Sunday, November 21, 2004

Why not the Kurds?

Why not the Kurds?

Yosef Goell, no rightwinger, asks about the Palestinians "These people deserve a state?"

The most telling pictures from Ramallah on Friday were of the Palestine Authority's Saeb Erekat vainly trying to force open the door of the helicopter in the face of the mob, then escaping with his other returning colleagues and losing themselves in the crowd.

In that context it is worth recalling that until Friday many were pressuring Israel to permit Arafat's burial on the Temple Mount.

The problem all along was not merely the murderer Arafat but the Palestinian people whom he truly represented and led. It is a population with an unprecedentedly high proportion of violence-prone young men, and parents who have surrendered any hope of controlling them.

Such a population does not deserve an independent state, even if it does hold superficially democratic elections. Such an armed independent state would constitute a great danger to Israel, to the surrounding Arab world and to the stability of the Middle East and the world as a whole.

For all the talk we hear of how Israel must allow the Palestinians their own state for Israel's own good and Israel's claim to legitimacy (How many times have we heard that if Israel's occupation continues it will cease to either be a democratic state or it will cease to be a Jewish state?) there's precious little talk of the requirements the Palestinians must meet to create a legitimate state. It's just not there. But Goell is right. Is creating a nation of people who are so wedded to violence a good thing? He thinks not, and I agree.
If anything Oslo delayed the day a moderate Palestinian state might come to exist. Arafat and his Tunis mafia destroyed all institutions of moderation in the lands Israel ceded to them. The Palestinians have a long way to go before they show that they're capable of governing themselves without endangering their neighbors.

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