Archive for March, 2008

The AP tells a non-story

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Here’s how the AP tells a non-story:

Israel to Build on Contested Land

JERUSALEM (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had barely left Israel on Monday after her latest peacekeeping mission when Israeli officials announced plans to build 1,400 new homes on land Palestinians claim for a future state…

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to keep building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, dismissing Palestinian claims that construction on contested land is the greatest obstacle to peace…

He continues to support construction in disputed areas, over the objections of the Palestinians and the U.S., because it allows him to keep his fragile coalition intact.

The Israeli construction plans threatened to make it even harder for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to overcome his people’s skepticism that diplomacy, not violence, would win them a state.

So we understand that Olmert, in defiance of the US, acts in a manner calculated to damage the possibility of peace, for political reasons.

Although I would be the last to deny that Olmert’s motivation for much of what he does is crassly political, in this instance he is doing nothing that in any way — other than by giving the AP and the Palestinians something to get excited about — should prejudice a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

No less than eleven paragraphs down in the AP story, we finally read what Olmert’s provocative act has been:

The city of Jerusalem said it planned to build 600 new apartments in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, which lies in the eastern sector of Jerusalem that Palestinians see as their future capital.

The Shas Party, a powerful partner in Olmert’s coalition government, said the prime minister had promised to revive frozen plans to build 800 homes in [Betar] Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement in the West Bank.

First of all, note that these are not “new settlements” in any sense. And they are ‘expansion’ only insofar as they are new construction. They do not represent any expansion of boundaries.

Second, everyone knows that if a two-state solution is possible, final borders will have to be drawn on the basis of Jewish and Arab populations. While outlying settlements might be abandoned (one wonders why ‘outlying’ Arab settlements within Israel will not), established Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem like Pisgat Ze’ev will have to be on the Israeli side. And settlements abutting the Green Line like Betar Illit will be kept. So who cares if there is construction there?

Third, since the parameters of a settlement have not been decided upon, why do the press and others automatically accept Abbas’ point of view that any settlement East of the Green Line is illegitimate?

Fourth, “Shas said that Olmert promised” is not exactly the same as “Israeli officials announced”.

And fifth, do we really think that the “greatest obstacle to peace” is some construction inside existing Jewish neighborhoods?

Or rather is it the dramatic way the Palestinians continue to express their ‘skepticism’ that diplomacy is more effective than violence?

Update [1 Apr 1238 PDT]: Our local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, ran this story today. But they only included the first 10 paragraphs of it.

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Protecting American interests

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Displaying the her remarkable ability to bury her head in the sand while ignoring the elephant(s) in the room,

…U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that the U.S. would be following up on Israel’s activities in the West Bank to verify if it was implementing its promises to ease access and movement for the Palestinian population…

The secretary of state said her visit is not intended to introduce any new American proposals for the peace talks, saying the negotiations have been “pretty fruitful” thus far and that introducing new ideas would not be “useful.” — Ha’aretz

The insistence that there is some possibility of a meaningful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians at this time is exceptionally absurd, even by the standards of diplomacy.

What the US seems to want is some kind of paper which will then be used to justify forcing Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, which can be handed to the illegitimate Fatah-run Palestinian Authority (after all, Hamas won the election and is far more popular than Fatah today) to declare a Palestinian state.

Then the architects of this policy will say “we solved the Israeli-Palestinian problem!”, take their Nobel prizes and promises of a comfortable retirement from Saudi Arabia, and go home.

Here are some of the elephants that Ms. Rice does not see:

  • Hamas
  • Hezbollah
  • Iran

But in less than a year she will be moving on, while the IDF fights a three-front war with the Iranian backed Hamas and Hezbollah — which by then will have taken over Lebanon as well.

By that time Iran will have nuclear bombs and the ability to deliver them all over the Middle East, and perhaps Europe as well. But the most important goal of this administration will have been achieved: a Palestinian state.

What a way to protect American interests.

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Remember the Captives

Friday, March 28th, 2008

The Arab struggle to destroy Israel includes an assault on the hearts and souls of the Jewish people as well as physical attacks on Israel and Jews.

Pidyon Shevuyim
Redeeming our 8 Captive Soldiers

By Maurice Ostroff

The captive soldiers

Top (L-R): Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, Ron Arad,Yehuda Katz
Bottom: Guy Hever, Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev

Article 70 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War clearly states that “Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp, every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family”, and Article 71 stipulates clearly that prisoners of war shall be allowed to send and receive letters and cards. Click here for the full text.

Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz have been missing-in-action since June 11, 1982.
Ron Arad was shot down over Lebanon on October 16, 1986.
Guy Hever disappeared from the Golan on August 17, 1997.
Gilad Shalit was abducted on June 25, 2006.
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were abducted on July 12, 2006.

In flagrant defiance of the Geneva Conventions and simple human decency, the families of these captives are deliberately kept in suspense about the fates of their loved ones. How can such purposely refined cruelty be ignored?

The case of Zachary Baumel epitomizes the suffering and anxiety that the families endure. In an exquisite refinement of torture in 1993, Arafat acknowledged that he knew details of the fate of the soldier’s and handed half of Baumel’s identity tag to Yitzhak Rabin, with a firm promise that more information regarding the MIAs would be forthcoming. He never kept his promise, but it is believed that other members of the Palestinian Authority shared the knowledge. They should be pressed to disclose whatever information they have, especially when we are negotiating the release of Palestinian prisoners.

It is unconscionable, that the UN, Amnesty International, The Red Cross and other organizations that promote Human Rights are conspicuously silent about the diabolically cruel denial of even the most basic human rights to the 8 Israeli soldiers.

According to Maimonides no religious duty is more meritorious than redeeming captives (Pidyon Shevuyim) and it is therefore fitting that when we celebrate Pesach this year, we share the pain of those families whose seder tables are incomplete.

During the forthcoming Passover, let’s remember that when world Jewry was struggling for the release of Soviet Jews, we set aside an empty place at our seder tables to represent our missing kin.

Instead of 8 empty chairs, we can place a large figure 8 on the seder table to symbolize the 8 captives while we hope and pray for that elusive peace we all yearn for, so that PG, next year we can celebrate Passover in true freedom from the strife that plagues us.

This article originally appeared here and is reprinted with permission.

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A perverse form of natural selection

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Recently I was preparing a presentation about why the Arab-Israeli conflict was so resistant to solution. One of the points that I made was that even so-called ‘moderate’ Palestinians, like Mahmoud Abbas, have never really accepted the idea of a Jewish state of any size and within any borders.

A logically prior question that I didn’t ask, but should have, is this: Why is the Palestinian ideological spectrum so skewed towards rejectionism? Where are the Palestinians who — while they might not exactly be Zionists — think that it would be better for Palestinian society to at least live alongside Israel than to be locked for generations in a violent struggle? Where are the Palestinians who think that the descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees deserve better than to be cannon fodder?

Here’s how Elliot Jager, in his review of Hillel Cohen’s book “Army of Shadows — Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948″ answers the question:

For more than 90 years, Arab radicals have been at war not only with with Zionism, but simultaneously with any Arab voice – Christian, Muslim, Druse or Beduin – advocating moderation and coexistence with the Zionist enterprise. So, where are the moderates?

They are dead – hacked up with axes, riddled with bullets, slaughtered with knives and exploded by bombs. That’s where the Arab moderates are. This book chronicles their story from the start of the British Mandate until the War of Independence.

Jager continues,

Cohen says that “as an Israeli Jew, I have no standing to determine who is a traitor to the Palestinian cause.” Well, as an Israeli Jew and a Zionist reading this book, I think the evidence is overwhelming: Arab fanatics are the real traitors to the Palestinian cause; it is they who prevented the creation of a Palestinian state in 1948, and it is they who have been doing everything inhumanly possible to foil the creation of a Palestinian state ever since.

Cohen tells us that hundreds of ‘collaborators’ were murdered before 1948; and all of us remember the scenes of summary executions by Arafat’s men during the Oslo period.

