The McGlynn: Madness! Complete Madness! We are in need of leaders not beholden to Israeli madness.
The Israeli military has the right to attack Palestinian hospitals and schools in self defense if Hamas has put rocket launchers next to them, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said last week at a local town hall, according to the Cape Cod Times.(See below).
Warren, in defending her vote to send funds to Israel in the middle of its war with Hamas, said she thinks civilian casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” she said.
Israeli tanks shelled schools and hospitals during the most recent conflict in Gaza. The Israeli government claimed at the time that rockets and militants had been located nearby. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency condemned militants for hiding rockets in two schools, and also sharply criticized Israeli attacks on other schools as.
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War prohibits attacks on hospitals, “unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy.” Even under those circumstances, civilian hospitals can only be attacked “after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded.”
Warren argued that Israel’s use of force was justified by the violence in the region. “America has a very special relationship with Israel,” she said. “Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
She also questioned whether to condition future U.S. funding for Israel on the halting of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far,” Warren said.
Israel is indeed a democracy. The nation’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a member of the Likud Party, whose founding charter calls for the destruction of any Palestinian state; Hamas’ founding document calls for the same for Israel, though it recently joined a unity government which recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
Warren has been on the receiving end of sporadic criticism over the years from progressives for a hawkish if hesitant approach to foreign policy, which she appears to prefer to avoid in favor of domestic economic policy.
August 21, 2014
HYANNIS — In a room filled with signs calling for the closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and the end of NStar’s herbicide use, it seemed that Cape issues would dominate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “office hours” Wednesday at Barnstable Town Hall.
“No questions about the Pilgrim nuclear power plant and no questions about NStar, right?” joked state Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, facing signs that read, “Close Pilgrim” and “Say nay to the spray.”
But when the man in the green Hawaiian shirt stood up, Warren went from voicing her support for those local causes to defending her vote to send $225 million to Israel in its ongoing conflict with Hamas.
“We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel,” said Harwich resident John Bangert, who identified himself as a Warren supporter but said the $225 million could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.
“The vote was wrong, I believe,” he added, drawing applause from several in the crowd.
Warren told Bangert she appreciated his comments, but “we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”
“I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right,” she said. “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel “indiscriminately,” but with the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.” When pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.
Noreen Thompsen, of Eastham, proposed that Israel should be prevented from building any more settlements as a condition of future U.S. funding, but Warren said, “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.”
After visiting the Cape Abilities farm in Dennis and WE CAN, a nonprofit organization in Harwich that helps women through life transitions, the debate marked the lone point of discord on a day of friendly facetime with Warren. Before leaving Barnstable Town Hall for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Warren said she shared the Cape Downwinders’ concerns over the Plymouth nuclear plant.
Warren said she first raised the lack of an adequate escape plan for the Cape in the event of an accident at Pilgrim in a conversation with Allison Macfarlane, chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the Statehouse, legislation to expand the emergency zone to include the Cape and Islands has stalled, in part, because federal regulations supersede the state’s.
“We had some back-and-forth, I’ll just put it that way. We had some back-and-forth about it, and some of the back-and-forth was about the question of whose responsibility it was to have an adequate escape route and who has to approve the escape route. Her position was that this is the responsibility of the state,” Warren said of Macfarlane. “My pushback on this, I think, ends up kind of in the same place where you are on this, and that is it is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that if the plant is open, it is operated safely, and that means there is an exit plan in the case of emergency.”