DN! | Martin Indyk vs. Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict (4 parts)
“The Israeli assault on Gaza is entering its thirteenth day. Some 700 Palestinians have been killed, with many thousands more wounded, and a humanitarian crisis is mounting. Ten Israelis have died, four by “friendly fire.” A ceasefire has not been reached, and the offensive continues. We host a debate between Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton administration, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and author of, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East, and Norman Finkelstein, author of several books, including The Holocaust Industry, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Beyond Chutzpah.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes in the southern town of Rafah as Israel intensifies its assault on the Gaza Strip. Palestinians reported Israeli air strikes hit homes, mosques, and tunnels in the area. Meanwhile, Agence France Presse quoted witnesses as saying that dozens of Israeli tanks had entered southern Gaza and were heading towards Rafah. Fierce fighting was also reported between Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers around Khan Yunis. Earlier today, the UN said Israeli forces fired on one of its relief convoys trying to pick up supplies. Al Jazeera reports least one Palestinian was killed and two others injured in the attack. Meanwhile, Israel continued its bombardment of Gaza with 60 air strikes overnight. Residents described it as among the heaviest bombardments since the offensive began.
Al Jazeera reports at least 700 Palestinians, including 219 children, have died in Gaza since Israel began its assault on December 27th. More than 3,000 people have been wounded. Ten Israelis have died over the same thirteen-day period, including seven soldiers, four of them by so-called friendly fire.
On the diplomatic front, efforts to secure a truce in Gaza continue, with a senior Israeli official due to travel to Cairo to hear details of a ceasefire plan drawn up by Egypt and France. Israel said on Wednesday it accepted the “principles” of the proposal but wanted to study the plan. A Hamas delegation is expected in Cairo at some stage for parallel talks. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is due to arrive on Friday.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council seems deadlocked over the crisis. Arab countries want the Council to vote on a resolution calling for a ceasefire while Britain, France and the US are pushing for a weaker statement welcoming the Egypt-France proposal.
We turn now to a discussion on the crisis in Gaza, the U.S. role in the conflict and what the prospects are for the incoming Obama administration. Martin Indyk is the former U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for near east affairs during the Clinton Administration. He is currently the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He has a new book out titled, “Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East.” He is an adviser to Hillary Clinton, who was tapped to be Obama’s secretary of state, and is among those mentioned as a potential special envoy to the Middle East. Martin Indyk joins us from Washington DC. Norman Finkelstein is a leading critic of Israeli foreign policy. He is the author of several books, including “The Holocaust Industry”, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict” and “Beyond Chutzpah.” He joins here in the firehouse studio.”