Covering for Israel
To my disappointment during Bob Schieffer’s conversation with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Thursday afternoon at the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival there was no mention of the June 30 Israeli Navy abduction of the boat The Spirit of Humanity in international waters. It was headed to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid. Among the 21 human rights workers on board were four American citizens, including former U.S. Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney and a friend of mine Huwaida Arraf (a young human rights attorney). Irish Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire was also on board and remains in an Israeli Jail.
According to Israeli authorities McKinney is being uncooperative as she is not willing to sign a document admitting to illegally entering Israeli territory. She was on a boat in claimed international waters when abducted and was forced into Israel. Israel supposedly “gave” Gaza back to the Palestinians in August 2005 but still holds this 25 mile stretch of land with 1.5 million people under a blockade. Nothing enters or leaves Gaza without Israeli approval.
The conversation with Oren, as well as local papers, should have covered this event, but no one seems to want to put Israel in a bad light by bringing up the facts. Political maneuvering should not take precedence over the human rights of a suffering population – the Palestinians in Gaza. To date the U.S. has made no statement on this situation. Justice requires us to hold all nations to he same standards, not always giving Israel a pass.
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Aspen’s dirty downtown alleys are enough of a blight that the city government is taking the initiative to clean them up this week.