“There’s a lot to learn from this series of events, because nation-building by the ham-fisted anti-Semitic UN is going to happen in West Bank and Gaza, too, whether the people deserve it or not.”
He’s almost certainly right, although I’ll quibble — back to my precise language rant again — that many of the Palestinian people do deserve a normal life (although there are at least a few — i.e., those who kill children to make political statements — who deserve no life at all).
(Laurence also throws in a really bad Happy Meal joke, but he got the lede right, so we’ll let that slide for today.)
The other reason we (and here I’m talking about Americans in particular) should be paying attention to East Timor is that we bear more than a little responsibility for getting them into this mess in the first place. As a newly declassified State Department telegram shows, the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975 — in which at least 50,000 civilians were killed by the Indonesian government’s own count — was executed with prior knowledge of then President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and utilized U.S.-supplied arms. This is one of the prime reasons why journalist Christopher Hitchens (whose article on the subject in my main source) and many others believe there is a case to be made for criminal prosecution of Kissinger — both for international war crimes, and for simple violation of U.S. law.
More on my thoughts on Kissinger later — because that’s a topic in itself…