Snack-Pack Inspections

A Satire

Scene: A conference room with dozens of politicians, including the senior members of the P5+1 team and Iran, negotiating terms to the comprehensive nuclear agreement. The hour is late and people are agitated and sleepy. Each country team is mostly talking amongst themselves.

P5+1
(photo: Getty Images)

Sensing the moment is right to bring up a new deal point, US Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to catch everyone’s attention.

US Secretary John Kerry (in a loud clear voice): “We have gone through the various points of this agreement and concluded that we cannot approve it without additional security precautions. As such, we insist on automatic ‘snapback sanctions’ if there is a material breach of the terms of the agreement.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi: “What are ‘snack-pack sanctions’?”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “’’Snack-pack inspections’. It is another excuse for the Americans to snoop around.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: “I won’t agree to it. That is outrageous. Why must you Americans continue to compromise on our dignity?!”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: “Mohammad, please. It is not that big a condition. Use the American request to push forward some of your own ideas.”

Zarif: “Why are Iranian snacks anyone’s concern? You have pushed too far!”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: “The Americans are big snackers, they cannot help themselves! Eating all of that fast food and potato chips!”

Aide to Kerry blurts out: “Potato chips are just cold French fries!”

Fabius: “Your ‘French Fries’ are not from France, you idiot!”

Westerwelle (laughing while patting his stomach): “The Americans don’t just snack- they snack BIG. They turn warehouses into giant snack stores.  That’s why they have snacks in packs. Can you imagine!”

Kerry: “People! I said ‘snapback sanctions’ not ‘snack-pack inspections’. We need some teeth in this agreement.”

Fabius: “You Americans are real gluttons, sinking you teeth into everything. Why do you have to always focus on consuming so much garbage?”

Zarif: “I cannot agree!”

Lavrov (in a loud, condescending voice): “Hey, Mr. Ketchup, let’s say we agree with snack-pack inspections. But you would have to agree to import some of our snacks too. For example, some Beluga caviar. It would be a nice improvement for your abused tongues.”

Zarif: “We get to export our caviar to the Americans again? This would be excellent!”

Lavrov (in a hushed voice to Zarif): “You and I will discuss later where the caviar will actually come from.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague: “Does that satisfy your appetite, John?”

Yi: “Be careful Mohammad. Your country is about to be flooded with McDonalds!”

Zarif: “I’ll tell you, I will take up to 20 McDonalds, but America must agree to take our pistachios as well.”

Lavrov (out loud, but absent-mindedly): “But Russia doesn’t export pistachios.”

Hague: “Well, maybe Iran could also start to import our ‘Smarties’ now.”

Kerry: “People! This is not about exporting chocolate to Iran!”

Lavrov: “Hey Mr. Heinz! Did you marry a Hershey too? Keep quiet and we’ll handle the details of your new request.”

The conference room breaks down into lots of side conversations. After a minute, Kerry pushes away from the table disgusted, and leaves the room with some aides.


Scene: Outside the conference room, Secretary Kerry walks the halls with two assistants with a phone clutched in his hand.

Kerry (agitated): “Yes, Mr. President…. Yes, I brought it up…. How did it go?.. Well, let me sum it up this way. The other members of the P5+1 team are now renaming the streets in front of the American embassies in their cities ‘Hershey Highway’.”


Related First One Through article:

The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

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Congress should Vote on the Deal, not on the Disappointment nor on the President

The long saga of global bodies negotiating over Iran’s nuclear program ended a significant phase on July 14, 2015, when the parties concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria. The negotiation has now entered the “approval” phase by various bodies including the US Congress. The initial reviews and comments of the JCPOA have been heated and ugly.

The Disappointment

On August 7, 2015, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an op-ed piece entitled “3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran”. Brooks enumerated the various points that make many Americans angry about the terms of the JCPOA, specifically, the failure to realize the stated goals set out by the Obama administration:

  • Prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power
  • Dismantle the nuclear infrastructure
  • Remove their ability to enrich uranium
  • Close the Fordow Heavy water reactor enrichment facility
  • Force Iran to disclose all past nuclear activities
  • Anywhere, anytime inspections
  • No sanctions relief until all of the above have been accomplished

Brooks concluded that none of Obama’s stated objectives were realized. He referred to the agreement as a “partial surrender” to Iran that came about because of the poor tactics of team Obama.

However, that is not the question before Congress. If Congress were to vote on whether the JCPOA produced a disappointing result, the vote would be nearly unanimous (with the exception of a few Obama puppets).  But Congress is not being asked to opine if this was the best deal that could have been achieved, but whether the deal is good enough.

