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  • November 30, 2012

    Truthout

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    The international sort of institutional importance is not that it's going to change anything about the Palestinians' presence at the UN. They still will not be members of the UN and they still will not be able to vote or to introduce resolutions. . . .

    The significance of that is that it gives them the opportunity to use that status of a state to do other things, most notably, to sign the Rome Treaty creating the International Criminal Court, and thus become a member of the International Criminal Court. . . .  there's at least the possibility that they could initiate an effort to bring criminal charges against Israeli officials, military and political, and potentially even U.S. officials . . . [T]hat's a long way off, it's not going to happen anytime soon, but it's an interesting step towards that.

    The other significant reason has nothing to do with the UN and everything to do with internal Palestinian politics . . . the stature of the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, has been diminishing in recent years . . . This was about maintaining whatever shreds of credibility he's got left.

  • November 21, 2012

    The Real News Network

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    PHYLLIS BENNIS: I was struck by the statement a day or two ago by the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, when he talked about the role of the United States in all this. And he said, and I quote, "This effort could not have been concluded without the generous and consistent support of the American administration, led by President Obama," end quote. That's a rather extraordinary thing to say, because on the one hand, it sounds like an introduction to a speaker or something like that. On the other hand, it's an admission of complicity, that he's saying the U.S. made it all possible.

    . . . The reality is, right now, Paul, what we're dealing with is a scenario where the U.S. ordinarily is prepared to call the shots in the Middle East. But suddenly there's a new Middle East. The U.S. doesn't have the same options that it once did. . . . ironically, right now the countries that the U.S. most needs to act as U.S. interlocutors in the region, Turkey and Egypt, are arguably Hamas's closest allies. . . . So what does this say about the normalization of Hamas in the region? It's a very different scenario.

  • November 21, 2012

    Between The Lines

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    PHYLLIS BENNIS: History starts with when you start the clock. You could start . . . with the assassination of Ahmed Jaabari . . . after a fragile ceasefire. . . . You could start at any point.

    All of this takes place in the context of occupation . . . which in international law means there is external control by a foreign government, not x number of soldiers on the ground. . . .

    Gaza remains occupied. It's a different form of occupation, it's in the form of a siege rather than in the form of a physical soldier occupation, but it's occupation nonetheless, and unless we understand it in that context, it's going to happen again -- even when we get a ceasefire.

    PHYLLIS BENNIS: South African anti-apartheid activists describe Gaza . . . as an open-air prison. And it raises the question of whether it's even a separate war crime, one that hasn't ever been codified in international law, to deny people the right to seek refuge. When you deny people the right to flee, and then they're killed, it's almost like another kind of war crime that needs to be codified and people held accountable for that as well.

  • November 19, 2012

    The Real News Network

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    DESVARIEUX: So, Phyllis, tell us: what's your take on what just happened recently in Gaza?

    BENNIS: Well, I think that what we're looking at is a huge escalation on the part of Israel against Gaza, very reminiscent in a number of ways of the Operation Cast Lead of 2008, 2009, also beginning shortly after the election-the first election, that time-of President Obama, and before the inauguration in both cases.

    In this case we saw this huge escalation after a two-day ceasefire negotiated by Egypt had largely held. Israel responded to that ceasefire by carrying out an assassination of the Gazan leader, Ahmed Jaabari, who among other things was indeed a leader of the military wing of Hamas, but in recent years had also been the top negotiator with Israel for, among other things, the prisoner exchange . . .

    On the other hand, we're seeing a major question of how we decide who's responding to whom. History, you know, Jessica, is determined by when you start the clock. And in this case what we're hearing pretty much across the board from the mainstream media in the United States is Israel responded to Palestinian rockets, Palestinians have been firing rockets, Palestinians are firing rockets, and Israel responded.

  • November 16, 2012

    Russia Today TV

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    Timing of the recent escalation in tension between Israel and Gaza is not coincidental. It is a calculated move, Phyllis Bennis, director of the Institute for Policy Studies has told RT.

    The Israelis launched their attack shortly after the US elections and shortly before the US was about to swear in a president at the inauguration in January and just before Israeli elections were scheduled as well. So there is no question that it has everything to do with Israeli politics,” she says.

    . . . On the political side we’re likely to see a much greater distancing between the Israeli and Egyptian governments. I don’t think as I said, we’re going to see the engagement of the Egyptian government directly militarily with Israel certainly, but some kind of reconsideration of the Camp David Accord and its terms are a likely follow up to the Egyptian decision to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv, which it did just yesterday.

  • November 16, 2012

    Russia Today TV

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    Timing of the recent escalation in tension between Israel and Gaza is not coincidental. It is a calculated move, Phyllis Bennis, director of the Institute for Policy Studies has told RT.

    The Israelis launched their attack shortly after the US elections and shortly before the US was about to swear in a president at the inauguration in January and just before Israeli elections were scheduled as well. So there is no question that it has everything to do with Israeli politics,” she says.

  • October 24, 2012

    The Real News Network

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    In this case, I think there are differences that are not small. The question of who gets appointed to the Supreme Court is the choice between whether we get a conservative centrist, which will be the likely choice of a second Obama term, or a right-wing extremist, which is the likely choice of a Romney presidency. That matters.

    I vote on the basis of understanding what elections are all about. If you want to call it lesser evil, you can call it lesser evil. I call it using one tactic to avoid the worst options coming to more power. I would rather have the less-worst options coming to power.

  • October 18, 2012

    Wicked Local

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    The Middle East is undergoing an explosion of turmoil, but the United States is not at the center of it and has limited influence in shaping its outcomes, says Bennis.

    “Let’s all take a deep breath and remember that it’s not always about us,” she wrote in a recent posting for the New Internationalism Project, which she directs at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank.

  • October 17, 2012

    The Real News Network

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  • October 12, 2012

    Tavis Smiley Program, PBS

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    "I think [Mitt Romney] is looking for a way to distinguish himself from President Obama's foreign policy, and since he doesn't have a significant difference in the actual policy prescriptions that he's calling for, what he's resorting to is simply saying, 'President Obama isn't tough enough. His rhetoric isn't firm enough. He's leading from behind instead of in front.' But when pressed, what would you actually do? He's given out policies that are really not that different."

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