It's so frustrating to continually see and hear supposedly intelligent people, even self-proclaimed intellectuals, ignoring the history and the truth behind the plight of Arabs living in refugee camps. Mona Charen's column reminds us of some of that history and how it relates to more current events. She leads with Mark Twain's report from 1867:
In 1867, Mark Twain visited the Holy Land and was dismayed at what he found, "a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds -- a silent, mournful expanse. . . . A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. . . . We never saw a human being on the whole route. . . . There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." (From "The Innocents Abroad.")
The situation in 1867 is a far cry from the thriving country today. If only the violence could stop. But the Arabs don't want that. Arabs in the disputed territories could have built their own thriving country with the BILLIONS of dollars that America and European countries have given them. Think of the paradise that might have been with a little help from the Arabs... not money, but will. All the Arabs have lacked is the will to make life better for their brothers in the territories. The will doesn't exist, and the free world excuses it. Charen sums it up well:
There is very little sincere concern around the world for the "plight" of the Palestinians. If there were, their situation in Arab countries would draw more attention. As it is, Palestinians are only useful as a club with which to beat Israel. It is disgusting that the Arabs are willing to do this to their own cousins, and equally dismaying that world opinion endorses it.