Tuesday, May 27, 2003

But your great-great grandchildren may be screwed

Astonishingly, the headlines of every newspaper say that the Israeli cabinet voted for the “road map,” when in fact nothing remotely of the sort happened. First, it was a plurality of the cabinet, with a bunch of abstentions, so not much of a commitment to begin with. Second, they attached 14 objections to it, taking apart all its key principles, including simultaneity. In essence, they voted that the Palestinians should do things, and they won’t have to, and they won’t even negotiate until the Palestinians give in on all the key points, including return of refugees, and if at any point it looks like they might have to do anything they don’t want to, there’s a vague provision about Israeli security, which the Bushies fell for. In no way did the Israelis accept Bush’s plan. Afghanistan was ten times closer to accepting Bush’s demands when he decided to bomb them. Iraq was twenty times closer to accepting Bush’s demands when he invaded it.

Since then, Sharon promised a cabinet member that there will be “unlimited” building of settlements in the occupied territories “for your children and grandchildren, and I hope even for your great-grandchildren".

Or the Terrorists Win: Bush is now back in the fund-raising business big time. He recently sent a letter to potential donors saying that they should contribute early so he can spend his time focused on the war on terror.

Speaking of terrorists, I said that Bush said that Al Qaida was “not a problem any more.” It seems that was a distortion of the real quote by Maureen Dowd, upholding the NYT’s recent record of massive incompetence and malfeasance. Speaking of which, the Post Monday ran some internal Times memos in which Judith Miller, who made some very questionable judgments during the war in deals with the Pentagon, takes credit for all the paper’s stories about Iraqi WMDs--and says that the stories were all given to her by Chalabi.

The general in charge of Guantanamo has suggested that it could have its own execution facilities.

Sharon wants to end the automatic Israeli citizenship of children of one Israeli and one Palestinian parent.

Here’s a Ha’aretz interview with the Palestinian PM with two names. So far I think he’s playing things very smart. We’ll see. There’s some weird little thing at the end about the Israelis spreading a rumor that he’s a Bahai.

Conditions the Israeli cabinet put on the “road map” include the complete cessation of violence, the dismantling of Hamas, no discussion of the settlements until final status talks, and acceptance before negotiations begin of no right of return for Palestinians and that Israel will control Palestine’s borders. Oh sorry, not the complete cessation of violence, only that by Palestinians. It specifically says “The road map will not state that Israel must halt violence, incitement against the Palestinians.” But other than that... (no, actually that’s not even all 14 reservations).

The Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to secret immigration hearings.

You may have read about the Indian woman who had her prospective in-laws arrested for trying to extort a huge dowry (any dowry is against Indian law). And the number of dowry-related killings of new wives in India has been growing rapidly, to 7,000 annually that they know about. Anyway, there is now a prison wing in New Delhi just for mothers-in-law jailed for dowry offences or breaking up families.


Weapons of Mass Destruction discovered.

Across the border, you’ll remember that the Pakistani state bordering Afghanistan gained an elected Islamic government around the time the Afghan war began. The Talibanization of the North West Frontier Province continues apace. They’re about to introduce a “Vice and Virtue Department” to beat up women on the streets and whatnot. Cinemas are being closed, buses have to stop during prayers (and no music may be played on buses), female students have to wear a veil, etfuckingcetera.

Follow-up: I mentioned that Bush ordered Europe to take GM foods or the little African kid gets it. And he can use WTO rules to sue Europe, too, those rules saying that food can’t be banned without clear scientific evidence of potential damage. Why there may not be such evidence is made clearer by the Cartagena Protocol, which needs signatures of 50 countries to go into effect and now has 48. Cartagena says no nation can be forced to take Frankenfoods unless exporters provide details about what the stuff actually is and what environmental risks there are. The US, needless to say, is not a signatory. So Bush’s position is that they should take these foods without even knowing what they are.

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