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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

An Apology and a Critique-I got a e-mail from the Uniblogger, a left-of-center blog not to be confused with the cheesecake-peddling Unablogger. In two porn-oriented posts last year, I had typed in Uniblogger by mistake, thus people Googling for Mr "Slightly right of Left, but left of Centre commentary" saw him falsely categorized as a pornographer. I went back in and change the offending posts, but Google hasn't gotten rid of the old cache, so my anti-porn commentaries are still #10 in a Uniblogger Google search. He (I'll assume male until proven otherwise) seems to have started up in June. Now for the critique. He has a piece on Israel and Palestine today that calls for a rebuttal
Rarely is it mentioned that the state of Israel was imposed on the Middle-East in 1948; rarely do we read that Palestinians have been living in exile since they were evicted from their homes to accomodate this imposition; and rarely do we read that they are now living in what amount to concentration camps policed and humiliated by Israeli soldiers. All that we hear are tales of bloodthirsty zealots who will not stop terrorizing Israel until they have bombed it from the face of the earth.
Let's go through this a phrase at a time- Israel was imposed on the Middle-East in 1948- The UN did plan to divide up Palestine into two countries, Israel and Jordan, roughly along the pre-1967 borders. However, the local Arab countries objected, and Israel had to fight to come into existence with little formal international help in 1948. From an Arab point of view, it was an imposition. Palestinians have been living in exile since they were evicted-True. However, we also don't hear much about the Jews kicked out of Arab lands at the same time. The Palestinians didn't get fair value for seized property, but neither did the Arab Jews. Two wrongs don't make a right, but restitution should be a two-way street, something Arab countries don't want to talk about. They are now living in what amount to concentration camps-True, but it was the Jordanian government that set up those "refugee camps" so that a half-century later, the grandchildren of the original refugees are still homeless. Rather than integrate the refugees into Jordanian culture and accept Israel's existence, they put them in temporary camps, keeping the hope alive of defeating Israel and returning them to their old home. Two generations along, that hope is about all poor camp kids have. To call them concentration camps is to make the Israelis into modern-day Nazis, or at least Soviets. Merely being ruled by Jews will be humiliating to them. All that we hear are tales of bloodthirsty zealots-True. You don't hear about good news much. However, those zealots tend to kill off the moderates who want to something other than wage eternal jihad against Israel, so the good guys tend to lay low. He closes with a good paragraph worth repeating
Reality, in fact, is far more benign: far from any desire to inflict terror on Israeli citizens, most Palestinians want what we all want: to earn a living, raise a family, celebrate holidays, and live to see their grandchildren. This may be a generalization, but it is a far more accurate and helpful stereotype than the assumption that all Palestinians are terrorists.
All true, but there are enough irredentist jihadists that make life miserable for the good Palestinians by making a mutually-agreeable peace problematic.

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