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Sean Wasserman

To Joel:
The focus of your argument in all three postings is an explanation of various problematic issues in palestinian society - human rights abuses, violence, non-acceptance of an israeli minority. But what is striking is that you have yet to put forward a direct opinion on the occupation of palestinian land and people by israel. My impression from your entries is that you support such a situation and justify it in terms of the bad behaviour of palestinians. Is this true?

Human rights are universal, and an immoral act, such as those committed by israel on a daily basis (the wall, closures, differential areas based on ethnicity, pass system, collective punishment), need to be criticised. You are simply wrong about this issue - the more powerful force does have a greater responsibility to behave in a moral way, because it naturally has more capability of committing atrocities. We have not seen a higher moral ground from israel in its administration of the occupation. This may be difficult for you to acknowledge, but now is the time to face this question directly.

Jonathan Berger

Dear Joel,

Three questions:

1) While I agree that human rights apply to all, it is - in my view - simply absurd to consider rights violations on both sides without seriously taking into account the fact of a belligerent occupation (referred to as such by the Israeli High Court of Justice). Do you agree? If so, what impact does the fact of the occupation - one side being an occupier and the other the occupied - have on considerations of human rights violations?

2) If Jews - especially those who settled on the West Bank in violation of international law - are to be offered full citizenship of an independent Palestine, should all Palestinian refugees not be entitled to return to Israel? if not, why not?

3) How can you seriously argue that John McCain and Sarah Palin have strong human rights records? Amongst other things, McCain refuses to acknowledge that health care is a right and considers a progressive tax policy as unfair. He strongly opposed the Supreme Court decision regarding habeus corpus for detainees at Guantanamo, and has called for judges who "do not legislate from the bench" - meaning judges in the mould of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Palin's record is even worse. As mayor of Wasilla, she made rape survivors pay for their own rape kits. She supported a ban on certain books in the local library. She opposes all abortions, including those following rape or incest. Finally, both McCain and Palin support constitutional amendments to take away the rights of same-sex couples to get married - McCain supports state constitutional amendments, whereas Palin supports both state and federal amendments.

Jonathan Berger
(member of the Human Rights Delegation)

Nathan Geffen

Dear Joel

1. Would you agree that the policy of separation on the West Bank as evidenced by the five examples below is a violation of Palestinian civil rights?

* Palestinians cannot travel on route 443, nor many other roads in the West Bank.
* The separation barrier cuts deep into the West Bank, often hugging against Palestinian villages so as to make land available for settlement expansion.
* The movement of Hebron Palestinians is severely curtailed. They cannot access the city's main road nor can those living on this road exit their front doors etc.
* Palestinians and Israelis living on the West Bank are subject to separate legal systems.
* A complex permit system operates restricting Palestinian movement to many places including religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as to their agricultural lands.

2. If so, what do you suggest be done to change Israeli policy with respect to the above?

Nathan Geffen


Lets see:

"Violent attacks on Israel – my repeated condemnation of which you’ve been reluctant to accept". Doron; Yasser Arafat would also condemn suicide bombings against Israel. However, almost immediately afterwards he would appear on arab television praising the jihad.

Its easy to speak meaningless words but eventually your actions give you away. Yasser didn't have anyone fooled when he condemned suicide bombings. Especially considering that some of the terrorists were coming from his own organization. In the same vein your words have no meaning as well. Your anti-Israel actions drown out your facade of caring for Israel.

Doron, your mention of McCain within the context of this argument is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to try redirect the argument to disguise how ridiculous and flawed your arguments really are.

You argued "But what do you want now, that the Palestinians accept that the settlers live on their illegally expropriated private land?"

My grandparents had to leave Iran not because they wanted to leave the place of their birth but because as Jews Iran made it unbearable for them to live there.

They did not have the opportunity to sell their home and possessions and had to leave it all behind. Leaving a place where they had acquired significant wealth and come to Israel with hardly anything.

My grandparents are still alive. Living evidence of how Jews who posed no threat to their country were driven out of arab lands. Can you get my grandparents home back please doron?? and if not why aren't you fighting for their rights.

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