More on Bydon: I hadn’t planned to get involved in the debate over this column, but a some of the points Mohamad Bydon makes in his response demand a response.

1) The actions of other States in the Middle East do not excuse any unjust actions by Israel. What they do show, however, is the total bankruptcy of Bydon’s attempt to criticize Israel on the basis of the number of UN resolutions against it. If it is indisputable, as I hope it is even to Bydon, that the Assad regime’s mass slaughter of its own dissidents and assassination of political opponents at home and abroad, not to mention its financing and training of international terrorists, is worse than Israel’s actions, then a UN General Assembly which has never condemned Syria while repeatedly condemning Israel has forfeited any credibility on the topic.

2) Comparing the response to Israel in the Occupied Territories, and Iraq in Kuwait, is simply ridiculous. If a history lesson of this magnitude is really required, Iraq invaded Kuwait with no justification or provocation. It promptly declared Kuwait an integral part of Iraq. Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in a defensive war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The embryonic Palestinian nation supported this assault against Israel proper whole-heartedly. Having won, Israel did not annex the territories, but rahter left open a deal to trade back all of them not required for security purposes in exchange for peace. If these two events, Iraq in 1990 and Israel in 1967, look the same to Bydon, then that in itself is a good reason to discount his argument.

3) While the legality of the Israeli settlement policy under the Fourth Geneva Convention can be argued about, it is not nearly as clear cut as Bydon tries to make it. Read it for yourself. The relevant section is Article 33.

4) Bydon misses a far more crucial distinction between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians when it comes to suicide bombing: the former haven’t experienced 8 years of state propaganda demonizing the Jewish people, praising the martyrdom of anyone who kills them and looking forward to the day Israel is destroyed. Prior to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and its taking control of 98% of the Palestinian population, the number of suicide bombers from the occupied territories could be counted on the fingers of one hand. How does the occupation explain those first 27 bomber-free years, years which included the massive uprising of the first Intifada?