More non-Jews than Jews in historical Palestine

Haaretz is running a story about a demographer who claims there are today more non-Jews than Jews in the area currently comprising of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This is the kind of thing that extremist Jews in Israel often use to advocated ethnic cleansing, which they call “transfer.” The demographer also claims that only 30,000 Palestinians are behind the wall currently being built by Israel, and not 400,000 as Palestinian officials are claiming to the International Court of Justice. Let’s hope this is not a repeat of the embarassing exagerations that were made about the Jenin Massacre (which remains a massacre nonetheless.)

Hersh on counter-insurgency

The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh returns to an old hunting ground when he asks whether new plan by US Special Forces to form an assassination squad to tackle the Baathist/nationalist insurgency in Iraq will be a repeat of Vietnam:

The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies. A new Special Forces group,
designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination.

This new policy is apparently a victory for Donald Rumsfeld, who is referring to the operations as “manhunts.” The assassination squads will receive the help of elite Israeli troops that have experience from carrying out the same types of operations in the occupied territories. This seems to be yet another instance where Israeli expertise from the occupation of Palestine is being used in Iraq — another example reported a few days ago is how US troops in Iraq are encircling Iraqi villages where they suspect guerrillas are operating with barbed wire. These operations will also rely on the expertise of former senior Baathist intelligence officers who will be trained to infiltrate the insurgency movement.

A former intelligence official said that getting inside the Baathist leadership could be compared to “fighting your way into a coconut–you bang away and bang away until you find a soft spot, and then you can clean it out.” An American who has advised the civilian authority in Baghdad said, “The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We’re going to have to play their game. Guerrilla
versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.”

Read the whole unbelievable thing.