Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Peace activist's statement on Palestinian "genocide" is wrong

I don't doubt Nobel Prize winner Mairead Corrigan cared deeply about the Palestinian people. Very deeply. She's emotionally invested in their plight.

However, her emotional investment doesn't change the fact that she should - as a Nobel Prize winner - avoid factually suspect, but highly emotive statements on the situation in the Middle East and/or Gaza.

The other day Corrigan said the Palestinian people were experiencing a "slow genocide." Genocide is pretty clear cut - an ethnic or religious group is being exterminated. Now if the Palestinians were indeed being slowly exterminated we would see evidence of that. At a minimum the Palestinian population would be in decline.

However, on the West Bank the population is increasing at a 2.13% rate. That's a fairly healthy growth rate. More than Ireland at 1.10% and America at 0.97%. That's just the West Bank.

In Gaza the population growth rate is 3.29%, which is the 6th highest population growth rate in the world. Israel's own population growth rate is about 1.6%, which is less than the West Bank/Gaza combined rate (roughly 2.6%). That's not genocide.

I won't dispute that life in Gaza is extremely unpleasant and unfair on the vast majority of people living there, but genocide it is not.

I'd love to see that remedied and for peace to break out suddenly in the region, but we're not going to get there if Nobel Peace Prize winners feel free to toss linguistic gasoline on the fire.