Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Throughout the years, I have read quite a bit about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but because I do not claim to be an expert on the situation, I rarely comment about it. Despite this, I have long been convinced that there is a much better way to deal with that tragic situation than what is being done right now, a way to deal with it that will take into account the best interests of both sides. Recently, I found a streaming video that addresses this situation that you might also find to be quite thought-provoking.

Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land is a truly interesting streaming documentary by Bathsheba Ratzkoff and Sut Jhally [1:19.14]. This documentary explores the Israel-Palestine conflict. Despite its length (more than one hour), it would make a great teaching video for framing a classroom discussion as well as providing important information to the average American, who is woefully misinformed about Palestine and Palestinian interests by the mainstream media.

Among other things, this video describes the history of the dispute over the Occupied Territories, it investigates the economic and political interests involved in the conflict, and it zeroes in on how distortions by the American news media have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among Americans — who are the biggest supporters in the world of Israel’s policies. This documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American corporate and political elites — oil, and the need for a secure military base in the region, among others — work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exert a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Lest you think this is a story told solely from the Palestinian point of view, you will quickly find (if you watch the entire video) that there are plenty of Israelis who are lobbying for withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. You can stream this video or download it.

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[Also see this link full of PDFs provided by commenter, Thomas. However, to gain insight into the difficulties presented by the misinformation campaign, read this].

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Comments

  1. #1 Thomas
    July 27, 2006

    If you read that link from “Palestinefacts” be sure to read what the International Court of Justice has to say to find some real legal opinion:
    http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/idocket/imwp/imwpframe.htm

    You really shouldn’t link to the site anyway. If you try to find who’s behind it you only find “The site has been prepared by a team of writers and editors who are knowledgable of the history, politics, economics and military situation in the Middle East”. Nothing about who those people are. This kind of anonymous astroturf sites should be discouraged.

  2. #2 Anon4this
    July 27, 2006

    Certainly one could argue that mistakes are being made by both sides, and that war is never the way. It is also true to say that on the one hand, American media sterilizes every conflict on the TV to show no blood or death, including it’s own Iraq war; and that on the other hand, Arab satellite TV focuses exclusively on perpetual daily closeups of dead bleeding children killed by evil Israelis, with little or no self-introspection. Two extreme portrayals of a very difficult situation. Beyond that, being by your own admission “not an expert”, it might be best to refrain from specific speculations given that it is very hard to dissect the bias of either side, particularly for an outsider.

  3. #3 GrrlScientist
    July 27, 2006

    well, using your logic, then Americans should STOP SUPPORTING the Israelis since hey, we don’t know what the hell they are using the money and armaments for, and they do not provide us with any reasonable justifications. in my opinion, if they can’t satisfactorily explain why they are killing people (especially kids) using OUR weapons, then they don’t deserve those weapons.

  4. #4 Webs
    July 27, 2006

    Anon4this: What’s your point? Are you trying to downplay the issue that Israel controls every facet of Palestinian life, and that America is incredibly pro-Israel. While I will agree that there are mistakes being made on both sides, least us not forget that American tax dollars (All $6 billion of it) payed to have the Israelis removed from Gaza. Our tax dollars payed to have a wall built that caged in roughly 1.5 million Palestinians. And least us not forget that Gaza, per capita, is the most heavily populated city in the world, and its the size of Bloomington, IL. Which is a very small town.

  5. #5 SLC
    July 27, 2006

    I see that the Israel bashers are at it again. It is beyond all doubt and question that the Palestinians are entirely to blame for their current plight. They could have had an independent state on 100% of Gaza and 97% of the West Bank in 2000 but declined (so says Dennis Ross and former President Clinton). The Palestinians have made it abundently clear that they will not be satisfied with any solution which denys them 100% of Palestine, including the removal of the State of Israel. When Israel withdrew from 100% of Gaza, did the Palestinians proceed to establish an independent state? They did not. They immediately proceeded to fire rockets across the border, send homicide bombers to blow up civilians in Israel, and elected a slate of terrorists to run their affairs. The only language the Palestinians understand is that emerging from the barrel of a gun.

