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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
October 12, 2012

Your extreme view is woefully uninformed as to the current state of negotiations.

You also demonstrate no knowledge of the EU's charter and treaties, the scope of its court's jurisdiction, etc., and basically conflate and confuse the EU with the United Nations, NATO, etc. And there is no binding international law, other than treaty law. None of the treaties to which the EU member states are party requires them/it to assume responsibility for the long-standing hostilities between Israel and Palestine.

A multi-stage effort is required to resolve the volatile dispute and is ongoing. In point of fact, in an Associated Press report, Hamas stated in May of this year it is holding back-channel discussions with 5 major member states of the EU.

"In the backchannel talks, Hamas is seeking assurances that European countries will recognize the outcome of future Palestinian elections, Hamdan said. It's not clear when such elections would be held, since they are linked to a stalled reconciliation agreement between Hamas and its main rival, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/02/hamas-says-it-holding-talks-with-5-eu-countries/#ixzz295sGwDG4

So you, being the expert on Hamas, should be able to share with us what's happened to the stalled reconciliation agreement between Hamas and its main rival. And what is the source of this rivalry, anyway? Why don't you contribute some facts/links to the discussion. You pose questions with no (documented) answers.

From another source, the Jerusalem Post: "However, at an earlier press briefing on Monday, EU representative Christian Berger said there had been no change in the EU’s position regarding engagement with Hamas. Berger said there was another condition as well, and that was Hamas’s acceptance of the “principle of tolerance” and “rule of law.”

Berger, asked whether the current financial problems plaguing the EU could impact the amount of aid the EU gave to the Palestinians, said that the current budget was locked in until 2013. The EU, as an organization, currently provides the PA with about €500 million in annual aid, with another €500m. coming from the individual states. This is the EU’s largest per capita foreign aid contribution.

Berger said that much of the aid was going toward building Palestinian institutions for eventual statehood, and that if it appeared that the statehood was not in the offing, there would likely be questions about the continuation of that aid. However, he said,if there would be a diplomatic breakthrough and a Palestinian state would be created, EU support would probably increase to ensure its success.


October 12, 2012

The EU is the single largest donor of foreign aid to Palestinians.

I've studied the history and law of the very democratic European Union at an Irish university. Your completely undocumented accusations/conclusions are so fact free as to be beyond bizarre. Given the EU's demonstrated history of setting provision of humanitarian aid, improved and equal standards of living for all citizens, and protection of ethnic minorities as prerequisites for membership to some very troubled Eastern European countries, I think the EU is the best hope to force an equitable two state solution on Israel and Palestine. Further, one poll showed 81% of Israelis want EU membership. This gives the EU tremendous leverage to push the peace process as a condition for membership.

Here are some facts as to Palestine-European relations:


EU position on Israeli issues

The EU has insisted that it will not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders other than those agreed between the parties. Israel's settlement program has therefore led to some tensions, and EU states consider these settlements illegal under international law.[8][9]

In 2008, during the French presidency of the Council, the European Union strived to increase cooperation with the US on Middle-Eastern issues, inter alia with a view to coordinating common pressures on Israel.[10]

The EU has also been highly critical of Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, often referring to them as "disproportionate" and "excessive force" and calling for an immediate cease-fire. During Operation Defensive Shield, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for economic sanctions on Israel and an arms embargo on both parties. Following the Gaza War, the European Parliament endorsed the Goldstone Report. The EU has also been critical of Israel's Gaza blockade, referring to it as "collective punishment"

EU Position on Palestinian statehood

In July 2009, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called for the United Nations to recognise the Palestinian state by a set deadline even if a settlement had not been reached: "The mediator has to set the timetable. If the parties are not able to stick to it, then a solution backed by the international community should ... be put on the table. After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution ... would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation."[11]

In December, the Council of the European Union endorsed a set of conclusions on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict which forms the basis of present EU policy.[12] It reasserted the objective of a two-state solution, and stressed that the union "will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties." It recalled that the EU "has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem" and that the State of Palestine must have its capital in Jerusalem.[13]

A year later, in December 2010, the Council reiterated these conclusions and announced its readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state, but encouraged a return to negotiations.[14] Eight of its 27 member states have recognised the State of Palestine.

In 2011, the Palestinian government called on the EU to recognise the State of Palestine in a United Nations resolution scheduled for 20 September. EU member states grew divided over the issue. Some, including Spain, France and the United Kingdom, stating that they might recognise if talks did not progress, while others, including Germany and Italy, refused. Catherine Ashton said that the EU position would depend on the wording of the proposal.[15] At the end of August, Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak told Ashton that Israel was seeking to influence the wording: "It is very important that all the players come up with a text that will emphasise the quick return to negotiations, without an effort to impose pre-conditions on the sides."[16]

October 12, 2012

EU's financial sector (Eurozone crisis) originated in US's unregulated banking practises

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso blames US banks for eurozone crisis at G20 summit
"The opening of the G20 summit in Mexico has been overshadowed by comments from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that US banks are ultimately to blame for the eurozone crisis.
As European leaders come under intense pressure to resolve the sovereign debt crisis, Mr Barroso told a Canadian journalist Europe had not come to the resort town of Los Cabos to receive 'lessons'.

