Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Editorial from Middle East Report on Gaza

The current scene of bombed-out neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip resembles the destruction Israel wrought in Lebanon during the summer of 2006. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

Just published online, this commentary from the editors of Middle East Report (of which I am one) will appear in the next issue (#250).

Here's an excerpt:

Another path is possible, of course. Obama could quietly drop US rejection of the 2006 Palestinian election results, and work to help the Palestinians form a national unity government. As the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is advocating, he could call the siege of Gaza by its rightful name -- collective punishment -- and demand that it cease. He could throw the weight of Washington behind Security Council action toward that end, and toward a genuine halt to settlement and separation wall construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He could enforce the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, and terminate US supply to Israel of F-16s and Apache helicopters, paid for with US military aid dollars, because they have been used to harm civilians in the attack on Gaza. The measure of Barack Obama will be how far, if at all, he travels toward such a dramatic transformation of US policy on the question of Palestine.

Is it true that “change is coming” when Obama enters the White House? We hope so. Yet the conventional pro-Israel tilt of his campaign indicates otherwise, as does the composition of his foreign policy crew. Obama appears poised to content himself with more energetic US engagement in the sort of flawed negotiations of the Clinton years, the sort that put ending the occupation last, as if the developments of the Bush years had not rendered that approach utterly untenable.

Please, Mr. President-elect, surprise us.

Read the entire commentary here.

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