Does any country have an official celebration for the annexation of foreign territory?

Does any country have an official celebration for the annexation of foreign territory?


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Most nations/countries celebrate their independence from some foreign power, a historical victory over aggressors or the end of a war. Are there any modern era examples where a historical event of annexation is being celebrated?

Note that I do not mean the case where native populations regain the control of an area lost to invading armies, but an invasion which is celebrated by the invaders, as a glorious event.


Turkey celebrates "Conquest Day" on May 29th to commemorate the Fall of Constantinople. On this occasion in 1453 the Ottomans took the Byzantine capital, and then made it their own capital.

American Historical Review editor Robert A. Schneider summarized Gavin D. Brockett's paper "When Ottomans Become Turks: Commemorating the Conquest of Constantinople and Its Contribution to World History":

In the modern Turkish Republic, May 29 celebrations have been a way of appropriating the imperial past for the national present. After an initial period of ambivalence following the founding of the republic, public memory embraced the quincentenary of Constantinople's conquest in 1953.


Yes, there are at least two such cases.

Guanacaste Day is celebrated in Costa Rica to commemorate the annexation Guanacaste province from Nicaragua in 1824. However, my very brief research indicates it was a peaceful annexation, not the result of war.

More recently, the Russian parliament voted to create a holiday commemorating the annexation of Crimea in 1783 to be first celebrated in 2019.


Yes. Romania celebrates on December 1 (Great Union Day) the annexation of Transylvania from Austria-Hungary.


On 6 November every year, Morocco celebrates the Green March, which led to the claimed annexation of Western Sahara (which had been held by the Spanish until that time) by Morocco.


In the current form of the question, I'd suggest Germany, Italy. Caveats apply.


Germany

One question in the comments below the original question that arose displays nicely how flawed the concept asked about really is as it depends very much on opinions.

Does the Day of German Unity, observed annually on October 3, count?

Of course that would count. This inherently essentialist and nationalistic concept of 'former owners' would be what in that case? Nazi-Germany taking it back? Of course not! Unless we recognise the Federal Republic of Germany to be the seamless continuation of statehood of the Third Reich. Did the Red Army not leave and NVA cease to exist while the NATO rolled in? Was it not explicitly an annexation as devised by the basic law of the West (as opposed to the also envisioned unification)? There are opinions out there that still only speak of annexation of the GDR.


As there seem to be contentions evoked by the above example and its choice of sources to drive home the point about the absurdity and different interpretations possible about the term "annexation" with regard to the process that led to current form of Germany on a map - Let's look at other languages, viewpoints? American, if you like:

Chronology
Feb 19 - GDR Prime Minister Modrow criticizes the plan to introduce a German currency union before elections are held in the GDR. He points out that a currency union must be combined with a social package. The participants at the Round Table protest against the annexation of the GDR by the FRG according to Article 23 of the West German Basic Law.
Mar 1 - The "Alliance for Germany" adopts the campaign slogan "Freedom and affluence-never again socialism". The principal plank in their election platform is the annexation of the GDR by the FRG according to Article 23 of the West German Basic Law.
Mar 6 - In a joint declaration, East German Prime Minister Modrow and Soviet leader Gorbachev support the idea of a gradual merger of the two German states, but they warn against the annexation of the GDR by the FRG according to Article 23 of the West German Basic Law. Lothar de Maizière, leader of the East German CDU, speaks out against an unconditional annexation of the GDR by the FRG.
July 10 - The coalition government in the GDR is divided over the question [… ] They also cannot agree on a date for the annexation of the GDR by the FRG according to Article 23 of the West German Basic Law.
[… quite some more… ]

Quoted from Richard T. Gray & Sabine Wilke: "German Unification and Its Discontents: Documents from the Peaceful Revolution", Washington University Press, 1996. (GBooks)

If that still doesn't satisfy readers in terms of qualities of sources. Jürgen Habermas: "Yet Again: German Identity: A Unified Nation of Angry DM-Burghers?", New German Critique, No. 52, Special Issue on German Unification (Winter, 1991), pp. 84-101: (JSTOR)

It is difficult not to write a satire about the first flowerings of chubby-faced DM-nationalism. The triumphant Chancellor let the thin but honest Prime Minister' know the conditions under which he was willing to buy up the GDR; in terms of monetary policy he pumped up the voters of an "Alliance for Germany" blackmailed into existence by himself; in terms of constitutional policy he set the course for annexation via article 23 of the Basic Law; and in terms of foreign policy he protested against the phrase "victorious powers" and left open the question of Poland's western border.[… ]
After his visit to Dresden, the Chancellor quickly decided on a double strategy of undisguised destabilization and quick annexation of the GDR, in order to make the Federal Republic master of the situation and at the same time preempt international friction. Evidently, the Federal government wants to enter into the difficult negotiations about distributing the burdens among the EC partners, about a transformed security system, and about decisions on a peace treaty from a position of strength provided by an economic and political annexation that is already a fait accompli. Hence, on the one hand, the Federal government stepped on the gas pedal; it effectively dramatized the number of refugees, even though no one knew how to influence their motives. On the other hand, it could reach the goal of annexation - i.e., unification according to the Federal Republic's terms - only by breaking down the GDR's resistance and creating the necessary majority for unification via Article 23 of the Basic Law.[… ]
This means, concretely, that the will of the voting public is given precedence over an annexation cleverly initiated but in the final analysis carried through only at the administrative level - an annexation which dishonestly evades one of the essential conditions for the founding of any nation of state-citizens: the public act of a carefully considered democratic decision taken in both parts of Germany. This act of foundation can only be carried out consciously and intentionally if we agree to accomplish unification via Article 23 of our Basic Law (which go the accession "of other parts of Germany")[… ]
If, now, the GDR, like the Saarland, accedes according to article 23, without any further changes in the Basic Law, the chosen method of unification will implicitly underline what the irredentists have ways affirmed: that the conditions for Article 146 have not yet been fulfilled That article states: "This Basic Law loses its validity on the day that a new constitution takes effect, chosen by the German people in free determination." And it is quite true: an "accession" of the GDR could not be the same thing as a free decision of the entire German people; because the citizens of the Federal Republic would have to leave the decision to the representatives of the GDR. When, then, if not now, will that day foreseen in Article 146 ever come? Are we still waiting for East Prussia and Silesia?

Note to German readers fixated on the official mythology and the "correct wording": In a previous article for a newspaper Habermas uses indeed not Annexion but Anschluss (in a meaning every American understands immediately), just like those who made the "peaceful revolution" come about in the first place:

Source: Matthias Platzeck und kein Anschluss unter dieser Nummer, Euractiv, 2010. (Matthias Platzeck was a member of one of those opposition parties that before opposed the communists, instigated the demonstrations, and then opposed German unity, at the very least in the very form it took place. He went on to become minister and then prime-minister of a federal state…

The debate for clarification below the question as well as the debate that this answer has caused illustrate both brilliantly how loaded the term "annexation" is. Technically it is just nothing more than enlargement of territory, yet using that term qualifies the procedure in terms of "yep, OK vs Noway". Yet in case of Germany: "We like them, now, they won't do that!" And in the case of Russia and Crimea: "A typical! They just annex that peninsula, how dare they!".

Just look at the idiotic argumentation in this article from the Washington Post: Russia's bizarre proposal to condemn West Germany's 1989 'annexation' of East Germany and compare how they quote Gorbachev with what was just quoted above. "Annexation" does not describe or analyse, "annexation" approves or condemns.

Further example: the Russian Wikipedia speaks of Crimea accession to the Russian Federation while West Germany annexed East-Germany

2014 - the accession of the Crimea to the Russian Federation (with the formation of two new subjects - the Republic of Crimea and the city of federal significance Sevastopol), which did not receive international recognition.

The unification of Germany, officially: the German reunification (German: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) or the restoration of the unity of Germany (German: Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands) - the incorporation of the GDR and West Berlin into the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3, 1990. At the same time, a new state was not created, and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany of 1949 was enacted in the annexed territories (German Beitrittsgebiet).

Whatever any reader's perspective on this "annexation" or "accession" might be, since 1972-74 not only Eastern bloc states, but West-Germany, Australia, the US, the UK, the UN recognised the GDR as territory foreign to the Federal Republic of Germany.

As now "invasion gets the flak: it's the same game. Compare word usage in eg British Invasion with what a dictionary says and then the rhetoric of victory over socialism, Treuhand-effects, Buschzulage, de-industrialisation, colonisation, Bundeswehr/NATO expansion into the East etc. - from both sides of the former wall. Again this is over one ill-defined word from the question and opinion over the monotheistic definition of one word. This answer present multiple perspectives and narratives, arguing against precisely "the one and only".

Mark Duckenfield & Noel Calhoun: "Invasion of the western Ampelmännchen", German Politics, 6:3, 54-69, DOI: 10.1080/09644009708404488
Wenhao (Winston) Du: "Wiedervereinigung oDer anschLuss? The Effects of Reunification in Former East Germany", Vanderbilt University: Vanderbilt Historical Review, 2016. (PDF)

Since it has been completely dominated by West German state and corporate actors, East Germany's transformation has taken on characteristics of colonization. East Germans have been economically expropriated as a combined result of unification laws that stipulate the restoration of pre-socialist property rights and of the Treuhand's policy of rapid privatization.
Claudia Sadowski-Smith, University of Delaware: "Ostalgie: Revaluing the Past, Regressing into the Future", NPP > JOURNALS > GDR > Vol. 25 (1998) > Iss. 1. (PDF)

If the contention still hinges on "but annexation can only mean Illegal" (despite the copious explanation above:
In 1989/90 there were basically four options on the table: no German unity, very slow merger, fast merger according to article 146, faster merger according to article 23. Some West-Germans viewed option 23 as illegal, many East Germans saw option 23 as illegal, as an annexation or Anschluss. Most West-Germans and many East-Germans were perfectly fine with that: being the fastest option and illegal.

If anyone now wants to challenge the word "territory" I will give up and concede that most people have opinions and "reasons".


Italy

Perhaps the most extreme example - if not most bizarrely - is Italy celebrating Ferragosto. Introduced to celebrate the annexation of Egypt into the Roman Empire by emperor Augutus. As feriae Augusti on August 15, the day of his triumph when returning to Rome from conquering Egypt and annexing it, still a national holiday in Italy. (Of course, Christians say it is really the Assumption of Mary, but fascist Italy re-emphasised the conquest origin and most ordinary people today just make a holiday, any reasons disregarded).

