Jimmy Carter is right. The United States, Israel and the European Union ought to stop favoring Fatah over Hamas. Carter is correct for reasons other than those he gives. Favoring the one Palestinian gang over the other obscures that, with respect to what counts, there is little difference between these temporary rivals. In their capacity and intention to foster a civil society in the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas are indistinguishable. Hamas, if anything, is less corrupt. Which is one reason the “Palestinian People” elected these Islamic jihadis last year as their legitimate representatives.
The Israelis advised against holding the elections; they knew what they’d get. Bush would have none of it. At his insistence, the “Palestinian People” voted with a vengeance, giving Hamas a majority in all but two of the 16 districts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas has merely asserted its monopoly over force in Gaza, in the style to which the inhabitants of the Palestinian anarcho-terrorist territories are accustomed.
In the fall of 2005, and in anticipation of the triumph of democracy in Gaza, the “Palestinian People” had demanded Israeli settlers dismantle their menacing hothouses, where export-quality flowers and produce were cultivated. When these were destroyed—when the only people to have ever produced anything on that arid land were evicted—Gazans turned to honing their homicidal, home-grown industries with renewed verve.
Bush is not much of a people’s person. Ultimately, democracy à la Dubya translates into “the will of the people” only if that will coincides with Dubya’s. To use the Brechtian refrain, Bush has decided to dissolve the people (that elected Hamas) and elect another (that supports Fatah). The latter he calls “moderate Palestinians,” whom, he says, form a majority in the PA.
When it comes to deviancy, Bush is nothing if not broadminded. The last terrorist attack (sorry, “resistance”) Fatah took credit for was on the 29th of January this year. Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades killed three people by suicide bombing in a bakery in the southern city of Eilat. There were hundreds before that. Article 12 of Fatah’s Constitution enunciates the aim of achieving the “[c]omplete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.” Article 17 states that “Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.”
Lest there be any more confusion about the exaggerated rift between the assorted Palestinian Black Shirts, by the Telegraph’s telling, the kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston is being held by “a criminal clan which has ties to both Hamas and Fatah.” Hip to the Hamas-Abbas deadly dance, DEBKAfile‘s hardened military analysts have predicted an impending reconciliation. Abbas will establish another unity government that accords Hamas its proper place in the PA. This is why Abbas’ new cabinet consists of “nonentities,” such as a retired, 80-year-old Jordanian. This is also why strongman Muhammed Dahlan, hated by Hamas, will be removed and replaced with the Hamas-friendly Jibril Rajoub.
The cunning Abbas is simply consolidating his street cred with the most fractious (and extreme) faction on the block: the “Palestinian People.”
Cross over into Israel proper and it’s like night and day. It’s hard to believe the civilized Israeli society is the one routinely condemned by the UN, subject to more investigations by it than any other country, barred from committees on which Syria and Saudi Arabia serve; and expected to transfer its territories and capital city to the savage society adjacent to it.
Indeed, Palestinians have responded to their historical challenges by never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as Abba Eban tartly observed. Or, put plainly, by breaking everything around them. How have Jews responded to their near annihilation? By building a democracy in the desert. With the permission of the international community, they purchased land in their ancient homeland, dried swamps, developed industries, planted citrus groves and built cities. Before long, the Jewish State was able to boast of world-class intellectuals—scientists, engineers, and Nobel Prize laureates—good schools and universities, a superb symphony orchestra, hard-left humanitarians who agitated for the enemy, and writers who wrote not of the joys of killing and dying, but of the delights of life and love.
When the atrophying societies in the neighborhood launched wars against them, Israelis picked up their weapons and fought back. Then they went back to building stuff. Before “occupation” and after it—never was there a time in the chronicles of the Jewish settlement when terrorists did not infiltrate its borders to kill civilians. Israelis simply buried their toddlers and teens, and pushed on. Their society hasn’t dissolved. Differences continue to be settled democratically. Israeli children are not taught to hate. Israel hasn’t produced refugees; it has assimilated them. It doesn’t rely on UN relief agencies for food and medicine; Israelis make
their own. A large illegal immigrant population clamors to work in Israel. And Warren Buffet recently chose to invest $4 billion in Israeli industry. It’s his first major investment outside the US.
Societies are only as good as the individuals of which they are comprised. And individuals are only as good as their actions. Overall, Israeli society is superior to Palestinian society because, like America, it is peopled by individuals who make possible a thriving civil society. Yet to Bush, the latest chaotic chapter in the annals of the M.O.P.E (Most Oppressed People Ever) is an “exciting moment.” It has inspired in him visions (or hallucinations) of “two states living side by side in peace.” Bush’s appetite for destruction must be even healthier than that of the Palestinians.
©2007 By Ilana Mercer