“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches”

“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” – Ariel Sharon

Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War ll. Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s entire foreign aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain.
– John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt – “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”

The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War, also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria with Israel from October 6 to 25, 1973. The fighting mostly took place in the Sinai and the Golan Heights, territories that had been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967.

On October 6, Secretary of State Kissinger convened the National Security Council’s official crisis management group, the Washington Special Actions Group, which debated whether the U.S. should supply additional arms to Israel. High-ranking representatives of the Defense and State Departments opposed such a move. Kissinger was the sole dissenter; he said that if the U.S. refused aid, Israel would have little incentive to conform to American views in postwar diplomacy. Kissinger argued the sending of U.S. aid might cause Israel to moderate its territorial claims, but this thesis raised a protracted debate whether U.S. aid was likely to make it more accommodating or more intransigent toward the Arab world.

By October 8, Israel had encountered military difficulties on both fronts. In the Sinai, Israeli efforts to break through Egyptian lines with armor had been thwarted, and while Israel had contained and begun to turn back the Syrian advance, Syrian forces were still overlooking the Jordan River and their air defense systems were inflicting a high toll on Israeli planes. It became clear by October 9 that no quick reversal in Israel’s favor would occur and that IDF losses were unexpectedly high.

During the night of October 8–9, an alarmed Dayan told Meir that “this is the end of the third temple.” He was warning of Israel’s impending total defeat, but “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons. Dayan again raised the nuclear topic in a cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of “last resort.”

That night Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20-kiloton-of-TNT (84 TJ) tactical atomic weapons for Jericho missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase, and F-4 aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase, for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets. They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total defeat, but the preparation was done in an easily detectable way, likely as a signal to the United States. Kissinger learned of the nuclear alert on the morning of October 9.

That day, President Nixon ordered the commencement of Operation Nickel Grass, an American airlift to replace all of Israel’s material losses. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger told Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear”.

Israel began receiving supplies via U.S. Air Force cargo airplanes on October 14, although some equipment had arrived on planes from Israel’s national airline El Al before this date. The airlift continued after the war until November 14. The total cost of the equipment was approximately US$800 million (US$4.26 billion today).

On October 14, a U.N.-Security Council-approved ceasefire brought the fighting to a halt.

But then Israel’s current Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon — who was at the time a major general commanding a division — broke the ceasefire and began to encircle the Egyptian Third Army, opening the way to Cairo.

It was the Soviets’ turn to panic. According to half a dozen former State Department diplomats, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev told the United States he might be forced to send in crack troops to back up Egyptian forces defending Cairo. There was plenty of intelligence that elite Soviet paratroop units were on alert and moving.

To halt Sharon, Kissinger raised the state of alert of all U.S. defense forces worldwide. Called DefCons, for defense condition, they work in descending order from DefCon V to DefCon I, which is war. Kissinger ordered a DefCon III.

According to a former senior State Department official, the decision to move to DefCon III “sent a clear message that Sharon’s violation of the ceasefire was dragging us into a conflict with the Soviets and that we had no desire to see the Egyptian Army destroyed.”

Israel, which had cancelled its nuclear alert, went on nuclear alert for a second time, until Meir quickly ended the crisis by ordering her army to stop all offensive action against the Egyptians.

But the same State Department official pointed out something that has always been a major deterrent in the Middle East. “If Tel Aviv had used those weapons, most of the fall-out would have blown back on Israel because of the pattern of prevailing winds at the time,” he said.

And Then The “Unlimited” Supply

Since 1949, the US has given Israel – $126,692,000,000; that is almost $2,000,000,000 per year for 67 years. Israel began buying arms from the United States in 1962, but did not receive any grant military assistance until after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The U.S. currently provides Israel almost $10 million in military aid each day, while it gives the Palestinians no military aid.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4870), which passed the House in June 2014, contained provisions that would prohibit funds made available by the act from being obligated to the PA (§10033) or from being used to transfer weapons to the PA (§10024). Aid to Palestinians is largely designated for the policing of their own people as well as for humanitarian and development needs. Such funds are only authorized once Congress has received proof that they will be used for “non-lethal assistance.” Congress requested $441 million in aid for FY 2015. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided the Palestinian people with some indirect economic assistance through funds distributed to U.S.-based NGOs operating in the West Bank and Gaza. According to the CRS report, “Funds are allocated in this program for projects in sectors such as humanitarian assistance, economic development, democratic reform, improving water access and other infrastructure, health care, education, and vocational training.” The United States also provides funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), “which provides food, shelter, medical care, and education for many of the original refugees from the 1947-1949 Arab-Israeli war and their families—now comprising approximately 4.8 million Palestinians in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza.” The amount allocated by the U.S. government for FY 2014 was $250.9 million.

Israel’s arms industry has become one of the strongest in the world. In 2014, Israel was the 7th largest arms supplier to the world. And it continues to grow stronger. In 2015, Israel sold $5.7 billion in military goods to other countries. The former assistant Secretary of Defense from 2007 to 2009 asked, “How inexplicable is it that we are competing against the Israelis in the Indian defense procurement market at the same time we are subsidizing the Israeli defense industry?”

