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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Enough already!

For millenia, people have been forced out of their homes by nature, by law, or most commonly by war. From Exodus to the Trail of Tears to the holocaust to untold dozens of dirty wars in Africa to Poletown to the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, people have been forced to leave behind their homes, graves of ancestors, and everything they ever knew.

But I'm not sure any of these awful stories got such devoted press coverage, while they were happening, as what we're seeing with the removal of Israeli settlers from Gaza. These people moved into Gaza in clear defiance of international law, and are actually getting compensated (about $250,000 per house plus other benefits) for breaking the law! Yet day after day I see photos on the NY Times and CNN web sites of poor teary-eyed squatters being dragged from their homes.

The US military ran tens of thousands out of their homes in Fallujah--and then destroyed those homes. The coverage of this atrocity was minimal compared to this nonsense.

What's next? Almost certainly, a bus blows up in Israel, blamed (correctly or not) on the Palestinians. Sharon says "Look at all we did for you, all the grief we brought to these poor, poor settlers, and this is how you repay us? Bombs away."

[Update]: I see that while the NY Times is running this photo on its main web page,
, it is running an editorial ("Gaza Reality Check") saying basically what I just said, if a bit more tactfully. An excerpt:
Without denying the genuine grief of many of the protesters, it's perhaps helpful to do a historical reality check. Gaza, a 25-mile-long, 6-mile-wide strip of land, was part of Mandatory Palestine, which was ruled by the British after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. It was never part of the Zionist state intended by the United Nations partition plan that led to the establishment of Israel in 1948. At that point, five Arab nations immediately attacked the new nation, but Gaza wasn't even part of the territory Israel got in signing truces in 1949. It became the home of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing Israel, and Israel's armistice with Egypt in 1949 put it under Egyptian rule.

In the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, Israel captured Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, along with the West Bank (from Jordan) and the Golan Heights (from Syria). Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt after making peace, but kept control of Gaza. A second agreement called for negotiating eventual Palestinian autonomy there.

Gaza represents the worst side of Israel's settlement movement. The densely populated strip is home to 1.3 million Palestinians - most of them refugees, or offspring of refugees. Each square mile of Palestinian land holds, on average, about 14,000 people. Until this week, the Jewish settlers occupied 33 percent of the land.
Way to go, NY Times! Promote the unreal melodramatic BS on the front page, and post the reality check back in the editorials.