Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanYahoo-Serious was asked if Israel was losing the support of the international community over Operation Cast Lead. "The answer... is clearly not," he replied, "Yeah we've lost a numeric count at the UN. But the quality count? No. The serious countries, the decent countries, they know the truth. They know the score. They know that no country has faced the kind of terror rocket attacks that we have faced, except for Britain during World War II... " (Netanyahu makes no apologies, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/1/10)
The serious countries, eh? Yep, like Nauru and Micronesia, the presidents of which Pacific pinpricks have just toured Israel, meeting with PM NetanYahoo-Serious and the country's deadly serious Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, visiting the usual pilgrimage sites such as Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Sderot(grad) and Masada, and, finally, unwinding at a Dead Sea spa.
The seriousness with which Israel takes the likes of Nauru and Micronesia is down to their provision of fig leaf services to the naked pariah in the United Nations: "Both Pacific Island countries regularly back Israel in UN voting. Of 19 anti-Israel UN resolutions introduced in 2008 and 2009 Nauru sided with Israel 80% of the time and abstained from voting on the other resolutions." (Jerusalem hosts Pacific Island presidents, jerusalemdispatch.com, 21/1/10)
Alas, according to the above source, the presidents of Palau and the Marshall Islands, fellow fig leaf providores to the naked pariah, had been invited but declined to participate.
Now, as a measure of just how seriously Nauru's statesmen (& women) take the business of attaching themselves to the pariah state's privates, Nauru's UN ambassador, Marlene Moses, has emerged with a compelling rationale from which I have plucked the following gems:
"Nauru is a small, isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Israel is an island in its own right, surrounded by a sea of unfriendly neighbours."
"[B]oth Nauru and Israel face threats to their very existence. Nauru's great challenge comes in the shape of climate change... Israel is confronted by those who would deny its right to exist and attempt to relegate it to the history books."
"I am sometimes asked why we vote the way we do and if we suffer any negative repercussions. Without question, the pressure to vote against Israel is great. I am sure that many countries fail to vote their conscience out of fear. Nauru, with a long tradition of independence and voting our conscience, has no such qualms. In fact, we are often stunned by the cowardice demonstrated by countries far larger and more powerful than our own."
"Many assume our votes are nothing more than the result of chequebook diplomacy or close ties to the US. That is simply not true. We receive not a single dollar in development aid from the US. Nauru votes with Israel because of its strong conviction that Israel has a right to exist. Together with the US, Israel and Nauru are united by a commitment to democracy and human rights. We recognise Israel's unique status in a region where these principles are not found in abundance." (Why we side with Israel, Australian Jewish News, 29/1/10)
Hm, close ties to the US? Maybe all has now been forgiven, but according to Nauru's Wickipedia entry the US Department of State has fingered Nauru as a major money-laundering center, used by narcotics traffickers and organized crime figures.
OK, but if, as Ms Moses claims, Nauru does tricks for Israel free, why has Australia been paying through the nose for its services?: "A former AusAID director who headed Nauru's AusAID program throughout 2003, has labelled aid payments to Nauru as 'unmitigated bribes' that ensure the [Howard] Government's 'Pacific Solution' continues. Nauru has received $100 million from Australia since a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in 2001. The Australian government spends an average of $2 million a month to run the Nauru detention centre." (SMH, 28/5/07)
To be sure, Australia's pheromones couldn't possibly compete with those of Israel, but there's a matter more concerning still, as the following data from the AusAID website indicates: "As the largest* donor to Nauru [$23.4 million in 2009-10], Australian assistance targets most sectors. AusAID supports key leadership and management roles in Government Agencies such as the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Education and Health..." (Australian aid to Nauru, ausaid.gov.au)
Foreign affairs? Seriously now, could Australia be in the business of pimping Nauru to Israel? Just asking.
[*Apparently, in 2002, after a 22-year relationship with Taiwan, the little floozy dropped him for a US$150 million Chinese aid package.]
[See my posts Israel's Pacific Solution (9/11/09) and Israel's Pacific Solution 2 (12/11/09)]