Murphy's Law: Arabs And The Palestinian Paradox


February 12, 2013: While most Arabs will admit they hate Israel, they will also deny that this has anything to do with anti-Semitism and has everything to do with the Palestinians. This is not true, as Arabs have long demonstrated a hostility towards the Jews, something which is part of their religion. It’s in their scriptures, the stories of how Jews refused to support Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Long held grudges are popular in this part of the world.

Meanwhile, there are many more recent reasons for Arabs to dislike the Palestinians. When the state of Israel was established in 1947, there began a series of bad decisions by Arab governments that are setting records for failure. Although the UN tried to broker the creation of Israel, Arab nations misjudged their own power and told Arabs in Israel to flee their homes, so that the Arab armies could come in and kill all the Jews. When that didn't work the Arabs refused to absorb the 600,000 Arab refugees and continues to treat (actually, mistreat) them as refugees. At the same time the Arabs expelled 600,000 Jews who had been living among them for centuries. Most of these Jews went to Israel, became Israelis, and prospered.

Thus began decades of hostility between Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. The Palestinians that fled to Lebanon proceeded to trigger a 15 year long civil war (1975-90) that devastated the country and left in place a Shia militia in the south (Hezbollah) that prevents the country from being truly united. The Palestinians that fled to Jordan eventually (1970) staged an uprising against the king, were defeated, and largely expelled. The Palestinians that went to Kuwait welcomed the Iraqi invasion of 1990, because Saddam Hussein had always been very loud about wanting to destroy Israel. When Arab and Western troops tossed Saddam out of Kuwait five months later, the Palestinians were forced to flee the vengeance of the Kuwaits. The Palestinians that went to Iraq also had to flee in 2003, because they had helped Saddam terrorize the Shia and Kurdish majority and were, well, you know the story.

Back in 1947, for about the fourteenth time since the Jews first took control of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean over 3,000 years ago, there was a change of management in that area as the state of Israel appeared. The Arab world vowed that this would not last, despite losing the 1947 war. In 1967 and 1973, Arab nations again believed that they could gang up on Israel and destroy it. Same result as in 1947. After the 1973 war, Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel and have benefited greatly from it. But consider, if the Arabs had not fled Israel in 1947, Arabs would now be the majority in a democracy. If the Arabs had not attacked in 1967, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza would be run by Arabs today. What a difference a little clear thinking can make.

Yet Palestinians and Arabs get away with calling themselves victims. They blame it all on "European colonialism." But a look at the record shows that to be absurd. Turks occupied the Arab lands for centuries before the Arabs were liberated by Europeans a century ago. A generation later, these Arabs were established as self-governing nations. And what did they do? They quickly evolved into dictatorships, where it was Arabs oppressing Arabs. The West bought their oil, and anything else of value they had (which wasn't much), and sold them things they could not (see above) build themselves. This gave rise to accusations that the West cheated the Arabs. Actually, it was Arabs cheating Arabs, as the Arab government officials often demanded bribes from Western salesmen. The West didn't just seize Arab oil as the price rose. The West paid its bills and got accused of making everything go wrong.

More Arab diplomats are privately telling the Palestinians (both Hamas and Fatah) that the Arab world is fed up with Palestinian squabbling, corruption, and general inability to move forward. This is not expected to change anything and avoids the fact that the Arab nations caused many of the Palestinians problems by not allowing Palestinians to migrate to other Arab nations after 1947 (the Palestinians could only stay as refugees). Israeli traditionalists see all this as an opportunity to take control of more land in the West Bank (which they see as part of "Greater Israel") and East Jerusalem (traditionally the Arab side of town). The Palestinians insist on removing all Israelis from areas they have moved into since 1967 (when Israel conquered the West Bank). That is not likely to happen because the small religious parties in the Israeli parliament are crucial for forming a government.

Neither Israel nor the Arabs seem capable of sorting out the Palestinian problems. Worst of all, the Palestinians seem to go out of their way to avoid a solution.




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