Winning: Palestinians Lose Another War

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October 4, 2007: For the first time, there was a notable lack of Palestinians holding public celebrations for the anniversary of the start of their September, 2000 "intifada" uprising. The violence began because a peace deal with Israel had caused a split within the Palestinian community. Yasser Arafat, head of the Fatah party, and chief Palestinian leader since the 1960s, was being criticized by more extreme factions. Yasser thought that a little terrorism against Israel would improve his standing with Palestinian militants, and get the Israelis to sweeten the pot. It didn't work.

Before the terrorists were defeated in 2005, nearly 5,000 people were killed (80 percent of the Palestinians.) Israel found the terrorists weak spot (their support and leadership system), and went after it. By 2005, the Israeli efforts had so disrupted the terrorist operations that hardly any suicide bombers were getting through. Some still did, but so infrequently that it wasn't newsworthy. For the terrorists, these infrequent successes (and the many failed attempts) actually hurt the terrorists, because it showed that their efforts were in vain and wasted. Since 2005, the terrorists have kept trying, but the body count (about 500 for two years) is much smaller, and mostly Palestinian. There are also an additional 9,000 Palestinians in prison.

Terrorism is still popular among Palestinians, because, while it doesn't work against Israelis, it does work against Palestinians. The most recent Palestinian elections, last year, saw one inept terrorist group (Fatah) defeated (more for being corrupt than anything else), by another terrorist group (Hamas) that promised cleaner government and more effective terrorism. Hamas has delivered neither, and is now in big political trouble.

The terror campaign destroyed the substantial support the Palestinians had within Israel. The split within the Palestinian community got worse as Israel fought back, and eventually defeated the terrorists. Now Hamas controls Gaza, while Fatah controls the West Bank. Hamas is an international pariah, while Fatah is seeking to make peace with Israel. The Palestinian economy is wrecked and, as this years lack of a celebration demonstrated, the Palestinians are demoralized. They have lost another war with Israel.

The only thing the Palestinians have going for them is the long view. Many Palestinians view Israel as another version of the "Crusader States." These were the feudal principalities set up (from southern Turkey, into Syria and down the coast to the Sinai) by the victorious European crusaders in 1098. By 1291, less than 200 years, they were gone. Although there were far more Christians in the area than today, the region was still overwhelmingly Moslem, and Arab. The Crusader States were not removed by time, but by powerful Moslem armies. For the Israelis, time is also on their side, as the Jews have lived in the area for over 3,000 years. People have long memories in the Middle East, but for the Palestinians, the present is defeat.

 


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