SQUARE OFF: Prodigal son returns to lash those who hate Israel

israel It wouldn’t be VEXNEWS if we didn’t fully probe internal party conflicts in forensic detail. From coast to coast, we are the first with the worst.

On the weekend, yesterday’s target of investigation, Senator David Feeney had engaged in bruising encounters with ALP Victorian party conference delegates with whom he had been traditionally aligned prior to the split in Labor Unity triggered by militant splittists within its ranks attempting to scalp much-loved party secretary Stephen Newnham and to launch indecent attacks upon the renowned Suleyman forces of the western suburbs.

If you understand that last paragraph you already know too much.

So it came as a pleasant relief to see the Senator – once such a unifying figure of defiance against crazies – to be re-entering traditional ground on which he had previously won strong support from Labor moderates including from Victoria Labor Unity faction figures like Michael Danby, Bill Shorten, Stephen Conroy and John Brumby, who now find themselves in a different faction from Feeney after his allies acted with extreme excess on some issues.

After a historic stability deal between Labor Unity and the Left moved to constrain some of these excitements, internal party discord has been minimised, Labor insiders say, but occasionally those who had once ridden so high in the saddle occasionally complain of rear-soreness. That’s probably what happened over the weekend. None of those things change the fact that Feeney has often stood up for good causes, including occasionally unpopular ones.

There’s a battle for Labor in government involving patriots combating its Left-wing elements who don’t like Israel and the Department of Foreign Affairs that really hates Israel and hires more Arabists from across Australian universities to deploy across the Middle East to say nasty things about America and Israel in the hope various Arab potentates might order a few more ship-loads of live sheep or Aussie made utes. When the Coalition was in government, its Deputy PM had a similar attitude and had even managed to convince himself that Israel deliberately attacked US ships and had plotted to steal Malcolm Fraser’s trousers which most people assume were taken by a Memphis based sex worker who gave Malcolm more bang for his buck than he wanted.

In that context it was really pleasing to see today’s report from the too-cool-for-school Sydney Morning Herald scribe Peter Hartcher who reported that pro-Israel elements within the government, from Kevin Rudd down were trying to bring Australian foreign policy on Israel back into the hands of people who’d actually submitted themselves to the electoral process.

Our friend Feeney has definitely been part of that, as you’ll see he takes on all-comers on the issue.

MPs recently received a letter from Peter Jennings, a comrade who runs an arm of the ACTU called APHEDA which gives aid – mainly in the area of training – to people in countries in need.

It’s not the worst idea the ACTU has ever had but sadly this organisation has a stridently anti-Israel bent that continues to disgust and appall Labor moderates.

As we have previously chronicled many in the labour movement have become concerned about the rising tide of far left Greens party entryist influence within the ACTU, with some Greens party activists enjoying $100,000+ salaries at the ACTU and some of its affiliates. As their policies are frequently anti-development and anti-jobs, this can create many contradictions and tensions with the labour movement. This certainly applies to the ACTU’s version of foreign policy. Under leaders like Hawke the ACTU enjoyed a close association with Israel, especially its own formidable union movement the Histadrut.

But Greens and leftist militants who hate Israel have done much to corrode this once close relationship.

This was manifest in a letter sent out by the boss of APHEDA to Australian MPs:

Dear Senator,

We at Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA believe Australia should finally add its voice to those many nations calling for an end to the economic blockade of Gaza.

The siege of Gaza is now entering its fourth year.  In the light of the recent killings of nine peace activists taking international aid to the people of Gaza, and given the fact that I am one of the few Australians who have been permitted to enter Gaza this year (I led a trade union delegation to the Middle East in March, and we spent three days in Gaza), I would like to share some reflections concerning the blockade of Gaza.

The Israeli economic blockade of Gaza is illegal.  It contravenes international law, specifically, Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli economic blockade of Gaza is inhumane.  The blockade is causing immense human suffering  for the 1.5 million people living in Gaza, and we know that in cases of deprivation and shortages, it is the women and children who usually suffer the most.   The Gazan people have been driven from enjoying a moderate standard of living four years ago to now being amongst the poorest in the Middle East with 70% now living on less than $ US 1 a day, 75% surviving on UN-supplied food aid, and over 80% adult male unemployment.  UNRWA statistics show that about one-quarter of the trucks are now permitted to enter Gaza each week compared with the average weekly number permitted to enter prior to June 2007 when the blockade began. UNRWA told us that Gazans were receiving only 80% of their daily food requirements, people were going hungry and there were emerging signs of child malnutrition.

