Friday, January 23, 2009

Israel Palestine - Fourth UN School Hit - Saudi Prince Warns US

Juan Cole is reporting that Israel has hit yet another UN school before ceasing fire. This will have been the fourth UN school to be shelled and, in this one, 1600 refugees were huddling from the airstrikes. More children are dead. Only two little boys dead - a small number, some may say. Ask their mothers how small.

The rationalizing that so many are willing to do in order to defend Israeli conduct during this time has become empty-sounding to people like me who, like many other US citizens, support the state of Isreal yet clearly see that the lack of even-handedness by US government has only fueled the cold calculations recently made by the Israeli government. Despite US political leaders blaming Hamas totally and at nearly every opportunity, Israel is losing in the court of US public opinion because conscientious people aren't buying it.

Professor Cole makes an excellent point when discussing Israeli election authorities who, by fiat, may "simply ban certain Arab parties from running in the next election." [Jonathan Cook, Alternet]

I agree with the belief that, in a world with ever-increasing diversity in populations due to immigration and a global community that becomes more closely-knit by the day due to modern technology facilitating instant communication, a monochrome ethnic nationalism is more and more difficult to maintain because the people of the world are watching as if they're looking into a picture window and seeing nearly every move governments make in real-time. They see the injustice that comes with cleansing a government of relevant voices - and how it stands to become a very sad apartheid. It requires more and more violence, as pointed out by Professor Cole.

Saudi royal family member Prince Turki al-Faisal has warned President Obama in a Financial Times op-ed that the Middle East peace process and U.S.-Saudi ties are at risk unless Washington changes their tack on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. al-Faisal says,
"Unless the new U.S. administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk."

From: Saudi patience is running out by Turki al-Faisal, January 22 2009
This is not an entirely new idea coming from leaders of the region, by the way. In a rare November 2001 television interview, Prince Turki Al-Faisal had described how "[then Crown-Prince] Abdullah had sent a [pre-9/11] letter to [then new] President George W Bush in which he stated that relations between the two countries were at a crossroads because of unsatisfactory U.S. handling of the Middle East conflict.

Also being reported today in the Financial Times, President Obama has urged Israel to open Gaza's borders.