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Thursday, January 15, 2009


International reaction on Gaza

The "bridge too far" hasn't been crossed, but at least one foot has been set on the bridge this morning:
Britain calls 'indefensible' the Israeli destroying of UN headquarters in Gaza and its laying waste to the much-needed food aid there.

"Today's attack on the UN headquarters in Gaza is indefensible," said the country's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, AFP reported on Thursday.

France and the EU commission voiced similar condemnation.
From the U.S., so far as I can find, crickets. Right now Susan Rice is having a confirmation hearing to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. There's no transcript yet, but from someone who is "liveblogging" the event, here's one delightful bit:
11:37. Senator Boxer: how do you convince people at the UN that the situation in Gaza is all Hamas' fault?
Yes, Barbara, that is indeed the central task at hand.

Some think Rice will be an improvement over, say John Bolton. But consider this:

"The goal of our diplomacy at the United Nations must be to make it a more perfect forum to address the most pressing global challenges," she said. The "U.N. sometimes deeply frustrates Americans, and I am aware of its shortcomings, yet all nations understand the importance of this organization."

This understanding, she said, is why countries like Cuba, Sudan and North Korea try to render the U.N. human rights council "ineffective and objectionable."
The U.N. Human Rights Council, with Cuba playing an active role, condemned Israeli aggression a few days ago. Little wonder Rice finds the council "objectionable." Unfortunately, I can't really fault her characterization of it as "ineffective."

Update: Still no transcript, but here's (PDF) a copy of her 8+ pages of opening remarks. Here's the sum total of what she had to say about Palestine:

"It [the importance of the United Nations] is also why many try to use the UN to willfully and unfairly condemn our ally Israel."
"Recent events remind us yet again of the importance of working to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve their goal of a peaceful two-state solution that achieves lasting security for Israel and a viable state for the Palestinians."
She couldn't even bring herself to utter the word "Gaza."

Update: The New York Times reports on the totally reprehensible behavior of the members of the U.S. Senate questioning Rice:

But questions about the fighting in Gaza did not emerge until about two-thirds of the way through the nearly three-hour hearing. The two questions came in the context of what to do to stop Hamas firing rockets into Israel. None addressed the heavy civilian toll, now over 1,000, among the Palestinian population.
Think about that in conjunction with what is happening today, every minute, every hour. It took two hours before anyone even mentioned the subject, and even then it was in the context of "defending Israel." Disgusting.

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