March 02, 2005

Apologizing Palestinian Terror

This is an excellent piece over at TCS on the psychological perspectives of Westerners on Palestinian terrorism. You ought to read the whole thing, but I wanted to excerpt a couple parts.
    [I]t is not necessary for us to try to determine the question of who started it. This is because, even when we cannot be clear about who started it, we can be reasonably certain about who is not trying to stop it -- and this is certainly true in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israelis retaliate against terror, and they try to prevent it; but they do not use acts of terror to deliberately disrupt attempts at a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Palestinian terrorist organizations do. They have for decades, and they continue to engage in such terror, despite Palestinian national elections and concessions made by the Israelis. Nor is there any reason to suppose that this terror will end, so long as there are Palestinian organizations whose very existence depends on maintaining a condition of anarchy and disorder. Any stable and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would, in and of itself, rob the terrorist leaders and their followers of their power and importance. Thus, they have a vested interest in keeping uproar and violence alive.
This is a wonderful point. While neither side is wholly innocent, it's clear that the Palestinian terrorists are not interested in any foreseeable end to the 'cycle of violence.' We may not be able to figure out who started it, but it's obvious who is not trying to stop the violence.

    [S]ympathetic Americans see the plight of the Palestinian people and think to themselves, "What would be my aspirations if I were in such a situation?" And from this premise, they conclude that the Palestinians would aspire to the same kind of thing that we would aspire to under the same circumstances: to create our own state, to operate it independently, and to live in peace alongside Israel. But this is a classical example of the sympathetic illusion that prevails in so much Western thinking about the aspirations of the Palestinians in particular and the Arabs in general.

    The upshot of this sympathetic illusion is that we unconsciously replace the Palestinian fantasy aspirations of total victory over Israel with our own modest "Live and let live" attitude, thereby creating the mirage of a legitimate goal to which our imaginary Palestinians would be aspiring if they were just like us.

    This mirage of a legitimate goal is essential to all Western apologetics for Palestinian terrorism. Thus an organization like Hamas is seen as seeking a legitimate objective, namely the creation of an independent Palestinian state, but is simply going about it the wrong way. Instead of following the roadmap to peace, they are using terrorism. So get them to stop using terror, engage them in the peace process, and that way, the state of Israel will find peace and the "legitimate aspirations" of the Palestinians would be accommodated.
There certainly are a great many Palestinians desiring nothing more than peace, independence, freedom and democracy - and this is the whole underpinning of Bush's foreign policy I might add. But the Palestinian terrorists do not fall into this category any more than Hitler, Goebbels and Goerring would have in their time. When college students play down the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and PFLP and the rest they play a game of intellectual dishonesty. These groups want to kill Jews and obliterate the infidels. They do not seek peaceful resolution. We should not proceed as though they could pursue their goals peacefully. For these groups, violence is the end, not the means.

There's much more to the article and it's all quite interesting. What I personally find intriguing - and more than a little humorous - is the way pampered, white, Protestant American students like to attach themselves to the Palestinian cause to prove to themselves their own credibility as quasi-revolutionaries. I could go into depth on the subject, but they're so irrelevant socially and politically it seems like a colossal waste of my time and yours. Suffice to say: they carry the torch for Palestine to try and prove to others and themselves that they are radical and principled. The whole movement is silly; a caricature of itself.

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