Saturday, April 27, 2002

There's a trio of economic articles at Business Week further analyzing the recesion in Israel, as well as the effect on the Palestinian economy.

Israel: The Economic Cost of War:

Defense spending is rising sharply, after plunging from 13.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 8.5% in the 1990s. This year, the security burden on Israel's economy is likely to jump back up to 9.5% of GDP. The danger for Israel is that its economy could slip back to what amounts to a charity project sustained by donations of the U.S. and world Jewry. Israel got by that way in the 1980s, when the currency was a joke, inflation hit triple digits, and the bank system required a bailout.


Clearly, the status quo makes it impossible for Palestinians to reach their potential -- economic or otherwise -- and increasingly hampers Israelis' ability to reach theirs. Prosperity on both sides could help heal the wounds of war and build a lasting peace. Instead, the wealth of Israel is trickling away, bit by bit, in a deadly war of attrition.

The source of the recession is broadly identified as the intifada conflict, but the article does not go deeper and identify the settlements as the source cause. Though, Ha'aretz has a much finer-grained analysis as would be expected.

In Palestine, an Economy Left in Ruins

Before the intifada that began in September, 2000, the Palestinian economy looked like a winner. Growth of gross domestic product was 7.4% in 1999 and seemed set to hold up in 2000 until violence broke out. Private money and aid were pouring in, and Palestinian workers were benefiting from Israel's boom. Then came the intifada, and the Israeli response. Through the end of last year, they had cost $3 billion in economic losses and $400 million in damage to infrastructure and property, says the World Bank. The toll from the latest Israeli incursion will run tens if not hundreds of millions more.

WAITING FOR STABILITY. The territories now look more like a humanitarian disaster than a business prospect. Income dropped 19% in 2001, to $1,375 per capita. Unemployment stood at 35% at the close of 2001. Fueling the rise, says the World Bank, were the Israeli roadblocks that strangle movement and commerce. Work in Israel, a source of 20% of GDP in normal times, has been curtailed, while agriculture and light industry in the territories have been disrupted. Before the latest violence, 50% of Palestinians lived on less than $2 a day. Now, says Palestinian Authority Minister of Economics & Trade Maher Masri, "we are going to have a much higher level of poverty."

It's worth noting that while the Israeili economy is sufferring because of a ideological commitment by democratically-elected leadership to unsustainable settlements and an illegal occupation, the Palestinian economic woes are purely inflicted from without. The IDF actions that have obliterated the infrastructure of the Palestinian areas are retaliation for the actions of a small minority, yet by those very retaliations, the principle of vengeance1 is given moral validity, and this fuels more fanatic homicide bombers. The Palestinian people, unlike the Israeilis, have no lever or power to (even theoretically) stop their economic woes.

The third article is an interview with Finance Minister Silvan Shalom, who is lambasted routinely in analyses by Ha'aretz. But it's worth reading what he has to say.


1 Vengeful retaliation is in and of itself immoral. Therefore it cannot be a principle upon which one should pursue or define policy. Pragmatically speaking, sometimes deterrent retaliation is required, but it is clear that in terms of the middle east conflict, the IDF has had zero deterrent value and actually had inciteful effect. Hence the phrase, "circle of violence"

insert classic I'm not a Catholic, but... disclaimer. Heck, if non-Muslims can armchair-analyse my religion, surely I get equal shake, right? :)

The main solution - to an outside observer - would be, get rid of the celibacy requirement for priests. But, we have to respect that celibacy is a doctrinal issue and it's solely the purview of the Church to decide that. It is not appropriate for anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic alike, to opine on it. Only the Pope can change that and it's only the Pope's counsel as to whether it shoudl be changed. The issue of the Pope's age or apparent senility is irrelevant also - if you abide by Catholic doctrine, then the Pope's position and authority are divinely supported and influenced. Bottom line - discussion of the Celibacy issue is off-limits1.

So where does that leave us? The Pope issued a statement that makes me think he is not senile, but rather absolutely firmly in control of his faculties. Zero Tolerance. Yes, the Catholic Church faces a shortage of priests, yes that is pretty harsh on someone who may have made a youthful error, blah blah blah. But the Church is a moral construct first and foremost. Unlike this blog, The Church needn't and SHOULDN'T consider pragmatism in the same breath as principles. That's why we HAVE religion - to act as a moral compass. And an authority.

