Medea Benjamin is founder of Global Exchange and co-founder of
CODEPINK. We asked her to respond to recent headlines about Israel's
decision to bulldoze more Palestinian homes, this time in Eastern
Jerusalem, to make way for some 900 new Israeli settlements.
previous delegations found starving kids in need of clean drinking
water and working toilets. One year after Israeli air strikes on this
tiny strip of densely populated land, there is still a profound lack of
medical care as Israel's blockade is continued. Hospitals and schools
were a major target of the IDF, and most people go with limited health
care. Educational programs have slowed to a crawl. Among the dead were
some 1400 civilians. Thousands more were wounded, most of them
civilians, hundreds of them kids.
These were the kinds of
troubling details found by the United Nations, which also came under
attack in Gaza, as well as human rights organizations and NGOs. Even
so, when Justice Richard Goldstone, famous for his work on the Balkans
and Rwanda, called for credible investigations into war crimes by both
Israel and Hamas, he was condemned by Israeli and US government
officials. Goldstone expressed surprise at what he called the violent
reactions. According to Haaretz he said: "I had hoped that our call to
take legal steps and pursue people at a national level would fall on
more open ears." (Haaretz site down, story also here.)
voted to support Israel last year even as the wounded were still trying
to get across borders to save their lives. House Resolution 34
condemned only Hamas, and reaffirmed America's strong support for
Israel. On November 3, 2009 there were 344 yeah votes in the House for
a resolution effectively condemning the efforts of Justice Goldstone.
is in this climate that the Netanyahu government announced some 900 new
settlements for East Jerusalem and the bulldozing of Palestinian homes
there has already been increased.