Tuesday, July 22, 2014

U.S. Dept. of State Announces Millions in Aid for Gaza

Excerpt, public press release, U.S. Department of State, July 22, 2014:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us about the new aid that you’re announcing for Gaza today?

SECRETARY KERRY: Let me just say to everybody that, first of all, President Obama and all of us are deeply appreciative for the secretary general’s significant efforts to try to help bring about a cease-fire in the conflict in Gaza. And the secretary general has been meeting in the region, but he purposefully stayed over here a little extra time in order that we could meet and discuss ways in which we might be able to bring about or encourage the parties to embrace a cease-fire under the right circumstances.

We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself. No country can stand by while rockets are attacking it and tunnels are dug in order to come into your country and assault your people. But always, in any kind of conflict there is a concern about civilians, about children, women, communities that are caught in it. And we are particularly trying to focus on a way to respond to their very significant needs.

On behalf of President Obama and the United States, I’m privileged to announce tonight that the United States will immediately provide $47 million in order to provide direct humanitarian assistance of no other kind but humanitarian assistance to try to alleviate some of the immediate humanitarian crisis.


  1. Yeah, you fucking idiots, sen them some more "humanitarian concrete and cement" so they can restore their terrorist tunnels in to Israel. Ignorance of just who provides what assistance in Gaza is apparently a staple of the State Department and the UN, whose own schools have sheltered rockets. Ban Ki Moon, as a Korean you should be ashamed of yourself...may vomit soil you tunic forever. Kerry is already a lying traitor and you have just joined him.

  2. Meanwhile the FAA, with State's backing, has more or less closed down israel. Because a rocket (or bits of it) fell on a house in Yehud today, and Yehud is a few km from the airport, the Americans panicked (or used it as a pressure point against Israel?) and have caused Israel to be almost completely isolated.

    See here, here and here for starters.

    The only airlines sitll flying in and out of Israel are the Israeli airlines, El Al, Israir and I presume Arkia, and British Airways and Alitalia.. Everyone else, all the US airlines, Air Canada (yes!), Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, Turkish Airlines, have cancelled their flights.

    It's the height of the tourist season, war or no war, and thousands of Israelis are stranded at Ben Gurion or around the world waiting to come home. This has put the final shot to Israel's tourist season. Even if the cancellation is only for 24 hours, who is going to be brave enough to restart flights?

    Thank you Hamas. Thank you FAA.


  3. It's over 50 million in aid and Kerry also gave the Palist. representative here his latest propaganda talking points. Meanwhile, they are having the FAA do a slap-down by banning flights to Tel Aviv.

    Good job, you incompetent, anti-Semitic cretins.

  4. Not to mention the 20 missiles found in an UNRWA school last week. The UN "Oh gosh, we're so surprised!" and promptly gave them back to "local authorities" ie Hamas. That's a story I had to dig around for since the media isn't bothering to report THAT.

    Is it FUBAR yet?

    1. It's not only last week. It happened again yesterday! I wonder if they'll give those missiles back to Hamas too (as the "official governing authority").

      If Israel doesn't chuck UNRWA out of Israel immediately then we're our own worst enemy. They've been undermining Israel and actively working against us and with the terrorists for decades. Their very existence is an offence against Israel, perpetuating the Palestinian refugee myth, and encouraging their victimhood and dependency on aid.

    2. Here's the link to the UNRWA's second find of rockets at one of their schools.

      'course, if they'd been really interested, they would have found dozens if not hundreds over the decades. But they're not interested. They're only interested now because the finds have been made public and they're embarrassed.

    3. UNRWA is as corrupt as their human rights council. It's a travesty. I totally agree that they are undermining Israel and working against you.

  5. annie, I posted before I read your comment. I believe the FAA directive is more pressure on Israel to back off on the Gaza incursion.

    I could be wrong but that was my first thought when I read what happened. And it is SO like Obama's/Kerry's MO. Cowardly bastards.

    1. Florrie, I agree with your assessment 100%. So does most of Israel and I think our government too, though they're being a bit diplomatic about it. Not all of them, some of them are being very outspoken.