I am not surprised at all that the Cardinals inserted their "notoriety" reading into the Pope's pronouncement. After all, in their official statement to the US Bishops, they say:

We regret that episcopal oversight has not been able to preserve the Church from this scandal. The entire Church, the Bride of Christ, is afflicted by this wound - the victims and their families first of all, but also you who have dedicated your lives to "the priestly service of the Gospel of God" (Rom 15:16).

Note that they regret that the Church was not preserved from the scandal. While that seems like they are thinking of their beloved beauracracy first, note that they include the definition of Church in the next sentence to encompass the victims first and foremost. But it still feels like dodge of responsibility when I read it - and I'm sure they parsed the statement carefully before publishing it. Presumably, the statement "We regret that our refusal to take action caused the victims harm" had some elements in it that they objected to, and forced them to use the watered down version above that armchair analysts like myself must now make excuses for.

It is worth noting that the Bishops themselves have made a lot more strongly worded statements than the ones we have heard about in the media. Look at all the links from their Office of Communications. It's only fair and required reading before we demonize the Catholic Church or the Bishops as a whole.

I'm not sure what my point is. I guess there isn't one, aside from, I don't think things are worse than before. I honestly do think that things are better. Maybe not as good as they could be if they immediately adopted the Pope's pronouncement verbatim. Did we really expect the 2,000 year old Church to stop on a dime though? 2


1 No pedophile scandals in the Protestant Churches that I am aware of though. I'm sure God and the Pope already know this.

2 Well, ok, maybe yes I did. And I know the victims' families deserve that expectation.

it's possible that I interpreted the problem backwards in my post below - maybe it's not that terrorism is an immoral tool that suceeds (ie, the ends justify the means1. Maybe it's that injustice is inherently unstable - ie, if you want peace, work for justice - and the human condition is to struggle against injustice2. Anyway, this article on Ha'aretz dicusses the economic costs of the occupation and underscores why I believe that a solution to the middle east conflict is inevitable for simple economic reasons (as I mentioned below).

It is true that the worldwide economic slowdown, especially the collapse of the dot-com and high-tech sectors, has contributed to the Israeli recession. But the severity of the downturn here is immeasurably greater than in other western countries, so it is clear that there are also other factors. The principal reason can be found in the fact that Israel continues to hold the territories it conquered in 1967.

On the surface, it might seem that increased security spending is an accurate measure of the cost of the occupation, but this is not so. That cost is also hidden in dozens of other line items in the budget that are not necessary related to security - in civilian expenditures that relate to the cost of maintaining the settlements.


1 A principle also used to support things like collateral damage. The hypocrisy of invoking a principle only when it benefits you is obvious, and part of what fuels the perception of my beloved America as a rouge state/terror state/etc around the world.

2 sometimes, creating more injustice along the way. Who can argue with the righteous moral high ground of a victim of a homicide bomber? only the craven.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

The terrifying thought about the middle east conflict is that terrorism might actually work. Israel is not doing that well - the nation is being asked to tighten its belt and there are fairly draconian (almost European!) budget-saving bills in the Knesset, including freezing of government salaries, raising the VAT (to 18%), taxation on savings, and more. The battle in the Knesset is subject to the political forces within Israel, especially the religious parties, who will fight tooth and nail against cuts in the budgets of their pet projects and religious schools. The Arab minority is understandably wary of proposed cuts in child allowances for households without a family member who has served in the army - which would disproportionately affect them.

The huge military operation was called a success by Sharon, but this is hardly a universal opinion - even in US media analysis:

"We dismantled the infrastructure of suicide bombers," Sharon proclaimed.

However, many Israeli experts have acknowledged failures and holes in the operation that allowed some militants to escape. They admitted the effect on terrorist operations is likely to be short-lived and said those who were eliminated can soon be replaced.

Palestinians went further. They said the destruction and death from Israel's attacks will produce a groundswell of volunteers seeking revenge and ready to die in the effort. "Did they get some key players? Yes," said an activist from Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization who asked not to be named. "Will it stop the bombings? No. It will only bring more."

"We know that it's very, very simple to prepare a suicide bomb," acknowledged Lt. Col. Adir Haruvi, a spokesman for the Israeli army. "The day after we pull out, they can do it."

So what does the future hold for Israel? Keep spending vast sums on enormous military operations, draining the budget, squelching the economy, using up the reserves? An endless sucession of givernment coalitions, each handcuffed to promises of security they cannot deliver upon, every increasing Sisyphean military operations, and spiraling deficits and breakdown of social infrastructure within Israel proper? In the end, a cost-benefit analysis might conclude that this conflict is not being won, but rather lost.

