News Release

* Will Mitchell Go to Gaza? * What is Al-Arabiya?


AP reports that Mideast special envoy George Mitchell’s trip “will include stops in Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Saudi Arabia.”

Kelly and Stewart are just back from six days in Gaza. Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She said today: “Mitchell has such an opportunity to make tracks out of the comfort of offices and salons in Tel Aviv and go to Gaza. [United Nations Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon did it. My hope is that he would go and stay for several days, that Mitchell would make a thorough tour of the Gaza Strip. And I hope that everybody in the United States who’s tuned into his travel will encourage him to avail himself of what is a crucial opportunity to state his own desire to listen, as the president has instructed him to do. He should be listening to the mothers, to the children, to the doctors, to the people who are trying to now rebuild after a fierce and horrible assault.” Kelly recently wrote the piece “Worse Than an Earthquake.” She appeared on Democracy Now today.

Stewart is a community advocate with the Loyola Law Clinic in New Orleans. She recently wrote the piece “Starting Over in Gaza.”

AbuKhalil is author of several books on the Mideast including The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power. He said today: “CNN is lauding Obama for going on al-Arabiya TV as an example of how he is willing to reach out to the ‘Muslim world.’ But al-Arabiya is run by the Saudi King Fahd’s brother-in-law. … Does CNN know that Bush spoke to Arabic TV stations regularly, and Rice was a fixture on al-Arabiya? The administration selected al-Arabiya because it is ‘friendly’ to U.S. interests and because on al-Arabiya, U.S. officials get softball questions. … Obama chose this station because he wanted to appease the Saudi royal family. This president talks about how bad dictators are, but he is signaling that he, like Bush, will coddle Saudi Wahhabi dictatorship — a key ally of Israel today. Do you notice that Israel does not even make token noise about Saudi arms sales?”

AbuKhalil is a professor in the department of politics at California State University, Stanislaus. He edits the “Angry Arab News Service” blog.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167