Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Obama Take Note: Israel Outshines American Officials AGAIN

When Barak Obama took office last year, there was a great deal of hope of what he could accomplish. Hope was so high that he was nominated for a Nobel Prize within days of taking office and eventually won. He ignored the old adage of speak little and do a lot. Instead he set his top priorities as overhauling the health care system and bringing peace to the Middle East.

On the health care file he has a long way to go. The future of the entire health care system could hinge on the Senate election today in Massachusetts. Unfortunatly Martha Coakley has not taken her campaign seriously and is at risk of losing. The Democrats are at risk of losing a seat they have held for over 3o years. It would also mean they lose the 60 seat threshold which gives them the ability to limit the amount of stalling tactics on any final bills. A major strategy change may be neccesary in order to get a new health care bill on the President's desk before mid-term elections. Best case scenario is to replace the broken health care system and replace it with a broken socialized health care system. The most important components of effective health care have been addressed.

Obama addressed to the Arab world from Cairo. He apologized for passed wrong doings and promised to hold off meddling in the Arab world. At the same time he stepped up the pressure on Israel to agree to Palestinian demands and make them happy. The Americans also took Canada's seat on the UNHRC, in order to fix the broken system from within.

The results have been predicatably embarrasing. The UNHRC continues to be used as a platform for condemning Israel while ignoring human rights from the rest of the world. The silence from the White House was loud and clear as ordinary citizens rallied to show support for Iranian protests against a fraudulent election. Iran is still unhindered in their efforts to build a nuclear bomb. The Palestinian Authority is using American pressure to add new pre-conditions to returning to the bargaining table.

The biggest news stories of the past month create an ironic twist on the White House criticism of Israel. Those two stories would be the attempted terrorist attack on a flight to Detriot and the last week's earth quake in Haiti.

TSA has been an embarrasement for how they operate airport security. Shortly before the attempted attack they accidentally released confidential information about operation procedures. After the attempted attack they scrambled to create all kinds of new protocols to insure safty. Meanwhile, the President was overseeing the national emergency while on vacation. In the mean time the media was turning to Israel to ask how to do security. Israel was recognized as the best in the world at maintaining security. People could see through the TSA changes as just more window dressing to make things appear safer then actually protecting passengers.

The earthquake in Haiti has created a major humanitarian crisis. A Belgium staffed medical team was forced to abandon helping people because of saftey concerns. American staffed hospital units are complaining they don't have the resources to help their patients. They are unable to administer life saving treatment. Israel was the first country to set up a field hospital, beating the Americans by days. All American officials can say about Israel responding faster is that they are doing the best job possible. Sounds a little bit like the disaster relief plan in New Orleans.

"So far, 300 patients have been admitted, 92 surgeries have been performed and 5 babies have been delivered (2 were premature). Because of the advanced medical equipment at the IDF field hospital, the UN coordinator has been sending doctors and nurses from other countries to join the Israeli medical staff. Thus far, 8 Colombian and 9 American USC doctors and nurses and 10 British volunteers have joined the IDF field hospital." -- IDF

What lessons can the White House learn from Israel as the President enters his second year in office? Like all countries Israel has it's own domestic issues. Israel has greater challenges then Americans as wars are fought either close to or on home turf. It is nice to declare that if only Israel did X everything would be perfect. Tactical mistakes from this logic cost lives. Israel takes the hand they are dealt and strives to be the best in the world. An appreciation of what Israel has accomplished with the challenges they face. The change of attitude is absolutely necessary if Obama wants to contribute anything to the region. Hopfully he will be able to learn from the disasters of the last month and use them to have a better 2nd year in office.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not All Walls are the Same

Last year I participated in a recreational hockey tournament. It was shortly after Operation Cast Lead. There were a few players who had to withdraw because they received their army call up papers and were not released before the tournament.

One of the players had been asked to write and article for a large minor hockey organization in the United States. He was to address three issues in the article; the tournament, hockey in Israel and how it relates to Gaza. I told him to go outside the rink and take a picture of Lebanon. The ice hockey rink in Israel is located Metulah next to the Lebanese border. When the Ottoman Empire collapse it had original fell under the French mandate before being swapped to the British. Hezzbolah does not recognize the swap and considers all land from the original French mandate to be part of Lebanon. Hockey in Metullah has absolutely nothing to do with Gaza.

The Israeli Government decided this week to beef up the border with Egypt. It includes building a wall near Rafah and Eilat. The current government has been proactive in dealing with illegal immigrants. A new unit was created to find and deport those who do not have permission to stay. Tightening the border is just an extension of that policy. While an important project it is not an issue that is newsworthy especially for an International audience.

From the best I can tell the Globe and Mail, National Post and Toronto Star did not feel this was a newsworthy story. CBC and CTV managed to carry very different version of the same events. CTV carried the Associated Press version of the story while CBC decided to blend the story with a recap of other recent events of in the region.

CBC choose to end the article by mentioning the Gaza blockade. A comment from the government spokesman and was put in the last section, instead of the main part of the article. It also has an incredibly brief recap mentioned that an aid convoy had been blocked by Egypt leaving a guard dead.

The Viva Palestina convoy had been stopped by Egypt for not following proper rules and procedures. The entire time George Galloway played victim for not being allowed to have everything his way. Egypt was so annoyed with the convoy that all members including Galloway are not allowed back into Egypt and they will not permit any future convoys. Egypt has also started building an underground fence to stop the smuggling tunnels and finally secure the border with Gaza. An Egyptian gaurd was shot dead by Palestinians on the Gaza side of the border. The top of the article has links to three other articles pertaining to the Egypt/Gaza border battle. The Gaza commentary has resulted in the comment section being filled with comments about Gaza rather than the actual story of Israel trying to deal with illegal immirgrants.

There are no articles relating the government prorogation to John Tory not running as Mayor. No articles linking the Caledonia Occupation by natives to new airport security measures. No articles linking the Vancouver Olympics to the Ottawa Senators 4 game losing streak. The reason is that they have nothing to do with each other. CBC has taken two unrelated events and tied them together because they take place in the same country. It is completly irresponsible for CBC to connect these events, especially when they know their readers will use it to draw further conclusions that are definitely not true.