shades of hawkish duplicity

this is how the israeli terrorist forces’ (itf) media describes its cold-blooded murder of two young boys, one 15 years old the other 18 years old:

The Israel Air Force killed two Palestinian gunmen who fired mortar shells at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday afternoon. Four other men were injured in the strike, which took place east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.

The Israel Defense Forces reported that IAF jets opened fire at the mortar launching cell and identified a hit. News agencies reported that the Palestinians were hurt in an area used by gunmen to fire mortars at Israel.

Sources in Gaza reported that the Palestinians killed were two brothers, aged 15 and 17, from the village of Shuka near Rafah, and that three of the injured were youths.

now let’s take a look at how palestinian media covers the same story:

Two Palestinian civilians were killed and four others were injured on Tuesday when Israeli helicopters fired on a group of fighters on the road to the disused Yasser Arafat Airport east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to Mu’awiya Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, one of the wounded people is in critical condition at the European Hospital in the city of Khan Younis.

Medics said the dead arrived ‘torn to pieces’ at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital, also in Khan Younis.

Hassanein identified the victims as two brothers, Ramzi and Khalid Ad-Duheiri.

notice the difference? in the first piece the young boys were identified as gunmen. actually, these boys were play ball in a field that used to be the gaza airport. an airport that palestinians in gaza are not allowed to use because of the siege on gaza. the closure that has lasted now for 27 consecutive days.

the difference in reporting–not here necessarily, but globally–and the media blackout due to the zionist state’s blocking journalists from entering gaza was the subject of al jazeera’s program “the listening post” this week:

it’s not just media that the zionists are keeping from gaza. it’s also humanitarian aid. this time on a ship from libya, which was turned back by the itf:

The al-Marwa, carrying food, blankets and powdered milk, attempted to challenge Israel’s tight economic blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has worsened in recent weeks.

But as the ship approached Gazan water at dawn, an Israeli naval ship ordered it to turn back. The al-Marwa headed south and has reportedly docked at al-Arish, an Egyptian port in the northern Sinai just south of Gaza.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said there was no physical contact with the ship but it was ordered back by radio. “This is a policy we have had for a long time: if somebody wants to bring in humanitarian aid they can do it through the border with Egypt or the Israeli passages into Gaza,” said the spokesman, Andy David.

However, since the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas won parliamentary elections nearly three years ago, Israel has imposed ever tighter restrictions on Gaza.

notice the kafkaesque commentary here, too: the itf spokesperson tells us that humanitarian aid can come through its border crossings with gaza and yet those crossings are closed, have been closed for 27 days. so what exactly are they saying? how do westerners interpret this? do they understand how their doublespeak equals death and suffering for people in gaza?

of course, it’s not just gaza. nabulsis woke up this morning after yet another ground invasion here. last night in the wee hours of the morning the itf assassinated mohammad abu thraa:

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man formerly affiliated to the armed wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, in Balata Refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus at Midnight on Monday.

The man was identified as 27-year-old Mohammad Abu Thraa, a fighter who had been pardoned by Israel as a part of an amnesty agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

notice that he had been pardoned. and still the itf came into murder him today. and the itf’s counterpart, the illegal israeli settlers, went on their own rampage around nablus today:

Israeli settlers rampaged through five villages in the northern West Bank early on Tuesday, vandalizing mosques, attacking farms and harassing residents.

In the villages of Yatma, Qabalan and As-Sawiya, south of Nablus, settlers slashed the tires of more than 20 cars and also set fire to thousands of shekels’ worth of straw bales, used as animal feed.

In As-Sawiya, settlers wrote slogans insulting Islam and the prophet Mohammad on the walls of a local mosque.

and the same sort of illegal settler violence broke out in khalil today as well:

Several Palestinians and an Israeli captain were injured when settlers attacked Palestinian houses near a controversial settler-occupied building in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday night.

The sources added that dozens of settlers hurled rocks and beat residents with clubs. An Israeli captain was beaten when soldiers attempted to intervene.