Also ran and further elaborations

Hawaii celebrates being annexed, ahem, being admitted into statehood, on Statehood Day (3rd Friday in August) demonstrating once more that opinions might change over time.

It is not really useful to ask the question in this way. "Former owners" and "foreign territory" depend on definition that sometimes can be quite arbitrary. "Annexation" is a concept that became much easier in recent years. "That's what the enemy does!" Russia reunifying with the Crimea? Iraq reunifying with its province of Kuweit? China oogling on Taiwan? Japan on the Kurils?

Just look at the examples given under the broken definition listed at Wikipedia:

Annexation (Latin ad, to, and nexus, joining) is the administrative action and concept in international law relating to the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state. It is generally held to be an illegal act. It is distinct from conquest, which refers to the acquisition of control over a territory involving a change of sovereignty, and differs from cession, in which territory is given or sold through treaty, since annexation is a unilateral act where territory is seized and held by one state.

To get to the core of the question we probably have to ask something more along those lines:

Does any country celebrate regularly past military victories with the feature of territory added to the celebrating state?

That list might get quite long.

To perhaps better illustrate the ambiguities involved to answer such a question: we might look at the National Day of Catalonia. Spanish nationalists celebrate the loss of autonomy of that region and Catalonian nationalists mourn the exact same thing and date. Is there any objective way to decide who's right on that matter?

Or going again into history: Alsace-Lorraine was officially ceded to the German Reich in the treaty of Frankfurt in 1871. This was celebrated indirectly in Germany as Sedantag. France and many later victorious powers didn't like the result and called it an injustice and annexation. Yet, who were the 'former owners' and was the process illegal? In 1872 the inhabitants were given the choice of option and 90% seemed in agreement of the procedure, officially deciding to become Germans, and two thirds of those who declared their desire to stay French stayed put.
As a historian of antiquity I deny either France or Germany that title of "former" or even "original owner". Even Romans are not the original owners of that territory. That title goes to either the Neanderthals or the Old-Europeans that were driven away or assimilated by incoming Indo-Europeans.

"Former owners" is either just 'the state of affairs from last year' or a senseless abuse of history. Most often the latter.


Not a complete country, but a faction within the country.

William III invaded Britain, with popular support from the majority-Protestant population. Northern Irish Protestants still celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, where William crushed James II/VII's army and ended any real opposition to his invasion.

Of course, this is an artifact of the fractured society of Ireland, and subsequently of Northern Ireland. Elsewhere in the UK you'd be lucky to find anyone who's heard of William III or that battle, because British colonial exploits have generally been rather badly taught in schools.


A lot of polities or part of them have been founded as result of the conquest of their territory. Therefore, commemorating the conquest mixes with commemorating the founding of the polity.

Istanbul Conquest Day, mentioned in another answer, is a great example - it does not commemorate the founding of the state, but the completion of the conquest of its core lands.

As another example, Valentian National Day commemorates the conquest of Valencia by James I of Aragon from previous Muslim holders and subsequent founding of the Kingdom of Valencia.

Australia Day is not very different from commemorating a conquest - just because of lack of serious resistance -, because it commemorates taking possession of a new land while disregarding previous inhabitants wishes and interests.

New Caledonia Day also commemorates the incorporation of New Caledonia as a French protectorate in 1853 - not exactly a conquest but not far from it.


Spain's National Day is celebrated on October 12th, the day Columbus (re)discovered the American continent in 1492.

Given that every discovered territory was subsequently claimed by the Spanish Crown and promptly conquered/annexed, thus marking the birth of the Spanish Empire, this holiday can be seen as a celebration of the annexation of the American territories -- the date would hardly be a National Day if the Spanish Empire hadn't happened. In fact:

The chosen date, the 12th of October, symbolizes the historical event in which Spain, about to conclude a State-building process rooted in our cultural and political plurality, as well as the integration of Spain's kingdoms under the same Monarchy, begins a period of linguistic and cultural projection beyond European limits.
Excerpt from the law proclaiming the 12th of October as National Day (bold mine) (full text in Spanish)

This "State-building process" and "integration of kingdoms" would be the Reconquista, which ultimately ended with the Capitulation of Granada on January 2nd, 1492, just months before Columbus set sail.
So this territorial unification and expansion is officially acknowledged as the motivation of the celebration, although the text of the law using a milder language (the law is from 1987 after all).


Italy also has a (not too much celebrated, not a bank holiday) official celebration for its unification, after Piedmont had "liberated" most of the peninsula. But a man's unification/liberation is another man's conquest/annexation, depending on how words and sides turn.


Israel - Jerusalem Day

Another instance would be Jerusalem day:

Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים‎, Yom Yerushalayim) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War. The day is officially marked by state ceremonies and memorial services.

Is that former owners taking something back or blunt annexation?

We observe an ongoing since then bloody conflict about the 'correct' opinion on that.


Van Hollen Speaks on Israeli Annexation

Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss what I believe is an important and consequential matter at this moment: the way ahead for U.S. relations with our friend and partner, Israel.

The pending legislation before us includes a plan to codify and extend a multiyear commitment of American security assistance to Israel. Specifically, it would codify a memorandum of understanding reached during the Obama administration to provide $38 billion over 10 years in security assistance to Israel. That is $3.8 billion a year. That is a significant promise. In fact, on an annual basis, that $3.8 billion represents over half of current U.S. foreign military funds around the world.

So it’s a big commitment, especially at a time when we are struggling to invest in supporting our workers, our businesses, and our economy here at home during this global pandemic.

But while it is a sizable commitment, it is one I have supported because Israel is a close ally and friend that lives in a very dangerous and volatile part of the world. It is surrounded on many fronts with enemies who would like to destroy it, including Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

Moreover, Israel and the United States have a variety of shared interests. And most importantly, in my view, the United States has an enduring obligation to support a secure homeland for the Jewish people after the horrors of the Holocaust.

Under normal circumstances, I would not even come to the Senate floor today. I have consistently supported the security assistance, and I still do. So why am I here today?

I am here because while I remain strongly committed to the security of Israel and providing security assistance, I am also strongly opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu's declared intention to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank starting this month.

The unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank would totally undermine what has been, at least until the Trump administration, bipartisan American policy in support of a two-state solution that would ensure the security and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Under the leadership of President Harry Truman, the United States championed the establishment of the State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, and that remains a steadfast American commitment. But the right to a secure homeland for the Jewish people does not include the right to unilaterally annex territories on the West Bank and deny the Palestinian people a viable state and homeland of their own.

So I will say it again: The United States should support and continue to support the legitimate security needs of Israel, but we also need to stand up for a just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the rule of law and international order that the United States has championed ever since the end of World War II.

Now, as I said before, the bill before us would codify and extend the memorandum of understanding between the United States and Israel on security assistance signed on September 14, 2016. Mr. President, you can be sure that that memorandum of understanding for security assistance never contemplated Israel's annexing parts of the West Bank.

In fact, the opposite is true. Part of the American rationale for providing Israel with robust military assistance has been to give Israel the confidence to seek a secure peace based on a two-state solution.

Here is what National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in the Treaty Room at the White House at the time of signing that MOU: She first pointed out that it represented “the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history.” She reinforced the message that the United States remains absolutely committed to Israel's security. And then she said this: “That’s also why we continue to press for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. As the President” – she was referring to President Obama – “has said, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestinian state.” That is what she said at the signing of the same MOU that we would be codifying in the bill before us.

And lest anyone think that was simply the position of a Democratic President and a Democratic administration, it was not.

Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice have more in common than just their last names. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended the signing ceremony for the previous memorandum of understanding that took place on January 16, 2009, and, on that occasion, she too highlighted the need to achieve “a two-state solution building upon previous agreements and obligations.” She said: “…two-state solution, which is the only way, ultimately, to secure a future for Israelis and Palestinians alike over the…long term.”

So, Mr. President, the Bush administration and the Obama administration, at the signings of the memorandums of understanding for security assistance, both said the only way forward was through a viable two-state solution that recognized the rights, dignity, and aspirations of both peoples.

Now, the unilateral annexation of West Bank land that Prime Minister Netanyahu has proposed would blow away, would destroy any real prospects for a viable two-state solution. It would make a mockery of the statements made by both National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It would make a mockery of the tenets of a bipartisan U.S. foreign policy up until the Trump administration.

And make no mistake, those most in favor of unilateral annexation are those most opposed to any viable two-state solution.

Now, Mr. President, I am under no illusions that a viable two-state solution is a near-term prospect. It’s not right around the corner. The Palestinian Authority has been weak, and, until recently, because of the one-sided actions of the Trump administration, has decided not to negotiate. But even though the near-term chances of a negotiated two-state solution remain remote, we must preserve – we must preserve that option, and preserving that option means strongly opposing the unilateral annexation of West Bank territory.

Now, Mr. President, the unilateral annexation by Israel of all or any part of the West Bank will unleash a cascade of harmful consequences.

One, if we become complicit in this action, it will harm our national security interests and credibility by undermining the fundamental principles of international law that we in the United States have championed since the end of World War II.

Two, it will further isolate Israel in the international community, and many countries ­– including in Europe – are likely to respond with different forms of sanctions. Some are already moving in that direction.

Three, it will harm both our position and Israel's interests in the Middle East, by weakening allies like Jordan, and threaten to unravel the warming relationships Israel has built with the Sunni Gulf States to counter Iran. The bottom line: Unilateral annexation will greatly strengthen the hand of our common enemies--Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah – and hurt friends like Jordan.

Four, it will harm Israel's security by completely undermining the credibility of the Palestinian Authority and its capacity to effectively govern the Palestinian areas on the West Bank.

Five, unilateral annexation will ultimately lead to one of two outcomes. Either all the people in the annexed areas will be extended equal democratic rights and Israel will risk losing its Jewish identity, or Palestinians on the West Bank will be relegated to small, disconnected enclaves with no viable future – what two former Israeli Prime Ministers have warned is “slipping toward apartheid.”

Six, if the current Netanyahu government heads down the road of permanently denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and denies them their basic human rights, then Israel will increasingly alienate itself from America. That is not in the interest of either of our two countries.

So those are at least six of the harmful results of unilateral annexation. Mr. President, I am going to elaborate on each of those points.

Number one, any American acceptance of unilateral annexation will undermine the very principle of international law that we have fought to uphold in the international community since the end of World War II. The United States has been the architect of the rules-based international order, as reflected in the U.N. Charter of 1945, as well as in the Declaration on Principles of International Law, based on the U.N. Charter, that were signed in 1970 and found in many other universally agreed-to documents and commitments.