A U.S. government source estimates that Israel is using approximately $1.2 billion each year (38.7% of the aid it receives from the U.S.) to “directly support its domestic budget rather than to build on its arsenal of advanced US equipment.”

In 2007, the Bush Administration increased the United States military aid to Israel by over 25%, to an average of $3 billion per year for the following ten-year period. The package started in October 2008, when regular aid to Israel’s economy ended. The economy of Israel is technologically advanced by global standards, Israel ranks in the top 18 nations in the world on the UN’s Human Development Index. Annual US military aid amounts to only about 1 percent of Israel’s nearly $300 billion GDP. 

The U.S. currently gives Israel $3,100,000,000 each year; this amounts to $8,500,000 given to Israel each day. Per capita, the U.S. gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. Beginning in 2019, the U.S. will give Israel $3,800,000,000 per year until 2028, that is $10,400,000 each day.

Since President Obama took office, the United States has provided Israel over $23.5 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance (from 2009-2016). In FY2016, the United States provided Israel $3.1 billion in FMF assistance; approximately 51.4% of the total U.S. global FMF account. This amounts to $8.5 million in FMF funding alone provided to Israel each day.

The 10-year agreement is the largest in U.S. history, with a significant portion of the money expected to be used to upgrade Israel’s air force to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter aircraft.

Most importantly, it’s structured so that more Israeli defense spending goes to U.S. companies. Israel’s long-standing special arrangement for funds from the United States previously allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of the money in Israel — on Israeli-made defense products. But that provision is being phased out over the first five years of the deal.

The deal states that Israel can’t lobby Congress for more money unless a war breaks out. It says that funds for missile defense are included in the $38 billion — previously, that money was negotiated separately. And it states that Israel can’t use any of the U.S.-provided funds for fuel, meaning more of the aid comes back to U.S. defense manufacturers.

The U.S. State Department referred an inquiry from CNBC to the White House, which said it would not comment on the deal beyond a fact sheet it released online. That document notes that the new agreement for $3.8 billion per year compares with the previous annual allotment of $3.1 billion, and it refers to the new pact as an increase “by every measure.”

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/14/fact-sheet-memorandum-understanding-reached-israel

Under President Obama’s leadership, the multifaceted cooperation between the United States and Israel has reached unprecedented levels.  This is particularly true with regard to the security of Israel.  The new 10-year security assistance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Israel is the most recent reflection of President Obama’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

Under the new MOU with Israel, the Obama Administration has made the largest single pledge of military assistance in U.S. history:

  • The total value of the new MOU, which covers FY2019- FY2028, is $38 billion ($3.8 billion per year).  It will succeed the current $30 billion MOU signed in 2007, which will expire at the end of FY2018.
  • This amount represents a significant increase over the current MOU by every measure, and will enable Israel to acquire additional advanced military capabilities from the United States.
  • It includes $33 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds and an unprecedented $5 billion commitment in missile defense assistance.  This funding will be disbursed in equal increments of $3.3 billion in FMF and $500 million in missile defense funding each year for the duration of the understanding.
  • In practical terms, the level of funding specified in the MOU will permit Israel to update the lion’s share of its fighter aircraft fleet –  including through the acquisition of additional F-35s – increase its missile defense, and acquire other defense capabilities needed to meet its threat environment.
  • The multi-year missile defense commitment in the MOU will greatly facilitate long-term planning rather than missile defense assistance levels continuing to be appropriated year-to-year.
  • The $500 million in annual missile defense funding under the MOU exceeds the average level of non-emergency support the United States has provided to Israel for missile defense over the last five years.
  • Moreover, our decision with Israel to discontinue two anomalies in the defense relationship that no longer serve our mutual interests – Off Shore Procurement (the arrangement under the current MOU through which Israel has been uniquely permitted to spend 26.3 percent of its annual FMF package within Israel on non-U.S. products) and Israel’s use of FMF funds to purchase fuel – means that Israel will spend more funding, as much as $1.2 billion per year, on the advanced military capabilities that only the United States can provide.  The acquisition of additional U.S.-produced capabilities and technology provide the best means to ensure Israel preserves its Qualitative Military Edge (QME).

Under President Obama to date, Israel has received a record amount of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds:

  • Israel remains the leading recipient worldwide of U.S. FMF.  Since President Obama took office, the United States has provided Israel over $23.5 billion in FMF assistance (from 2009-2016).
  • In FY2016, the United States provided Israel $3.1 billion in FMF assistance to support Israel’s ability to defend against threats.  This is in line with assistance provided in FY2014 and FY2015 and represented approximately 51.4% of the U.S. global FMF account in FY2016.
  • For FY2017, which marks the ninth year of the current 10-year, $30 billion MOU between the United States and Israel, the Administration has requested $3.1 billion in FMF for Israel.
  • This amounts to $8.5 million in FMF funding alone provided to Israel each day, helping it bolster its security and maintain its QME.