An employee of the Palestinian Red Crescent said that their ambulances transported three injured children to Hebron Public Hospital. The children were identified as 16-year-old Sa’ed Nasser Al-Ja’bari, his 13-year-old brother Makram Al-Ja’bari and 10-year-old Adli Suleiman Al-Ja’bari. Medics said the children had been bruised all over their bodies.

Local sources said the attack took place near the Ar-Rajabi family house, also known as the “House of Contention” in the Ar-Ras neighborhood of Hebron. The Israeli high court has ordered the settlers to leave the house, a command settler groups have vowed to resist.

this is the zionist regime. it’s muted siege on 1948 palestine, it’s devastating siege on the west bank, and it’s brutal siege on gaza. which continues, unabated, ever worsening:

Adel Abu Sido, 31, a taxi driver from Gaza City, stands over his two-week old premature baby, Hadil, dreading her air supply may abruptly stop.

Hadil’s incubator is not reliably providing enough oxygen due to the inconsistent power supply at Al-Shiffa Hospital, the main healthcare centre in the Gaza Strip.

The fuel for hospital generators has nearly run out and a shortage of basic medical supplies has left Al-Shiffa with only 20 percent of the oxygen supply it needs, forcing medical professionals in Gaza to make hard choices, said Gaza health ministry spokesperson Hamam Nasman.

“Fifty percent of hospital equipment at Al-Shiffa has stopped functioning due to the lack of electricity and spare parts since this more than 20-day blockade started,” said Gaza health minister Basem Naim, adding that 95 basic medications are out of stock.

Asthma patients waiting for inhalers are being turned away, as hospital pharmacists scavenge local pharmacies.

“Al-Shiffa Hospital is using its secondary generator nearly 20 hours a day to power the hospital, since there is not enough fuel in stock to operate the primary generator,” said spokesperson Nasman. Under normal circumstances the secondary generator has the capacity to power the hospital only three hours a day.

apparently even international aid workers are complaining about their conditions, which are usually far better than those of palestinians who live in gaza:

Two weeks ago the Israelis issued for the first time a written list of goods that cannot be sent into Gaza for UN humanitarian needs, she said. The list, which has baffled UN officials, includes spices, kitchenware, glassware, yarn and paper.

and in spite of this: silence. silence from the world. complicity from the world. more of the same. and worse. now nato is going to collaborate with the zionist regime’s terrorist military forces:

NATO has authorized a pact to strengthen and expand Israel’s security and political relations with the states in the military alliance.

The authorization of the Individual Cooperation Program (ICP) came ahead of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s meeting with her counterparts in NATO member states.

The ICP incorporates a number of areas in which full cooperation between Israel and NATO will be established, including the fight against terror.

The agreement allows for an exchange of intelligence information and security expertise on different subjects, an increase in the number of joint Israel-NATO military exercises and further cooperation in the fight against nuclear proliferation. It also paves the way for an improvement of collaboration in the fields of rearmament and logistics and Israel’s electronic link to the NATO system.

and will the u.s. speak up about any of this? of course not. we’ve now got confirmation that we will have a hawkish war cabinet. jeremy scahill, one of the rare american voices of criticism and integrity in the u.s. gives us this important assessment of the new obama security-war team:

Barack Obama has assembled a team of rivals to implement his foreign policy. But while pundits and journalists speculate endlessly on the potential for drama with Hillary Clinton at the state department and Bill Clinton’s network of shady funders, the real rivalry that will play out goes virtually unmentioned. The main battles will not be between Obama’s staff, but rather against those who actually want a change in US foreign policy, not just a staff change in the war room.

When announcing his foreign policy team on Monday, Obama said: “I didn’t go around checking their voter registration.” That is a bit hard to believe, given the 63-question application to work in his White House. But Obama clearly did check their credentials, and the disturbing truth is that he liked what he saw.

The assembly of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Susan Rice and Joe Biden is a kettle of hawks with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war, militaristic interventionism, neoliberal economic policies and a worldview consistent with the foreign policy arch that stretches from George HW Bush’s time in office to the present.

