President Barack Obama will soon be entering the lion's den of
The received wisdom has it that the Palestinians wish above all things to have a state of their own, but that their fervent wishes are frustrated by Israeli delaying tactics, such as endless arguments over
While the Israelis probably do not want a Palestinian state on their borders, an entity that could easily become Hamastan II (and yet another missile launching platform), there is increasing evidence that the Palestinians themselves are of two minds about the prospect of their own statehood.
The first piece of evidence is the unchallenged observation that Palestinian leaders have rejected or sabotaged every proposal for statehood since 1947. In that year the Palestinians rejected the UN-sponsored division of the former British mandate into Jewish and Arab states on the grounds that they did not want to share
The Palestinian leaders did not draw the obvious conclusions from what they call their "Naqba," their catastrophe. Instead, the next time a state was practically handed to them, they again turned it down, in favor of war with the Jews. Thus, when Clinton and Barak, reviving the stalled Oslo Accords of 1994, made Arafat an offer he couldn't refuse -- 95% of the West Bank, control of the Temple Mount, border adjustments, etc. -- he refused it, while giving an ultimatum that only a thoroughly defeated Israel could accept: the resettlement of some five million "refugees" within the boundaries of the Jewish State. No diplomatic pause to negotiate this new demarche: just "take it or leave it," and Arafat flounced out, to fire up the second, soon to be crushed, Intifada.
Why don't the Palestinians learn their lesson? Why won't they accept the grant of statehood? To repeat, perhaps because they don't really want their own country? There are, after all, many bounties attached to their current status, perks that would disappear under the condition of statehood.
This is the age of the sanctified victim; and any person or group who can claim that title is automatically in a state of grace. Nobody is allowed to "blame the victim," and so these lucky unfortunates can follow any course, however bloody, so long as they can blame their violence on their victimized condition. Convincing much of the world -- including too many Jews -- that they were the embodiment of the new Christ, the latest targets of Jewish savagery in the holy land, the Palestinians year ago captured the victim's high-ground, and have since worked their claim for great profit. They are the darlings of the UN and of European elites: The West Bank hums with idealistic foreign youth eager to interpose their bodies between Palestinian flesh and Israeli tanks, as well as with foreign NGOs eager to drip healing valuta over the physical, psychological and financial wounds of this martyred folk. Unable to beat the Jews militarily, the Palestinians are winning the moral victories, and these are leading to decisive political victories as an outraged world threatens to sanction and boycott
But under statehood, the Palestinians will no longer have their special charisma as the world's premier victims, innocent agrarians suffering under a harsh occupation. When the fickle world turns its attention to the latest victim du jour, their welfare benefits are likely to be sharply cut,
Then too, the wiser Palestinians, who remember Arafat and his predatory crew, have their own good reasons for quietly resisting statehood. They realize that, should they gain their own country, externally imposed Israeli rule would be replaced by internally based oppression, by the corrupt or fanatic leaders who -- via factional warfare and the Arab politics of assassination -- typically reach the top in their societies.
Thus far, we have been looking at the Palestinians' practical reasons for avoiding statehood. They don't want to lose their world-celebrity status, nor the funding that goes with it, and they don't want either the likes of Hamas forcing Sharia law on them, or the likes of Arafat robbing them blind. But the Palestinian resistance to statehood has also less rational but equally compelling bases.
Foremost among these is the legacy of collective shame. With the possible exception of the Japanese, no culture is so vulnerable to a sense of shame and humiliation as the Arab world. Even in the 21st century, Arabs continue daily to lament Crusades that occurred nearly a thousand years ago. They still feel shame over the loss of Spanish
For example, the local Arabs had cleared out of Sidn'a Ali, a fairly prosperous village on the
The refugees' reluctant hosts in neighboring Arab states were not as sympathetic as
The calculus of Shame dictates that the Palestinian stigma of defeat can only be removed by a bloody victory over the Jews who inflicted it. By the same token, their state cannot be handed to the Palestinians by some benign international arbiter, or by a generous Israeli government. These are people who elect Hamas, who celebrate the "Victories" of Hezbollah, and who dance in the street when Israeli teenagers are blown up in a pizza parlor. The gift of a state that was not won in battle would only increase Palestinian shame. The Israelis tore their state out of the heart of
President Obama should realize that his dream of a Palestinian state can only be realized after a new, hi-tech Holocaust of Jews. These unfortunates would most likely die under a cloud of missiles from
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