In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that lies are more valuable than the truth because it takes less time to tell a lie than to refute it. It’s certainly true in the case of justifications for the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It takes 30 seconds to digest a sentence from the pro-occupation group closest to your location; even when I wrote a refutation elsewhere, it takes me a few minutes to find it and quote the appropriate result from it.
So, please, if you feel like you have something to say about the I/P conflict, note that it’s very likely you’re saying bullshit I’ve refuted elsewhere. I’ll deal with pro-Palestinian crap when I get clueless pro-Palestinian commenters; now let me just point a few things out that pro-Israelis consistently get wrong. You can read most of it here, but if you don’t want to click the link, here it goes:
1. Most Palestinians support the two-state solution arrived at via negotiations.
[Link] Findings show that the majority of the respondents (62%) supports and 34% oppose peace negotiations between a Hamas-led government and Israel. A majority of 58% supports and 40% oppose a permanent settlement that would resolve all issues of the conflict in which Palestinians would recognize Israel as the state for the Jewish people and Israelis would recognize Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people.
2. Palestinians support the Gaza ceasefire nearly unanimously, and are increasingly viewing negotiations rather than terrorism as the key to achieving independence. The same link above says,
Findings show that the overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) supports the ceasefire agreement currently observed in the Gaza Strip while only 14% oppose it. Similarly, 85% support and 14% oppose extending the agreement to cover the West Bank as well. The widespread support for the ceasefire might reflect a decrease in the positive evaluation of the role of violence in achieving national rights. Findings show that the public is split into two equal halves on this matter with 49% believing that armed confrontations have so far helped achieve national rights in ways that negotiations could not. This percentage stood at 54% six months ago and at 68% one year ago.
3. Even those who support terrorism often view it as a way of securing independence, rather than a way of destroying Israel.
[Link] Respondents were asked whether the final goal of the Intifada should be the improvement of Palestinian negotiating conditions, ending the occupation and forming a Palestinian state based on UN resolution 242, or the total liberation of Palestine (area under British mandate before 1948).
Forty-six percent of respondents believed that the final goal of the Intifada should be ending the occupation and forming a Palestinian state based on UN resolution 242, 47% believed that it should be the total liberation of Palestine, 4% believed that it should be improving the Palestinian negotiation conditions, and 3% did not provide an answer/ did not know.
4. Of the Palestinians who don’t support a two-state solution, a majority wants a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
[Link] Fifty-seven percent of Palestinians supported the two-state solution, 24% supported a bi-national state, 9% supported a Palestinian state, 3% supported an Islamic state, 5% did not think there was a solution, and 3% did not know or did not provide an answer.
5. Most Palestinians who support a peace agreement want Israel to give refugees the right of return, although most are also willing to postpone negotiations on that and accept an interim agreement first, provided that negotiations for a final agreement proceed. However,
[Link] PSR surveys, conducted in 2003 among 4,500 refugee families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, and Lebanon, found that only 10 percent of all refugees wanted to return to Israel and only 1 percent wanted Israeli citizenship. As figure 5 shows, the rest of the refugees preferred to exercise the right of return in the Palestinian state (31 percent) or in “swapped” areas, that is, areas now in Israel that would be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty in a permanent settlement (23 percent), for a total of 54 percent of refugees preferring to live in a Palestinian state. Only 17 percent of all refugees preferred to remain in a host country, almost all of them in Jordan, and 2 percent preferred to go to a third country such as Canada, a European country, the United States, or Australia. The surveys found that 13 percent of the refugees in all three locations polled refused any of these choices. Most of those wanted to go back to their homes but refused to do so as long as it meant having to live in Israel.
6. Iran is five to ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon.
[Link] Iran is at least five to 10 years away from developing nuclear weapons, and any military attack on the country would only speed up its program, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog organization said today.
7. The Iranian population opposes the regime, approving of Ahmadinejad by about the same rate the American population approves of Bush.
[Link] Ahmadinejad’s approval rating, as calculated by the official state television station, had dipped to 35 percent in October.
For a Western traveler in Iran these days, it is hard to avoid a feeling of cognitive dissonance. From a distance, the Islamic republic appears to be at its zenith. But from the street level, Iran’s grand revolutionary experiment is beset with fragility. The state is in a sense defined by its contradictions, both constitutional and economic. It cannot be truly stable until it resolves them, and yet if it tries to do so, it may not survive.
7. Muslims have produced a few democratic states, like Turkey, Indonesia, and intermittently Lebanon. That’s not a lot, but considering that the first Catholic democracy that didn’t succumb to fascism under its own weight was Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 (France was anti-Catholic and fought on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years’ War), saying that Islam is inherently anti-democratic is like saying Catholicism is. After all, inherent religious features don’t change in 100 years.
Islamism is simply a political response to the failures of previous movements, chiefly Ba’athism. At the time, Islamism seemed like a fresh change when Ba’athism, monarchy, communism, and liberalism were all crumbling. Tellingly, in the one country where Islamism is plainly practiced, Iran, the people are ready to move on toward liberal democracy.