Obama Administration Continues to Isolate Hamas and Send Aid to Israel
Posted by uscsjp on March 8, 2009
U.S. Military Aid to Israel
By KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON
“In these days of economic crisis, budget overruns, earmarks, and multi-billion dollar bailouts, when Americans are being forced to tighten their own belts, one of the most automatic earmarks—a bailout by any measure—goes to a foreign government but is little understood by most Americans. U.S. military aid to Israel is doled out in annual increments of billions of dollars but remains virtually unchallenged while other fiscal outlays are drastically cut.
The United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2007 committing the U.S. to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade. This is grant aid, given in cash at the start of each fiscal year. The only stipulation imposed on Israel’s use of this cash gift is that it spend 74 per cent to purchase U.S. military goods and services.
The first grant under this agreement was made in October 2008, for FY2009, in the amount of $2.55 billion. To bring the total 10-year amount to $30 billion, amounts in future years will gradually increase until an annual level of $3.1 billion is reached in FY2013. This will continue through FY2018.
Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Since 1949, the United States has provided Israel with $101 billion in total aid, of which $53 billion has been military aid. For the last 20-plus years, Israel has received an average of $3 billion annually in grant aid;, until now the grant has been a mix of economic and military aid…”
—CounterPunch, 5 March 2009
EI: Did Clinton sabotage a Palestinian reconciliation?
“Still reeling from the Israeli massacres in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinians have lately had little to celebrate. So the strong start to intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo last week provided a glimmer of hope.
An end to the schism between the resistance and the elected but internationally-boycotted Hamas government on the one hand, and the Western-backed Fatah faction on the other, seemed within reach. But the good feeling came to a sudden end after what looked like a coordinated assault by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union High Representative Javier Solana, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas whose term as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) expired on 9 January.
On Friday 27 February, the leaders of 13 Palestinian factions, principal among them Hamas and Fatah, announced they had set out a framework for reconciliation. In talks chaired by Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the Palestinians established committees to discuss forming a ‘national unity government,’ reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to include all factions, legislative and presidential elections, reorganizing security forces on a nonpolitical basis, and a steering group comprised of all faction leaders. Amid a jubilant mood, the talks were adjourned until 10 March.
Then the blows began to strike the fragile Palestinian body politic. The first came from Clinton just before she boarded her plane to attend a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh ostensibly about pledging billions in aid to rebuild Gaza…”
—Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2009
Palestinian Astrophysicist in US Reunited with Wife & Three Remaining Children After Story of His 11-Year-Old Son’s Death in Israeli Air Strike Broadcast on Democracy Now!
“Suleiman Baraka is a Palestinian astrophysicist working at Virginia Tech with NASA. His eleven-year-old son Ibrahim was killed in an air strike during Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza. After he first told his story on Democracy Now!, the US consulate in Jerusalem contacted him and got his surviving family members out of Gaza. This weekend, at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Airport, he was reunited with his wife and three remaining children. We take you to the bittersweet reunion…”
—Democracy Now!, 3 March 2009
Focus on Gaza
“Al Jazeera’s recent coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza was unparalleled. The network was the only international broadcaster with reporters on both sides of the border, in Israel and Gaza.
The war may now be over but the human suffering continues. Focus on Gaza is a new weekly show that will examine all facets of life in the Gaza Strip.
Presented by Imran Garda, the programme will bring all the latest news and devolopments in Gaza and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Al Jazeera will also showcase family life in the densely populated area that some describe as the world’s largest open prison.
Focus on Gaza features Al Jazeera’s team in the territory, including correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, as we continue to lead the way in covering one of the world’s most intractable conflicts….”
–Al Jazeera English, 28 February, 2009