It is well established that one country cannot take territory gained from another in war. Now, I know the Trump administration has done all sorts of mental and verbal gymnastics to abandon this long-held American international principle to create an exception for Israel, but they look very foolish.

We all recognize that some of the territory proposed to be annexed by Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan would ultimately be included within Israel's official boundaries through a process of negotiations. Land swaps have been a regular feature of the talks, but there is a world of difference between a negotiated settlement and one imposed by illegal, unilateral annexation.

If we, the United States, aid and abet this effort, we will lose all our credibility in condemning other instances of unilateral annexation. I have with me a wrath of angry statements from Senators of both parties made here on the floor of the Senate – outraged by Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea outraged by Russia's efforts to extend its sovereignty over other parts of Ukraine – and Secretary Pompeo stating that the United States “does not and will not ever recognize Moscow's annexation of Crimea.”

And I agree. He was right to say it. We, on the Senate floor, were right to say those things. Those were violations of international law. In fact, not only did we condemn those actions we rallied other countries to impose sanctions on Russia.

But what will Secretary Pompeo say next time? What is Mr. Pompeo going to say if Turkey, which currently occupies northern Cyprus, should decide one day that it will unilaterally annex that territory?

That would give Turkey more direct claims to the undersea gas fields between Cyprus and Israel.

What about China's claims to the islands of the South China Sea, or other disputed territories in many parts of the world that are claimed by multiple parties?

Mr. President, the whole reason to abide by a rules-based system is to say not only no to your adversaries you must also say no to your friends. Otherwise, it is not a rules-based system at all it is the global jungle. That is why President Eisenhower said no both to our British and Israeli friends when they tried to seize the Suez Canal in 1956. If we accept Prime Minister Netanyahu's unilateral annexation, we will not have any credibility the next time around when an adversary does so.

In fact, here is what President Eisenhower had to say at that time: “There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.”

That is what President Eisenhower said, and, of course, it makes sense. On February 20, 1957, President Eisenhower broadcast an address to the American people about the need for Israel to withdraw from territories it captured during the 1956 war. In that case, he said we would not consider occupation of another country as “a peaceful means” or “proper means to achieve justice and conformity with international law.''

Mr. President, this is a well-established principle that the United States has championed in the international arena.

Two, the unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank will further isolate Israel in Europe and across the world. The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said recently that annexation “would inevitably have significant consequences” for the EU's relationship with Israel, and already an array of European parliaments are preparing responses, including sanctions.

In a joint statement issued on June 24 by the current and incoming EU members on the U.N. Security Council – that is Germany, Belgium, France, Estonia, and Ireland – together with the UK and Norway, they together said: “We also share the U.N. Secretary-General's assessment that if any Israeli annexation of the Occupied West Bank--however big or small--is implemented, it would constitute a clear violation of international law.” They went on to say that “following our obligations and responsibilities under international law, annexation would have consequences for our close relationship with Israel and would not be recognized by us.”

None of this should be surprising. Unlike the Trump administration, they are being consistent in how they react to violations of international law, applying the same standards to adversaries and friends alike.

Israel has often been unfairly singled out and unfairly treated and criticized at the United Nations, and the United States has, on many occasions, properly exercised its veto to defend Israel against unfair treatment. But in this case, if Israel moves forward with unilateral annexation, strong opposition at the U.N. would not be the result of the world treating Israel differently or unfairly it would be a self-inflicted wound. Again, the Trump administration may shield Prime Minister Netanyahu's government from U.N. action, but don't count on future administrations to defend illegitimate actions.

Three, unilateral annexation will undermine our security interests in the Middle East and those of Israel. It will put our friends in the region in great jeopardy and weaken our coordination with the Gulf States against Iran.

King Abdullah of Jordan very recently emphasized that annexation is “unacceptable” and recently warned the Senate of a “massive conflict” if unilateral annexation proceeds.

Here is what the widely respected retired Israeli Defense Force Major General Amos Gilahd said on June 8 when asked about annexation: “It is a disaster. Why do we need to do it? It is unnecessary. It is a threat to Israel. We might endanger our security cooperation with Jordan that is so valuable that most Israelis can't even imagine.”

Arab leaders from the Gulf States, who have been strengthening cooperation with Israel in recent years, issued similar warnings. The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, Ambassador Al-Otaiba, headlined a recent article, “It's either Annexation or Normalization.” He said: “Once it is clear that there is no longer a realistic chance of a viable, sovereign state of Palestine being created, it becomes more difficult for Arab leaders to justify publicly their plans to further develop strategic cooperation with Israel.”

I know it is fashionable in some places these days to discount these warnings from Arab leaders. After all, it is true, they have cried wolf before when it comes to following through on their warnings about certain Israeli actions. We’re told: Don't worry. Don't worry, they don't really mean it they are just making these pronouncements to placate the Arab street.

Maybe so, but there is a point when the Arab street will rebel, when it will explode. And that may be the day when Israel signals that it will unilaterally annex territory in the West Bank and eliminate any prospects for a peaceful two-state solution.

And what will be the result? The result will be to strengthen Iran, to strengthen Hamas, to strengthen Hezbollah, handing them a very potent weapon against Israel and the United States. They will say they have been proved right, that Israel never intended to negotiate a just settlement and that the United States has been complicit.

Four, unilateral annexation will jeopardize American-Israeli cooperation with the Palestinian Authority to provide security and stability in the West Bank. Unlike Hamas, the Palestinian Authority long ago recognized Israel's right to exist as part of a dialogue for peace and a just settlement.

As former IDF Major General Gilead pointed out, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, President Abbas, “believes that terror does not serve the best interests of the Palestinians.” He went on to say: “We have a very satisfactory security cooperation relationship with the PA.”And he predicts: “The moment there is unilateral annexation, the PA will lose its legitimacy. If they do, sooner or later they will not be able to show their faces in the Palestinian street. And who will pay the price? Our soldiers.” That’s what he says.

A respected group known as the Commanders for Israel's Security – a group of over 220 retired Israeli generals and equivalent ranked individuals – expressed similar fears, saying that the prospect of unilateral annexation, like the coronavirus, was an ominous development and spelling out the risk of the full collapse of the Palestinian Authority and its security agencies.

Mr. President, Hamas has always argued that the Palestinian Authority had been played the fool when it recognized Israel's right to exist. They argued that Israel would never agree to a just settlement if Palestinians first gave up armed resistance and first recognized Israel. If Israel proceeds with unilateral annexation, the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority will be diminished and Hamas will be the beneficiary.

Five, unilateral annexation and the abandonment of any viable two-state solution will lead to one of two possible outcomes, neither of them meeting the goals of one of the parties. Those two different paths have been described by Israeli leaders themselves.

Here is the way former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained the situation in a Haaretz interview in June 2017. He said: “If we keep controlling the whole area from the Mediterranean to the river Jordan where some 13 million people are living – 8 million Israelis, 5 million Palestinians – if only one entity reigned over this whole area, named Israel it would become inevitably” – that's the key word, inevitably – “either non-Jewish or non-democratic.” That is from a former Israeli Prime Minister.

In the event of a scenario in which Palestinians living in an annexed West Bank are given full rights and allowed to vote, Barak predicted Israel would quickly become a “binational state with an Arab majority and civil war.” The second option, if you abandon a two-state solution, according to the former Prime Minister, the second option is the current path, he said, “a slippery slope toward apartheid.” Because those two outcomes are undesirable, he pointed out that Israel has a “compelling imperative” to pursue a solution of two states for two peoples.

Another former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has also repeatedly warned that Israel is on a path to apartheid if the two-state solution collapses. He said, if that happens, Israel would “face a South African style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”

Just recently in the New York Times, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Meridor said: “If we take steps that make separation from the Palestinians impossible, we may destroy the very root of the entire Zionist enterprise.”

Mr. President, number six, I believe unilateral annexation will have all the harmful impacts I have discussed on the Senate floor today and many more that so many Israelis have warned about. I hope Prime Minister Netanyahu will pull back from the brink. But hope and prayer are not a policy.

In normal times, an American President from either political party would have made clear that such action is unacceptable to the United States of America, but these are not normal times. We actually have an American Ambassador to Israel now who is promoting this unilateral annexation plan and who opposes a two-state solution. Here is what now-Ambassador Friedman said in November 2016:

“There has never been a ‘two state solution’ only a ‘two state narrative.’” He describes it as: “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs. It has never been a solution, only a narrative. But even the narrative itself now needs to end.” That’s from the current U.S. Ambassador back in 2016.

Back in 2016, our current ambassador also said that he is in favor of extending permanent Israeli control and sovereignty over the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, clearly snuffing out any prospects for a two-state solution and the viable way forward.

Ultimately, of course, the government of Israel will make its own decisions, and then, we here in the United States will have to make ours. The United States must have a position that reflects our values and our ideals – our ideals of democracy, of human rights, equal justice and rule of law and self-determination.

God knows we are far from perfect here, and we can see that clearly during this moment of national reckoning around racial justice and equity. But we have set those principles as our goals, as our North Star, and until this Trump administration came along, we have also made human rights and the right of self-determination a key pillar of our bipartisan American foreign policy.

It is those principles that have led us to support a secure and democratic Israel as the home for the Jewish people and the establishment of a separate viable state as the homeland for the Palestinian people.

The American people support a two-state solution and significantly, the American Jewish committee in the 2019 survey of American Jewish opinion shows overwhelming support for a two-state solution among the American Jewish community and a large majority who say Israel should be willing to dismantle all or some of the settlements as part of a peace agreement. The next generation – this younger generation – of Americans and of American Jews is even more focused on issues of human and political rights for all peoples, Israelis and Palestinians.

There are many who have said that the possibility of a two-state solution disappeared long ago, with the expansion of settlements and outposts and the network of roads and checkpoints. They have called the prospects for a two-state solution a delusion, a mirage yet, even as the facts on the ground have made a two-state solution harder to realize, many of us continue to see that as the vision for the future, one that brings hope to both peoples.

But make no mistake: the unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank would be the final nail in the coffin of that idea. So what happens then? What do we do? Once any remaining hope for that vision is extinguished, I think we are in unchartered territory. As President Obama noted in one of his speeches, “The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.” And he drew parallels to the struggle of African Americans for full and equal rights.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said that “if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic it cannot be both. You would have millions of Palestinians permanently living in segregated enclaves in the middle of the West Bank, with no real political rights, separate legal, education and transportation systems, vast income disparities, under a permanent military occupation that deprives them of the most basic freedoms. Separate and unequal is what you would have,” said former Secretary Kerry.

