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Monday, April 26, 2004

What is Impartial?
After Bush endorsed Sharon's plan to disengage from Gaza, maintain settlements in the West Bank, and reject arab demands to return to Israel, Arabs complained that the US is not being impartial. As the AP put it, "Arab anger over Israel's plan to leave Gaza and parts of the West Bank is focused on the United States, which Arabs accuse of abandoning the role of impartial mediator."

My question is, why is this not impartial? When the referee disqualified Mike Tyson for biting off Holyfield's ear, was that biased? After all, he didn't deduct points from Holyfield to be "balanced"; he didn't didn't blame Holyfield for enraging Tyson; he didn't just clean up the blood and let the fight continue. Instead, he saw a clear transgression of the rules, and he moved against the violator, and the violator only. The US, or Bush, is not "pre-judging" anything. The arabs have a clear and documented history of war, terrorism, genocide, and mendacity. To reject their calls for more of the same is entirely impartial. To perform mental gymnastics in order to pretend they have done nothing wrong is what is biased.

On a side note, kudos to the AP for providing some context to this story. Of course, there is room for improvement, but this is not too bad.
The "right of return," meanwhile, is a rallying cry for Arabs, particularly hard-line opponents of Israel. Many Arab states, in hopes of keeping anti-Israeli fervor alive, deny Palestinians property, citizenship and other rights that might make their lives as refugees easier. While Palestinians living in bleak camps in Lebanon may dream of going home, few are willing to say out loud that others who have settled in Europe or North America may be less interested.

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