  6. #6 GrrlScientist
    July 27, 2006

    first of all, i NEVER “bashed” Israel, so you can stop with your disgusting lies right now. in fact, if you were a functional literate instead of a pathological liar, you KNOW that i wrote; I have long been convinced that there is a much better way to deal with that tragic situation than what is being done right now, a way to deal with it that will take into account the best interests of both sides. if that comment is “bashing” according to your myopic world view, then you are indeed a worthless pathological liar who seriously needs to be removed from decent society.

    it is NOT beyond “all doubt and question that the Palestinians are entirely to blame for their current plight.” maybe in your world view, but not in MOST people’s world view. even many of the Israelis agree that the Palestinian situation is a travesty and they are doing what they can to help the Palestinians, but of course, since you watched the entire streaming video, YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT.

    of course, because you already watched that video, you also know the details of the independent state deal and why Arafat could not accept it and return home alive. so it is silly to bring it up here, right? besides that, why should Palestine have to deal with Israel meddling in their affairs at all, if they ever get their own homeland? Israel has their own homeland, leave Palestine to have theirs, too.

    if you have REAL evidence that can be proven outside your tiny, damaged world view that the Palestinians are the SOLE architects of their tragic circumstances, then you are the first person to know that information and you ought to report it immediately to the American press and the US and Israeli governments because we all want to know why it is acceptable to blow up kids using American-made weapons.

  7. #7 revere
    July 27, 2006

    Grrl: I should have warned you about posting on this topic. Every time I do (which is frequently) something happens to ordinary, sane readers and my comments thread fills up with bilge. For the record, I am in complete accord with your views. You may say you aren’t an expert but it isn’t so. You are an expert human being and that’s the kind of expertise that qualifies one to say this is madness.

    I’m glad you said it. Non carborundum illigitimi, as we used to say in medical school (don’t let the bastards wear you down).

  8. #8 Webs
    July 27, 2006

    Grrl, I was just gearing up to write something till I read what you posted. Thanks for saying it. As far as this topic goes, it would be nice if people could be more civilized about it, but that doesn’t seem to happen much, and it’s a shame. SLC, if you want to debate facts let me know, I am ready anytime. But don’t waste people’s time by coming in with slander, and false assertions. You will fail a debate very quickly that way.

  9. #9 Thomas Palm
    July 28, 2006

    Regarding the “proposal” at Camp David here are a couple of articles on the subject:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14380
    http://www.passia.org/publications/bookmaps/page2.htm
    (The second gives the palestinian view while the first is by one of the negotiators in Clinton’s group).

  10. #10 SLC
    July 28, 2006

    The Palestinians have spread the big lie that the Ross/Clinton proposal would have reduced the West Bank to cantons separated by Israeli settlements. This lie has been totally repudiated by Dennis Ross, a man who labored mightly in the Reagan, Bush 1, and Clinton administration to bring justice to the Palestinians. His reward was ostracism among conservative American Jews and the big lie from the Palestinian camp that his proposal favored Israel. You are absolutely correct in stating that an Arafat acceptance of the Ross/Clinton proposal might well have led to his assassination. That was the whole point of my comment. The Palestinian street will accept nothing less then the removal of the State of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic dictatorship in all of Palestine. By the way, Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US at the time also condemmed Arafat for not accepting the Ross/Clinton proposal.

  11. #11 Alon Levy
    July 28, 2006

    Actual polls of Palestinians reveal that a majority supports a negotiated two-state solution. And the details of the Camp David and Taba peace agreements aren’t the sort anyone without advanced stages of Battered Wife Syndrome would accept.

    Revere, I got a lot of negative comments the first time I criticized Israel, too, though I wouldn’t go as far as calling all commenters insane. I’m not sure about this, but I suspect that my problem is not so much with Likudniks as with people who say they don’t like the occupation but still think that refuseniks go too far or that Israel’s intentions are basically honorable.

  12. #12 revere
    July 28, 2006

    Alon: I don’t think they are insane. My comment was that was going on there is madness, which I gather you agree with. I’m glad to have company.

  13. #13 wolfwalker
    July 28, 2006

    I’m reluctant to invest so much time and bandwidth in downloading and watching this video without the answer to one vital question: how does it present the terrorism? Does it make it clear that Palestinian terrorists intentionally target civilians as often and as bloodily as possible, while the IDF targets only the terrorists and tries to minimize civilian casualties? If it makes any attempt to draw a moral equivalence between terrorist bombings and Israeli counterstrikes, or to suggest that the counterstrikes justify continued terrorism, then it’s pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel propaganda and I see no reason to waste my time on it.

    Alon, re: “Actual polls of Palestinians reveal that a majority supports a negotiated two-state solution.” I’ve also read that “actual polls of Palestinians” reveal that a majority of them have no problem with terrorism aimed at civilians, and support continued terrorism against Israel even if it grants all Palestinian demands.

  14. #14 SLC
    July 28, 2006

    The poll number cited by Mr. Levy fluctuate with wild swings from acceptance of a two state solution to rejection of a two state solution, depending on who is doing the polling and the day of the week on which the poll is taken. The bottom line is that the Palestinians voted in the Hamas party which absolutely rejects a two state solution and favors the dismantling of the State of Israel. Votes in the voting booth speak louder then votes in the polling booth. Mr. Levy also asserts on Rasmussens’ blog that there are moderates in Hamas who do not necessarily subscribe to the stated aims of the party. This is like saying that there were moderates in the Nazi regime in Germany who did not necessarily subscribe to Hitlers’ policies.

  15. #15 Alon Levy
    July 28, 2006

    Alon, re: “Actual polls of Palestinians reveal that a majority supports a negotiated two-state solution.” I’ve also read that “actual polls of Palestinians” reveal that a majority of them have no problem with terrorism aimed at civilians, and support continued terrorism against Israel even if it grants all Palestinian demands.

    Give me a link and I’ll believe you. The polls I’ve seen show that Palestinians support terrorism against civilians by a small majority, in order to secure Palestinian independence. Not exactly Gandhiesque, but surely a far cry from “They want to throw us to the sea.”

    The poll number cited by Mr. Levy fluctuate with wild swings from acceptance of a two state solution to rejection of a two state solution, depending on who is doing the polling and the day of the week on which the poll is taken.

    Well, then you’ll surely have no difficulty finding several polls showing that most Palestinians want to destroy Israel. Also note that as per this poll, the majority of Palestinians who don’t support the two-state solution support a single binational state, distinguished from a single Palestinian state or a single Islamic state.

    The bottom line is that the Palestinians voted in the Hamas party which absolutely rejects a two state solution and favors the dismantling of the State of Israel.

    In case you were too lazy to read my first poll link, “In the estimate of 37% of the respondents, Hamas won the January parliamentary elections because voters wanted first and foremost an Islamist authority that implements the Sharia code. But 36% believe that voters wanted instead a clean government that fights corruption, 9% believe that voters wanted a strong authority that can put an end to anarchy and enforce law and order, and 7% believe that voters wanted a fighting authority that resists occupation. In the estimate of 52% of the respondents, Fateh lost the elections because voters wanted first and foremost to punish it for the spread of corruption in the PA. But 19% attribute the loss to Fateh’s divisions and lack of leadership, 17% to its failure to put an end to anarchy, and 5% to the failure of the peace process.”

    So saying that most Palestinians want Israel destroyed is like saying that in 1933 most Germans wanted to exterminate all of Europe’s Jews.

  16. #16 wolfwalker
    July 28, 2006

    Alon, you said, “Give me a link and I’ll believe you. The polls I’ve seen show that Palestinians support terrorism against civilians by a small majority, in order to secure Palestinian independence.”

    A quick search via Dogpile found a couple of such items:

    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=12451
    http://www.zoa.org/2006/07/new_poll_77_of.htm

    Before you start criticizing these polls based on methodology, or wording of the questions, or any other factor, you should be aware that I disbelieve all polls as a matter of course. Including the ones I just linked. I have some background in statistics; I know how easy it is to distort a poll, even by accident. So calling these polls inaccurate or unreliable or biased simply won’t carry any weight with me. I already know they’re biased and inaccurate. My point here isn’t to say “your polls are wrong and mine are right;” my point is to ask you “why should I believe that the polls you cite are any less biased or more credible than these other ones?”

    I’d also point you to this item by Stefan Sharkansky, which points out that most Palestinian literature supports a one-state solution — one state called Palestine from the Jordan to the sea. One need only look at the relevant demographics to realize this would be a majority-Arab state, run as the Arabs want, which means Jews (and Christians, and adherents of any other religion) would not be welcome. I ask you: how can this be reconciled with any claim that the Palestinians want to coexist peacefully with the nation of Israel?

  17. #17 Alon Levy
    July 28, 2006

    A quick search via Dogpile found a couple of such items:

    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=12451
    http://www.zoa.org/2006/07/new_poll_77_of.htm

    No, it didn’t. The first poll only says most Palestinians reject the two-state solution, without saying how many support a binational state. In another thread I quoted a slightly older poll that found that indeed, just under half of all Palestinians supported the two-state solutions, and just under a quarter wanted a binational state; however, I can’t find it now. The second poll says nothing about the goals of the Intifada.

    Before you start criticizing these polls based on methodology, or wording of the questions, or any other factor, you should be aware that I disbelieve all polls as a matter of course.

    I’m not criticizing them based on methodology or wording of the questions, but based on the facts that neither of them disagrees with my position.

    I’d also point you to this item by Stefan Sharkansky, which points out that most Palestinian literature supports a one-state solution — one state called Palestine from the Jordan to the sea.

    So that might be what the intellectuals want. It’s not what the people want, and ignoring that makes about as much sense as polling the readership of the New York Times and concluding that most Americans support single-sex marriage.

    One need only look at the relevant demographics to realize this would be a majority-Arab state, run as the Arabs want, which means Jews (and Christians, and adherents of any other religion) would not be welcome.

    One need only look at distorted demographics. In Israel and Palestine together, there’s a small Jewish majority. And when given different options for a binational state where Jews and Arabs would be equal and a single Palestinian states, Palestinians overwhelmingly pick the binational option.

  18. #18 SLC
    July 28, 2006

    “So saying that most Palestinians want Israel destroyed is like saying that in 1933 most Germans wanted to exterminate all of Europe’s Jews.”

    In 1933, Hitler wasn’t saying that he wanted to exterminate all of Europes’ Jews. He position at the time was that he wanted removed from Europe (In fact, in 1935, Eichmann was tasked to investigate the possibility of expelling them to Madagascar. The final solution was not decided on until 1942 in a meeting between Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich. The fact of this meeting was picked up on an Ultra intercept, although the content was not. This meeting was one of the reasons why the assassination of Heydrich was ordered.).

  19. #19 wolfwalker
    July 28, 2006

    [[ I'm not criticizing them based on methodology or wording of the questions, but based on the facts that neither of them disagrees with my position.]]

    Then your position must not be what you seemed to be saying uptopic, because those polls definitely do show that a majority of Palestinians support continued terrorism.

    [[ In Israel and Palestine together, there's a small Jewish majority. ]]

    You mean “in Israel + Gaza + the West Bank,” right? What happens when you add the three million Palestinians who live in surrounding nations: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia? The Palestinians and their Arab sponsors demand that any permanent peace include the “right of return,” which would make all Palestinians who used to live inside the borders of what is now Israel into Israeli citizens, able to vote in Israeli elections. Thus giving the Palestinians a substantial majority of the “Israeli” electorate. Do you honestly believe they would allow Israel to remain what it is, if they controlled its government?

    [[ And when given different options for a binational state where Jews and Arabs would be equal and a single Palestinian states, Palestinians overwhelmingly pick the binational option. ]]

    And I should believe this poll result …. why?

  20. #20 Thomas Palm
    July 29, 2006

    Considering support for a two state solution. In 2000 the Israeli population elected a Likud government that in their program had the statement:
    “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop
    these communities and will prevent their uprooting. ”

    The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

    Where was the outrage then? I don’t know what has been said in later elections, since I haven’t found English translations of their election platforms and I don’t speak Hebrew.

  21. #21 Alon Levy
    July 29, 2006

    In 2000 the Israeli population elected a Likud government that in their program had the statement:

    In 2000 there was no election in Israel… you probably mean 2003. In 2003, the Likud won the election, promising to be strong on terrorism (i.e. continue make the Palestinians’ life a living hell), not withdraw from the Occupied Territories, and not remove any settlements. Sharon then started to renege on that promise as a way of covering up his brewing corruption scandal.

    The Palestinians and their Arab sponsors demand that any permanent peace include the “right of return,” which would make all Palestinians who used to live inside the borders of what is now Israel into Israeli citizens, able to vote in Israeli elections.

    That’s about 600,000 refugees, together with 1.4 million Arab-Israelis and 3 million people living in Palestine, versus 5.5 million Jews. The 1.4 million Arab-Israelis include substantial Druze and Bedouin minorities, as well as a sizable number of Christians.

    And I should believe this poll result …. why?

    Because there are no polls that ask Palestinians who support a single state what character it should have that reveal that most support a single Arab state.