'Collaborator' dragged through the streets of Hebron

A ‘collaborator’ executed in Hebron

What seems to have happened is a perverse form of natural selection, in which the more violent and murderous elements must end up in control, because they are after all more violent and murderous, and better adapted to conflict.

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Picking the right guys for the job

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Richard A. FalkToday is apparently “pick the right guy for the job” day.

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday appointed American Jewish law professor Richard A. Falk – who has compared Israel to the Nazis – as special investigator on Israeli actions in the territories for a six-year term.

Falk, who formerly taught international law at Princeton University, replaces South African professor John Dugard, who was an expert on apartheid…

“In a recent article, [Falk] stated that he did not think it to be “an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with the criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity,” [Israeli UN/Geneva Ambassador Yitzhak] Levanon said.

“He has taken part in a UN fact-finding mission which determined that suicide bombings were a valid method of ‘struggle,’” Levanon said.

“He has disturbingly charged Israel with ‘genocidal tendencies,’ and accused it of trying to achieve security through ‘state terrorism,’” Levanon said. — Jerusalem Post

While I understand Levanon’s feeling that Falk might not exactly be a friend of Israel, I must point out that he is actually perfectly qualified for this particular job, which is basically defined as “Israel basher first-class”. As I wrote in a post about Dugard, his predecessor,

Nevertheless, one needs to understand that not only is he personally biased in favor of the Palestinians, but he is institutionally required to see only one side:

[Dugard writes] At the outset it is necessary to stress the scope and limitations of my mandate. I am required to report on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Israel in the OPT. This means that it is outside my mandate to report on violations of the human rights of Israelis by Palestinians, on the violation of human rights by the Palestinian Authority, or on human rights violations in the OPT not caused by Israel.

So the UNHRC is not as dumb as it looks.

Now check out this job application (H/T to Lise):

Several weeks ago, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem received a proposal that [Jimmy] Carter and [Kofi] Annan come to Israel along with two other Elders, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President Mary Robinson, to pursue a truce with Hamas and promote peacemaking with the Palestinian Authority.

After much deliberation, the offer was politely refused, Yediot Achronot reported Wednesday.

“Israel believes that at this time, it would not be right to introduce more players into a diplomatic process that is already in a complex stage,” the newspaper quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a letter to The Elders.

Would Israel have to pay their expenses?

“The Elders”, in case you don’t know, are “an international conflict-resolution group”. Does anyone else think that the name is pretentious beyond belief? And wonder if requirements for membership go past age to include senility?

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Brainwashing!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Brainwashing!

Purim is over, and April Fool’s day has not yet arrived. So how do we explain this?

In a move to protest the IDF’s plan to send thousands of officers into the country’s schools on Wednesday, New Profile – a movement opposed to what they see as “brainwashing” by the army – plans to set up a demonstration in which members dressed as IDF officers will wash a large model of a human brain.

The organizers of the planned protest hope to draw attention to the IDF’s nationwide campaign for students and voice their opposition to the “militarization of Israeli society.”

“I think the fact that military officers have free access to schools exploits the status of soldiers and the status of schools,” said Lotahn Raz, a New Profile activist and organizer of Wednesday’s demonstration, which he called a “street performance.”

If this isn’t enough, Raz makes his satirical intent clear (to me, anyway):

“The army is a hierarchical organization,” Raz continued. “It doesn’t have respect for life, and they have no regard for the equality of women. It encourages following orders instead of individual thinking.” — Jerusalem Post

Although I’m sure it’s a put-on, let me point out a few obvious things just in case:

  • Lotahn, you live in Tel Aviv, Israel, The Middle East, and not Berkeley, California.
  • If you have a problem with the “militarization of Israeli society”, you will have to take it up with the Arabs, who are responsible for this.
  • It’s not true that the army has no respect for life, in general. Just the lives of the guys trying to kill you.
  • Yes, it’s hierarchical and they have to follow orders. Duh.

Update [26 Mar 2008 1858 PDT]: It’s not a joke! They actually held their demonstration. Here’s a picture of their ‘brain’:

New Profile's brain

I am struck dumb by the stupidity and self-delusion of these people.

