This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Exculpatory Forgiveness

"How is it possible that a country with such a strong army and experienced security service, Shin Bet, is hit with three terror attacks in a single day, as happened March 8, and has no recourse? Barely a week goes by without an Israeli getting stabbed or shot. Demolishing the homes of the attackers’ families does not stop the young attackers. Placing suspected terrorists under administrative detention without trial fails to impress scissor-wielding teenage Palestinian girls. Fear of losing their Israeli work permits is in no way a deterrent to those contemplating murder. The expulsion of families of attackers to the Gaza Strip, as proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is likely to stir up trouble with human rights organizations and the Supreme Court. It is only a matter of time before some genius proposes imposing the death penalty on suicide attackers."
Akiva Eldar, journalist, Al-Monitor/Israel Pulse
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Ahmad Aamer, 16, who the Israeli military said was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after he tried to stab them, during his funeral in the West Bank village of Mas'ha near Salfit, Mar. 9, 2016.  (photo by REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
When solutions elude to any manner of meaningful response that would persuade people to surrender their intransigent hatreds and instead lean toward cooperative attempts to satisfy the needs of people contesting the same plot of land, still incapable between them of reaching a concession that would require equal sacrifice on either side, acts of raging vengeance take the place of reasonable concessions. If there is in addition a history of inspiring violence against those named as oppressors the problem is compounded.

All the more so in the case of Palestinians who as children are taught through their school curricula, through popular state television programs, through actions by the administrative authorities that urge young people to consider land upon which sits an established state that it is their land, and an ongoing, never-forfeited conflict to wrest that land from whoever occupies it must be regarded as a patriotic duty, there will be no end in sight to the struggle of Israel to defend itself and the Palestinians to attack Israelis.

Apologists for the 'desperation' that propels Palestinian youth to acts of violence that imperil their own lives, stress that hope has been utterly dissipated through a history of occupation and oppression. Both of which could be lifted entirely if the authorities who claim to speak for the best interests of the Palestinians would put a stop to inciting their population to violence, and then honour them when their attacks succeed in killing civilians, and for their martyrdom reward their families with cash awards.

The failure of the Palestinian Authority to attend to the civil and civic needs of the population  under their authority is one that the population itself should be questioning, and some do, but authoritarian rule is not susceptible to criticism altering its course; instead there is a tendency to crack down, to punish the dissenters for their audacity in questioning the ruling authority's legitimacy. For a purported democracy legitimacy is as elusive as regular elections.

By the simple expedient of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, by agreeing to accept within a Palestinian state all those who consider themselves exiled and live as refugees, and by aborting the established tradition of viewing Israel as an enemy state illegally occupying Palestinian land and exhorting children to regard Israelis as fodder for their disaffected rage fed by the PA  in a deliberate move to create unrest among young Palestinians, much could be achieved. The two-state solution has perished as a result of Fatah's unwillingness to accede to Israel's presence.

When Jews were being annihilated by the hundreds of thousands by Nazi Germany's machinery to obliterate their presence from the world stage, hope never died among the victims; they all envisioned another time, a future soon to arrive when rescue would be mounted and they might resume their normal lives. Their nightmare never ended, but hope did flourish, difficult as it was to maintain despite all odds of endurance and resistance to death. The cult of courting death is an Islamic concept, that in seeking death one finds Paradise and if martyred one arrives in Paradise with full honours.

Arab Muslims have said repeatedly that they don't fear death but welcome it, and sneer at the weakness of non-Muslims who fear and avoid death. All these factors play into the steering of young Palestinians toward assaults against those their leaders have identified to them as oppressors and occupiers and stealers of the future for Palestinians. The festering hatred promotes violent action. And when civilians and soldiers and police are targeted for attack with malice aforethought, their reaction will be to defend themselves by any means.

"To top it all off, in an interview with Al-Monitor, Avigdor Liberman, chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, lashes out at Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for his decision to transfer NIS 500 million ($127 million) to the PA. He claims the authority uses this money to fund terrorism, to pay stipends to the families of assailants killed in clashes with Israeli security forces, to dole out monthly support to the families of Palestinians jailed in Israel for security-related offenses and to cover the legal defense of terrorists. Half a billion shekels is a lot of money. The man who for many years served as foreign minister and a member of the diplomacy and defense affairs cabinet obviously knows whereof he speaks. There is little doubt that Liberman, being from the West Bank settlement of Nokdim, closely monitors the economy of the territories", writes Mr. Eldar.

The World Bank annual report focusing on the economy of the West Bank in the years 2014/15, emphasizing the potential were the Palestinian Authority given access to economic activity in the portion of the West Bank under Israeli control, is impressive. But the Palestinian Authority chooses to forego the opportunity for complete sovereignty when it refuses to bargain in good faith with Israel time and again, to achieve a lasting formula for peace that would pave the way for a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state.
  • Revenue would increase by $2.2 billion a year.
  • Use of the land and water resources would probably bring in an additional $704 million annually.
  • Issuing licenses to Palestinian firms to extract stone from quarries would add $24 million to the public coffers.
  • Construction for Palestinians would expand activity in the real estate sector by $239 million.
  • Palestinian telecom companies could build an efficient network funneling another $48 million into the Palestinian treasury.
  • Access to the shores of the Dead Sea could provide Palestinians additional annual revenue of $1 billion.
Instead of planning for the future of the Palestinians, ushering them in to a new era of confidence in themselves and encouraging independence and entrepreneurship to forge ahead, the Palestinian Authority remains stuck in a rut it has carved for itself, corrupt, stagnant and agonizing over its relationship with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and remaining true to the tribal, sectarian rivalries that foment hatred and violence between them, leaving the only point of confluence that of their mutual hope that Israel will somehow self-destruct.

To paraphrase Golda Meier, if the Palestinians only loved their children more than they detest the Jews, they might be capable of weighing the sacrifice against the gain and arrive at the logical conclusion that to live in harmony is better than to die in strife.

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