Friday, May 2, 2014

The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Victimhood

The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Victimhood

By Joseph Puder 

Palestinians are viewed on some college campuses in North America as victims of Israel, largely thanks to organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and their Islamist allies.

The professional propagandists in groups such as SJP are relying on provocative imagery in their attempt to portray Israel as the oppressor. This is patently false when considering the facts. The picture of an Israeli tank facing a Palestinian rock thrower, painted by SJP and others is inherently misleading, and is intended for the non-thinkers.

Consider the fact that 95% of the Palestinian people today are ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). There are no Israeli tanks in Palestinian cities. As to the rock throwers, they are no longer throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, but are firing live bullets instead at innocent Israeli civilians, killing families with babies like the Fogel family last year.

If the SJP and their ilk wish to do true justice for the Palestinian people let them demand that the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership provide the Palestinian refugees currently dwelling in dilapidated camps, permanent and adequate homes as the Israelis did for their refugees.

On a recent trip to the West Bank city of Nablus, this reporter observed firsthand the wasteful impact of US and EU aid to the PA, led by Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen). Standing on top of Mt. Gerizim, the world’s holiest site for the Samaritan community, mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy as the blessed mountain, reveals a picture that speaks a thousand words. In the valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal, where the city of Nablus is located, as well as the tomb of biblical Joseph, the vast Balata refugee camp straddles close to the southern edges of town.

There are no visible signs of building cranes or of any construction in this overcrowded and neglected hell hole. To the north and west, on the hilltops, where PA officialdom lives, building cranes are in abundance.  New apartment buildings are being constructed, likely for the lesser officials. On the other side (western) of the hills, villas with gold-plated doors catch the eye of any observer. There is no doubt that these are the homes of the higher PA officialdom.

The contrast is vivid, the dichotomy is clear. American and European aid money has bought brand new SUV’s for PA officialdom, the best in (with cheap labor) construction and luxuries, but nothing has changed for the Palestinian refugees, who are being kept in deliberate misery by their fellow Palestinians. Yet, western (American and European) charity is meant to ameliorate the condition of the refugees. Instead, the camps are administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, better known as UNRWA, whose primary aim is self-perpetuation of the camp bureaucracy, paid for primarily by the West. UNRWA has fostered and encouraged the Palestinian refugee problem as a way to maintain the armed struggle against the Jewish State. It has done nothing to solve the refugee problems.

Palestinian victimhood is primarily a function of exploitation by the Palestinian leadership of its unfortunate poor. The refugee camp dwellers have become cannon fodder for terror organizations and are used as suicide bombers, hijackers and assassins by Palestinian leaders. Those leaders, trumping the Palestinian cause, have become rich by intimidating European countries, extorting money from wealthy Arabs, and preying on the guilt pangs of former European colonial powers and naive Americans.

Over a million Jewish refugees including survivors of the European Holocaust and Jews expelled from the Arab states (where Jews lived long before the arrival of Islam) have been absorbed into Israel, and are living dignified lives. Yet, the less numerous Palestinian refugees have been used as mere pawns by the Arab states and the Palestinian leadership to play with. In Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf States, and elsewhere in the Arab world, (with the exception of Jordan) Palestinians have not been granted citizenship nor equal opportunity in terms of jobs or housing. They live wretched lives while the Palestinian leadership endorses these conditions as a way to fan the fires of hatred and violence against the Jews and Israel. This is precisely why the PA leadership won’t “end the conflict” with Israel, and demands “the right of return” of Palestinian refugees when it is clear that Israel won’t accept such (demographically) suicidal conditions.

Palestinians would not have become refugees in 1948 had they agreed to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. There would have been no Palestinian refugees, had they chosen not to attack and terrorize the Jewish community in Palestine in 1929, 1936-1939, and later in 1948, when they attempted to extinguish the nascent Jewish state. History repeated itself in 1967.  After the Six Day War, Israel offered to negotiate peace with the Arab States. The response came from the Khartoum, Arab Summit, “No to Peace, No to negotiations with Israel, and No to recognition of Israel.” The PLO, founded in 1964, declared in its covenant that it aims to replace the Jewish state of Israel with a “democratic secular Palestine.” Article 7 stated “Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians if they are willing to live peacefully and loyally in Palestine.” This meant that only Jews descended from families that lived in Palestine before the advent of Zionism or before 1914 (less than 100,000) would be allowed to stay, and the rest would be expelled or killed.

SJP, on its national website states “Students at Jesuit universities across the country are especially vocal advocates for an end to the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” If there is ‘ethnic cleansing’ going on, why is it that the Palestinian population is exploding in the West Bank, Gaza, and in Israel proper and new Palestinian towns are popping up both in the West Bank and Israel?

The “occupation” mantra is meant to appeal to emotions and not facts. Israel is the legal administrator of the territories until a peace settlement is reached. The “occupation” could have ended in 1967 if the Arab states and the PLO had agreed to make peace as UN Resolution 242 required. The Palestinians could have acquired statehood in 1947, or once again under the Oslo Accords process. They chose instead to launch an intifada (uprising) against Israel, rather than “end the conflict.” President Bill Clinton presided over the Camp David 2000 Summit that brought Yasser Arafat (PLO and PA chairman) and Ehud Barak, Israel’s Prime Minister together. Barak offered 97% of the West Bank in addition to 3% of Israeli territory in exchange for incorporating the Jewish settlements into Israel. It was also agreed that the PA capital would be in East Jerusalem. Clinton was satisfied with the Israeli concessions, and both Barak and Clinton waited for Arafat’s signing on a document that declared the “end of conflict,” and all demands. Arafat refused to sign and two months later hoped to demoralize and defeat the Israelis through a war of terror called Intifada II.

Another mantra is the “wall,” which the BDS crowds and SJP rage about. The simple answer to this is, if there were no terror and suicide bombers, there would be no Wall. Currently, the Wall or security fence saves lives by preventing terror. The same is true with regards to check points. It may inconvenience Palestinians, but it saves lives from terror attacks.

In his book “The Haj,” Leon Uris describes how the Palestinian leadership said no to any compromise. His conclusion was that the Palestinian leadership had major culpability in the self-inflicted Palestinian victimhood. It is high time for American students to study history in order to learn the cause and effect of decision making. The SJP and their ilk can never appeal to reason or truth, and their deceitful imagery and rhetoric won’t help alleviate the misery of the Palestinian refugees.