Isi Leibler, Haussegger (again), Shirin Ebadi, monogamy, Fiji, Amy Goodman vs Canada, Bronner on killing Palestinians as cutting grass

Isi Leibler’s sober article on Israel. “Even under a right-wing government, a broad consensus in Israel supports a two-state solution and is desperate not to rule over the Palestinians.” Even Mahmoud Abbas is not considered adequately pro-Israel. “The other is the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, headed by Abbas, who we are told represents a moderate partner for peace. Yet Abbas still honours suicide bombers as martyrs and provides their families with state pensions. The PA-controlled media, education system and mosques continue to promote rabid anti-Semitism and demand the rejection of the Jewish state.”

I wish Virginia Haussegger did not pretend she supports Malalai Joya. Look at what she says here: “She insists the “occupation” of her homeland by US, NATO and allied forces – including Australia – is doing nothing to help the most vulnerable and innocent victims of war – the women and children.” Haussegger is not sure if Afghanistan really is occupied. She ends her article by writing that when the occupation ends, “support funds will dry up” for relevant NGOs, and women will suffer. She says, for example, that “Female depression is widespread”. Oh, is that so, oh colonial feminist? Surely, the troops must stay to protect women under occupation who are inexplicably unhappy.  Can you imagine someone supporting a foreign occupation of (say) the US or Australia because the women there were depressed? She also notes that under the current Karzai regime (the US puppet), nothing has been done to address the plight of women (when the fact is that it has empowered misogynist fundamentalists, but put that aside). By her own admission the NGO she admires was set up and run… during the Taliban years. Why would it stop operations when the occupation ends? The basic fact is that Haussegger thinks the people of Afghanistan need to be liberated, and can only be liberated, by the White Man.

Shirin Ebadi’s Nobel Peace Prize medal was seized in Iran. This is an outrage (though the prize itself is virtually meaningless, she was one of its few worthy recipients).

This guy writes about whether monogamy is natural from a biological point of view. I’ve always found these sorts of arguments stupid. They assume that because other animals act in a certain way, we would “naturally” act similarly. I think a case can be made against monogamy, but it should hardly rest on the behaviour of birds.

The real crimes of the Fiji dictatorship that explains its unpopularity with the West.

Asked who advanced under the regime, Barr said: “The poor are still pretty poor but see the government as on their side. The decision to raise the threshold at which tax is paid covered about 70 per cent of the population. Controls on the price of bread, rice and fuel helped them. Same with removing VAT from basic foods – but then they were hit by the 20 per cent devaluation of the currency, which raised prices again.”

I love that Canada’s afraid of Amy Goodman.

The dude on MondoWeiss raises the issue of Bronner. His points are important, though I think by now mundane. But if you read the original article, it’s unbelievable.

As for the Palestinians’ claim to have successfully ended violence, the Israeli military begs to differ. Yes, its officers say, the Palestinian forces are better trained than in the past, and yes, they have worked seriously in their new roles. But without nightly Israeli raids into Palestinian cities, the violence would never have stopped.

“Last night we carried out between 15 and 20 actions,” a top Israeli commander said of the West Bank raids, in a recent interview under military rules of anonymity. “That was a fairly typical night. It’s like throwing a blanket on a fire. If we stop for a minute, we will go backwards very quickly. We call it cutting the grass.”

And, Israeli officials note, even if the Palestinian Authority were to receive full credit for the sharp reduction in West Bank-based violence, there is still Gaza. [emphasis added]

Okay, so think about the significance of all this. The Palestinian Authority is competing with the Israeli army to prove who is more effective in policing the Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank. Israeli nightly raids in the West Bank are completely routine. This is just one commander saying that 15-20 actions were carried out. Imagine how many that amounts to across the West Bank. This shows how heavily the Palestinians are policed: and that it is considered “cutting the grass”. The way the Israeli military deals with resistance is by anticipating it as inevitable, and trying to strike it early through harsh repression. And this has the complete support of the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, all of this is with the complete support of the NYT’s Bronner. For example, of Bibi’s “freeze”, he says “In other words, although this represents a painful political concession by the Israeli government and is causing it internal trouble, there will never be a moment in the coming months when construction will stop in West Bank settlements. And Israeli building in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their capital, will be unaffected.” Painful political concession? He offers a refutation in full in the remainder of the sentence. What a joke. But don’t let it be said that Bronner fails to adopt the propagandistic language of the Israeli government, however absurd.

As the article proceeds, Bronner writes:

But a national outpouring for Sergeant Shalit has meant that a deal is brewing that could free perhaps 1,000 Palestinian fighters, some of them planners of suicide bombings. In the Israeli military’s words, that would be a lot of new grass to cut.

This is obscene for so many reasons (full credit to MW for picking it up). Firstly, note how he thinks like the Israeli military. Secondly, notice that Palestinians are not even people: they are grass, which can be cut without emotional commitment. The disinfectant of racist language makes it clean and safe to kill Palestinians.

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