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September 20, 2010

Fiction by Margaret Atwood

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Celebrated poet and fiction writer Margaret Atwood, the recipient of the Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University last May, should stick to the world of fiction. In a Sept. 17 piece in Ha'aretz, Atwood gives a so-called test case to challenge those "entrenched" in their views regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to agree on the following (note: really, she challenges only one side):

What about the Palestinian children of Area C? (Area C, for those witless innocents who have never heard of it, is not that part of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority, nor is it Gaza, for which Israel now claims no administrative responsibility other than blockading it. Instead it is that part of Palestine entirely occupied and controlled by Israel since 1967. ) According to a 2009 report by Save The Children U.K. called "Life on the Edge," the rate of malnutrition of the children in Area C is higher even than that in Gaza, and many kids are not only developmentally stunted, but are dying from related illnesses.

Is Israel responsible for this situation? Yes, because it alone controls the Area C Palestinian population's access to food and its ability to earn a viable living. Is there a "Yes But" that could possibly justify the conditions being imposed on these children? Unless the report is lying, I can't think of one. Even the most wild-eyed extremist can hardly claim that children under the age of seven are terrorists.

Whether or not the report is lying (a discussion for another post), the 70-page document says nothing about child malnutrition or mortality, either caused by illnesses related to malnutrition, developmental stunting, or otherwise. This is pure invention on the part of Ms. Atwood.

Atwood, like Ha'aretz writer Akiva Eldar before her, injects her own fabrications into a research document. To Ha'aretz's credit, Eldar corrected his creative rendition. Will Atwood do the same, or will the fiction-writer get a pass?

Posted by TS at September 20, 2010 07:24 AM

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