Some comments I am sending out locally. David
ISRAEL CONTINUES BLOCKADE OF SHIPS TO GAZA.
I have just returned from Turkey where I had hoped to join the Canadian boat Tahrir that together with the Irish vessel Saoirse would attempt to reach Gaza in an effort to break the 44-year blockade by Israel. Both ships were stopped, boarded and taken to Ashdod in international waters by Israeli naval forces.
In an unexplained reversal the Turkish authorities imposed a limit of 12 crew and passengers on each ship. As a result Kit Kittredge of Quilcene, WA was the only US citizen aboard. I had been on the Audacity of Hope with Kittredge in June when it was stopped and impounded by the Greek authorities.
The United States policy of support and justification for the blockade is deplorable and represents one more concession to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC. The Palestinians were filled with hope by Obama’s election that they would finally have an honest broker who would have the courage to pursue a fair and equitable solution to the decades old conflict. Their hopes were further bolstered by Obama’s memorable speech in Cairo that spoke to the Islamic world.
And then came a silence on the subject that was broken on rare occasions by timid admonishments for the continuing settlement construction. A continuation of an economic blockade that leaves 1.5 million with the barest necessities and the inability to develop a viable economy through a nearly total restriction on exports. Attacks on U.S. citizens and ships.
As the presidential election approaches we see even fewer attempts to restrain the settlement expansions or the daily assaults on the lives, the homes, the dignity of the Palestinian people. Instead Obama promises to veto any effort to achieve recognition of statehood at the UN’s Security Council. To withhold financial aid from the Palestinians if they should attain a limited status in the General Assembly. Most recently the State Department has warned American citizens participating in Flotillas of possible legal consequences for breaking U.S. and Israeli law. And meantime we appear to be about to condone and possibly assist an Israeli attack on Iran.
Obama’s willingness to grant Israel impunity for the most egregious actions highlights the irony of his early claim to The Audacity of Hope. That stirring battle cry has sadly been replaced by The Audacity of Political Cowardice and Expediency.
David K. Schermerhorn
Nov. 4, 2011