  22. #22 wolfwalker
    July 29, 2006

    Alon,

    [[That's about 600,000 refugees, ]]

    Sixty years ago it might have been 600,000 refugees. Today it’s them plus two generations of descendants, and the Palestinian Arabs have a very high birthrate.

    [[ together with 1.4 million Arab-Israelis and 3 million people living in Palestine, versus 5.5 million Jews.]]

    It appears there is a conflict between the source of your numbers and the Palestinians themselves, who claim a total of almost ten million Palestinians worldwide (note: link leads to a PDF file). To be fair, I’ll note that other sources I found on the Web give a total of only about eight million Palestinians worldwide, of which about six million live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

    I also noticed in passing that the summary table “Distribution of the Palestinian People Worldwide” in the linked paper refers to “Areas Occupied in 1948″ — which is the area that became the original Israel. Again, buried deep in the Palestinian literature we see a belief that the partitioning of 1948 was inherently wrong, and all the region from Egypt to Lebanon, from the Jordan to the sea, should be one state with a majority-Arab population. I do not understand how you can reconcile this with your belief that the Palestinians will peacefully accept a two-state solution.

    Me: And I should believe this poll result …. why?

    You: Because there are no polls that ask Palestinians who support a single state what character it should have that reveal that most support a single Arab state.

    That sentence is too tangled for me to understand, but it doesn’t matter. Remember, I distrust all polls as a matter of course. That’s all polls, no matter who made them, who answered them, who wrote the questions, who tallied the data, and how the data was interpreted. Why should I make an exception for this particular poll that you’re citing?

    One other thing: I notice that no one has yet answered my first question. How does this documentary present the issue of terrorism?

  23. #23 Alon Levy
    July 29, 2006

    Again, buried deep in the Palestinian literature we see a belief that the partitioning of 1948 was inherently wrong, and all the region from Egypt to Lebanon, from the Jordan to the sea, should be one state with a majority-Arab population. I do not understand how you can reconcile this with your belief that the Palestinians will peacefully accept a two-state solution.

    Because there’s a big difference between accepting something that happened 60 years ago and accepting something that might happen now. Plenty of Indians think that partition in 1947 was wrong; relatively few want to annex Pakistan. A fair number of Americans recognize the evils the US did to Mexico and to Natives in the 19th century; no American who matters supports returning the Southwest to Mexico or the entire country to Native Americans.

    Remember, I distrust all polls as a matter of course.

    But you don’t provide any evidence to support your mistrust. Showing that different polls can show different results is a good tactic, but you haven’t done that yet, at least not successfully. Furthermore, the alternative you suggest – looking at Palestinian literature – will only clue you in on the elite’s views, which are often wildly out of sync with the people’s views.

  24. #24 GrrlScientist
    July 29, 2006

    the people interviewed in the film all denounced terrorism.

  25. #25 Thomas Palm
    July 29, 2006

    Alon, sorry that should have been the 1999 election, not 2000. The full election platform can be found here:
    http://www.knesset.gov.il/elections/knesset15/elikud_m.htm

    (I’m afraid I haven’t found any link to what Likud said in the 2003 election, but understand it to ruled out an independent Palestinian state).

  26. #26 Alon Levy
    July 29, 2006

    Well, in 1999 the Likud did horribly: it only got 19 seats out of 120 (in 1996 it got 32; in comparison, Labor fell from 34 to 26), and Barak defeated Netanyahu 56-44. But yeah, in 2003 the Likud definitely supported keeping the settlements in place.

  27. #27 Far Away
    July 30, 2006

    I’m sitting in my office, in Israel.
    Sadness is not a strong enough word to say what I feel.
    The current bloodshed will end, with probably no change, only more dead. More wonded, more people with shattered lives. Why do we need to kill so much in order to talk a little? why can’t we start with the talking right away?
    Most of the men I know got drafted. Many people I know are stuck in shelters for weeks.
    My conscience is full with the blood of Palestinian and Lebanese children.
    Can I give my kids another future?

  28. #28 SLC
    July 30, 2006

    Re Far Away.

    Unfortunately, this gentlemen is dwelling in a dream world. He just doesn’t get it. His Arab neighbors don’t want him there. There is nothing to talk about and nobody to talk to. The State of Israel is considered, by his neighbors, to be an illegal imperialistic imposition in the heart of the Islamic world which must be removed. Former Prime Minister Shamir said it best. When you live in a tough neighborhood, you have to be a tough guy and we live in a tough neighborhood. Or as an Israel acquaintance of mine once remarked, anybody in the Middle East who is not armed to the teeth will be trampled.

