Miseries Have Palestinian Authors
New York Times
May 16, 2018
the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem
Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other
humanitarian essentials from Israel. Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about
the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also
the presumptive victims.
a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be
highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism
to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against
violent Palestinian attack.
1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote
economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down
in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that
left 11 Israelis dead.
2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for
greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel
Sharon withdrew from the Strip. Palestinians looted
dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.
2007, Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup against its rivals in the
Fatah faction. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in
the Strip have fired nearly 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel —
all the while denouncing an economic “blockade” that is Israel’s refusal
to feed the mouth that bites it. (Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also
participate in the same blockade, to zero international censure.)
2014 Israel discovered that Hamas had built 32 tunnels under the Gaza border to
kidnap or kill Israelis. “The average tunnel requires 350 truckloads of
construction supplies,” The
Wall Street Journal reported, “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques,
six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Estimated cost of tunnels: $90 million.
to understand why Gaza is so poor? See above.
brings us to the grotesque spectacle along Gaza’s border over the past several
weeks, in which thousands of Palestinians have tried to breach the fence and
force their way into Israel, often at the cost of their lives. What is the
ostensible purpose of what Palestinians call “the Great Return March”?
no mystery. This week, The Times published an
op-ed by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the march. “We are
intent on continuing our struggle until Israel recognizes our right to return to
our homes and land from which we were expelled,” he writes, referring to homes
and land within Israel’s original borders.
objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western
liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six
Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you
like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish
also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then
plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.
world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the
demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with
where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the
been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest
organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as
The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less
likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian
children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or
that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred
hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their
own lives were at risk?
in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It
would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly
mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted
from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now
find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of
Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by
Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members
of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the
very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?
is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything
is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?
a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s
worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian
decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence
and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can
emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats
of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic
killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated
acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.
If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.