Published on Friday, January 22, 2010 by Inter Press Service
US Policy in
by Charles Fromm and Ellen Massey
WASHINGTON - One year ago Thursday, the last Israeli tanks were lumbering out of the Gaza Strip, ending the 22-day
A year later, the humanitarian and security situation in the devastated coastal enclave remains dire, yet the Barack Obama administration continues to overlook the crisis in
This policy has also done little to alleviate what human rights groups warn is a growing humanitarian crisis, plunging the
Sworn into office in the midst of the
"Obama showed his trajectory early on," said Paul Woodward, editor and creator of the reputable blog warincontext.org. "The
"The Obama administration has engaged in much more cosmetic changes than strategic changes," Woodward told IPS.
Such cosmetic changes included soaring rhetoric that reached out to Arab and Muslim communities in an effort to strengthen ties that had been weakened under the previous administration.
Despite such commitments,
As the crisis deepens,
"The idea that the
According to Human Rights Watch, the blockade has forced 80 percent of
Smuggling tunnels below the Gaza/Egypt border are the only remaining link to the outside world for the Gaza's citizens, and have "literally driven Gaza's economy underground," said Daniel Levy, co-director of the Middle East Task Force, at the Brookings event.
Yet even this last loophole in the blockade is threatened. According to the BBC,
"I don't think there has ever been an instance in history when the United States played such a complicated role in the physical blockading of a population - it's no wonder they don't want to take any credit for it," said Yousef Munnayer, executive director of the Palestine Centre, about the Obama administration's understated participation in the cordon of the Gaza Strip.
Some analysts believe the wall is a strategic maneuver on the part of the
While the Obama administration has failed to follow through on its commitments to relieve the humanitarian crisis in
In contrast, last November the House overwhelmingly supported a resolution that condemned the Goldstone Report, the product of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Fact Finding
Rep. Keith Ellison was one of only 58 representatives to vote against or abstain from voting on the resolution. He also represents one of only a handful of
"When someone like [Rep.] Keith Ellison visits
But Ellison remains an outlier among members of Congress. "If you want to know how much knowledge there is [among] my colleagues in Congress, all you need to do is look at the vote on the Goldstone Report," Ellison told the audience at the Brooking Institution last week.
"I bet nobody read the Goldstone Report or even the executive summary. So we're ready to condemn a report which we have not read at all," he added, describing his colleagues in the House of Representatives.
The combination of the war and the continued siege has plunged the
Even as the Obama administration attempts to re-start the peace process,
"That's the precondition for everything," said Andrew Whitley, director of the Representative Office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, in reference to the lifting of the blockade in
Copyright © 2010 IPS-Inter Press Service
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs