Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Israel Ensures European Union Swallows Poison Pill


[Published 30 November 2015]


The European Union’s (EU) discriminatory and racist labelling requirements for Jewish goods and products originating from Judea and Samaria has now seen Israel effectively label the EU as “persona non grata” in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

The EU finds itself in this sorry position following Israel’s decision to reassess the involvement of EU bodies in that diplomatic process and to suspend contacts with the EU and its representatives until that reassessment is completed.

The labelling requirements reflect the EU’s political position that settlement by Jews in Judea and Samaria is illegal in international law. This claim has never been the subject of any binding authoritative legal decision.

The International Court of Justice decision on 9 July 2004 was only an advisory opinion sought by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and not a legally binding precedent.

That opinion was itself deficient since the Court was never asked by the Secretary-General to consider the legal effect of two territory-specific pieces of international law applicable to Judea and Samaria. Those provisions - article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter - vested and preserved the legal right to “close settlement by Jews” in Judea and Samaria for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home.

At best the EU’s longstanding position - that influenced its labelling laws - is only an opinion — and nothing more.

The EU should think very carefully before imposing any retaliatory trade action against Israel for freezing the EU out of the peace process — since Israel still has some more bitter medicine for the EU to swallow:
1. Forbidding the transfer of EU funds to non-government organisations in Israel engaged in activities designed to advance the interests of the Israeli Arab population and to interfere in the internal affairs of a member State of the United Nations.

2. Ending all co-operation with the EU in Area C in Judea and Samaria by terminating existing development and infrastructure programs for the benefit of the Arab population and forbidding any such EU activities there in the future.
The EU’s labelling laws contravene the joint statement issued by the Quartet — America, Russia, The European Union and the United Nations - on 10 April 2002:
“We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict and call on the parties to move towards a political resolution of their disputes based on UNSCR 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace‚ which formed the basis for the Madrid Conference of 1991. We reaffirm our support for the objective expressed by President Bush and spelled out in UNSCR 1397, of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side within secure and recognized borders.”

Attempting to influence any political resolution regarding secure and recognized boundaries - using its labelling requirements to pressure Israeli territorial concessions - could spell the death knell for President Bush’s Roadmap and its “two-state solution"

The EU is free to pursue any policy it wants — but also must take full responsibility for the consequences of its reprehensible labelling laws and Israel’s rapid response.

Should the EU now gracefully bow out of the Quartet due to its clearly revealed conflict of interest and one-sided bias — or does it have to be told to go packing by the other members of the Quartet if their impartiality in the peace process is to be maintained?

The EU cannot remain a member of the Quartet whilst implementing labelling requirements that favour Arab claims over Jewish claims.

The EU now faces swallowing a poison pill of its own making.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Palestine - Pope Forfeits Spiritual And Moral Authority


[Published 20 May 2015]


Pope Francis has suffered a serious blow to his spiritual and moral authority following the Vatican’s recognition of the “State of Palestine” in a new treaty announced on 13 May.

The Vatican’s latest slippery slide into political and legal chaos represents a clear breach of clause 11(2) of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See And The State Of Israel which provides:
“The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders.”

Vatican officials openly admitted that this new treaty did not constitute the Holy See’s first breach of the Fundamental Agreement - Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi pointing out:
“We have recognized the State of Palestine ever since it was given recognition by the United Nations and it is already listed as the State of Palestine in our official yearbook,”

This latest challenge to the Pope’s spiritual and moral authority - first transgressed by his predecessor Pope Benedict - arises from the fact that the United Nations recognition of the State of Palestine on 29 November 2012 affirmed:
..."the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967…"

600,000 Jews presently live in this designated territory.

PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - warmly welcomed by Pope Francis this week as a potential “angel of peace” - has insisted upon their total displacement and removal as a condition of any peace agreement.

Abbas made his racist views very clear in Cairo on 28 July 2010 when he told Wafa - the official Palestinian news agency:
“I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as Nato forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the Nato forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”

Abbas - Israel’s putative “partner for peace ” - leads an Organisation that claims the entire territory of former Palestine as another exclusive Arab fiefdom - denying the Jews any political rights in their biblical, ancestral and internationally sanctioned homeland.

