Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Publishers' Page

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Publishers' Page

Article excerpt

AIPAC Working Overtime

Thanks to Judge T.S. Ellis, who has repeatedly agreed to delay the trial of two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee charged with spying for Israel (see p. 14), AIPAC has been able to promote several pet projects this election year (see p. 19). Among the most egregious legislation it's worked to push through Congress are House Resolution 362 and its sister Senate Resolution 580, which call for the president to stop all shipments of oil from reaching Iran and which also demand "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran" unless Tehran abandons its nuclear program. This would require a naval blockade of Iran-an act of war. When the entire Gulf region is a war zone and oil is $10 a gallon, will pundits once again deny that...

This War Was for Israel.

Also thanks to AIPAC's efforts, our tax dollars are providing an extra $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next 10 years (not including loan guarantees). While failing to pass a budget for this country, American legislators made sure Israel didn't have to wait for its money, by slipping the extra loot into an amendment to legislation funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Otherwise Israel's extra $170 million in military aid would have been hung up in a "continuous resolution"-and a foreign country deserves better than that, doesn't it?

Shooting Back Documents Crimes.

As part of a project called "Shooting Back," B'Tselem distributed 100 video cameras to Palestinians in the West Bank. On July 7 a 14-year-old Palestinian girl filmed an IDF soldier shooting a rubber-coated steel bullet at close range at a bound Palestinian youth who had been detained for an hour following a demonstration that day in the West Bank village of Na'alin. Thanks to "Shooting Back," the whole world witnessed the atrocity.

Scathing Report Long Overdue.

Following the Annapolis summit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked retired Gen. James Jones, who last year wrote a highly critical report on Iraqi security forces, to evaluate the situation in the occupied territories. Jones, the U.S. security coordinator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has written a devastating critique of Israel's policies in the territories and its attitude toward the Palestinian Authority's security services in the West Bank. The Bush administration is debating whether to publish the harsh report or just release a summary. Of course, Americans interested in how their tax dollars are spent in the Middle East would not learn of the report's existence from their own country's mainstream media. Why are we not surprised that the account appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz?

State Department Briefing on Gaza Correspondent Omer

Nearly 5,000 people signed our petition addressed to Secretary of State Rice condemning the assault on Mohammed Omer at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan, and demanding U.S. intervention to end Israel's harassment of travelers and journalists. On Aug. 1 we delivered the petition to the State Department and had a good meeting with Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Gene Cretz and Democracy, Rights and Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary Erica Barks-Ruggles, who said they'd followed Omer's case closely. They described Israel's treatment of our award-winning 24-year-old correspondent as "particularly brutal" and "way off the charts. …

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