May 10, 2006

Not Solving the Problem 

Today's media report yet another turn of the horrific Palestinian carousel: the USA accepted the proposal of the other three members of the infamous Quartet (UN, EU, Russia) and agreed to aid the Palestinians, after foreign aid was cut off following the electoral victory of Hamas.

But only for humanitarian reasons; to provide services and pay the salaries of doctors and teachers for a limited period of time. Yeah, right.

On of the reasons that made the Palestinian problem so long-lasting and inextricable is that the "international community" since 1948 at least always, always saved the Palestinians' hide when they ended up in a tight spot. Israel was stopped while winning wars and condemned for military actions that, while not gentle, aren't atrocities by any means; the Palestinians instead have received hefty sums of money and political support, inconditionately (this is more the result of very postmodern and postcolonial white guilt and simpathy for the underdog, rather than anti-semitism). Only in the last few years the USA, and the EU much later, have found firmer stance against the Palestinian atrocities.

So, the Palestinians never really had to bear responsibility and carry the weight for their dissennate choices. Only Israel tried something to make them face reality, but only to be hamstrung by the "international community". The Palestinians lost more than one war, but they still behave like they actually won, or at least scored a draw. Against how things have been since time immemorial: the loser has to accept the conditions of the winner.

This discussion is not about rights or international law. It is realist and pragmatist, and thus about power, about intentions and capabilities. The Palestinians set for themselves unreasonable (or barely reasonable) objectives like the "Right of Return": short of some huge change of ideology, Israel isn't going to accept it, no way. Moreover, the strategy and tactics used by the Palestinians are overly inept: bloody, brutal violence; often pointless and self-serving and within a context of gangs and factions trying to outdo each other without any organic plan or timeline for action. A total mess, an utter fuckup as an important ex-blogger once wrote. And on top of that, Arafat and his ilk skimmed off plenty of foreign aid to build their own riches - leaving the commons just enough to float above abject poverty. Because abject poors have nothing to lose and would possibly revolt, and prosperous citizens rapidly lose their martial spirit (with notable exceptions, of course). An important point of Palestinian internal propaganda was, and still is, that once Israel is destroyed everyone will be happy and rich.

Though, the Arabs of the area handled the propaganda part pretty well, and managed to rally a sizable consensus and support in the West, especially Europe (the situation is more complex, because at a certain point the Soviet Union became pro-Arab and turned its massive propaganda and indoctrination potential in that direction). I think that anti-semitism and anti-semitic propaganda are interlocked in a vicious circle: the former is fertile ground for the latter, but when candid people are exposed to unrelenting propaganda, will easily become anti-semites in turn. I mean, if the Israelis truly were vicious, genocidal baby-killers aversion would be justified.

Avoiding to de-stabilize "Palestine" is a ridiculous excuse. It is an abortion of a state, failed even before being born; loosely kept together only by the opposition to Israel. The Palestinians have to learn to bear responsibility for their decisions before any real solution can be found. But always bailing them out goes in the opposite direction.


Good post, Fabio!
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