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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Letter To Bush On Gaza Crisis

Letter To Bush On Gaza Crisis

By Ralph Nader
Countercurrents.org


Dear George W. Bush,

January 02, 2009 -- Cong. Barney Frank said recently that Barack Obama's declaration that "there is only one president at a time" over-estimated the number. He was referring to the economic crisis. But where are you on the Gaza crisis where the civilian population of Gaza, its civil servants and public facilities are being massacred and destroyed respectively by U.S built F-16s and U.S. built helicopter gunships.

The deliberate suspension of your power to stop this terrorizing of 1.5 million people, mostly refugees, blockaded for months by air, sea and land in their tiny slice of land, is in cowardly contrast to the position taken by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. That year he single handedly stopped the British, French and Israeli aircraft attack against Egypt during the Suez Canal dispute.

Fatalities in Gaza are already over 400 and injuries close to 2000 so far as is known. Total Palestinian civilian casualties are 400 times greater then the casualties incurred by Israelis. But why should anyone be surprised at your blanket support for Israel's attack given what you have done to a far greater number of civilians in Iraq and now in Afghanistan?

Confirmed visual reports show that Israeli warplanes and warships have destroyed or severely damaged police stations, homes, hospitals, pharmacies, mosques, fishing boats, and a range of public facilities providing electricity and other necessities. Why should this trouble you at all? It violates international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter. You too have repeatedly violated international law and committed serious constitutional transgressions.

Then there is the matter of the Israeli government blocking imports of critical medicines, equipment such as dialysis machines, fuel, food, water, spare parts and electricity at varying intensities for almost two years. The depleted UN aid mission there has called this illegal blockade a humanitarian crisis especially devastating to children, the aged and the infirm. Chronic malnutrition among children is rising rapidly. UN rations support eighty percent of this impoverished population. How do these incontrovertible facts affect you? Do you have any empathy or what you have called Christian charity?

What would a vastly shrunken Texas turned in an encircled Gulag do up against the 4th most powerful military in the world? Would these embattled Texans be spending their time chopping wood?

Gideon Levy, the veteran Israeli columnist for Ha'aretz, called the Israeli attack a "brutal and violent operation" far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south. He added: "The diplomatic efforts were just in the beginning, and I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed.....to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs-just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this. And this has nothing to do with self-defense or with retaliation even. It went out of proportion, exactly like two-and-a-half years ago in Lebanon."

Apparently, thousands of Israelis, including some army reservists, who have demonstrated against this destruction of Gaza agree with Mr. Levy. However, their courageous stands have not reached the mass media in the U.S. whose own reporters cannot even get into Gaza due to Israeli prohibitions on the international press.

Your spokespeople are making much ado about the breaking of the six month truce. Who is the occupier? Who is the most powerful military force? Who controls and blocks the necessities of life? Who has sent raiding missions across the border most often? Who has sent artillery shells and missiles at close range into populated areas? Who has refused the repeated comprehensive peace offerings of the Arab countries issued in 2002 if Israel would agree to return to the 1967 borders and agree to the creation of a small independent Palestinian state possessing just twenty two percent of the original Palestine?

The "wildly inaccurate rockets", as reporters describe them, coming from Hamas and other groups cannot compare with the modern precision armaments and human damage generated from the Israeli side. There are no rockets coming from the West Bank into Israel. Yet the Israeli government is still sending raiders into that essentially occupied territory, still further entrenching its colonial outposts, still taking water and land and increasing the checkpoints This is going on despite a most amenable West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, whom you have met with at the White House and praised repeatedly. Is it all vague words and no real initiatives with you and your emissary Condoleezza Rice?

Peace was possible, but you provided no leadership, preferring instead to comply with all wishes and demands by the Israeli government-even resupplying it with the still active cluster bombs in south Lebanon during the invasion of that country in 2006.

The arguments about who started the latest hostilities go on and on with Israel always blaming the Palestinians to justify all kinds of violence and harsh treatment against innocent civilians. From the Palestinian standpoint, you would do well to remember the origins of this conflict which was the dispossession of their lands. To afford you some empathy, recall the oft-quoted comment by the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who told the Zionist leader, Nahum Goldmann: "There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis Hitler Auschwitz but was that their [the Palestinians] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"


Alfred North Whitehead once said: "Duty arises out of the power to alter the course of events." By that standard, you have shirked mightily your duty over the past eight years to bring peace to both Palestinians and Israelis and more security to a good part of the world.

