Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rag doll Palestinians

Within two days of publishing Prof. Makdisi's fanciful harangue , Seattle PI published another anti-Israel opinion piece, this time by Edward Mast, a Seattle playwright who volunteers with the Palestine Information Project. As might be expected, it contains a litany of predictable descriptions of Palestinian humiliations vs. all sorts of accusations against Israel's perfidy.

Two quotes, two comments:

First:

Mast writes: “Israelis are told the wall is for their security.” implying this is a lie and the real reason, as Palestinians told him (and they should be believed without any brow raised) is that "Israel intends to annex the West Bank."

The separation Fence was begun in 2002/3, after nearly two years of daily suicide bombings and other types of terrorist attacks upon Israelis, mostly taking place in centres of cities such as Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa. As the fence grew longer, the attacks became fewer and more sporadic. More recently, there has been one or two in the space of months, not hours, or days, as it used to be. So Israelis are not mislead into believing the fence keeps them safer. They know it, since they no longer have to attend multiple funerals every other day.

Since the barrier is effectively keeping away the terrorists, there is less call for IDF’s incursions into densely populated Palestinian areas where the terrorists, their handlers and their weapons workshops are being accommodated in apartment buildings and private houses. That means, less live fire confrontations, less civilian casualties.

So, on both sides of the fence, less people are being killed, which is a good thing. But you wouldn’t know all this, from Mast’s lachrymose account.

Mast is simply relaying the Palestinian list of grievances, well known to all who have an interest in the conflict: Israel is the irredeemable villain, both in intent and deed while Palestinians are completely supine, blameless and have no responsibility whatsoever for their dreary life and difficulties getting to school and work and visiting.


Second:

“Israelis are more concerned about the corruption charges against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, coming on the heels of corruption charges against previous governments. Palestinians and their issues, my friends told me, are becoming more and more invisible to the Israeli people.”


Mast seems to snicker at an Israeli ethos, which does not tolerate corruption in its leadership. He is criticizing ordinary Israelis, for what he considers their insouciance in not demanding truth. This begs the question: how come such an admirable trait in a democratically minded populace, is deemed contemptible by Mast? Israelis insist on an honest, clean, transparent leadership. This, in turn, guarantees a government that cannot lie to its people, or keep atrocities invisible from the public eye. As any visit to major Israeli news outlets will reveal, Palestinians are anything but invisible to Israelis. It is not passiveness vis-a-vis Palestinian suffering that Israelis project. It is the result of a well-learned lesson, from experience, that the equation is not (as Mast would have us believe)

Fence+checkpoints=inconvenience,

but rather:

Palestinian unhindered movement = X number of Israeli dead.

It is a struggle between Palestinian right to live free of hassle versus Israelis’ right to live. In my scheme of things, the right to life is the more fundamental right. When Palestinians get the message, change their desire to destroy the state of Israel, the Wall/Fence/Barrier will collapse like a house of cards. It’s totally up to them.

Israelis are waiting for Palestinians to take charge of their own destiny and future happiness, start making some life affirming choices. Only Palestinians can help Palestinians achieve a normal existence, free of the coersive powers of the IDF. Simply put, they need to grow up, stop being infantilized by the likes of Mast, as though they have no agency whatsoever, as though they are but rag dolls, completely without will or power.

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