Nelson Mandela often talked about the need to ensure a secure State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and the rights of the Palestinian people. He said: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” There is a memorial statue to Nelson Mandela in Ramallah.

What do we do? What do we do – what do those of us who are committed to a vibrant, secure, and democratic Israel that is a home for the Jews but are also concerned about the abandonment of the vision of a two-state solution that also respects the aspirations and rights of the Palestinians?

As I said at the beginning of these remarks, I have strongly supported security assistance for Israel, and I continue to do so. I also pointed out that National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both indicated in their comments at the signing ceremony of the MOUs for security assistance that a viable two-state solution was the only – their words – only way to permanent peace.

So, for all the reasons I have stated today, I do not believe that the United States government, the United States taxpayer should be aiding and abetting Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan to unilaterally annex the West Bank. The American government and the American taxpayer must not facilitate or finance such a process. That is why today a group of 12 Senators has filed an amendment to the bill to make that position clear – the position that we fully support the robust $38 billion security assistance to Israel but also make it clear that those funds should not be used to facilitate and promote unilateral annexation.

Now, there are many who say that this does not go far enough, and there are others who oppose annexation but say: Pass the security assistance without making any statement about annexation or without taking any action. To them, I am reminded of former Israeli Defense Minister and Commander Moshe Dayan's statement saying: “Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice.”

We are friends, the United States and Israel. We have many common interests, but we will also have our differences. And this is a moment when, yes, we should provide the security assistance, the military assistance. But in doing so, we should also make clear that it should not be used in any way to promote unilateral annexation.

Our view in filing this amendment is that the only way to reconcile our strong support for a safe and secure Israel and our commitment to establishment of two states for two peoples living side by side is what we proposed.


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Kahol Lavan leader and new Defense Minister Benny Gantz also said on Monday he was "committed to doing whatever is needed to advance diplomatic arrangements and to seek peace. Peace was and remains an important Zionist aspiration. At the same time, and for this purpose, we will preserve our power so we can exploit regional opportunities in general and to advance the American administration&rsquos and President Trump&rsquos peace plan, with everything it includes."

In Europe, high-level discussions have been going on for a number of days in an attempt to draw up sanctions to annexation that won&rsquot require a consensus by mapping joint projects with Israel that could be damaged by unilateral steps that violate international law. At the same time, the continent gave positive messages to the new Israeli government about the possibility of "turning a new page" with Europe.

The EU released a statement on Israel's new government on Monday, congratulating Israel while drawing reference to the importance of international law. The statement noted that "the EU and its Member States recall that they will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians."

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In reference to annexation, the statement said that "we strongly urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and would be, as such, contrary to International Law."

President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, known as S&D, Iratxe García Pérez said in a statement on Sunday that they are &ldquodeeply concerned about the birth of the new Netanyahu-led government.&rdquo Adding that Netanyahu&rsquos continued premiership is a &ldquodangerous&hellip political programme,&rdquo that could lead to &ldquoIsrael's illegal annexation of the occupied territories.&rdquo

The United States under President Trump has supported annexation as part of its so-called Middle East Peace Plan, but European states and the United Nations have all condemned annexation as illegal under international law and spelling disaster for the prospects of a two-state solution.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department&rsquos spokeswoman said the Trump administration still wants to conduct direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as other regional actors, based on the administration&rsquos Middle East plan.

Spokeswoman Megan Ortagus added that Israeli annexation moves in the West Bank should be discussed in the broader context of direct peace talks.


The legal basis for applying Israeli law to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley

Israel has announced that it will apply Israeli civilian law to areas of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, (the area renamed &ldquothe West Bank&rdquo by Jordan after 1948), on or after July 1, 2020. Whereas this is seen by some as a hurried political decision, the more fundamental question is, does Israel have the right to do this under international law?

The answer to this question is a clear &ndash Yes.

  1. The League of Nations allocated all of Israel, including these areas, for the purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home in 1922. No other internationally recognized instrument has superseded that decision
  2. The Arab countries and most of the Arabs resident in British Mandate controlled Palestine, rejected the 1947 UN partition plan, so it has no relevance today under international law.
  3. No other country has a legal claim to that territory
  4. No state border has ever separated Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley from the rest of Israel
  5. The application of Israeli law to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley should not be referred to as &ldquoAnnexation&rdquo, since annexation is the acquisition of territory by one State &ldquoat the expense of another State&rdquo.

Accordingly, Israel has the right under international law to Israel apply its civilian law to these areas.

Historical-legal status of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley 1517- 2020

From 1517 until 1917, the entire area of Israel, including Judea, Samaria and the Jordan valley was part of the Ottoman Empire. During this period, no independent sovereign state existed in the area.

In 1916, anticipating the end of the WWI, representatives of the British and French empires made an agreement, with the concurrence of the Russian Empire, to divide control over the Middle East between them. The agreement, known as the "Sykes &ndash Picot Agreement" divided the spheres of influence and control in much of the Middle East between the two empires according to following map:

In 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration:

&ldquoHis Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.&rdquo [emphasis added]

Meeting in April 1920, in San Remo, Italy, to discuss the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire, the principal allies who defeated the Germans and the Ottomans resolved that some areas would become states. As regards &ldquoPalestine&rdquo, the allies resolved:

&ldquothe Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on the [2nd] November, 1917, by the British Government and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people&rdquo.

At the time, &ldquoPalestine&rdquo was comprised of both Israel (including Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley) and the territory that is today Jordan.

The San Remo resolution was entrenched in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

The preamble to the Mandate reaffirmed the Balfour Declaration and once again confirmed the historical connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel by stating:

"Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." [emphasis added]

In 1923, pursuant to Article 25 of the Mandate, a decision was made to divide Mandatory Palestine into two entities &ndash "Palestine" that lay to the west of the Jordan river and "Trans-Jordan" which would in time (1946) be recognized as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The provisions of the Mandate for establishing the Jewish National Home, including through the settlement of Jews on the land, continued to apply in the entire area to the west of the Jordan river . The following map illustrates this division:

While Article 80 of the newly convened United Nations (which replaced the League of Nations) Charter preserved the rights of the Jewish people granted in the Mandate, in the aftermath of World War II, the UN again addressed the question of the Palestine. Having considered the different recommendations submitted, on November 29 1947, the General Assembly of the UN adopted resolution 181, known as the "Palestine Partition Plan". This resolution sought to divide the remaining territory of Palestine into two new states &ndash a Jewish state and an Arab state &ndash setting the new boundaries of the nascent states, as can be seen in the following illustration:

No reference to the term &ldquoThe West Bank&rdquo appears in the UN Partition Plan. In fact, when delineating the boundaries of the &ldquoArab State&rdquo, the resolution specifically refers to &ldquoThe boundary of the hill country of Samaria and, Judea starts on the Jordan River&rdquo.

While the representatives of the Jewish People accepted the Partition Plan, the Arab representatives and the surrounding Arab countries rejected the plan in its entirety and started active preparations to seize the entire area by military force. The response of the Arab representatives and countries made implementation of UNGA Resolution 181 impossible and it was never confirmed by the UN Security Council.

On May 14 1948, Israel declared its Independence without specifying its borders. The new State was immediately attacked by a coalition of 5 Arab states as well as Arab forces in the former Mandate territory, who collectively strived to wipe it out. The Egyptian forces attacked from the south, the Lebanese and Syrian forces attacked from the north and the Jordanian forces, accompanied by Iraqi forces attacked from the east.

The Jordanian forces attacked and occupied Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, then calling them, for the first time, "the West Bank". The Jordanian forces who occupied the area, destroyed the Jewish communities that existed, killing or expelling their residents .

In 1949, Israel concluded &ldquoArmistice&rdquo agreements with the neighboring Arab countries. The armistice agreement with Jordan, provided that the demarcation lines drawn would under no circumstances be considered as "borders".

Thus Article II.2 of the armistice agreement stated:

&ldquoIt is also recognised that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations&rdquo

Article VI.9 of the same agreement provided:

&ldquoThe Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.&rdquo

The armistice lines would then become known as the &ldquoGreen Line&rdquo.

A Jordanian attempt to annex Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley was rejected by the international community.

Article 24 of the original 1965 Palestine Liberation organization (PLO) Charter provided that &ldquoThis Organization [The PLO] does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area&rdquo.

In June 1967, Jordan again attacked Israel. Defending itself against the attack, Israel expelled the Jordanian occupiers, and seized control of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Several months after the end of the Six day War, on November 22, 1967 the UN adopted resolution 242. This resolution, often erroneously cited as requiring Israel to retreat to the pre-1967 borders, in fact read as follows:

"The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
1) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict
2) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force
Affirms further the necessity
1) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area
2) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem
3) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones
Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution
Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.&rdquo [emphasis added]

Resolution 242 does not require Israel to withdraw from all of "the territories occupied&rdquo but rather calls for a just and lasting peace which should include both withdrawal by Israel from "territories occupied" and &ldquorespect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force".

While earlier drafts had proposed withdrawal by Israel from &ldquothe territories occupied&rdquo the word &ldquothe&rdquo was removed from the final resolution as adopted by the Security Council so as to signify that a full withdrawal by Israel to the armistice lines established in 1949 would not be required.

Since 1967, Israel administered Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley through a Military Commander. In contrast, shortly after the Six Day War, Israel applied its civilian law to extensive areas of Jerusalem.

The application of Israeli civilian law to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley should not be defined as &ldquoAnnexation&rdquo since it is not being carried out at the expense of another state. According to Rainer Hofmann in the Max Plank Encyclopedia of International Law, "Annexation means the forcible acquisition of territory by one State at the expense of another State&hellip Annexation is in contrast to acquisition a) of terra nullius [Latin for "nobody's land"]&hellip&rdquo [Emphasis added]


Countries That Celebrate Halloween 2021

Halloween, also known as “All Hallows’ Eve,” is celebrated on October 31st, the day before All Hallows’ or All Saints Day. All Hallows’ is a Christian festival celebrated in honor of the saints. The celebration stems from the belief that there is a powerful bond between those in heaven and the living. Christians held the belief that during Halloween, “the veil between the material world and the afterlife is at its most transparent.”

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays. Although it stems from religious beliefs, it is still celebrated today by many people of different religious backgrounds.

Halloween is celebrated differently in several countries around the world. Many countries have different names for the celebration and do not celebrate on October 31st.

In the United States, Halloween is celebrated on October 31st and is popular among children and adults. Telling horror stories and horror movies are popular entertainment, as well as carving pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns. Children dressed in costumes go trick-or-treating, which involves going door to door, knocking and calling out “trick or treat,” and receiving candy in return. Canada and Ireland both have similar traditions.

