Friday, June 11, 2010

US reaction to flotilla attack is unacceptable

Gulf News

The Obama administraton has failed in its duty to truth and justice in its reaction to the state-sponsored terrorist attack on the Freedom Flotilla. After a peaceful flotilla of ships was pirated on the high seas, innocent people shot dead and their goods stolen, Obama only managed to say that "it was a tragic situation" when he commented on the attack and loss of life.

Obama should have called for legal action to be taken against those who committed the piracy. He should have called for the humanitarian goods to be delivered, without hindrance, to the people of Gaza. Instead, in a bizarre interview with Larry King, Obama managed to infuriate the Arab world by saying that there had been "missiles raining down on Israeli cities along the Israel/Gaza border", which never happened. It is true that a few missiles were fired over civilian targets, which was wrong.

But Hamas stopped firing the missiles a long time ago, and it was outrageous that during this interview Obama failed to speak of the slaughter of Gazans during the Israeli invasion last January. He portrayed the Gaza blockade as some kind of economic problem, rather than the humanitarian outrage that it is. He said that there was "a blockage up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses".

Obama should have taken the opportunity of the terrible Israeli attack to look at the bigger picture and speak of the core issues of the Palestinian conflict with the Israelis, which are the continuing occupation of the West Bank, and the blockade of Gaza. He should have stood by what he said at the beginning of his presidency when he spoke about the need for a complete freeze on building in the illegal colonies on the West Bank. His present silence condemns him, and he needs to recognise that his policies have drifted into ineffective irrelevancy.

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