Israel never offerred a fair deal at Camp David because of the seemingly obvious perception, that Israel holds the upper hand. But if and when this cycle of violence dies down and gives future negitiations a chance, I think the intifada - both the immoral one waged by terrorist homicide bombers, and the moral one waged by the everyday residents of the refugee camps who defend their homes against IDF incursions, will have given the Palestinian people a real currency.

If, in the balance, we are rid of Arafat, Sharon, and Netanyahu, so much the better. Marwan Barghouti can make peace with Shimon Peres.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Tony Adragna has a thoughtful post about the philosophy of war. The essays that he mentions are "Terrorism and the Philosophers - Can the ends ever justify the means?" and "The Moral Limits of Strategic Attack" and raises some good points. This is principled pragmatism at its finest - honest discussion of the moral issues regarding using violence as a means. There's plenty of room for disagreement here but these essays (and Tony's post) are definitely required reading.

Monday, April 22, 2002

The myth that Barak was generous at Camp David is beginning to get some more attention, outside Ha'aretz' s diligent reporting. Now, it's Robert Wright of Slate who looks at the issue:

The Camp David offer also had features that kept it from amounting to statehood in the full sense of the term. The new Palestine couldn't have had a military and wouldn't have had sovereignty over its air space�Israeli jets would roam at will. Nor would the Palestinians' freedom of movement on the ground have been guaranteed. At least one east-west Israeli-controlled road would slice all the way across the West Bank, and Israel would be entitled to declare emergencies during which Palestinians couldn't cross the road. Imagine if a mortal enemy of America's�say the Soviet Union during the Cold War�was legally entitled to stop the north-south flow of Americans and American commerce. Don't you think the average American might ask: Wait a minute�who negotiated this deal?

I'm not saying any of these things aren't defensible from an Israeli point of view. I'm just saying it takes very little imagination to see why Palestinians might balk, after three decades of nursing a grievance centered on�at the very minimum�the right to have their very own state defined by pre-1967 borders.

This is a good essay that also discusses the second offer that Barak made after Camp David (the Taba proposal), which was more generous than Camp David. There is solid discussion of why the Taba proposal was more fair, and why things didnt work out due to the political situation on the ground. This was an eye-opening read. He also references a book co-authored by political scientist Richard Falk and Robert Malley, special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs in the Clinton administration. I may have to pick this book up. Falk also has some comments in this week's The Nation on the topic.

I plan on emailing the electronicintifada link to Wright, and maybe send Wright's essay to a few of the warblogs to see if they have any comment. I predict off-hand dismissal though. That's a shame because this essay has a lot of historical context and rational (pragmatic!) analysis.

William F. Buckley, scion of conservative thought, has a few thoughts about General Sharon's scorched-earth campaign. This essay doesn't exactly concur with the prevailing warblog sentiment. It's curious to note that no one has really mentioned it - not Instapundit, not Goldberg, not the Sarge, or Den Beste. The Corner hasn't commented on it. Even Punditwatch hasn't had anything to say. Is Buckley being censored? no, but he is being ignored. It's either that, or demonize him the same way that the Pope and Desmond Tutu are being called "irrelevant" for their opinions on the middle east conflict.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

We, Holocaust survivors, want to tell the world ...

"We have not turned into vindictive people full of hate ... We chose life. We rebuilt our lives, we took part in the struggle to establish the state of Israel, and we contributed to the societies of Israel and of the various states from which we came. Today we Holocaust survivors ... deliver the Jewish message that memory must lead to acts and to moral commitment. It must be the basis of action, and the source of strength for the creation of a better world. We want to cull from the atrocities a positive message for our people and the world - a message of commitment to the values of man and humanity. The Holocaust belongs to the universal tradition of all people of culture. It has set the standard of absolute evil. Lessons of the Holocaust must serve as a cultural code fostering education for humane values, democracy, human rights, and tolerance."

Monday, April 8, 2002

Anthony Adragna has some cogent analysis in his essay, It�s Not �The Same War"


What�s not understandable, or even reasonable, are the repeated assertions � and not just from Israeli hawks, but from many people whose opinions I respect here in the US � without distinction, that �Palestinians�are The Enemy. Sure, that the terrorists are Palestinians I won�t deny, but it doesn�t follow that all Palestinians are terrorists. That�s so obvious that I shouldn�t need to make the statement, especially since nobody of significance argues The Non Sequitur. So why did I?

Because everybody is behaving as if The Non Sequitur is true. The argument is that Israel would be perfectly justified in treating all Palestinians as enemies of Israel because Palestinians support the terrorism. Let�s forget The Non Sequitur and ask the relevant question: Do all Palestinians support the terrorists and their objective?

Predictably, Anthony was accused of being a "Palestinian apologist" - the very phrase itself is victim to the same lumping-in of all palestinians as Anthony was writing about. His response to these attacks are well-written and coherent.

This basic problem of viewing all Palestinians as one entity is also a serious threat to the just peace that is the self-interest of all parties in the middle east. The WarBloggers perpetuate these fallacies and thus are able to affect public opinion, which in turn affects foreign policy. And sensible voices of reason, tolerance, and vision like Edward Said are either ignored or shouted down or misrepresented.

To really achieve peace, we need to pragmatically address the needs of both sides, so that both get some measure of justice. As long as one side is routinely demonized, this cannot happen. This sort of "partisanship" is acceptable and even healthy for a nation's politics - for example the demonization of Democrats by Republicans. But when it shapes foreign policy, there is vast asymmetry and the result is the chaos and injustice that we see.
The Beste Doctrine[1] applies to the blogsphere equally well as real-life. The pundits have become increasingly hawkish as the situation in the Middle East becomes more and more extreme and radicalized. Instapundit has publicly announced he would "understand" sending all Arab Americans to internment camps (excluding Muslimpundit?). He also presents his solution to the Middle East, namely a full scale Imperialist invasion of Saudi Arabia:

...we must invade and conquer Saudi Arabia. Too extreme? Consider:

1. Once we control Saudi Arabia, we have a clear path to Iraq and Syria.

2. Once we control Saudi oil, we can cut off the money flow to terrorists.

3. Once we control Saudi oil, the Europeans will start sucking up to us, instead of the Arabs.

4. Once we control Saudi Arabia, we can use control over the Haj, and oil money, to reshape Islam in ways that are more to our liking. Just as the Saudis have.

As Instapundit himself has noted, there has been strong critique of this even from within the warblogsphere, notably from Sgt. Stryker :

I would have to disagree with you [Instapundit] on most of these points. I favor gutting the House of Saud and smashing Wahabbism, but physically conquering Arabia with our forces is not the way to do it...

...Contrary to popular blog belief, not all Arabs and muslims hate us. The worst elements make the most noise and therefore receive most of the attention, but there are moderate muslims to be found and my experience shows that they are in the majority ...

...If we were to occupy Arabia, the consequences would be disastrous. It would be an event on a level similar to Sept. 11th for them. Any moderates left would most likely be radicalized and they would have a legitimate reason to declare jihad on us since we would be the unarguable aggressor in that instance.

And what of the non-Arab muslims? Occupying Arabia may cut off the funding for the fundamentalists, but that benefit would be offset by the radicalization of all Islam against us. We will have made enemies with a good portion of the world, and no amount of "reshaping Islam" on our part will negate the basic fact that we will be occupying the Holy Places...

...Lastly, I believe with every fiber of my being that such a scenario would fundamentally change who and what we are as a nation. We are an empire to be sure, but it is an empire of ideas propagated through free trade, not an Empire that occupies others to secure it's borders to ensure peace and security. I'm not a fan of Roman comparisons to America, but in this case, your scenario would lead us on the same road the Romans trod down. I'm not willing to sacrifice the freedom and liberty of my descendants to secure some oil fields.

and a well-thought post by Quasipundit arguing that we still do need the Arab world.

What few pundits seem to realize is that "Saudi" is only an adjective to "Arabia". Some of the critiques compare a potential invasion of Mecca by the US to 9/11 in its psychological impact. The comparison is woefully understated, in fact it would be the equivalent of nuking New York, DC, and Hollywood. It would be big enough to even make committed patriots of America like myself truly question their allegiances and loyalties. Though some warblogs have already advocated a first-strike, so go figure.

I'd love to see the Wahabi influence diminished, the House of Saud marginalized in political influence, and heck why not really dream and hope for Fatimi Shia Ismaili Islam to dominate Mecca Medina once again. Or at least, a resurgence of Mu'tazila theologic school. But none of this should happen at the hands of the USA. It's colonial-imperialist meddling of precisely this sort that created the problems we face, from the British meddling with Palestine, to the US funding Iraq, to Israel supporting Hamas. These are historical facts which of course are completely ignored in the punditsphere and so we are doomed to repeat these mistakes.

and recognizing that severe stress tends to radicalize people is essential in formulating a foreign policy that doesn't leave time-bombs for the future. That's true in Palestine and that will be true in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Some self-reflection by the pundit elite might actually make them realize this.

