Gaza and Palestinian nihilism

Gaza is a case study in obfuscation.  Ostensibly, the ruckus is all about a march to reclaim property in Israel.  But unless one sees the background, one does not apprehend the entire picture.

Do the Palestinians really want a state, a country of their own?


Gaza Strip, 2005 (credit: CIA map).

Political logic may support a two-state solution.  But the cacophony of allegations, tirades, and threats is orchestrated to prevent a serious discussion of how this state will come about.  Unfortunately, all of this mayhem makes it hard to believe in the genuineness of Palestinian desire for autonomy.  Perhaps, as was the case with Germany in the twentieth century, the Palestinians' hatred for the Jews has become a self-destructive force.  While a useful political instrument, hate hardly constitutes a political philosophy capable of promoting an independent democratic society.

The altruistic idea of a Palestinian state is a projection of American evangelism.  We hold to the belief that all people should be free and equal.  Americans believed that democracy could be transplanted to the Arab world.  However, as Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington argued, we are witnessing a "clash of civilizations."  Western ideals forged out of consensus, such as democracy, may not be compatible with Islamic civilization built upon an ethos of violence.

Thomas Friedman, still a credulous believer in Palestinian aspirations for statehood, wrote regarding Gaza:

You hear people say: "What choice did they have?  They're desperate."  Well, I'll give you a choice – one that almost certainly would lead to an improved life for Gazans, one that I first proposed in 2011.

What if all two million Palestinians of Gaza marched to the Israeli border fence with an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other, saying, "Two states for two peoples: We, the Palestinian people of Gaza, want to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish people – a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed adjustments."

Friedman believes that this would have stimulated a huge debate within Israel.  It would create worldwide pressure.  Such a Palestinian movement, Friedman states, would make Israelis feel "strategically secure but morally insecure, which is the key to moving the Israeli silent majority."  "What if", of course, is the stuff of fiction or "narrative," as the Palestinians and their supporters love to call their idiosyncratic version of history.

We might indulge Friedman and ask, why don't the Palestinians actually engage in a peaceful demonstration?  Peaceful dialogue, correlating arguments with facts, would undermine their violent rhetoric.  But drama distracts us from the actual facts that do not support Palestinian allegations.  For example, the Arab rationale for its terror campaign against the Jewish nation is that the Arabs are resisting colonialism.  The control of one nation by "transplanted" people of another nation that has a different culture constitutes the classic definition of colonialism.  Britain's control of India from the eighteenth century to 1947 stands out as an example.  So what nation did the Jews represent?  Were they sent to occupy these territories by England, France, Germany, or America?  Since the Ottomans were replaced by the British, no other nation claimed sovereignty.

We might also consider that the Palestinians cannot engage in peaceful dialogue because peace as a political concept is inconsistent with the strident ethos of Islam.  The great symbol of Islam (which literally means surrender) is the scimitar.  The PLO attracted worldwide support as a liberation movement.  Its human rights sound bites resonate with the disenfranchised poor, minorities, and the graying adolescents of academia. They say the Jews are their oppressors.

We should ask who is really oppressing Palestinians.  We can answer this question only by reviewing the facts.  Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy liberation incomparably better than Arabs of any other place in the Middle East world.  They enjoy the protection of law, have access to higher education, and can peacefully protest anything they care to.  Arabs sit in the Knesset (parliament). The Palestinian authority has a racist policy of no Jews allowed.  Jews living in nearby settlements can live there only because their rights are guaranteed by the IDF.

Arrayed against the facts are slogans designed, as is any other kind of mass media marketing, to manipulate: "justice for Palestine," "give peace a chance," "sacrifices for peace," or a "Palestinian holocaust."  Palestinian mothers are interviewed; the bodies of innocent victims of the conflict are displayed.  The media tell their story.  Undeniably, there are innocent victims.  The question remains: victims of whose malice?  Who brought these children to the fence?  Who provides the early childhood education in how to become a shaheed (martyr)?  These parents grieving for their children remind us of the defendant who, after being accused of murdering her parents, appeals to the judge for mercy because she is an orphan.

Justice is the only formula for a solution to this problem.  And justice is contingent upon understanding the truth.  That truth is conveyed, like many other truths, in paradox.  One can understand the meaning of Gaza only when one hears the Palestinians' words about building a state in the context of their efforts to destroy a state.  The Palestinian leadership offers only nihilism.

