Monday, November 27, 2006

How "oppressed" are the Palestinians?

One hears a constant drumbeat in the media about how badly the Palis are being treated. Is this in fact true? In this scathing takedown of Noam Chomsky protege Tanya Reinhart, Martin Kramer offers some insight.
[...]But it's more than bias. Like every bum prediction, this one reflects an underlying flaw in understanding. In Reinhart's case, it's a very deep flaw, and it's this: she's completely missed the most salient development in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The flaw is perfectly evidenced in this accusation she's made against Israel:
What is happening in the [Israeli-occupied] Territories is a process of slow and steady genocide. People die from being shot and killed, many die from their wounds—the number of wounded is enormous, it is in the tens of thousands. Often, people can not get medical treatment, so someone with a heart attack will die at a road block because they can not get to the hospital. There is a serious shortage of food, so there is malnutrition of children. The Palestinian society is dying—daily—and there is hardly any awareness of this in Israeli society.
What's wrong with this picture? For a "dying society," subjected to "slow and steady genocide," Palestinians have enjoyed an astonishingly robust population growth. In the West Bank, the net population growth rate is 3.13%, and in Gaza it's 3.77%, compared to Israel's 1.2%. That's also much higher than the net growth rates of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt (CIA estimates for 2005). Life expectancy at birth is 72.3—at least five years above the Arab average, and higher than the same figure for Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (Arab Human Development Report III, 2002 figures)[...]

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