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Obama Needs to Get It Right on Gaza

Final Call.com, Commentary, Malik Z. Shabazz Posted: Jan 13, 2009

With the New Year underway, sadly my predictions are coming true. In October, I predicted that Barack Obamas first real test of his intentions to bring change to United States foreign policy would be brought to his doorstep by Israel.

Whether its the desire of the current defense minister and Labour Party presidential candidate Ehud Barak, whos trailing with February elections looming, to demonstrate to the Israeli public that he is more hawkish than the tough talking Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu, or Israel blatantly taking advantage of the ticking clock in the final days of the Bush Administrations grossly biased pro-Zionist foreign policy termeither scenario leaves a bag of goodies wrought with snares and traps for incoming President Barack Hussein Obama.

The horrific and unwarranted assault on the people of Gaza, which has killed over 500 mostly civilians, under the guise of stopping rocket attacks into Israel, was also a premeditated and pre-planned move by the current Israeli administration to undermine and poison an environment where an Obama administration could approach the 60-year-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict from a fresh and fair perspective.

No sensible person believes that using fleets of helicopter gunships, guided missiles, volumes of tank and artillery fire at targets chosen and designated only by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) as necessary targets is a justified response to what amounts to homemade rockets from people in Gaza, who in fact are not even under the direct control of the democratically elected Hamas government.

Failure to mention the critical fact that the six month cease fire was wisely not renewed by Hamas because Israel had cheated the entire process by economically strangling Gazas 1.5 million residents, cruelly depriving them of freedom of movement and imports of hospital and humanitarian supplies, fuel, water, food, tax payments and a litany of other goods that any nation has to be able to freely receive through its borders. In other words, it was impossible for, and even repugnant to, ask Hamas to go house to house in Gaza, searching its residents of every weapon being used against the Zionist occupier and blood shedder of their fathers when the people of Gaza cant eat, work or live a decent human existence under the octopus of an Israeli military embargo. Gazans live in a sham free state.

The facts are clear: Any fair-minded person can see that Israel is pointedly wrong. This current bloody attack on Gaza is equivalent to killing a person for stepping on your foot after you maliciously and systematically set up a scenario where it was actually impossible for that person not to walk on your toes.

Mr. President, Barack Hussein Obama, is being set up. His earlier overtures to AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee), visiting sites in southern Israel (occupied Palestine) and invoking his daughters safety as synonymous to Israeli babies safetyall the while being appallingly mute to the rivers of blood of Palestinian babies underneath his feetare coming back to haunt him. Obama is too new and nave, but will soon understand that the Israelis will hold him strictly accountable to their own pre-set agenda which has nothing to do with a change for the better or an equitable and lasting peace. President Obama would be exceedingly unwise to duplicate the de facto Bush/U.S. rubber stamp of all Israeli policy and actions in the current conflict lest he blow his big opportunity to bring about a real change in the precarious dynamics of the Middle East conflict and change the negative image the United States Government has in the region, Muslim world and planet at large.

Its one thing for Mr. Obama to pray at the Wailing Wall and don a yarmulke as a campaign strategy, perhaps to allay unfounded fears that he was anti-Israel. It is wholly another matter to stand firm and act on the righteous principles and spiritual values that any true Jew would when wronging another people and causing an oppressed neighbor harm and suffering which is to seek atonement, repentance and forgiveness for their grievous sins and make amends to the people aggrieved. In other words, was Obama praying at that Wailing Wall in Jerusalem as a sincere act of respect for the principles and values of the faith or was he formally swearing-in as a partner in the twisted Zionist construct that repeatedly, as now in Gaza, deviates substantially from the laws of the God, the prophets, international human rights standards and the fundamental precepts of justice and peace.

President Obama is at the crossroads and can alter the course of history in this conflict. He can give hope to the remaining world that he is a fresh new face and not just a new voice wrapped over stale and outmoded

U.S. foreign policy that has been rooted in preserving the inequities of post colonial stratagem that embraces a double standard of American, and in this case Israeli, exceptionalism. If it is not terrorism that Israel is using against Gaza in this hour, then terrorism does not exist. Mr. Obama cannot afford to parrot the Israeli position here, lest he dash the hope of the Muslim and darker world that a better day is coming in world-U.S. relations. Mr. Obama cannot afford to have U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, as her predecessors have, defying the world by vetoing UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israels unlawful conduct lest he also be a willing contributor to the anti-American sentiments heightened by his dumbfounded predecessor, George W. Bush. Mr. Obama cannot play politics with this issuefor the Zionists will hold him accountable to the letter and take full advantage of his pandering while the Palestinian people are used to being taken advantage of. The negative results in Gaza will be that innocent people will continue to die and their loved ones and children will continue to dedicate themselves to liberation from their oppressors and revenge. More and more hatred will be directed at those who support the oppressors and occupiers of Palestine which in turn endangers American national security and weakens Obamas standing in the world.

Therefore, Mr. Obama, as a real agent of change, should forthwith condemn this excessive, brutal, inhumane Israeli war on the civilian population of Gaza and promote a dialogue on the current crisis that takes into full account the origins of the current and historical bloodshed. Anything less is not change but just more of the same. We wish him well.

(Malik Z. Shabazz is the spokesman for Black Lawyers For Justice and the leader of the New Black Panther Party. He has lectured extensively on U.S. foreign policy and Middle East affairs in particular.

Related Articles:

My Heart Cries for You, Palestine

In Gaza, Shortage of Basic Necessities Worse Than Threat of Death

Gaza - 14 Days of Horror

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