Hurting Their Cause
by Salim Mansur
Soon after President George W. Bush arrived in Israel last Wednesday to join the country's 60th anniversary celebrations, an Iranian-made Katyusha rocket fired by Palestinians from Gaza hit a shopping plaza in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
This daily feature of rockets fired into Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza underscores the abysmal reality of the self-destructive politics pursued by Palestinians.
By any rational calculus it should be amply clear to Palestinians that if their objective is to acquire statehood, then it cannot be achieved militarily by destroying in whole or in part the state of Israel.
But it also should be plainly understood by Palestinians that they can acquire statehood if they meet the requirements set forth by the United Nations in the "land for peace" formula as the basis of final settlement with the Israelis.
During his first official visit to Israel in January, Bush said "establishment of a state of Palestine is long overdue."
He then went on to say, "No agreement and no Palestinian state will be born of terror. I reaffirm America's steadfast commitment to Israel's security."
The question then is why Palestinians, or their leaders, have remained so obdurately stuck for the past six decades to this dead-end politics of mounting misery, when they could have proceeded by renouncing violence and terror against Jews to build a state of their own alongside Israel?
The answer is not a mystery. Palestinian politics are inseparable from Arab politics. The latter are described by Halim Barakat, an Arab sociologist, this way: "Arab governments tyrannize over society and deny the Arab people their basic human rights."
Since the early years of the British mandate in Palestine (1920) to the present time, Palestinian leaders beginning with Al-Hajj Amin Al-Husayni – the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem – have chosen to make Palestinians the spear carriers of the Arab cause against Jews and Israelis, with total disregard to the well-being of the common people.
Al-Husayni collaborated with Hitler and set the pattern for those succeeding him – as did Yasser Arafat and the leadership of Hamas – to disastrously make common cause with Arab dictators such as Saddam Hussein, or Islamist leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
There are 21 Arab states – Palestine would be the 22nd – in the Arab League, and the one constant in the politics of the league is the lack of amity among member states with accompanying disregard for non-Arabs (Berbers, Kurds, Darfurians, Turkmen, Assyrians) living in Arab countries.
More Arabs, including Palestinians, have been abused and killed by other Arabs than by non-Arabs or Israelis in the recent history of the Middle East. And in this mayhem of Arab politics the only point of fleeting unity is the common Arab enmity directed towards the Israelis bringing unending grief to the region.
Yet the obverse of this pernicious reality is the situation of Israeli Arabs with their basic human rights protected within a democracy, and none of them readily heading out to join their Arab compatriots outside of the Jewish state.
Six decades of dead-end and self-destructive politics should have taught any Palestinian leader with a twinge of conscience, the path for acquiring a state for his people begins with the first step of abandoning the false promises of Arab-Muslim unity soaked in bigotry and violence.