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As Obama Gets Ready to Golf, Middle East Activists Try to Make a Delivery

The president-elect may be on vacation, but that doesn't mean people have stopped trying to lobby him. Today, a couple of individuals tried to deliver "informational DVDs" about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict to Barack Obama in advance of his visit to a golf course. From the pool report, by The Honolulu Advertiser's Peter Boylan:

After loading his clubs onto a cart, Obama, wearing sunglasses, a white shirt, khaki shorts, white and brown golf shoes, and a red baseball cap emblazoned with the City and County of Honolulu's Ocean Safety logo, drove down to the driving range....

Prior to leaving for the course at about 11 a.m., a group of five people approached the security checkpoint set up by the U.S. Secret Service and Honolulu police carrying a box wrapped with a gold ribbon. The group, led by Fred and Pat Shepherd from Greenbrae, Calif., and Robert Steiver, 65, of Honolulu, asked the Secret Service if they could deliver the box and a letter to Obama.

The Secret Service declined.

Speaking to a reporter, Fred Shepherd said they wanted to deliver the box, which once held "Super Gorilla" golf balls but now contained informational DVD's about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

"I don't think he's taking a vacation, he's preparing to be the next president," said Steiver. "I'm deathly afraid he'll continue the failed policies of the Bush administration. I've been suffering with the Palestinians for years."

The letter was typed on a piece of paper with Fred and Pat Shepherd's address printed at the top. It was dated December 29, and addressed to Mr. And Mrs. Obama. The body of the letter read: "This gift of films is offered in hope that you will take the time to view them and that you will gain an insight as to why the Palestinians have been fighting for their land, pride and children for over 100 years. Today, one of Israel's major newspapers, Ha'aretz, has condemned Israel's slaughter of Palestinian men, women and children and in no uncertain terms: Israel is and has been committing war crimes. We look forward to your presidency...more than any other in our lifetime. Best wishes to you and your daughters. Thank you. Warm regards."

The letter is signed by Fred and Pat Shepherd.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 29, 2008; 6:53 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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How comforting it must be to live in an alternate universe where you can start a fight by lobbing rockets at your neighbor, intending to kill anyone, indescriminatly, and then crying foul when your neighbor seeks to crush your ability to continue lobbing rockets.
We have seen far too much of this throwing the first punch and then moaning and crying and asking for support because the result of starting the fight is getting beat up.
Maybe if they spent more time importing medicines, schoolbooks, and materials for infrastructure instead of weapons they would actually earn respect and support from others, but then they wouldn't be lobbing rockets would they?

Posted by: lawofficemail | December 30, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's the timeline of what happened. You will see that in fact, it was Israel that began this latest round of aggression:

June 19, 2008: Hamas and Israel agree to six month truce
Nov. 2: Israeli forces kill 4 Gazans in missile strike and incursion, blocking ambulances from wounded
Nov. 4 2008: Israel carries out various incursions in Gaza supported by missile strikes, killing one and wounding three, plus razing land; Israeli forces also kill six and wound five Hamas members, breaking "truce";
Nov. 5: Israel illegally and criminally seals off Gaza's exits and entrances, including from humanitarian food and medical aid needed by 750,000 malnourished [This is a war crime/crime against humanity under international law]
Nov. 14: Israeli air strike injures 2
Nov. 15th Hamas sends 16 rockets, sending 18 Israelis to hospital with "shock and mild injuries."
Nov. 16: Israeli forces kill 4
Nov. 17th Israeli attack wounds 2
Nov. 18th Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozer incursion into Gaza, plus mock air raids over Gaza
Israel kills a Palestinian patient who refuses medical extortion
Nov. 28: Israeli incursion harrasses Gazans
Nov. 30th Israeli incursion levels area of Gaza Strip
{continuing crisis with almost no access to drinkable water, shortage of bread, humanitarian aid, journalists and UN blocked from entry, etc. Sick refused medical help)
Dec. 18th Air strikes in Gaza kill Gaza civilian, activist wounded
Dec. 20:Israeli attack kills resistor

Posted by: nadabraintheOriginal | December 30, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me - but I think that the Hamas struck the first blow in this latest

Posted by: truthseeker16 | December 30, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The middle east has been in conflict for centuries, and any peace has always been forced. Neither side belives that the other has any right to the land. On the one hand the Israelis believe that god gave them the land, and on the other hand the Palesinians belive that they have a right to the land because the land was always theirs. In reality the only peace has occured when a third party such as Great Britian was politically in charge. If we really want peace it may be necessary for a new third party such as the U.S. to become politically involved and mandate a peace in which both sides are bound by the third parties dicisions. After a time when both sides have become accustom to this arraingment political control can be slowly given back to both sides along with their share of land, effectively creating two states.

