By Prof. Inderjeet Parmar** | 04 June 2010
Without trying to be ironic, President Barack Obama’s administration issued a helpful factsheet alongside the NSS, released at the end of May 2010. In the wake of Israel’s recent illegal attack on civilian ships carrying aid to the people of Gaza, whose misery resulting from Israel’s war on them of 2008-09, and the subsequent and continuing blocakade, a collective punishment also in violation of international law, I reproduce below, in full, the Middle east and Israel sections of the helpful factsheet.
Here are the excerpts:
“Efforts to bring about Middle East Peace: Against a difficult backdrop – recent war, no prospect of negotiations, and facing Israeli elections – the President began his term by immediately appointing Senator George Mitchell as full time Special Envoy to the Middle East [who has yet to set foot in Gaza; USBlog]. As the result of the concerted efforts of Special Envoy Mitchell and our diplomatic team, we have successfully completed two rounds of proximity talks, where Senator Mitchell conducted meetings with both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas and discussed serious and substantive core issues. We have also convinced both parties about the importance of a return to direct negotiations. The Administration continues to support the improvement of Palestinian security efforts and institutional reforms under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and continues to secure increased Arab financial support for the Palestinian Authority.
“Continued Commitment to Israel’s Security: Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. In a signal of just how strong our commitment is to Israeli security, the President has asked Congress to authorize $205 million to support the production of an Israeli-developed short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome. This funding will allow Israel to expand and accelerate Iron Dome production and deployment to provide timely improvements to their multi-tiered defense, to protect against the rockets used by Hamas and Hizballah. This step is one in a series – which includes our annual $3 billion military assistance package, extensive consultations with Israel to ensure its qualitative military edge, and joint exercise on missile defense, that demonstrates the strength of our mutual defense relationship.”
** Inderjeet Parmar is Professor of Government at the University of Manchester and Vice Chair of the British International Studies Association.