Mexico and other Latin American countries celebrate Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. The celebration lasts three days, from October 31st to November 2nd, and is designed to honor the dead. Many families construct an altar in their homes to honor their late family members and make a feast with their favorite dishes for their spirits to enjoy. Food and candy are often made in the shape of skulls and skeletons for the celebration.

In some European countries and many others worldwide, Halloween has increased in popularity within the last 30 years. Countries like Greece and Poland have seen more young people engaging in pumpkin carving and attending costume parties.

Below are lists of countries worldwide celebrating Halloween or their own similar tradition honoring those who have passed.


To Recognize Changes in Status of Crimea Region

The General Assembly today affirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, underscoring the invalidity of the 16 March referendum held in autonomous Crimea.

By a recorded vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such.

Also by the text, the Assembly called on States to “desist and refrain” from actions aimed at disrupting Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity, including by modifying its borders through the threat or use of force. It urged all parties immediately to pursue a peaceful resolution of the situation through direct political dialogue, to exercise restraint, and to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric that could raise tensions.

Today’s debate preceding the vote offered the first opportunity for the broader United Nations membership to air their view on the Crimea question. Many said the referendum had contravened international law, the United Nations Charter and Ukraine’s Constitution, emphasizing that they would neither recognize it nor the Russian Federation’s subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea.

Presenting the non-binding text was Ukraine’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, who said that an integral part of his country had been forcibly annexed by a State that had previously committed itself to guaranteeing its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The draft resolution broke no new legal or normative ground, but sent an essential message that the international community would not allow events in Crimea to set a precedent for further challenges to the rules-based international framework.

Supporting those remarks, Georgia’s representative said the situation in mainland Ukraine was reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in 2008, pointing out that 20 per cent of his country’s territory remained under illegal Russian occupation.

The representative of the Republic of Moldova said the Crimea referendum was not legal because it contravened Ukraine’s Constitution as well as international law. “The future of Ukraine can be considered and decided only upon the free will and aspirations of all Ukrainians themselves, without any outside influence,” he emphasized. Turkey’s representative stressed the need to ensure the security, well-being and rights of Crimean Tatar Turks, an integral part of the Crimean population.

The Russian Federation’s representative said, however, that the referendum had reunified Crimea with his country. “We call on everyone to respect that voluntary choice.” The Russian Government could not refuse Crimeans their right to self-determination, he said, blaming the political crisis in Ukraine on the “adventurous actions” of provocateurs whose actions had led to the reunification decision.

Several delegations explained their support for the text, with the Head of the European Union Delegation strongly condemning the illegal annexation, and the representative of the United States saying that today’s resolution made clear that “borders are not mere suggestions”. Coercion could not be the means by which self-determination was achieved.

Others took issue with the resolution’s motivations, expressing regret that the Assembly had failed to consider the historical context of the geopolitical dispute and the nature of the regime change that had occurred in Ukraine.

El Salvador’s representative, explaining his abstention, said the text neither reflected the difficulties of Ukrainians, nor helped to resolve the causes of the crisis. It neither called for dialogue, nor set a precedent for handling future inter- and intra-State tensions. Jamaica’s representative added that the adoption would only delay the quest for a peaceful resolution.

Also speaking today were representatives of Brazil, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, China, Iceland, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Norway, Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay, Guatemala, Nigeria, Chile, Singapore, Argentina, Qatar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Viet Nam, Peru, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belarus, Algeria, Honduras, Cabo Verde, Libya, Botswana, Paraguay and Armenia.

In other business today, the Assembly took note that Dominica had made the payment necessary to reduce its arrears to a level below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a date to be announced.

The General Assembly met this morning to take action on a draft resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Introduction of Draft Resolution

ANDRII DESHCHYTSIA, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, introduced the draft resolution (document A/68/L.39), saying that the reason for the presence of all delegations present today was an issue of paramount importance of crucial importance for his country and of vital importance for every United Nations Member State, even more so for the United Nations and the world order it embodied. “What has happened in my country is a direct violation of the United Nations Charter,” he said. “Many struggle to grasp the reality — it happened in Ukraine, in the very heart of Europe. It happened in the twenty-first century,” he added.

After two weeks of military occupation, he recalled, an integral part of Ukraine had been forcibly annexed by a State that had previously committed itself to guarantee that country’s independence, sovereignty and territory integrity in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum by a State which happened to be one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, entrusted by the Organization’s membership with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Eight rounds of urgent Security Council discussions on the military intervention clearly demonstrated the extent of the Russian Federation’s isolation on the issue, he continued. “We have consistently called for the recognition of a polycentric world order, equal and indivisible security in full conformity with the United Nations Charter basic principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity of any State, inadmissibility of intervention in the domestic affair….”

That statement was not his own, but an excerpt from a Russian Government one delivered during the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, he said, urging the Russian authorities to “practise what you preach”. The draft resolution was all about respect for territorial integrity and non-use of force to settle disputes, he emphasized. It broke no new legal or normative ground, but it sent an essential message that the international community would not allow what had happened in Crimea to set a precedent for further challenges to the rules-based international framework, he said.

VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that after the 16 March referendum, Crimea had been reunified with the Russian Federation. “We call on everyone to respect that voluntary choice,” he said, adding that his Government could not refuse Crimeans their right to self-determination. Historical justice had been vindicated, he noted, recalling that for many years, Crimea had been part of the Russian Federation, sharing a common history, culture and people. An arbitrary decision in 1954 had transferred the region to the Ukrainian Republic, upsetting the natural state of affairs and cutting Crimea off from Russia.

In 1992, the Crimea constitution had given the region independence within Ukraine, but eventually, that status had changed and Crimea had been reduced to an autonomous republic, he continued. Crimeans had openly shown their sympathy for the Russian Federation, and the deep political crisis in Ukraine, provoked by “adventurous actions”, was aimed at giving Kyiv a false choice between the West and the Russian Federation. The central square, the Maidan, had been converted into a militarized camp where violence had broken out against law enforcement, and a building housing the United States Embassy had been captured, he noted, adding that from that building, snipers had fired upon police and demonstrators, intending to provoke a violent overthrow of the Government.

He went on to recall that on 21 February, President Viktor Yanukovych had agreed to disarm militants, free the building, create a national unity Government, and launch a constitutional process that would see elections held by year’s end. Yet, the violence continued and the President had been compelled to leave Ukraine. Following a reshuffle, a “Government of victors” had appeared - national radicals who preached racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views, and who hated everything Russian, he said. Their first decisions had been to revoke the status of the Russian language used by Crimeans and to appoint governors rejected by the locals.

Such actions had created the critical mass that had led Crimeans to make their decision on reunification with the Russian Federation, he said, adding that it was for those reasons that the Russian Federation opposed the proposed draft resolution. The text was confrontational in nature, and while it was correct in parts — such as its call to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric — its adoption was not necessary. Rather, it was important to base decisions on the interests of Ukrainians and of normal international relations, he stressed. Ukraine required a true political process that would lead to conditions in which its people did not fear for their lives and were sure that they could exercise their rights.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, voiced support for the draft resolution, saying it reconfirmed the importance of fundamental Charter principles. It also affirmed the General Assembly’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The European Union did not recognize the illegal referendum in Crimea, which was a clear violation of Ukraine’s Constitution, and strongly condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, which it equally would not recognize.

He urged the Russian Federation to take steps to de-escalate the crisis, immediately pull its forces back to their garrisons, reduce their strength to pre-crisis numbers, in line with its international commitments, avail itself of all relevant international mechanisms to find a peaceful and negotiated solution, and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The European Union welcomed the agreement that had led up to the deployment of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission to Ukraine and applauded the deployment of a United Nations human rights monitoring mission. It also commended Ukraine’s measured response so far and was ready to provide strong financial support for its economic and financial stabilization, he said.

SAMANTHA POWER ( United States) said the draft resolution was about only one issue: affirming a commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. With it, “we make clear that borders are not mere suggestions,” she said. The text also expressed a desire for a peaceful outcome to the dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation through a political dialogue that would reflect every part of society. Crimea was part of Ukraine, she emphasized, pointing out that while self-determination was a widely welcome value, at the same time, the United States recognized the importance of national and international law. Coercion could not be the means by which one “self-determined”, she stressed, calling for a de-escalation of tensions and an electoral process that would allow all Ukrainians to choose their leaders freely, fairly and without coercion. Ukraine was justified in seeking a vote that would reaffirm respect for its borders and help encourage the Russian Federation to end its isolation and shift from its policy of confrontation to good-faith diplomatic efforts, she said.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil) said the international community must reaffirm its strong resolve to urgently find a peaceful solution, emphasizing that his country’s concerns reflected its close bilateral ties and strategic partnership with Ukraine. Noting that Brazil hosted one of the largest Ukrainian-descendant communities outside Europe, he expressed deep regret over the deaths in Kyiv. The United Nations Charter must be respected under all circumstances, as should international law, he stressed, urging all parties to engage in constructive talks, while commending the Secretary-General’s initiatives to de-escalate tensions, restore calm and promote dialogue.

Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez ( Cuba) stressed the importance of allowing peoples to exercise their right to self-determination, saying that his delegation would not accept the current Ukrainian authorities because they had assumed power by overthrowing the constitutional Government through violence. Cuba also opposed sanctions against the Russian Federation and rejected the double standards and hypocrisy shown by Western States. With their military doctrines, the United States and its allies violated international law and threatened the sovereignty of other States, he said, emphasizing that any attempt to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) posed a threat to the region’s peace and stability.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol was a very serious violation of international law, and of grave concern to the Government of Liechtenstein, which considered the action null and void, and would neither recognize it nor its consequences. The United Nations Charter committed the international community to the principle of territorial integrity and the right of self-determination of peoples. Liechtenstein was fully committed to the right of self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law. The Security Council’s failed attempt to adopt a draft resolution earlier this month raised important governance questions for the Organization, among them the worrisome increase in the use of the veto and pervious threats to do so, which had prevented the United Nations from fulfilling its core functions, he said.

Eduardo Ulibarri ( Costa Rica) said the importance of the draft resolution went beyond the geographical area in question. The text stressed respect for territorial integrity and rejected the use of force to settle disputes. It also respected the United Nations Charter, he said, pointing out that the obligations set out therein were not optional. The five permanent members of the Security Council had even greater responsibility to fulfil them. Costa Rica had no military to defend its borders, he pointed out, adding that international law was “o ur weapons”. The conditions for an exercise of the right of self-determination were absent in Crimea, he said.

GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada) condemned the Russian Federation’s “unilateral and unjustified assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the strongest terms, saying that its refusal to de-escalate had forced his country to take action. Canada had recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations, limited engagement with the Russian Federation, suspended military-to-military contacts and frozen the assets of former Ukrainian officials, including President Viktor Yanukovych. Last week, it had imposed financial sanctions and entry bans on Russian and Crimean officials responsible for the crisis in the peninsular region and for threating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “It is not too late for Russia to choose an alternate path,” he said. Canada supported the United Nations mission investigating reports of human rights violations across Ukraine, no matter the alleged perpetrators, he said, emphasizing that it must be allowed into Crimea. Due to the Russian Federation’s aggression and its refusal to de-escalate, Canada strongly supported the draft resolution.

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan) emphasized that the Russian Federation’s recognition of autonomous Crimea’s independence and its illegal attempt to annex the region infringed on Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, in violation of the Charter. Any attempt to change the status quo through force was a serious challenge to the international community, and no country should overlook such actions. Japan welcomed the 24 March meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, he said, stressing that international support would be indispensable to ensure Ukraine’s economic stability. Japan would contribute $1.5 billion to that end.

Liu Jieyi ( China), emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach, said all parties should refrain from actions that could exacerbate the situation and work through diplomatic means to resolve the situation. United Nations actions should reflect consensus and be conducive to an easing of tensions as well as a political settlement. Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s mediation efforts, he said any attempt to push ahead with a General Assembly vote would only complicate the picture. China had always opposed intervention in the internal affairs of States, and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. He called for the creation of an international coordination mechanism, involving all parties concerned, to examine proposals for a political settlement.

Y. Halit Çevik ( Turkey) stressed the importance of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and political unity. Describing the results of the “illegitimate referendum” held in Crimea on 16 March, in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution and international documents, he said it had no legal validity. Turkey did not recognize the de facto situation, and creating faits accompli by military means was extremely dangerous and inimical, with negative consequences for the region’s stability and security, he said.

Emphasizing the need to ensure the security, well-being and rights of Crimean Tatar Turks, an integral part of the Crimean population, he said that since the onset of the crisis, they had responsibly and peacefully voiced their views and concerns, as they had done in the past. Turkey would continue to follow their situation closely. He called for a political solution to be achieved through diplomatic channels on the basis of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within the framework of universal democratic principles, and in line with law and international agreements.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the statement by the European Union Delegation, said his Government unequivocally supported Ukraine’s political independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders. Georgia did not recognize as legal and legitimate the 16 March referendum conducted in Crimea, and the situation in mainland Ukraine was reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in 2008, he said, pointing out that 20 per cent of his country’s territory today remained under illegal Russian occupation.

He went on to note that more than 400,000 internally displaced persons and refugees were denied the right to return home, and the European Union-brokered six-point ceasefire agreement was yet to be implemented, and international monitors had been denied access to the occupied territories. Barbed wire fences were still being installed along the occupation line, and communities divided by the war were denied basic human rights and freedoms. Georgia’s calls on the Russian Federation to reciprocate a pledge of non-use of force remained unanswered, he continued, adding that Russian gunships and drones frequently violate its airspace.

The latest developments made it apparent that the current international system’s security architecture was being undermined, and the credibility of the United Nations threatened, he continued. Georgia supported closer international engagement in Ukraine through the United Nations, OSCE and other global and regional organizations. “We deem it absolutely necessary that the internationally mandated mission has access to the whole territory of Ukraine, as requested by the Ukrainian Government,” he stressed. That was Georgia’s principled position, based on its own experience.

He recalled that, following the Russian Federation’s veto of a 2009 draft resolution that would have extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Georgia, and six years after the end of that war, no one had been allowed to monitor human rights violations in the occupied territories. Georgia joined the international community in stressing that neither partial nor total disruption of Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity, nor the modification of its borders, should occur through the threat or actual use of force, or other unlawful means.

GRÉTA GUNNARSDÓTTIR ( Iceland) said neither the so-called referendum nor the Russian annexation of Crimea had changed the region’s legal status. “Crimea is part of Ukraine,” she emphasized, noting that the referendum had been held with Russian in control of the region, which was illegal and not up to the standards for democratic elections. Such actions threatened peace and security in Europe, she said, urging the Russian Federation to cooperate with Ukraine and the international community in seeking ways out of the crisis. Iceland was fully aligned with the European Union concerning “restrictive measures” in support of Ukraine, she said.

MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua), emphasizing the importance of non-interference in the internal affairs of States, pointed out that those speaking of democracy had used anti-democratic methods. Policies based on double standards were the true threat to international peace and security, she said, adding that the world had seen how some had directed terrorist actions from abroad in countries that failed to submit to their interests in a desire to establish new forms of colonization and slavery. Nicaragua supported the principle of peaceful, legitimate self-determination through the ballot box and rejected unilateral methods, including political and economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, which were in violation of international law, she said, stressing that her delegation supported an “inclusive political resolution” to the situation in Ukraine and would vote against the draft resolution.

Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz ( Bolivia) noted that the issue, initially considered by the Security Council, was in the General Assembly today, which indicated the urgent need to reform the former and revitalize the latter. Bolivia was a pacifist country and would not take a position on the referendum conducted in Crimea, he said. However, it would not accept the interruption of the constitutional process — the regime change in Ukraine — through the overthrow of a democratically elected Government. While not opposing universally accepted principles, Bolivia would vote against the text to demonstrate its disagreement with major Powers, which exercised double standards and threated international security, he said.

GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), associating himself with the statement by the European Union Delegation, said the prohibition on the use of force was a basic rule of international law, which implied that no State had the right to intervene in the affairs of another. The international community must react in the face of such a breach. Norway did not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and was not aware of independently reported abuse of Russian-speaking minorities there, he said, adding that even if there had been, international mechanisms were in place to deal with it. Such mechanisms existed within the framework of the United Nations, Council of Europe and OSCE, but they had not been used in Crimea, he said.

Menelaos Menelaou ( Cyprus) said he would vote in favour of the text because it was important to adhere to the fundamental principles of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of all States, including Ukraine. Cyprus enjoyed close relations with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and urged the Ukrainian authorities to reach out to all regions and population groups while ensuring full protection of the rights of people belonging to different ethnicities and investigating all acts of violence. He also urged the Russian side to commit to a diplomatic solution and to help de-escalate tensions.

Action on Draft and Explanation of Positions

Inga Rhonda King ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said the draft resolution and the arguments of its chief proponents called into question the universal applicability of international law in the current situation. Despite real and continued concerns over events in Crimea and Ukraine, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines viewed the text as motivated more by “principals” than principles, she said, expressing regret that the Assembly had failed to consider the historical context of the geopolitical dispute and the nature of the regime change in Ukraine.

Cristina Carrion ( Uruguay) said her Government would abstain, despite its concurrence with several of the text’s provisions. The principle of sovereignty had always led Uruguay to act in accordance with international law, including in respect of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and the Malvinas ( Falkland Islands) referendum. In both cases, Uruguay had rejected the undermining of Charter principles, she said, emphasizing that territorial integrity was an essential principle that must be respected. Statements not in line with the constitutional principles of the Ukrainian State could contravene the territorial integrity of States, she warned, stressing that international legality must prevail. The promotion of democratic principles was a responsibility of all stakeholders in Ukraine, and the conflict should be resolved peacefully on the basis of dialogue among all parties.

Rubén Armando Escalante Hasbún ( El Salvador) said the draft resolution neither reflected the difficulties of Ukrainians, nor contribute to resolving the causes of the crisis. It neither called for dialogue, nor set a precedent for handling future inter- and intra-State tensions. Reform of the United Nations would allow the Organization to better respond to such realities. Calling for a peaceful diplomatic solution to the situation, he said that his delegation would abstain from the vote.

Mr. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) then requested a recorded roll-call vote on the text.

By a vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” (document A/68/L.39).

Ana Cristina Rodríguez Pineda ( Guatemala) said his delegation had voted in favour of the text because it could not accept changes in international borders, particularly the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea. Guatemala was concerned that peaceful protests had turned violent in Ukraine, and called for legitimate electoral processes. There should be no return to the cold war, he emphasized, cautioning against the re-emergence of confrontation.

U. Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria) said she had voted in favour solely to protect the fundamental principles of international law and the Charter. Nigeria had not taken sides with one party by voting in favour, she pointed out, stressing that all States must respect the rule of law. The peaceful settlement of a territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon should serve as a beacon, she added.

Octavio Errázuriz( Chile) said he had voted in favour but also called for the peaceful resolution of the situation peacefully. All States should refrain from unilateral actions, such as imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation, he said, welcoming the efforts made by the Secretary-General and OSCE.

Neo Ek Beng Mark ( Singapore) said that in voting in favour of the text, his Government had demonstrated its opposition to any annexation by any country, including that of Crimea by the Russian Federation. It was important to respect sovereignty and the rule of law, he stressed.

María Cristina Perceval( Argentina) said her delegation had voted in favour of a similar text in the Security Council earlier this month, having felt that it upheld standards that should guide the international community, but some Governments had shown a lack of coherence. The Charter had no room for interpretations, she emphasized, adding that tabling the draft resolution did not contribute to a peaceful settlement of the dispute. Argentina had abstained.

Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani ( Qatar) encouraged all parties to cooperate in the quest for a consensual resolution to the situation in Ukraine. Qatar respected international law and the Charter, as well as the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity, on the basis of which its delegation had voted in favour.

Ja Song Nam (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) attributed the crisis in Ukraine to interference by the United States and other Western countries. Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation had been conducted legitimately through a referendum and in accordance with the Charter, he said, adding that his delegation had voted against the text because his Government opposed attempts to overthrow legitimate Governments and respected the right of Crimeans to self-determination.

Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil ( Egypt) said diplomacy was the best way to resolve crises. International law was in many cases not consistent with State concerns that were better handled at the regional level. At times, there was a contradiction between the people’s will and the legal frameworks governing them. Unless creative mechanisms were created to deal with such realities, crises would continue, he cautioned, saying Egypt had abstained from the vote.

Nguyen Trac Ba( Viet Nam) urged a restrained, peaceful outcome of the situation in Ukraine.

Gustavo Meza-Cuadra( Peru) said his Government supported the text because the peaceful resolution of disputes was essential to peace and security. Appealing for constructive and inclusive dialogue, he cautioned against a return to past divisions.

