Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tuesday Post

Sometimes people are ignorant. Perhaps they have not had an opportunity to learn about a particular topic or maybe there is something they have grasp.

And then there are people who are just plain stupid:

Canada's new official Opposition appealed directly to Israel not to harm a boatload of Canadian protesters determined to break the Gaza Strip blockade.

NDP Leader Jack Layton and foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar delivered that plea directly to Israel's ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, during a meeting at the opposition leader's office in early June.

They were trying to prevent a repeat of last year's tragedy when nine activists taking part in a similar flotilla on a Turkish boat were killed in a raid by Israeli commandos.

"Obviously, when there's a loss of lives involved everyone should take heed," Dewar said in an interview Tuesday.

He and Layton urged Israel to observe "an abundance of caution and care dealing with the flotilla because it was pretty clear it was going to be happening." Dewar said Ziv listened politely. She was not available for an interview.

The NDP meeting came shortly after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement criticizing the flotilla, saying "unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza."

The Canadian-owned vessel, the Tahrir, carrying at least 30 Canadians, left a port on the island of Crete on Monday and was boarded 15 minutes later by armed officers from the Greek coast guard. The Tahrir was towed back to port after unsuccessfully trying to breach Israel's sea blockade of Gaza in an attempt to deliver humanitarian aid.

Greek authorities charged and released two Canadians on Tuesday for taking part in the aborted attempt to reach the Gaza Strip.

They arrested Soha Kneen, 40, of Ottawa and Sandra Ruch, 50, of Toronto, along with an Australian man.

Kneen and Australian Michael Coleman were arrested in kayaks after trying to block the pursuit of the Greek coast guard vessel. They are to be given suspended sentences in a court appearance on Wednesday, a statement on the ship's website said.

Who are the bigger idiots? Sometimes that's hard to gauge.

In one corner, we have Jack Layton, champagne socialist extraordinaire, and his pet monkey colleague, Paul Dewar, demonising the state of Israel by begging it "not to harm a boatload of Canadian protesters". Is Israel in the habit of harming people on a regular basis? The flotilla participants (a loosely used term) think so and that's one thing. It is quite another when the elected members of a state ostensibly on Israel's side paint Israel as a country which needs "an abundance of caution and care dealing with the flotilla..."

Quite so, as a video showing last year's flotilla crew attacking the IDF clearly shows:

It's not hard to see which side the NDP are on, particularly if they feel pity for people who willingly thrust themselves into the international limelight with inflammatory and unfounded claims of massive human rights violations.

The flotilla participants' purpose (so they claim) is to break the blockade under the premise of delivering much-needed aid to what has been referred to as "an open-air prison".

How does one stroll into a prison, anyway?

There has been a blockade of Gaza by both Israel and Egypt since 2007, chiefly because of Hamas' deliberate targetting of civilians with rockets. Israel's reaction can hardly be seen as extreme unless one has no idea what it is like to run from a missile. Considering this, its blockade of Gaza is sensible and not as draconian as some may believe. In fact,  Egypt's blockade is far more dire and bloody with a major breach occurring in January 2008.

Humanitarian aid to the Palestinians still pours into Gaza from Israel:

Despite attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of perishable and staple food items to Gaza. This conduit is used by internationally recognized organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross.

Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza. Millions of dollars worth of international food aid continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus, ensuring that there is no food shortage in Gaza.

Since the end of the IDF operation in Gaza (18 Jan 2009) until 5 June 2010, 1,025,686 tons of aid, 49,610  tons of cooking gas and 136,097,330 liters of fuel have been delivered to the Gaza Strip.

Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week. These items were channeled through aid organizations or via Gaza's private sector.

How many prisons have well-fed inmates? One of the biggest health concerns in the Gaza Strip is actually obesity. Palestinian men ranked eighth and Palestinian women ranked third in a WHO study on obesity (Canada ranked twenty-fourth). Photos taken in Gaza and elsewhere in the Palestinian Authority show a completely different picture than what many claim to be true. Shops LADEN with goods. No starving bodies.

Then why the flotilla? Why break the blockade?

