Somewhere on A1A...

Friday, August 23, 2002

Thank you Howard Fienberg for linking to this article comparing the current Palestinian Intifada with the uprisings of the 1930's and 1980's.

A critical look at modern Palestinian history reveals that the current crisis, driven by the so-called "Al-Aqsa intifada," fits a recurring Palestinian pattern of miscalculation, fratricide, religious radicalism, economic despair, and self-destruction.
Beginning with the first Arab Israeli War...
The cause of Palestine was championed by those who rejected the 1947 United Nations General Assembly partition plan, which would have endowed the Palestinians with a state in an expanded Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and much of the northern territory. It was all lost when the invading Arab armies failed to crush the new state of Israel. Egypt and Transjordan occupied what was left of mandatory Palestine, leaving the Palestinians without a state of their own.
The revisionist Palestinian history absolutely ignores, if not denies, this fact. The "Palestinian" problem was caused by Arab recalcitrance in accepting the State of Israel, and the surrounding Arab countries were too absorbed in their own selfish interests to do anything at all for Palestinian Arabs. The Intrafada that emerged has not abated. The only unifying factor between feuding segments of the Arab world has been a hatred of Israel.

Another fact that is almost always overlooked by Pal apologists and appeasers alike is this:
The seeds [of the current intifada] were sown in May 2000, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon after sustaining years of heavy casualties in a conflict with the Iranian-backed Hizbullah guerrilla group. This was the first time in history that Israel withdrew from conflict with an Arab foe. This retreat emboldened the Palestinians, who flatly rejected the Camp David II peace plan—Israel's historic offer of a Palestinian state in nearly all the territory of the West Bank and Gaza. In all likelihood, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat reasoned that if the Lebanese could force an Israeli withdrawal without negotiations, so could he. Thus began the "Lebanonization" of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.34 Within weeks, the Palestinians launched a unilateral war of attrition with ill-defined aims. The scenario is sadly familiar...

...According to Khalil Shiqaqi, the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, a Palestinian civil war is now underway. Young zealots have effectively hijacked the intifada and are now exploiting Palestinian instability "to weaken the Palestinian old guard and eventually displace it." This young guard, according to Shiqaqi, "has assumed de facto control over most PA civil institutions [and] penetrated PA security services." They have chosen "not to create new national institutions but rather to work for control of the existing ones."
The result for the Palestinians has been utter disaster.
While strange turns cannot be ruled out in the Middle East, the current "intrafada" also has the odor of a defeat. The violence has again destroyed the Palestinian economy, while radicalism, fratricide, and internal squabbles continue to erode society at an alarming rate. Worse, perhaps, is that this current round of violence has undermined the confidence of supporters of the "peace process" in the United States, Israel, and the Arab world. The result, in Israel and the United States, has been a swing to the right of the political spectrum and a general distrust of Palestinian objectives. It will now take years for former moderates to believe again in the concept of rapprochement and perhaps even longer for Israeli-Palestinian relations to rebound.

More important, as a direct result of the intra-Palestinian violence that accompanied these uprisings, the Palestinians are arguably no more prepared for statehood today than they were in 1936. They are simply more destitute, more fragmented, and more radical.
I don't think they'll ever recover.


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