"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

How did the Palestinians descend into barbarism?

The Israelis are usually held up as the blame for the barbarous behavior of the Palestinians in recent years. Could this be true, or is there another explanation? Bret Stephens at WSJ offers he following:

Many explanations have been given to account for the almost matchless barbarism into which Palestinian society has descended in recent years. One is the effect of Israeli occupation and all that has, in recent years, gone with it: the checkpoints, the closures, the petty harassments, the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders. I witnessed much of this personally when I lived in Israel, and there can be no discounting the embittering effect that a weeks-long, 18-hour daily military curfew has on the ordinary Palestinians living under it.
Yet the checkpoints and curfews are not gratuitous acts of unkindness by Israel, nor are they artifacts of occupation. On the contrary, in the years when Israel was in full control of the territories there were no checkpoints or curfews, and Palestinians could move freely (and find employment) throughout the country. It was only with the start of the peace process in 1993 and the creation of autonomous Palestinian areas under the control of the late Yasser Arafat that terrorism became a commonplace fact of Israeli life. And it was only then that the checkpoints went up and the clampdowns began in earnest.

How, then, can this be explained?

Consider a statistic: In the first nine months of 2005 more Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians than by Israelis--219 to 218, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Interior, although the former figure is probably in truth much higher. In the Gaza Strip, the departure of Israeli troops and settlers has brought anarchy, not freedom. Members of Hamas routinely fight gun battles with members of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas's ruling political party. Just as often, the killing takes place between clans, or hamullas. So-called collaborators are put to the gun by street mobs, their "guilt" sometimes nothing more than being the object of a neighbor's spite. Palestinian social outsiders are also at mortal risk: Honor killings of "loose" women are common, as is the torture and murder of homosexuals.

Atop this culture of violence are the Hamas and Fatah leaders, the hamulla chieftains, the Palestinian Authority's "generals" and "ministers." And standing atop them--theoretically, at least--is the Palestinian president. All were raised in this culture; most have had their uses for violence. For Arafat, those uses were to achieve mastery of his movement, and to harness its energies to his political purpose. Among Palestinians, his popularity owed chiefly to the fact that under his leadership all this violence achieved an astonishing measure of international respectability.

Mahmoud Abbas, the successor to Arafat may not be a violent man, but "his fate as a politician rests in the hands of violent men, and so far he has shown no appetite for confronting them."

That is the problem with Islam. Many Muslims are not violent, although they accept Jihad as a concept. Extremists such as Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda are merely extensions of the original extremist, Mohammed, who set down the rules for Jihad more than 1350 years ago. Even Muslims become tired of war and violence. Eventually a period of peace and quiet will come about because EVERYONE will be exhausted in the effort both the Jihadists and the defenders must expend in this new round of the eternal conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Palestinians have been abandoned by their wealthier co-religionists in the Gulf States, and the American taxpayer will not suffer the support of these barbarians that hate them forever. No amount of tax (jizya) money will quell their hatred nor will a state diminish their rage.

Their future is obvious:

Talk to Palestinians, and you will often hear it said, like a mantra, that Palestinian dignity requires Palestinian statehood. This is either a conceit or a lie. Should a Palestinian state ever come into existence in Gaza and the West Bank, it will be a small place, mostly poor, culturally marginal, most of it desert, rock, slums and dust. One can well understand why Arafat, a man of terrible vices but impressive vanities, spurned the offer of it--and why his people cheered wildly when he did. Their dignity has always rested upon their violence, their struggle, their "prisoners of freedom."

Good luck, Mr. Abbas. No politician can survive in the hands of violent men.


  • At Mon Oct 24, 12:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger gandalf said…

    Highly erudite artice, a good read.

    Palestine, this problematical place in the middle east, many voices cry "we want a Palestinian state" well there is one , it's called Jordan.

    They cannot go there Jordan threw this group of people out.

    So they demand a slice of someone else's Country.

    This is not about statehood, this conflict is about intolerance of a Jewish State, which has western values, and is located in the middle of Dar- ul -Islam.

    Islam has always stolen land, it still does ie Kosovo, and Islam is looking hungrily at Montenegro.

    For Ummah read Liebensraum

  • At Mon Oct 24, 05:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger John Sobieski said…

    Speaking of that wonderful $$ jizya $$ America throws about so freely, if Abbas bribes Hamas militants to 'join' the 'police', would not America be paying Hamas salary? What's the difference. We already are; they are all terrorists to me.


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