Friday, September 01, 2006

The Price of Ignoring the Elephant--The Palestine Problem

"Yet long before Iranians gave any serious thought to learning how to produce pretty mushroom clouds designed to erase humanity in broad strokes, or before Iraqis had reason to think anything but pleasant thoughts about America, or before the Taliban decided that playing host to Al-Qaeda might add some pizazz to a life bogged down by keeping girls out of school and maintaining strict guidelines concerning the lengths of men's beards--there was Palestine.

"Or rather, there wasn't. Which isn't to say there's been a lack of Palestinians. They're all over--in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East (in Jordan, Palestinians outnumber the natives)--everywhere, that is, except in an independent Palestine. And though it may be tempting blame a group like Hamas for recruiting the suicide bombers that have so long bedeviled Israel, that would still leave two important considerations out of the equation.

"First, that Palestinians aren't fighting Israel; they're fighting Israel's illegal occupation of their territories, and see no clear incentive to stop. And second, that a teenager about to graduate high school abruptly finding himself at the funeral of his one-year-old sister, killed by an Israeli bomb as she slept in her crib, peacefully sucking on a pacifier and dreaming baby dreams, is unlikely to need much recruiting.

"Abandoned, stateless and impoverished (and were that not enough, targeted) many Palestinians--be they college students, professors, plumbers or young widows--turn to resistence, which often includes blowing themselves up in crowds of Israelis, because in their minds to not resist would be akin to joining the living dead.

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