Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

US, Israel cement ties before Bush’s exit

Posted by valentinabalzati su 19 gennaio, 2009

Barbara Ferguson,   Arab News

WASHINGTON: There has been a flurry of activities between Washington and Tel Aviv during the final days of the Bush presidency.

Hours before US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s official farewell to the State Department on Friday, she and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed a memorandum of understanding pledging greater US and international assistance to end weapon smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

This came just days after Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert boasted that he had ‘shamed’ Rice at the United Nations.

At the crux of the MoU between Israel and the US is supervision to halt the alleged smuggling of arms from Iran, through the Arabian Gulf to Sudan and other countries, and finally to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel is asking for a number of guarantees from the Americans: One of which is a request for ground penetrating radar, GPR, to detect tunnels. (GPR is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface.

This non-destructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band of radio spectrums, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. GPR can be used in a variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures. It can detect objects and changes in material.)

Just days before the signing of the MoU, Ehud Olmert, in a stunning display of arrogance, boasted in a speech in Israel, that last week he had ordered President Bush not to vote for UN Security Council Resolution 1860, which called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in their ongoing fighting.

“It transpired all of a sudden that a vote would be held in 10 minutes’ time. I tried to find President Bush, and I was told he was attending an event in Philadelphia… I said: I don’t care, I have to talk to him right now. He was taken off the podium and brought to a side room, said Olmert.”

According to Olmert, Bush was clueless.

“Listen. I don’t know about it. I didn’t see it. I’m not familiar with the phrasing, ” Olmert said.

“I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor.”

“She was left shamed,” said Olmert.

The UN diplomatic corps was said to have been astonished when the United States abstained on the 14-0 resolution Rice had crafted and claimed her country supported. Arab diplomats say Rice promised them she would vote for it.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, with Rice at the UN during the debate on the resolution, said Olmert’s remarks were “just 100 percent, totally, completely untrue.” But the White House said only that there were “inaccuracies” in the Olmert story.

The video does not show Bush interrupting his speech to take any call, but the substance rings true and is widely believed.

With Bush and Rice leaving office, the story may seem to lack significance.

“Public gloating by an Israeli prime minister that he can order a US president off a podium and instruct him to reverse and humiliate his secretary,” and can cause a blowback, Patrick Buchanan, political analyst for MSNBC, recently said.

“Taking such liberties with a superpower that, for Israel’s benefit, has shoveled out $150 billion and subordinated its own interests in the Arab and Islamic world would seem a hubristic and stupid thing to do,” wrote Buchanan, a senior adviser to three presidents.

“And despite congressional resolutions giving full-throated approval to all that Israel is doing in Gaza, this is becoming a troubled relationship,” said Buchanan.

Two weeks ago, Livni, in opposing any truce, assured the world there “is no humanitarian crisis in the (Gaza) Strip,” and the humanitarian situation there “is completely as it should be.”

Not so to Hillary Clinton. In her confirmation hearings, the secretary of state-designate, reports The New York Times, “struck a sharper tone toward Israel on violence in the Middle East.”

Clinton “seemed to part from the tone set by the Bush administration in calling attention to what she described as the ‘tragic humanitarian costs’ borne by Palestinians, as well as Israelis.”




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