What a way for Israel to celebrate America’s Memorial Day! Did Lieberman take advantage of Bibi’s absence to commit murder? Did Bibi cancel his trip to Washington to avoid having his knuckles rapped?
President Obama is caught between multiples rocks and hard places: he can control neither the oil barons operating off our shores, nor the new crusaders who want to take over the Holy Land, and who, having killed thousands of Gaza civilians, thinks nothing of killing members of an international group committed to a humanitarian mission.
Yesterday, interviewing the BP operations manager on CNN, Candy Crowley appeared not to know that the American congress caved to the oil industry’s demand to free it from the obligation it has in the rest of the world to install an off-switch that would have prevented the Gulf disaster, while at the same time, perhaps, trying to get the oilman to confess.
Today the question is will President Obama will buy the unbelievably weak excuse announced by the Israeli ambassador according to which the Israeli attackers found weapons ready to use against them on the ship carrying relief to Gaza. (In other words, if you carry a defensive weapon, I will attack you!) The ambassador made no mention of arms being carried as cargo, and in fact the AP story on The Huffington Post mentions knives and clubs as the arms prepared by the convoy - a reverse David and Goliath situation.
The attack happened in international waters, another serious issue. And by the way, before ousting Fatah from Gaza militarily, Hamas won the June 2007 parliamentary election there. Hamas must have had in mind what happened in the Algerian election of 1992: when the Islamic party won a first round, the government in power, with the backing of France, cancelled the second round to prevent it from taking power, sparking years of violence.
The commander of the Israeli troops who rappelled to the Turkish lead ship from a helicopter stated that he was surprised to hear Arabic spoken on board, the implication being that only Arabs support the Gazans. This is willful ignorance on the part of supposedly sophisticated Israelis, similar to the assumption on the part of many Americans that Cuba, which receives thousands of foreign visitors, is isolated from the rest of the world.
Last but not least, while Turkey has been Israel’s most steadfast ally in the MIddle East, a Turkish charity played a lead role in organizing the humani-tarian flotilla, and Turkey’s Islamic government could do no less than recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv after its ship was attacked.
But the irony goes further: together with Brazil, Turkey recently finalized a deal with Iran to reprocess its nuclear waste. The diplomatic breakthrough by these two “second tier” countries annoyed Secretary Clinton, even though President Obama had previous stated that such a deal was desirable. During the recent financial meltdown Brazil’s highly popular president Lula da Silva stated bluntly that it had been caused by “people with blue eyes”; and Turkey, located between Europe and Asia, recently indicated it would reorient its diplomacy away from the EU and toward the Arab world.
By continuing to support “the only democratic country in the Middle East”, the one supposedly founded on Enlightenment principles, rather than recognizing “facts on the ground”, Washington, like Israel, continues its blind march to oblivion.