Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Thoughts on Palestinian "wilding"

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza (which I supported, by the way, as the best alternative among all the lousy "choices among crazinesses" available to the Israelis at the time) has had some disheartening results.

First we had the inevitable but sorrowful spectacle of Israeli soldiers forcing weeping Israeli settlers from their homes. And now we have another inevitable spectacle, this one of destructive fury: a Palestinian wilding that is annihalating what's left of the settlements, including the synagogues and the greenhouses.

The article from the Scotsman that I linked describes the festivities. It's an example of what I called the Martin Higby phenomenon (see here for an explanation) run amok. Imagine a society that nurtures rage in its children, feeding it and watering it like a precious crop. This is the harvest: a society in which those who would be moderates, those who would just like to get on with the sober and hopeful business of building a just and decent society, are overwhelmed by the explosion of carefully fostered rage.

It's not surprising, of course, that people are helping themselves to what's there, a sort of recycling. What should be surprising, however, is that they are even destroying their own potential livelihood, the flourishing greenhouses the Israelis had built, and which the Palestinians themselves had hoped to make the basis of their post-withdrawal economy.

But somehow it's not surprising. Why? In certain situations, rageful crowds can be as hard to contain as the force of a ferocious hurricane spilling water over and through inadequate levees. Not only has Palestinian culture long been in the business of whipping up destructive rage for its own propaganda purposes (not to mention keeping its citizens in weakened economic conditions the better to further those very same purposes), but it's a society in which the restraints on violence are not at all strong. Among the Palestinians, their sheepdog protectors--both of the herding and the guard variety--are extremely weak or even non-existent. In many cases the sheepdogs are probably even wolves in sheep's clothing. Without police as effective brakes on the impulse to destroy, and without the will to apply these brakes, that impulse can expand unchecked and, in the end, feed on the society itself.

I have no doubt that moderates--or at least would-be moderates--exist among Palestinians. How many there are I cannot tell. Are they rare? Or are they numerous but silenced into invisibility by the fact that speaking out would get them killed in short order? I do not know. But I don't think that they have a chance right now.

Part of the terrible calculus of the Israeli withdrawal was a hope that the world might finally see the Israelis as doing the right thing this time, and see that the resultant Palestinian response would either be to finally make a decent society for themselves or to show themselves to be hopelessly at war with each other. The latter--a vicious civil war--is the one I'd bet on at the moment, I'm afraid.

As for how the world sees the Israelis, articles such as this one from Reuters are not exactly what you'd call sympathetic to them. Reuters continues to subtly--and sometimes not so subtly--present what amounts to the Palestinian point of view.

The Reuters article, as well on another from the London Times discussed here by Wretchard of Belmont Club, uncritically present the Palestinian accusation that the Israelis left the synagogues intact as a way to make the Palestinians look bad when they destroyed them.

Well, of course--the Israelis are the evil puppeteers, as usual. The Palestinians have been raised on the idea that they themselves are responsible for nothing and that their endless victimhood entitles them to endless revenge, and much of the world has reinforced them in that perception. So this blaming of the Israelis for the acts of Palestinian crowds in destroying the synagogues comes as no surprise, either, although it bodes ill not only for the Israelis, but for the Palestinians, too--and for the world.

20 Comments:

At 2:51 PM, September 13, 2005, Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Part of the terrible calculus of the Israeli withdrawal was a hope that the world might finally see the Israelis as doing the right thing this time...
= = = = =

That's possible, but frankly I doubt it. Israeli governments have been trying that since 1973, at least, when a decision was made not to launch a pre-emptive strike (but to let Egypt and Syria attack at will instead -- a decision that very nearly destroyed Israel).

It has never worked. Israel was condemned as the aggressor in 1973, and at every possible opportunity since. Even now, Palestinians are claiming that the Gaza Strip is still Israeli-occupied territory (!!), which therefore justifies continued terrorism.

As long as people have a vested interest in blaming Israel for anything and everything, they will continue to do so. That's sad, but it's been a constant trend for a long time now, and it would be silly not to expect it to continue.

Yes, the withdrawal from Gaza had strong propaganda purposes, as Orson Scott Card pointed out. But I believe those were secondary. The primary motivation, I believe, was to take the initiative away from the Palestinians, and leave Israelis masters of their own fates again. (It also, as Gloria Salt pointed out, removed the soft targets from a war zone.)

One last thought: you might want to choose a better term for this than "wilding". We are not seeing hot-headed teenagers, letting off steam after a football game. What we are watching is a society intent on destruction. If they can't destroy Israel, they'll do their level best to destroy themselves.

respectfully,
Daniel in Brookline

 
At 3:30 PM, September 13, 2005, Anonymous Paul said...

Where is a Solomon when we need him as in the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire? All of our efforts (and others as well) will come to naught if this dilemma isn't solved.

 
At 3:30 PM, September 13, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"Part of the terrible calculus of the Israeli withdrawal was a hope that the world might finally see the Israelis as doing the right thing this time."

Nothing they can do will do so - you can not reason someone out of an idea that they didn't use reason to come up with.

Even as far as I can tell, 9/11 didn't cause you to reason your way out, but to feel it. After that was the real change - one in which (by my reading) you began to logically think about the world and try and impartially observe it.

That's a large part of why leftist, and to a lesser extent liberals, see that change as heretical. I'ts not like an engineer where a bridge collapsing means that everything he ever believed is wrong, it means there was a mistake and you go find it (even if it makes you feel bad you messed up, it isn't shaking your foundations of beliefe). For someone who that bridge represents thier entire person, thier entire beliefe, it can not collapse, it can not be thier fault - it *must* work.

Israel could from now on out give the Palestenians everything they want, the world could give it to them, and thier screwups will never be thier faults. If they can't see the Palestenians as they really are now it will take something greater than 9/11 to shock people out of thier delusions.

 
At 4:51 PM, September 13, 2005, Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"I have no doubt that moderates--or at least would-be moderates--exist among Palestinians.
How many there are I cannot tell. Are they rare? Or are they numerous but silenced into invisibility
by the fact that speaking out would get them killed in short order? I do not know. But I don't think that they have a chance right now."
-neo-neocon

i enjoy reading your blog.

i understand you're still in the process of leaving behind your
"liberal blinders"...but please...
find some way to read some of the Quran.

we are all naieve in the sense that we imagine other people,of good will,throughout the world,
essentally have the same values we do.

it is one of the profound idiocies of multiculturalism,imo.

why?

it simply is not true.

some people will say i'm "bigotted", i'm "racist" (Islam is a race??) etc,etc,etc.

fine.

...except that the Quran,as a script for dominance,militancy,and empire,
is plain for any and all to see,who are willing to make the effort to inform themselves.

the hunt for "moderates" and why it is these people("the moderates") should be "silenced into invisibility by the fact that speaking out would get them killed in short order"
is NO mystery.

that you,neo,in your role
as a person trying to grasp these events at a psychological and
societal level seem not do have done so yet...i find disconcerting.

respectfully-
-gumshoe

PS - looking forward to "Part B".

 
At 8:29 PM, September 13, 2005, Anonymous Will Franklin said...

The synagogues are far more symbolic, but the greenhouses make me most sad, if only because they were supposed to serve as the cornerstone of the "New Gaza" economy.

 
At 8:48 PM, September 13, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

Israel leaves Gaza but I bet they will still maintain the infrastructure there. I bet Israeli ambulances will still carry palis by the hundreds out of gaza for free medical care and I bet the palis will flock to Jewish hospitals by the hundreds from gaza for free medical care too. I wonder if Israelis will go into gaza and clean pali toilets for them too?

 
At 9:55 PM, September 13, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

What dilemna? The people who believe there are two sides to the story keep getting blown up by the people who think there is only one.

