A Million Palestinians Threatened with Starvation by Israel

The Israelis already have the Gaza Strip under military siege, carefully controlling what and who goes in and out of it. They have now cut off most fuel, and the United Nations has been forced to stop distributing food aid.

This Israeli government action is an unvarnished war crime. It is known as collective punishment. There was already hunger and malnutrition among Palestinian children, which will now be worsened.

Hamas told Jimmy Carter it was ready to negotiate.

The Olmert government is not interested in negotiating, apparently, even though nothing the Likud and the Kadima “Likud Light” has done since 2001 has diminished the salience of the Gaza Muslim fundamentalist party, including a concerted campaign of murder, kidnapping, assault and collective punishment. Despite the violent groups on its margins, Hamas itself has at various points indicated a willingness to play ordinary politics, but Olmert will be satisfied with nothing less than destroying it. So far it isn’t going well for him.

Cutting off fuel to the Gazans and provoking a cut-off of UN food aid is not only criminal but also stupid. It is difficult to imagine such mean-spirited sanctions against civilians having any policy effect whatsoever, so they are just making Israel look bad.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman called Carter a bigot for his diplomacy.

Gillerman called Hizbullah, an Arab party, “animals” in summer of 2006. Would he like to expand the reference to include other races? How many of us exactly are Untermenschen in his view? For Likudniks to call Jimmy Carter a “bigot” is sort of like the Ku Klux Klan denouncing Nelson Mandela for racial insensitivity.

PS A reader wrote in that if it is all right to criticize Zionists without being anti-Semitic it should be all right to criticize Hizbullah without being anti-Arab. But I’m not talking about criticizing Hizbullah, which I have done. I’m talking about dehumanizing them and calling them animals. I think that remark demonstrated a racist mindset on Gillerman’s part, of which he should be ashamed. And I don’t see why the US should let him into the country to smear our brave, humanitarian ex-presidents as “bigots.” Jimmy Carter has built homes for the poor, helped nearly wipe out a deadly parasite in Africa, helped negotiate social peace around the world impartially. Not to mention all the good he did Israel in neutralizing Egypt, its most powerful military rival (and Gillerman and his like repaid him with adventurism in Lebanon and thumbing their nose at American entreaties to make peace with the Palestinians). What good has Gillerman ever done anyone? He isn’t good enough to shine Jimmy Carter’s shoes.