Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Soth will rise again

Hello again, beloved imaginary readers. Once again I am avoiding school work in order to shout into the ether. My previous post was a response to some comments left by a gentleman from Georgia who shares my name. He apparently read my post, and had some other thoughts. Following are his reply and mine:

Hello John: I still cannot see how Israel can dislodge another 1M Palestinians when the entire world except for the US and its minions are against it and the World Court has declared the wall to be illegal. If the Israelis had built the wall on their own territory, it would be a means of protection. By building where they have, it is just another move to expropriate land from the Paleastinians.

The lies that Bush told have caused the death of over 900 men now. I was able to use the internet beginning in the summer of 2002 to find the information that contradicted wha

[message abruptly ends]

John F.,

Thanks for responding, although I think part of your response was inadvertently cut off. I would be interested in seeing what you had to say next, so please feel free to re-post.

Here are my thoughts on what you wrote.

1. You seem to believe that Israel is in the process of dislodging an additional one million Palestinians. I can only assume you believe the cause to be the construction of Israel’s new security wall. I find this hard to believe, since there are only perhaps four million people living in the areas nominally governed by the Palestinian Authority.

(source: http://www.pnic.gov.ps/english/Population/Population_Increase.html)

Are a quarter of all Palestinians going to be made homeless by the wall? Here are some maps of the wall:


To me it appears that not much territory formerly under the Palestinian Authority is now on the Israeli side of the wall. Some is, but not much. Not enough to dislodge one million Palestinians. So after careful consideration, the one million homeless figure seems to be a Chomsky-style wild exaggeration.

2. You find it hard to understand how Israel can pursue policies which are opposed by many other countries, and which have been declared illegal by the World Court. This is very easy for me to understand, because when faced with a choice between security and international popularity, states usually choose security. The wall may be unpopular, but it has reduced the number of suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian terrorists. I’m sure some Israelis have been persuaded that the wall is bad because of the World Court’s decision, but my guess is that this number is dwarfed by the number of Israelis who have been convinced that the court itself is bad.

3. You worry that the wall allows Israel to expropriate property from the Palestinian Authority. I agree that this might happen. But we already know that the wall has reduced the number of people killed and wounded in the conflict. That’s a fact, and it holds true for Palestinians as well as Israelis. I think that outweighs the worries about possible future land annexes.

Further, the reason the wall is being built is because the Palestinian Authority rejected peaceful negotiation as the way to settle the conflict. They didn’t like the border that they were offered by the Israelis. They decided to return to fighting, hoping that they would be able to make some gains t

Why did the Israelis put up the wall? Because of Palestinian suicide bombing. Why did the Palestinian Authority support suicide bombings? Because they did not like what they were being offered as a result of peaceful negotiation, and they hoped that terrorism would make the Israelis back down and offer them a better deal.

So, if some time in the future the security wall ends up being the border between Israel and an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinians have only themselves to blame. The Palestinian Authority was offered more expansive borders in negotiations, and they rejected them because they thought they could get better by fighting for it. Well, they fought, and they lost, and future Palestinians will have to live with the consequences of Arafat’s choice. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

4. You say that Bush lied, and that nine hundred men are dead because of it. I assume you are referring to the (roughly) nine hundred American soldiers who have died in Iraq. Again, I would like you to be specific: what lies has President Bush told? To be fair, you seemed to be heading in this direction when your letter cut off, so you must have a few particular lies in mind. Please write me again and tell me what they are.

But think about this first. John Kerry and George W. Bush had access to the same intelligence on Iraq, more or less. The two of them said more or less the same things about Iraq, its weapons, and the threats it posed. And John Kerry voted for the resolution authorizing George W. Bush to go to war in Iraq. Yet the people who say that Bush lied do not say that Kerry lied. Why not? He said the same allegedly false things about Iraq as President Bush. Then again, Senator Kerry believed those things were true when he said them, so it should not count as a lie. That sounds reasonable to me, but the same standard must apply to President Bush. He only lied if he knew what he was saying was false.

Simply put, both Bush and Kerry relied on the same information, and both men said the same things, so either both men acted in good faith or both men were liars. Which is it?

I look forward to your reply.


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