Here at STL we have tried to get away from just posting links to and summaries of interesting articles in favor of insight discussions and leave the link sharing to Twitter. But this new discussion piece by “The most important intellectual of our time,” Noam Chomsky , according to the NYT, over at ZNet is just too important for you to miss. Follow the link below:
I was reading the front page story on the NYT’s website about the Israel/Gaza Strip conflict and found five bits of information that drew my interest.
Israel’s aerial assaults on targets in Gaza broadened on Tuesday, with barrages that destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant, plunging the enclave of 1.7 million into deeper deprivation with no power, running water or sewage treatment.
Israel’s military made clear it had widened the scope of the bombing campaign in Gaza to hit the political structures of Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, including the home of Ismael Haniya, the No. 2 Hamas official behind Khaled Meshal, its leader-in-exile in Qatar. But Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said it was unclear whether Israel had been responsible for the debilitating strike on the power plant, where an enormous fire hurtled thick, black smoke skyward, visible for miles.
The shutdown of the power plant, which Israel previously attacked in 2006 and which sat idle for weeks this past winter for lack of fuel, threatened to turn the situation in Gaza into a major humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.
F-16 and Apache helicopter strikes also ruined the headquarters of the Al Aqsa satellite television and radio channels affiliated with Hamas.
Also flattened was the Financial Monitoring Authority, a government building where some Hamas leaders kept offices. Relatives of Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, own the home next door, which was damaged; Mr. Sourani said his brother, his brother’s wife and his 94-year-old aunt were in the house at the time of the strike and had received no warning.
My question here is what happened to the stated goal of stopping rocket fire into Israel and eliminating Hamas’ smuggling tunnels? What’s all of this now? Collective punishment and the destruction of Hamas is the only real goal.
An update in the NYT reports that Sec. of State John Kerry blamed the breakdown of the most recent attempt Mid-East peace talks on Israel’s announcement of new settlements in East Jerusalem.
Notice how, though, as in almost all major media outlets in America, the NYT quickly reports that the Palestinians are just as at fault with their supposed “tit-for-tat” actions by applying for statehood with various international unions.
In the American mass media, Israel can mostly do no wrong.
A good piece in The Guardian by Peter Beaumont argues that the United States, and Secy. of State John Kerry, specifically, is more invested and engaged with Mid-East peace talks than either Netanyahu or Abbas.
Beaumont’s analysis seems to be apparently true according to my opinion.
Sec. of State John Kerry’s talks with the Palestinian Authorities Pres. Mahmoud Abbas were cancelled earlier today by Abbas, or by both. We do not exactly know.
The reason for the cancellation was that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have moved to appeal to 15 international agencies for Palestinian statehood, a move that the Israelis and U.S. are strongly against.
The Palestinian Authority announced that this path was taken because the Israelis missed a deadline for a fourth prisoner release that was scheduled for the end of March.
This appeal to agencies such as the Vienna and Geneva Conventions, is a good move despite the threat from the U.S. and Israel that they will stop financial aid to the occupied territories if such actions are taken.
In my opinion the Palestinians never get reasonable concessions from Israel within the parameters of the Peace Talks. The main sticker is that the Israelis always find a way to keep building further settlements in Palestinian territory and East Jerusalem, which most of the world considers illegal.
Also, the Israelis complain about the release of “terrorists” and “militant” prisoners who were engaged in the Intifadas. But what about all of the offenses by the Israeli military with their murder of civilians? It’s absurd.
So I believe that the Palestinians should take the road that they seem set upon taking by applying to these 15 agencies for the Peace Talks lead them to nowhere.
As an article in The Post reports, Sec. of State John Kerry meets in Geneva to possibly freeze some of the most severe economic sanctions against Iran in an effort to stop uranium enrichment by the Middle Eastern state.
As the report says, and as usual, Netanyahu of Israel wants nothing to do with talks but rather wants what seems as military action against Iran despite not coming out at saying it directly.
But listen to what Kerry says:
“Let me just ask you simply: Are we better off not talking to them, and they continue to build the capacity, and then we have an automatic military confrontation?” Kerry said. “Or are we better off having a freeze where they are today and take the program backward so that you expand the amount of time before they could break out? Which way is safer? It’s very clear to me how you’re safer.”
A good article in The Post about a proposition from Sec. of State Kerry pledging a $4 billion stimulus package for the depressed West Bank in an effort to restart the peace process in Israel. Also, the article goes into some good issues also at stake in the stalled talks.