It's probably a bit early for announcing superlatives for the current fighting in Gaza. But, after reading Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi's op-ed in today's New York Times, I had that feeling that major-league scouts probably get when they find a high school pitcher who can throw 95 miles per-hour–I knew I'd found a winner. So, without further ado, I hereby congratulate Dr. Khalidi for producing the Worst Op-Ed for the 2008-2009 Gaza War.
Khalidi's triumph of blather starts by informing readers that, "Nearly everything you've been led to believe about Gaza is wrong," and concludes with, "This war on the people of Gaza isn't really about rockets." In between, Khalidi provides brief quasi-definitions for a few "essential points":
THE GAZANS Most of the people living in Gaza are not there by choice. The majority of the 1.5 million people crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba. They were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948.
THE CEASE-FIRE Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.
It's actually hard to single out the least scholarly feature in Khalidi's piece. Is it the op-ed's bizarrely disjointed flow? Is it Khalidi's apparent belief that just about everything and anyone–including Palestinians themselves–can be defined in terms of Israeli evil? Is it Khalidi's assertion that Israel ended the ceasefire in early November, which flies in the face of Hamas's own December 18th declaration that the ceasefire had expired? Or is it Khalidi's typically conspiratorial tone, which is deployed here to insinuate that the press has withheld key facts–such as who the Gazans are–on behalf of Israel?
Talk about an idiot wind! Indeed, the piece is so poorly constructed and grossly one-sided that one has to ask: Rashid, did you actually write this, or did you simply submit the glossary from your PLO spokesperson textbook?