The Israeli economic blockade of Gaza is counter-productive.  The stated aim of the blockade is to undermine Hamas, but it is having the opposite effect.  Goods are smuggled through the tunnels from Rafah, Egypt, and Hamas can now control what comes into Gaza, who gets it, and how much tax they will charge on it.  Because of the blockade, Hamas’ power and control over the 1.5 million people of Gaza has increased, not decreased.

The Israeli economic blockade of Gaza is capricious.  Although many houses, schools and public buildings were destroyed during the Israeli invasion on December 2008 and January 2009, very little cement is permitted into Gaza to rebuild.  Does Israel really believe that the frustrated youth of Gaza will make rockets out of cement?  Hair shampoo and conditioner is banned.  Some foodstuffs are permitted, but not industrial margarine.  Some clothing is permitted, but not textiles, so employment cannot be continued in the clothing factories. Cooking gas is permitted by Israel, but only about 60% of their daily needs.

The Israeli economic blockade of Gaza is unsustainable, according the USA Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, last week.  What is Israel’s future plans for the blockade?  To continue for another three years?  Six years?  Twelve years?  How much further can the people of Gaza be pushed into poverty, frustration and anger? For Israel’s sake, friendly nations such as Australia need to assist with a circuit-breaker which will enable Israel to move away from this disastrously failed policy without losing face.  What does Israel hope to achieve by continuing the blockade indefinitely?

In recent days, many world leaders have spoken out against the economic blockade of Gaza, and calling on Israel to lift the blockade.  These calls come from most of the leaders of Europe, from the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and the USA Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Our own Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, speaking in Parliament on June 1, said only that “there should be an easing of the blockade”.

We believe Israel should not just “ease” the blockade, but should observe the full Oslo Agreement, and allow into Gaza all the requirements of the population of Gaza.  This would include not just food and medicines, but also cement for rebuilding (and therefore job creation), oil for re-starting industries and raw material for factories such as textiles.

In recent years, Australia has become a very, very close supporter of Israel, almost always voting with Israel in the United Nations, and rarely offering criticism for the 43 years of military occupation in the West Bank, the many human rights abuses, or the creeping annexation of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  This close, unquestioning friendship should give us influence with our friend, so please use this influence to demand an end to the harsh and illegal treatment of the 1.5 million men, women and children in Gaza.

We believe it is now time for Australia to finally add our voice to those nations strongly calling for an end to the economic blockade of Gaza.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jennings
Executive Officer

VEXNEWS has obtained a letter which shows that at least one of the recipients of the ACTU’s rant was not letting it go without response. Senator Feeney’s response to this ill-considered typical APHEDA attack on Israel is indeed a joyful and comprehensive demolition job on the strange thoughts underpinning Jennings’ assumptions. We thought we’d reproduce Feeney’s response in full to show that when he uses his powers for good – rather than smiting his own brethren – that he is a patriot indeed.

The Israeli government is moving to manage perceptions about the blockade but Feeney’s chronicling of the background of the blockade, what happened, when and why is actually a very useful resource for those caught in arguments about this issue in inner-city drink-pits and online.

Dear Mr Jennings

Re: Israeli blockade of Gaza

Thank you for your letter of 9 June concerning the Israeli blockade of Gaza. I’m writing to let you know that I thoroughly disagree with most of your assertions.

When Israeli withdrew from Gaza in 2005, agreements were reached between Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority allowing for the import and export of goods by land, through both the Israeli and Egyptian borders. Under this agreement, Israel also agreed to the opening of Gaza’s seaports and airport under international supervision.

In June 2006, however, Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PA in a violent military coup d’etat, and began using that territory as a base to launch rocket attacks against Israel.

The agreement between Israel and the PA was not renewed after it expired in 2007 due to the refusal of Hamas to act in accordance with the agreement.