      Here are some comments from Twitter:

      I wonder why the US doesn't care about the life of John Kerry, sending him to the unsafe Zionist entity. ::snort::

      Former Mayor Bloomberg is defying the ban and flying into Israel on El Al on a solidarity visit. Good for him!

      JE Dyer in Liberty Unyielding: Obama finally leads from the front: The Hamas-FAA's move against Ben Gurion

      From Israel Matzav: Is the FAA the new IRS?

      There's tons more out there but ... you get the picture.

    2. annie, frustrating as it is, I would look at the context. The shoot down in eastern Ukraine is fresh on the public's mind. The FAA isn't paid to be brave or do the right thing. The regulators will do the easy thing, not the sensible thing

      I don't see this as conscious pressure on Israel - it's too likely to backfire.

      This is a rare instance where I agree with Martin Fletcher, whom I usually regard as sober and unbiased only in comparison with Robert Fisk.

      Today he was reporting from Tel-Aviv and quite correctly observed that the FAA advisory and the canceled flights are increasing Israel's resolve to destroy the rockets, in addition to the tunnels.

      I don't see Israel holding anything back now. The US and Europe should soon come to see the lack of flights as decreasing the chances of a ceasefire, not increasing them.

      Game it out.

      If the flights remain grounded, Israel's tempo will increase and their rational will be simple: if Hamas has the capability to isolate Israel with rocket fire, then that capability must be destroyed ASAP.

      If the flights resume, then, well, Hamas was shown to be impotent and their prestige diminishes.

      (If I were an evil genius running Hamas I'd be looking to rocket Tel Aviv once or twice a day as long as I could in hopes of creating some "victory" narrative by prolonging the flight suspensions.)

      British Airways was reported just now to be still flying.

    3. You're right in that Israel is now not holding back in stopping the rockets.

      But we weren't holding back on that from the start. The only people holding us back are the dear old UN aided and abetted by a hostile Administration. Even if that is not quite the full truth, that is how the people of Israel see it. If that's a wrong impression then the Administration need to think how we got that impression.

      The decision is most definitely hostile, as I wrote on my own blog. If the US did not stop flights in and out of Pakistan where missiles are hitting the actual airport (not a house a few km away), and not in Afghanistan or anywhere else, why start with Tel Aviv?

      Do they not have diplomatic strategists in the State Dept? Did they not think through what their decision would mean both to Israel and to Hamas?

      The decision stinks. It's biased and hostile as far as I'm concerned.

      As for your suggestion that Hamas be the evil genius rocketing Tel Aviv twice a day - where have you been? What do you think has been going on for the last 2 weeks? Just because I haven't reported on every rocket does not mean that I haven't been dashing in and out of my "safe corner" a couple of times a day. I don't have a safe room. I have a bomb shelter one flight down and I can't make it in 90 seconds.

      Excuse my rant but I'm tense and nervous and scared and fed up to the back teeth of the world knowing our needs better than we do.

    4. Sorry Lewy, I wasn't intending to take it out on you. I know your heart is in the right place. I'm just so frustrated with the situation, and yes, scared. I'll admit it. I have the radio on all the time so that I can hear Code Red announcements a second before the siren starts. Each second is precious when you're running for your life.

      I sleep with the window open even in this heat with the airconditioning on in order to hear the siren. Although it's loud enough to wake the dead.

      When I hear "Code Red in Gush Dan" my stomach lurches. I have to wait an extra second to hear which part of Gush Dan it is.

      At each siren (we all have Code Red apps on our phone no matter where the siren sounds) the whole family whatssups each other to check in where we are, where did it fall, who heard what explosions, who found shrapnel. And we're the "safe" ones because we're not in the south. They're in total lockdown 24/7 at the moment under constant intense bombardment. We at least can get on with our lives in between.

      Getting on with our lives means being constantly aware of where you are, where is there place to shelter, how far will I be on the open road, do I really need to travel...

      Getting on with our lives means I went to the Shomron (West Bank) yesterday to visit my grandkids. And they had their first rocket attack while I was there. I then had to calculate when it was safe for me to drive home. It's like playing Russian roulette getting in your car to drive on the open road. I did decide that if there was a Code Red before I reached the checkpoint I would take my chances with the missiles and stay in my car, rather than get out and take shelter and risk the local Palestinians. Thank G-d I got home without incident.

