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Secretary of State Supports Civilians in Syria but What About Palestinians?
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the foreign ministers of Britain and France joined Arab League officials in a high-level meeting on Jan. 31 at the U.N. urging council members to approve a resolution on Syria. As we listened to Secretary Clinton we couldn’t help but recall the recent unsuccessful Palestinian bid for statehood. Thanks to intensive U.S. lobbying the Palestinian effort was ultimately tabled on Nov. 11, 2011, after the Security Council stated its inability “to make a unanimous recommendation.”
Substitute “Israeli government” for the “Assad regime” and “Palestinian” for “Syrian” civilians and see how selective Americans are in our support for international peace and justice.
Clinton’s Remarks on Jan. 31 at the United Nations: (For complete transcripts visit <http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/01/182845.htm>.)
“And for many months, the people of the region and the world have watched in horror as the Assad regime executed a campaign of violence against its own citizens. Civilians gunned down in the streets, women and children tortured and killed. No one is safe, not even officials of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent….
“The regime also continues to arbitrarily detain Syrian citizens, such as the activists Yahia al-Shurbaji and Anas al-Shaghri, simply for demanding dignity and universal rights. To date, the evidence is clear that Assad’s forces are initiating nearly all of the attacks that kill civilians… Already, the challenges ahead for the Syrian people are daunting – a crumbling economy, rising sectarian tensions, a cauldron of instability in the heart of the Middle East.” …
“So why is the Arab League here before this Security Council? Because they are seeking the support of the international community for a negotiated, peaceful political solution to this crisis and a responsible, democratic transition in Syria. And we all have a choice: Stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there.
“We all know that change is coming to Syria. Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime’s reign of terror will end and the people of Syria will have the chance to chart their own destiny. The question for us is: How many more innocent civilians will die before this country is able to move forward toward the kind of future it deserves?
“It is time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria.” Clinton said.
The following day, Feb 1, at a signing ceremony with Singaporean Foreign Minister and Minister for Law K. Shanmugam, Clinton added:
“The Arab League has set forth a roadmap as to how we can, working together through the international community in support of the Arab League, help to end the bloodshed and help to begin a peaceful political process that will result in a more democratic future for the people of Syria. The Syrian people themselves are the ones who are crying out for peace and justice, for dignity, for their rights, for a better future.
“And every member of the council has to make a decision: Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the Syrian people? Are you on the side of the Arab League? Are you on the side of the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have, during this past year, spoken out courageously and often for their rights? Or are you on the side of a brutal dictatorial regime? Each country will have to be mulling that over and making a decision, but certainly, from my perspective, as members of the Security Council charged with the responsibility of trying to help keep international peace and security, it is absolutely imperative that we all be on the right side of history. And that means standing with the Arab League and standing with the people of Syria.”
Today diplomats at the UN Security Council are watering down a resolution on Syria in order to overcome Russian objections to an earlier draft. The new text drops explicit reference to a call for President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power, but still supports the Arab League’s decision to facilitate political transition.
Meanwhile, on the 30th anniversary of the Hama uprising, crushed by Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father, security forces in the central Syrian town of Hama closed public squares and set up checkpoints. Protesters splashed red paint in the streets to mark 30 years since the massacre, which killed at least 10,000 people.
“They want to kill the memory and they do not want us to remember,” an activist in the city told Reuters news agency. Tanks blocked main squares to prevent demonstrations. “But we will not accept it,” the activist concluded.
The same is true for Palestinians….and their supporters around the world, Secretary of State. Contact Hillary Clinton and ask her to be on the right side of history for Palestinians as well as Syrians.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. State Department
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
State Department Public Information Line:
Visit this page to e-mail Secretary Clinton: