Friday, October 15, 2004

 

14 Reps attack Presbyterian Church, Church responds

The full text of the letter sent by Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Deborah Pryce (R-OH), John Lewis (D-GA), John Linder (R-GA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Barney Frank (D-MA), and Lamar Smith (R-TX) chastizing the Presbyterian Church for "undermin[ing] the prospect of peace" in the Middle East as well as the response are available on the Presbysterian Church USA's website. I can't tell you how disgusting and pathetic I think all 14 of those Reps are and how heartened I am by the church's response.

 

Where did all that money go?

Billions of dollars of money in Iraq for projects are unaccounted for, including hundres of millions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues. The CPA, who wanted to spend millions of Iraqi oil dollars on building a museum to remembering how bad Saddam was if I remember correctly, seemed to just throw money around like a game of monopoly.
Files that could explain many of the payments are missing or nonexistent, and contracting rules were ignored, according to auditors working for an agency created by the United Nations.

``We found one case where a payment ($2.6 million) was authorized by the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) senior adviser to the Ministry of Oil,'' the report said. ``We were unable to obtain an underlying contract'' or even ``evidence of services being rendered.''

In a program to allow U.S. military commanders to pay for small reconstruction projects, auditors questioned 128 projects totaling $31.6 million. They could find no evidence of bidding for the projects or, alternatively, explanations of why they were awarded without competition.
But wait, there's more.
In the CPA programs, ``We found 37 cases where contracting files could not be located,'' the auditors said. The cost of the contracts: $185 million. In another 52 cases, there was no record of the goods received for $87.9 million in expenditures.

In a military commanders' program to buy back weapons, $1.4 million was spent from a fund that specifically prohibited such expenditures, auditors said.

Iraq's Ministry of Finance maintained two sets of accounting records, one manual and one computerized.

``A reconciliation between these two sets of accounting records was not prepared and the difference was significant,'' the report said.

Auditors questioned why checks were made payable to a U.S. official - a senior adviser to the Iraqi ministry of health - rather than to suppliers.

Other questions were raised about funds provided by the U.S.-run governing authority to Kurdish officials in northern Iraq. In one instance, auditors were given a deposit slip that showed the transfer of $1.4 billion to a Kurdish bank. Auditors said they were denied access to accounting records and were unable to verify how - or if - the money was spent.
A full report can be found here. This is really despicable and I think it needs to be pounded into the ground by Kerry and whoever else has the opportunity. I mean here were billions of dollars that the US was supposed to be using to rebuild Iraq and it was just floating around. The idea of Bush scolding Kerry on fiscal responsibility in the last debate is a joke! Fiscal responsibility? Are you fucking kidding me? The saddest part of this whole thing is that there are undoubtedly people who are making a big bag of dollar bills because of this, profitting from the deaths and suffering of millions of people. It's just so sick. Paul Bremer should be brought to trial. And he shouldn't be the last one either. I mean you have people's names on checks here. Let's get it started.

 

Attacks in the Sinai

Danny Rabinowitz of Ha'aretz investigates the possibility of local Bedouin assistance in the recent bombings in the Sinai at the Taba Hilton and two other tourist joints. Having been in the Taba Hilton and driving along the coast there to Dahab, I remember all the half-built hotels jutting out toward the water all along the way. I'm not sure whether those hotels were in the process of being built or whether they had been abandoned halfway through because of the negative effects on tourism of the intifada, but from Rabinowitz's article, it seems that if they haven't been finished yet, it's doubtful that they will be. The tourists from Israel have stopped altogether and it is doubtful that others will fill the void.
"Business is dead," says the Egyptian manager of a small hotel in almost a whisper.

"This bomb destroyed thousands of homes in Sinai," says a Sudanese cook at another place.

"It's quiet here, isn't it?" smiles a Bedouin from the Mazina tribe, waving his hand at the empty road and the abandoned hotels. "For years it hasn't been this quiet here. And it will go on. In a little while it will be so quiet here that you'll be able to hear our children wailing at home: `Daddy, Daddy, food, food.'"
The role of tourism on the local economy leads many to say that a local would never have helped the terrorists, whether supplying dynamite, knowledge of the area, or the get-away. But others are not so sure that the Bedouin community is so single-minded in its desire to maintain things as they are.
My interlocutor also offered a socioeconomic explanation for his thesis. "All that talk about how all the Bedouin here are benefiting from the tourism industry is a lot of nonsense. The owners of the bungalow camps and the restaurants are making big money. And the people who work for them are also living well. But they are just part of the tribe. There are many Bedouin who have not succeeded, or who did not get into tourism in time, and now all the good stretches of beach are used up and all that is left to them is to stand off to the side and see how the big money is flowing to other people. Maybe they don't hate Israelis or Europeans, but what do they care about harming tourism? Especially if someone convinces them that immoral and licentious things, and who knows what else, happen there.

"They also see that the Egyptian government is cooperating with the owners of the huts. Unlike with the big hotels, they received land almost for free - they don't pay a single cent in taxes, they build without restrictions and they are having a great time. As far as the oppressed of the tribe go, the state is part of social injustice. And then abetting terror that will also harm the state is reasonable as far as they are concerned. Do they need anything more?"
Of course there is no answer yet and either way the damage is done. Still, this article offers a detailed attempt to get at the dynamic that is at work in the Sinai, and manages to do so in a beautifully written, though depressing, way.

 

I'm not a Leftist, but I play one on TV

Thanks to the Angry Arab for spotting this fantastic article in FAIR's Extra! Essentially it gives a pretty thorough examination of the phenomenon whereby on TV debate type shows, a hard right guest (like Pat Buchanan or a Bush administration spokesperson or Ann Coulter or somebody like this) is paired up with a centrist or moderate (like Peter Beinart of the atrocious New Republic) or placed on a pannel of presumably objective journalists as the only person free to express openly slanted opinion (a good example of this is MSNBC's debate pannel). The result of this is, essentially, the exclusion from TV "news" programming of any voice from the true left. It is definitely an interesting read from the top to the bottom.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

 

The Syrian situation

While I doubt that there would be an invasion of Syria by the US anytime soon, I would not doubt that the US might feel the need to take actions inside Syria, especially if Bush is reelected. The AP has a story about mortars being fired into Iraq from Syria targeting US soldiers.
82 mm mortar rounds have been fired at U.S. and Iraqi positions in and around Husaybah in the far west of Iraq's Anbar province, said Lt. Col. Chris Woodbridge, commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

"Who exactly is firing these mortars, we do not know. But what we do know is that the point of origin of these rounds is on the Syrian side of the border," said Woodbridge, 39, of Brooklyn.
Israel has already demonstrated its ability to take military action inside of Lebanon and Syria with virtual impunity, but somehow I don't see the same being the case if the US attempts to take out these positions inside Syria. Indeed, an attempt to do so could really set a lot of bad things in motion. As Helena Cobban writes, the Middle East, from Lebanon to Afghanistan (and really stretching into Pakistan and the Caucasus) is a powder keg right now. And while a Kerry presidency might not have the initiative to go into Syria, it seems that the Bush administration has been itching to do so for a while now. Recently,
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld called the Syrians "unhelpful" and accused them of "facilitating terrorists moving back and forth, money moving back and forth" to Iraq. Rumsfeld made the remarks during a speech at Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Also, allow me to refer back to my own post of September 2, Iran or Syria? Not that I'm self-important like that or anything.

 

Afghan elections

The Afghan elections were pretty interesting. I was very happy to see no reports of violence against voters, I must say, and in that, at least, it could be qualified as a "success." Glenn Reynolds certainly thinks so, asserting that:
[T]hat is what it was: a success, no matter how hard the international media tried to spin it. There were no car bombs raining body parts all over the polling stations; there were no last-minute assassinations; there were no drive-by shootings.
But I honestly find that a pretty minimal standard as to how one considers an election a "success" and matters are still developing. The vote was obviously frustrated by the chaos that existed before the actual election, with violence and fraud rampant in the process of preparing for a national election. And while it is doubtful that the winner of the presidential election will be strongly disputed, that does not mean that it will not affect the outcome in Afghanistan. Indeed, in the Independent, Nick Meo reports that there is concern that those candidates who are now withdrawing their complaints over the election are doing so because of the deals they are getting from Hamid Karzai, the probable winner of the election. One group, Afghanistan Justice Project, a US-based human rights group, has released a report reflecting this concern:
Patricia Gossman, the report's researcher and author, said: "The new government's appointments must be scrutinised. There must be proper accountability ... At the moment there is no vetting process.

"We are particularly worried that the controversy over ink marks on voters' fingers in the election will mean deals have been done where candidates' complaints are dropped in exchange for appointments."
The concern of Afghanistan Justice Project is, in particular, the unsavory records of many of the potential appointees in the new Afghan government. Indeed:
Men with bloody records from years of conflict will become judges, police chiefs and government ministers unless their appointments are blocked by presidential decree, according to a report by Afghanistan Justice Project.
Hamid Karzai may need to include such figures in his government so as not to face instant instability and insurrection against the new Afghan government. The Independent lists the following suspect individuals who could well end up in positions of influence after all is said and done:
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Mohammed Fahim
A Northern Alliance leader. His forces are accused of summary executions and rapes in Kabul in 1993

Abdul Rasul Sayyaff

Radical Islamist who opposed the Taliban. His forces, accused of civil war atrocities, are serving in Kabul's 10th division

Yunus Qanooni

Presidential candidate linked to Northern Alliance warlords, but there are no claims he was involved in atrocities

Abdul Rashid Dostum

Warlord who ended election boycott yesterday. His militias are accused of rape and murdering Taliban prisoners

 

Bombs go off in 'Green Zone'

For the first time, insurgents were able to get into the Green Zone to carry out attacks in Baghdad, setting off several bombs and killing seven people including two Americans (initially eight were reported killed). Things really are getting worse and worse in Iraq.

UPDATE: A new report has it at five dead, three American. I can only imagine the chaos in the Green Zone right now. The Green Zone has essentially been the only safe haven in Iraq for Americans, where they can pretend to have the ability to live without the fear that they must experience outside the Green Zone. The psychological impact of this attack has to be massive, I'd imagine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

 

CIA holding al-Qaeda suspects in Jordan

According to Ha'aretz:
The Central Intelligence Agency runs a top-secret interrogation facility in Jordan, where at least 11 detainees who are considered Al-Qaida's most senior cadre are being held....

The international intelligence sources who spoke to Haaretz are considered experts in surveillance and analysis of Al-Qaida and are involved in interrogating the detainees. Most of the Al-Qaida detainees who were arrested in Afghanistan in the course of the war or its aftermath were transfered to the American base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A minority were held in Pakistan, where some had been picked up, and were later moved to Jordan.

It is not known where precisely in the Hashemite kingdom they are being held, but they are thought to be at a secret facility belonging to Jordanian intelligence or at a secret base. Their detention outside the U.S. enables CIA interrogators to apply interrogation methods that are banned by U.S. law, and to do so in a country where cooperation with the Americans is particularly close, thereby reducing the danger of leaks.

 

Georgia on my mind

There is a very in-depth look at the Caucasus region, especially Georgia, in Le Monde Diplomatique that is really worth reading in order to get a better perspective on the situation in the Caucasus. In the US press, Georgia has been lauded for its "Rose Revolution" and the other Caucasian regions have been encouraged to look at Georgia as the example to follow. This article is a bit more critical in its analysis of what role Georgia is playing in the Caucasus and the potential for even further chaos in the region.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

 

Michael Getler and the Washington Post

Funny, I was just talking about the Washington Post and how it seemed to eminate this aura of smugness (from the Sunday Source to Howard Kurtz) and I recently wrote a letter to the Post's ombudsman, Michael Getler, expressing to him my dissatisfaction with the Post, and how I thought it had been steadily declining in quality. Here are some excerpts from his letter to me:
As for the other stuff, I've written many times about the general failure of the press pre-war. But the Post did better than most, even though it fell short. It has covered the war itself and post-invasion better than anyone else.
The problem is that even though Getler is correct in saying that he has written many times about the general failure of the press pre-war, his conclusion is consistently that which he states above: the Post did better than others. Well excuse me if I don't want a newspaper that simply strives to be "better than most" when it comes to reporting on the most important issue in the world. It is reminiscent of the argument about US torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib that it is really nothing compared to what Saddam Hussein did at Abu Ghraib. Also, to say that the Post's coverage of the war itself and post-invasion is better than anyone else's is pretty gutsy. There seems to be much better coverage in the foreign press. Hell, there's better coverage on Informed Comment than in the Washington Post. Smugness, my friend, smugness.

Finally, Getler writes of the Post: "I frankly do not see how any educated and engaged person living in this region chooses to live without the paper for 35 cents a day, or less with a subscription." Smuggity smuggity smuggity. How in the world do I get by each day without buying the Washington Post? Heaven forbid. I think really Getler just does not consider me educated or engaged (and maybe he's right) - but in fact, this really seems to be his attitude about any criticism of the Washington Post: "What the hell do you know, anyway?" Smug.

 

Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy

George W. Bush seems to be unable to admit any real mistakes. Of course, everybody (especially on the left) knows this and loves to bring it up as much as possible. Still, these people that bring it up the most are unlikely to have ever supported Bush. So why should Bush care? Why should he admit a mistake, when it would probably give these people even more fuel than his refusal to admit mistakes?

A good example of the negative impact of Bush's refusal to admit mistakes can be found in the open letter that a group called Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy just released. As Abu Aardvark points out:
Open letters with hundreds of signatures by academics are a dime a dozen. But this is not a list of the usual suspects. These are centrist, moderate, pragmatic foreign policy and security specialists appalled at the Bush administration's reckless, irresponsible, and dishonest foreign policy and deeply concerned about its long term impact on America's leadership role in the world.

This is emphatically not about liberal bias in the academy. If anything unites this list of signatories, it is a professional and personal commitment to a responsible and effective foreign policy. International relations scholars usually can't agree on anything. The field has been deeply divided for decades on matters political and theoretical. This overwhelming consensus among security studies professionals is so rare and so striking that it deserves serious attention.

This is a big deal: pretty much every scholar who has written seriously about international relations and international security in the last four decades agrees on one thing, and one thing only: Bush's foreign policy has been so disastrous that a change in direction is a matter of urgent national and international security (my words, not the open letter's words).
Even I, hardly a security scholar or foreign policy expert, know the names of these signatories. People like Richard Falk, Clifford Geertz, Charles Glaser, Michael Hudson - these are people even I've heard of. And there are about 650 more people on that list.

 

Sharon, Netanyahu, and the shakeup on the Israeli right

There is a very interesting article in Ha'aretz by Hannah Kim about the powerplays between Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu for those of you who find internal Israeli politics as fascinating as I do. Kim argues that Netanyahu is angling to replace Sharon as top dog in the Likud without making it so obvious that he gets pinned with the label of sinking a Likud government just so he could be number one. Kim observes that part of the power struggle is taking place in the cabinet, where Netanyahu seems to wield more power than Sharon.
Indeed, the only one who could carry out the disengagement plan at this time and form a unity government is not Ariel Sharon. Since the Likud members' referendum, Sharon is functioning as a prime minister in Netanyahu's cabinet. The one making the decisions is not the leader but his would-be successor.

Netanyahu decided this week to let Sharon open the Knesset's winter session in peace. This may be the message to all those who expect Sharon to be ousted soon - the only one who can do that is Netanyahu, and he is doing everything so that nobody will say that he ousted an incumbent prime minister.
It is interesting that Sharon has essentially more to fear from his own party and the Israeli right than he does from the left. It is precisely this dynamic, also, that allows Netanyahu to bide his time, to wait "to see how Sharon ousts himself," before taking any action. If the Israeli left, the Labor party specifically, were in any position to contest the Likud in the Knesset, in elections were they to be held, Netanyahu would not have this luxury. So, ironically, a strong Labor party might be to Sharon's advantage, allowing him to lead a right more unified in its fear that the left might once again come to power. Kim also writes that a Kerry victory in the US Presidential election might win Sharon some more time than a second Bush term.
The restricted space Sharon has left to maneuver in will get narrower still if Minister Tzachi Hanegbi is elected chairman of the Likud's central committee and Minister Yisrael Katz is elected the party's secretariat chairman. The two chain boys, who cooperated as students in the Jerusalem campus when they used to beat up Arab students, will clamp additional restraints on Sharon.

The Knesset's winter session that opened yesterday could therefore be critical. If John Kerry is elected president of the United States, Sharon may gain a little more time until Kerry studies his plan, or until he amends the original plan and adapts it to the new administration.

Some believe that Kerry, who takes every chance he gets to attack Bush's foreign policy, will try to make a foreign policy achievement and the most suitable place for that is not the Iraqi mud but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This means more pressure on the Israeli prime minister, but also several more months of survival for Sharon.
Possibly even more interesting and key to the way things play out with the Gaza disengagement plan, Sharon's ability to stay at the top, etc. is Kim's assessment of the shakeup of the far-right parties that have split, splintered, or regrouped over the issue of removing settlers from Gaza.
Avigdor Lieberman is not the only one who has a poll predicting a large share of Knesset seats for the radical right wing bloc. Effie Eitam also ordered a poll indicating that the bloc to the right of the Likud will get about 18 Knesset seats. The National Union, Yisrael Beitenu and the National Religious Party (NRP) have a potential to become Israel's second largest party.

[...]

The announcement of Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of Beit El, of his desire to set up a new political body, having despaired of the NRP refusing to quit the government, may help Eitam and Levy, who are groping for ways to reorganize political forces to the right of the Likud. If one large right-wing bloc is not formed, an old-new right-wing party can be established, in the style of Matzad, which was formed by NRP quitters Hanan Porat and Haim Druckman.

The interesting issue is the potential to form a radical right wing bloc which will object to any political settlement.

 

"Disappeared"

To me, the word recalls Latin America - the military juntas in Chile, Argentina, and elsewhere that "disappeared" dissentors, snatching them up and holding them, torturing them, usually killing them in order to get more information. It's not an association I want to have to make with the United States. But Human Rights Watch has just issued a report that specifies 11 specific individuals who have "disappeared" into US custody, including such notables as Khalid Shaykh Muhammad. The Guardian quotes Reed Brody, special counsel to Human Rights Watch as saying, "Those guilty of serious crimes must be brought to justice before fair trials... If the United States embraces the torture and 'disappearance' of its opponents, it abandons its ideals and international obligations and becomes a lesser nation."

"Fair trials?" I can hear them asking on right-wing talk radio, "Did the people who died on September 11th get a fair trial? What were they guilty of?" (On a total off-topic aside, I just remember hearing some caller to Sean Hannity's show yesterday asking how, if Kerry were to win the election, the troops could support a president who was anti-war. Yknow, if I were in the armed services, essentially putting my life in the hands of the president of the United States, you'd be damn sure I'd want him to be anti-war. But maybe that's just me.) Back to the topic at hand, it isn't that Human Rights Watch is asking these men to be freed. But there should be records of where they are. There should be accountability for how they are treated. There should be some mechanism by which the "war on terror" operates within the rule of law. The Guardian also points out:
Aside from the human and civil rights considerations, the secret detentions could see other suspected terrorists walk free as courts demand access to testimony from US-held terror suspects. Prosecutors in Germany have been frustrated since they saw the 15-year sentence they won against suspected 9/11 plotter Mounir el Motassadeq overturned because they had no access to testimony from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. A German appeals court ruled in March that his first trial was unfair because the US-held witnesses did not testify.

Mr Motassadeq, still the only person to be convicted in relation to the September 11 attacks, is now being retried, but without access to the 'ghost' detainees, prosecutors fear he will be released.

The lack of testimonies from the US-held al-Qaida suspects also played a large part in the acquittal, at the same court in February, of Mr Motassadeq's fellow Moroccan Abdelghani Mzoudi, who had faced identical charges.
So this way of doing things is hurting the "international war on terror." But really I think it doesn't have much to do with justice or the international war on terror or safety. Returning to Latin America, the "disappearances" were what happened when the state security apparatus no longer felt obligated to work within the bounds of the law. The Bush administration seems to be willing to hold the law lower than its interests, its convictions. And given Dick Cheney's statements about El Salvador during the Vice Presidential debates, it seems to me that they don't really have a problem using violence that includes "disappearing" people as a way to maintain order and control through fear.

 

Iraq nuclear materials gone missing

Great. Just great. So not only did Iraq not have WMD, but now, after the US invaded and occupied Iraq, it seems that equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq.
Satellite imagery and investigations of nuclear sites in Iraq have caused alarm at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The agency found that in some cases entire buildings housing high-precision nuclear equipment had been dismantled; equipment that could be used to make a bomb, such as high-strength aluminium, had vanished from open storage areas, the agency said.