Abbas’s continuing refusal to recognise Israel as the nation State of the Jewish people has been a major roadblock to the successful conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Pope Francis - like his predecessor Pope Benedict - is apparently prepared to ignore that Abbas and the PLO remain sworn enemies of the Jewish people - pursuing the total elimination of the Jewish State by armed struggle as documented in the 1968 PLO Charter.

The Pope has strayed from the eternal message of the Psalms - the key to the spirituality of the Old Testament and an essential and permanent part of Christian prayer.

Psalm 28 in the New Jerusalem Bible declares:
"Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evil-doers, who talk to their partners of peace with treachery in their hearts.

Repay them as their deeds deserve, as befits their treacherous actions; as befits their handiwork repay them, let their deserts fall back on themselves.

They do not comprehend the deeds of Yahweh, the work of his hands. May he pull them down and not rebuild them!"

Pope Francis - like Pope Benedict - has joined the evil-doers to the chagrin of the Jewish people.

Pope Benedict’s dessert - the birth of Islamic State in 2014 - has seen the willful killing, forced conversion and wholesale destruction of ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria.

Pope Francis’s dessert remains unrevealed.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Palestine - Continuing Jew-hatred Must Exact A Heavy Price


[Published 20 November 2014]


The slaughter of four Rabbis with axes, knives and guns whilst praying in a synagogue along with the serious wounding of six other Jews caught in this horrific blood bath — and the murder of a Druze police officer who went to their rescue — is the end result of endemic Jew-hatred:
1. Begun in the 1920 Jerusalem riots
2. Embodied in the 1964 PLO Covenant, and
3. Reinforced in the 1987 Hamas Charter

Arab Jew-hatred has continued unabated for the last 90 years since the Jewish people’s right to self- determination was unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

Alarm bells warning of this week’s massacre should have sounded loud and clear when American Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel on 2 January following Israel releasing 26 long term Palestinian Arab prisoners convicted of murder and other serious criminal offences.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presciently told Kerry on that occasion:
“A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced [these] terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says — how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women — axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets — what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case — I stress, at least in one case — those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.”
Among those 26 prisoners released were:
1. Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud — convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.
2. Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal — convicted of the ambush and murder of Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbing him to death.
3. Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser — convicted for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri 65 — a former employer of Nasser who Nasser ambushed and stabbed in the back.
4. Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim — convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989.
5. Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin — convicted for the murder of Yigal Shahaf — shooting him in the head as he and his wife were walking through Jerusalem’s old city toward the Western Wall.
Netanyahu then told Kerry to his face:
“In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the state of Israel. This Palestinian Government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media — the government-controlled media — in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement, towards reconciliation and peace.”

Kerry failed to address this virulent Jew-hatred motivating Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews - ignored the adulation afforded these convicted murderers by Abbas and remained silent on the rampant incitement conducted on a daily basis against Israel.

Instead — Kerry — apparently languishing in a time warp—sought to provide some comforting reassurance for Netanyahu with these incredibly inane remarks:
“On a personal level, last month I travelled to Vietnam on my first visit there as Secretary of State. And the transformation in our relationship—I was a young soldier who fought there—the transformation in our relationship is proof that as painful as the past can be, through hard work of diplomacy history’s adversaries can actually become partners for a new day and history’s challenges can become opportunities for a new age.”

Kerry’s words have turned out to be a massive misjudgement.

It is surely time for America and the European Union especially - and for the rest of the international community generally - to take stock and make clear that:
1. no further financial aid will be given in either Gaza or the West Bank
2. Abbas and his Government will be regarded as persona non-grata
Until:
1. the insidious Jew-hating provisions in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter are repealed
2. Government-controlled media and schools excise all references denigrating and demeaning Jews.
3. The PLO is prepared to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people in any peace agreement signed by Israel and the PLO.
Failure to so act can only see the Jewish-Arab conflict spiralling out of control into a crisis of catastrophic proportions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Syria Hysteria Dooms Obama's Plan To Destroy ISIL


[Published 21 September 2014]


President Obama’s failed policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt and the West Bank do not bode well for the success of the President’s current plans to end the threat to world peace posed by the meteoric rise of both the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF).