The least you can do in your remaining days at the White House is adopt a modest profile in courage, and vigorously demand and secure a ceasefire and a solidly based truce. Then your successor, President-elect Obama can inherit something more than the usual self-censoring Washington puppet show that eschews a proper focus on the national interests of the United States.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

5 comments:

Omong said...

every american who paid taxes have palestinian blood on their hands

when they choose to be blinded by these elements of terrorism

who hide behind a hypocrtitical cries of "civilised democracy"

BaitiBadarudin said...

Not surprising that the Red Necks refused to vote for Ralph Nader for US President-elect.

Dal said...

Tuan Omong, you are THE ILLUSIVE ONE. We have been trying to contact you.

Thanks for your contribution.

BaitiBadarudin, your short precise comment proves that I have a lot to learn from you.

Seriously Omong and Baiti I've been reading your past comments and peoples comment about you all .. and your write-ups ... Ermmm especially what herbs good for HP?

BaitiBadarudin said...

Tuan Dal,
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Di samping itu, saya rasa petua daripada blog ini juga dapat membantu, InsyaAllah (www.artikelduniaherba1.blogspot.com)
Gaya hidup
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Gunakan minyak sawit untuk memasak. Kaya dengan vitamin E dan carotenoids.
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Minum air kosong/galian antara 6-8 gelas sehari.
Gantikan garam biasa dengan garam bukit/gunung Himalaya
Isi masa lapang dengan mendalami pelajaran ugama, beribadah, membaca Quran, Ayat-ayat Quran didapati menenangkan otak, merendahkan tekanan darah.
Herba
Gabungan 2 sudu besar minyak zaitun (extra virgin) dan 1 sudu besar cuka epal dengan ½ cawan air galian, 3 x sehari. Menstabilkan paras kolesterol dan trigliserida, melancar dan menguatkankan fungsi hati, mengurangkan tekanan darah dan mencairkan darah, dan sebagai antioksidan.
1 cawan teh 1 sudu besar pegaga dengan ½ sudu teh kunyit atau temu lawak, 3 X sehari. Bantu rehatkan otak/saraf dan rendahkan tekanan darah, sebagai antioksidan.
Suplemen
Coenzyme Q10, 50-100 mg sehari. Bantu sel-sel tubuh dan jantung menjana tenaga.
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Herbalis Bahrain MH
Selamat mengamalkan gaya hidup baru!

Naqsya Bandy said...

Dal, here's a memo, but for Obama to add to your collection. This one is written by Uri Avnery as posted in http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090112/avnery.

This article originally appeared on Uri Avnery's website at http://www.avnery-news.co.il/

About Uri Avnery:
Uri Avnery is a veteran of Israel's 1948 war, a former Member of the Knesset, founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement and winner of the 2001 Right Livelihood Award, often called the "alternative Nobel Peace Prize." His book "1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem," which was published in Hebrew soon after the 1948 war and was a bestseller in Israel, has just been translated into English for the first time by Oneworld Publications.

=========================


A Memo to Obama on Israel
By Uri Avnery


The following humble suggestions are based on my seventy years of experience as an underground fighter, special forces soldier in the 1948 war, editor-in-chief of a newsmagazine, member of the Knesset and founding member of a peace movement:

1) As far as Israeli-Arab peace is concerned, you should act from Day One.

2) Israeli elections are due to take place in February 2009. You can have an indirect but important and constructive impact on the outcome, by announcing your unequivocal determination to achieve Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-all-Arab peace in 2009.

3) Unfortunately, all your predecessors since 1967 have played a double game. While paying lip service to peace, and sometimes going through the motions of making some effort for peace, they have in practice supported our governments in moving in the very opposite direction. In particular, they have given tacit approval to the building and enlargement of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace.

4) All the settlements are illegal in international law. The distinction sometimes made between "illegal" outposts and the other settlements is a propaganda ploy designed to obscure this simple truth.

5) All the settlements since 1967 have been built with the express purpose of making a Palestinian state--and hence peace--impossible, by cutting the territory of the prospective State of Palestine into ribbons. Practically all our government departments and the army have openly or secretly helped to build, consolidate and enlarge the settlements--as confirmed by the 2005 report prepared for the government by lawyer Talia Sasson.

6) By now, the number of settlers in the West Bank has reached some 250,000 (apart from the 200,000 settlers in the Greater Jerusalem area, whose status is somewhat different). They are politically isolated, and sometimes detested by the majority of the Israel public, but enjoy significant support in the army and government ministries.

7) No Israeli government would dare to confront the concentrated political and material might of the settlers. Such a confrontation would need very strong leadership and the unstinting support of the President of the United States to have any chance of success.