It's hard to understand why some would side with people who send their children to be human bombs. Perhaps their lives are as empty as their heads. One thing is clear, however, and that is this is a great embarrassment to Israel. Imagine sending tons of aid to the very people who would wipe you off of the map if they could only to be accused of human rights violations by people who didn't know Israel existed until two days ago. It's hard to combat foreign idiocy and intervention. If five minutes of intellectual effort can't be made or even a few moments of empathic consideration can't be done, what more can be said? How does one convince someone that Gaza isn't an "open-air prison" but a strip of land occupied by people who have no love of life or willingness to live in peace?

And yet Israel trucks on.

(hat tips)

I'm waiting for a flotilla for North Korea.

Speaking of North Korea...:

What's a North Korean apparatchik to think when he's both welcomed and told to quit by Canada after assuming the presidency of a key United Nations disarmament body?

The naming of North Korea's Ambassador So Se Pyong as chair of the UN's Conference on Disarmament drew sharp criticism from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Thursday.

"North Korea is simply not a credible chair of a disarmament body," he said of the bellicose nuclear-armed state, which faced UN accusations as recently as May of trading missile know-how with Iran....

Marius Grinius, a veteran diplomat whose inevitable bow tie makes him easily recognizable, used his farewell address to the conference to deliver the acknowledgment.

"Mr. President, first let me congratulate you on assuming the tasks of the presidency at this critical juncture in the Conference on Disarmament's history," Grinius began, according to a printed text available through the UN.

Now if he'd quickly moved on to committee business, such an opening might have been excused as an obligatory diplomatic nicety.

But Grinius went on to recall his memories of visiting Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"It is appropriate that my last statement in open plenary take place under your presidency," Grinius's text says.

"Prior to Geneva, I had the privilege of being the ambassador to the Republic of Korea with concurrent cross-accreditation to the DPRK. In Pyongyang, I was fortunate to have various opportunities to exchange views with high-level government officials, senior military representatives, party cadres and academics."

What a tool. What a complete, utter tool. Grinius' insufferable sycophancy makes North Korea's chairmanship of the conference on disarmament an even bigger slap in the face to those who dread Kim's itchy trigger finger. Kow-towing to China's Stalinist lapdog is the limit.

Somewhat related: Japan might be able to give China the finger:

China's monopoly over rare-earth metals could be challenged by the discovery of massive deposits of these hi-tech minerals in mud on the Pacific floor, a study on Sunday suggests....

But a new study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, points to an extraordinary concentration of rare-earth elements in thick mud at great depths on the Pacific floor.

Japanese geologists studied samples from 78 sites covering a major portion of the centre-eastern Pacific between 120 and 180 degrees longitude.

Drills extracted sedimentary cores to depths that in place were more than 50 metres (165 feet) below the sea bed.

More than 2,000 of these cores were chemically tested for content in rare-earth elements.

The scientists found rich deposits in samples taken more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from the Pacific's mid-ocean ridges....

In an email exchange with AFP, lead author Yasuhiro Kato, a professor of economic geology and geochemistry at the University of Tokyo, said the response from mining companies was as yet unknown, "because nobody knows the presence of the (rare-earth) -rich mud that we have discovered."

"I am not an engineer, just a geoscientist," Kato said. "But about 30 years ago, a German mining company succeeded in recovering deep-sea mud from the Red Sea. So I believe positively that our deep-sea mud is technologically developable as a mineral resource."...

Japanese industry sources also said China temporarily cut off exports last year during a territorial row between Asia's two largest economies.

India has also struck centuries' old gold:

A treasure trove of gold and silver jewelry, coins and precious stones said to be worth billions of dollars has been found in a Hindu temple in southern India, officials said.

The valuables have an estimated preliminary worth of over 500 billion rupees ($11.2 billion), said Kerala Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, catapulting the temple into the league of India's richest temples.



Anonymous said...

Some of the worst troublemakers in the world are those with good intentions and bad information. God save us from them. And God bless the nation of Israel. Its place in Biblical/religious tradition does not, by any means, mean that it's a PERFECT nation. It is, however, a better and more humane nation than most and those who are well-informed tend to know that and avoid getting on the wrong bandwagon > or BOAT as the case may be.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

The flotilla idiots would not last ONE HOUR in the Gaza Strip. They would break the Israeli blockade just to get fair treatment from the Israelis.