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One minute with the candidates

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Sometimes someone puts an issue so clearly that one wants to broadcast the words to the entire world. Here is an excerpt from an unsigned editorial in the Jerusalem Post today which is like that:

There are, it should be understood, two basic models for looking at the conflict, each of which leads to different policy approaches. The standard model is that Arabs and Israelis have been fighting for years and that blame for perpetuation of the conflict lies with both sides, or perhaps mainly with Israel, since Israel is the “occupying power” and the Palestinians are seeking independence within land held by Israel.

The second model is almost nonexistent in diplomatic circles …[it] holds that the Arab world opposed Israel’s creation, tried many times to destroy Israel, and still has not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. It is this Arab rejection of Israel, not a supposed Israeli refusal to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, that is the true obstacle to peace…

The question, essentially, is whether the conflict is about borders or existence. If it is about borders, then it is a matter of pressing “both sides” to negotiate a deal. But if the heart of the matter is an Arab refusal to accept Israel in any borders, than the focus must be on compelling the Arab world to take that fundamental step. [my emphasis]

This implies two things:

  • As long as the ‘existence model’ of the conflict is not accepted by those who wish to promote peace, it will not be achieved.
  • Efforts at peacemaking that ignore Arab rejectionism will not only fail, but will actually support the genocidal program of the rejectionists.

If I had one minute with each of our presidential candidates to talk about the conflict, this is what I would tell them.

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Jewish suicide bombers

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Jewish suicide bomber Jacqueline RosePrior to WWII, there was a controversy between Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews about whether the best option for Jewish survival lay in the Diaspora or the creation of a Jewish state. One would think that the experience of European Jewry would have settled that question for once and for all, but apparently it did not.

In today’s atmosphere of resurgent antisemitism, and particularly that expression of it which I’ve called extreme anti-Zionism, we have a new phenomenon, that of Jews who are not simply philosophically opposed to the Jewish state but who are doing their best to destroy it. Ami Isseroff has written,

In large part, the Arab Palestinian anti-Israel movement is led not by Palestinian Arabs or anti-Semites, but by Jews. Halper, Beinin, Rose, Pappe, Chomsky. Finkelstein and Klug, rather than Alloush, Abunimah, Fayyad Husseini, Qaukji and abu Youssef, are the intellectual mainstays of the movement to wipe out the Jewish state. Their English is much better, and they can cast their ideas in slogans acceptable to western culture. “Secular Democratic State” sounds so much better than “Drive the Jews into the Sea” to a good progressive, doesn’t it? It is hard to label them as “anti-Semites.” It is hard to discredit their lies. — Isseroff, “The future of Jewish anti-Zionism – a Zionist analysis” (entire article recommended).

Isseroff argues that the ‘future’ in question is not a good one. Like the Jewish Bolsheviks who were ultimately murdered by Stalin, if the Arab program succeeds, it won’t go well for those like Tali Fahima and Jeff Halper unless they leave secular democratic Palestine with alacrity (it won’t go well for the Jews of the Diaspora either, but that’s another story).

It may be too late to help some of the Jews that Isseroff mentions, but the most important message, the one which needs to be transmitted to the ‘progressive’ community — many of whose members are Jews — is this one:

The anti-Zionist movement at its most ‘moderate’ is not about self-determination for Palestinian Arabs, it’s about denying self-determination to Jews. And for the less moderate factions like Hamas, it’s about genocide.

Jews that lend themselves to this project are not only deluded, but they are suicidal.

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Two news items

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

A news item in the Jerusalem Post tells us about the continuing effort to ‘bolster’ (they always use this word) Fatah:

Israel has agreed to let Russia deliver 25 armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday – a move meant to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with Hamas.

Russia had proposed shipping the armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces two years ago, but Israel initially balked, fearing the cars would fall into Hamas’ hands. Later, the deal was bogged down by Palestinian plans to mount the vehicles with guns – something Israel refused to approve.

Of course, we can be certain that the Palestinians will not install guns on them once they get them, can’t we?

