One Year After Cairo: The Status Quo on Israel Must Go

June 4, 2010

The entire world sees the attack on the flotilla to Gaza from Turkey for what it is, a military raid on a civilian ship--that is, everywhere but the United States and the Israeli government.  That's what happened in Gaza in December 2008 and in Lebanon in 2006, and that's what is happening now.  The brazen aggressiveness and desperation of the Israeli government media spin can be best summed up by another Israeli, Gideon Levy, a columnist for the renowned newspaper Haaretz:


The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty - the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty - the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

Precisely one year ago the President encouraged the Palestinians and those who care about the Palestinian cause to take the higher moral ground and engage in a non-violent struggle to end the occupation.  He stated this at his historical speech in Cairo:

Palestinians must abandon violence.  Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed.  For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation.  But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.  It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding.  This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.  It's a story with a simple truth:  that violence is a dead end.  It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus.  That's not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is surrendered.

Yet when this exact approach was used this past week, the outcome was Israeli military brutality  and more casualties.

Immediately following the crises, carefully crafted talking points were sent out accusing the humanitarian workers on the ship as having ties to Al-Qaeda, claiming that they were smuggling weapons into Gaza, and actually charging the flotilla passengers with "pre-meditated" attacks against the defenseless Israeli soldiers.  What is disconcerting to us as Americans is that all this propaganda  crumbled in its desperate and illogical  attempts to deflect criticism of Israel's actions, except in the US.

Yet, the administration's tepid and non-committal stance on the whole incident does not lend confidence to President Obama's promise that America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own. The worse part about the timing of the incident for President Obama is the timing.  He was planning to hail the resurrection of the peace process with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu.  He was planning to show progress in his Cairo declaration from a year ago. Mr. Netanyahu foiled President Obama's attempts to end expansion of Israeli settlements.  Now, the Israeli Prime Minister is attempting to end any talks about lifting the siege on Gaza.  But everyone in the world except our government and political establishment sees the reality--it's the Occupation.

blog comments powered by Disqus



Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.

Or become a member.
MAKE A DONATION