support for uprisings against their governments, according to the just-published book by Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistani journalist whose body was found in a canal outside Islamabad last week with evidence of having been tortured. … The Shahzad account refutes the official U.S. military rationale for the war in Afghanistan, which is based on the presumption that Al-Qaeda is primarily interested in getting the U.S. and NATO forces out of Afghanistan and that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are locked in a tight ideological and strategic embrace.”

See interviews of Syed Saleem Shahzad at the Real News.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at law.uiuc.edu
Obama yesterday attacked the possibility of “Palestinians seeking a vote on statehood at the U.N. General Assembly” in September. Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle served as legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now largely defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include Palestine, Palestinians and International Law and the recently-released The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law.

He said today: “On November 15, 1988 the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that created the independent state of Palestine. Today the State of Palestine is bilaterally recognized de jure [as a matter of law] by about 130 states. Palestine has de facto diplomatic recognition from most states of Europe. It was only massive political pressure applied by the U.S. government that prevented European states from according de jure diplomatic recognition to Palestine.

“Palestine is a member state of the League of Arab States and of the Organization of Islamic Conference. When the International Court of Justice in the Hague — the World Court of the United Nations System — conducted its legal proceedings on Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank, it invited the State of Palestine to participate in the proceedings. In other words, the International Court of Justice recognized the state of Palestine.

“Palestine has observer state status with the United Nations, and basically all the rights of a U.N. member state except the right to vote. Effectively, Palestine has de facto U.N. membership. The only thing keeping Palestine from de jure U.N. membership is the implicit threat of a veto at the U.N. Security Council by the United States, which is clearly illegal because it would violate a solemn and binding pledge given by the United States not to veto states applying for U.N. membership.

“The votes are there already in the U.N. General Assembly to admit Palestine pursuant to the terms of its Uniting for Peace Resolution. It is the U.N. General Assembly that admits a member state, not the Security Council. Obama’s veto at the Security Council can be circumvented by the General Assembly acting under the Uniting for Peace Resolution to admit Palestine as a U.N. member state in September.”