The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Perpetual Refugees

In article after article in the left-leaning MSM, there is subtle condemnation of Israel. After all, the implication is that Israel has no right to defend itself. Or if it does, that it can only slap at Hamas, rather than attempt to destroy rocket launching sites (always embedded among civilians for maximum casualties and important PR effect). But in the millions of words spewing out of the media on this subject— words like "oppression," and "occupation," and "degradation"—all intended to characterize a violent Islamist terrorist group as a victim, there is no mention of a few salient facts.

John Podhoretz provides some details:
It was nine years ago that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. It was seven years ago that Hamas took control of Gaza following an election in which the terrorist group routed the Palestinian Authority (which controls the West Bank).

The area has been entirely under Palestinian dominion.

Since 2005, Israel’s overall econ­omy has grown almost 60 percent larger, with an annual GDP growth rate of 4.5 percent.

Israel, once the globe’s poorest democracy, ranks 37th among nations in overall GDP and its per-capita income of $31,000 per year makes it the 25th richest country on earth.

And Gaza? Its economy is largely frozen. Its per-capita income hovers around $2,000. Because its people elected a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel, almost all economic ties between the growing economic giant and the basket case have been severed.

No rational outside investor wants to have anything to do with Gaza, given its management and the simple fact that its government seems to be obsessed with getting itself into a destructive war with its neighbor every couple of years.

And not only that, but Gazans exist in a bizarre condition known nowhere else on earth. Nearly 1.2 million of the area’s 1.5 million residents are classified as “refugees,” notwithstanding the fact that almost all of them were born there. They live in eight “refugee camps” — towns that are now 65 years old.

As Michael Bernstam of the Hoover Institution has written, “These camps were established in 1949 and have been financed ever since by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Yet far from seeking to help residents build a new and better life either in Gaza or elsewhere, UNRWA is paying millions of refugees to perpetuate their refugee status, generation after generation, as they await their forcible return to the land inside the State of Israel.”
Palestinians are indeed "perpetual refugees." Everywhere else on earth wars have been fought, peoples have been displaced, and new nations have formed. The displaced have slowly been absorbed into other nations (and have often contributed to the growth of those nations). They have started new lives. With passing generations, things have gotten better (for most).

But the palestinians—no so much. It seems that their raison d'être is the destruction of Israel. Nothing more. Their leadership brings a combination of corruption, incompetence, and hatred that is a toxic stew for those palestinians who simply want to live their lives in peace. Leaders in the west seem to encourage this by continuing "aid" that enriches the palestinian leaders (Yassar Arafat was estimated to have a fortune topping $1 billion when he died!) and allow others to live in difficult conditions. They encourage it by not speaking plainly about the palestinians futile attempts to destroy Israel. They encourage it because they don't offer Hamas tough love -- reallly, really tough love.

So the rockets are launched, Israel responds, and the status quo ante remains. This is all on the palestinians—every death, every injury, every bomb blast. Only they can stop it. Only they are responsible for it.

Sometimes harsh actions today result in a better life tomorrow. Harsh actions against the palestinians leadership are needed today. It's the only chance the palestinians have.

Richard Fernandez does what he does best, get to the core of the issue. He writes:
Nihilism isn’t the absence of a belief. It is something subtly different: it is the belief in nothing. The most powerful weapon of terrorism is therefore the unyielding No. “No I will not give up. No I will not tell the truth. No I will not play fair. No I will not spare children. No I will not stop even if you surrender to me; I will not cease even if you give me everything you have, up to and including your children’s lives. Nothing short of destroying me absolutely can make me stop. And therefore I will defeat you even if you kill me. Because I will make you pay the price in guilt for annihilating me.”

It’s an extremely powerful weapon. The Absolute No is a devastating attack on the self-image and esteem of civilization. Hamas will demonstrate the No, the Nothing. It will show that deep down inside Israelis — and Americans — are animals like them. This can be called the Seven Gambit, from a 1995 film which explores this exact theme. It depicts two detectives versus the devil in the shape of nameless man, who kills people not by attacking them directly, but by creating situations where they kill themselves by yielding to one of the seven deadly sins: sloth, gluttony, vanity — and finally vengeance and wrath.

His final victim is the detective. In the final scene the devil provokes Detective David Mills into unlawfully shooting him by showing him the head of his pregnant wife. The devil wins by making the point that murder lies dormant, waiting to be awakened, even within the bosom of the law.

The power of Hamas lies in that they will never stop hating. No ceasefire, concession, negotiation or entreaty will move them. That is their inhuman strength. The Jews can even exterminate them, but only at the cost of destroying all the ideals they hold dear.

The comments to Richard Fernadez's article referenced in UPDATE-I are well worth reading. In the main they are angry and dark, suggesting that destruction of Islamist terror must be accomplished without worry about "destroying all the ideals [we] hold dear." One commenter, "Xennady", provides a dark, yet thought-provoking assessment:
The Palestinians are essentially Nazis without that fetching German ability to pay their own grocery bills. The world would be a better place without them.

But the Western World enables this behavior by allowing them to survive it. The same applies to the rest of the murderous, terrorist-filled umma. We spent trillions of dollars and thousands of lives attempting to show the muslims of Iraq a better way- and our reward is that we get to watch the same old murderous scene play out once again.

Afghanistan is no different. Before 9/11 we were the largest aid donor to that ninth-century failed state. After they attacked us, doing enormous and expensive damage, we were still their largest aid donor, subsuming military goals to idiotic charity.

No lesson was learned, or taught, so they'll hit us again. Sooner or later they'll do enough damage to actually scare the fools misruling the Western World, or get them replaced.

Assuming we aren't simply destroyed, what then?

I suspect that Western self-loathing is sort of a societal auto-immune disorder. Having been on the top of the global heap for centuries, too many people- including the so-called leadership- simply cannot imagine an existential threat arising from a non-Western source. Fear and loathing normally directed outward in a typical human society has no logical target, so it fixes on something illogical and inward.

Once all that hostility finds a logical outside target, courtesy of a grim bloody lesson taught by terrorists or a terrorist state, I suspect it isn't going to be more sunshine and lollipops, forgiveness and coexistence.

I think a lot of people are going die, quite likely more than if the West had simply made war in the traditional manner, killing those who needed killing, then being merciful later.

Hopefully, we still have time to learn that lesson.