      All this is besides the tension of having various family members in the army at the moment.

      So yeah, Israelis are VERY resentful of all those do-gooders who think they know what's best for us and how to "persuade" us (arm-twist us) into a one-sided ceasefire. And we're FURIOUS at a foreign country closing down our airport, ruining our tourist season and our economy and handing an easy victory to our deadly enemy.

    5. Oh annie, I don't know how you do it. Wish we could be of some practical help to you and your family. Please know that we are constantly praying for your safety and for the IDF and Israel.

    6. annie, no worries at all. I don't know how I'd react under a bombardment like that and hopefully I will never find out.

      The fact that the last link in the civil defense system is an app on your phones - Code Red - really brings it home. Here in Portland we sit around figuring out cool things to do with phone apps. "Staying alive under rocket fire" is not one of them.

      Obviously I have the privilege of being somewhat removed from the conflict and so I can look at things from a detached perspective. "Detached" can seem "indifferent" at times - sorry if I came off that way. Also, I don't have any keen insight on what is best for Israel; I'm just trying to predict how things will evolve. Frankly I'm flattered that even one Israeli is reading what I have to say - all I have to offer is my opinion of Western attitudes and political calculus, sitting where I am.

      I do think that the FAA ban would not have come into play absent the shooting down of MH-17 in Ukraine. "What was a plane doing flying through a war zone?" The media has been harping on this for weeks - globally.

      Did the FAA take advantage of this context as a kind of "cover" to shut down flights into Ben Gurion, in order to pressure Israel? That's seeming more likely. I am surprised that the decision has been renewed for another 24 hours. If pressuring Israel wasn't the initial motivation, it seems to be in play now. It will backfire but this is cold comfort; Obama's crew seems to possess a unique talent to thwart its own progress along with everyone else's. And no, they don't look bothered.

      I don't think "do gooder-ism" motivates any of the pressure on Israel; moral vanity is always conspicuous but the EU and the US both pay a political price for supporting Israel. It shouldn't be that way but it is. There is a level of intensity in the Gaza conflict that would instigate real domestic tension in the West. See, e.g., Paris. Nobody wants that. There is some threshold of violence that the West does not want to see exceeded. Not for Israel's sake, or Gaza's, or "world opinion" but for the sake of the domestic peace in Western countries. Pro/anti Israeli camps exist in nearly every substantial political coalition in the West, both "ruling" and "opposition", and that fault line can only bear so much pressure. The leaders of those coalitions do not want to see that fissure crack.

      This is perverse of course because the desire to see ceasefires and "proportionate responses" has perpetuated the conflict by excluding the possibility of a decisive military resolution. "Decisive" is something the world cannot abide, it seems, when it comes to the Palestinian conflict.

      Nonetheless this is the calculus that holds, and Netanyahu and his cabinet must deal with it. When self interest aligns with moral vanity, it's a potent cocktail.

      Today I read in Haaretz that the cabinet is examining the possibility of expanding the ground operation in Gaza. There is another level to the ratchet, it seems. I'm thinking the conflict will get more intense before a ceasefire and the FAA decision to pressure Israel will be seen to "backfire".

    7. CNN reporting now that the FAA ban lifted on flights to Ben Gurion.

    8. To answer both your comments: It's certainly probably that MH-17 influenced the decision but I think it was still opportunistic.

      You said There is a level of intensity in the Gaza conflict that would instigate real domestic tension in the West. See, e.g., Paris.
      There is an excellent article on Spiked magazine: There's something very ugly in this rage against Israel. Go and read it. It's excellent, by Brendan O'Neill.

      The answer by the way is obvious: antisemitism.

      There is some threshold of violence that the West does not want to see exceeded. Not for Israel's sake, or Gaza's, or "world opinion" but for the sake of the domestic peace in Western countries.

      I get that but why should Israel have to pay the price for domestic Western policy? Perhaps those Western gov'ts should do a better job of explaining Israel's case to their public. (/wishful thinking).

