Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Israel's deadly fiasco at sea condemned but what next for the U.S. and its "eternal ally"?

Even with overnight arm twisting by the U.S. the U.N. Security Council "Presidential Statement" leaves no doubt that Israel is being condemned for its seizure--in international waters--of the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Middle East Report Online provides by far the most valuable brief on the flotilla and Israel's response.

Notwithstanding Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's claim that the Israeli commandos were armed only with paint guns and side arms, Israel has once again demonstrated its penchant for disproportionate force and its contempt for international law. While the "Free Gaza" flotilla has been prevented from reaching Gaza with its cargo of humanitarian supplies, the political purpose of the convoy has been largely achieved. Israel (with Egyptian complicity) blockades Gaza from sea, land and air, and has done so since 2006 when Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Israel's commando fiasco at sea draws world's attention to the blockade and its humanitarian consequences for the 1.5 million civilians of Gaza (Israeli officials claim the situation in Gaza is good). Here is the relevant paragraph from the Presidential Statement:
The Security Council stresses that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable. The Council re-emphasizes the importance of the full implementation of Resolutions 1850 and 1860. In that context, it reiterates its grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and stresses the need for sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.
This is moment when Barack Obama's diplomatic mettle will be put to the test. Will he seize the moment to deliver a stern wake-up call to the "eternal ally"? Even Israel's Mossad head, Meir Dagan, recognizes that Israel is becoming a burden for the U.S. Will Obama?

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