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Buttigieg says ‘there is a lot of blame to go around’ for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

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During a town hall meeting in Iowa, South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told a questioner that the situation in Gaza was a humanitarian crisis, but that multiple forces were to blame for the current conditions.

At the Mason City event, an exchange student from Gaza asked Buttigieg about American attitudes about the region, which he said concerned him. Buttigieg’s response was reported on Twitter by Huffington Post reporter Daniel Marans.

“The conditions in Gaza are horrifying and they are a humanitarian crisis,” responded Buttigieg, “Like many failures, this failure has many fathers. And we need to recognize that there is a lot of blame to go around for how we got here. I think that not only should Israel be respecting the human rights of people in Gaza, but Egypt could be doing things differently. The international community could do a better job, the U.S. could do a better job, and, obviously, I’m not a fan of Hamas either. So there’s a lot of problems….”

In his remarks, Buttigieg also referenced the United States’ unique relationship with Israel. “And as Israel’s greatest friend in the international community, the United States also has a responsibility as you would anytime you see a friend acting in a way that you think is not helpful, to put our arm around our friend and try to guide things toward that way.”

At last week’s J Street conference, Buttigieg reiterated previous promises to condition military aid to Israel if the country ended up annexing the West Bank. He also seemed to indicate that he would be open to conditioning aid if Israel continued to expand its settlements. We need to make sure that any such cooperation and funding is going to things that are compatible with U.S. objectives and U.S. law,” said Buttigieg, “It is a reminder that we need to have the visibility to know whether U.S. funds are being used in a way that are not compatible with U.S. policy.”

Despite being one of the first candidates to broach the issue of military aid, Buttigieg has positioned himself as one of the most pro-Israel candidates running for the nomination. After returning from a 2018 trip to Israel organized by the American Jewish Committee, Buttigieg made a number of statements praising the country. “Seeing the way that a country can be on the one hand very intentional, very serious, and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness,” he told an interviewer, “I think that’s a very important lesson that hopefully Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.”

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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7 Responses

  1. JWalters on November 4, 2019, 6:33 pm

    “Buttigieg has positioned himself as one of the most pro-Israel candidates running for the nomination”

    Buttigieg seems like a CIA agent disguised as a financial services consultant.

    • echinococcus on November 4, 2019, 10:02 pm

      Where is the disguise? Both are on his CV — and boasting.

      • JWalters on November 5, 2019, 5:57 pm

        Thanks for that clarification.

  2. Misterioso on November 5, 2019, 10:02 am

    Attention: Pete Buttigieg

    Firstly, for the record, I remind you that U.S. taxpayers provide “Israel” with at least $12 million per day in financial aid.

    Then there’s the Gaza Strip, endlessly suffering under “Israel’s” vicious fascistic boot. Here’s just one of countless examples:

    “Vital medicines run out in Gaza ” by Yousef Aljamal, Electronic Intifada, Oct. 16/19

    “Shaaban is a 10-year-old child with autism.

    “He requires assistance with his education, as well as medical treatment that costs up to $900 per month. Without his medicine, he can begin to scream, has difficulty sleeping at night and sometimes even loses consciousness.

    “Shaaban’s father Ibrahim works as a janitor at a local school. Amid a general economic slowdown caused by Israel’s siege of Gaza, Ibrahim has seen his monthly wages fall from approximately $450 to $350 in recent years.

    “He has four children to care for, including Shaaban. And almost half of Ibrahim’s wages go toward paying a bank loan that was issued to build the family’s home.

    “An additional problem is that most of the medicines Shaaban has been prescribed are not available in Gaza.

    “’I feel powerless,’ said Ibrahim. ‘I can neither afford nor find the medicine Shaaban needs. It is too hard. I do all that I can for my son; I don’t know what more I can do.’

    “The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor published the findings of its research on Palestinian children with autism in August. The organization stated that most parents of children with autism it interviewed complained that treatment was too expensive for them given that no financial support is provided by the authorities.

