Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Condoleezza Rice--Making It Up As She Goes Along

Condoleezza Rice has a tendency to make broad statements about what Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are thinking, without any resources to back her up.

Back in October 2006 an interview Condoleezza gave to Cal Thomas resulted in this:
QUESTION: ...what evidence do you have out there that if they had an independent state that they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace. And when it comes right down to it, yeah, there are plenty of extremists in the Palestinian territories who are not going to be easily dealt with. They have to be dealt with — Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories — they're terrorists and they have to be dealt with as terrorists.

But the great majority of Palestinian people — this is — I've been with these people. The great majority of people, they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do.

QUESTION: Do you think this or do you know this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think I know it.

QUESTION: You think you know it?

SECRETARY RICE: I think I know it.

QUESTION: Is it because — do you think you know it because you want to believe it or do you think you know it because of conversations with tens, scores, hundreds —

SECRETARY RICE: Well, lots of conversations with Palestinians. But also it's — look, if human beings don't want a better future, don't want their children to grow up in peace and have opportunities, then none of this is going to work anyway. But I really believe that the people of the Middle East — not the extremists — want the same things that everyone else wants. I haven't seen a society yet where it wasn't true. Let me put it that way. I haven't seen a society yet where ordinary people, given an opportunity, wouldn't opt for a better life and for peace. [emphasis added]
Rice came close to admitting the obvious, but didn't quite get it.

Note that Condoleezza Rice is willing to offer numbers from unnamed polls to support her position, but when push comes to shove and she is specifically asked about what her statement is based on--Rice has to admit that she is basing herself on a general assumption.

That was then, this is now--and nothing has changed. Rice still makes huge assumptions--and states them in public--with no evidence:
Rice: Israelis are prepared to give up West Bank for peace

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday she believes that the majority of Israelis are prepared to give up the West Bank in exchange for peace.
Well, if the majority of Israelis are really prepared to give up the West Bank, why not ask them?

Oh, someone did:
The poll was sponsored by the Israel Policy Center for Promoting Parliamentary Democracy and Jewish Values in Israeli Public Life. The Jerusalem-based center is headed by Prof. Yitzhak Klein, who also advises the Knesset Law Committee.

In the poll of more than 1,000 people representing a sample of the Israeli adult population

...The poll's numbers regarding support for concessions to the Palestinians were bad news for Olmert as well. Some 65% of respondents said that due to the lessons of 2005's disengagement from the Gaza Strip, they opposed a large withdrawal in the West Bank.

Some 61% said they opposed removing IDF soldiers from most of the West Bank and giving control over the territory to the Palestinians.

If Israel did withdraw, some 55% believe the territory would be used to fire rockets at Israelis and 65% believe there is a high or very high chance that Hamas would take control of the area. Some 77% said Abbas lacked the power to prevent attacks from the West Bank.
Assuming that there is anything positive that can come out of the Annapolis summit, how can any good come from this when the person behind this whole adventure is literally making things up as she goes along.

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