Thursday, December 02, 2004

More on Arafat and the Palestinian Movement

Steven Plaut, writing in FrontPage reviews the history of the Palestinian movement and sees anti-semitism in Europe's embrace of it:
The simple fact of the matter is that there is no such thing on the planet as sympathy for and identification with Palestinians. There is no such thing as pro-Palestinianism. Period. When Palestinians, or when Arabs in general, are mistreated, repressed, and tormented by any Arab regime, no one cares. When Palestinians were mass murdered by Syria and Jordan, no one cared. When more than 100,000 Arab civilians are massacred in Algeria, it does not even make the evening news. When Asad or Saddam Hussein carry out mass murders of Arabs, the “Human Rights” lobby never looks up from its cinnamon latté.

The pro-Palestinian movement is nothing more than the 21st century’s reincarnation of medieval anti-Semitism, complete with medieval anti-Jewish blood libels. People who claim to feel empathy for Palestinians are typically motivated by hatred of Jews. The reason the pro-Palestinian movement wants the Palestinians to have a state is because it understands that such a state will operate as an instrument to attack Israel, murder Jews, and seek the annihilation of the Jewish state.
Plaut asks why no one, especially in Europe, was seeking a Palestinian state before Israel's conquest of Gaza and the West Bank in 1967:
The world actually understands that there is no such thing as a Palestinian “nation.” Palestinians are just Arabs who happen to live in the western section of Palestine, differing little from Syrians or Lebanese. Most of them are from families who migrated into Palestine from the time of the beginning of modern Zionism, when Jewish capital and human skills were making western Palestine a much more comfortable place to live for Arabs from the neighboring lands. To describe them as a “nation” is as persuasive as describing Michigan’s Arabs as a new “Detroitian” nation in need of self-determination.

In 1948, the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip were seized by Arab states, (illegally) occupied by Jordan and Egypt, in their war to extinguish the newly created state of Israel. The Arab countries could have unilaterally erected a Palestinian state any time between 1948 and 1967 had they wished to do so, and Israel could have had nothing to say about it. There was no Palestinian national movement at all demanding statehood in these areas. In the entire world, there was no demand for a right of the Palestinian “people” to erect a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Neither was there any demand for Palestinian self-determination east of the Jordan river. Transjordan was always as much “Palestine” as was the land west of the river, and the Palestinians have always been a demographic majority in Jordan (since its independence after World War I.) So why have these East Bank Palestinians never felt the need for “self-determination”? Why have none of the caring supporters of Palestinians ever come out for a Palestinian state at least partly east of the Jordan River? Surely, establishing a state there, at least initially, must be much easier than doing so west of the Jordan. There would be no pesky Israelis around to deal with!
and questions the common assumption that the "Palestinian Issue" lies at the heart of today's mideast crisis:
What exactly were the Fatah and the PLO (taken over by the Fatah faction in 1967) supposed to be “liberating”? After all, this was back before Israel’s victories in the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza in its counterattack. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were there for the Palestinian plucking, had they wished to have their own state. There were no “Palestinian occupied territories” at all to liberate. The West Bank and Gaza were not “occupied,” at least not by Israel.

The answer is that these Palestinian “liberation” movements were launched in the mid-1960s to liberate the Middle East from Israel’s existence. From Arafat’s viewpoint and that of his apologists, Tel Aviv and Haifa were and are just as much “illegal settlements on Palestinian soil” as anything later constructed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

On the day before the outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War, no one on earth, and certainly no Palestinians, were expressing the belief that Palestinians needed self-determination in the West Bank, on the East Bank, or in Gaza. Yet six days later, according to decades of historic revisionism ever since, the Palestinians are supposed to have morphed into a nation, desperately in need of their own state, unlike – say – the Kurds or Berbers, whose statelessness has never raises an eyebrow among the world’s compassionate classes. Indeed Palestinian statelessness was pronounced the nucleus of the entire Middle East conflict. But was it? Just what was the nucleus during the 20 years of conflict before 1967?