Yesterday Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, spoke with Scott Simon in the American National Public Radio program ‘Weekend Edition, Saturday.’ Scott asked Oren about the stalled peace process, the situation in Gaza, the assassination of Dr. Moussad Ali-Mohammadi – the Iranian nuclear scientist with connections with opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi – as well as the tragedy in Haiti. Oren said simply that Israel was uninvolved with the Ali-Mohammadi assassination and that Israel was sending aid to Haiti – Oren did not go into detail on either of the two.
However, on Gaza and the peace process Oren gave the predicted diplomatic responses with some interesting notes. On the peace process, Oren continued Israel’s line that Israel has made unilateral concessions and are waiting for Palestine at the negotiating table. Scott, the host, almost pushes Oren:
Well, I have the impression that the Palestinians have said a freeze ought to be a freeze and a temporary freeze is not a freeze.
Unfortunately, Scott lets Oren away without a mention of the continued settlement construction or pushing him on the problem of expansion in Jerusalem. I realize that this was a very tame and short interview, but the inability for American journalists (not to mention politicians) to truly ask meaningful questions is absolutely abhorrent.
The second interesting issue brought up was concerning the occupation in Gaza. Oren claims that the blockade on Gaza is simply holding up the importation of goods that can be made into weapons (i.e. certain construction materials) and that there was no shortage of food or medical supplies in the territory. To his credit, Scott noted that the UN has specifically complained about the shortage of food and medical supplies (something that the World Food Program also worries about). Oren’s response: “No. I reiterate: there is no shortage of food and medicine.”
Certainly, Oren knows that the blockade on Gaza is causing mass suffering on the tiny strip due to the dearth of food and medical supplies. He undoubtedly knows about the aid convoys that were rejected from entering the strip and the mass of humanitarian trucks that kept waiting at the border for days. It amazes me that Scott refused to pursue Oren’s lies about Gaza.
Here is the audio from NPR