US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: President Obama to Sanction Israel?
“Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to address a joint session of Congress and deliver a ‘blueprint’ for his FY2010 budget.
According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United States and Israel in 2007 and made public by the US Campaign, the President is expected to request $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in FY2010.
However, there are growing indications that the Obama Administration is considering sanctioning Israel. According to a senior Israeli security official in a Feb. 17 article in Ma’ariv, Israel fears that Special Envoy George Mitchell will convince the White House to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. A Feb. 15 Ha’aretz article speculated that amounts available for U.S. loan guarantees to Israel would be cut for the same reason…”
–US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 23 February, 2009
See Also These Recent Headlines from Democracy Now!:
Netanyahu to Become Israeli PM
“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have locked up the Prime Minister’s office after winning support from another right-wing politician. On Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman said he would join a Netanyahu coalition government, giving Netanyahu a large advantage over Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, whose Kadima Party narrowly edged Likud in elections earlier this month. Meanwhile, Livini has ruled out joining Netanyahu’s coalition over his opposition to peace talks with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: ‘Sixty-five members of parliament decided to say to the Israeli president that they prefer Bibi Netanyahu as their prime minister. So this is a coalition that I cannot be part of, since I know that I believe in a peace process. I believe that any peace process should be based on two states for two peoples.’
Although Livni disagrees with Netanyahu on holding peace talks, she’s promised to seek ‘maximum’ Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank under any peace deal.
Kerry, Congress Members Tour Gaza
Meanwhile, three US lawmakers have visited the Gaza Strip in the most high-level American contact with the coastal strip in over eight years. On Thursday, Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as well Congress members Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Brian Baird of Washington, toured Gaza on separate trips. The lawmakers refused to meet Hamas leaders but were shown some of the destruction from the three-week Israeli assault that ended last month. Kerry said US policy won’t change from insisting Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect previous agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority.
Sen. John Kerry: ‘None of us have any illusions that there is a place for terrorists at the table. People need to change their attitude. People need to change their approach. And we’re hopeful that this new opportunity will provide us with a chance to explore the possibilities of real peace.’
The US position has been criticized because it refuses to demand the same conditions on Israel. The Israeli government has refused to renounce violence, recognize previous agreements, and recognize a Palestinian state, which it continues to prevent through settlement construction in the West Bank and the ongoing siege of Gaza. After their tour, Congress members Ellison and Baird expressed sympathy for Palestinians in Gaza. In a statement, Baird called the human suffering in Gaza ‘shocking and troubling beyond words.’ Ellison said, ‘People, innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation, while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in.’
Aid Convoy Heads to Gaza from Europe
A 100-vehicle, mile-long aid convoy is making its way through Europe with a stated final destination of the Gaza Strip. The group ‘Viva Palestina’ set off from London on Saturday. Organizers plan to gather more participants as the convoy passes through France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, where they hope to cross the Rafah border into Gaza. The vehicles include a fire engine and ambulances. They’re carrying goods including clothes, blankets and children’s toys.
Report: Covert Israeli Program Targets Iran Nuclear Officials
The Telegraph of London has revealed new details on covert Israeli operations inside Iran. Intelligence sources say Israel has established a ‘decapitation’ program to assassinate Iranian officials involved in nuclear activities. Israel has been linked to the deaths of several figures in Iran’s nuclear program, including a scientist who died under mysterious circumstances in 2007…
Other Recent Articles of Interest:
Israel’s Eurovision team: An Arab who looks Jewish and a Jew who looks Arab
–Ha’aretz, 21 February, 2009
Netanyahu, put your money where your mouth is
–Gideon Levy, 19 February, 2009
Did Egypt sabotage deal over Gaza, Shalit?
–Amal Ghazal, The Electronic Intifada, 18 February 2009
Always on the side of the egg
–Haruki Murakami, Ha’aretz, 17 February, 2009
Obama on Israel-Palestine
–Noam Chomsky, 24 January, 2009
The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza
–Norman Finkelstein, Counterpunch 13 January, 2009
And finally, an old, but still relevant, piece
What’s So Bad About Israel?
–Michael Neumann, Counterpunch, 6 July, 2002