8) Lacking these, all "peace negotiations" are a sham. The Israeli government and its US backers have done everything possible to prevent the negotiations with both the Palestinians and the Syrians from reaching any conclusion, for fear of provoking a confrontation with the settlers and their supporters. The present "Annapolis" negotiations are as hollow as all the preceding ones, each side keeping up the pretense for its own political interests.

9) The Clinton administration, and even more so the Bush administration, allowed the Israeli government to keep up this pretense. It is therefore imperative to prevent members of these administrations from diverting your Middle Eastern policy into the old channels.

10) It is important for you to make a complete new start, and to state this publicly. Discredited ideas and failed initiatives--such as the Bush "vision," the Road Map, Annapolis and the like--should be thrown into the junkyard of history.

11) To make a new start, the aim of American policy should be stated clearly and succinctly. This should be: to achieve a peace based on the two-state solution within a defined time span (say, by the end of 2009).

12) It should be pointed out that this aim is based on a reassessment of the American national interest, in order to extract the poison from American-Arab and American-Muslim relations, strengthen peace-oriented regimes, defeat Al-Qaeda-type terrorism, end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and achieve a viable accommodation with Iran.

13) The terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace are clear. They have been crystallized in thousands of hours of negotiations, conferences, meetings and conversations. They are:

13.1) A sovereign and viable State of Palestine will be established side by side with the State of Israel.

13.2) The border between the two states will be based on the pre-1967 Armistice Line (the "Green Line"). Insubstantial alterations can be arrived at by mutual agreement on an exchange of territories on a 1:1 basis.

13.3) East Jerusalem, including the Haram-al-Sharif ("Temple Mount") and all Arab neighborhoods will serve as the capital of Palestine. West Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and all Jewish neighborhoods, will serve as the capital of Israel. A joint municipal authority, based on equality, may be established by mutual consent to administer the city as one territorial unit.

13.4) All Israeli settlements--except any which might be joined to Israel in the framework of a mutually agreed exchange of territories-- will be evacuated (see 15 below).

13.5) Israel will recognize in principle the right of the refugees to return. A Joint Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, composed of Palestinian, Israeli and international historians, will examine the events of 1948 and 1967 and determine who was responsible for what. Each individual refugee will be given the choice between (1) repatriation to the State of Palestine, (2) remaining where he/she is living now and receiving generous compensation, (3) returning to Israel and being resettled, (4) emigrating to any other country, with generous compensation. The number of refugees who will return to Israeli territory will be fixed by mutual agreement, it being understood that nothing will be done that materially alters the demographic composition of the Israeli population. The large funds needed for the implementation of this solution must be provided by the international community in the interest of world peace. This will save much of the money spent today on military expenditure and direct grants from the United States.

13.6) The West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip constitute one national unit. An extraterritorial connection (road, railway, tunnel or bridge) will connect the West Bank with the Gaza Strip.

13.7) Israel and Syria will sign a peace agreement. Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 line and all settlements on the Golan Heights will be dismantled. Syria will cease all anti-Israeli activities conducted directly or by proxy. The two parties will establish normal relations between them.

13.8) In accordance with the Saudi Peace Initiative, all member states of the Arab League will recognize Israel and establish normal relations with it. Talks about a future Middle Eastern Union, on the model of the EU, possibly to include Turkey and Iran, may be considered.

14) Palestinian unity is essential for peace. Peace made with only one section of the people is worthless. The US will facilitate Palestinian reconciliation and the unification of Palestinian structures. To this end, the US will end its boycott of Hamas, which won the last elections, start a political dialogue with the movement and encourage Israel to do the same. The US will respect any result of democratic Palestinian elections.

15) The US will aid the government of Israel in confronting the settlement problem. As from now, settlers will be given one year to leave the occupied territories voluntarily in return for compensation that will allow them to build their homes in Israel proper. After that, all settlements--except those within any areas to be joined to Israel under the peace agreement--will be evacuated.

16) I suggest that you, as president of the United States, come to Israel and address the Israeli people personally, not only from the rostrum of the Knesset but also at a mass rally in Tel-Aviv's Rabin Square. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt came to Israel in 1977, and, by addressing the Israeli people directly, completely changed their attitude towards peace with Egypt. At present, most Israelis feel insecure, uncertain and afraid of any daring peace initiative, partly because of a deep distrust of anything coming from the Arab side. Your personal intervention, at the critical moment, could literally do wonders in creating the psychological basis for peace.