In a report to the UN security council yesterday, the IAEA's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the agency "continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear programme and sites previously subject to ongoing monitoring and verification by the agency".
So what happened between the point where the IAEA was keeping tabs on all this stuff and had said in February of 2003 that Iraq's nuclear weapons program had been "neutralized" by December 1998 and the point where they are now saying that nuclear materials are missing? You guessed it, the US barred IAEA inspectors from returning to Iraq after the war began in March of 2003 because presumably they would have gotten in the way of the US team searching for those WMD. So now George W. Bush is saying that the biggest threat that the US faces today is the possibility of nuclear weapons getting into the hands of terrorists. And that's why we went into Iraq. But by the US going into Iraq, equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared. We used to know where they were and now we don't. The Guardian writes:
[I]t now appears Iraq may pose a nuclear threat of a different sort: some military goods, including missile engines, that disappeared from Iraq after the US-led invasion later turned up in scrap yards in the Middle East and Europe. However, none of the equipment or material known to the IAEA as potentially useful in making nuclear bombs has been found, according to Mr ElBaradei.
Simply fantastic.

Monday, October 11, 2004

 

Who Needs a Racist Editorial?

Yesterday's LA Times had quite the ridiculous editorial, essentially in response to Michael Tarazi's op-ed in the NY Times last week that suggested the possibility of a one-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The LA Times, which I have always found to be strongly anti-Palestinian in its op-ed pages, offers the following arguments.

1) Israel has done and is doing bad things, but its OK because it's necessary to keep Israel a "Jewish state."

2) The Palestinians should stop complaining and be happy because Ariel Sharon accepted the principle of a Palestinian state.

3) Talk of a single state solution is just a sneaky way of calling for the destruction of Israel.

As you might imagine, I have a bit of a problem with all three of these arguments.

1) Essentially, the editorial asks readers to excuse the racist and illegal elements of Israel's occupation of the Palestinians (including the well-documented expulsion and transfer of Palestinians out of their land in 1948), Israel's illegal wall through the West Bank (judged as such by the International Court of Justice in the Hague), and the second-class nature of Israeli citizens of Palestinian or Arab descent. All these things were and are necessary, says the LA Times, to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. Now, it's one thing to deny that Palestinians were driven out in 1948 and that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship live as second-class citizens in Israel, but this is not what the LA Times does. No, it admits them and then accepts and justifies them. What if the LA Times were to write an editorial saying that the genocide of blacks and Christians in Sudan was necessary to preserve Sudan as an Arab and Muslim state?

2) The Palestinians should be just as happy with Sharon's "acceptance in principle" of a Palestinian state as Israelis are with the PLO's acknowledgement of Israel in 1988 or Yasir Arafat's acceptance of Israel's Jewish nature in an interview earlier this year. It would be ridiculous to ask Israelis to accept suicide bombings because the PLO or Arafat had accepted Israel "in principle." Principle doesn't count for much when the actions do not back it up. You can't buy bread with princple, as they say (I actually don't know anybody who says that, but it sounds pretty good, right?). And believe me, Sharon has hardly acted on this principle. Instead, he has stepped up the brutality of the occupation, increased settlements in the West Bank, and has built a big wall through the West Bank, essentially annexing portions of it.

3) The foundation of the one state solution argument is the line of reasoning that says, "If you aren't going to give us a state, at least give us the human rights and the civil rights that you profess to stand for as the self-proclaimed only democracy in the Middle East." Now even though the LA Times thinks so highly of principle, and we discussed earlier the acceptance of Israel "in principle" by the PLO and Yasir Arafat, it still argues that the true sentiment behind calls for a single state solution is the ever-present murderous Arab treachery.
It took the Israelis decades to accept the idea of a Palestinian state next door. They saw it as a staging ground for conquest and elimination of the Jewish state. The "single-state" solution would achieve that same illegitimate goal by more decorous means.
I must say that I am deeply uncomfortable with the LA Times using its op-ed page to justify the denial of Palestinian rights in order to make sure that Israel maintains its Zionist character (as if Zionism were some untouchable value that could not be questioned or debated). What does this say about our nation that one of the largest newspapers can openly admit to the racist and illegal acts of a nation and, instead of criticizing it, asking the victims to accept it?

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