Obama Administration Blocks UNSC Ceasefire Call On Gaza

Wow, such amazing abrogation of responsibility so as to lick AIPAC’s ass.

The United States has blocked a U.N. Security Council call for an immediate cease-fire in Israel’s weeklong offensive in Gaza against Hamas.

“The draft press statement failed to address the root cause of the current escalation — the continuing barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel,” the spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., Erin Pelton, said in a statement.

“We made clear that we would measure any action by the Security Council based on whether it supported the ongoing diplomacy toward de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm,” Pelton said. “By failing to call for the immediate and permanent halt to rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, this press statement failed to contribute constructively to those goals. As such, we could not agree to this statement, which was counter-productive and unacceptable.”

This is the “lesser evil” so many told me I should support.

Earlier today, Sean Paul tweeted a comparison of the damage a Hamas rocket causes compared with a single Israeli airstrike. Surely the priority is to stop the bloodshed, not to recycle Israel’s propaganda – especially since Israel seems to have started this particular episode of increased bloodshed then moved directly to disproportionate collective punishment.

Bonus read: Mondoweis has some statistics from Harper’s and The Economist.

Total number of Israelis killed by rocket, mortar or anti-tank fire from Gaza since 2006: 47 (Source: Wikipedia. This is disputed; another source says 26)

Number of Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israeli fire from April 1st 2006 to July 21st 2012: 2,879 (Source: United Nations)

Number of people killed in traffic accidents in Israel in 2011: 384 (Source: Wikipedia)

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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  • Obama sends Clinton to Mideast to seek Gaza truce

    Los Angeles Times, By Kathleen Hennessey

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — President Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Mideast on Tuesday, stepping up his administration’s so-far futile attempts to broker an end to the bloody conflict in the Gaza Strip.

    Clinton flew to Jerusalem to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaving abruptly from Cambodia, where she had accompanied Obama to a regional summit. From Israel, she is slated to travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with Palestinian officials before heading to Cairo to talk with Egyptian leaders.

    More at the link

  • Obama Steps Back Into a Conflict He Avoided.

    New York Times, By Mark Landler

    WASHINGTON — By sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East to put an American imprimatur on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, President Obama has thrust himself squarely into a conflict he has largely avoided over the past two years.

    The stakes for him, and for the United States, are high. If Washington can help broker a deal to quell the violence, it could set the tone for Mr. Obama’s second-term relationship with three pivotal players in the region: Israel, the Palestinians and, most crucially, Egypt.

    Mr. Obama has been unstinting in his public support of Israel over the past several days, while an American-financed antimissile system, Iron Dome, has destroyed scores of incoming Hamas rockets. The crisis holds the possibility of resetting the president’s often-fraught relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    But Mr. Obama has also reached out multiple times to Egypt’s recently elected president, Mohamed Morsi, urging him to play a calming role with Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza. As the United States gropes for a relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt, much will depend on how Mr. Morsi navigates this perilous moment.

    At one level, Mrs. Clinton’s emergency mission seems deeply familiar – an American secretary of state jetting into yet another Middle East conflagration. Mrs. Clinton’s predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, spent her final weeks in office in 2009 desperately seeking an end to the last major outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

    But for Mr. Obama, such direct involvement is a sharp shift from his hands-off posture of the past two years. Having expended energy and prestige on a futile effort to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians during his first two years in office, a frustrated Mr. Obama had largely pulled back from that effort – as did his secretary of state.

    More at the link

  • The U.S. has been carrying Israel’s water since 1946. Noam Chomsky has been talking about this for years. Israel gets foreign aid with no preconditions or strings attached of any kind. No other country gets treated that way. One thing is certain – Israel is doomed. They will not survive as a country. They have sealed their own doom by treating Arabs like dogs for 65 years. It is only a question of how long before they are wiped out. There is a lesson here for the U.S.

  • I’m not sure how a call for both sides to cease firing “failed to address the root cause of the current escalation — the continuing barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel.” Doesn’t firing missiles fall under the call to “cease fire” these days?

