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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The truth about Arab support for the 'Palestinians'

Writing in the New Republic, Martin Peretz rips Arab support for the 'Palestinians' as the fraud and hypocrisy that it is:
The fact is, of course, that the other Arabs do not care a fig for Palestine, not a fig. Even with their lush surplus of petroleum cash, the oil Arabs do not pay their self-assessed tax for Palestine. The Emirates, perhaps the greatest employment agency for foreign labor anywhere, hire relatively few Palestinians, preferring Malaysian and Pakistanis and, if Arabs, Yemenis and Egyptians. The sultans are not dumb: They saw how the Palestinians behaved when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

To the extent that the Arab states have sustained these "refugees"--that's another matter, better left for another time--in place and through time deep into the fourth generation they perpetuate the wound that, unlike in the Philoctetes myth, never heals. Now, it is something of an accomplishment, a perverse one, to be sure, to have made Palestine the fixation of the United Nations and virtually every one of its agencies. But this has not brought relief to a single Palestinian.

How do I say this? The Palestine national movement is a fraud. Internecine killing has taken far more Arab lives than armed encounters with the Israelis. It is full of pomp but no ordinary circumstance. You can judge the reality of Palestine by the travels of its leaders. Arafat went everywhere. The Palestine Liberation Organization had embassies everywhere, more perhaps than did Israel. The Palestinian Authority is represented in God only knows how many capitals. And it is now Mahmoud Abbas who could collect frequent flyer miles if he didn't have the illusion of being president of a state.

Last week, Palestinian functionaries were in Yemen visiting its president and exchanging complimentary chit-chat. The officials expounded upon the importance of Yemen. How could Yemen be so important? Divided by tribes upon tribes, nearly half of its population is under 15 and one of its primary products is qat, chewed into oblivion by everyone. It is nearly equally split between Shi'a and Sunni. One of its last legislative reforms was to eliminate the age qualification of 15 for girls to marry. This is a joke. What did the Palestinians and Yemenis really talk about? Was the visit worth the gas?

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the P.A., is a serious economist and a serious man. On him fall the quotidian burdens of real life in the West Bank. (Gaza seems to breathe on delirium, and he has no place in it.) Politics is at best a distraction for him, and so he is distracted by the idea of a different sort of politics. Fayyad wants a Palestinian government made up not of professional revolutionaries, but of non-partisan professionals. It is a dream but, like many well-intentioned dreams, a dream that will not come to pass. Not that there aren't Palestinians who would want it. After all, there must be many men, women, and children, too, who want an ordinary life, who even dream of an ordinary life. It is not just Israel that denies it to them by check-points and other humiliating routines. It is the very perfervid character of Palestinian society that substitutes fantasy for the commonplace. Even the death of a poet becomes an excuse for frenzy. So Fayyad will not have his wish. His country is riven by fanaticisms that divide its people against each other.

How can the Arabs feign such great agitation about the unfortunate Palestinians when they maintain such composure about the truly bitter fate of the Darfuris? It is the blood of their blood who are committing the genocide. It is their diplomats who protect the murderers, pass it all off as if it were nothing when it is the rankest mass blood-letting in a decade. Sudan is the fault line of the Muslim world, the racial fault-line. Whatever standing the African Muslims of Darfur command as pious supplicants before Allah, they have none before his Arab servants. Apparently, this does not trouble the conscience of Islam. They are otherwise engaged in the hyper-drama of Palestine.
The real question is why the rest of the World continues to humor a bunch of 8th century Arab sheikhdoms by playing along with this. Oil? Maybe. Anti-semitism? Far more likely in my book.


At 2:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I suspect the support of the Palestinians has something to do with the fact on the people on the other side are Jews. The Palestinians have received more international support and assistance than any other people in history and they still have not been able to build a state. Of course no one stops to ask why they haven't. Had it been any other adversary, they would have been abandoned and forgotten a long time ago.


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