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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 'Palestinian' addiction

At Contentions, Bill Siegel has an excellent analysis in which he compares the 'Palestinians' to alcoholics or drug addicts.
The entire concept of a “peace process” is, perhaps, the enabler’s most seductive tool. Peace does not require a process. When peace or the cessation of violence is traded for some asset or benefit, it is everywhere else called extortion. Responsible parties necessarily presume peace as a backdrop (and by definition recognize each other’s existence) and negotiate for other terms. Nor does peace need to take any time. If the Palestinians truly wanted peace, as is so often claimed, they could have it instantly. Act peacefully and then enter a “process” to negotiate whatever else is desired. Rather, what Palestinian leaders have engaged in is a decades-long "extortion process" that has directly caused the misery of the Palestinian people. One of the addict’s twelve steps should include the elimination of peace process from his lexicon.

Like so many addicts who often waste an array of talents and gifts, the Palestinians have much to offer in terms of a trainable and price-competitive work force. Many opportunities exist to carve out an economics-based transaction that could be valuable to both parties. There is no external reason why the Palestinians could not rapidly develop a well functioning economy and society. However, when violence (or its cessation) is the currency, no room is possible for constructive exchange. It is precisely that guarantee of failure that holds the addiction in place.

The start and stop of the peace process is consistent with an addict’s typical behavior. Addicts often move back and forth between attempts to go clean and dramatic benders. The Palestinians have moved between periods of extreme violence and intifadas to those of intermittent co-existence (coupled with the language of peacemaking), only to wind up with terror as the norm once again. The Islamic notion of accepting only temporary cease-fires, along with the world’s constant blaming of Israel for all Palestinian behavior, helps to keep this back-and-forth structure in place. And despite the apparent desire of the world to see peace in the region, this back and forth is fundamental to the disease as it both keeps the enablers invested through false hope while insuring that the addiction is never forfeited. That extremely alluring notion that “Now is the time to move forward to peace” is no different from the utterances of addicts that “this time” they will quit or from enablers that “this time the addict is serious.” The appearance of a potential solution craftily masks the intention to remain the same.


This cycle of violence to “peace process” to failure and renewed violence is precisely what holds the addictive structure together. When Israel attempts to solve the problem with military force, it is ultimately stopped short of full military victory. Media outcries, coupled with world political statements against Israel, matched with a flood of “skilled” diplomats pressing for a ceasefire as a matter of humanitarian principle, together lead to a termination of violence. This cessation then leaves in place all the conditions for the Palestinians to obtain a show of western guilt in the form of continued large sums of aid, sympathy, and various other new demands. All is granted in exchange for nothing other than the promise to cease violence- hence the “extortion process.”

This is the same cycle that occurs between enabling parents and addicted children whereby after the addict “acts out,” the parents flood the child with liberties in various forms in exchange for the child’s forfeiting of his troublesome behavior. Everybody feels good for awhile as the parents convince themselves this may mark the end of the errant behavior while the addict has re-acquired the comfortable environment in which no change is demanded of him. It feels good, that is, until the next cycle begins and the parents realize once again they have been manipulated.


It is often said that an addict can not really change until he hits rock bottom; a state so uncomfortable that he becomes aware that he has no better choice than to truly change. As difficult as it is, it becomes necessary for those who love the addict to counter-instinctually allow the addict to crash. Acceptance of this reality is, perhaps, the most difficult aspect of the recovery of the enablers as it seems to violate every ethical value held. Yet, ultimately, the fortunate enablers are those able to realize that continuing what they considered their “loving” behavior was truly anything but as it helped the addict to habituate himself to his destructive behavior.


Sympathy is itself a major tool of the addict and the Palestinians have invested decades in promoting it throughout the rest of the world. Yet, sympathy never leads to recovery. Instead, it serves only to strengthen the addict’s behavior. Israel is often attacked as having created the conditions that lead to Palestinian hopelessness. Therefore, the argument suggests, it is incumbent upon Israel to create first the proper conditions to lead to hope such that the Palestinians can then be able to act differently. This is the language of addicts and alcoholics. It is the Palestinians, contrary to Israel as suggested by Aaron David Miller, that require a strong dose of “tough love.”