The President

On August 10, 2015, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the president’s tactics in aggressively trying to sell the JCPOA. In “White House Should Leave Politics Out of Iran Deal,” Bloomberg admonished Obama for name-calling opponents of the deal war-mongers and for threatening payback against any politician who dared to vote against the deal. For his part, Bloomberg concluded that the JCPOA was extremely marginal at best, and that Obama’s forceful defense of the deal was “grossly overstating” his case.

The “especially disappointing” behavior by the White House was politics at its worst, particularly when so much is on the line, according to Bloomberg. Politicians should not vote on this significant agreement based on politics or party loyalty; they must vote based on the deal’s merits.

The Deal

On August 7, 2015, New York Senator Charles Schumer detailed his rationale for not supporting the JCPOA. He analyzed the deal based on three criteria:

  • Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons over the next ten years
  • The position of Iran’s nuclear capabilities at the sunset of the deal
  • The cost of the agreement in terms of giving Iran sanctions relief

In terms of the negotiating team’s primary mission of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Schumer stated that there “are serious weaknesses in the agreement,” including the lack of anytime-anywhere inspections and that the US would need approval of a majority of China, Russia and the Europeans to enforce inspections. Overall, he thought the deal’s terms were not compelling.

On the second point, Schumer was even more negative and stated “we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.

Regarding the non-nuclear components of the deal, Schumer was extremely clear in opposing the enablement of a state-sponsor of terrorism to obtain billions in funds and access to ballistic missiles: “When it comes to the non-nuclear aspects of the deal, I think there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one.”

Senator Schumer analyzed and articulated his assessment of the deal. He avoided voting based on the deal’s disappointment, and based on his president’s rhetoric.

Schumer
NY Senator Charles Schumer
(photo: Getty images)

Vote Ramifications

President Obama has stated that the only alternative to this deal is war. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that there is no “better deal” out there nor is there an opportunity to renegotiate this one.

Yet, those claims are far from clear. Based on behavior of both Obama and Kerry, it would be easy to conclude that these are just their opinions dressed as facts as they attempt to forcefully push through the JCPOA.

There is no clear answer as to the impact of the US voting down the JCPOA.  While procedurally, it is understood that Obama outmaneuvered Congress in only needing one-third instead of a two-thirds vote to secure his deal, what happens if Congress does manage to have the votes?  Obama claims that Iran gets the best of all worlds and gets sanctions relief from the rest of the world while it moves forward with a nuclear program.  That is hard to imagine. That inherently implies that the rest of the world doesn’t care if Iran has nuclear weapons and it is only the USA that is applying the pressure.  If Obama really believes that, then a negative US vote is an opportunity to renegotiate.

Conclusions

Disappointment: The JCPOA is clearly a disappointing result, especially considering the many years that tough sanctions were imposed on Iran as well as the severely depressed recent price of oil applied intense pressure on the regime that will be hard to ever replicate. Together with significant American troops next door in Afghanistan, the P5+1 had tremendous leverage to force complete capitulation by Iran.

The President: Obama is overselling his weak deal as a “strong deal” (in his words) and is bullying his fellow Democrats into submission. If the deal is as strong as he claims, it should be able to stand on its own merits.

The Deal: The deal by itself seems borderline at best. Perhaps it is better than nothing- but only if it costs nothing. The significant sanctions relief and various deal terms make the marginal deal appear unacceptable.

Ramifications: Congress must vote on the deal based on its merits and not based on the disappointing terms nor Obama’s threats. But it must also better understand the ramifications of rejecting the deal.  Kerry’s losing face is not a reason to alter one’s vote on something so important.

Congress and the American people must understand the actual ramifications of turning down the JCPOA without the aggressive salesmanship of the White House.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

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Obama’s White Lie on his Red Line

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

The New Nuclear Normal

Some Global Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

Obama’s bright white lie on his red line.

US President Obama gave a speech about the broad support the Iranian deal enjoys: “because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.

There are others that strongly support the deal too that Obama failed to highlight:

  • Syria’s president Basher al-Assad, the man who has waged a war with this own people that has killed over 220,000 people thus far told the Iranian leader: “In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.
  • Hezbollah, the terrorist group in Lebanon was impressed that Iran now had “global recognition as a member of the nuclear club.
  • David Duke, the former member of Congress and head of the KKK was happy that the Iranian deal would likely keep Israel from attacking Iran

assad_iran_083013_1385159834190

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran 25 January 2001.(photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

 

As part of this agreement, Iran will get funds in the range between Obama’s estimate of $56 billion to as much as $150 billion.  Not surprisingly. this makes the various terrorist entities that are financed by Iran quite happy including (parenthetical is the year when placed on the US State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations):

These Iranian-backed terrorist groups are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians and continue to destabilize the Middle East and beyond..

