Wednesday, July 16, 2003

To defend the intifada, so-called “peace” activists have adopted the vilest language possible in their criticism of Israel. ‘Genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘apartheid,’ ‘Nazism’—every slur imaginable has been used to claim how terrible Israeli rule has been for Palestinians in the disputed territories, and how “stupid” anyone who doesn’t support the current Palestinian uprising must be. Never mind that prior to the start of the intifada, Palestinians in the West Bank had a per capita income almost three times that of Egypt (not to mention a lower infant mortality rate, longer average life-span, and better rate of education and literacy than almost any Arab state): They had no other option, allegedly, except to abandon diplomacy and revolt to free the occupied territories of Israelis.

From an excellent book review at the Harvard Israel Review, which more people ought to read. Needless to say, the sentiment is exactly right. As Shimon Peres said: "Why would they want a war of liberation? We offered them liberation without war."

The answer, of course, is an existential one. The Palestinians have defined their national identity through the conflict with Israel and, in part, the conflict with the other Arab states, who they regard as traitors who have sold out to the Zionists. To end the conflict in a manner which leaves the Jewish State intact and is not achieved through violence - in other words, through the recognition of Israel's existence, and hence right to exist - means that the most essential part of Palestinian identity disappears into oblivion. For the true Palestinian nationalist, peace, which by definition means an end to the conflict with Zionism, means, not merely defeat, but a literal end to existence. The Palestinians have painted themselves into a philosophical corner and, unfortunately, there doesnt seem to be anyone working to get of it, in fact quite the opposite.

There is another very good point here:

Almost twenty years after its independence, no Arab state was willing to recognize Israel or come to terms with its existence. Israel in 1967 was unable to avoid terrorism even before any Gaza/West Bank occupation—Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine had all been founded and were already using violent means to accomplish their stated goals. As is true today, common hatred of Israel was the only issue that could unite Arab states, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser happily used such rhetoric to try to establish himself as the leader of the Arab world. The day would come soon, he promised, when all of Palestine would be liberated. Noticeably absent, however, was any talk of creating a Palestinian state. Egypt had no intention of relinquishing its grip on the Gaza Strip, nor did Jordan’s King Hussein want to give up the West Bank. Both had taken control of these territories in 1948, and their presence on Israel’s borders provided the Jewish state with a permanent sense of insecurity. Israel had no outlet to the outside world other than by air and sea, and only imaginary lines as physical borders to the north, east, and south.

This puts the lie to the Leftist canard about the terror being directed against "occupation". In fact, there was terror long before the Israelis took control of the territories, and it was indeed largely practiced by the same groups working under identical ideologies.


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