That threat was articulated by UN Security Council Resolution 2701 - passed on 15 August - which expressed:
” its gravest concern that territory in parts of Iraq and Syria is under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF) “

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter—the Security Council strongly condemned:
“the indiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities, mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education, especially in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo and Idlib, in northern Iraq, especially in Tamim, Salaheddine and Niniveh Provinces;”

America has subsequently acted as though Resolution 2701 had never been passed.

In his speech to the American nation on 11 September Obama declared:
“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

The President is wrong on both counts.

Firstly — ISIL is Islamic — as its formal Declaration of Statehood on 29 June 2014 proclaims - and this following analysis asserts:
“The Islamic State is not only a terrorist group. It is an extremist, Islamist, political and military organization that holds a radical interpretation of Islam as a political philosophy and seeks to impose that worldview by force on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Expelled from al-Qaeda for being too extreme, the Islamic State claims to be the legitimate ruler of all Sunni Muslims worldwide. They have established what they regard as a state which includes large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, governed from Raqqa in Syria.

It advances a number of theological opinions to support its claims. Its adherents hold that they are merely practicing Islam fully, pronouncing those who disagree with them takfir (heretics).

This designation is used as religious justification for killing the Islamic State’s opponents”

Secondly - ISIL is a State - meeting the legal requirements of Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
(a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Thirdly - Obama’s claim that ISIL is recognized by no other government is irrelevant — as article 3 of the Montevideo Convention makes indisputably clear:
“The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states."

Obama’s false assumptions are a recipe for policy failure — as the goals enunciated by Obama in the same address clearly demonstrated:
“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
Destroying the UN condemned Al Nusrah Front did not rate a mention. A lukewarm response from 57 Islamic States to help defeat ISIL’s declared world threat to peace was not factored into Obama’s thinking.

Four days later an international conference held in Paris made it clear that Syria was not even part of the battleground where ISIL was to be confronted, degraded and destroyed.

Mouram Daoud—a member of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Syria — an internal opposition coalition — opined that ISIL cannot be defeated militarily without Syria and Turkey’s backing:
“The US administration should first pressure the Turkish partner to stop the flow of jihadists through its airports and stop buying oil from IS. According to [United Nations] Resolution 2170, the US will not be able to strike IS sites in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government, which is eagerly awaiting this type of cooperation to restore its international legitimacy. But the US will not include the Syrian government in this war, and will not recognize the government either. This means that the US will stick to its decision to only provide weapons to the Syrian [rebel] factions.”

Obama’s mantra - first delivered in August 2011 - remains unchanged:
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Not even 200000 deaths and the creation of millions of Syrian civilian refugees since 2011 have produced any momentum for rapprochement between Obama and Assad that would enable Assad to extend - and Obama to accept - any invitation to confront ISIL in occupied Syria.

Any expectation that Assad and his backers — Russia, Iran and Hezbollah — will help Obama by destroying ISIL in Syria - is a pipe dream.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Palestine - Rubio Challenges Clinton Support For Israel


[Published 6 March 2016]


Marco Rubio has directly challenged Hillary Clinton — and every other Presidential candidate — to honour the commitments given by President Bush to Israel on 14 April 2004.

Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum Rubio said:
“I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter and build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders,”

President Bush’s letter — overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress — supported Israel’s proposed unilateral disengagement from Gaza - stating:
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

Israel’s Prime Minister - Ehud Olmert - who succeeded Sharon - had neither forgotten nor overlooked the critical significance of Bush’s commitments when agreeing to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority before an international audience of world leaders at Annapolis on 27 November 2007:
“The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the road map and the April 14, 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.”

It didn’t take too long thereafter for these Presidential commitments to be downplayed by Bush himself and his advisors.