In Obama’s attempt to sell the Iranian deal, he cited many allies that endorsed the deal while specifically avoiding mention of America’s enemies that also support it.  How does one account for the fact that both US allies and foes celebrate the deal? Is the deal actually beneficial to all of the parties, or do some countries simply not understand the deal’s details?

  • The Western world gets to curtail Iran’s nuclear program and avoids a war in the near-term
  • Iran gets to avoid a war, keep its nuclear infrastructure intact, global legitimacy, does not have to change its behavior regarding backing terrorism, and gets tens of billions of dollars in cash
  • Iran’s allies get access to funds and arms from Iran in the near and medium-term, and potentially a nuclear-armed Iranian-sponsor in the not-too-distant future

Obama deliberately does not discuss the many enemies of the United States that support the P5+1 deal and their long list of reasons for doing so. Instead, he makes comments that it is only the Iranian hardliners (and Republicans and Israel) who oppose the agreement. By doing so, he attempts to conceal the enormous benefits granted to Iran (and its proxies) in the agreement. It is pure marketing and a bright white lie over his old red lines.

do not enter
A bright White Lie over a Red Line
(Do Not Enter)


The party Obama highlighted as not being happy with the deal is Israel. A few reasons:

  • Iran will be allowed to continue to call for Israel’s annihilation
  • Iran will have billions of dollars that will not be constrained in any manner from funding terrorist groups that target Israel
  • Iran will get access to a range of ballistic missiles in as little of five years
  • Within 10-15 years, Iran will be a threshold nuclear state
  • The structure of the deal provides Iran opportunity to break the terms and develop nuclear weapons within ten years

In other words, there is a little something (or a lot) for everyone in the deal, with the exception of Israel.


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The Obama Administration Lays Foundation of Blame at Israel for a Potential War with Iran

President Obama has not only begun to lobby aggressively to win support for the P5+1 deal on the Iranian nuclear program, he has begun to lay the foundation of blame for a potential war squarely on Israel.

epa04873202 US President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the nuclear deal with Iran, at American University's School of International Service, in Washington DC, USA, 05 August 2015. Obama urged Americans to accept a controversial nuclear deal with Iran in spite of criticism from Republican lawmakers. The speech evoked late US President John F. Kennedy's 1963 USSR speech at American University during the height of the Cold War.  EPA/PETE MAROVICH / POOL ORG XMIT: MHR02

US President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the nuclear deal with Iran, at American University’s School of International Service, in Washington DC, USA, 05 August 2015. (photo: EPA/PETE MAROVICH / POOL ORG XMIT: MHR02)

Diplomacy or War?

  • US President Barack Obama: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some sort of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon… How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?August 5, 2015

What does the world want?

  • US President Barack Obama: this deal is not just the best choice among alternatives, this is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated, and because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.” August 5, 2015

If war happened, who is to blame?

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry: “I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed, and we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years.” July 24, 2015

Is there anyone in the United States – including the Obama administration – that believes this is a great deal? Does anyone deny that Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain largely intact with this signing? Honest people can arrive at different conclusions about whether to endorse or reject this agreement. So why state that a negative outcome of the vote would be the fault of Israel, “money” and “lobbyists“?

Obama has framed his opponents in a familiar anti-Semitic canard that Jews are responsible for wars around the world.  Here is a section of Article 22 from the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas in its foundation Hamas Charter:

“The enemies have been scheming for a long time, and they have consolidated their schemes, in order to achieve what they have achieved. They took advantage of key elements in unfolding events, and accumulated a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream. This wealth [permitted them to] take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. They also used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein. As regards local and world wars, it has come to pass and no one objects, that they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate. They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state. They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary. There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it

Obama and Kerry have dismissed anyone who disagrees with the agreement they helped craft.  They have announced that members of Congress must fall into one of two camps: agree with Obama OR be a pawn in the Israeli scheme of lobbyists.

Now, if the US goes to war, any casualties and ramifications would be the fault of Israel and its lobbyists. Not Iran. Not the poorly negotiated deal. But Israel.

There is a long history of anti-Semites blaming Israel for wars in the world. It is shocking to see the administration of the Unites States – which purports to be a strong ally of Israel – use a blood libel to lay blame for another Middle East war on Israel.


