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Submitted by Robert Naiman on 7 July 2010 - 5:45pm
Just Foreign Policy News
July 7, 2010
Hamas Lawmaker: Gaza Flotilla Did More Than 10,000 Rockets
Who now doubts that strategic nonviolent action can transform the politics of the Israel/Palestine conflict? Not Hamas parliamentarian Aziz Dweik, the Wall Street Journal reports: "When we use violence, we help Israel win international support," said Aziz Dweik, a leading Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank. "The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets." What might happen if Muslim-majority nations demanded that the US stop subsidizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank that even the Israeli government says are illegal? What might happen if they backed the boycott of corporations explicitly linked to the Israeli occupation?
Viral IDF dancing video unwittingly reveals reality of occupation in Hebron
Adam Horowitz notes at Mondoweiss that this video of Israeli soldiers dancing in Hebron - which has been viewed on youtube more than a million times - unintentionally reveals a picture of the Israeli occupation that most Americans don't know about. Why is the street deserted? Because Palestinians are forbidden to use it; though it was formerly a major Palestinian commercial street; though the Israeli government agreed to re-open the street under the Oslo accords.
South of the Border, scheduled screenings:
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 7 July 2010 - 12:04pm
Who now doubts that strategic nonviolent action can transform the politics of the Israel/Palestine conflict?
Not Hamas parliamentarian Aziz Dweik, the Wall Street Journal reports:
"When we use violence, we help Israel win international support," said Aziz Dweik, a leading Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank. "The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets."
A few months ago, the Israeli government's blockade of Gaza was not a prominent issue on the world's agenda. Now, the Israeli government is being politically compelled to "ease" the blockade. Not end it: still, materials for reconstruction are not yet being let it in; still, exports from Gaza are not yet being allowed out; still, inputs for Gaza's factories are not yet being allowed in. But even the measures to "ease" the blockade which have now been announced, such as replacing the list of allowed items with a list of prohibited items, are demands which prior to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla the Israeli government summarily rejected.
And this story is far from over: international press are reporting on the blockade as they did not do before, scrutinizing Israeli government claims as they did not do before, citing the counter-claims of Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights groups as they did not do before. And more boats are on the way.
What else could be accomplished if governments and mass movements that oppose Israeli government policies towards the Palestinians threw their weight behind other strategic and morally irrefutable demands?
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 6 July 2010 - 5:51pm
Just Foreign Policy News
July 6, 2010
3/5 of House Dems 'Obsessed' With Afghan Withdrawal Timetable
Less than a week after President Obama complained that there's "a lot of obsession" about the withdrawal date for U.S. troops from Afghanistan, three in five House Democrats voted for the McGovern-Obey amendment that would have required President Obama to establish a timetable for withdrawal; in an usual move - the Speaker usually doesn't vote on the floor - Speaker Pelosi voted for it too.
South of the Border, scheduled screenings:
Oliver Stone's documentary shows you the South America the New York Times doesn't want you to see.
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1) The White House "startled" Democratic lawmakers and "stunned" teachers' unions by threatening to veto the war supplemental because it included money to save 140,000 teachers' jobs that was partially offset by a cut to a White House education initiative of which the teachers' unions are skeptical, the New York Times reports. Administration officials said the House bill had little chance in the Senate.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 2 July 2010 - 4:04pm
"Obsession" isn't just "a fragrance for men." According to our Commander-in-Chief, "obsession" now also characterizes the widespread interest in the timeline for bringing home 100,000 American boys and girls safely from Afghanistan so they can grow old with their sweethearts and lead economically productive lives, rather than becoming Pentagon statistics or lifelong burdens on their family members and the public purse.
President Obama said there's "a lot of obsession" about the withdrawal date for U.S. troops from Afghanistan, AP reported Sunday.
This "obsession" has so afflicted the body politic that Thursday night, three-fifths of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for an amendment on the war supplemental that not only tried to lock in the July 2011 timetable for the beginning of the drawdown that President Obama promised last year, but also would have required the President to establish a timetable for the completion of the drawdown.
Are some of us "obsessed" with a withdrawal timetable for U.S. forces from Afghanistan? Damn straight we are. Advocacy of a withdrawal timetable is the principal means by which Americans outside of the military can act politically to protect the lives of our fellow citizens who are being deployed. Every day by which we can shorten the war is a day on which our fellow citizens won't have the opportunity to be blown up in Afghanistan.
And as for the people of Afghanistan, the withdrawal timetable is our ticket to freedom from having the same relationship with Pashtun residents of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan as the Israeli army has with Palestinian residents of Hebron in the southern West Bank.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 1 July 2010 - 10:34am
Tonight, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Pentagon's request for $33 billion for open-ended war and occupation in Afghanistan. While press reports suggest that when the dust settles, the Pentagon will have the war money, it's likely that a record number of Representatives will go on the record in opposition to open-ended war and occupation.
Representative Jim McGovern [D-MA] and Representative David Obey [D-WI] are expected to introduce an amendment on the war supplemental that would require President Obama to present Congress with a timetable for military redeployment from Afghanistan.
Ninety-eight Representatives have already signed their names to this policy, by co-sponsoring McGovern's bill, H.R. 5015.
In addition, the McGovern-Obey amendment would try to lock in the President's promise to begin a "significant withdrawal" of troops in July 2011 by requiring another vote on funding if the promise is not kept. The amendment also requires a new National Intelligence Estimate by January, which would hopefully have the effect of forcing the Administration's promised December review of the war policy to be real and its main conclusions public.
So far, the high-water mark for House opposition to the Administration's war policy in Afghanistan came in June 2009, when 138 Members voted for an amendment introduced by McGovern requiring the Pentagon to present Congress with an exit strategy. Among House Democrats, McGovern's June amendment had majority support by a margin of 131-114, a 53-47 split.