Monday, April 15, 2002
An opinion piece from the Telegraph that sums up the odd perception most of the world has of the middle east.
I excerpt extensively:
"The "whole world" has a pretty good track record of being wrong, especially where Jews are concerned. Fifty million Frenchmen can be wrong, and never more so than when they're teamed with Chris Patten, Mary Robinson, the European Parliament (which has demanded sanctions against Israel), the German government (which has announced an arms embargo against Israel), the brand-new International Criminal Court (which - in its very first 24 hours! - started mulling the question of "Israeli war crimes"), the Norwegian Parliament (which had a visitor thrown out of the building for wearing a provocative Star of David on his lapel), never mind the members of Calgary's "Palestinian community" who marched through the streets carrying placards emblazoned "Death To The Jews", a timeless slogan but not hitherto a burning issue on the prairies.
Meanwhile, what have we learned from this last extraordinary month? Not much about the Middle East, but quite a lot about Europe. What happens when Palestinian civilians strap on plastic explosives and head for Israeli pizza parlours? Europe says Israeli checkpoints for Palestinians are "humiliating". Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances permit themselves to be used as transportation for bombs and explosives - and Europe attacks Israel for refusing them free movement.
Documents are found authorising Palestinian Authority funding for a suicide bombing on a young girl's bar mitzvah, signed by Arafat himself - and members of the Nobel committee publicly call for taking back the 1994 Peace Prize, from Shimon Peres. Synagogues are firebombed in France, Belgium and Finland - and the EU deplores the wanton destruction of property, in Ramallah.
"Ah, those Jews," an attractive, intelligent, sophisticated Parisienne sighed over dinner with me the other night. "They cause problems everywhere they are." Actually, they don't. Of the 30 ongoing conflicts in the world today, the Muslims are involved in 28 of them. There are no Jews in Kashmir or the Sudan, so the Muslims make do with Hindus and Christians. What the Europeans call "Muslim-Jewish tensions" on the Continent do not involve Jewish gangs attacking mosques or beating up women in hejabs, only Muslim gangs attacking synagogues and stoning a bus of Jewish schoolchildren.
The Europeans are scared of their Muslim populations, scared of what perceived slight might turn them from shooting up kosher butchers to shooting up targets of more, shall we say, concern to the general population. When the war with Iraq starts, we'll find out. No wonder Paris and Brussels are as keen to postpone it as Baghdad and Riyadh. The "whole world" is agreed that if anybody has to be blown up it might as well be the Israelis. Ah, those Jew troublemakers: why won't they just lie there and take it?" -Mark Steyn
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Here's an instructive Palestinian public opinion poll from Dec. 2001.
*76.4% oppose the arrest of Palestinian activists violating the cease fire by the PA police.
* 60.5% believe that armed confrontations have won them rights unachievable any other way.
* 73% support a reconciliation betwen a Palestinian and Israeli State, but 41% believe reconciliation is impossible.
* 58.4% wouldn't want legal measures to prevent inciting acts against Israel, even if a Palestinain state was granted.
* 90.7% refuse to accept a school curriculum which recognizes the legitimacy of Israel, even if a Palestinian state was granted.
* 68.8% believe a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is impossible
* 37.7% believe terrorism can be justified.
* 81.8% support armed attacks against Israeli targets.
* 61.6% oppose a UN initiative to combat terrorism
* 82.3% do not believe that the bombing of a disco in Israel was a terrorist act.
* 69.4% believe it would not be an act of terror to use chemical or biological weapons against Israel, but 93.6% believe it would be an act of terror if Israel used such weapons on them.
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Arafat's wife praises suicide bombings, describes them as "legitimate resistance." Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.
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