Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Israel seems to become more and more horrible each day

Yaron London is one of the most beloved and popular media personalities in Israel; a journalist for mainstream radio, TV and printed press; and an actor and songwriter. He has co-hosted numerous children's shows on TV as well as producing films and events. His daily current affairs program "London & Kirschenbaum" on Israeli TV Channel Ten is well known and popular.
Considered a political moderate, in recent years his positions have shifted to the right, reflecting trends in the Israeli mainstream public at large.
He has an opinion column on Israel's most popular news website, YNet, of which the most recent is below. The highlighting of the key passage was not in the original.

The victory of cruelty

A year after Gaza offensive, Yaron London says Israel must not aim to satisfy global public opinion

Yaron London, Ynetnews Opinion, 29.12.09

A year has passed since Operation Cast Lead. The Gaza vicinity region is calm and prosperous. Residents who left for fear of Qassams are returning home. Apartment prices are increasing. Even nature is blossoming. The blessed rain of the beginning of winter has woken the sleepy seeds of wild flowers. The soft hills of the "vicinity" have been speckled with yellow and red patches. It's possible that this is what these landscapes looked like last year as well, but no one was gazing at them, but rather westward, to locate a rising missile and precede its diving fall by taking shelter.
Hamas is deterred. Not because its leaders and the teachers of Islamic law have changed their opinion as to the way the conflict in the Middle East should be solved. Our monitors, who listen to the preaching in their mosques and to the radio broadcasts on their stations, have not discovered signs of moderation. As they did before the operation, the preachers talk about the Jews, the descendants of apes and pigs, who spread wars and epidemics and heresy and communism in the world, and that they must be expelled from the this world. Hamas fighters have not lost their courage. They are as fanatic and daring as they were. The virgins waiting for them in heaven have not lost their patience as well.

Hamas refrains from firing because it needs a timeout in order to establish its rule, rebuild the destructed houses, intensify its military power and fulfill the Shalit deal. When its leaders feel that they have completed their missions, when they believe the time is right, they'll resume their attacks. And maybe not. Perhaps they have learned their lesson. In any event, we cannot doubt the assertion that had we not sent a blow of fire to Gaza, Hamas would have continued firing.

It doesn't pay to wait

We're enjoying a state of calm which is seldom violated. What was its price? The price was 10 fallen soldiers and more than 300 injured Israelis. There is no way to weigh this loss. The world has worsened its criticism against Israel. It's unpleasant, completely unpleasant, to face boycotts and curses, but the stains added to our image have not damaged us in measurable areas. The economy is good. The commerce relations have not been hurt. The countries leading the world – the United States, Russia, the European community, China, India, Canada, Brazil – have not changed their attitude towards us. They have not even compensated the Hamas regime for the suffering of the Strip's residents. Egypt has tightened its relations with us. Saudi Arabia has rebuked Hamas and has not adopted the Gazans with money. The Palestinians in the West Bank have not launched a third intifada. For now. Turkey, with which we have always had unstable relations, was angry and cursed us, but a year later it is clear that its interests have cooled the growling of its feelings. Venezuela, Bolivia, Mauritania and Qatar have severed their diplomatic ties with Israel. It's a shame, but not a disaster.

The operation's results are the victory of cruelty. It's unfortunate. It's brings us back to reality. It calls for conclusions. As time passes, the world, which as a short memory, will forget the harsh sights in Gaza, because more difficult sights, in other places in the world, will take up all the free space in the collective mind's hard drive. The Gazans will be the only ones to remember. If we are proven false, we must arouse their memory with fire.

We must not return to the absorption strategy, which is aimed at collecting credit points in the international public opinion. It has been proven that our stock of points runs out several days after we deal our enemies a critical blow. It doesn't pay to wait. We will have to impose the disproportionate response quickly, even if the rocket interception measures are not fully developed by then. "Deterrence", as security experts say, "must be maintained." To this statement we should add that the determination of the deterrence maintainers must also be maintained.

Are the people just going insane or is this a "sane" choice of fascism? With those minds there is no hope only bloodshed and killing...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

TAC Press Statement

3 December 2009

TAC commends President Zuma for his leadership on HIV and welcomes the death of AIDS denialism

Following on other important speeches in recent months, President Zuma’s World AIDS Day address reaffirmed government’s new-found commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in an open, serious, and evidence-based manner. TAC welcomes the president’s call for people to get tested and his public admission of having taken HIV tests himself.

Some key changes announced by the president include:

1) Providing ART to all people co-infected with TB/HIV at a CD4-count of 350.

While we welcome the decision to initiate treatment for all people co-infected with HIV and TB with a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3 or lower, TAC will continue to campaign for the provision of treatment to all HIV-positive people with a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3 or lower irrespective of their TB status. This is in accordance with World Health Organisation recommendations.

2) Providing all infants under 12 months with antiretroviral treatment (ART)

TAC welcomes the changes made to the paediatric treatment guidelines. Following the compelling findings of the Children with HIV Early Treatment study, TAC has been campaigning for the provision of antiretroviral treatment for all infants under one year of age.

3) Providing pregnant women with CD4 counts above 350 with prevention
of mother-to-child treatment from 14 weeks.

The changes to the PMTCT regimen indicate government's commitment to eradicating new paediatric infections. However, in addition to improving the prenatal regimen, policy improvements are also needed for postpartum vertical transmission. Various options are possible here which TAC will address in more detail in a PMTCT briefing that we will release early in 2010.

While we welcome the new guidelines, they do not address the urgent need to update the current first-line treatment regimen. TAC will continue to campaign to have tenofovir-based three-in-one once-daily pills introduced as part of the standard first-line regimen by July 2010.

As the new guidelines are implemented in facilities across the country it is critical to improve the monitoring and evaluation of both the HAART and PMTCT programmes. At a minimum we must aim for complete quarterly district-level information on the numbers of people initiated on these programmes, median baseline CD4 count, median change in CD4 count, number of people lost-to-follow-up, number of deaths and number of children born to HIV-positive women who have been tested.

President Zuma will face challenges ahead to ensure that these are not just changes to policy but are implemented in all facilities across the country. We call on government to strengthen health systems to implement the improved treatment guidelines.

TAC is committed to working with government to address capacity constraints to improve the response to HIV. TAC further supports government’s call for all South Africans to take responsibility for their own health and get tested and access treatment for HIV. Knowing your status will allow you to make informed decisions to protect your own health, the health of your sexual partner and the health of your baby.