Reporter discusses recent trip to Gaza and Israel

02/24/09 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Tuesday) | Listen to this entire show:

Good Afternoon,

Welcome to WMNF’s Radioactivity program. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up: we’ll talk with St. Petersburg Times Senior Correspondent Susan Taylor Martin who has just returned from a reporting trip to Gaza and Israel. She’s written a series of reports for the Times and in a moment she’ll be on the air for a live interview.

But first: a lot of listener comments about last Thursday’s debate over whether radical Islam was the main school of thought within the Muslim religion. We heard a debate between Tawfik Hamid who describes himself as a former terrorist sympathizer and Ahmed Bedier who is the co-host of the True Talk Arab/Muslim program on WMNF. The first comment is from Hamid himself- who wanted to correct something he said on the air. On the air he said he agreed with secretary of state Hillary Clinton- who while on a trip to Indonesia last week touted that southeast Asian nation as a model, moderate Islamic nation. Hamid says now he was wrong to say that.

A month ago the Israeli incursion into Gaza ended with 1,300 Palestinians killed and the Israeli death toll at 13. Israel launched the invasion of Gaza to try to stop the launching of rockets by militants from Gaza into Israel. Israel spent $1 billion to pay for the war; Gazans suffered $2 billion worth of damage to their homes and infrastructure.

Our guest is Susan Taylor Martin, senior correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times. She recently returned from viewing the aftermath of the incursion. She also spent a lot of time in Israel speaking with Israelis about the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Read her stories here.

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Susan Taylor Martin on Gaza, etc.

Three questions I would like to hear Susan Martin answer: (1) Wasn't it a deliberate policy of Washington and Israel to target Fatah officials with easy money in order to make it pliable and dependent on handouts, thereby inducing it to accept a peace plan which sold out the original Palestinians' claims and interests? (2) When Hamas and other Islamic leaders use the phrase "destruction of Israel" isn't it just rhetoric that essentially means the same thing that the U S government means when it uses the phrase "regime change", i.e. it does not mean the extermination of the Jews, just the dismantling of the Jewish state? (3) Isn't it a contradiction in philosophy for the USA to uphold separation of church and state in our own country while spending billions to reinforce it in Israel?