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25 April 2008

Israel: A Crazy State...

...getting plenty of help from our homegrown lunatics, of course.

Viz. on day of headlines from DN! (I know, Amy Goodman is a self-hating Jew. Aren't we all?):

Facing Fuel Shortage, UN Halts Aid to Gaza

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the UN has been forced to suspend aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says it’s run out of fuel because of Israel’s blockade. The UN delivers aid to two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.4 million people. The top UN official in Gaza, John Ging, said Israel had ignored the agency’s warnings.

UNRWA Director John Ging: “There is a crisis here, and it will not be solved with one truck. We need over nine million liters of diesel for Gaza per month. There has been no diesel supply to Gaza at all, not one drop of diesel, since the 9th of April.”

Israel has intensified its stranglehold over the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control last June. Gaza resident Abu Muhammad appealed for international intervention.

Abu Muhammad: “This is the world’s responsibility, the civilized and free world. This UN aid is the only source for this victim nation. If they stop the aid, it means we will die.”

Israel Rejects Latest Hamas Truce Offer

The aid halt comes as Israel has rejected Hamas’s offer for a six-month truce in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said the deal could also extend to the West Bank.

Mahmoud Zahar: “We declare that the movement agrees to a truce in the Gaza Strip in the framework of a national consensus, such that it later extends to the West Bank and is fixed at six months, during which Egypt will work to extend the truce to the West Bank.”

Egyptian officials helped broker the offer. The Israeli government called it a ruse to allow Hamas to recover from recent military losses. Israel has previously rejected similar Hamas overtures.

Bush Hosts Abbas Amidst Claims of Secret Approval of Israeli Settlement Expansion

Meanwhile, at the White House, President Bush hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday. Bush said he assured Abbas he wants to see the creation of a Palestinian state.

President Bush: "I assured the president that a Palestinian state is a high priority for me and my administration, a viable state, a state that doesn’t look like Swiss cheese, a state that provides hope. It’s in—I believe it’s in Israel’s interest and the Palestinian people’s interest to have leaders willing to work toward the achievement of that state.”

The meeting came hours after the Washington Post reported the Bush administration may have secretly authorized Israel’s expansion of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. This week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said President Bush had OKed settlement expansion even though his so-called peace plan officially calls for a freeze. Ariel Sharon’s former chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, also said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice secretly reaffirmed White House approval of West Bank settlement expansion in the spring of 2005, right before Israel dismantled its settlements in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, the State Department denied reaching a secret agreement with Israel.

Israeli Ambassador to UN: Carter a “Bigot”

Meanwhile, an Israeli official has leveled Israel’s harshest criticism to date of former President Jimmy Carter’s peace efforts in the Middle East. On Thursday, Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said Carter has “[turned] into what I believe to be a bigot.” Gillmeran’s comments follow Carter’s meeting with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Syria earlier this week. The two discussed a ceasefire with Israel and a long-term peace deal. Carter has accused Israel of undermining any hopes for a viable peace through its expansion of settlements and ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Admin Shares Intel on Alleged Syrian Nuke Site

On Capitol Hill, the Bush administration has presented lawmakers with intelligence it says proves North Korea and Syria colluded on a nuclear facility that Israel bombed in September. A senior intelligence official said the US believed the site was nearing operational capability. But the Washington Post reports another senior official said US intelligence had formally declared only “low confidence” the site played a role in a Syrian nuclear program. The sole photograph publicly released of Syrian and North Korean officials does not appear to come from the site in question. Republican Congressmember Peter Hoekstra criticized the White House briefing.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra: “A trusting environment between the administration and Congress does not exist. I think many people believe that we were used today by the administration, not because they felt that they had to inform Congress because it was their legal obligation to do that, but because they had other agendas in mind. Remember, it is the legal responsibility of the administration to keep
Congress fully and currently informed on the issues that the administration is dealing with.”

Earlier this year, New Yorker correspondent Seymour Hersh reported there is no evidence the site was involved in nuclear weapons. Hersh said Israel did not know what it was targeting and was mainly hoping to send a message to Iran.

Here's the Real News on the Gaza Blockade:

I am amazed, but not surprised, to hear otherwise liberal folks defend this policy, which is approaching Nazi levels -- and I mean that in full knowledge of what that means. Any counterargument, which I don't expect, would have to prove that the collective punishment, now threatening to become mass starvation, of 1.5 million people, in the face of years -- literally, years -- worth of truce offerings is something other than genocide. Thus, we are "approaching Nazi levels."

For years Israel's treatment of the OT population has been at the American Vietnam-era "strategic hamlet" level, of course.

And, of course, the US is just using Israel, which has gone completely off the rails, as a beach-head, or "Sparta," in the middle east, esp. re: Iran. As the legion of "pro-"Israeli propagandists must know. It's not "support" to whet the blade with which your purported friend is preparing to slice his own wrists -- and that's if you don't give a damn about non-Israelis. (For anyone who might get offended, this is "you" as in "one," not "you" as in "you, the reader.")

Finally: buy, borrow, or steal this book, written by the former head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv U, Zeev Maoz: Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy. (Sold out at Powells.) If you read only one book on Israel, this is the one to read. I happen to know how hard it was for Maoz to get this book published; big shock.

Cover of _Defending the Holy Land_

PS: Jimmy Carter is not a bigot; rather, he's a hero with real courage. And he's got plenty to make up for: cf., East Timor.

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