    • If there were no rockets, and it was only occasional pot shots from AK-47s, Israel would use that to justify killing and abusing Palestinians. If there were no firearms, and it was children throwing rocks, Israel would use that to justify killing and abusing Palestinians. They already have.

      Israel doesn’t treat Palestinians like dogs exactly– they treat Palestinians like a disturbed sadistic person would treat a dog he didn’t like. He hurts and taunts the dog until it bites, and then uses that as a pretext to punish the dog for biting him.

      The USA should not only withdraw material support for Israel and treat private citizens who do so the same way that we treat supporters of other terrorist organizations, we should also place a trade embargo against Israel the likes of the one now in effect against Iran. That might actually win the support of the world and begin to repair our image and reputation.

  • Perhaps we can get a little more insightful than “Israel’s holes are bigger” and “Obama licks AIPAC’s ass”. Some items / conjectures to structure thinking:

    1) The Israeli notion that they tapped Ja`bari due to his “inability” to shut down rocket attacks is likely largely correct, though my sense is that this is less due to inability per se, than deliberately letting PIJ, PRC, etc. act as a means of pressuring Israel. The Israelis only like having one whip hand in the relationship.

    2) The implicit mental template for the action on both sides is the March 2012 go ’round which saw something on the order of 50 IAF strikes and 300 missile launches. Obviously this is a good deal larger, but my read is that Israelis really don’t want to go to ground work unless they absolutely have to and HAMAS has stuff to lose that drive them to de-escalation.

    3) Israel’s primary tactical objective is to strip off the long range systems – this is what they were largely successful in doing in Lebanon some years ago, but is going to be something more of a challenge in this particular situation because the specific systems in Gaza have a lower detection threshold and are more numerous.

    4) The Israeli strategic objective is to reduce the effectiveness of the various Palestinian groups as an Iranian counter. This can be accomplished at the immediate level by destroying materiel and killing people, but also by seeking to induce HAMAS to become more reliant on other patrons (Qatar, Egypt) and to entangle those patrons with HAMAS. HAMAS now has an address and much more to lose that Israel can hold at threat than was previously the case.

    5) The overarching objective of many of the players, in addition to the usual prestige, etc. is to reduce Iran’s influence to their own benefit. This helps explain things like why Qatar gives a crap.

    6) The western players have come to acknowledge that HAMAS is here to stay as the government in Gaza. GDP is up significantly and they aren’t showing signs of weakness. By extension, work to entangle them in regional relations and use the fact that they have an address against them – done properly this also bounds the entanglers, hence the willingness to work with Egypt.

    7) Key HAMAS objectives are going to be showing that they still have capabilities in the face of the onslaught. This helps explain the launches on more distant cities and the bombing in Tel Aviv (though note that there are indications that these capabilities are limited).

    8) The key question for the western players is whether this increases Israel’s freedom of action vis-a-vis Iran and – if so – what they might do with it.

    Anyway, all I have time for this morning.

  • Gaza fighting rages as Clinton pursues durable cease-fire

    Washington Post, By Ernesto Londoño and Michael Birnbaum

    TEL AVIV — A bus bombing Wednesday morning brought the Gaza conflict to central Tel Aviv, as intensified fighting between Hamas militants and the Israeli military raised doubts about the prospects of a durable cease-fire being sought by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others in hectic rounds of shuttle diplomacy.

    After flickers of hope on Tuesday that a cease-fire was imminent, the Israeli assault on Gaza early Wednesday instead appeared to have escalated. Israeli airstrikes targeted ministerial buildings of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, as well as dozens of other sites. Ten rockets were fired into Israel, according to an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman.

    More at the link

  • West Bank Palestinians Cheer on their Gaza Counterparts

    CSM, By Joshua Mitnick

    Palestinians in the West Bank have staged solidarity marches, praising Gaza’s rocket strikes on Israel and calling for an end to the diplomacy track with Israel – an indirect blow to President Mahmoud Abbas.

    More at the link

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