USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Obama Conditions Palestinian Aid on Recognizing Israel’s “Right to Exist”

Posted by uscsjp on March 23, 2009

Recently On Democracy Now!

US Complains to Israel on Gaza Blockade

“The US has again complained to Israel over the blockade of aid supplies to the Gaza Strip. The State Department agency USAID says Israel has prevented goods including jam, toothpaste and toilet paper. On Thursday, Israel rejected a shipment of tuna, canned meat, diapers, wet wipes, sterile gauze, blankets, candles and flashlights.

Hamas Criticizes Rocket Attacks

In other news from Gaza, the Hamas government has criticized recent rocket attacks at nearby Israeli towns. In a statement, Hamas said the rockets have not been fired by its resistance fighters and vowed to find those responsible. The Israeli government cited Palestinian rocket fire as the reason for its assault on Gaza, even though it was Israel that broke the ceasefire with a deadly November 4th attack. The news comes as a leading Palestinian human rights group has officially increased its count of the Palestinian death toll from the Gaza assault. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says 1,434 Palestinians were killed, up from the previous toll of 1,300. The center says 960 of the dead were civilians…”

–Democracy Now!, 13 March, 2009

Obama Conditions Palestinian Aid on Recognizing Israel’s “Right to Exist”

“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Obama administration has announced it will withdraw its entire $900 million aid pledge if the pending Palestinian unity government doesn’t recognize Israel’s ‘right to exist.’ The warning was reportedly delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week. Clinton told Abbas the US Congress won’t approve Palestinian aid unless the Palestinian government also renounces violence. No such conditions have been imposed on Israel. The Israeli government refuses to renounce violence and has never recognized the right of Palestine to exist. Palestinians have also criticized the demand they recognize Israel’s ‘right to exist’ because it forces them to go beyond recognizing Israel within secure borders, but in fact affirm the legitimacy of their dispossession and ongoing occupation…

–Democracy Now!,

What the Chas Freeman Fight Was Really About


“The possibility that Chas Freeman was brought down by an ad hoc operation run on a shoestring by a rogue ex-AIPAC official, Steven Rosen, awaiting trial on espionage charges, working the political and media pipe organ like the neo-conservatives did in the run-up to the Iraq war, is an indication that the guns are in place, the mines are laid, and—more disturbingly—that the Obama administration wandered into the battlefield bereft of a plan, arms, or allies close at hand and got its hat handed to it.

There’s understandable handwringing on thoughtful foreign policy blogs that hoped Freeman taking over something called the National Intelligence Council would lead to a more sensible, less reflexively pro-Israel stance on Middle East issues.

Of course, AIPAC has not endeared itself or its patron to the Obama administration by spearheading a nasty, humiliating, and successful battle to bar a high-level and qualified nominee from a significant post. Take for example the blog post by the Israel Policy Forum’s M.J Rosenberg:

The campaign to defeat Chas Freeman… may come at a cost. The perception, almost universally held, that he was brought down because he is a strong and vocal opponent of Israel’s West Bank and settlement policies is, not good for the Jewish community and the pro-Israel community in particular. … What does it all mean? …[An] insider I spoke to last night said: ‘This was a real pyrrhic victory. One, the administration is pissed off. And, two, Obama is going to be more determined than ever to take a strong stand on settlements, Gaza relief, and negotiations. They shot their wad on Freeman. They will not think that was so smart a few months from now.’

Let me tell you what it all means, MJ. As far as Israel’s lobbying position in Washington, zip.

Israel’s access to buckets of U.S. money and shiploads of arms is secure as long as the grass grows and the rivers run, no matter what it does with settlements on the West Bank or to the people of Gaza.

The real significance of the fight against Freeman takes us away from the traditional need to affirm the right of Israel to exist, enjoy America’s commitment to its continued survival, and consume its yearly entitlement from the U.S. budget. It has everything to do with trying to disrupt Obama’s initiative to engage with Iran — an initiative that has the active encouragement of Russia, probably tacit support from China, and the active interest of Iran itself…”

–CounterPunch, 13 March, 2009


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