Try this experiment: Google “Palestine.” Or “Palestinian history,” or “Palestinian culture.” What you’ll get is an indecipherable mess. You’ll have your pick of literally millions of sites filled with people arguing about when, where, by what authority Palestine came into being and even whether it actually is a country at all. Whatever you can find about them is completely colored by whatever non Palestinian site is doing the writing.
I’m old enough to remember the ’67 war. And the ’73 war. And all the other ones since. I’m not a historian and claim no special expertise on the history or issues of the region. All I can tell you is what I’ve learned watching the dismal news from this miserable part of the world for the past 50 years: There would be an Israel without the Palestinians but without Israel the Palestinians wouldn’t exist. An Israeli has a culture, a history of scholarship, industry, literature and the arts. A Palestinian simply hates Israelis. Benjamin Netenyahu may be a belligerent bully but that is the basic truth behind his statement that Israelis use missiles to shield their citizens, while the Palestinians do the reverse.
One of the biggest pieces of this tragedy is that by now the Palestinians have plenty of legitimate reasons to hate Israel. But this is all they are, all they have shown themselves to be to the rest of the world: a loose group of refugees with no defining national identity except their visceral, blind hatred of Jews, Israelis and the Israeli state. The Palestinians have invested their entire sense of national identity with a sick and sickening eagerness to embrace the role of Israel’s victim on the world stage.
I agree, Israelis shouldn’t be provoking them with constantly building new settlements in places meticulously calculated to piss off the most people. And yes, it’s certainly an asymmetric conflict with Hamas’ crude hand held popgun rocket launchers no match for Israel’s vastly superior arsenal of sophisticated weaponry. But to locate those ineffectual cut rate military “assets” under your schools and hospitals, then proudly display your dead children for the international media betrays a collective mental and emotional “sickness” that makes it difficult for even the most even-handed and sensitive westerner to feel any sympathy for your cause. We get the kind of nationalistic dehumanization that would make a people celebrate the deaths of their enemies’ children but when you dance in the streets celebrating the deaths of your own?
However factual the claim may be, it does appear that the more Palestinian dead the West sees piling up on its TV screens, the more divided they become in their attitudes toward Israel’s role in the conflict. And it appears the Palestinians are trying to exploit this as part of their strategy. But I gotta tell you, Sami Abu Zuhri, you guys are not thinking this through. If you’re actually happy about gradually dividing international opinion about Israel piling up your dead kids on top of your weapons caches, then your venomous hatred has not only blinded you it’s rendered you pretty fucking stupid as well. World opinion would immediately and universally condemn Israel if they were expending this kind of gross firepower on the factory you just tried to build to provide jobs for the listless unemployed young men whose idleness you can just continue to conveniently blame on Israel and the West. If it were a fledgling economic infrastructure you were trying to create to make your home even a little more economically viable, the UN would draft a proposal denouncing Israel’s actions by dinner time. And if you guys cheered and passed out candy to your kids on 9\11, just think of the parties you could throw at the Great Satan’s predicament when that happens.
Oh what’s that, the occupation has made it too difficult to gather the resources for economic development? The Israelis have made it impossible to improve your conditions with its brutal stranglehold of your border crossings? Gee, you still manage to get the material you need for weapons and bomb-making. You’re a pretty ingenious, industrious and well-coordinated bunch when it comes to acquiring what you need to kill people. But channeling your citizens’ energies and talents into creating a useful community asset in defiance of the world’s support of Israel’s domination… well like I said earlier, I’ve been watching the news from your miserable part of the earth for fifty years and it’s gotten easier every day to see why it’s always bad. In that same time period the world saw another conflict just as bitter, hate-fueled and intractable as your sorry mess get resolved simply because the parents of dead children got together to stop it. You just have to love your kids more than you hate each other. So here’s another thought, how much damage you think you might inflict on Israel’s standing in the world if the news reports showed them holding up shipments of tools, sand, lime and sheetrock? It’s not as flashy as parading your dismembered children across our tv screens but what it lacks in color it’ll make up in economic value. Because here in America and the west we’re Capitalists. We believe in progress, industry and the free market. We might not give two collective shits about a few limbless brown kids but damage a functioning privately owned source of revenue and they will have fucked with the wrong marine then.
Like I said at the outset, whatever you can find about Palestinian statehood or national identity is pretty much the projection of the writer (myself included). So maybe it’s time for the Palestinians to fill that vacuum with something other than their own orgiastic exhibition of victimhood.
Oh, and any pro Israeli folks who might have stayed with me thus far, you might want to try this little experiment: Google "American Evangelical Christians." See how prominently a sovereign Jewish state figures in their agenda. That enemy of my enemy bullshit is bullshit.