In an editorial - published on 14 May 2008 - former Jerusalem Post editor - David Horovitz - revealed Bush’s shameful efforts to minimize the letter’s significance - following Bush’s meeting with a group of Israeli journalists at the White House:
“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, however, has been known to minimize the significance of this four-year-old letter. Just last week, for instance, she told reporters that the 2004 letter “talked about realities at that time. And there are realities for both sides….”

... Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has also given briefings to the effect that Israel had tried to overstate the importance of a rather vague letter…

“Bush did not at first realize that I was referring to the 2004 letter. Hadley, who was also in the Oval Office, had to prompt him. “Okay, the letters,” the president then said, remembering.”

Bush was clearly reneging on his unequivocal commitments to Israel just six months after Olmert sought to rely on them.

Israel by then had already paid a high price - Gaza having become a de facto terrorist State with Hamas firmly entrenched as Gaza’s governing authority. Israel had been subjected to a sustained barrage of thousands of rockets and mortars fired indiscriminately into Israeli population centres from Gaza by a bewildering variety of terrorist groups and sub-groups who would have had no chance of operating so freely from Gaza if the Israeli Army had remained there.

President Obama has also disgracefully attempted to subvert his predecessor’s commitments for the last seven years - aided and abetted by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who reportedly laid the groundwork on 6 June 2009:
“Since coming to office in January, President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in Palestinian areas, a demand rejected by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israelis say they received commitments from the previous US administration of President George W. Bush permitting some growth in existing settlements.

They say the US position was laid out in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Clinton rejected that claim, saying any such US stance was informal and “did not become part of the official position of the United States government.”

Clinton — doubling as Obama’s attack dog — made Obama’s sinister intentions clearer on 25 November 2009:
“We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

Clinton’s blatant disregard of Bush’s commitments - which had never mentioned “agreed swaps” - signaled trouble for Israel if Obama indeed confirmed Clinton’s statements.

Eighteen months later Israel’s worst fears were realised when Obama declared on 19 May 2011:
“The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Michael Oren — former Israeli Ambassador to Washington between 2009 and 2013 — has called for Bush’s commitments to be resuscitated:
.. it’s time to revive the Bush-Sharon letter and act according to it.”

Rubio has to his credit so reacted.

Motherhood-statements supporting Israel by the remaining candidates vying to become America’s next President pale into insignificance compared to Rubio’s coming out and pledging to honour Bush’s Congress-endorsed commitments to Israel.

Clinton - and for that matter Sanders, Trump, Cruz and Kasich - must do likewise - or allow America’s reputation as a trustworthy and reliable ally to be forever trashed.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Palestine - End The West Bank Refugee Gravy Train


[Published 28 February 2016]


With more than three million Syrians fleeing war-torn Syria seeking safe havens in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Europe — scarce United Nations resources continue to be used supporting and maintaining about 760000 Palestinian Arabs currently living in the West Bank and registered as “refugees” with the United Nations Relief And Works Agency (UNRWA).

Their refugee categorization and status was changed on 3 January 2013 when PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas replaced the “Palestinian Authority” with the “State of Palestine” by this decree:
“Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”

John Whitbeck - a legal advisor to the Palestinian team in negotiations with Israel — has written on the significance of this name change:
“In his correspondence, Yasser Arafat used to list all three of his titles under his signature — President of the State of Palestine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority (in that order of precedence). It is both legally and politically noteworthy that, in signing this decree, Mahmoud Abbas has listed only the first two titles. The Trojan horse called the “Palestinian Authority” in accordance with the Oslo interim agreements and the “Palestinian National Authority” by Palestinians has served its purpose by introducing the institutions of the State of Palestine on the soil of Palestine and has now ceased to exist.”

Abbas’s semantic ploy had left Israel without its designated negotiating partner under the Oslo Accords and had effectively ended negotiations for the creation a Palestinian State under the Bush Roadmap.

