Pro War Rahm Emanuel
In June 21st, 2010, while the Obama administration was still railing from a series of failed attempts to turn Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on track by stopping Israeli settlements in West Bank, Rahm Emanuel broke with the general US line and praised Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts for peace
Israel spells out plan to ease Gaza blockade
By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem
Published: June 20 2010 18:23 | Last updated: June 20 2010 18:23
Israel moved to calm recent tensions with the international community over its Gaza policy on Sunday by spelling out how it plans to ease the long-running blockade of the territory.
The move comes ahead of a meeting, also revealed on Sunday, between Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Barack Obama, the US president, in Washington early next month.
The two leaders were supposed to meet this month, but Mr Netanyahu was forced to cut short an official trip to North America to deal with the fall-out from Israel.s botched attack on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip.
The assault, in which Israeli naval commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian activists from Turkey, sparked an international outcry, and increased the already mounting pressure on the Israeli government to change its Gaza policy.
In a sign that the latest Israeli concessions may succeed in stifling the recent surge in criticism from abroad, both the US and Tony Blair, the international community.s Middle East envoy, praised the government.s move. The White House said on Sunday it welcomed the Israeli measures, saying they promised .significant improvements. for Palestinian living in Gaza.
Suggesting that the US administration is keen to move on from the recent tensions between the two allies, Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama.s chief-of-staff, found unusually warm words of praise for the Israeli leader. Mr Emanuel told ABC.s This Week that Mr Netanyahu was .the kind of leader willing to take a big risk for peace., adding that all sides should seize .this moment of opportunity. to reach a peace deal.
Mr Blair, who has met the Israeli leader repeatedly over the past week, said he welcomed .strongly. the Israeli statement, adding that .the practical effect of this should change radically the flow of goods and materials into Gaza..
The key change announced by the government is the switch from an .allowed. list, which forbids the import of all goods into Gaza that are not mentioned specifically, to a .banned. list, which will block some materials but should in theory allow a much greater range of goods in.
The government made clear that in future all goods except .weapons, war materiel and problematic dual-use goods. could enter Gaza.
Israel also reiterated an earlier decision to .expand. the inflow of .dual-use construction materials. for building projects authorised by the western-backed Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the secular Fatah party and governs in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip, however, is ruled by the Islamist Hamas group, which could view an expanded PA role in the coastal territory as encroachment by its long-standing rival.
Years of severe restrictions on the flow of goods and people into and out of Gaza have had a crippling effect on the strip.s economy and made eight in ten residents dependent on international aid.
Allowing more goods into Gaza is likely to improve the humanitarian situation, but analysts say that the private sector, and the economy at large, can only return to growth if Israel also allows exports from the strip . a step that was not mentioned in Sunday.s package.
In February 2010, Emanuel apologized for using the word "retarded" to describe liberals at a closed-door meeting in 2009. He expressed his regret to Tim Shriver, the chief executive of the Special Olympics after the remark was reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal about growing liberal angst at the chief of staff. The apology came as Sarah Palin called on President Obama to fire Emanuel via the former governor's Facebook page
He and his brothers attended summer camp in Israel, including just after the 1967 Six Day War
In the first Gulf War, Emanuel served with the Israel Defense Forces as a civilian volunteer helping to maintain equipment
Edward Moskal, president of the Polish American Congress, a political action committee endorsing Kaszak, called Emanuel a "millionaire carpetbagger who knows nothing" about "our heritage". Moskal also charged that Emanuel had dual citizenship with Israel and had served in the Israeli Army
Emmanuel spoke out strongly in support of the war, urging a United States' "muscular projection of force" in Iraq