President Obama has also provided Israel with unprecedented levels of missile defense funding:

  • In addition to FMF funding, under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has provided over $3 billion in missile defense funding for programs and systems for Israel.
  • Since 2011, the United States has provided Israel with over $1.3 billion for the Iron Dome system alone.  Iron Dome batteries and interceptors have saved an untold number of Israeli lives, particularly during the conflict with Hamas in 2014.
  • During that conflict, when Israeli civilians were subjected to rocket fire, the President worked with Congress to successfully provide $225 million in short-fuse funding for the Iron Dome system above the $504 million that had already been provided to Israel in FY2014 for missile defense support.
  • In addition to Iron Dome, the United States has invested significantly in the co-development of longer range defense systems such as David’s Sling and Arrow-3.
  • In FY2016 Israel received $487 million in missile defense support, including for David’s Sling. Arrow-3, and Iron Dome.
  • After successful joint tests of David’s Sling and Arrow-3 last year, FY16 is the first year in which missile defense funding for Israel also included funding for coproduction of these systems– further deepening our missile defense cooperation with Israel.

With over $26 billion in total assistance during President Obama’s tenure in office, Israel has been able to acquire new advanced capabilities to bolster its security:

  • The United States provides Israel with unparalleled access to some of the most advanced military equipment in the world, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  Using FMF, Israel is scheduled to receive 33 F-35 aircraft, the first two of which will be delivered to Israel in December 2016.
  • Israel will be the first foreign partner to take delivery of this fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
  • The United States has also provided Israel with several C-130 heavy-lift cargo planes; four SAAR 6 Corvettes; ten additional F-15 aircraft; Merkava tanks and Namer Armored Personnel Carriers; Hellfire missiles; the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and other Precision Guided Munitions.
  • In terms of missile defense, the United States has paid for the majority of the production costs for the Iron Dome system since 2011, the centerpiece of Israel’s missile defense architecture.

In addition to FMF and missile defense funds, the United States under President Obama has provided other forms of valuable support to Israel:

  • Signed by President Obama in December 2014, the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act authorizes $3 million to be spent on research pilot programs between Israeli government agencies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Department of Defense’s chemical-biological defense response units work with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to provide equipment and training.
  • The Department of Defense has sold or provided free of charge millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. excess defense articles to the IDF, supporting their need for spare parts, weapons, and simulators to maintain their current fleets.
  • Since FY14, the United States has allocated more than $47 million on research and development task plans for tunnel detection and mapping technologies.
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2016 – US Votes in UN: Israel

The Obama Administration has made the largest single pledge of military assistance in U.S. history. The total value of the new MOU, which covers FY2019- FY2028, is $38 billion ($3.8 billion per year).  It will succeed the current $30 billion MOU signed in 2007, which will expire at the end of FY2018.  Since President Obama took office, the United States has provided Israel over $23.5 billion in FMF assistance (from 2009-2016). In FY2016, the United States provided Israel $3.1 billion in FMF assistance; approximately 51.4% of the U.S. global FMF account. This amounts to $8.5 million in FMF funding alone provided to Israel each day.

 

9/21/16: A letter sponsored by Israel lobby group AIPAC, and signed by 88 US senators, is demanding that President Obama unconditionally veto any “one-sided” resolution on the Israeli peace process brought before the UN Security Council during the last four months of his term in office. The letter was penned by the lobby at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose office is concerned that years of acrimony between him and Obama might lead Obama to not veto a French resolution on the peace process if it comes between the November election and the day he leaves office.

NOTE: there are only 100 Senators

In 2015-2016, the United States voted that it is OK for Israel to NOT :

  • sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, and to be one of only four countries that possess nuclear weapons to NOT sign the treaty, and to be the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.

China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States — possess approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons. China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States are considered to be “nuclear-weapon states” (NWS) under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan refuse to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Estimated nuclear warheads: India (110-120), Israel (60-400), North Korea (10) and Pakistan (120-130).

  • recognize the permanent 1967 sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
  • compensate Lebanon for $850mn of clean-up costs due to an oil spill caused in 2006 by IDF jets attack on oil storage tanks
  • recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
  • recognize persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities and to return to their home or former places of residence
  • approve the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and to continue the construction of settlements and the wall
  • recognize Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues
  • recognize the Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories 
  • recognize the Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories
  • evacuate or continue building Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan
  • discontinue Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
  • recognize the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
  • recognize the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat
  • recognize the Special information program on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat
  • recognize the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine
  • discontinue the illegal imposition of its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem
  • recognize that the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitutes a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region

The United States voted against the following UN Resolutions in 2016:

2015-2016 UNGA Resolutions (70th Session)
Condemning Countries

The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (A/RES/70/70)
Extract: “Reaffirms the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East.”

Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (A/RES/70/225)
Extract: “Expressing its concern about the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

Oil slick on Lebanese shores (A/RES/70/194)
Extract: “Reiterates…its deep concern about the adverse implications of the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Lebanese Jiyeh electric power plant, for the achievement of sustainable development in Lebanon.