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The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

The European Union has taken upon itself to challenge the labelling of products that are made east of the Green Line as “Made in Israel”.   They should consider international norms and the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians before doing so.

“Made in USA” in US Territories

It is common practice for countries that have territories that are not incorporated into the country, to label products produced in those locations as being made in the country. For example, products produced in American Samoa (say for Sears Department stores) sport the “Made in USA” label even though the products were produced thousands of miles away from US shores on an island that was never part of the country by non-US citizens.

“Made in Israel” in Israeli Territory

Similarly, Israeli law allows products made in Israeli territory to carry the “Made in Israel” label.  The differences between the US and Israeli polices are that the products made in Area C of the West Bank are made by Israeli citizens, and many countries consider the Israeli territory to not be Israeli at all.

The claim that Area C is not Israeli is peculiar, since the land is specifically designated as Israeli territory by the 1993 Oslo II Accords that were agreed to and signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That agreement laid out that Israel continues to have both civil and security control of Area C.  The final determination of control of the area will be decided in a final status agreement, which has not yet occurred. Until that time, the area remains Israeli territory (as opposed to Area A which is Palestinian Authority Territory).

Reasons behind Labelling

The labeling of products is meant to do two main things: inform a consumer about the origins of a product; and distinguish items as they relate to taxes and tariffs.

In the United States, labelling a product from American Samoa as being “Made in USA” may be misleading to consumers about the true origin of the item, but it is consistent as it relates to tariffs. The same holds true for Israeli policy towards items from Area C.

From the EU’s perspective, not only does it seek to inform European consumers about the precise location of origin of foreign products, it wishes to uniquely harm Israel as it disputes the Israeli claim over Area C (despite the Israel-Palestinian Authority agreement noted above). It is therefore requiring a change of labels from “Made in Israel” to “Made in the West Bank” for items produced east of the Green Line.

Date-box-label-1-e1375886179109-350x379
Dates in London, England labelled “West Bank”
(photo: Friends of Al Aqsa London)

Israel has attempted to stop the European Union from embarking on this policy. It fears that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement will hurt its economy by not only not purchasing Israeli products, but by trying to ban the items from store shelves. Some argue that providing a distinct label for products from the settlements would actually help Israel as there are people in Europe who only seek to avoid products from the settlements, but would gladly purchase items from within Israel’s 1949 Armistice Lines. The reality is that many organizations that are promoting the EU policy for distinct labelling of Israel vs. “West Bank” seek to boycott and harm all of Israel. For example, Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) prints advertisements that call for boycotting all products from anywhere in Israel and its territory.

label Israel
Ad by FOA calling for Boycott of products from “Israel, West Bank (Settlements) & Jordan Valley”

As it relates to taxes and tariffs, the European Union established a framework of trading with Israel in the EU-Israel Association Agreement (1995) which took effect in June 2000. The language in the agreement repeatedly refers to “countries and territories” which can be interpreted broadly to include territories of both European member states as well as Israel.

EU Action Only for Israel

The European Union distinction of strictly labelling products to exclude Israeli territory is unique for Israel.  The EU makes no distinctions for countries where it does not challenge the legal authority (like the US with American Samoa), AND for other countries where it disagrees with the claim on disputed land. Some examples:

  • In 1974, Turkey illegally seized one-third of the Cyprus and declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an entity which is not recognized by any country in the world other than Turkey. Yet the EU avoids heated discussions with Turkey over the labelling of products from TRNC such as its famous halloumi cheese.
  • When it comes to China, the EU trips over itself to facilitate trade. As stated on the EU website on trade: “China is the EU’s biggest source of imports by far, and has also become one of the EU’s fastest growing export markets. The EU has also become China’s biggest source of imports. China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion a day.” Trade includes items made in Tibet, and the EU has not addressed any specific “Made in Tibet” labelling. This is despite China occupying Tibet and transferring 7.5 million Chinese into the territory, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • India has a long running dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. The EU stated that it is “committed to further increase their trade flows in both goods and services as well as bilateral investment and access to public procurement through the Free Trade Agreement negotiations that were launched in 2007.” No specific labelling program has been discussed for items coming from Kashmir.

The European Union has shown a unique fascination with Israeli territories.

  • It makes no labelling distinction for other disputed territories such as Tibet and Kashmir to assist consumers
  • It does not dispute the tariff system that countries use for its territories like the United States with American Samoa
  • The EU ignores the Oslo II agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which specifically segment the Israeli settlements in Area C as Israeli territory
  • It ignores its own trade agreement with Israel

And the EU does all of these things knowing full well of the intention of the BDS movement to leverage their actions to harm the Jewish State.

