IS THIS THE END OF PALESTINE?
Think back two years. Ariel Sharon was not only alive but healthy and staking his place in history on an idea he had never truly believed: that the Arabs of Palestine might be ready for peace with the Jewish state.
Condoleezza Rice even persuaded a few American Jewish zillionaires to ante up roughly $15 million to buy, as a parting gift from the Jews at once symbolic and practical, for the Gaza Arabs the hothouses that had helped make local agriculture, for the first time in history, so abundant and also valuable.
...I was never taken in by the dream of Palestine, although I realized that Israeli dominion over so many Arabs did somewhat dim the incandescence of the Zionist reality,
...That the Palestinian elites were and are corrupt is a historic reality, a shabby reality. It was the Palestinian aristocracy that sold off its lands for Jewish settlement from the very beginning of the Zionist experiment.
Most of the Arabs of Palestine resented the Jews. But resentment is not a foundation for a nation...One of the harsh truths that we have learned is that terrorism may be the prime expression of a fledgling nationalism, perhaps even its only collective expression...So what is Palestine? It is an improvisation from a series of rude facts...The Palestine Liberation Organization, founded in 1964, was not founded to liberate these territories. It was founded to liberate that part of Palestine held by Israel.
...But the Palestinians' war against the Jews is actually also a war against one another...Hamas had set the terms of the intra-Palestinian conflict as all or nothing. Those are characteristic Hamas conditions, with other Arabs as with the Jews. It is true that Fatah men of com- bat were battling for their lives. But they were not battling for peace with Israel.
The disintegration of Gaza began as soon as the Israelis departed. This was not an issue of what Israel did or did not do. The ur-religious and the ur-nationalist were in psychological control of the strip from the beginning. Hamas did not shoot (many) rockets across the border into enemy territory. But its surrogates did. Hamas did nothing about this, and Fatah really couldn't. They couldn't, although Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the American coordinator in the area, assured they could, especially after supplying arms to Fatah and persuading Olmert to supply more weapons, which, as luck would have it, are now in Hamas's possession.
...There are now three cohorts of Palestinians between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. (Four, if you count the Palestinian majority under Hashemite rule.) [my gosh, has he been reading my blog post?]
...Would that there were a mature national will among the Palestinians. It might even be able to temper the rage of the Arabs against one another. Not until their sense of peoplehood conquers their rage against one another will they be in the psychological position to think of peace with Israel. I doubt this will happen any time soon. This is the end of Palestine, the bitter end.
(Kippah tip: SP and to RJI)