The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (A/RES/70/141)
Extract: “Recalling the conclusion of the Court…that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with measures previously taken, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities (A/RES/70/84)
Extract: “Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their home or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (A/RES/70/85)
Extract: “Gravely concerned about the extremely difficult socioeconomic conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, as a result of the recurrent military operations, continuing prolonged Israeli closures, the construction of settlements and the wall, and the severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade…”

Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues (A/RES/70/86)
Extract: “Reaffirms that the Palestine refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of equity and justice.”

Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/RES/70/87)
Extract: “Deplores those policies and practices of Israel that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories…”

Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories (A/RES/70/88)
Extract: “Demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention.”

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan (A/RES/70/89)
Extract: “Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development.”

Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/RES/70/90)
Extract: “Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power…”

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (A/RES/70/12)
Extract: “Requests the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, to support the achievement without delay of an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders…”

Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (A/RES/70/13)
Extract: “Considers that, by providing substantive support to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in the implementation of its mandate, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat continues to make a most useful and constructive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine…”

Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (A/RES/70/14)
Extract: “Considers that the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine…”

Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (A/RES/70/15)
Extract: “Expressing grave concern about the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including on the contiguity, integrity and viability of the Territory …”

Jerusalem (A/RES/70/16)
Extract: “Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The Syrian Golan (A/RES/70/17)
Extract: “Determines once more that the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.”

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MILE HIGH

Denver City was founded in November 1858 as a mining town during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in western Kansas Territory. This was the first settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver, named after Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. The site faded quickly, however, and by the summer of 1859 it was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold mining town of Auraria, Georgia), and St. Charles City.

Denver is ranked as a Beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions into the world economy. Examples of beta cities are Riyadh and Geneva.

With a 2015 estimated population of 682,545, Denver ranks as the 19th-most populous U.S. city, and with a 2.8% increase in 2015, the city is also the fastest growing major city in the United States. The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated 2015 population of 2,814,330 and ranked as the 19th most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical area. The 12-city Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area had an estimated 2015 population of 3,418,876, which ranks as the 16th most populous U.S. metropolitan area. Denver is the most populous city of the 18-county Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong urban region stretching across two states with an estimated 2015 population of 4,757,713. The Front Range Urban Corridor includes Cheyenne. Denver is the most populous city within a 500-mile (800 km) radius in the Mountain West and the second-most populous city in the Southwestern United States after Phoenix, Arizona. In 2016, Denver was named the best place to live in the USA by U.S. News & World Report.

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Abbas – UN 9/22/16

This is an official transcript of Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly 09/22/16.
Abbas was introduced as president of the state of Palestine.
 
Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I extend my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremid on his outstandingly successful presidency of the previous session of the General Assembly, and I congratulate Mr. John Ashe upon his assumption of this session’s Presidency and wish him all success.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to address you today, and for the first time in the name of the State of Palestine, before the United Nations General Assembly, after your historic decision last 29 November to raise Palestine’s status to that of an observer State. As representatives of your Governments and of your peoples, you have championed justice, right, and peace, and thereby affirmed your refusal of occupation, and stood for principles and ethics and on the side of peoples yearning for freedom. For this, I present you again today with my deepest thanks and gratitude, in the name of Palestine and of its people. The Palestinian people celebrated this resolution, because they rightly felt that they did not stand alone in the world, but that the world stands with them, and because they realized that the result of your overwhelming vote meant that justice is still possible and that there still is room for hope.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I assured you last year that our quest to raise Palestine’s status does not aim to delegitimize an existing State – Israel, but to consecrate the legitimacy of a State that must exist, which is Palestine. I have also affirmed in front of you that our quest does not aim to affect the peace process, nor is it a substitute for serious negotiations. To the contrary, our quest is supportive of the path of peace and has revived a comatose process. As we have repeatedly affirmed, and as we have proven in practice, the State of Palestine, which abides by the United Nations Charter, by international humanitarian law and by the resolutions of international legitimacy, will exercise its role and uphold its responsibilities in the intemational system in a positive and constructive manner, and in a way that reinforces peace.
A new round of negotiations began a few weeks ago thanks to the appreciated, tireless efforts of the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, and of the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. I affirm before you that we have begun these negotiations and that we shall continue them in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success. I assure you that we shall respect all of our commitments and foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations in a serious, intensive manner and provide the guarantees for its success, aimed at reaching a peace accord within nine months.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we engage in this new round of negotiations, we must recall and remind that we do not start in a vacuum or from point zero, nor are we lost in a labyrinth without a map, nor do we lack a compass so as to lose sight of the finish line and of the destination. The goal of peace that we seek is defined and the objective of these negotiations is clear to all, and the terms of reference, basis and foundations of the peace process and of the agreement we seek are longstanding and are within reach. As for the goal of peace, it is embodied in redressing the historic, unprecedented injustice that has befallen the Palestinian people in Al-Nakba of 1948, and the realization of a just peace, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as by all the peoples of our region.
The objective of the negotiations is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative. Here, we reaffirm that we refuse to enter into a vortex of a new interim agreement that becomes eternalized, or to enter into transitional arrangements that will become a fixed rule rather than an urgent exception. Our objective is to achieve a permanent and comprehensive agreement and a peace treaty between the States of Palestine and Israel that resolves all outstanding issues and answers all questions, which allows us to officially declare an end of conflict and claims.
The terms of reference and parameters of these negotiations, its goals, and the basis of the agreement we seek are found in your historic decision to raise Palestine’s status, as well as in the countless resolutions of this august body and the resolutions of the Security Council, and in those of the Arab League, of the European Union, of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In fact, over the years, these parameters have come to form an international consensus.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Twenty years ago, precisely on 13 September 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, signed with the Government of Israel a Declaration of Principles Agreement (Oslo Accords), in the presence of our departed leader, Yasser Ararat, and Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli Prime Minister, and of former President Bill Clinton on the
White House lawn in Washington.
On 15 November 1988, the Palestinian National Council adopted our program for the achievement of peace, thereby taking an extremely difficult decision and making a historical and painful concession. However, as representatives of the Palestinian people, we have long been aware of our responsibilities towards our people and had the necessary courage to accept a two-State solution: Palestine and Israel on the borders of 4 June 1967, establishing a Palestinian State on 22% of the land of historic Palestine. Thus, we did our part to realize a historic settlement, uphold our obligations, and fulfill all that the international community set as requirements from the Palestinian side in order to attain peace. At the same time that the PLO affirmed its choice of peace as a strategic option and of a solution resulting from negotiations, it firmly repudiated violence and affirmed an ethical, principled rejection of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and affirmed our respect of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions. As a genuine historical breakthrough, the signature of the Oslo Accords caused an unprecedented political dynamism, fostered great hopes and generated high expectations. The PLO worked with dedication to implement it in order to end the occupation and to realize a just peace.
But after the passage of twenty years, the picture appears dispiriting and bleak, the great dreams shattered, and the goals more modest. As much as we felt in those days that peace was at hand, we realize today how far we are away from it. For the goal of the Accords was not achieved, its provisions not implemented, and its deadlines not respected. And, all the while, the continuation of intense settlement construction, which aims to change the facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has violated the spirit of the agreement, struck at the core of the peace process, and caused a deep fracture in its cornerstone – that of the two-State solution.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The start of a new round of negotiations is good news, but it cannot be sufficient grounds for relaxing vigilance or give the international community an exaggerated sense of tranquility. The negotiations we are undertaking with the Israeli Government under the auspices of the United States require that the international community exert every effort to make them succeed, namely by international and regional organizations, as well as by individual States upholding the international consensus on the goal of peace, the objectives of the negotiations, the terms of reference and the basis for a permanent peace agreement. At the same time, the international community is asked to remain alert to condemn and stop any actions on the ground that would undermine negotiations – and I refer here, above all, to the continuation of settlement construction on our Palestinian land, particularly in Jerusalem. There is an international consensus – among the countries of the world, international and regional organizations and the International Court of Justice – on the illegality and illegitimacy of these settlements. The position of the European Union with regard to settlement products is a positive model of what is possible to be done in order to ensure an environment supportive of the negotiations and the peace process. At the same time, it is imperative that the near-daily attacks on the religious sites in Occupied Jerusalem, at the forefront of which is A1-Aqsa Mosque, where the continuation of such attacks will have dire consequences.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