Chayapan Bamrungphong ( Thailand) said his Government supported the resolution because of the overriding importance attached to the Charter principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful conflict resolution. The door should be kept open to a peaceful solution reflecting the interests of all concerned.

Vlad Lupan (Republic of Moldova) emphasized that bilateral agreements must be observed, adding: “The future of Ukraine can be considered and decided only upon the free will and aspirations of all Ukrainians themselves, without any outside influence.” The Crimea referendum was not legal because it contravened Ukraine’s Constitution as well as international law. As a country with an unresolved, protracted separatist conflict on its own territory, the Republic of Moldova had voted in favour of the resolution.

Kairat Abdrakhmanov ( Kazakhstan) noted that his country was home to Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans, Poles, Koreans and others who lived in peace and harmony. The Government of Kazakhstan was interested in a sovereign, stable and independent Ukraine, he said, adding that its economic recovery was a prerequisite for resolving the situation. It was important to heed the voice of reason and explore all ways to resolve the situation peacefully, he said, adding that he had abstained from the vote.

Raja Reza bin Raja Zaib Shah ( Malaysia), calling upon all parties to adhere to Charter principles, stressed that his Government valued its close relations with both the Russian Federation and Ukraine. He urged them both to explore all possible avenues for peaceful resolution and called for a moderate approach towards an amicable solution.

Tofig Musayev ( Azerbaijan), saying he had voted in favour, condemned extremism, radicalism and separatism in all their forms and manifestations. He reiterated Azerbaijan’s adherence to the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders, saying they constituted the basic foundation of international relations and the international legal order.

Shorna-Kay Marie Richards( Jamaica) said his delegation had abstained because the complexity of the situation in Ukraine required the international community to act in a balanced manner. While Jamaica supported the promotion of the rule of law and Charter principles, such as non-use of force, the resolution’s adoption would only delay the quest for a peaceful solution.

Samuel Moncada ( Venezuela) said he had voted against the text because his Government opposed the changes in Ukraine that had overthrown the democratically elected President. There was a growing trend of constitutional Governments being overthrown by extremist groups linked to foreign Powers that had unleashed the Second World War, he said, emphasizing that it was crucial to re-establish the constitutional order in Ukraine and to resolve the situation through peaceful means.

Xavier Lasso Mendoza ( Ecuador) said he had abstained. It was unfortunate that street protests had turned violent, leading to human losses, he said, blaming foreign politicians who irresponsibly encouraged street protesters. The Crimea referendum should not be grounds for any change of a State configuration, he said, rejecting regime change and unilateral sanctions imposed without recourse to the Charter.

Evgeny Lazarev ( Belarus) said he supported the use of mechanisms that were less representative than the General Assembly, saying they had greater constructive potential to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine. He cited the Observer Mission on Human Rights in Ukraine in that regard.

Sabri Boukadoum( Algeria) said his Government had abstained, and reiterated its strict adherence to Charter principles. They were the cornerstone of international relations and the basis of international law.

Mary Elizabeth Flores ( Honduras) said her Government had voted in favour of the text because it supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. She also urged respect for the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

Fernando Jorge Wahnon Ferreira (Cabo Verde) said his delegation had voted in favour because a solution to the Ukraine crisis could only be achieved through respect for the Charter.

Ibrahim O. A. Dabbashi ( Libya) said he had voted in favour because of its commitment to the principles of international law and the Charter. Libya was aware of Russian interests in Ukraine, but it could not ignore the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Changes in State borders must be undertaken within the constitutional order of the country involved, as well as valid national laws, he said, underlining the need for dialogue in resolving intra-State issues.

Charles Thembani Ntwaagae ( Botswana) said his Government did not support the dismemberment of sovereign nations, either through unilateral declarations of independence or through coercion by external forces. In abstaining, Botswana wished to allow sufficient space for the diplomatic efforts under way at the bilateral and international levels.

Marcelo Eliseo Scappini Ricciardi (Paraguay) said he had abstained because direct, open dialogue was the best way to settle the situation.

Garen Nazarian( Armenia) said he had voted against the text. Armenia had consistently promoted democracy, decolonization and self-determination, which were enshrined in the Charter the key was to act within international law and to seek solutions through peaceful dialogue involving the parties concerned.


Israel signs historic deal with UAE that will 'suspend' West Bank annexation

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties in a historic Washington-brokered deal under which Israel will “suspend” its plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territories.

However, cracks in the deal became quickly apparent after its announcement on Thursday, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying there was “no change” to his annexation plans, while the UAE insisted that it “immediately stops annexation”.

After Jordan and Egypt, the UAE is only the third Arab country to announce formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and the announcement will reverberate across the Middle East, which has a turbulent history with the Jewish state.

Donald Trump, who is facing a tough presidential election on 3 November, played up the deal as a significant foreign policy win.

“Everybody said this would be impossible,” the US president told reporters at the White House. “After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalise their diplomatic relations. They will exchange embassies and ambassadors and begin cooperation across the board and on a broad range of areas including tourism, education, healthcare, trade and security.”

He said the tenor of the three-way phone call he had with Israeli and UAE leaders “was like love”. Similar agreements were being discussed with other countries in the region, he added, without giving details.

Israel has also cultivated ties with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. Asked about who might be next in line to establish diplomatic relations, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, said: “We have a couple who are upset that they weren’t first.

“I do think that this makes it more inevitable, but it’s going to take hard work and it’s going to take trust being built and dialogue being facilitated in order for people to cross that line as well,” Kushner told journalists. “So hopefully this makes it easier for others many are watching to see how this goes.”

Surrounded by his top aides in the Oval Office, Trump described the pact as a “peace agreement”. However, the UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan later tweeted that the country had agreed instead to “cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship”.

For Netanyahu, Israel’s hardline and longest-serving prime minister, the announcement is also a significant boost. For years, Netanyahu has attempted to build relationships in the Middle East while at the same time entrenching Israel’s control over Palestinians. Now, despite having threatened to permanently seize occupied land, he has won a hugely symbolic victory. “A historic day,” the 70-year-old leader wrote on Twitter.

Even Israel’s opposition leader, Yair Lapid, congratulated the prime minister.

For the Palestinians, who have long relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, the development will be seen as a big setback in their attempts to increase international pressure on Israel until a full peace deal has been agreed.

The official Palestinian news agency reported the Palestinian ambassador to the UAE was being recalled.

The Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi accused the UAE of abandoning the Palestinians. “May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your ‘friends’,” she wrote on Twitter.

Announced in a joint statement by Israel, the UAE and the US, the deal will see Israeli and Emirati delegations meet in the coming weeks. The statement said they would sign agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and “other areas of mutual benefit”.


Geography

East Timor is bounded by the Timor Sea to the southeast, the Wetar Strait to the north, the Ombai Strait to the northwest, and western Timor (part of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara) to the southwest. The eastern part of Timor island is rugged, with the mountains rising to 9,721 feet (2,963 metres) at Mount Tatamailau (Tata Mailau) in the centre of a high plateau. The area has a dry tropical climate and moderate rainfall. Hilly areas are covered with sandalwood. Scrub and grass grow in the lowlands, together with coconut palms and eucalyptus trees. There are hot springs and numerous mountain streams. Wildlife includes the cuscus (a species of marsupial), monkeys, deer, civet cats, snakes, and crocodiles.

Most of the people are of Papuan, Malayan, and Polynesian origin and are predominantly Christian. About 40 different Papuan and Malayan languages or dialects are spoken, dominated by Tetum. Portuguese is spoken by a small fraction of the population, but it is one of the country’s two official languages, the other being Tetum Indonesian and English are considered to be “working” languages.

Nearly all of the population is Roman Catholic, with tiny Protestant and Muslim minorities. Some vestiges of traditional religious beliefs are also practiced in conjunction with Catholicism. About seven-tenths of the population is rural. Of those classified as urban, roughly half live in Dili.

Hydrocarbon production (notably from offshore natural gas deposits) is the most important component of East Timor’s economy in terms of value. Marble quarrying for export is also important. Agriculture, long the mainstay of the economy, still employs the great bulk of the working population chief products include corn (maize), rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, dried beans, coconuts, and coffee. Manufacturing of textiles, garments, handicrafts, and processed coffee are important. Crafts include pottery, wood and ivory carving, plaiting, coir production, and basket making. Roads running parallel to the northeastern coast link Maubara, Manatuto, Tutuala, and Dili. About half of the roads are paved.

The Ambeno area has valuable sandalwood forests, coconut groves, and rice plantations. Its chief town, Pante Makasar, is a port and has an airport. The hilly offshore island of Atauro, which also has an airport, has a population occupied mainly with fishing. The currency is the U.S. dollar.


American Imperialism: This Is When It All Began

March 23, 2015

Annexation: The Republic of Hawaii&rsquos flag is removed from &lsquoIolani Palace in Honolulu on August 12, 1898. (AP Photo / Hawaii State Archive)

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This article is part of The Nation’s 150th Anniversary Special Issue. Download a free PDF of the issue, with articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn and many more, here.

Editorial (Horace White)
Excerpted from the November 25, 1897 Issue

The feature of the proposed annexation of Hawaii which ought to excite the most comment and the greatest repugnance has received scarcely any attention, and among the advocates of annexation none at all. This is the fact that the American republic, based upon the doctrine that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, proposes to change the government of a distant country without asking the consent of the governed in any way whatever. Does this betoken a change in ourselves? So it would seem.

That Senator Morgan of Alabama should argue this question as though the people of Hawaii have no rights which white men are bound to respect, is not to be wondered at. He is an ex-slave-holder. He belongs to a class who are in office by virtue of suppressing the votes of the black men and also of such whites as do not vote their ticket. Free suffrage has been abolished in Alabama and in several other Southern States, and one of the most solemn questions that confront the American public today is how to purify the ballot and secure a fair count in those States.

They began with cheating the negro. They have ended by cheating each other. It is easy to understand how men who believe in this system should ride rough-shod over the rights of the Hawaiians, how they should treat the question of annexation as though those rights were non-existent, and talk about England and Japan, and naval power in the Pacific, and every other conceivable thing except the foundation principle of free government. Being accustomed to trample upon it at home, they cannot be expected to see its virtues in the distant Pacific. But that the liberty-loving North, and especially the Republican party, which fought a war to establish this principle, and contended for thirty years after the war to maintain it, should now join in trampling upon it, is something that would not have been believed by any former generation of Americans.

Horace White (1834–1916) was editor of the New-York Evening Post from 1899 to 1903.

