Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The World's Favorite Victims

Reading this piece by Diana West was an eye-opener--not that I have ever had anything but contempt for the thugs who run the Palestinian Authority; but I had hoped that the Bush Administration would begin to demand some accountability from these con artists; and terminate the financial support that the America government gives to Palestinian terrorism.

Maybe it was that last $50 million that George W. Bush forked over to the Palestinian Authority in May that made the Gaza transfer between Israel and the PA this week so ... What was Condoleezza Rice's word for the lawless Palestinian stampede of looting and desecration that erupted after the Israeli withdrawal?


That is, something must have sweetened the deal to make Israeli-Palestinian coordination on this territorial handover so very ... How did Ms. Rice describe the dynamic that led to the flags of jihad terrorism being hoisted into a sky darkened by burning synagogues?


Successful and effective? Not everyone's first reaction, but maybe it all depends on what Ms. Rice was hoping for. The fact that burning synagogues failed even to singe the Secretary of State's assessment of diplomatic success and effective statecraft is nothing less than chilling. But maybe it reflects our arrival at a cold, new reality that calls into question administration attitudes toward longstanding American motives and goals in the Middle East.

Since the Oslo "peace process" began in 1993, Palestinians have received more than $1.5 billion from the United States -- more aid, as the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out in August, than from any other single country. Not that other countries, mainly European ones, haven't been generous. The Atlantic Monthly's David Samuels tallied up post-Oslo P aid at $7 billion, estimating that as much as half of that money was siphoned off by Yasir Arafat and his cronies. Still the bucks flow. This year alone, the Chronicle reported, the United States will double last year's $275 million PA aid package, paying out $550 million (not including the $50 million handed out in May, as near as I can tell). In July, even as jihadis struck the London Underground, the Group of Eight countries couldn't pile up money for the PA fast enough, agreeing by 2008 to present its government -- which by then could very well include landslide-elected terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, whatever -- with $9 billion.

It is interesting to note that the amount of Arab aid to the Palestinians approaches....zero. I guess they consider their psychological support to the Palestinians to be more important than sharing their oil revenues.

If the Bush Administration wants to be consistent, it will start making some demands from the PA and make any further financial aid contingent on the response.

Of course, I can hear the international outcry/outrage against the US if such a horrible, terrible thing were to happen. The Palestinians are, after all, the everyone's favorite victims.

The worse aspects of their behavior continue to be supported--even encouraged. It appears that no matter how violent; how insane and self-destructive; how corrupt and filled with hate they are; they will continue to wallow in the victimhood they have created and the world has reinforced.

Let's review some basic principles of behavior modification.

Behavior Modification therapy is defined as the use of rewards or punishments to reduce or eliminate problematic behavior. The therapy is designed to extinguish or inhibit abnormal or maladaptive behavior by reinforcing desired behavior and extinguishing undesired behavior.

The key to a successful program of behavior modification is consistency in applying both the negative and positive reinforcers of behavior. If positive reinforcement is applied even when the negative behavior continues, it can hardly reduce those behaviors. Continuing to give the Palestinian Authority huge financial rewards despite their unwillingness to rein in the extreme elements of their society is clearly counterproductive.

Secretary of State Condi Rice may have been trying to give some positive reinforcement to the Palestinians by her encouraging remarks after the Israeli pullout; but the U.S. must also be prepared to implement negative reinforcers if the suicide bombing and terrorist behavior continues. In other words, the U.S. must now make financial support to the Palistinians contingent on their behavior.

Israel, by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza as a goodwill gesture in the interests of peace, has unfortunately also given the Palestinians a huge positive reinforcement for their intractable homicidal behavior. It is entirely possible that this gesture of goodwill will only excacerbate Palestinian violence, rather than extinguishing it.

Much depends on the maturity of the Palestinian people, and how they choose to deal with this gopportunity to escape from perpetual victimhood. The ball is in their court.

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