An import from "liberated" Iraq, hostage taking is an increasingly popular pastime in the Palestinian Authority. There are no aversive consequences such as, say, punishment. Opportunity costs are minimal too. If he were not terrorizing his captives, what would your garden-variety Palestinian thug be doing instead? Singing for his supper?
Mainstream media has "explained" ad nauseam the vexing nuances of the "Palestinian problem." We know why jobs are unavailable in that otherwise economically viable anarcho-terrorist territory, why government consists of competing terrorist gangs (rather than only one), and why civil society, such as it is, canonizes killers. Israel; it's all Israel's fault!
Given this much-rehashed media consensus, I was surprised to hear Fox correspondent Steve Centanni and his colleague, photographer Olaf Wiig, lament that the Palestinian story was underreported. Freed after two weeks in Gazan captivity, the two men appeared mortified at the thought that their ordeal would compound this alleged state of affairs.
Centanni and Wiig also commended the Palestinian people for being "very beautiful and kind-hearted." I don't know about you, but if I were hijacked off a busy "commercial district," in full view of "people walking up and down," and spirited away to some dowdy digs, where I was surrounded by the sounds of "pious" prayer, I'd have a slightly different take on the host population.
Far be it from me to criticize the two men. Okay, that's not true. If I were driving among the "beautiful" people of Gaza, I'd have locked the doors of my armored SUV. Centanni and Wiig didn't. And as soon as masked men swarmed my vehicle, I'd have accelerated, ploughed through my assailants, and sped away. The armored car Wiig was driving would have easily withstood a few rounds from the tools of the trade in Gaza, the AK-47.
Admittedly, those would be the actions of someone who grew up in the Middle East, and is acutely aware that salutary gentility and dangerous duplicity coexist quite comfortably in Arab culture.
In any event, it is pure fiction to contend, as the two newsmen have, that the Palestinian plight is underreported. As Stephanie Gutmann recounts in "The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy":
There are at least 350 permanently based foreign news bureaus in the city of Jerusalem covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—easily as many as in New York, London or Moscow. Adding to this relatively huge body of permanently assigned journalists, there are, at any given time, a hundred or so freelance journalists, authors, photographers and documentarians all sifting this ancient overworked soil looking for scoops. About 900 articles about events in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are published each day in the English-language media alone—75 times more than about any other area of comparable populations.
Has anyone ever insisted that world peace depends on the resolution of the Tibetan, Chechen, Kurd, Basque, or Armenian conflicts? I think not. Conversely (and contra Centanni), most people have been led to believe that the world's fate hinges on the resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
How did world peace become tethered to the Palestinian cause?
As historian Bat Ye'or has documented, in 1973, the European Community, later the European Union, formed a political alliance with the Mediterranean Arab countries. A year later, this system metamorphosed into the Euro-Arab Dialogue, an overarching organization whose goal, openly articulated in its founding documents, was to debate and decide policy (the economy and immigration included), and use parliament to create a "formidable political and legal superstructure" with a view to changing the geo-political dispensation.
In foreign policy, says Ye'or, the EAD backed anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of Israel, as well as the promotion of the PLO and Arafat. This particular impetus was instantiated in the EAD's resolution 15: "The conference decided to form special parliamentary groups, where they did not exist, and to use the parliamentary platform for promoting support of the Arab people and the Palestinian resistance." From 1977 onwards, the EC/EU declarations on the Arab-Israeli conflict have dovetailed with Arab League decisions and positions.
Over the past 30 years, and as EU documents reveal, the Euro-Arab Dialogue has superimposed an agenda on Europe through powerful governmental agencies and by establishing close cooperation between the Arab and European media, academia, publishing houses, cultural centers, student and youth associations, and Churches.
Practically every international initiative the Arab-guided EU has pursued has been predicated on the resolution of the Palestinian problem. Of course, to the Arabs, this has been no more than a cynical political ploy. Besides Saddam Hussein, who remunerated families of suicide bombers, no Arab nation has ever helped the Palestinians.
The American fashionable left and elements on the tinfoil right were quick to fall in line. With the exception of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, there isn't a campus in America that doesn't privilege the Palestinian position. Today, every two-bit agitator—from the ANSWER Coalition to Cindy Sheehan—calls for the Palestinian right of return (also a euphemism for the destruction of Israel). Bin Laden and his acolytes have palestinianized their 'discipline.'
No, Centanni and Wiig are wrong. Palestinian sores suppurate eternally and very publicly; theirs is the plight that never shuts up.
© 2006 By Ilana Mercer