Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Minute-by-minute report on UN bid, with annotations

Ma'an – From New York and Ramallah, with annotations from CNI

1837 GMT: We'll conclude this Live Report with AFP's Shatha Yaish in Jerusalem, who reports that a large convoy of vehicles with enthusiastic supporters of the UN bid has set off to the Muqataa (the administrative center of the Palestinian National Authority) to pay respects at Yasser Arafat's grave, beeping their horns and playing patriotic songs along the way.

On a loudspeaker, one activist declared: "We renew our pledge of allegiance to you, Arafat and Abu Mazen."

1825 GMT: With the Palestinians' bid for full UN membership now formally lodged, the pace of diplomacy is picking up, with the Quartet for Middle East peace -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations -- meeting at 1830 GMT in Ban Ki-moon's conference room, according to the UN chief's spokesman. The Quartet's special envoy, former British prime minister Tony Blair, said earlier that the Palestinian bid was a brilliant tactical move, but one that could become "confrontational" without direct talks with Israel.

1815 GMT: From Sebastian Smith: "Netanyahu's dramatic appeal for a face-to-face meeting today at the UN with Abbas and his quotation from the Bible about the 'light of peace' draws a smattering of applause from the General Assembly but not from the Palestinians, who sat glumly, showing no reaction."

1811 GMT: Netanyahu has finished his statement -- one that was rich in biblical references -- with a challenge to Abbas to meet him immediately at the United Nations. "I suggest we talk openly and honestly... With God's help, we'll find the common ground of peace." The US delegation led the final round of applause.

1801 GMT: More applause as Netanyahu adds: "The core of the conflict has always been the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state." To Abbas, he adds: "Recognize the Jewish state and make peace with it."
[It is generally agreed that Yasser Arafat, the late PLO Chairman and leader of Fatah, did this in 1988 and again in 1993. 
In a Sep. 9, 1993 letter to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin prior to the signing of the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles he stated:
"The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.

The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators

In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant."]
1756 GMT: Here are some key quotes from the Israeli prime minister in full: "I extend my hand to the Palestinian people with whom we seek a just and lasting peace... The truth is that Israel wants peace, the truth is that I want peace... The truth is that we cannot reach peace through UN resolutions but through negotiations. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate."
[In reality, Israel has continued to confiscate additional Palestinian land throughout all peace negotiations. Palestinian leaders finally said this must stop before they will continue.]

1750 GMT: Netanyahu is framing his case in the context of "the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam."

[He makes no mention of violent Judaism, as practiced by settlers in Itmar and elsewhere and of the leading rabbi who wrote a best-selling book saying that Jews have the regious right to kill non-Jewish babies.]

He also underlines how Israel is, as narrow at one point as the nine-mile distance between Battery Park and Columbia University in Manhattan -- and, he adds, people in New Jersey are "considerably nicer" than some of Israel's neighbors.

1745 GMT The world around Israeli is "definitely getting more dangerous," Netanyahu says, adding that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran means that this year's Arab spring risks giving way to "an Iranian winter."

[He fails to note that Israel has nuclear weapons and that US intelligence estimates continue to find no evidence that Iran is acquiring them. He also fails to note that Israel initiated all of its wars except the 1973 war, in which Egypt and Syria attempted to re-acquire their own land.]

1739 GMT: The Israeli leader is setting out his case against the Palestinian proposal: "Peace must be anchored by security... The truth is, the Palestinians want a state without peace. The truth is, you shouldn't let it happen."  

[Americans did not get a state without peace; we fought the Revolutionary War against Britain.]

1731 GMT: Benjamin Netanyahu is now addressing the General Assembly. He gets applause when he extends a hand of peace "to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace." The Palestinians are represented in the hall by a single, young note-taker in a tan suit.

1729 GMT: The Palestinian bid for UN membership will be "quickly" dealt with, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky has just told reporters. "The appropriate procedural reviews will be quickly undertaken in the secretariat and afterwards it will be transmitted to the president of the Security Council and the president of the General Assembly."

1721 GMT: Hamas has just said that Abbas's bid for UN membership 'has no substance'
[see Hamas reaction.]

1717 GMT: Back at the UN, Sebastian Smith notes: "After the drama of Abbas' speech, the General Assembly will soon get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address. The Israeli foreign minister did not attend while Abbas was on the podium, although there was still an Israeli representative in the hall, so it didn?t amount to a walk-out."

1711 GMT: Sara Hussein writes: "Crowds in Ramallah erupted into roars of approval as Abbas demanded the UN accept their state on the 1967 lines. 'With our souls, with our blood, we will defend Palestine!' they roared as widescreen televisions relayed live footage of Abbas holding up a copy of the membership demand that he had personally handed to Ban Ki-moon earlier. 'Jerusalem! We are coming, millions of martyrs!' they yelled, many of them waving huge placards with Abbas's portrait."

1700 GMT: AFP's Sebastian Smith again, on the scene inside the General Assembly chamber: "One section of the General Assembly opted out of the wild applause for Abbas: the US delegation did not clap, with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and two other diplomats sitting stony faced through the speech."

1656 GMT: AFP's State Department correspondent Christophe Schmidt is with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel where the US delegation is based. She refused to answer when asked for reaction on Abbas's letter, and instead kept shaking the hand of the Costa Rican president, who she was meeting. Reporters and camera crews were then quickly ushered out of the room.

1652 GMT: A big round of applause as Abbas confirms that he submitted to Ban Ki-moon an application for full UN membership based on the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

Full membership would be the greatest contribution to peace in the region and the world. "Palestine is being reborn. That is my messsage. May all the people of the world stand with the people of Palestine... I hope we shall not have to wait too long."