[1] Which states that as a group of people face threat to their liberties, they become radicalized. Here are links to the original post and my own commentary.

Friday, April 5, 2002

I am paralyzed. I just cant bring myself to post sometimes - the ferocity of the bias that pervades my favorite websites and pundits is disheartening. I've been reading the Diary of the Invasion of Ramallah and it's been sobering - it's a day by day account from a US citizen living there. Some excerpts:

Day 2: Saturday, March 30

Palestinian Land Day ... Reports of soldiers shooting Palestinian police forces in Arafat's compound. I know one of these police officers. He's not a terrorist or a militant, as the army has labeled them. In fact, he and his family are extremely poor and he works as a police officer for the Palestinian Authority simply to feed the family, whom he hasn't seen in two years. (if he's caught by the army, they'll arrest him-simply because he is in the police force; he's got nothing to do with suicide bombings.

Day 3: Sunday, March 31

Went shopping for food today. Still no military activity in our area, so got food for families in the building. Samira, other neighbors, and I sit around watching various news stations for hours on end. The worst station to watch is CNN. Their reporter in Ramallah does an excellent job, but then we watch programs interviewing analysts and U.S. and Israeli officials and I want to crawl into a hole ... I know that average Americans would never stand for what's really happening here. Bush said Israel has a right to defend itself in this war on terror; so who defends the Palestinians? I'm not living among the members of the Taliban. These people aren't terrorists; they're regular families who have been deprived of their land and rights by Israel's occupation for the last 35 years. If anything, they're being terrorized by this army. I know I'm terrified. We're seeing pictures of the five Palestinian old men who were executed (shot in the head) in the compound. The Israeli soldiers are going house to house day and night, looting, pillaging, stealing, and harassing.

Day 4: Monday, April 1

...Men over the age of 15 are being taken out of their homes and sent to schoolyards while their i.d.'s are checked. It's freezing cold and rainy out. Tonight the army has been bombarding the Preventive Security building; there are 400 people inside, including 60 women and children. It's near our apartment building so we think our turn is next. ...

...Samira and I are afraid to go to sleep. She's terrified they're going to enter our flat and take her away or make me leave. They've already taken some students from Birzeit University to Gaza. As a student, she's afraid (since some of her family lives in Gaza) that they'll take her there, too. We sat on the living room floor and listened to our refrigerator hum, waiting for the army to come to our neighborhood. Maybe we sound silly, but if you try to imagine knowing that men with M-16's are invading neighborhoods all around you and actually entering people's flats, you can begin to imagine the fear we're feeling.

Day 5: Tuesday, April 2

... It's our turn. Around noon, the tanks started rolling into our neighborhood, like cockroaches. Eight drove around and three parked on our street and let out soldiers. They (most of whom are 18-22 year old boys) began scattering and going into buildings. We watched from our window as they took over two empty buildings on our street and behind our building.

... they stationed themselves on every corner in the neighborhood and began shooting - trying to provoke shooting from Palestinians who might have guns in the area. We live near Am'ari refugee camp, so when/if there was any return fire, it probably came from there, where a number of people are armed with guns (though the army pretty much cleared the camp of any weapons or suspected "militants" the last time it invaded Ramallah). We spent the entire day on the floor-afraid of going to the window where we could be targeted or caught in crossfire.

At around 4 PM, the tanks began firing at unknown targets. Listening to tank-fire from nearby is like listening to thunder while sitting on a thundercloud. I went to the window when I thought they'd finished and I noticed the tank below me on our street was aiming at some target across the street from our building. It fired; we screamed and hit the floor. Talked to our neighbor later. All of the neighbors have children under the age of 5 who are terrified. Can't imagine how our neighbors above explained to their 2 year old son Laith why he has to sleep on the floor.

Day 6: Wednesday, April 3

All quiet at home. Tanks rolling around, but not much else. Action seems to be in Bethlehem. Now I'm worried about my friend's brother, the one in the Pal. police. He, others like him, and some 200 civilians have sought sanctuary in the Nativity Church. (In order to enter the church, they had to disarm themselves). Also worried about my friend's mother and sister who have just moved back to Bethlehem from the U.S.