    Disturbing picture
    “Israel’s siege – imposed since 2007 – has affected Gaza’s healthcare system enormously. A new report by the World Health Organization states that of the 516 items on Gaza’s essential medicines list, nearly half had less than a month’s stock remaining in 2018. The depletion of stocks had worsened by 15 percent since the previous year, the report adds.

    “Data from 2019 paint a similarly disturbing picture. During August, stocks of 225 essential medicines held in the central store of Gaza’s health ministry had run out by at least 90 percent.

    “Rana Hussein, a nurse at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, says that more than 60 cancer drugs are unavailable in Gaza. Treatments for diabetes and some kidney complaints are hard to find, too.

    “’There are 250 patients with thalassemia [a blood disorder] who lack medication,’ Hussein said.

    “Israel’s frequent attacks on Palestinians taking part in protests has also placed considerable burdens on Gaza’s hospitals.

    “More than 1,000 people who have been injured are awaiting limb reconstruction treatment in Gaza, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ Middle East envoy, stated last month. Unless such treatment is provided, many limbs could be lost because of infection.

    “Mladenov has claimed that ‘some improvements were felt’ in Gaza’s economy over the past few months. Unemployment has dropped from 47 percent to 46.7 percent, he said.

    “The improvements have not been felt by many ordinary people. And human rights monitors have drawn attention to how a new method for calculating unemployment data has been introduced in Palestine.

    “Gisha, a group campaigning against movement restrictions, has estimated that the real level of unemployment in Gaza has risen since last year.

    “Mahmoud is a 30-year-old unemployed man. Two of his children – Wissam, 8, and Lina, 7 – have epilepsy.

    “Wissam can have as many as five seizures per day. He has broken teeth and injured his hands while falling down.

    “Impossible to afford”
    “A dose of levetiracetam – the main drug used to treat epilepsy – costs $150 each for Lina and Wissam per month – when it can be found. ‘This treatment is often not available in Gaza’s hospitals and pharmacies,’ said Mahmoud, who does not have the money to buy the medicines, in any event.

    “The children’s mother Ghada is trying against the odds to remain optimistic. ‘After black clouds comes sunshine,’ she said.

    “’I wish it was me [who had epilepsy], not you,’ she added, looking at her children.

    “Imam Abdulrahman, now aged 23, was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2016. Since then he has had an aortic valve replacement operation.

    “It is vital that he takes regular medication to reduce the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Like many others in Gaza, he and his family do not have the means to pay his medical bills.

    “Lacking a fixed job, Abdulrahman does occasional work in construction or as a cleaner.

    “He mainly relies on welfare payments paid to his father by the Palestinian Authority, headquartered in the occupied West Bank. The payments come to $400 and are only issued every three months.

    “’This is not enough money,’ Abdulrahman said. ‘It is impossible for me to afford medicine to help me overcome my illness.'”

    • mondonut on November 5, 2019, 2:06 pm

      @Misterioso , “Vital medicines run out in Gaza ”

      The Palestinian Authority (PA) has stopped sending medicines to the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza claimed yesterday, noting this caused acute medical shortages, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

      • eljay on November 5, 2019, 6:49 pm

        || mon donut: … The Palestinian Authority (PA) has stopped sending medicines to the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza claimed yesterday, noting this caused acute medical shortages, Al-Wattan Voice reported. ||

        However, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Ramallah Osama Al-Najjar denied that a decision had been made to stop sending medicines to Gaza.

        “Due to the huge debts owed to the medical companies, they suspended supplies of medication to the ministry, causing a crisis in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” he said.

        But you’re right: It’s time for Israel to end its decades-long and on-going military occupation and colonization of territory outside of its / Partition borders so that foreign aid and investment can freely flow into the Partition-borders State of Palestine and – among other things – remedy the current shortage of medical supplies.

  3. Elizabeth Block on November 5, 2019, 11:04 am

    Egypt? Yes, it probably could do better – if it were not, quite justifiably, afraid of what Israel and the United States would do. Certainly the Egyptian people don’t support their government backing up Israel.

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