Imperialism’s First Fruits

Elinor Langer
April 6, 2015

However improbable it seems today, the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii was the central American foreign-policy issue of its time. In late 1897, Queen Lili’uokalani, the monarch deposed by American-led businessmen in 1893, was in Washington, DC, where, together with a delegation of native leaders, she presented petitions against the pending annexation treaty between the United States and Hawaii to members of Congress who opposed overseas expansion. In the fourth year of her protest against the American role in the coup, the queen had already experienced the feints and dodges of American politics and diplomacy many times, but there was still hope that her country’s independence might be preserved.

In the past few months, Hawaiians had come together in passionate gatherings to hear their leaders cry out that annexation would be like being “buried alive.” “We…earnestly protest against the annexation of the…Hawaiian islands to the…United States of America in any form or shape,” their petitions read. The 38,000 signatures reflected the will of the vast majority of native Hawaiians alive at the time. Perhaps with the able Hawaiian representatives delivering their case in person, enough opinions would be swayed to consolidate the position of the anti-imperialist forces so that the movement toward annexation could be stopped.

But that is not how it happened, of course. When the Hawaiians left Washington in the winter of 1898, it appeared that the two-thirds Senate majority required to annex the islands by treaty could not be found. They returned home relieved—only to find the next summer that by the devious tactic of a joint congressional resolution requiring only a simple majority in both houses, Hawaii had nonetheless become “ours,” as it has been in one form or another ever since. When it became the fiftieth state in 1959, the question “Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the Union as a State?”—as opposed to remaining a territory—was the only option on the ballot.

What changed the fate not only of Hawaii but of the United States and, indeed, the world? The Spanish-American War. Before our 1898 intervention in the Cuban war for independence from Spain, we were a republic. After the Treaty of Paris, which ended the war and brought some Spanish territories under US control, we were an empire. Before, we were a single people whose values and institutions were applicable mainly to ourselves. After, we were a collection of diverse unwilling peoples on whose histories and aspirations those values and institutions would have to be imposed. In addition to Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam were now also “ours.”

The consequences of this shift for the tenor of public life are well captured in two Nation editorials. “Hawaiian Annexation,” published on November 25, 1897, is about principles, particularly the right of a people to the government of its own choosing. Lofty, rhetorical and a little abstract, it is a sermon against the hypocrisy that enabled annexationists to ignore an inconvenient truth: “that the American republic, based upon the doctrine that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, proposes to change the government of a distant country without asking the consent of the governed in any way whatever.”

“The Situation in the Philippines,” which ran on August 16, 1900, seems the more telling today. The later editorial is about power: what happens when you try to force your government on people who prefer their own. It is urgent, particular, not part of the periodicals’ gentlemanly wars but rather the real thing: a report from a new grim world. Based not on the ruminations of a writer in New York but on the observations of a correspondent in the field, the editorial gives the lie to the official view that “the situation is that of tolerably complete conquest,” noting: “The armed natives are now called…’robbers,’ and ‘bandits. There are no more battles, but nearly every day there are fights in which the Americans lose one or more, and the natives one hundred or more. After one of these fights a report is issued that a band of robbers has been destroyed but before many days another fight occurs in the same region.” We have been hearing such news ever since.

We have been hearing, too, about torture. Its use in the Philippines was so well known that an illustration on the cover of Life showed US soldiers, surrounded by watchful Europeans, subduing a Filipino with a water bucket. “Those pious Yankees can’t throw stones at us anymore,” the caption read. With the Philippine dead estimated at 30,000 at the time of the writing—200,000 people died from associated causes by the end—it would seem that the Hawaiians, who were merely “annexed,” got off lightly, but they too were watchful. The acquisition of Hawaii was accomplished through politics, not through arms, but the same men who overthrew the kingdom in the first place were now running it on behalf of the United States. “[W]e are surprised that the ‘water cure’ has not yet been advocated for the Hawaiian Islands,” commented a native newspaper, only in part facetiously. “Perhaps [the ruling clique] ought to see to it that during the next electoral campaign the ‘water cure’ incidental to the ‘benevolent assimilation’ policy be administered to the natives who refuse to vote the white-missionary ticket.”

Surprising, too, is that despite the Nation editors’ consistent opposition to empire while it was looming, they seem to have underestimated its implications when it became fact. Bursting with pride over a period that included a congressional investigation of the Philippine war and the disciplining of some of the blood-lusty officers who carried out the atrocities, the chipper 1902 editorial “The Pesky Anti-Imperialist” attributes these brief political victories to the anti-imperialist outcry, but offers no intimations of the larger moral casualties ahead. The movement succeeded because “anti-Imperialism is only another name for old-fashioned Americanism,” the editorial maintains. Unwilling to “distinguish between the flag and the principles which first set the flag flying,” the anti-imperialist American has reasserted the fundamental ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and in the end his cause has triumphed.

It is hard not to envy those pesky anti-imperialists, so much closer than we are today to the spirit and even the lineage of the founding fathers. The senator who received the Hawaiian petitions from Queen Lili’uokalani had six forebears who fought at Concord, and one who actually signed the Declaration of Independence. When the editorialist invoked John Quincy Adams, he could be sure that the reader would recall Adams’s warning that if the United States became involved in foreign intrigues, “the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.” And the optimism! There is not even any particular hurry. Remembering “that the history of success is the history of minorities,” the anti-imperialist “is content to bide his time, knowing that the road of popular persuasion is a long one, though sure in the end.” To that we can only say: “Ouch!”

When The Nation’s editors defined “anti-imperialism” as synonymous with “Americanism,” they neglected to notice that not only “Americanism” but America itself had already forever changed.

Elinor Langer Elinor Langer, a member of The Nation editorial board, is the author of Josephine Herbst (1983) and A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in the United States (2003), which grew out of an issue-length report for The Nation in 1990.


‘This is our land,’ China now claims Russia’s Vladivostok as part of its territory

China doesn’t want friends. It doesn’t want peaceful borders either. The only thing that China wants is territory- more and more of it. An expansionist China is already claiming maritime territory and islands within the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of other countries in the South China Sea and Japanese islands in the East China Sea.

In the Himalayas, China is encroaching Nepalese villages and trying to push the LAC further west along the Indo-Tibetan border in Ladakh. And now China is claiming territory of another neighbour- Russia.

At the root of China’s fresh claims in Russian territory is a video to celebrate the 160 th anniversary of Vladivostok posted by the Russian Embassy on the Chinese social media website Weibo.

But the land mafia of a country that China has become, it objected instantly to the video posted by Russian Embassy. Chinese diplomats, journalists and jingoistic social media users soon went overboard.

Chinese internet users, including diplomats and officials, claim that Vladivostok used to be a part of China. They claim it was Qing’s Manchurian homeland but was annexed by the Russian empire in 1860 after China was defeated by the British and the French during the Second Opium war.

Shen Shiweim, a journalist at the Chinese State-run broadcaster, China Global Television Network (CGTN) tweeted, “This “tweet” of #Russian embassy to #China isn’t so welcome on Weibo. The history of Vladivostok (literally ‘Ruler of the East’) is from 1860 when Russia built a military harbor. But the city was Haishenwai as Chinese land, before Russia annexed it via unequal Treaty of Beijing.”

This “tweet” of #Russian embassy to #China isn’t so welcome on Weibo
“The history of Vladivostok (literally 'Ruler of the East') is from 1860 when Russia built a military harbor.” But the city was Haishenwai as Chinese land, before Russia annexed it via unequal Treaty of Beijing. pic.twitter.com/ZmEWwOoDaA

&mdash Shen Shiwei沈诗伟 (@shen_shiwei) July 2, 2020

China’s state-owned broadcaster excels in making outrageously far-fetched territorial claims. A couple of months ago CGTN had tweeted, “An extraordinary sun halo was spotted Friday in the skies over Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak located in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.”

This was, of course, a part of Beijing’s attempts to alter the position of the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest by highlighting its Tibetan side and glossing over the Nepalese side.

But China’s claims over Russia’s Vladivostok are not limited to the state-owned media. Even Chinese diplomats have jumped in. Zhang Heqing, a wolf-warrior from China currently stationed at the country’s Mission in Pakistan said, “Isn’t this what in the past was our Haishenwai?”

Meanwhile, the CCP IT cell too has gone berserk. A Weibo user wrote, “Today we can only endure, but the Chinese people will remember, and one generation after another will continue to remember!” SCMP quotes another user as saying, “We must believe that this ancestral land will return home in the future!”

It is outrageous how an expansionist China is making claims based on what happened in the middle of nineteenth century. No one ratchets irredentism as fondly as Beijing.

If Beijing keeps going ahead with this logic, it will claim the territory of every other neighbour. China has border disputes with 18 countries, including Brunei, Tajikistan, India, North Korea, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea and the Philippines. It claims territories based on historical precedent dating back to the 13 th and 14 th centuries.

Ancient Chinese dynasties- Ming, Qing and Yuan are at the root of its untenable claims. The world moved past expansionism when World War II ended, but Beijing doesn’t want to understand that.

What this really does is bring an end to the ostensible show of Russia-China camaraderie that was playing out over the past few months. We always knew that Russia doesn’t want to be friends with China, and is forced to maintain seemingly close ties with Beijing only because it has been sanctioned heavily by the West and its top companies pushed out of the dollar-based financial system.

One of the reasons behind Russia’s apprehensions against Beijing is of course China’s territorial claims and border disputes. The Dragon is expansionist and tends to flex its muscles in times of crisis, like it has done now. The knee-jerk reaction from China over the video posted by the Russian Embassy has burst the bubble of goodwill between Moscow and Beijing.

More Sino-Russia conflicts could open up in the coming days. China has a number of ambiguous regions along its Russian border, much like the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and McMohan line with India.

Moreover, Moscow is apprehensive of Chinese investments in the Russian Far-East. This sparsely populated Russian territory boasts of abundant natural resources, and traditionally looks at it as vulnerable to Chinese influence or even colonialization.

China has been eager to invest here in a bid to gain influence but Russia wants to counter this dependence on China that was also writing on the wall with India’s US $1 billion line of credit to Russia for development of the Far East region.



Comments:

  1. Weyland

    I apologize, but, in my opinion, this topic is no longer relevant.

  2. Kurtis

    Bravo, your thought is just great

  3. Pete

    I really enjoy it.

  4. Randel

    the sympathetic message

  5. Bar

    You overstate.

  6. Conall Cernach

    Excuse me for what I have to intervene ... similar situation. Ready to help.

  7. Fraine

    Sorry, but I think it's obvious.



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