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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Exhilaration - not hardship - causes 'Palestinian' violence

In this morning's JPost, Daniel Pipes shows how exhilaration - not hardship - causes 'Palestinian' violence, and how the $7.4 billion in aid promised to the 'Palestinians' by the West last week is likely to cause more hardship.
UNSURPRISINGLY, Hellman characterizes the Palestinian economy as "in shambles." Such shambles should come as no surprise, for as the late Lord Bauer and others have noted, foreign aid does not work. It corrupts and distorts an economy; and the greater the amounts involved, the greater the damage. One telling detail: at times during Yasser Arafat's reign, a third of the Palestinian Authority's budget went for "expenses of the President's office," without further explanation, auditing, or accounting. The World Bank objected, but the Israeli government and the European Union endorsed this corrupt arrangement, so it remained in place.

The Paris conference for the "Palestinian state" raised $7.4 billion in pledges on Dec. 17, 2007. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority offers a textbook example of how to ruin an economy by smothering it under well-intentioned but misguided donations. The $7.4 billion recently pledged to it for the 2008-10 period will further exacerbate the damage.

Paradoxically, this error might help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. To see why, consider the two models, hardship v. exhilaration, that explain Palestinian extremism and violence.

The hardship model, subscribed to by all Western states, attributes Palestinian actions to poverty, isolation, Israeli roadblocks, the lack of a state, etc. Mahmoud Abbas, the PA leader, summed up this viewpoint at the Annapolis conference in November: "the absence of hope and overwhelming despair … feed extremism." Eliminate those hardships and Palestinians, supposedly, would turn their attention to such constructive concerns as economic development and democracy. Trouble is, that change never comes.

The exhilaration model turns the Abbas logic on its head: the absence of despair and overwhelming hope, in fact, feed extremism. For Palestinians, hope derives from a perception of Israeli weakness, implying an optimism and excitement that the Jewish state can be eliminated. Conversely, when Palestinians cannot see a way forward against Israel, they devote themselves to the more mundane tasks of earning a living and educating their children. Note that the Palestinian economy peaked in 1992, just as, post-Soviet Union and post-Kuwait war, hopes bottomed out to eliminate Israel.

Exhilaration, not hardship, accounts for bellicose Palestinian behavior. Accordingly, whatever reduces Palestinian confidence is a good thing. A failed economy depresses the Palestinians' mood, not to speak of their military and other capabilities, and so brings resolution closer.

Palestinians must experience the bitter crucible of defeat before they will drop their foul goal of eliminating their Israeli neighbor and begin to build their own economy, polity, society, and culture. No short-cut to this happy outcome exists. Who truly cares for Palestinians must want their despair to come quickly, so that a skilled and dignified people can move beyond its current barbarism and build something decent.
While I oppose the massive aid given to the corrupt Fatah terrorists, I'm not sure that Pipes' hypothesis is correct under all circumstances. In this particular case, because we can be reasonably sure that the aid money will not be used efficiently, Pipes is correct that it is likely to lead to more despair. As to whether or not that actually leads to 'Palestinians' dropping their goal of murdering all the Jews, that will depend on whether the West reacts by giving up on the 'Palestinians' or - as is more likely - just turning the faucet on harder.

Read the whole thing.


At 12:03 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

They will probably turn the faucets up more on the theory that throwing more money at the Palestinians will make them more moderate.

The Palestinians should be thankful to have the Jews as an enemy. No other people in history would be the beneficiary of such munificient international aid.


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