Saturday, May 29, 2010

As an aid fleet approaches Gaza, Israel vows to block it. Laila el-Haddad writes movingly about what Gaza suffers under the siege, the Weisglass "diet" that is simultaneously supposed to make non-cooperation intolerable for Palestinians, but not be a humanitarian disaster. As The Wall Street Journal puts it, "Israel Prepares to Fend Off Ships Heading to Gaza." Yes, "the only democracy in the Middle East" is also the only country that has to "fend off" humanitarian aid. Results: 70% of the population survives on under a dollar a day, and 65% of babies are anemic. As this page points out, Gaza has in fact been blockaded since 1967.

In Israeli media, working with the flotilla tars MK Hanin Zuabi as associated with Hamas. This is a convenient way to discredit anyone working for the relief of Gaza.

Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah, a union of Palestinian-Israeli community organizations, on the other hand, was arrested without charge four weeks ago and tortured. Thursday, he was indicted for recruiting for Hizballah and providing information on military facilities, based on information obtained under the torture. Torture of Israel's prisoners has been illegal since 1999, but is not prosecuted, and continues apace. Makhoul's lawyers have been denied access to his medical reports.

Makhoul has supported the international boycott of Israel and Amnesty says the charges are "pure harassment" of a political dissident.

Hatoyama reneges on moving the Futenma air base off Okinawa; his poll numbers have fallen to twenty percent. I've seen it suggested that this decision has to do with South Korea's determination that the Cheonam was indeed sunk by a North Korean torpedo, but think it reflects what he wanted to do anyway.

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