It’s interesting, although not surprising, how the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is not even making a blip on the radar screens of international news outlets. But I suppose it’s not their fault really:
Leaders of the world’s biggest media organizations filed a protest with Israel’s prime minister Wednesday criticizing the government’s decision to ban journalists from entering the Gaza Strip for the last two weeks.
…Those signing the letter included Associated Press Chief Executive and President Tom Curley, Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, ABC News President David Westin, BBC News Director Helen Boaden and other top executives from CNN, the Canadian TV network CTV, the German broadcaster ZDF, and the French news service Agence France Presse. [source]
This Haaretz editorial on the subject is pretty interesting.
In the meantime, with half of Gaza’s bakeries closed, the other half is now using animal feed to produce bread. Can you imagine that kind of desperation?
To make political tensions worse, the Palestinian Authority’s central council has voted to appoint Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian state president.
Meanwhile, the King met with Olmert and Barak last week in Amman to tell them (reportedly) what he’s been saying for the past decade or so. The meeting was interestingly enough not reported by the Jordanian press immediately and was taken to be a “secret” meeting by the regional press. I am very cynical when it comes to these sorts of meetings simply because no one knows anything about what’s said behind closed doors and in a country this small, speculation is bound to run rampant. Hundreds of people protested in Amman last Friday and I’m guessing these coming weeks we’ll see similar voices increasing in numbers. These events tend to be handled with caution by the state, simply because whenever something happens in Gaza or the West Bank, the steam beings to rise in Amman and neither the government nor the security apparatus wants to puts its hand on that boiling pot. Licenses to protest are granted and marches are closely watched. A people this close and entwined with such a crisis need to vent if that’s the only thing they can do. Which takes me back to my point of why I’m not a fan of closed-door meetings. These are not times for a lack of transparency and a racetrack for speculations and rumors. If the point was to emphasize the urgency of such a meeting as an indication of how much Jordan cares about this particular crises, then an open-door policy would’ve worked better with social perceptions. If the messages relayed to the press of “we are concerned about the situation” and “please stop” are accurate, then a telephone call would’ve sufficed. I think Jordanians at this point, and Arabs in general, are more concerned with actions than speeches and meetings.
But that’s just my opinion.
In any case, the Israeli siege is one thing, but I’m wondering if these efforts to break Hamas will reach a tipping point come January when Abbas is supposed to leave office.