And this is precisely the critical issue. Responsibility for their condition and actions must be fully allocated back to the Palestinians by everyone in order to help teach them how to live more successfully as a free people. Their genuine freedom requires cessation of all excuses, all demonizing of Israel, all suggestions that more is required before they can begin to act “sober” and so forth. Similarly, the enablers must accept their responsibility to eliminate all contributory behavior. Aid and benefits must be earned rather than spoon fed for real change to occur.


It is often uttered that if only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be resolved, then the parties could start to reduce and eliminate the hatred that exists between the two. This is simply another enabling theme, backwards as it is, that hides the simple fact that the conflict is generated by that very Palestinian-promoted hatred. The conflict for the past decades has not been an unstable peace with intermittent periods of war. It has always been for the Palestinian leaders a war to eliminate Israel with intermittent peace in order to re-arm. If one side engages in war, the other is necessarily at war. And wars and their associated hatreds, as traumatic, distasteful, and even immoral as they may be, are ended only when one side is beaten or surrenders. It is no more complicated or “nuanced” than that.

The Palestinians must be held fully responsible for the behavior of their leaders. That is one of the costs of greater freedom. Once started, the path to any form of democracy must be embraced with all its hardships. As with any addiction, the road to recovery is exceedingly arduous. But what is the alternative? The current lesson for the Palestinians is a necessary one and one which the world must help them toward, rather than shelter them from, learning. The many rationales, excuses, denials, and other distortions by Hamas and its enablers only delay the necessary adjustment and ultimately raise the cost of their freedom. If we truly want a world family, we must learn the critical family lessons.
Read the whole thing.

As I was reading it, the thought crossed my mind that just as the 'Palestinians' have an addiction to violence, the 'international community' has an addiction to a 'peace process' that is intended to mollify the 'Palestinians' and - more importantly - their Arab backers in wealthy, oil producing nations. And the 'Palestinians' Arab backers are addicted to having the 'Palestinians' as an excuse and a problem that they can foist onto the 'international community.'

Perhaps like in many addicted families, what's required here is group or family therapy. No, not a 'peace process' but therapy to hold the 'Palestinians' and their Arab supporters, respectively, responsible for their own actions.


At 4:31 PM, Blogger Mother Effingby said...

Sometimes, Carl, I think the best treatment of a chronic addict is to simply give him as much of the drug as he wants. It will ultimately kill him. The Arab is addicted to violence because he is addicted to his holy book and his slavish following of the profit, I mean, profit. Until they get tired of violence, and when it is no longer rewarding for them to be violent will they change....or not.. Some people never hit bottom.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I think part of the problem for Israelis is they claimed a land that was unfortunately inhabited by others.

Large portions of that land are still overwhelming populated by those others.

Maybe it's perverse in the eyes of Israelis, but I think most people just think: "Why shouldn't they have a right to control the territory in which they live and build a nation there?"

Many of us who celebrate Israel's existence and achievements and want to defend her against attack also feel as a matter of justice that inhabitants of the land also have a claim to that land in natural justice.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is the Palestinians should be allowed to hit rock bottom so they can deal on their own with the self-destructive effects of their own behavior. As long as they are rescued from dealing with it, they will never change. Why should they want to when the world keeps on rewarding them for the kind of behavior that is destroying them? The Palestinians have gotten so good at being "sympathy addicts" that somewhere along the way, they've forgotten what it means to be a normal people. Both the world and Israel are doing them no favors by keeping them in a state of dependency.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Inhabited by whom? Mark Twain was here in the late 19th century and describes the land as empty.

In From Time Immemorial, Joan Peters painstakingly documented the arrival of nomadic tribesman here whom we now call 'Palestinians' (a name that did not exist until 1964 by the way). They arrived here to better their economic situation because the Jews were willing to hire them.

Inhabited by others? Israel has been inhabited by Jews for 3000 years.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger gloveman said...

If a child is naughty you don't reward it with a cookie. That is what the world does to the Palestinians.


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