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June 27, 2010
G-8 Leaders Send Love Note To Bibi -- But Where Are The Media?
The Group of Eight summit in Canada issued a communiqué on June 26 that is remarkably favorable and supportive of Israel's stance on Gaza and the peace process.
The communique, which expresses the views of the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany France, Italy and Russia, deals with major global issues and challenges, among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Here's what it has to say on that topic:
1. It calls for moving from current proximity talks ,with U.S. envoy George Mitchell having to shuttle between the parties, to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians -- something that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has steadfastly resisted, but a course Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has advocated for many months.
2. It expresses deep regret at the loss of life during the May 31 flotilla incident, but pointedly does not hold Israel responsible for the lethal outcome -- a slap at Turkish, UN and Arab leaders who immediately blamed Israel in disregard of clear evidence that violence-bent radical passengers brutally beat Israeli commandos before a single shot was fired.
3. It "welcomes" Israel's creation of an independent public commission to investigate the flotilla events, with international participation, and expects it will bring to light all the facts. There is no mention in the communiqué of any need for a separate international/UN inquiry a la Goldstone kangaroo court, as favored by Abbas but rejected by Netanyahu.
4. It "welcomes" the Israeli Cabinet's announcement of a new embargo policy that allows more civilian goods into Gaza "as a positive development " -- another pat on Bibi's back.
5. It acknowledges Gaza's needs for reconstruction materials and greater economic activity, but does so in the context of "legitimate security concerns of Israel that must continue to be safeguarded."
6. It calls for the "immediate release" of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped 4 years ago by Hamas and other terror groups operating in Gaza. .
While the communiqué states that "current arrangements" for humanitarian aid to Gaza are "not sustainable and must be changed," it does so while applauding Israel's policy change to more expansive movement of goods into Gaza.
All in all, considering the withering denunciations of Israel that reached new heights after the flotilla incident, this is a refreshing and positive new attitude toward Israel by some of the world's leading powers. For Netanyahu, It's a major diploamtic and public-relations success.
Which may explain why neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post reported it in their June 27 editions.