Whatever happened to basic fact-checking, elementary logic, and a modicum of editing?
Here's a letter on Palestine/Israel, from a Michael Ross of Abbotsford, that falls down on all of these scores, but which the Sydney Morning Herald letters editor, who recently emasculated a letter exhibiting all of these criteria (See my 22/5/11 post SMH Letters Editor No Einstein), thought fit to publish. No wonder the pollies and the punters are confused:
"The intransigence of the Israeli and Palestinian leadership over the adoption of a two-state solution is heartbreaking to those of us who more than 40 years ago worked in the left of politics to remind the world of an obligation to recognise Palestinian rights."
While Israeli intransigence is, of course, a given, Mr Ross, could you please enlighten us on the subject of what you call Palestinian intransigence, considering that the PLO long ago, and both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for years now, have agreed to settle for a Palestinian state on a mere 22% of historic Palestine? Could you also explain how it is that, although you were supposedly supporting Palestinian rights 40 years ago, when the PLO was calling for a secular democratic state in all of historic Palestine, you now believe that Palestinians should compromise over what are but two remnants of same, namely the West Bank and East Jerusalem?
"President Barack Obama deserves huge credit for clearly pointing a spotlight on a solution: the recognition of 1967 boundaries as a starting point for negotiation, and the agreement by Israel that Jerusalem must be a joint capital, East and West, for Palestine and Israel."
Pointing a spotlight on a solution? How easily pleased you are, Mr Ross. All Obama has to do to earn your praise is operate a bloody spotlight! What about doing something practical like turning off the money tap, Mr Ross? And as for those 1967 "boundaries," as you call them, did it not occur to you that Obama's gift to the Israelis of "mutually agreed swaps" will allow them to play games till the proverbial cows come home? Oh, and Obama did not refer to the sharing of Jerusalem in his speech. You really haven't read the damn thing, have you?
"The creation of a nation state of Israel based on biblical righteousness is historically false."
Biblical righteousness? Don't you mean biblical nonsense, Mr Ross?
"The Zionist movement of the 19th century, which succeeded in the 'British solution' Balfour Declaration in obtaining [obtaining?] Israel, had negotiated before with many countries, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and French Madagascar."
Oh, so the Zionist movement negotiated with 4 countries that didn't even exist in the 19th century. Right... Moving right along then.
"The citizens of Israel are right to fear a Palestinian demand that a 'law of return' should or would entitle any Palestinian to resume their Palestinian land title or even a right to co-exist within the borders of Israel."
Er, slight problem, Mr Ross. Your law of return is actually an Israeli law, designed to open the gates of Israel to Jews from all over, but keep them closed to Palestinians who, like all refugees in international law, have a right of return to their homeland. As a person claiming to champion Palestinian rights 40 years ago, you didn't champion the most fundamental of all Palestinian rights - the right of return? Are you sure it was Palestine you were working for back then? Yes? So why are you now supporting Israel's refusal to allow them to return?
"But the Jewish people were given reparation payments by Germany - and Swiss banks - and so should Israel and its Western allies make reparation to all aggrieved, proven Palestinian cases of dispossession from their original homes and farms. Without justice these notional claims fester generational hatred and jihadism even now in Middle Eastern refugee camps."
Oh, so Israel should refuse to allow the Palestinian refugees to return (for reasons you don't specify) but should compensate them for their losses? Give me one good reason why Israel shouldn't both allow them to return and compensate them as well. Oh, and seeing Australia's a 'friend' of Israel, I guess you wouldn't be averse to the Australian taxpayer helping its friend discharge its debt to around 5 million odd Palestinian refugees.
"Let all join hands in building two co-existing states guaranteed by the United Nations, with an intitial peacekeeping force overseeing mutual preservation for 25 years, fully funded by the UN to provide boundary [boundary?] integrity."
Someone sack the letters editor.