Friday, August 04, 2006

Fact checking on Israel

Fair enough if you think Israel is over reacting or if you want to argue it has lost it's mind - but at least check your facts guys!

Having seen a comment on Just Left I thought I'd fact check a couple of things from a commenter.

"Here are a few statistics on the Middle East conflict that may raise a few eyebrows. All are verifiable."

OK Let’s get to it then...

>> 121 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 763 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000

Yes no problem there except what is a "child"?

One of the interesting things in this statistic is that (when I last saw the statistics) a bit over half of these seem to be in the 15-18 yr old age range - interesting that as you come closer to being an adult you come into more danger. And that apparently among babies and pre-schoolers almost equal numbers of Palestinian and Israeli children have been killed.

This probably has implications for how one interprets the data. Or to stop being subtle - 18 year old "kids" are going out with guns and stones and firing / throwing them at soldiers. Now it may still not be ok for the soldiers to shoot these boys (I agree that the Israelis are using excessive force) but the above statistic appears to be trying to give a false impression.

>> The U.S. gives $15,139,178 per day to the Israeli government and military and $232,290 per day to Palestinian NGO’s.

1) I could nit pick and say they don’t just "give" that money. They guarantee loans and have all sorts of other strings attached so it’s a false impression but possibly not a material one.
2) This probably has something to do with that little "hamas being a terrorist organization" thing. But another thing to remember is that the US isn't the only one donating here. One could ask "how much does Saudi Arabia give to Israeli charities?”
Again obviously that number will be tiny next to the US number but it does create a misleading picture. E.g. from 10days ago SA seems to have donated

"US $ 250 million for the Palestine people as an initiative for an Arab Fund for the reconstruction of Palestine."

>> 0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since September 29, 2000.

Hmm how about this

Jul 07, 2003 - Mazal Afari, 65, was killed in her home and three of her grandchildren lightly wounded in a suicide bombing (remains were also found in the wreckage of the house). The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

That’s 1.

Sep 24, 2004 - Tiferet Tratner, 24, was killed in her home in Neve Dekalim in a mortar strike on the Gush Katif settlement bloc (Gaza Strip).

hmm 2...

>> "You can call me anything you like. Call me a monster or a murderer. .
Better a live Judeo-Nazi than a dead saint.
Even if you prove to me that the present war in Lebanon is a dirty immoral
War, I don't care. Even if Galilee is shelled again by Katyushas in a year's time, I don't really care. We shall start another war, kill and destroy more and more, until they will have had enough.
Let them tremble; let them call us a mad state. Let them understand that we are a wild country, dangerous to our surroundings, not normal, that we might go crazy if one of our children is murdered, just one! If anyone even raises his hand against us we'll take away half his land and burn the other half, including the oil. We might use nuclear arms.
Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to
Kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us. . And I don't mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal.
What you don't understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it." - Ariel Sharon, interview with Amos Oz, Davar 17 December 1982.

That doesn’t sound much like Sharon would say it does it?

And that intuition is born out by the facts. In fact Amos Oz has confirmed that he never met nor interviewed Sharon. The so-called “interview” was a literary device taken from Oz's book “In the Land of Israel”.


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