But never mind, here’s another item from the same source:

Fatah officials have agreed to Yemen’s reconciliation initiative and are prepared to sign it, while Hamas officials requested additional time to discuss the initiative with the group’s leaders, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi announced on Saturday.

According to a Yemenite news agency, talks between the rival Fatah and Hamas are continuing to take place in Yemen, after a crisis in talks occurred on Thursday in which Fatah representatives threatened to return to Ramallah.

“Hamas is not declining the Yemenite initiative which aims to resolve the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah,” Ahmed Youssef, adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Does this say something to us about the advisability of arming Abbas “in his struggle with Hamas”?

Why doesn’t it say the same thing to Israeli PM Olmert or the architects of the “fight Hamas with Fatah policy”, the US?

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Easily insulted Palestinians, logical fallacies, and sovereignty

Friday, March 21st, 2008

From YNet:

Israeli authorities may question Palestinian Americans on arrival in Israel and require them to obtain a Palestinian Authority travel documents, the US State Department said on Wednesday…

“American citizens whom Israeli authorities judge may be of Palestinian origin are likely to face additional, and often time consuming, questioning by immigration and border authorities,” the State Department said in a “travel warning” to US citizens.

The US government is not happy about this:

“Our view, as expressed by Secretary Rice, former Undersecretary (Nicholas) Burns, former Assistant Secretary Maura Harty, our ambassador, the acting assistant secretary for consulate affairs, recently, and a variety of other people, to the Israeli government is that American citizen is American citizen is American citizen,” [State Department spokesman Sean] McCormack said. “There are no second classes…You have a blue American passport, you should be treated like an American citizen.”

Of course, this is exactly the question of ‘profiling’, because this is how Israeli security works: screening resources are allocated in proportion to the likelihood that a person — on the basis of such factors as age, sex, ethnicity, and numerous other factors — is a threat.

Here in the US, profiling is anathema. Because of our national collective insanity regarding anything relating to race or ethnicity, it is not acceptable here to take these factors into account when evaluating the possibility that a particular individual presents a risk, even though, statistically, a young middle-eastern man is more likely to be a member of Hezbollah than a 70-year old female from Minnesota.

The argument seems to be that since there are young Arab men who are in fact not terrorists, then it is inexcusably insulting to them to assume that they are more likely to be terrorists than the above-mentioned female.

But that assumption is a statistical one about a group and says nothing about the particular individual. It is a basic logical fallacy to conflate the two.

Profiling is exactly the same kind of reasoning that a physician goes through when diagnosing an illness like sickle-cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease that is more common in a particular ethnic group.

The important point is that the US State Department needs to understand that Israel, a sovereign nation, is not the US, and is not required to share our pathological inability to think logically.

Israel is also obliged to protect her citizens from terrorism, and in the area of airport security has done a significantly better job than we have.

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Al-Arian show comes to Fresno

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Sami al-ArianSami al-Arian is a former faculty member at the University of South Florida. He pled guilty in 2006 of raising funds for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization, after being charged in 2003 with numerous terrorism-related offenses.

The case dragged on for almost three years, and the jury was unable to decide on a verdict on most of the charges. As a result of his plea he was sentenced to a little more than time served, and was ordered to be deported.

He has been called the “North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad“, a group responsible for literally hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel. The FBI claimed that he “had connections to the blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993; to Hamas official Mohammed Sakr; to the high-ranking Sudanese terrorist Hassan Turbai [sic]; and to Islamic Jihad co-founder Abdel Aziz-Odeh.”

Just to give you an idea of the kind of guy he is, here is a 12-second video in which al-Arian calls for “Victory to Islam, Death to Israel“; and here is another in which he calls upon his listeners to “Damn America and Israel to Death“.

His supporters insisted that the prosecution was ‘political’ and an attack on his right of free speech. But the government insisted that al-Arian gave material support to an organization that he knew was committing terrorist acts (and among whose hundreds of victims were two Americans, killed in Islamic Jihad suicide bombings in Israel).

