Sixty years after their dispersion, the refugees of 1948 and their descendants remain in the squalid camps where they have been kept by their fellow Arabs for decades, nourished on hate and false hope. Meanwhile, their erstwhile leaders have squandered successive opportunities for statehood.
It is indeed the tragedy of the Palestinians that the two leaders who determined their national development during the 20th century—Hajj Amin Husseini and Yasir Arafat, the latter of whom dominated Palestinian politics since the mid-1960’s to his death in November 2004—were megalomaniacal extremists blinded by anti-Jewish hatred and profoundly obsessed with violence. Had the mufti chosen to lead his people to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, as he had promised the British officials who appointed him to his high rank in the early 1920’s, the Palestinians would have had their independent state over a substantial part of Mandate Palestine by 1948, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersion and exile. Had Arafat set the PLO from the start on the path to peace and reconciliation, instead of turning it into one of the most murderous terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established in the late 1960’s or the early 1970’s; in 1979 as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; by May 1999 as part of the Oslo process; or at the very latest with the Camp David summit of July 2000.
Instead, Arafat transformed the territories placed under his control in the 1990’s into an effective terror state from where he launched an all-out war (the “al-Aqsa intifada”) shortly after being offered an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and 92 percent of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital. In the process, he subjected the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to a repressive and corrupt regime in the worst tradition of Arab dictatorships and plunged their standard of living to unprecedented depths.
What makes this state of affairs all the more galling is that, far from being unfortunate aberrations, Hajj Amin and Arafat were quintessential representatives of the cynical and self-seeking leaders produced by the Arab political system. Just as the Palestinian leadership during the Mandate had no qualms about inciting its constituents against Zionism and the Jews, while lining its own pockets from the fruits of Jewish entrepreneurship, so PLO officials used the billions of dollars donated by the Arab oil states and, during the Oslo era, by the international community to finance their luxurious style of life while ordinary Palestinians scrambled for a livelihood.
And so it goes.
And so it goes, on and on.
The default position of many in the West seems to be that everything that befalls the poor, vicitmized Palestinians is, by definition, Israel's fault. ( A perfect example of this nonsense can be found here as the UN blames Israel for the fact that Hamas is dumping sewage into the Mediterranean sea and polluting the entire area).
The West for the most part has the attitude that somehow, allowing the Palestinians or their Muslim "brothers" to suffer the consequences of their choices and behavior would somehow be "punishing them" in some horrible fashion. A typical proponent of this attitude is former President Carter, who has consistently and regularly advocates that Israel's actions should be punished, but that the Palestinians must be given a free pass by civilization.
Carter blithely discusses the "devastating consequences" of Israel or American actions, but I have yet to see him--or any others who put forth the same compassionate view-- grapple with the "devastating consequences" of the Hamas charter. Or of suicide bombers. Or of the intent, stated repeatedly by the leaders of the Palestinians and sanctioned by the Palestinian people who voted to elect Hamas, to destroy Israel.
Carter and the other terrorist enablers of the West ignore Palestinian behavior with the cultivated cognitive dissonance of today's postmodern left. The obsession of the West with the eternal victimhood cult of the Palestininas has been the single biggest psychological impediment toward peace in that region.
Why should the Palestinians' behavior ever change? What could possibly motivate them to be civilized? Or deal honestly with Israel? They have every reason to believe that the Carters of the world will always let them off the hook--and bail them out--no matter what they do or how badly they behave.
This free pass has been in effect for almost 100 years. That is several generations now raised on lies, distortions, and total dysfunction. Interestingly, the original Palestinian refugees saw things somewhat more clearly than their descendents who still live in the squalid camps they were forced into by their compassionate Arab neighbors:
No wonder, then, that so few among the Palestinian refugees themselves blamed their collapse and dispersal on the Jews. During a fact-finding mission to Gaza in June 1949, Sir John Troutbeck, head of the British Middle East office in Cairo and no friend to Israel or the Jews, was surprised to discover that while the refugeesexpress no bitterness against the Jews (or for that matter against the Americans or ourselves) they speak with the utmost bitterness of the Egyptians and other Arab states. “We know who our enemies are,” they will say, and they are referring to their Arab brothers who, they declare, persuaded them unnecessarily to leave their homes. . . . I even heard it said that many of the refugees would give a welcome to the Israelis if they were to come in and take the district over.
When it comes to seeking peace; or establishing a civil and productive society today's Palestinians and their Islamic brethren have shown themselves to be completely hopeless and only focused on war.
In fact, they are so committed to war; so determined to continue on their path homicidal violence for violence' sake, that they are indoctrinating the next generation into the cult of death (and they don't even need Mickey Mouse to do it).
Western leaders are amazingly slow learners. They have been excusing the Palestinians and vilifying Israel for decades now, and yet they wonder why peace is so elusive in that part of the world.
From the beginning, the plight of the Palestinians and the outrage of Middle Eastern countries has been a 'self-inflicted catastrophe'
And the Western world--which still believes that these self-inflicted wounds are somehow Israel's fault--seems bent on never calling the leaders of the Palestinians, or the leaders of countries that still have Palestinian refugee camps, to account for undermining every peace process; breaking every truce; squandering every chance; and worshipping death. It is truly amazing how the West, remain willing accessories to this ongoing catastrophe.
The myth of Palestinian victimization at the hands of the evil Jews is at the center of the insanity.
Today's Palestinian society is almost wholly constructed on a cesspool of swirling self-destructive rationalizations, encouraged by their Muslim brothers who are perfectly happy to maintain the victimhood of the Palestinian people as long as it can be used to rationalize and cover for their own dysfunctional societies:
To this end, Arab governments and Palestinian groups have acted in bad faith to prevent a solution to the problem. Ralph Galloway, formerly director of UN aid to the Palestinians in Jordan, stated:
The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die. (Ralph Galloway, UNRWA, as quoted by Terence Prittie in The Palestinians: People History, Politics, p 71)
The Israelis themselves have intermittantly encouraged and enabled some of this thinking on the part of the West; and of a certaintly they have not been perfect in all of their behavior. Nevertheless, how many times will Israel have to make honest concessions and take the first step toward peace? How many times will Israelis have to demonstrate their goodwill and willingness to live in peace with these maniacs? How many truces, treaties, aggreements, must be broken-- before the world sees the Palestinians and their Arab handlers for the suicidal/homicidal con artists they are?
They don't want peace. They don't want to live in their own state if Israel exists. They don't care about the suffering of innocent people - either Israelis or Palestinians. They don't care, because they have no honor. They are incapable of goodwill. They have no leader with any integrity. They have nothing but their hatred.
And they cannot bear the reality that Israeli society is more functional, more successful, and far superior in every way to their own. The very existence of Israel brings unbearable shame to the fragile Muslim egos of the dysfunctional Middle East.
So this generation of Palestinians are mercilessly indoctrinated into hate and death. They parade and dance around with their UN-funded banners, pretending that they are real men; shooting guns in the air and setting things on fire; preparing their children for future suicide missions;
The only thing we can be certain of is that the Palestinians will continue to squander every opportunity and waste any goodwill directed their way, subverting it to their openly stated murderous agenda and continuing the self-inflicted catastrophe.
On and on....and so it goes.