The Original Truck People
Austrian authorities on Thursday discovered an abandoned truck on a highway near the Hungarian border, packed with the decomposed bodies of 71 dead migrants, including four children. While migrants have perished at sea in the multitudes, this tragedy has put Europe on notice: The horrors from which the migrants flee, and that regularly play themselves out in the middle of the Mediterranean, will soon become commonplace in the heart of the continent unless something changes.Gaza could be 'uninhabitable' by 2020, UN report warns
Now how addled and obsessed must one be to use this event as a stick to beat Israel? About as addled and obsessed as Juan Cole, professor at the University of Michigan and popular blogger on the edge of the left. See as evidence this post: “Austrian Truck Tragedy echoes Palestinian Story, reminding us of 7 million still stateless [Palestinians].”
What is that Palestinian story? It is a 1962 novella by the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani entitled Men in the Sun. The allegorical storyline is about three Palestinians who flee the misery of Lebanon’s refugee camps to Iraq, in the hope of reaching the Xanadu of Kuwait. They are smuggled across the desert from Basra in the empty barrel of a water tanker truck. But because of a delay at the Kuwaiti border, the three suffocate to death. (The novella was made into a film in 1972.)
I won’t make an issue of the “seven million still stateless” Palestinians. (The upper-end estimate is closer to five million.) And far be it from me to quibble with anyone’s free associations. But Cole tops off his with this statement, which purports to be historical: the Palestinians’ “home has been stolen from them by the Israelis and they were unceremoniously dumped on the neighbors or in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. They are stateless. They are the original truck people.”
This concluding dramatic flourish, identifying the Palestinians as “the original truck people,” jolted me. The first people made stateless, dispossessed, stripped of their humanity, and packed into sealed trucks where they died horribly, all in the very heart of Europe, were many thousands of Jewish victims of the Nazi extermination machine.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since the Islamic terrorist group Hamas violently seized control of the territory in 2007.UN official to JPost: Lift blockade, reconnect Gaza to the world
The U.N. report came as Egyptian military bulldozers pressed ahead with a project that effectively would fill Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip with water and flood the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels, which have brought both weapons and commercial items into Gaza.
The report called the economic prospects for 2015 for the Palestinian territories "bleak" because of the unstable political situation, reduced aid and the slow pace of reconstruction.
The agreement "called to reconnect Gaza with the West Bank and the rest of the world and to construct a seaport in Gaza and to start negotiations on establishing or constructing an airport in Gaza," he said.Hillary-Sidney Emails Herald Demise of a Pro-Israel Democratic Party
UNCTAD argues that support from donors is important for Gaza's recovery and reconstruction, but will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza if Israel's blockade of the Strip is not ended.
"Since 2014 no major reconstruction has been done. No major rehabilitation has been done. Only minor things," Elkafif emphasized.
If the blockade is not lifted and Gaza is not given the opportunity to rebuild, "I think the situation will be even worse than what the UN has forecasted for 2020," he predicted.
Both Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the Gaza Strip, whose Hamas leadership they deem a terrorist organization. When asked whether the Egyptian blockade was taken into account in UNCTAD's research, the project coordinator asked, "What Egyptian blockade?" (h/t The_Kenosha_Kid)
Despite what Clinton may tell her many pro-Israel donors, keeping a man like Blumenthal in her inner circle is a telling indication of her true feelings about a lot of issues, but especially that of the state of Israel. If she were to become president, Sidney’s voice would continue to have great weight in her counsels. Just as dangerous, it would help legitimize Max Blumenthal’s views.
During the course of the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, we have already witnessed the collapse of the pro-Israel wing of the Democratic Party. Faced with pressure by President Obama, most liberal Democrats, even many with strong pro-Israel records, caved into administration pressure and backed the agreement despite the fact that it fell far short of Obama’s own criteria for success when the negotiations started.
Despite the rearguard efforts of some figures in the party to keep it at a distance from Obama’s antagonism to the Jewish state, Democrats are largely abandoning Israel on Iran. The Blumenthal emails make it clear this won’t be a passing fancy if Hillary becomes president.
The assumption has been that if Clinton were elected, the damage done to the U.S.-Israel alliance by Obama would begin to be undone. Clinton was, we were told, the adult in the room. Her backers assure us that she has a tougher-minded foreign policy approach than that of a president who is clearly committed to prioritizing détente with the Islamist regime in Tehran over strengthening the alliance with Israel. But so long as Sidney Blumenthal, and by extension his son Max, are going to be treated as valued voices within the Clinton camp, Hillary’s pose as a defender of Israel is no longer credible. She may not go as far as they like in distancing herself from the pro-Israel community. But the notion that she will restore the closeness Obama wrecked is obviously untrue. With Sidney whispering in her ear, there will be plenty more of the dangerous “daylight” that Obama has done so much to create between the two nations.
While Clinton has more to fear from the email issue than fallout about Blumenthal, the Hillary-Sidney emails show just that the pro-Israel community will be on thin ice if she recovers and wins in November 2016.