Gaza is a case study in obfuscation.  Ostensibly, the ruckus is all about a march to reclaim property in Israel.  But unless one sees the background, one does not apprehend the entire picture.

Do the Palestinians really want a state, a country of their own?


Gaza Strip, 2005 (credit: CIA map).

Political logic may support a two-state solution.  But the cacophony of allegations, tirades, and threats is orchestrated to prevent a serious discussion of how this state will come about.  Unfortunately, all of this mayhem makes it hard to believe in the genuineness of Palestinian desire for autonomy.  Perhaps, as was the case with Germany in the twentieth century, the Palestinians' hatred for the Jews has become a self-destructive force.  While a useful political instrument, hate hardly constitutes a political philosophy capable of promoting an independent democratic society.

The altruistic idea of a Palestinian state is a projection of American evangelism.  We hold to the belief that all people should be free and equal.  Americans believed that democracy could be transplanted to the Arab world.  However, as Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington argued, we are witnessing a "clash of civilizations."  Western ideals forged out of consensus, such as democracy, may not be compatible with Islamic civilization built upon an ethos of violence.

Thomas Friedman, still a credulous believer in Palestinian aspirations for statehood, wrote regarding Gaza:

You hear people say: "What choice did they have?  They're desperate."  Well, I'll give you a choice – one that almost certainly would lead to an improved life for Gazans, one that I first proposed in 2011.

What if all two million Palestinians of Gaza marched to the Israeli border fence with an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other, saying, "Two states for two peoples: We, the Palestinian people of Gaza, want to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish people – a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed adjustments."

Friedman believes that this would have stimulated a huge debate within Israel.  It would create worldwide pressure.  Such a Palestinian movement, Friedman states, would make Israelis feel "strategically secure but morally insecure, which is the key to moving the Israeli silent majority."  "What if", of course, is the stuff of fiction or "narrative," as the Palestinians and their supporters love to call their idiosyncratic version of history.

We might indulge Friedman and ask, why don't the Palestinians actually engage in a peaceful demonstration?  Peaceful dialogue, correlating arguments with facts, would undermine their violent rhetoric.  But drama distracts us from the actual facts that do not support Palestinian allegations.  For example, the Arab rationale for its terror campaign against the Jewish nation is that the Arabs are resisting colonialism.  The control of one nation by "transplanted" people of another nation that has a different culture constitutes the classic definition of colonialism.  Britain's control of India from the eighteenth century to 1947 stands out as an example.  So what nation did the Jews represent?  Were they sent to occupy these territories by England, France, Germany, or America?  Since the Ottomans were replaced by the British, no other nation claimed sovereignty.

We might also consider that the Palestinians cannot engage in peaceful dialogue because peace as a political concept is inconsistent with the strident ethos of Islam.  The great symbol of Islam (which literally means surrender) is the scimitar.  The PLO attracted worldwide support as a liberation movement.  Its human rights sound bites resonate with the disenfranchised poor, minorities, and the graying adolescents of academia. They say the Jews are their oppressors.

We should ask who is really oppressing Palestinians.  We can answer this question only by reviewing the facts.  Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy liberation incomparably better than Arabs of any other place in the Middle East world.  They enjoy the protection of law, have access to higher education, and can peacefully protest anything they care to.  Arabs sit in the Knesset (parliament). The Palestinian authority has a racist policy of no Jews allowed.  Jews living in nearby settlements can live there only because their rights are guaranteed by the IDF.

Arrayed against the facts are slogans designed, as is any other kind of mass media marketing, to manipulate: "justice for Palestine," "give peace a chance," "sacrifices for peace," or a "Palestinian holocaust."  Palestinian mothers are interviewed; the bodies of innocent victims of the conflict are displayed.  The media tell their story.  Undeniably, there are innocent victims.  The question remains: victims of whose malice?  Who brought these children to the fence?  Who provides the early childhood education in how to become a shaheed (martyr)?  These parents grieving for their children remind us of the defendant who, after being accused of murdering her parents, appeals to the judge for mercy because she is an orphan.

Justice is the only formula for a solution to this problem.  And justice is contingent upon understanding the truth.  That truth is conveyed, like many other truths, in paradox.  One can understand the meaning of Gaza only when one hears the Palestinians' words about building a state in the context of their efforts to destroy a state.  The Palestinian leadership offers only nihilism.