History teaches us – and it is the best teacher – that waging war, occupation, settlements and walls may provide temporary quiet and a momentary domination, but they certainly do not ensure real security nor guarantee a sustainable peace. Such policies may create a specific reality on the ground, but they certainly do not create a right, nor do they provide legitimacy. Such policies may impose a weak stability, but they cannot prevent an inevitable explosion, because such polices in fact fuel inflamed situations to explosion. But above all, such policies are incapable of extinguishing the aspiration of a people for freedom and cannot eradicate their living memory or eradicate their narrative. Therefore, what is required is to heed the lesson of history, to abandon the mentality of force and occupation, to recognize the rights of others, and to deal on an equal footing and parity to make peace. What is required is to stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions in order to consecrate occupation, and to stop contriving demands that push the conflict from its defined political terrain towards the abyss of religious conflict in a region burdened with such sensitivities – a matter that we categorically refuse.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am confident that the Israeli people want peace, and that its majority supports a two-State solution. We have always expressed our firm positions and have always explained them at the negotiations table with the Israeli Government and in the meetings and contacts we have intensified in the recent years with a wide spectrum of actors in Israeli society. Our message stems from the idea that the two peoples, the Palestinian and the Israeli, are partners in the task of peacemaking. This is why we keep reaching out to the Israeli side saying: let us work to make the culture of peace reign, to tear down walls, to build bridges instead of walls, to open wide roads for connection and communication. Let us sow the seeds of good neighborliness. Let us envision another future that the children of Palestine and of Israel enjoy with peace and security, and where they can dream and realize their dreams, a future that allows Muslims, Christians and Jews to freely reach places of worship; and a future in which Israel will gain the recognition of 57 Arab and Muslim countries and where the States of Palestine and Israel will coexist in peace, in order to realize each people’s hopes for progress and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While we discuss the realization of peace between Palestine and Israel as an imperative to achieve a comprehensive peace between the Arab countries and Israel, according to the resolutions of the United Nations; we bear in mind the current volatile reality and unprecedented dynamics gripping our region. Palestine does not interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries, but we have clearly affirmed our stance beside the demands of the peoples, their choices, and their peaceful popular movements to achieve these demands, along with the programs and roadmaps they have adopted to reach their goals. Further, while we condemned the crime of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, we have affirmed our rejection of a military solution and the need to find a peaceful political solution to fulfill the aspirations
of the Syrian people.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people were born in Palestine and in exile after the 1948 Al-Nakba. But after the passage of 65 years, they are still its direct victims. Since the start of this year, 27 Palestinian citizens have been killed and 951 have been wounded by the bullets of the occupation, and 5000 fighters for freedom and peace are held captive in occupation prisons. So, does anyone deserve more than the Palestinian people ending this occupation and realizing a just and immediate peace?
This year and in the last few years, Palestine refugees continue to pay – despite their neutrality – the price of conflict and instability in our region. Tens of thousands are forced to abandon their camps and to flee in another exodus searching for new places of exile. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to obtain justice, like the rest of the peoples of the world? 4 Since the beginning of the year, construction continues on thousands of settlement units and construction tenders have been issued for thousands of others on our occupied land, while yet more, large areas of land are expropriated or declared off limits, and 850 homes and structures have been demolished.
Palestinians are forbidden from planting their own land and from using the majority of the area of our country. They are prevented from using the water of their own country to irrigate their crops. The wall and checkpoints continue to tear apart the lives of the Palestinian people and to destroy the economy. The siege grows tighter, along with attacks and oppressive discriminating measures against Occupied Jerusalem, its holy places and its citizens. In Gaza, an unjust blockade continues to be imposed on our people. So, is there anyone more deserving than the Palestinian people to gain freedom and independence now?
Since the beginning of the year, 708 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by settlers against our mosques and churches, and against olive trees, farming fields and homes and property of Palestinians. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the Palestinian people are the most in need of security? Is there a nobler mission on the international community’s agenda than realizing just peace in the land of the monotheistic faiths, the nativity of Jesus Christ – peace be upon him, the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the resting place of Abraham, the father of the prophets, peace be upon him?
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Palestinian people, as they continue to be steadfast on their land, also continue to build their institutions, to strengthen internal unity, to achieve reconciliation by returning to the ballot box, to wage peaceful, popular resistance to counter the oppression of occupation and settlements and settler terrorism, and continue to adhere to their rights. The Palestinian people do not want to remain “out of place” in the words of Edward Said. Our people wait for a day when its cause ceases to be a fixed item on the agenda of the United Nations. Our people want to have freedom, God’s gift to humanity, and to enjoy the grace of living an ordinary life. For we – as Mahmoud Darwish wrote – “cultivate hope”, and we “shall one day be what we want”: a free sovereign people on the land of the State of Palestine.
Mr. President,
I am personally one of the victims of Al-Nakba, among the hundreds of thousands of my people uprooted in 1948 from our beautiful world and thrown into exile. Like hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees, I have known as a youth the pain of exile and the tragedy of the loss of loved ones in massacres and wars, and the difficulties of building a new life from zero. And we tasted in refugee  camps in exile the bitter taste of poverty, hunger, illness and humiliation, as well as rising to the challenge of affirming one’s identity. Our people have walked the path of armed revolution and rose from the ashes of Al-Nakba and collected the shards of its soul and its identity to present its cause to the world and consecrate the recognition of its rights. We have walked a long, difficult path and sacrificed dearly, and yet we
affirmed at all times our active quest for peacemaking.
I have signed, in the name of the PLO twenty years ago, the Declaration of Principles Agreement, and we have worked faithfully and diligently to implement it, affirming our respect for our commitments and the credibility of our positions. The successive setbacks did not shake our strong faith in the objective of a just peace, and we shall continue tirelessly and unwaveringly to see it realized. My own hope is to see the day where a just peace reigns so that the generation of Al-Nakba can pass on to its children and grandchildren the flag of an independent State of Palestine.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Time is running out, and the window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace. Merely thinking of the catastrophic and frightening consequences of failure must compel the international community to intensify efforts to seize upon this chance.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The hour of freedom for the Palestinian people has rung. The hour of the independence of Palestine has rung. The hour of peace has rung.
I thank you, Mr. President.
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Netanyahu – UN 9/22/16

