Monday, July 30, 2007

It's NOT The Occupation, Stupid

Those who follow the adventures and misstatements of anti-Israel prattlers such as Norman Finkelstein, Jewish Voice for Peace and Bay Area Women in Black are familiar with their argument that the Palestinian failure to develop any type of actual civil society (as opposed to the kleptocracy and the rule of armed gangs that began as soon as the Palestinians fell under the dominion of Yassir Arafat, or the neo-Taliban emerging in Gaza) is all because of the occupation, and not any fault of the Palestinians, and certainly not that of their fellow Arabs (who, one assumes, were gently nurturing the development of political institutions in the West Bank and Gaza during the 19 years of illegal occupation by Jordan and Egypt, respectively). Therefore, of course, there can't be any realistic requirement on the part of Palestinian "leaders" to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure, or end incitement, or to do ANYTHING to help bring about peace. All the demands are directed at Israel.

There's an excellent op-ed by Shlomo Avineri in the July 28 Ha'aretz that reminds readers of a very simple fact:

"The current Palestinian excuse is that it is difficult to establish coherent political institutions in conditions of territorial fragmentation, refugees and Israeli occupation. All this is true, but irrelevant. Every national movement emerges in difficult conditions, which usually have to do with being under foreign rule. It is hard to imagine more difficult conditions than those that faced the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine in the 1930s and '40s, with the rise of the Nazis, abandonment on the part of Britain, the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust."

Of course, no other national movement (at least in modern times) has made it an essential part of its program the elimination of another country, the national movement of a different people. The Irish didn't require the dismantlement of England, the Eritreans didn't insist on the destruction of Ethiopia, and so on. But for too many Palestinians, the goal of destroying Israel has taken precedence over creating a Palestinian state.

Fortunately, even in the Arab media there are more voices being raised questioning the repeated refusal of the Palestinians to assume any responsibility for their own futures. Maybe once they realize that even their fellow Arabs are disgusted with their failure as a society, the Palestinians will be able to recognize that they will have to give up their dream of Israel's destruction before they can create a future for their own people. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Farfur the Martyr Mouse and Nahool the Jihad Bee are too interested in teaching the next generation of Palestinian children about civic values.

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