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EIR Daily News • Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Basilica in Venice

The Lead

From Palestine: The Way to Celebrate Easter

by Marcia Merry Baker (EIRNS) — Mar. 30, 2024

March 30, 2024 (EIRNS)—This week saw a new extreme of lethal hypocrisy by the United States, unchallenged still by its NATO allies, but clear for all to see, with horror. While U.S. government leaders have spoken out for years demanding the world respect “the rules-based order,” even “the rule of law,” the same leaders this week said this does not apply to any rules Washington chooses to ignore. U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said mid-week that the UN Security Council Resolution passed March 25, is “non-binding,” in its text calling for the Israeli attacks on Gaza to stop, and mass humanitarian aid to begin. The U.S. will continue its military support to Israel, even if the Congress itself has not authorized more funding.

Yesterday it came out that the Biden Administration now has committed a new shipment of bombs and bombers to be sent to Israel. This is Washington’s answer to the United Nations. Though reported by the Washington Post, frequently unreliable, the account has not been denied by the Pentagon or the State Department, which reports that 1,800 MK 84 2000-pound bombs will be supplied to Israel, and 500 MK 82 500-pound bombs. In addition, 15 F-35 stealth jet fighters will be supplied.

This arms commitment to Israel comes one week after the Congress passed a budget, in which it was specifically stated that no U.S. funding will go to the UN agency, for the next 12 months, which has been administering aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan. This is the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which has been administering such aid since it was established in 1949.

Instead, the U.S. backs such ploys as seen today, when a three-vessel convoy departed Larnaca, Cyprus, with 400 tons of food and other supplies, for Gaza, operated by the U.S. charity Open Arms. This is the second such waterborne shipment, and not even an eyedropper amount of food relief. But the donors cynically note it includes dates, traditionally used to break the daily fast in Ramadan, according to today’s Stars and Stripes report. Yesterday, the U.S. made another airdrop of food aid on Gaza. More hypocrisy.

The UN International Court of Justice, the World Court, on March 28 issued an order that Israel open more overland crossings, and take other measures to expedite massive food and relief aid. Thousands of truckloads are stalled out in Egypt, unable to get through the sole Israeli-run gateway to Gaza at Rafah. Last week, Israel issued an edict that trucks are not to go to northern Gaza to deliver aid. That still stands. The official death toll in Gaza is now 32,705.

One by one, other nations are stepping apart from the U.S., and resuming funding to UNRWA. The latest is Japan, whose government announced March 28 it will resume contributions. Donations from Germany and France were confirmed this week, and in the last 10 days, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland have announced resuming funding. It appears that 9 of the original 17 nations and the European Commission that stopped funding for UNWRA, led by the U.S., have now resumed funding.

What is required is a complete break with the U.S./NATO rule, and measures of sanity and morality: immediate ceasefire, full-scale aid, start-up of the preliminaries for the “Oasis Plan” infrastructure-building approach throughout the entire Eastern Mediterranean and greater intercontinental region. This, in turn, requires conferring to establish a new international economic development and security architecture, based on the principle of mutual benefit to all.

There are mass actions and other initiatives underway this weekend. In London today, multi-thousands are again demonstrating at Trafalgar Square. In Germany, the traditional Easter marches and rallies are underway, with a target of 70 major cities, and many small towns. Started in the late 1950s as anti-war demonstrations, the rallies this year are under the theme, “Now More than Ever, Together for Peace,” and focus on stopping arms to Ukraine, negotiations with Russia, as well as ceasefire in Gaza.

The International Peace Coalition (IPC), open wide and spanning all continents and “positions” on the common principle of stopping the countdown to nuclear war, yesterday included several members participate from the organization that sent an open letter of warning to President Biden on March 25. The letter by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity was titled, “VIPS MEMO: The French Road to Nuclear War.”

The IPC’s own open letter, from March 22, will be circulating at certain of the religious services in cities from Montreal, to Washington, D.C., to Houston this Easter weekend. It is titled, “Our Outcry Must Not Come Too Late!

The singular intervention to make the point that “hypocrisy as usual” will no longer be tolerated, was that made in New York City March 28 by Diane Sare, independent candidate for U.S. Senator from New York. She broke up the controlled environment of the three Democrat Presidents—Biden, Obama and Clinton, at their glitzy Radio City Music Hall fundraiser. She asserted to all, before the cameras, that they are warmongers, and idiots. She unfurled a giant banner, “War Pigs All.”

Last night, the coverage of the event in New York magazine led off with Sare’s intervention, giving the link to her X campaign account, though without mentioning her by name. The article began, quoting her: “’YOU IDIOTS!!!!!” It was shortly before 9 p.m. last night, and a 58-year-old anti-war activist who’d paid $1,000 for her seat near the stage at Radio City Music Hall was yelling at Stephen Colbert and the three Democratic presidents ... [as they escorted her out], she turned back and screamed one more time, ‘YOU’RE ALL OUT OF YOUR MINDS!’”

Another leading world activist, the Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, also this weekend intervened to address what we are all called upon to do. A Palestinian, Dr. Isaac is the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine, where he commanded world attention for the nativity scene he created in December, showing the infant Jesus not in a manger, but amid war rubble; and he said in his Christmas sermon that, “If Christ were born today, he would be born under rubble in Gaza…”

On Good Friday yesterday, Isaac was interviewed by Al Jazeera on the crisis for Palestinians, and asked what his message is for Easter. He spoke for many minutes on the unspeakable situation in Gaza, and on the decades of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. He said there is a “misconception that this is a conflict.” No, it is “a daily reality of oppression and apartheid.” We can say, “Our Good Friday has lasted way too long…. We have been living in sorrow for way too long.” However, he pointed out, “both people in the streets and in the churches” around the world, now “disagree with their governments” tolerating this, and people should act. They should do so at Easter. Using religious references, he made a universal call for people to activate. He said that, “Sadly, too many people think of celebrating Easter in a very individualistic way,” but we have to think of others. Thinking that way, he said, you can draw hope from the Easter greetings, “Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed.”


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