Tuesday, December 10, 2002

What's wrong with these people? NGOs and journalists that is. This AP dispatch describes a poll conducted by the "Washington and Brussels-based Search for Common Ground" organization, which finds that
72 percent of the Palestinians would be willing to renounce violence if Israel would be willing to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state on terms acceptable to the Palestinians.

The phrase "terms acceptable to the Palestinians" is what's weasel-y. If there's anything that's been learned from the Oslo debacle about "terms acceptable to the Palestinians", it's the following 2 points:

1. Palestinian leadership will not consent to any agreement that stipulates that most descendents of 1948 Palestinian refugees will be permanently settled outside of pre-1967 Israel, even with humanitarian monetary compensation (notwithstanding the imaginations of people like Yossi Beilin).

2. Palestinian leadership will not take action against terrorists who kill Israelis unless their own vital interests are at risk.

But "Common Ground" and the AP are (intentionally?) oblivious.

I'm also highly skeptical about their finding that only 21% of Israelis doubted that Palestinians would halt violence after receiving a state roughly along 1967 borders.

You have to wonder about these polls. Tonite I received a phone call from a pollster of some institute who asked me a series of questions about Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert. I answered the questions sincerely, but many of them had an agenda behind them, eg. "Do you think Mayor Ehud Olmert's run on the national Likud list detracted from his running the city?". Perhaps this institute was working for Olmert's high-tech millionaire opponent Nir Barkat and looking for Olmert's soft spots.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

This article says that the father of of Saudi princess Haifa al-Faisal was not killed by Islamic militants, notwithstanding the fact that CNN etc. uncritically accepted claims to that effect made by Saudi spokesmen while defending her from accusations of funnelling cash to the 9/11 hijackers.

An interesting article by Amnon Rubinstein says that human rights law treats collective rights of minority groups differently according to whether the collectives are "native" or "migrant". While native groups are generally entitled to recognition of their language and culture (as with the Arabs in Israel), migrant minorities (such as Arabs in Belgium) are expected to integrate into the culture at large. Hence the demand by Arabs in Belgium to have their language recognized as an "official language" is a groundbreaking event.