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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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September 10, 2003

The circle of violence in Israel and Palestine just gets worse.

As Helena Cobban observes prime minister Abu Mazen was hung out to dry. Arafat has flexed his muscles and has gained the upper hand in the occupied territories.

In Australia
Colin Rubenstein
from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council attacks those in the ALP who criticize the Israeli Government as extreme anti-Israel sniping. He says that these strident critics engage in the type of moral relativism that plagues many elements of the left. I presume that it is moral relativism to argue that Israeli settlements, most of which Israel agreed to remove in exchange for peace in 2000, were either somehow equivalent to terrorism, or somehow its cause.

With that charge of moral relativism Rubenstein does away with the whole idea of occupation or the colonial/colonized relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. He seems to equate the war there as part of Israel fighting the international war on terrorism. This justifies Sharon's policy of smashing Palestinian infrastructure; sending bulldozers into the occupied territories to uproot olive trees and tanks to raze civilian homes; killing human rights observers who were bearing witness to the attacks, as well as aid workers and journalists and assassinations.

What is lost in this account is the critical Israeli voice that questions Sharon's policies and strategies. This then allows the Daniel Pipes view to hold central stage.This holds that it is the Palestinians who are primarily the problem: they want to exterminate Israel. Consequently the only way forward is to make the Palestinians give up their anti-Zionist fantasy, make acceptance of Israel's existence the primary goal and impress on Palestinians that the sooner they accept Israel, the better off they will be.

This is one sided. For Pipes the Palestinian's pursue their horrid goal of extermination and so they should receive no financial aid, arms or recognition as a state. On the other hand the Israel should have the license to defend itself and to impress on the Palestinians the hopelessness of their cause.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:51 AM | | Comments (0)