Living in the West, one is hard-pressed to find extreme pro-Palestinians. There exist nuts like Noam Chomsky, and anti-Semites like Pat Buchanan, but they’re outside the political mainstream. In this climate, anyone who thinks killing innocent civilians is unconditionally wrong and the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would have no trouble accepting a peace agreement that didn’t shaft either side.
However, the blogosphere is hardly representative of the mainstream. It’s not left or right of mainstream, but just has a higher standard deviation from the mean; hence nuts who think either side is composed of genocidal maniacs. Now that Majikthise is being trolled by a commenter who sounds like a Little Green Football regular in reverse, I’d like to make some clarifications about the issue.
Palestine is under occupation. It doesn’t matter who the land originally belonged to; what matters is that it has 3 million people without citizenship and with very limited autonomy. The occupation is illegal and, more importantly, immoral. The same applies to settlements, many of which were created with the explicit purpose of splintering Palestinian land.
Whatever historical injustice may have been done to the Palestinians in 1948-9 is a red herring. It delegitimizes Israel to the same extent that post-WW2 ethnic cleansing means that Germany has a right to annex Posen and East Prussia. And it says nothing about Israel’s demographic future, considering that only 10% of refugees would go to Israel if given the choice.
But the most idiotic thing I’ve seen is the assertion that Israel is committing genocide, and anyone who says otherwise is a Holocaust denier. I’ve seen the word “holocaust” used for four acts: the Jewish holocaust, in which Hitler killed 6 million Jews out of a population of 11 million in Europe over 4 years; the Ukrainian holocaust, in which Stalin engineered a famine that killed 8 million Ukrainians out of a population of 30 million over 9 months; the Cambodian holocaust, in which Pol Pot murdered 1.5-2 million Cambodians out of a population of 8 million over 4 years; and the Armenian holocaust, in which the Ottoman Empire killed 1 million Armenians out of a population of 2 million over 3 years.
Since the beginning of the second Intifada, a little over 4,000 Palestinians have been killed, out of a population of 3 million. It’s bad, but calling it a Holocaust is going overboard by three orders of magnitude. A school shooting that kills 5 people is closer in orders of magnitude to that than the Jewish holocaust.
I still maintain that the best solution to the conflict is to round up the extremists in Israel who believe in ethnically cleansing all Palestinians into Jordan and the extremists in Palestine who want an Islamic state in the entire Cisjordan, and throw them into a desert island where they can kill each other over historical grudges all they like without involving 10 million civilians in the process.