Most Americans [including their leaders] don’t seem to get the situation in the Middle East. I have visited the Middle East on various occasions and it is an area riddled with strife and social decay. Arabs and Jews do not tolerate each other, in fact there is blatant hostility and hatred. It has been this way since biblical times and it is not going away.
Former Democratic senator Claiborne Pell, who championed the Pell grant program for college students, died Thursday at his Newport, Rhode Island home after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, US media said. He was 90.
Pell served as Rhode Island senator from 1961 until his retirement in 1997, two years after he announced he had contracted the debilitating disease.
Pell was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1994 and was named US delegate to the United Nations shortly before he retired.
In recent days, the Israeli government has bombed the Gaza Strip, home to about 1.5 million people, in retaliation for the Palestinians firing several homemade rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. According to UN figures (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2008_Gaza_Strip_airstrikes ), over 350 Palestinians have been killed, including 62 women and children, and over 1,400 wounded. Israeli losses during the same time period include the deaths of one soldier and three civilians, and 31 wounded.