Hamas is an organisation which is committed to the destruction of Israel by force. Its Charter states:

“Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it. Hamas believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [holy land] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”

Since 2006 some twenty-eight Israelis (and several Palestinians) have been killed by Hamas rocket attacks. Rockets are fired at random at Israeli towns, hitting Sderot, Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon. The rockets are imported in pieces from Syria and Iran, smuggled in by both land and sea. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called the Hamas rocket attacks “appalling and unacceptable,” and a “violation of basic humanitarian law.”

In June 2007 Israel imposed a land and sea blockade in an effort to prevent the importation of rockets and other weapons. Egypt also closed its border with Gaza.

I note that your letter makes no mention of the Egyptian blockade of Gaza.

You assert that the blockade of Gaza is illegal, because it contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits collective punishment. I don’t accept this. The blockade is not collective punishment of the people of Gaza. It is a defensive measure intended to stop Hamas using Gaza as a missile platform from which to attack Israel.

You assert that the blockade of Gaza is illegal, because it contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits collective punishment. I don’t accept this. The blockade is not collective punishment of the people of Gaza. It is a defensive measure intended to stop Hamas using Gaza as a missile platform from which to attack Israel.

The Convention was written in 1949 and was intended to regulate warfare between nation states. Its authors could not foresee a situation of conflict between a state and a non-state terrorist organisation such as Hamas. Israel is entitled to defend itself against attacks from such organisations, which of course recognise no international law.

If and when the Palestinian Authority re-asserts its internationally recognised authority over Gaza and disarms Hamas, the blockade can be lifted.

The Geneva Convention is not the only relevant piece of international law. The San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea of 1994 makes it clear that blockades are a legitimate and legal method of warfare. The Manual says that “Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.”

The Manual stipulates that: “The declaration or establishment of a blockade is prohibited if:

(a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or

(b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.”

The Israeli blockade is not a “starvation blockade,” nor is the hardship which the blockade is causing in Gaza disproportionate to the intended purpose of the blockade, which is to save the lives of the civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, who are being killed as a result of Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

You assert that the blockade is inhumane. I don’t dispute that the blockade is causing hardship. I do dispute your contention that it is causing “immense human suffering” in Gaza.

Your source for this contention is stated as being UNRWA statistics and the testimony of UNRWA officials. UNRWA was long ago captured by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists. It is a bloated, corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy which serves mainly to line the pockets of its officials, to misappropriate international aid funds and channel them to terrorist organisations, and to keep the Palestinian people classed as “refugees” and in a state of dependence, more than sixty years after their ancestors left what is now the state of Israel. I don’t place much value on its assertions.

Fortunately, there are other sources of information about the state of affairs in Gaza. The fact is that Gaza is not totally blockaded. Goods are brought to Israel by sea, then sent into Gaza by land after inspection. Israel continues to supply Gaza with electricity, which Hamas pays for with international aid money (while at the same time firing rockets at the power plant which supplies it!).

In 2009 a total of 7,233 truckloads of goods, containing 115,000 tons of food, over 4,000 tons of medicines and medical equipment, 3.3 million litres of fuel and diesel, 95 truckloads of equipment for water and sewage systems and 3,700 tons of chloride for water purification, passed from Israel into Gaza. The shipment of goods into Gaza is made more difficult by the state of lawlessness there. Trucks are frequently hijacked, and goods are stolen for private sale at higher prices. Hamas insists on controlling the distribution of aid and refuses entry to some aid which it can’t control.

Thousands of people, both Palestinians and foreigners, legally enter and exit Gaza every month. During 2009 more than 10,500 patients from Gaza received medical treatment in Israel. Others included students studying abroad, sporting and cultural groups, and Muslims and Christians going on pilgrimages or to religious events. In addition, over 21,000 foreign staff members and over 400 diplomatic delegations entered Gaza in 2009.

Financially, Gaza is the recipient of huge amounts of international aid money, some of which it diverts to buying arms. Since 2007 monetary transfers to Gaza have totalled over US$5 billion. The Gulf Arab states, Iran and the EU make large donations to Gaza. Recently the Hamas government received US$40 million from the Islamic Development Bank and the Qatar Red Crescent Society to purchase hospital equipment. Further, the PA continues to pay the salaries of Gaza civil servants despite the Hamas seizure of power, and in fact spends half its budget in Gaza.

