Thursday, December 08, 2005

49th parallel missing

An article in the Toronto Star, this week, has me unnerved, greatly unnerved. The article, Canada makes an about-face on Mideast seems to suggest that the forty ninth parallel has indeed been stolen. It starts out like a bad joke,
What do we have in common with Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu?

But it's no laughing matter.

Thanks to Paul Martin's pro-Israeli shift, Canada has joined them, the United States and Israel in opposing United Nations resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In overturning long-standing Canadian policy, Martin has also broken away from the overwhelming consensus of the international community, including Europe.

He has taken a position even Tony Blair won't.

That's not the punchline. Further on in the piece it says,
On Nov. 13, Martin told the North American gathering of the United Jewish Communities in Toronto: "Israel's values are Canada's values." And he pledged to "eliminate the ... annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions."

Does this mean if the Quebecois act up again we're planning to build a great huge wall around them, cut down all their maple trees and start machine gunning their ambulances on a daily basis? I agree that annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions must get tiresome for everyone concerned. Maybe if the Israelis could start obeying some of them. This isn't the punchline either.

Of our new bosom allies, Vanauatu is the most populous, with 205,754 folks. The Federated States of Micronesia has 108,105 people, Palau's population is 20 303, Nauru, 13,048 and Tuvalu comes in last with a whopping 11,636 souls (July 2005 estimates, CIA Factbook) Yet, no matter how small each of these small nations can vote in the United Nations General Assembly.

Something the Palestinians cannot do.

They were granted observer status in 1975, which means they are allowed to watch, but not to play. It's like an old man being relegated to the children's table at a family feast, while infants are given seats with the adults. Thirty years of watching.

The Palestinian population inside present day "Israel" is 5,337,185, while there are only 5,200,000 Israelis. I tried to check these figures with the trusty CIA World Factbook and was unable to find them listed under Israel, needless to say there was no Palestine listed.

Then I checked and found two small entities called West Bank and Gaza Strip, but their populations were given as 2,385,615 and 1,376,289 respectively but that left me about a million and a half shy. Then I noticed at the very bottom of each of the entries there were estimates on Palestinian refugees living in those "regions" and voila! There were my missing souls; 665, 246 refugees in the West Bank and 922, 674 in Gaza, which must make the Gaza Strip the largest de facto open air prison in the world.

That a small nation like Tuvalu can vote against the Palestinians and be heard, is ludicrous. That they would vote against them is horrible, but understandable given the compromises that small nations must make to appease great empires.

But Canada needs to be more careful about what it says internationally because some people still listen to us. If we continue along this path, we will be seen as no different than one of these little nations, rubber stamping whatever the emperor gives us. And then no one will listen at all.

I guess the punchline is that by turning our backs on the Palestinians we risk becoming as powerless as they are. First Haiti, now this. Thanks Paul. Good thinking. I'm afraid the punchline will be Canadians dying in Iraq.

1 comment:

Michelin L.W.Y said...

Informative blog. Great work.