Al-Arian was also sentenced to 14 months for civil contempt, because he refused to testify against former associates. This sentence was canceled by another judge — but he has been subpoenaed again to testify in front of a grand jury, presumably to be asked again about individuals thought to be involved in terrorism, here and overseas. He has refused to comply and is presently on a hunger strike.

Now, why am I bringing this up?

Because the College Community Congregational Church here in Fresno will shortly be presenting a film and discussion about al-Arian. The film, “USA vs. Al-Arian” is entirely one-sided, focusing on the “heart-wrenching traumas” suffered by al-Arian’s family, and claims that it is his “fight for Palestinian recognition that garners the attention of the authorities” and not the fact that he raised hundreds of thousands millions of dollars to pay for the murder of Jewish Israelis and Americans whom he likens to the sons of monkeys and pigs.

The discussion will be led by Melva Underbakke, a former co-worker of al-Arian, who organized a group called “Friends of Human Rights” in response to his prosecution.

Palestinian apologists, as always, are doing their best to recast their genocidal attempt to reverse history as a struggle for human rights. But leaving aside the complex questions about the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, whether the government is subjecting al-Arian to double jeopardy by subpoenaing him, etc., one simple question remains:

Did Sami al-Arian know that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for which he was raising funds was actually a terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians by suicide bombings, shootings, and rockets?

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Palestinians have been made into moral monsters

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The NY Times reports:

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

“There is real reason to be concerned,” [pollster Khalil] Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.

His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements [building within existing 'settlements' near Jerusalem that are expected to be retained by Israel in a final agreement -- ed.], have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge.

How did it get to this point? Why has it been impossible for Jews and Arabs to reach an accommodation in the region?

Palestinians never accepted the presence of the Jewish state, and always believed that the land on which it was built was stolen from them. They never accepted any of the responsibility for the events of 1948 and thereafter. The Arab nations and media always presented this distorted view of historical events, and Arab and Palestinian leaders — the Mufti, Arafat, Nasser, etc. — consistently rejected any attempts to make peace or solve the refugee problem.

According to the Palestinian story, they are entirely the victims, and everything is the Jews’ fault. Therefore there is no reason to compromise, since real justice would require the elimination of Israel and the removal of the Jews from their land.

Over the years, under the guidance of such as Arafat, Palestinians tried to achieve their goals by murder and terrorism. Israeli attempts at self-defense have always been interpreted as aggression, both for external consumption — to create sympathy for the Palestinians in the West — and in their own minds. After all, since the Jews are entirely culpable for Palestinian suffering, anything may be done to them in order to obtain justice and end the suffering.

The Oslo debacle demonstrates this clearly. While Israelis were prepared to make concrete concessions and to re-educate themselves to the new reality of a Palestinian state, Arafat was not prepared to give anything — not recognition of Israel, not a cessation of terrorism, and, probably most significant for today’s situation, not a reduction in anti-Israel incitement.

In fact, Arafat created a massive indoctrination machine which included all Palestinian media, the educational system, PA-associated mosques, etc., all focused on delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, and preparing young Palestinians for their roles as soldiers in the coming war.

The truly remarkable thing about this period was the way that Israel and the US managed to ignore all this, to ignore Arafat calling for jihad in Arabic while talking peace in English, to discount his sponsorship of terrorism — even after it was proven beyond a doubt — and to offer him an unprecedented deal in 2000 in which the Palestinians would receive between 95 and 97 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for their state.

But anyone who knew the Palestinian story could have predicted that Arafat would reject even this, because it did not redress the primary Palestinian grievance, the creation of Israel on ‘their’ land.

And in the same way, the Palestinian story implies that anything that Israel does in self-defense — the security barrier, arrests of terrorists, incursions to stop rocket fire — is done to perpetuate the injustice, and will only create more outrage.

So here we are, 60 years after 1948 and the Palestinians are furious and want revenge. 60 years have passed, during which time the Palestinians have focussed on themselves and the historic injustice that they understand to have been done them so narcissistically that they are now unable to see that slaughtering innocent teenagers and randomly bombing civilians is evil. We have a situation in which a majority of a population has been turned — by systematic manipulation and indoctrination — into moral monsters.

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