      And yes, the FAA has now cancelled their ban. But the carriers are now taking their time in getting their flights back on schedule. It's a total mess and it was completely unnecessary.

      I am still amazed and admiring at British Airways that didn't cancel their flights. I didn't know the Brits had any grit left. Good for them!

    9. Just wanted to add that while I was writing that comment we had another rocket attack. This one was right overhead. What huge explosions! And then little secondary explosions. I'm going to look for shrapnel soon.

      It was bloody terrifying. There's an airconditioning vent in my ceiling. It went up and down at the blast. I was sure the whole ceiling would cave in. (I know it's pretty safe, it's reinforced concrete but still, when it shakes, I shake).

    10. @annie: I get that but why should Israel have to pay the price for domestic Western policy?

      They shouldn't, of course. But it's not just as simple as explaining to "the public". The Tories in Britain have pro and anti Israel wings. So, actually, do the Republicans. Certainly true for the Democrats.

      Where these coalitions can agree is that Israel should be supported - to a point. The point at which the coalition stress becomes unacceptable.

      It's not fair. But it is what it is. The pressure will continue.

    11. Annie, your comment about sleeping with the windows open brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry you and your family are living under such ridiculous and terrifying circumstances.

      A lot of the news reports I read from American media are critical of Israel. Kerry is an idiot, and so is his boss. These men do not represent the majority sentiment in the US, IMO.

  6. Hamas is calling the suspension of flights a "great victory". Of course, when that's pretty much all they've got, they're grasping at anything they can.

    1. True. But they make such a big deal of it that it gives them a PR victory amongst their own people. In order to beat them we have to humiliate them in front of their own people - it's the only way to eradicate them forever. It sounds Biblical I know, (you certainly do!) but this is the Middle East, not Switzerland.

      So the US giving them even this little victory is a huge morale boost for them and a stab in the back for Israel.

      I just can't get over the malicious incompetence of the administration. Every time I think they've hit bottom they dig.

    2. Hello Joem! It's wonderful to see you again!

  7. Good to see you, Joem! Hope all is well with you and yours...

  8. Hi florrie! Good to be seen. :)

    Thank God, all doing ok. My oldest spent the past year in Israel, but came home last month - actually only the day before the 3 boys (Gilad, Eyal and Naftali) were kidnapped. My wife and I took the opportunity to visit her back in February - our first visit to Israel in nearly 20 years - and we made sure to meet up in person with Annie (and her husband Henry).

    1. Seems like just yesterday he was having his Bar Mitzvah. I envy you the trip, Fay & Matt are going soon as well. I hope to go to both Ireland and Israel one of these days. I feel like I've met annie but technically, I haven't.

    2. You're thinking of my oldest son. He's now 17 - going into 12th grade. He probably won't go to Israel for another 5 years. My oldest is a girl (Sarah). I guess I'll need to send updated pictures. :) My "baby" is 9 already - going into 4th grade ..

      The trip was amazing. We were only there for a total of 8 days (aside from 1.5 days travelling) but we managed to go from north-most (Rosh HaNikra) to south (Kfar Maimon - just west of Gaza), with stops in Bnei Brak, Petach Tikva, Nahariya, Tzfat (Safed), Hevron, Gush Etzyon, and of course Yerushalayim, where I was able to be at my great-nephew's bris. We also visited 2 excellent vineyards and brought back some good wine.

      I've never been to Ireland, but I hear that it's beautiful.

    3. We had a lovely evening with Joem and his wife (who is the image of their daughter, or is that the other way round? She looks like she's 16, not the mother of 5. /jealous). :)

      It was great to finally have a face to the name.

      Hope you're all going to come back soon! And you too florrie. I would so love to be able to meet you and show you the sights.

    4. How wonderful to get together after all the time you've "known" each other! We will be there too one day, annie, I can't wait to meet you and your family, I feel like I know your "kids" already.

      I can't believe the baby is 9, the last picture I saw of her was at the zoo and she may have been 5?? That's Meira, right? My memory isn't so good now that I'm 29 1/2...