Double standards and unique critical attention for Israel is considered anti-Semitism, even by US President Barack Obama who said “[if] you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology… you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”

It would appear that many Europeans would choose to wear the “Anti-Semitism” label with honor.


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UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Itamar and Duma

The Middle East is unfortunately no stranger to attacks on innocent people. In July 2015, an arson attack on the home of Palestinian Arabs in the town of Duma killed an 18-month old baby. Just 15 miles away, in the town of Itamar, two Palestinian Arabs stabbed to death five members of a Jewish family in their beds in March 2011.

The taking of innocent lives is a terrible thing. It is also sad to watch completely different reactions from world bodies to the two events. Here is the UN news release of the 2011 deliberate murders of five Israeli Jews and the news release of July 2015 on the arson attack that claimed one Palestinian Arab. A short comparison:

Deliberate Murder of 5 Israeli Jews Arson Attack which Claimed Life of 1 Palestinian Arab
Words in article 220 422
Attack called “terrorism” None Three times
Blame placed Not placed on Arabs or Muslims Placed on “Jewish extremists
Other Attacks Mentioned No mention of repeated attacks by Palestinians on Israelis Discussed “repeated acts of settler violence
Comment on leadership Welcomes the strong condemnation… by President Abbas No welcome of condemnation by Netanyahu. Blamed Netanyahu for variety of items including demolishing Palestinian homes and settlement policy.
Cause for Attack Not discussed Blamed on “Israel’s illegal settlement policy

#JewishLivesMatter

The continued disproportionate attacks by the United Nations on only one party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will marginalize the UN as a factor in arriving at a long-term solution in the region.

Ban Ki Moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
(photo: AP/Gary Cameron)


Sources:

Text of UN March 2011: “12 March 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations diplomatic partners in the search for peace in the Middle East today condemned the shocking murder of an Israeli family of five, including three children, in a West Bank settlement overnight and called for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime.

Mr. Ban also urged all concerned to act with restraint.

The diplomatic Quartet of the UN, European Union, Russia and United States, which seeks a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, condemned the killings “in the strongest possible terms.”

“The Quartet offers their condolences to the loved ones of the victims and to the Israeli people. Attacks on any civilians are completely unacceptable in any circumstance,” the Quartet said in a statement.

“The Quartet calls on those responsible to be brought to justice and welcomes the strong condemnation of this attack by [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.”

It stressed the need to expedite efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.

Media reports said the killings occurred in the settlement of Itamar, near the city of near Nablus. The victims were reportedly stabbed to death by an intruder who broke into their home.

The Israeli army radio said the killer had spared two other children, and that the murder was discovered by another one when she came home.”

Text of UN July 2015: “31 July 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN special envoy on the Middle East have strongly condemned today’s arson attack in the West Bank that killed a Palestinian child and left the child’s parents severely injured.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s murder of a Palestinian child in the West Bank and calls for the perpetrators of this terrorist act to be promptly brought to justice,” reads a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.

Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life, adds the statement. “This must end.”

The absence of a political process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides, the statement continues.

“This [situation] presents a further threat to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood, as well as to the security of the people of Israel. The Secretary-General urges both sides to take bold steps to return to the path of peace.”

Mr. Ban reiterates his call on all parties to ensure that tensions do not escalate further, leading to more loss of life, the statement concludes.

Earlier today, the United Nations special envoy on the Middle East today expressed his outrage over what he called a “heinous murder” and a “terrorist crime.”

“I am outraged by today’s vicious arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the Occupied West Bank village of Duma, near Nablus, which killed Palestinian toddler Ali, critically injured his mother and father, and injured his four-year old sibling,” the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said.

Joining in the “strong condemnations” issued by Israeli and Palestinian Governments and political leaders, the Special Coordinator also called for a “full and prompt investigation” to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“This heinous murder was carried out for a political objective. We must not permit such acts to allow hate and violence to bring more personal tragedies and to bury any prospect of peace. This reinforces the need for an immediate resolution of the conflict and an end to the occupation.”

Later today, the Security Council issued a statement to the press, condemning “in the strongest terms” the “vicious terrorist attack,” and underlining the need to bring the perpetrators of this “deplorable act” to justice.

Council members encouraged all sides to work to lower tension, reject violence, avoid all provocations, and seek a path toward peace.”


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