We found out for sure that Ramallah's main water pipeline has been destroyed. We're going on water from the storage tank on our roof. Haven't washed hair in 6 days for fear of running out of water, and we're using disposable dishes so we don't have to wash anything. Considering I was a microbiology major in college and that my research is about water and disease, I had a complete breakdown about the water today. We can't even flush the toilet regularly, and we've only had this going on for 2 days. Others in Ramallah haven't had water since Saturday. We're also running low on gas for cooking. The whole building shares the gas tank-that's six families. All the food we bought is going to waste, because we can't cook it. The electricity goes out every so often. I sincerely hope it doesn't go out for a long period--then the food will all spoil. Politicians talk in terms of land and borders and militants. The real occupation, the real humiliation, the real roots of the problems come from things like no water, no constant supply of electricity, wasting food in some parts while people starve elsewhere.

Last night we watched doctors and nurses from Ramallah Hospital bury 29 people in one mass grave. There was no room for the corpses at the hospital and the electricity had been cut. The soldiers wouldn't let the hospital staff take the dead bodies out until yesterday. One mass grave. Reminds me of pictures of Bosnia. We also watched a story about a man in Bethlehem whose mother and brother were shot and killed in front of him and his two children. The army wouldn't let him take the corpses out for 2 days. He had to keep his kids in the bathroom so they didn't have to watch their uncle and grandmother decompose. All these events are more ingredients added into the pressure cooker.

Monday, April 1, 2002

I saw the Andromeda episode "Bunker Hill" on Saturday. It was about freedom, and the need to struggle, and even a little about self-sacrifice (to the extent of "martyr" and "suicide", even). This reminds me of the entire Narn-Centauri story arc in Babylon 5.

I think if more of the world read/watched science fiction, there would be a lot more debate about public policy, and a lot more people would hold our media to account for its failure to give information to the public, unsullied by market forces.

Certainly people get a lot less rigid in their obstinate support of one side or another, and their refusal to consider information that might challenge their perception, if they see something in abstract terms. If I say, "The Narn had every right to rebel against the Centauri, but learned the worst lessons of their oppressors", it is easy to start a debate. If you replace Narn or Centauri with Palestinian, Jew, or Nazi in the sentence (mix and match as you will) - the central issue and principles become obscured.

David Dugan sends this link. One Man, One Vote, One Country. That's a principle that I agree with. But do I agree with this? I dont know. Right now, no. But it challenged my assumptions quite powerfully. I need to think about it.

Steven Den Beste has a long post about What is Really Going On - with which I found plenty to disagree with, as well as some to agree with. It's mostly a rationalization of all IDF actions and a condemnation of all Arab actions. But he summarized it at the end with a powerful, elegant statement:

":The point was that when you back someone into a corner and leave them only

the alternatives of being killed or lashing out violently, then you better

make sure to have plans for violence. If the only way they can survive is to

become monsters, then you shouldn't be surprised if they do."

This is Truth, distilled to the point that it is universal. Den Beste is speaking of the IDF in order to justify its actions. But note that this argument is equally applicable to the Palestinians. In fact, the Palestinians as a whole have been pushed to this brink long ago, and the Israeilis are only now joining them. This is precisely the POINT of why there even is an intifada raging and why "peace" as a nebulous goal in and of itself is unrealistic.

The refusenik phenom is spreading. And still under-reported in the US mainstream media, let alone analyzed or debated.
Instapundit has succumbed to the temptation of an easy shot at Edward Said. He links to Gary Farber, who takes righteous glee in this quote of Said's :

The television images on Al-Jazeera have been burningly clear. There is a kind of Palestinian heroism in evidence there that makes this the story of our time.

They imply that Said is praising the efforts of suicide bombers as heroic. Of course, if you read the original article, you'd see the complete quote:

Palestinian hospitals, schools, refugee camps and civilian residences have been at the receiving end of a merciless, criminal assault by Israeli troops huddled inside their helicopter gun-ships, F-16's and Merkavas, and still the poorly armed resistance fighters take on this preposterously more powerful force undaunted and unyielding.

I suspect that Edward's Said detractors read him solely to troll for inflammatory passages that they can soundbite and OOC (Out of Context) for political mileage. Said has been a powerful voice for alternatives to the conflict. Dismissing any voice out of hand solely because of pre-conceived notions is a disservice to both Israeilis and Palestinians as a whole.