Recent visitors to Gaza do not share your dire view of conditions there. On 3 June 3, Janine Zacharia wrote in The Washington Post;

“If you walk down Gaza City’s main thoroughfare, grocery stores are stocked wall-to-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurt and hummus to Cocoa Puffs. Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States.”

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency said on February 19 that “Gaza markets are saturated with goods.”

Fuel is cheaper in Gaza than it is in Israel. The prices of cement and steel have dropped sharply this year because so much is being brought in from Egypt.

As you note yourself, the Gaza-Egypt border is de facto open to shipment of all kinds of goods.

Of course it’s not healthy that much of Gaza’s economic life depends on foreign aid rather than on a functioning economy – although Gaza is now again exporting fruit and flowers to Europe with Israeli assistance – and there is no doubt that there is considerable poverty and hardship in Gaza. But this is also to a large extent true of the Palestinian population on the West Bank and in the so-called “refugee” camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The root causes of Palestinian dependency and poverty are, firstly, the continuing state of war which exists between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organisations such as Hamas, and, secondly, the vested interest that UNRWA and other agencies opposed to the existence of Israel have in keeping the Palestinians poor, dependent and cooped up in camps as propaganda exhibits for their anti-Israel campaigns.

You assert that the blockade is counter-productive and unsustainable. These are matters of opinion. I agree that the blockade receives much negative publicity and that this fuels anti-Israel sentiment around the world. But that is also true of everything Israel does to defend itself. The West Bank security barrier, for example, has successfully ended the wave of Hamas suicide bombings which killed over 1,000 people (including one Australian), yet it is demonised as an “apartheid fence.”

I recognise Israel’s right to decide for itself what is necessary and sustainable for its own defence.

I would like to see the Gaza blockade ended as soon as possible. I would also like to see a peace settlement based on the creation of a Palestinian state, as soon as possible, in accordance with Labor policy. But neither of these things will be possible as long as organisations such as Hamas, and the states such as Iran and Syria which fund and arm them, continue to refuse to accept the existence of Israel. Even the PA, which officially recognises Israel, continues to insist on the so-called “right of return” for more than 4 million Palestinians to Israel, which would amount in effect to the liquidation of Israel.

I remind you that in 2000 Israeli Labour Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Clinton offered Yasir Arafat a state taking in 94% of the West Bank plus Gaza, with shared sovereignty over Jerusalem. Arafat rejected this offer. It was repeated by Prime Minister Olmert in 2009, with the added offer of trading Israeli land for the areas in the West Bank now occupied by Israel settlers. PA leader Abbas again rejected the offer. It takes two to conclude peace. I am no particular admirer of the current Israeli administration, but no Israeli government can be expected to give away their country’s essential security interests. Peace requires an acceptance by the Palestinians and the Arab states of the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Until that occurs the conflict will continue, and the people of Gaza and the West Bank will continue to suffer as a result.

Finally, you assert that Australia should be putting pressure on Israel to lift the blockade. I reject this view. Israel has the same right to decide on what measures are needed for its defence and security that Australia has, and I’m sure you would not welcome other countries trying to dictate to us how we provide for our security. Nevertheless, I agree with the recent statement by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith that Israel should consider relaxing the blockade to allow easier shipment of supplies to Gaza. More broadly, Australia should continue its bipartisan policy of recent times – supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, while urging all parties to resume negotiations for a peace settlement based on mutual recognition of Israel and a Palestinian state.

It is a great shame that APHEDA – the international aid agency of the ACTU – should adopt such a highly partisan position in relation to Israel.

I would prefer that APHEDA’s energy was spent assisting in the important task of building and strengthening free trade unions and training workers, rather than in attacking Israeli policy.

I note that Israel has a long and proud tradition of trade unionism and that trade unions there enjoy a strong, respected and productive role in public life.

Perhaps APHEDA could aim to replicate this success in Gaza? In Syria? In Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

Perhaps APHEDA could agitate against the arrest and imprisonment of striking bus drivers in Tehran by the regime in Iran, rather than assisting Iran’s proxies in Gaza in their continuing efforts to de-legitimise and destroy the democratic state of Israel.

