How would you exterminate a nation? What about poison? Do you think that spreading carcinogens would do the job?
The Palestinians certainly seem to think so.
In an interview published this week in the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Shark al-Awsat, Yousef Abu Safieh, the Palestinian Minister of Environment, claimed that Israel is deliberately dispersing cancerous materials to kill Palestinians.
And what is the Israeli poison of choice? What cancerous material is Israel dispersing throughout, forcing upon, the Palestinian Authority? Sweet and Low! Yes, that diabolical sugar substitute, the darling of dieters since it came on the market, Sweet and Low. And how is Israel going about with this plan to poison the Palestinian population? By manufacturing soft drinks made with this sugar substitute expressly for distribution within the Palestinian Authority.
Is there a kernel of truth in what the Environmental Affairs Minister said? Pre-1977, when Sweet and Low was first coming onto the American market, there might have been. But not today, not June 2005. The fact is that in 1977 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Saccharine, the main ingredient in Sweet and Low. All subsequent studies have shown no danger in the moderate consumption of Saccharine.
Abu Safieh had more evidence to prove his thesis. He also said that the Egyptians confiscated two Israeli truckloads of toys that were highly radioactive. The trucks were en route, he said, to Palestinian children.
Israelis harming Palestinian children through poison is becoming a recurring theme. I was present in Ramallah when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton came to visit. I heard, loud and clear, as Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, claimed that the Israelis were killing Palestinian children by poisoning the water. Hillary chose not to comment, she made believe that she did not hear her headphone translation. I watched as Hillary hugged Suha.
Forget about logic.
Logic has no place in these discussions. If logic - like truth - were important, no one would fabricate these evil lies and no one at all would believe them. Unfortunately, there are many such tales and many, many believers.
The shame of it all is that Palestinian leadership prefers to frighten citizens about the evils and the dangers of Israel rather than extol the benefits their fledgling nation could gain living side by side with a developed, Western nation. And Palestinian leadership hammers away at the evils of Israel so creatively and so frequently, that the average Palestinian has no choice but to believe the rhetoric, the litany, the lies.
More than once rumors were spread that Israel had infected Palestinians with the AIDS virus. Yassir Arafat would regularly announce that Israel was releasing highly radioactive depleted uranium near Palestinian population centers. There are even stories about Israelis dropping poison candies out of planes to kill the children of the Palestinian Authority.
Anti-Semitism is not new. The accusations being leveled against Israel today may not be identical to the libel spread by European nations, but they certainly are similar. It doesn't stop. Egyptian National Television recently broadcast a new multi-segment rendition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Ironically, President Bush was in Egypt the first night the show aired.
Most of these hate inspired stories are based on Medieval stereotypes of classic Jew hatred. Throughout history the Jew has been portrayed as the "poisoner of the wells" causing the Black Plague or, as in the "blood libel," the murderer of young children in order to bake Passover matzah.
In the Arab world these stories have taken on a life and genre of their own. Classic Jew hatred with an Arab flare.
Palestinian leadership still insists on depicting Israelis as murders, deceivers and as evil incarnate. It is no wonder that for the younger generations of Palestinians the ideal Israeli was and continues to be a murdered Israeli.
Today it is Sweet and Low. I won't be surprised if I soon hear that Israel is being taken to task for exporting sweet beverages to the Palestinian Authority. Force the Palestinians into obesity and then kill them through diabetes.
Don't laugh. This really is not funny. It never ends.