  9. The first paragraph was for annie, the second for joem ;-)

  10. Joem! Gosh, I didn't recognise you :) Of course you are still as handsome as ever ;) Glad to see you here and to get an update on that lovely family of yours. Matt and I are planning our trip to Israel in March 2015, can't wait.

  11. If we have to go out of our way so we can take El Al, we will.

  12. I know how USG works and how decisions are made very well and there is no way the FAA decision was about anything other than that circle of experts' views on the relative danger, which of course was influenced by the shooting down of MH17. A handful of IRS agents can get away with targeting some Tea Party groups, yes. But something this big, with so many equities and stakeholders, the FAA decision was probably (I have no direct knowledge, I'm speaking from experience with USG decision-making policies only) cleared by multiple offices.

    We do a lot of thing wrong, I agree. But when it comes to aviation safety our system is very apolitical and expert-driven.

  13. I respectfully disagree, Jourdan.

    I think the quick reverse by the FAA, when nothing has changed on the ground, is more evidence that political animus at least partly played into the decision.

    1. Your instincts are spot on Florrie. There are reports that Israel threatened to significantly ramp up its onslaught on Gaza to stop the rockets since they posed such a threat that the FAA imposed a ban. The FAA and the Administration got the message. Quote from the article:

      Israel reportedly told the United States that it understands the rules and the reasoning behind the FAA ban on US flights to Israel, according to Arad Nir of Israel Channel 2.

      Israel reportedly told the US that this situation (of the FAA ban) can’t continue, so in order to resolve it, Israel will need to significantly and disproportionately ramp up its attack on Gaza, and put an immediate stop to all the rocket attacks, thus allowing US flight to Israel to resume.

      Nir claims the message was understood and the FAA ban was rescinded.

      I've got to say, I LOVE the subtle menace behind Israel's words. Two can play at that game.

    2. Another question: If it was so dangerous to fly into Israel that the FAA imposed a ban, how come it was considered safe to allow John Kerry to fly in?? (Unless of course someone wanted to get rid of him...)

      Same goes for Ban Ki Moon.

      Illogic R Us.

    3. So Obama's hatred of Israel and Bibi has actually worked out very well for Israel. It seems as though, finally, Israel is not being tentative and waiting for the US nod of approval before trying to defend herself in the way she deems appropriate.

      Which only goes to show that annie is right again:

      Illogic R Us indeed.

    4. Here is more proof, if proof were needed, that the FAA ban was political (even though it has since been rescinded.). I quote from a letter to the Editor of the Jerusalem Post by an FAA-licenced pilot:

      Sir, – I am an airline industry professional and an Federal Aviation Administration- licensed pilot.

      The mechanism by which the FAA issues such directives is called a NOTAM.

      For the sake of fairness, the NOTAM issued for Ben-Gurion Airport was not entirely unprecedented. After the recent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, the FAA banned US operators from flying over the eastern Ukraine cities of Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk.

      The main difference is that in Ukraine an airliner was actually shot down.

      In other problematic areas of the world with “significant risk to civil flight operations,” including the Sinai Peninsula, North Korea, Yemen and Afghanistan, FAA NOTAMs direct US operators to “obtain current threat information” and then decide for themselves whether or not to fly. The NOTAM issued for Ben-Gurion did not use the word “risk” at all, referring only to a “potentially hazardous situation,” yet it declared: “All flight operations to/ from Ben-Gurion International Airport by US operators are prohibited.”

      The FAA and/or the US Department of Transportation overstepped their mandate in issuing such a NOTAM. It appears to have been a political tactic, probably with the goal of pressuring Israel into accepting a US-sponsored cease-fire agreement with Hamas by crippling the flow of passengers and cargo into and out of Israel.


  14. Here's some moral boosters for the IDF. Rated somewhere between PG-13 and R... H/T: Instapundit.

    Wondering what WWII would have been like if Facebook and Pintrest had been around then...

  15. lewy, when I click on your link it goes to my personal facebook page. FB has apparently removed the "Standing with IDF" page but continues to allow a page to exist called "I Hate Israel".

    1. Yes, as Glenn Reynolds posted, they did remove the page. Class.

  16. "Class" indeed, as in none.