Yours sincerely


Senator for Victoria



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18 responses to “SQUARE OFF: Prodigal son returns to lash those who hate Israel

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention VEXNEWS 2010© | SQUARE OFF: Prodigal son returns to lash those who hate Israel -- Topsy.com

  2. Anon

    Whilst not a fan of the ALP or any left-of-centre party, Senator Feeney deserves to be congratulated for his above letter.

  3. ian

    Hey folks, did anyone notice Red Ted Baillieu got slaughtered in a pre selection on Sunday?

  4. RDR

    Has anyone got Miley Cyrus’s mobile number?

  5. Boofa Leigh

    Will txt it to you Dick

  6. Blackmambo

    Cheers Feeney, whoever the hell you are.

  7. hsam

    Gotta love these Branch 3 Reform buffoons. They desperately try to claim some kind of reform mandate when ther were clearly tossed aside by the membership. They came 3rd and still cannot believe they lost.

    Mistake one: Not doing a deal with Di-ana. Look how well she worked. She achieved in a few weeks more than what all you layabout grifters achieved together in over a year.

    Mistake two: Putting up Doug as candidate for secretary. He has been lampooned as being some kind of lazy, gambling alcoholic puppet of Pauline. Memebrs did not see him a secretary material. A fact well evidenced in the vote.

    Mistake three: You should have put Joyce up as secretary but I guess the trouble with Joyce is that she is inclined to be her own person and probably would not have been so compliant with the wishes of Pauline.

    Mistake four: Pauline was the elephant in the room (nudge nudge). She drove massive expenditure on lawyers rather than members. Then there are the unanswered questions about her dealings with her husband’s business Urban Giftware.

    Mistake five: Having 8 of the old branch committee of management on your ticket. These were the same blinkered people who followed Pauline into the abyss. The same people who voted in favour of amongst other things, resolutions in support of using Howard era workchoices laws on HSU staff.

    Mistake five: You did not connect with the members. Only a handful of the people on your ticket actually did any meaningful work for the members over the past year or more you spent white-anting the Union and campaigning for your cause.

    Mistake six: You believed your own hype. Clearly nothing has changed on that front.

    Mistake seven: Putting Les Butler on the ticket. He may well have been a former secretary of the HSU but lets not forget that most of his recent history has been on the other side of the table as an employer rep. Those with long memories will remember his picket busting role during the iconic nurses strike in the mid 80’s.

    Mistake eight: Negative sh!tsheets. Nobobdy will know for sure where the infamous “gimp mask” mailout came from but members drew their own conclusions and were appalled.

    Mistake nine: Relying on a low voter turnout so your supporters would carry you across the line to victory. Wrong! Members came out in their droves in the highest turn out ever.

    Mistake ten: Think all members work in major public hospitals. Not true. The HSU is a broad church and the membership is changing. Yet another fundamental thin you fail to grasp.

    Mistake eleven: (Like Spinal Tap, we go all the way up to 11.) You underestimated the power of the members to see through the crap.

    The message was clear but you still don’t get it. It is simple: THE HSU MEMBERS DO NOT WANT YOU! You didn’t win. You didn’t even come a close second. You even beaten by a relative outsider. Face facts. The tribe has spoken. Now please leave the island.

  8. Marilyn

    Feeney is a moron.

  9. Anonymous

    what the hell does hsam comments have to do with the topic

  10. Medici

    “…reported that pro-Israel elements within the government, from Kevin Rudd down were trying to bring Australian foreign policy on Israel back into the hands of people who’d actually submitted themselves to the electoral process.”

    Excuse me, you mean the stackers and rorters who corrupt the democratic processes of the party to get preselection and then are foisted upon an unsuspecting electorate who couldn’t give a shit. The only thing they pray for is that voting becomes optional. Please, these idiots are hardly statesman. They have faced nothing and no one but their own egos, like so many Narcissus gazing at their own reflections in the morning.

  11. Jill

    An excellent, sensible letter.
    Senatir Feeney has evidently chosen to educate himself abotu what goes on in Israel and Gaza and moreover has respect for Israel as a country.
    He is quite right that APHEDA should be concentrating on union matters – how many unionists, i wonder, are ahppy that their dues are financing ill-conceived propaganda against a democratic country, which is not in the brief of any union I’m aware of.

  12. Drunk Guy

    Israel is far from being a democratic country in anything but name. It is a state that has a slave caste system firmly in place which seems to be ignored by all those who claim the only real agressors are from palestine. If you are a palestinain family member who remained in your property after the annexation by Britian for the State Of Israel, you have little or no rights, you cannot vote, you cannot hold positions of authority, or be on a board of directors, you cannot own land (other than the land which you remained on) if you leave Israel you cannot come back. you cannot travel within Israel without a permit.

    If israel is fair dinkum about looking to attain peace, it must go back to Resolution 242, pull back out of the occupied territories, give humanitarian support to re-establish the thousands of homes raised in the process of expansion of the state, (i mean defending itself from rocket attacks)

    Funny thing while Israel claims to be the victim and mourns 26 who have (innocently) died in rocket attacks, the are determined that the thousands and thousands of women and children they have killed in full blown air strikes, supported by tanks and ground troops with gunship backup, are hamas terrorists.

    There must be an end somehow, but I feel that the Greed of Israel will not ever let go of the Idea that it wants to take over the whole of Gaza, and remove all the palestinains (i mean hammas terrorists , obviously?)

    Who knows, If we as world turn a blind eye to that and allow ourselves to believe the propaganda, maybe we will also turn a blind eye when they begin to move into the next country?

  13. Cherc

    “you have little or no rights, you cannot vote, you cannot hold positions of authority,”

    What on earth are you talking about. Arabs not only vote, but are elected to Parliament and have their own political parties. While I’m not an expert in Israeli corporation law, there are whole villages (even cities) in Israel which are Arab villages, where the businesses are owned by Arabs and where everyone speaks Arabic, and where the most prominent building is the mosque. How many arabs in Syria or Saudi Arabia get to vote in democratic elections anyway?
    And as for taking over the whole of Gaza, why would Israel want to do that? No-one wants Gaza, there’s nothing there…the Israelis tried to abandon the place but Hamas won’t let them forget about it (rockets). If you actually compare the map of Israel today with the 1975 map, you will see the place is not expanding – with Lebanon, Sinai, Gaza and West Bank disengagement the territory held is much smaller. If someone reasonable was able to negotiate with them I guess they could give up the rest too.
    “when they begin to move into the next country”

    Which country would that be? Perhaps you might engage with reality sometime or is that too much to ask.

  14. Anonymous

    I can’t beleive this website is still up, what a joke… I don’t think I have ever heard anyone refer to articles like this as ‘the news’. The site should be called Vexracistviews.com

  15. Blackmambo

    87 (of 100) US senators support Israeli self-defense
    (AFP) – 6 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — Eighty-seven of the US Senate’s 100 members have voiced support for Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of threats from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, the Senate said Wednesday.

    The lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama that they “fully support Israel?s right to self-defense.

    “In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Israel took steps to prevent items which could be used to support these attacks from reaching Gaza,” they said, referring to Israel’s four-year naval blockade of the Palestinian territory.

    Israel last week announced it was easing its siege to allow all strictly “civilian” goods into Gaza, after a crisis exploded when Israeli forces killed nine activists during a May 31 raid on a flotilla of aid ships attempting to run the blockade.

    The lawmakers, from both sides of the political aisle, also stressed that “it is our national interest to support Israel at a moment when Israel faces multiple threats from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the current regime in Iran.”

    The lawmakers brought particular attention to the Turkish Muslim charity involved with organizing the aid flotilla, and urged Obama to consider branding the IHH — the acronym for the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation — as a terrorist organization, as Israel did earlier this month.

    They also commended Obama for the action he took “to prevent the adoption of an unfair United Nations Security Council resolution (about the deadly raid) which would have represented a rush to judgment by the international community.”

    A UN Security Council statement condemned the attack, but fell short of a call for an independent investigation, with the United States backing an Israeli probe.

    Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

  16. Pingback: The Ozi Zion Blog » Blog Archive » Australian politics, trade unions and Israel

  17. Soooo tired of all the hate and violence. Why can’t we all just get along (hey, I bet it’s easier than you think)…


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