Posted by: jimnbo | December 30, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I fully support Hamas in its right to defend itself. It must take whatever action is necessary to defeat the enemy. Israel wants war, not peace. Hamas has given Israel its response. All Israel is trying to do is make Hamas out to be the bad guy. Israel is nothing but a terrorist organization, and Hamas must defeat it.

Posted by: k3nnyb0y | December 30, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What, exactly is Israel attempting to accomplish? The genocide of Palestinians? Last I checked, "Palestinian" does not mean "terrorist," or even Hamas supporter. Being an American does not mean that we agree with Bush, or even support him. Yet you don't see the Iraqi government bombing the US with F16s because of its invasion and policies. Collective punishment is a war crime, and it's time for the nutjobs who unconditionally support Israel to wake up and smell the blood on their hands.

Posted by: nadabraintheOriginal | December 30, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Israel isn't DEFENDING itself. It is conducting retributive attacks. Blowing up a university, not because any attacks were being launched from it, but because it is a "symbol of Hamas' political power" is NOT an act of defense, but of attack.

Israeli forces are attacking a densely populated GHETTO in which they have effectively imprisoned a million and a half people, in a state of siege... Israel controls the borders of Gaza, its airspace, its coast... no goods or people pass in or out without Israeli permission (unless the people smuggle them past Israeli controls).. Israel attacks anyone inside the ghetto, at any time it pleases Israel to do so, killing people at will... and it has killed hundreds, including many children, assasinating an old crippled man in a wheelchair with an air-to-ground missile, bombing apartment buildings, slaughtering a family on the beach with an artillery barrage. These people have no means to fight back EXCEPT these crude rockets. Who should expect them to abandond the only means they have to hit back, WHILE they are under siege, and WHILE they are being killed themselves?

Zionist apologists ignore the fact that Hamas honored a cease-fire for months, but Israel continued assasinations, raids and incursions anyway. And Hamas isn't in CONTROL of Palestinian actions, as Israel can control its own military forces... Israel has for YEARS persistently attacked and tried to destroy all the mechanisms by which ANY Palestinian authority might have been able to establish that sort of control (as when it blew up EVERY Palestinian police station, during the second intifada... and as it is doing now, attacking every institution it can find in any way related to the elected Hamas government).

Israel doesn't want peace. Israel just wants the land, with no Arabs on it. You know.... liebensraum. Haven't we been here before?

Posted by: Iconoblaster | December 30, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The Israelis have been criticized for their disproportionate use of force. What a joke! How about the UN's disproportionate indifference to the terror of Hamas against Israelis. The world believes the Jews should die quietly and learn to live with terror aimed at them. The Europeans are bleating that this act of self-defense will engender hatred of Israel around the world. How much more hatred can be directed at a small country that wants to protect its people and live in peace. The Israelis should do to Hamas what Hamas wants to do to Jews ---before Hamas has a chance to do it! And if the world does not respect my right to live, let them watch my actions in Gaza

Posted by: alevy630 | December 30, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I fully support Israel in its right to defend itself. It must take whatever action is necessary to defeat the enemy. Hamas wants war, not peace. Israel has given Hamas its response. All Hamas is trying to do is make Israel out to be the bad guy. Hamas is nothing but a terrorist organization, and Israel must defeat it.

Posted by: Maryann261 | December 30, 2008 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Most intriguing question regarding Obama's interactions with the burgeoning Mideast crisis is how Hillary will fit into all of this as secretary of state. Will she really be allowed to handle things as the foreign policy face of the Obama administration?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 29, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry... what? Two whackjobs try to give Obama a DVD and it makes the Washington Post - with their entire letter printed? Is it really that easy for fringies to get media coverage? They should not be encouraged like this.

Posted by: bungles | December 29, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

There will never be peace so long as too many on both sides want it all.

Extremist Pals want Israel to disappear and extremist Israelis want all the land "promised" in the bible.

Neither side will get it all. Israel will not disappear nor will the millions of Arabs on the West Bank and Gaza.

In the mean time, they never seem to tire of killing eachother's children.

Posted by: toritto | December 29, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I strongly support Israel's right to exist but I deplore the actions of the Israeli government.

They have overwhelming military strength and they use it against their neighbors whenever they desire. They have no regard for the civilian population when they use military force. This disregard for women and children was shown in Lebanon and now again in Gaza.

The world must realize that Gaza is a ghetto that the Israeli goverment controls and the people within are prisoners of the Israeli government. Until Israel allows the people of Gaza the same rights that are afforded the citizens of Israel there will be no peace.

Posted by: mwhoke | December 29, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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