Below is the full transcript of address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2016.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, what I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN.

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic state of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – 20; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined? As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel, where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as speaker of the Knesset and prime minister.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe, but UNESCO just denied the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well, think again. You see, everything will change, and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That’s nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel’s ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel’s ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there’s no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That’s an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel, because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I’ll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We’ll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel’s small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I’m going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It’s taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly

So Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship, is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America’s consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama’s commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Today’s automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn’t happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo’s former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished delegates from so many lands, I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day, in the not-too-distant future, you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead, the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don’t appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country; it’s a problem for your countries, too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I’m proud to say in my own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea’s brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen: If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He’s preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That’s almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn’t get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza.

This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they’re after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final-status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Israel is ready — I am ready — to negotiate all final-status issues. But one thing I will never negotiate: our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the prime minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past; their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school; he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act.” On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote.

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison. Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.

Ladies and Gentlemen: All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour.

This is child abuse.

Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace.

Of course, like all societies, Israel has fringe elements. But it’s our response to those fringe elements, it’s our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside, I told his uncle, “This is not our people. This is not our way.” I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict.

But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today, or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.

I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I’m ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

Ladies and Gentlemen: While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear.

We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS; we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon; we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria — the West Bank — and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That’s the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly, refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son, Hadar, in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn’t care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that’s decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The greatest threat to my country, to our region and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel’s annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us; it’s before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran’s aggression and Iran’s terror. With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I stand before you today at a time when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel’s founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah, Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I’ve always admired Shimon’s boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope, because Israel is capable of defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope, because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope, because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope, because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope, because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope, because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I’ve seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel’s population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world’s computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The future belongs to those who innovate, and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.

Thank you.

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2015 UN Resolutions Singling Out Israel: 20

http://www.unwatch.org/un-to-adopt-20-resolutions-against-israel-3-on-rest-of-the-world/

FIRST COMMITTEE

1. “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (A/RES/70/70)
Extract: “Reaffirms the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East.”

Committee Vote:

  • 151 Yes (Ireland, Italy, Spain)
  • 5 No (Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Palau, United States)
  • 19 Abstain (France, Germany, UK)

Plenary Vote:

  • 157 Yes
  • 5 No (Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Panama, United States)
  • 20 Abstain

——————————–

SECOND COMMITTEE

2. “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” (A/RES/70/225)
Extract: “Expressing its concern about the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

Committee Vote:

  • 156 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, US)
  • 9 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga)

Plenary Vote:

  • 164 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 5 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, United States)
  • 10 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

3. “Oil slick on Lebanese shores” (A/RES/70/194)
Extract: “Reiterates…its deep concern about the adverse implications of the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Lebanese Jiyeh electric power plant, for the achievement of sustainable development in Lebanon.

Committee Vote:

  • 159 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 8 No (Australia, Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 5 Abstain (Cameroon, Colombia, Central African Republic, Chad, Papua New Guinea)

Plenary Vote:

  • 171 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 6 No (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, United States)
  • 3 Abstain (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Tonga)

———- ———- ———-

THIRD COMMITTEE

4. “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (A/RES/70/141)
Extract: “Recalling the conclusion of the Court…that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with measures previously taken, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

Committee Vote:

  • 170 Yes
  • 6 No
  • 4 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 177 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 4 Abstain (Cameroon, Honduras, Tonga, South Sudan)

———- ———- ———-

FOURTH COMMITTEE

5. “Assistance to Palestine refugees” (A/RES/70/83)
Extract: “Expressing grave concern at the especially difficult situation of the Palestine refugees under occupation, including with regard to their safety, well-being and socioeconomic living conditions.”

Committee Vote:

  • 158 Yes
  • 1 No (Israel)
  • 10 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 167 Yes
  • 1 No (Israel)
  • 11 Abstain

—————————————-

6. “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities” (A/RES/70/84)
Extract: “Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their home or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

Committee Vote:

  • 157 Yes
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States)
  • 6 Abstain (Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Honduras, Madagascar, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

Plenary Vote:

  • 164 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 7 Abstain (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Paraguay)

—————————————-

7. “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (A/RES/70/85)
Extract: “Gravely concerned about the extremely difficult socioeconomic conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, as a result of the recurrent military operations, continuing prolonged Israeli closures, the construction of settlements and the wall, and the severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade…”

Committee Vote:

  • 158 Yes
  • 6 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States)
  • 6 Abstain (Cameroon, CAR, Cote D’Ivoire, Madagascar, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

Plenary Vote:

  • 169 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 6 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States)
  • 5 Abstain (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nauru, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

8. “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues” (A/RES/70/86)
Extract: “Reaffirms that the Palestine refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of equity and justice.”

Committee Vote:

  • 157 Yes
  • 7 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 6 Abstain (Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

Plenary Vote:

  • 167 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 4 Abstain (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Paraguay, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

9. “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” (A/RES/70/87)
Extract: “Deplores those policies and practices of Israel that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories…”

Committee Vote:

  • 84 Yes
  • 9 No (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States)
  • 74 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 92 Yes
  • 9 No (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States)
  • 75 Abstain

—————————————-

10. “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (A/RES/70/88)
Extract: “Demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention.”

Committee Vote:

  • 156 Yes
  • 6 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States)
  • 7 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Paraguay, South Sudan, Vanuatu)

Plenary Vote:

  • 163 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 6 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States)
  • 8 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

11. “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (A/RES/70/89)
Extract: “Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development.”

