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Blog Buzz: Dissecting Gaza

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
A battle between Israelis and pro-Palestinian activists aboard a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships headed to Gaza that left at least nine dead is used by both the liberal and conservative blogosphere to make their respective political points regarding foreign policy.

And just as the oil seeping from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico shows no sign of subsiding, neither does criticism of the way the oil spill is being handled, both by BP and the Obama administration.

“If there's a better example of how not to address a flotilla of charity ships, I doubt it,” AMERICAblog’s Chris in Paris wrote. “As an avid supporter of Israel, this event is extremely upsetting. The state of Israel is going down a very dangerous path which will not do anyone, any good.”

ThinkProgress’ Ben Armbruster wrote, “In a damage control effort, Israeli officials and their right-wing American supporters are now trying to deflect blame onto the activists, saying that there was no reason for them to be trying to breach the blockade to deliver supplies because there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Countering the Israeli defense, Armbruster cited a U.N. fact-finding mission describing the Israeli blockade of Gaza as “collective punishment.” More: “A U.N. official said last week that the formal economy in Gaza has ‘collapsed,’ and 60 percent of households there were short on food. The Guardian notes that according to UN statistics, ‘around 70% of Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75% rely on food aid and 60% have no daily access to water.’”

On the question of whether the Israeli army’s response to the flotilla’s attempt to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip was proportional, the conservative blogger Michael Rubin wrote at NRO: “When attacked, why should not a stronger nation or its representatives try to both protects its own personnel at all costs and, in the wider scheme of things, defeat its adversaries?” He continues: “Ultimately, it may be time to recognize that, in the face of growing threats to Western liberalism, strength and disproportionality matter more to security and the protection of democracy than the approval of the chattering class of Europe or the U.N. secretary general, a man whose conciliatory policies as foreign minister of South Korea proved to be a strategic disaster.”

Responding today about reports of additional plumes of oil beneath the surface of the sea, AMERICAblog’s Chris in Paris condemned both the oil company and the White House: “This brings us back to the same old problem of Obama failing to take charge of this. Let BP use their expert engineering (however pathetic it may be or sound) to do the deep water drilling to add the relief wells but beyond that, shut them down now.”

More: “BP should not be involved in the process of cleanup other than paying the bill. They shouldn't be telling scientists about the environment when the only thing BP knows is how to kill the environment. They shouldn't be confiscating tainted clothing that could be used in legal action against BP. How thick is this team at the White House that they can't get this into their heads? For an arrogant bunch, they sure look like 98 pound weaklings who get sand kicked in their face five times a day for weeks on end.”

Balloon Juice’s John Cole shrugged his cyber-shoulders at BP’s latest attempt to plug the hole, the Lower Marine Riser Package: “I’m not going to even bother crossing my fingers,” he writes.

And Daily Kos wrote that BP’s nickname for the attempt, “cut and cap,” is a misnomer: “The only problem with BP's ‘cut and cap’ operation is that it won't cap anything,” wrote Jed Lewinson. “At best, it will allow BP to salvage some of the oil (hopefully a substantial amount), but it won't stop the leak, and it won't keep oil from escaping. And whenever there's a serious storm, the drill site will need to be abandoned, and the oil will flow without restriction, just as has been for the past six weeks, except the flow rate will be around 20% greater because the salvage operation requires BP to make a clean cut on its riser piping, giving BP's containment dome easier access to the leaking oil at the expense of increasing the flowrate. Let's hope we don't have to endure the worst case scenario, an unabated flow of oil and gas through August.”

HotAir’s Ed Morrissey contrasts the White House’s assurance that BP operates at its with recent announcements from Obama which Morrissey sees as attempts to distance the administration from the oil company’s operations: “Unfortunately for the White House, Barack Obama has yoked himself to BP by insisting that the federal government has been in charge since Day 1 and continues to dictate all of BP’s actions in response to the spill. Obama deliberately took ownership of the response in Thursday’s press conference. It’s a little late now to start putting distance between BP and the federal government, especially in the present tense, when everyone now expects the federal government to run the show.”

Red State’s Vladimir focused on the economic toll foreseen as a result of Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium, announced last week. He quoted from a Times-Picayune article today which reported, “Within a very short time, [LA Economic Development Secretary Stephen] Moret believes the state will lose 3,000 to 6,000 direct and indirect jobs. If the suspensions are maintained, it could rise to 10,000 jobs. And if the moratorium persists while oil prices rise, the state could lose 20,000 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months in the form of lost direct and indirect jobs.”

Vladimir calls the Times-Pic story “one of the bigger ‘duh!’ headlines of the year,” adding, “maybe this is payback, Chicago-style.”