Conservative for humanity; Naomi Klein; Kids in Israeli jails; Avnery

An Institute for Public Affairs (which is a conservative think tank) argues for humane treatment of asylum seekers. Good.

Naomi Klein takes on Obama over climate change and other stuff (bizarrely, she actually thinks his record on Honduras is something decent. Why? I expect better from Klein).

Flash forward to the high-stakes climate negotiations that just wrapped up in Bangkok. The talks were supposed to lead to a deal in Copenhagen this December that significantly strengthens the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, the United States, the EU and the rest of the developed countries formed a unified bloc calling for Kyoto to be scrapped and replaced. Where Kyoto set clear and binding targets for emission reductions, the US plan would have each country decide how much to cut, then submit its plans to international monitoring (with nothing but wishful thinking to ensure that this all keeps the planet’s temperature below catastrophic levels). And where Kyoto put the burden of responsibility squarely on the rich countries that created the climate crisis, the new plan treats all countries the same.

These kinds of weak proposals were not altogether surprising coming from the United States. What was shocking was the sudden unity of the rich world around this plan–including many countries that had previously sung the praises of Kyoto. And there were more betrayals: the EU, which had indicated it would spend $19 billion to $35 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change, came to Bangkok with a much lower offer, one more in line with the US pledge of… nothing. Oxfam’s Antonio Hill summed up the negotiations like this: “When the starting gun fired, it became a race to the bottom, with rich countries weakening existing commitments under the international framework.”

The Nation runs an article on Palestinians in Israeli jails. (“In 95 percent of the 700 annual child cases, convictions result from false or improperly obtained confessions, including many that are wrung out of unaccompanied children through coercive interrogation methods or even torture. According to a recent report by Defense for Children International (DCI), “The ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities is widespread, systematic and institutionalised.” During interrogation children as young as 12 are often subject to solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and painful shackling for long periods of time. One boy was told, “I will shoot you in the head if you don’t confess and stick your head in a bucket full of water until you choke and die.” Another yielded after a knife was held to his neck. One 15-year-old, after being shot and arrested, was deceived into signing a confession written in Hebrew while still in the hospital, after officers convinced him it was an approval form for his operation.”)

Uri Avnery’s column.

Our frustrated government reacted angrily. The orchestrated media declared Abbas an “ungrateful” person, even a hypocrite. After all, didn’t he urge the Israelis during the Gaza War to intensify their attacks on the Gaza population, in order to topple Hamas? This accusation poured oil on the flames. For Palestinians, it meant that Abbas was not satisfied with the atrocities perpetrated by the Israelis and demanded more. It is hard to imagine a more damaging allegation.

Note how this accusation is casualy noted. Anyway, he goes on

The Egyptians are spreading news about a forthcoming internal Palestinian agreement and leaking its contents. It is hard to believe that anything will come of it. Hamas is supposed to relinquish its sole rule of the Gaza Strip, and it is hard to believe that they will do so. Abbas is supposed to confront Hamas in free elections – and this, too, is hard to imagine. It is even harder to believe that the Americans would risk allowing such elections. They have already announced that they are doing their best to prevent the reconciliation.

The fabled American love of freedom and democracy.

And indeed: Abbas is dangerous to the present Israeli policy. He enjoys the support of President Obama, who is pressuring Israel to start negotiations for “two states for two peoples”, which entails withdrawal from the West Bank and the dismantling of most settlements. That means an end to 120 years of Zionist expansion and a fundamental change in the very essence of Israel itself.

Hamas in power over all the Palestinian people would deflect these “dangers”. No American pressure for a compromise. No need for negotiations. No need for ”restraint” of settlement activity or for a compromise over Jerusalem. The occupation could go on undisturbed.


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