Committee Vote:

  • 154 Yes
  • 7 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and United States)
  • 8 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 161 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 8 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

12. “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (A/RES/70/90)
Extract: “Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power…”

Committee Vote:

  • 155 Yes
  • 8 No (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 11 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 158 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 8 No (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • 10 Abstain (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Paraguay, Togo, Vanuatu)

—————————————-

13. “The occupied Syrian Golan” (A/RES/70/91)
Extract: “Deeply concerned that the Syrian Golan, occupied since 1967, has been under continued Israeli military occupation.”

Committee Vote:

  • 156 Yes
  • 1 No (Israel)
  • 14 Abstain

Plenary Vote:

  • 160 Yes
  • 1 No (Israel)
  • 16 Abstain

———- ———- ———-

PLENARY 

14. “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (A/RES/70/12)
Extract: “Requests the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, to support the achievement without delay of an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders…”

Vote:

  • 102 Yes
  • 8 No (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, US)
  • 57 abstain

—————————————-

15. “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (A/RES/70/13)
Extract: “Considers that, by providing substantive support to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in the implementation of its mandate, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat continues to make a most useful and constructive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine…”

Vote:

  • 99 Yes
  • 8 No (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, US)
  • 59 Abstain

—————————————-

16. “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat” (A/RES/70/14)
Extract: “Considers that the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine…”

Vote:

  • 155 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, US)
  • 7 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga)

—————————————-

17. “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (A/RES/70/15)
Extract: “Expressing grave concern about the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including on the contiguity, integrity and viability of the Territory …”

Vote:

  • 155 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, US)
  • 7 Abstain (Cameroon, Honduras, Nauru, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga)

—————————————-

18. “Jerusalem” (A/RES/70/16)
Extract: “Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

Vote:

  • 153 Yes (France, Germany, UK, rest of EU)
  • 7 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, US)
  • 8 Abstain (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Toga, Tonga)

—————————————-

19. “The Syrian Golan” (A/RES/70/17)
Extract: “Determines once more that the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.”

Vote:

  • 105 Yes
  • 6 No (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, US)
  • 56 Abstain

—————————————-

20. “Assistance to the Palestinian people” (A/RES/70/108)
Extract: “Gravely concerned at the difficult living conditions and humanitarian situation affecting the Palestinian people, in particular women and children, throughout the occupied Palestinian territory… ”

Vote: Adopted without a vote

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Star-Spangled

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States of America.

The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a poem written on September 14, 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 was a military conflict that lasted from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815, fought between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, its North American colonies, and its North American Indian allies.

The United States declared war for several reasons, one of which was American interest in annexing British territory (Canada), and expanding the United States farther north.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

“The Star-Spangled Banner”

O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The story, as most of us are told, is that Francis Scott Key was a prisoner on a British ship during the War of 1812 and wrote this poem while watching the American troops battle back the invading British in Baltimore. That—as is the case with 99 percent of history that is taught in public schools and regurgitated by the mainstream press—is less than half the story.

To understand the full “Star-Spangled Banner” story, you have to understand the author. Key was an aristocrat and city prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He was, like most enlightened men at the time, not against slavery; he just thought that since blacks were mentally inferior, masters should treat them with more Christian kindness. He supported sending free blacks (not slaves) back to Africa and, with a few exceptions, was about as pro-slavery, anti-black and anti-abolitionist as you could get at the time.

Of particular note was Key’s opposition to the idea of the Colonial Marines. The Marines were a battalion of runaway slaves who joined with the British Royal Army in exchange for their freedom. The Marines were not only a terrifying example of what slaves would do if given the chance, but also a repudiation of the white superiority that men like Key were so invested in.

All of these ideas and concepts came together around Aug. 24, 1815, at the Battle of Bladensburg, where Key, who was serving as a lieutenant at the time, ran into a battalion of Colonial Marines. His troops were taken to the woodshed by the very black folks he disdained, and he fled back to his home in Georgetown to lick his wounds. The British troops, emboldened by their victory in Bladensburg, then marched into Washington, D.C., burning the Library of Congress, the Capitol Building and the White House. You can imagine that Key was very much in his feelings seeing black soldiers trampling on the city he so desperately loved.

A few weeks later, in September of 1815, far from being a captive, Key was on a British boat begging for the release of one of his friends, a doctor named William Beanes. Key was on the boat waiting to see if the British would release his friend when he observed the bloody battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1815. America lost the battle but managed to inflict heavy casualties on the British in the process. This inspired Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” right then and there, but no one remembers that he wrote a full third stanza decrying the former slaves who were now working for the British army:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In other words, Key was saying that the blood of all the former slaves and “hirelings” on the battlefield will wash away the pollution of the British invaders. With Key still bitter that some black soldiers got the best of him a few weeks earlier, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is as much a patriotic song as it is a diss track to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom. Perhaps that’s why it took almost 100 years for the song to become the national anthem.

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