The institutions of the so-called “State of Palestine” had replaced the “Palestinian Authority” in some 40% of the West Bank designated under the Oslo Accords as Areas “A” and B” — assuming full administrative control over 95% of the entire West Bank Arab population - including about 190000 Palestinian Arab refugees living in 19 camps - whilst the remaining 570000 lived in towns and villages.

UNRWA funds:
1. 97schools with 51,327pupils
2. 2 vocational and technical training centres
3. 42 primary health centres
4. 15 community rehabilitation centres
5. 18 women’s programme centres
UNRWA explains:
“UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees,defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.

UNRWA services are available to all those living in its areas of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance.”

As of 14 September 2015 - 136 of the 193 United Nations member states have been playing the PLO name-game change and recognised the “State of Palestine”.

These 136 States now need to answer two questions:
1. How can any person living in his own country still be classified as a refugee?

2. Shouldn’t the 760000 registered Palestinian Arab refugees living in the West Bank have their refugee status revoked and be resettled and fully integrated among their fellow Palestinian Arabs?
Claiming the trappings of Statehood — whilst segregating its citizens into two different classes — is a recipe for continuing tension and future conflict.

Change the name — change the game — but be prepared to accept the consequences.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Syria - End The Diplomatic Doublespeak, Start Getting Serious


[Published 20 February 2016]


The deadline for a ceasefire in Syria by 19 February has passed with no indication that it will be achieved at any time in the foreseeable future.

Hopes for that ceasefire were high after the UN Security Council had unanimously passed Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 requesting:
“the Secretary-General to lead the effort, through the office of his Special Envoy and in consultation with relevant parties, to determine the modalities and requirements of a ceasefire as well as continue planning for the support of ceasefire implementation, and urges Member States, in particular members of the ISSG, to support and accelerate all efforts to achieve a ceasefire, including through pressing all relevant parties to agree and adhere to such a ceasefire;”

The ISSG mentioned in the Resolution is the International Syria Support Group – comprising the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States.

ISSG has proved totally ineffective in ending the five year conflict in Syria that has seen more than 300000 deaths and seven million Syrians internally displaced or fleeing to neighbouring States and swamping Europe to escape the horrific carnage unleashed in Syria during that time.

Islamic State was spawned in Syria and Iraq in July 2014 and now occupies more land than the area of Great Britain. Together with Al Nusra Front - a Syria-based Sunni extremist group that adheres to the global jihadist ideology of al-Qa’ida - both have been declared terrorist organisations by the UN Security Council.

Meeting in Munich on 12 and 13 February the ISSG members agreed that:
“The UN shall serve as the secretariat of the ceasefire task force. The cessation of hostilities will commence in one week, after confirmation by the Syrian government and opposition, following appropriate consultations in Syria.

During that week, the ISSG task force will develop modalities for the cessation of hostilities. The ISSG task force will, among other responsibilities continue to: a) delineate the territory held by Daesh [Islamic State], ANF [Al Nusra Front] and other groups designated as terrorist organisations by the United Nations Security Council; b) ensure effective communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions; c) resolve allegations of non-compliance; and d) refer persistent non-compliant behaviour by any of the parties to ISSG Ministers, or those designated by the Ministers, to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements for the cessation of hostilities and the protection it affords them.”

Meaningless gobbledygook.

The ISSG task force failed to meet once during that critical seven day period.

Whilst the UN and the ISSG task force mumbles, fumbles and stumbles – the carnage continues - as the ISSG members remain divided between those supporting Syria’s President Assad retaining power and those seeking his removal.

The ISSG is hopelessly conflicted and needs to adopt a different approach to begin ending the suffering of the Syrian people.

All ISSG members unanimously agree that Islamic State and Al Nusra Front represent a grave threat to world peace and security.

Russia, America, China, France and the United Kingdom – the five permanent members of the Security Council and all ISSG members - need to combine their diplomatic power to procure the passing of an unequivocal and unambiguous Security Council Resolution establishing a UN military force to confront and defeat Islamic State and Al Nusra Front.

Until these enemies are comprehensively defeated – all else is diplomatic doublespeak and a complete waste of time in ending the conflict in Syria.