Obama has dismissed suggestions that the public records of his appointees bear much relevance to future policy. “Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost,” Obama said. “It comes from me. That’s my job, to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure, then, that my team is implementing.” It is a line the president-elect’s defenders echo often. The reality, though, is that their records do matter.

We were told repeatedly during the campaign that Obama was right on the premiere foreign policy issue of our day – the Iraq war. “Six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to do so,” Obama said in his September debate against John McCain. “Senator McCain and President Bush had a very different judgment.” What does it say that, with 130 members of the House and 23 in the Senate who voted against the war, Obama chooses to hire Democrats who made the same judgment as Bush and McCain?

On Iraq, the issue that the Obama campaign described as “the most critical foreign policy judgment of our generation”, Biden and Clinton not only supported the invasion, but pushed the Bush administration’s propaganda and lies about Iraqi WMDs and fictitious connections to al-Qaida. Clinton and Obama’s hawkish, pro-Israel chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, still refuse to renounce their votes in favour of the war. Rice, who claims she opposed the Iraq war, didn’t hold elected office and was not confronted with voting for or against it. But she did publicly promote the myth of Iraq’s possession of WMDs, saying in the lead up to the war that the “major threat” must “be dealt with forcefully”. Rice has also been hawkish on Darfur, calling for “strik[ing] Sudanese airfields, aircraft and other military assets”.

It is also deeply telling that, of his own free will, Obama selected President Bush’s choice for defence secretary, a man with a very disturbing and lengthy history at the CIA during the cold war, as his own. While General James Jones, Obama’s nominee for national security adviser, reportedly opposed the Iraq invasion and is said to have stood up to the neocons in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, he did not do so publicly when it would have carried weight. Time magazine described him as “the man who led the Marines during the run-up to the war – and failed to publicly criticise the operation’s flawed planning”. Moreover, Jones, who is a friend of McCain’s, has said a timetable for Iraq withdrawal, “would be against our national interest”.

But the problem with Obama’s appointments is hardly just a matter of bad vision on Iraq. What ultimately ties Obama’s team together is their unified support for the classic US foreign policy recipe: the hidden hand of the free market, backed up by the iron fist of US militarism to defend the America First doctrine.

Obama’s starry-eyed defenders have tried to downplay the importance of his cabinet selections, saying Obama will call the shots, but the ruling elite in this country see it for what it is. Karl Rove, “Bush’s Brain”, called Obama’s cabinet selections, “reassuring”, which itself is disconcerting, but neoconservative leader and former McCain campaign staffer Max Boot summed it up best. “I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain,” Boot wrote. The appointment of General Jones and the retention of Gates at defence “all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign.”

Boot added that Hillary Clinton will be a “powerful” voice “for ‘neoliberalism’ which is not so different in many respects from ‘neoconservativism.'” Boot’s buddy, Michael Goldfarb, wrote in The Weekly Standard, the official organ of the neoconservative movement, that he sees “certainly nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set by Bush in his second term.”

There is not a single, solid anti-war voice in the upper echelons of the Obama foreign policy apparatus. And this is the point: Obama is not going to fundamentally change US foreign policy. He is a status quo Democrat. And that is why the mono-partisan Washington insiders are gushing over Obama’s new team. At the same time, it is also disingenuous to act as though Obama is engaging in some epic betrayal. Of course these appointments contradict his campaign rhetoric of change. But move past the speeches and Obama’s selections are very much in sync with his record and the foreign policy vision he articulated on the campaign trail, from his pledge to escalate the war in Afghanistan to his “residual force” plan in Iraq to his vow to use unilateral force in Pakistan to defend US interests to his posturing on Iran. “I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel,” Obama said in his famed speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last summer. “Sometimes, there are no alternatives to confrontation.”

when will people rise up? when will they demand real change and not be blinded by the farce that is this more-of-the-same american hawkish regime?

3 thoughts on “shades of hawkish duplicity

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