Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A New Link...
...to FactsOfIsrael.com, a site I just discovered. Yes, I'm already linking to some other sites dedicated to the dissemination of factual information about Israel and the Middle East... but there's always room for one more. As the man says, "Truth cannot be too often repeated."
Besides, how can I not link to a site that shows a satellite map of Israel?
And yes, I find it pretty amazing that you can see the boundaries of Israel's border with Egypt from space -- that's the sharp light-dark line on the lower left, separating Egypt's Sinai desert from Israel's Negev. Some of the boundaries of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are visible too, amazingly enough, where some areas have been more heavily cultivated than others. (If I recall correctly, the 20th century saw forests and natural habitats retreating, all over the world, in every country except one. The exception, of course, is Israel. What other country would choose to remember the Holocaust, permanently, by planting a brand-new forest of six million trees?)
Later -- my wife expressed polite disbelief that Israel's national borders would be so clearly visible from space. So she checked it out herself, at ImageAtlas.GlobeExplorer.com -- a site that is, shall we say, strictly apolitical -- and saw those same sharp boundary lines, which become even clearer when you zoom in on them!
Here, have a look at GlobeExplorer's view of the southwestern Gaza Strip, and the border between Israel and Egypt:
Now compare that with a MapQuest map of roughly the same scale:
UPDATE: Some more links:
Good that they tried. Too bad that they missed.
Courtesy of Oxblog and Dartblog, a fascinating look at the same political cartoon, drawn three times from three different perspectives -- the American Left (National Security threatening Civil Liberties, while Terrorism looks on approvingly); the American Right (Civil Liberties tackling National Security, with the latter watching in stunned horror as Terrorism presents an immediate threat that Civil Liberties doesn't see); and the American Center (Civil Liberties and National Security fighting one another to a standstill, while Terrorism slinks by unnoticed). Just as fascinating are the things you don't see, such as the artist's choice of boxing rather than wrestling; he had good reason, and he explains why.
Regardless, Gregory Pence is definitely a cartoonist to watch out for -- not only is he very talented, but he's seemingly adept at portraying the other side's point of view. It's not clear at all which of these three, if any, portrays his point of view. Good for him!
Also on Oxblog, a good many observations -- from the scene! -- of the Palestinian elections. Personally, I think he's gotten swept up in the events on the street; the machinations ahead of time between Fatah and Hamas result in an election that's hardly fair (although not on par with the obscene parodies of "elections" that Saddam used to have, or even Mubarak, for that matter). I also can't forget that both Fatah and Hamas remain terrorist organizations, which is, to my way of thinking, a lousy way to run an election. (Will the losing party start setting off bombs in the winner's offices? Well, who's to stop them? That's what terrorists do.)
Nonetheless, I'm reluctant to criticize Patrick Belton's coverage, given that he's there and I'm not. Let's wait -- not just for the election returns, but for the threat of violence afterwards.
Austin Bay calls the current events there "a slow civil war". I think he's right... although I do wish he'd stop talking about "Palestine". There may one day be a sovereign State of Palestine, but they still have a long way to go.