1647 GMT: More applause when Abbas declares: "We have one goal, one goal, one goal: to be -- and we shall be." And again when he says: "The Palestinian state should have been established years ago."

1644 GMT: "It is time for the Palestinian spring, the time for independence," Abbas says.

1642 GMT: "This is our moment of truth," Abbas tells the General Assembly. "Our people are waiting... Will the world allow Israel to occupy us forever? ... Enough, enough, enough. "

1640 GMT: "I don't believe anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application" for UN statehood, Abbas says to applause. He also gets applause when he mentions the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

1638 GMT: More from Abbas: "Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Isreal or deligitimizing it. Rather, we want to gain legitimacy for the people of Palestine... We extend our hand to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking."

1631 GMT: From AFP's Sara Hussein in Ramallah: "As Abbas walked up to the UN podium, the crowd fell silent to listen to his address. When he mentioned the Palestinian refugees, they broke into cheers.

They also cheered when Abbas mentioned the Palestinian who was shot dead near Nablus several hours earlier. On one side of the square, a sign addressed to US President Barack Obama dangled from a window: 'Obama: grow a pair'."

1628 GMT: American reaction is just coming in. "When the speeches end today, we must all recognize that the only way to create a state is through direct negotiations, said Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations. "No shortcuts."

[Shortcuts? Palestinians have been trying to get a state for over 60 years.]

1624 GMT: Abbas is running through a long list of Palestinian grievances against "the occupying power" and "Israeli colonial occupation." He mentions today's killing on the West Bank and holds the Israeli government responsible for the conduct of "armed settlers."

[Many others were also shot and a few days ago a boy's eye was destroyed by Israeli forces.]

1618 GMT: Abbas says Israel has been refusing to commit to terms of reference based on international law and UN resolutions, as it "frantically intensifies" settlement-building on the land of the "future state of Palestine."

1615 GMT: "The question of Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations," Abbas said. "We aspire and seek a greater role for the UN in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region" that recognises the Palestinians' right to self-determination.

1612 GMT: Mahmud Abbas is now addressing the General Assembly, where he was greeted with robust applause from several delegations -- the Egyptians notably were standing.

1611 GMT: Fearing a spurt of violence, some 22,000 Israeli police and border police have been put on high alert, with forces deployed along the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank, in annexed east Jerusalem, and around Arab Israeli towns. And in Lebanon, the US embassy in Beirut is advising Americans to steer clear of Palestinian neighborhoods.

1603 GMT: Israeli spokesman Gidi Shmerling, speaking to AFP at the UN: "We regret the step. We believe that the only path to true peace is through negotiations and not unilateral steps."

1601 GMT: From Ramallah, where cheering crowds are swelling, Sara Hussein is witnessing a man on stage shouting: "In the name of this flag... We send out condolences to Qusra, and our martyr" -- in reference to a Palestinian shot dead by Israeli troops following clashes with settlers in a West Bank village a few hours ago.

"This is a referendum to tell Abu Mazen we are with you," the speaker added, using Abbas's nom-de-guerre.

1558 GMT: More detail from AFP photographer Emmanuel Dunand, who was present at the meeting: "The historic moment took place in a third floor meeting room used by the secretary general.

Ban welcomed Abbas with a UN honor guard, something usually associated with heads of state. The letter with a request for admission as a state didn't come in an envelope, but a big white folder emblazoned with the Palestinian crest. Ban then sat down and looked over the letter and journalists were asked to leave the room."

1555 GMT: Abbas handed over the statehood request -- wrapped in a folder bearing the Palestinian logo -- in Ban's meeting room. The secretary general opened the folder briefly to study it.

1552 GMT: Israel has swiftly reacted, saying it 'regrets' the Palestinian request for statehood.

1549 GMT: Huge crowds of Palestinians are now gathering in West Bank cities.

1546 GMT: Abbas has asked the UN to admit the state of Palestine.

1544 GMT: Ban Ki-Moon and Mahmud Abbas have started their meeting.

1542 GMT: Outside UN headquarters, New York correspondent Sebastian Smith reports: "A flotilla of three boats carrying Palestinian statehood supporters is steaming up the East River toward UN headquarters through fog and rain.

There's a fourth boat carrying journalists and a lot of police and US Coast Guard vessels. As there's an exclusion zone around the UN building on the river, the protestors won't be able to get too close."

1540 GMT: My colleague Sara Hussein reports from the West Bank city of Ramallah: "The streets are already starting to fill up with people heading towards the city centre.

There are lots of cars flying Palestinian flags and '194' flags and honking their horns, and several police cars circulating in the streets. At one point, they were joined by a shepherd who tried to cross the road with a herd of about 50 sheep, bringing the traffic to a standstill." The '194" refers to the Palestinians' bid to be the 194th member of the UN.

1536 GMT: Under the UN Charter, the Security Council considers applications for membership, approve them, then sends them up to the General Assembly for final approval. But the Palestinians' bid would likely be stalled by a US veto at the Security Council stage -- and in any case, a vote could take weeks, leaving plenty of time for more diplomatic wrangling.

1522 GMT: Abbas set the tone last night when he met Palestinian-Americans in New York, saying: "The American administration did everything in its power to disrupt our project but we are going through with it ...

"There are small countries in the world that have gained their freedom and independence but we still haven't got ours. So we are going to demand this right and give the application to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon so he can give it to the Security Council."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has handed over a request for a state of Palestine to be admitted as a full member of the UN just hours after it was submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Maan – A spokesman for Ban's office said Friday the letter given to the UN leader earlier had already been transmitted to the UN Security Council which will now examine the documents.