'Frankly, we are not here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy,' he said in answer to a question on why North Americans should help the EU.

'This crisis was not originated in Europe; seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market.

Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/902494-eu-chief-barroso-blames-us-banks-for-eurozone-crisis-at-g20-summit#ixzz295IGO3SX

And more from the Nobel prize committee link in the OP:

"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. "

The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.

"In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled.

The admission of Croatia as a member next year, the opening of membership negotiations with Montenegro, and the granting of candidate status to Serbia all strengthen the process of reconciliation in the Balkans. In the past decade, the possibility of EU membership for Turkey has also advanced democracy and human rights in that country."

October 9, 2012

Corbett's appointed acting Secretary of Health not MD, but was lobbyist for Big Pharma, Pfizer

By the by - I just looked up the bio of Avila's replacement, one Michael Wolf, now Acting Secretary of Health. http://www.portal.health.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_health_information/10674/secretary_of_health/556772

Quelle surprise - not! that he is NOT a physician, but a professional politician, with an MBA from that really impressive for-profit, on-line school, The University of Phoenix. He started his career with 6 yrs. of political campaign work for the Republican Party in PA & came to the Dept. of Health from six years as a lobbyist for Big Pharma, specifically Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker. And we all know how much Big Pharma values safe health care over corporate profits.

So what's in it for One Term Tom? Is Corbett angling for a post-gubernatorial slot on Pfizer's Board? Total compensation to each Pfizer board member in 2011 was $314,023, according to Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/profile/michael-brown-6/
Department of Health Information
Effective Oct. 4, 2012, Governor Tom Corbett announced Michael Wolf, MBA, as the Acting Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

October 9, 2012

Corbett's actions in direct violation of PA Constitution

In the past week, Corbett has ousted both his Secretary of Health and the head of the state's award-winning park system.

First he forced the resignation of Secretary Avila for for having the audacity!, the temerity! of advocating keeping track of health impacts of natural gas drilling. As the conservative Wall Street Journal reported:
"In 2011, Avila told a governor's advisory commission that creating an official state registry of people who complain about adverse health impacts could help 'refute or verify claims that the public health is being impacted by drilling in the Marcellus Shale.'
"The state House of Representatives approved $2 million to help create such a registry as part of a bill to regulate the rapid growth of natural gas exploration, but the money was STRIPPED during last-minute negotiations between GOP legislative leaders and the Republican(Corbett) administration."

Today, news broke that Corbett forced the resignation of Mr. Norbeck, who dared block one of Corbett's campaign contributors from mining for limestone in a state park. Norbeck has six years of outstanding job evaluations in his personnel file and was known to regularly work 50 or 60 hours a week.
"... we were doing great stuff in the state's parks," he said. "I've talked to hundreds of people in the last week, and they are scared about what's going to happen to the department and the parks bureau.
"Morale is seriously low and there's concern about the lack of leadership coming out of the administration."

Mr. Norbeck worked in Maryland's state parks system for 29 years before he was appointed to head Pennsylvania's parks in 2006 by Gov. Ed Rendell. Under his stewardship, the state's system of 117 parks won the 2009-11 National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management awarded by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.

During Mr. Norbeck's tenure, the Bureau of Parks, working with a shrinking staff, has seen park visitation increase from 35 million to 38 million a year, and income from rentals and services jump from $13 million in 2006 to $21.5 million last year.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/pa-parks-director-says-he-was-forced-out-by-corbett-administration-656785/#ixzz28obtbZuR

Commenter Doug Shield posted the following at the Post-Gazette blog, pointing out how Corbett is directly violating the PA Constitution.

Here is the Pa Constitution’s commandment relating to OUR Parkland. Now, the right to Bear Arms provision is at Section 21. Corbett seems get’s that part. He seems to think Section 27 is a merely a suggestion. Looks like it is time to go to Court again.

"SECTION 27 Natural Resources and the Public Estate.
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."


"Christina Novak, a DCNR spokeswoman, declined to discuss the resignation because it's a personnel matter.”.

No Christine, it is a matter of our Constitutional rights and public policy. We know why you fired Mr. Norbeck. I want an explanation as to why Section 27 doesn’t mean anything to Governor Corbett.
(end of Shields' comment)

So there you have it, yet more evidence that any public servant who puts public health and welfare or the state's natural environment ahead of Corbett paying back his past and future campaign contributors will be shown the door. Bad enough Corbett's sucking up to anything remotely to do with profiteering from the Marcellus Shale, but now he's going after "Big Limestone"! What's next? How much more profiteering can Corbett squeeze in to the next two years for his donor buddies?

Gives a new alternative definition to the term "Friends With Benefits".

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