  29. #29 Alon Levy
    July 30, 2006

    Former Prime Minister Shamir said it best.

    Am I to understand you’re approvingly quoting a terrorist?

  30. #30 SLC
    July 30, 2006

    Re Levy

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  31. #31 SLC
    July 30, 2006

    By the way Mr. Levy, how come you haven’t commented yet on the activities at Qana? Here’s you chance to really put the boot in.

  32. #32 Alon Levy
    July 30, 2006

    Do you think I’m at my computer 24/365, blogging about every single thing that happens in the Arab-Israeli conflict?

  33. #33 Far Away
    July 31, 2006

    Dear SLC,
    I see you tend to jump to conclusions. Can’t you write your opinion without making someone else small? I am not a gentleman, I’m a woman. A mother, a wife of a husband currently coming back from the front. I was a officer in he army, so I’m not completely clueless. (Although being a civilian gives you a better perspective). I also did talk a little to “those arabs”. what a surprise – they want to live. They don’t love us. I don’t seek love, I want some peace. For that a little respect will suffice. Starting with respect to the people I argue with.

  34. #34 SLC
    July 31, 2006

    Re Levy

    I await your perspective on Qana with bated breath.

    Re Far Away

    Let me extend my sincere apologies for incorrectly identifying your gender. I should have used gender independent language. I am quite sure that the Arabs with whom you have contact want to live (as do we all). Unfortunately, they greatly prefer to live without the presence of the State of Israel in their midst. All too many of them prefer not to live in the presence of the State of Israel, hence the homicide bombers.

  35. #35 Caledonian
    August 7, 2006

    It is also true to say that on the one hand, American media sterilizes every conflict on the TV to show no blood or death, including it’s own Iraq war; and that on the other hand, Arab satellite TV focuses exclusively on perpetual daily closeups of dead bleeding children killed by evil Israelis, with little or no self-introspection.

    How often do the Israeli media show closeups of people killed when their homes were bulldozed?

    Both sides have been carrying on a hate-mongering campaign; by doing so, they strengthen their societies by providing an external enemy which must be resisted by drawing inward.

  36. #36 Alon Levy
    August 7, 2006

    I don’t know, Caledonian, but I do the Israeli media show grotesque images of victims of suicide bombings. In fact one of the hot topics in Israel after 9/11 was how the American media sterilized everything in a way the Israeli media didn’t.

  37. #37 Issam
    August 9, 2006

    This is great documentary and is 100% accurate cause i lived it and saw everything with my own eyes. Israel is a criminal state that should be stopped. The U.S has no interest in peace or democracy, but they want world dominance over global energy which, OIL. Israel is the U.s guardian angel in the Mid East ready to move any time there is a conflict that jeoprdises the U.S interest in the region. SHAME ON AMERICA AND ON ISRAEL, GOD WILL NOT FORGET WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THE PALESTINIANS AND ARABS WHOM I SYMPATHISE 100%

  38. #38 Brandon
    December 15, 2006

    Wow Issam, thank you so much for not making Palistinians look like fanatics.

    I just want to share my personal opinion. This is the argument I make in conversation, and I would appreciate other input so I can make a rational, informed statement.

    We could spend years arguing who lies at fault for this conflict. However, what we really should be doing is looking to the future. Before Israel was established in the 40′s, the region was a barren wasteland. In a little over fifty years, Israel has become the first and only true democracy in the Middle East, granted equal rights to women, homosexuals, and religious minorities, given countless gifts to humanity in the form of technology and charity, and transformed a desert into a forest. In the meantime, Lebanon has a government who uses their people as human shields, and Syria has a man on death row for converting to Christianity. I don’t support Israel’s current actions at all, and I really just want the bloodshed to end. However, I believe Israel is just an idealistic youth who’s been pushed around by bullies for years, and is slowly unhinging.

  39. #39 JPS
    December 16, 2006

    Alot of the public discourse and the politics about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is being controlled by the extremes on both end. Some Palestinians are killing civilians but remember that some Isrealis killed there own prime minister.

    Friedman in his column in the NY Times writes about this and I agree with his view that progress will only happen when the moderate majorities on both sides start to control the politics and public dicourse.

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