President-elect Barack Obama plays a little golf during his vacation last week in Hawaii. Al Jazeera contrasted footage of Obama on vacation with scenes of the carnage in Gaza, noting what it called "the deafening silence of the Obama team." (Tim Sloan / Getty-AFP / December 29, 2008)
Israeli ground troops have started to enter the Gaza Strip, Israeli military officials have confirmed, a week after the offensive against Hamas began.(...) Earlier, Israel intensified air and artillery attacks on the territory. (...) The UN has warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis, and believes 25% of more than 400 Palestinians killed by Israel so far were civilians.(...) there are said to be some 10,000 Israeli troops and hundreds of tanks massed on the border with Gaza. The office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has also announced that the government has ordered the urgent call-up of "tens of thousands" of extra military reservists. BBC News
"We want him to say something at least to stop the bloodshed," said Suhail Natour, a Palestinian activist who lives in the Mar Elias Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. "Waiting until the 20th, with the bloodshed continuing, I don't think is an acceptable way of confirming a new policy in the Middle East. Silence on this means complicity." Chicago Tribune
David Seaton's News Links
Readers of mine will know that I am no fan of Barack Obama's, but I confess that I never expected him to prove me right by defining himself so quickly... even before being sworn in as President.
What is happening in Gaza is huge, grotesquely tragic... It is like watching a cat play with a small animal before killing it... endlessly mauling it... warming to its work.
People all over the world have placed great hopes in Barack Obama and his "yes we can - change we can believe in" and they are waiting for a word... only a word... and while people are dying horribly, he is playing golf.
Being photographed playing golf at a moment like this is as tone deaf as Bush looking out of plane at the ruins of New Orleans was... much more tone deaf in my opinion.
I'm sorry, but the "one president at a time" thing is not good enough. He had a lot to say about the Mumbai attacks:
"President-Elect Obama strongly condemns today's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the people of India. These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism." Brooke Anderson, Obama's Chief National Security SpokespersonAnd he was positively loquacious when it come to the economy:
President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday said the struggling U.S. economy could face more challenges and urged lawmakers to act quickly on recovery proposals even as some Republicans expressed concerns about plans for a huge stimulus package. "As we mark the beginning of a new year, we also know that America faces great and growing challenges -- challenges that threaten our nation's economy and our dreams for the future," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. ReutersBut, when in their moment of agony, the Palestinians waited for a word from Obama and the word finally was:
They say that first impressions are the most important... I doubt whether anyone in the Middle East will forget this one anytime soon. DS