 
At 11:22 PM, September 13, 2005, Blogger Papa Ray said...

I echo "What Dilemna?"

Its very simple.

Arabs hate Jews.

Forever and Ever.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

 
At 11:37 PM, September 13, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

Gumshoe 1: It's not a sort of starry-eyed liberal hope that makes me believe there are moderate Palestinians. In every population, even those that are brainwashed and socialized into extreme violence and hatred (i.e. the Nazis, the Palestinians), there is a certain percentage on whom the extreme indoctrination simply does not "take." As I wrote in my essay, I do not know how numerous this group is in the Palestinian population, but I am convinced it does exist--and, if it did exist, you wouldn't hear a thing about it, because if such people want to live, they'd generally be keeping their mouths shut.

Another reason I am certain there are at least some moderate Palestinians is I have read a number of articles (I don't have the sites, unfortunately) that describe how the generation of older Palestinians, the ones who were raised before the indoctrination in hatred reached its current intensity, are not so mired in hate as their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, as this group dies off, their percentage in the population (already perhaps very small), will grow even smaller. But at present, they do exist.

 
At 12:18 AM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I wonder when the Israelis will become serious in eliminating the Palestinians. Or perhaps they are mentally unable to equate peace with the destruction of their enemies.

The Jewish are an enigma. How could such a very pacifistic people, though productive, have survived?

They get kicked out of their countries that they paid blood and soul to help build. They walk quietly in the night, to the trains with their cargoes of death and humans.

They fight brilliantly, yet always defensively.

They are freaking Hannibal. Competent enough to win victory after victory, but without the wisdom or luck to make USE of those victories.

I wonder how long the Jewish people can last in the state they are.

Americans have a much superior battle philosophy in my view. We obliterate everything until we win and everyone else gives up. Pretty simple and effective, historically.

You could clearly see America's "genka" or limit, the absolute maximum limit that we can take before we snap and become violent and go on a annihilation spree. The Israelis don't seem to have a limit for some reason...

Did they somehow become "too" civilized? Maybe their religion is holding them back, even when they have such great fighting men and women in their armed forces.

Since a great military can't do anything if the public keeps its head in the sand waiting for peace instead of victory.

The Jewish people are a real enigma. They face terrorism daily... but still vote Democrat... what?

There is no psychological mechanism that explains their behavior. ALl the Hobbessian models don't work.

 
At 1:36 AM, September 14, 2005, Blogger gumshoe1 said...

Papa Ray said...

I echo "What Dilemna?"

Its very simple.

Arabs hate Jews.

Forever and Ever.



neo-neocon said...

"Gumshoe 1: It's not a sort of starry-eyed liberal hope that makes me believe there are moderate Palestinians.
In every population, even those that are brainwashed and socialized into extreme violence and hatred (i.e. the Nazis, the Palestinians),
there is a certain percentage on whom the extreme indoctrination simply does not "take." "

yes,but clearly these people don't ACT.
they've been neutered by a culture of terror.
i think calling such a person a "moderate" is a stretch.

neo-neocon said...
" Another reason I am certain there are at least some moderate Palestinians is I have read a number of articles
(I don't have the sites, unfortunately) that describe how the generation of older Palestinians,
the ones who were raised before the indoctrination in hatred reached its current intensity,
are not so mired in hate as their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, as this group dies off,
their percentage in the population (already perhaps very small), will grow even smaller. But at present, they do exist."

but do they have the respect of the young?
i say they do not.
the young have been trained to see such people as traitors,collaborators,or simply "the weak horse".
negotiating,from an extremist's point of view, is for people without Power.


Reading the Quran,neo...

1)
would clarify:why Papa Ray's comment is unfortunately true.

the Quran is taken as the literal word of Allah.
the original version exists in Paradise and can never be altered or critically (or anthropologically) examined by Muslims.
Allah hates Jews.
So Mohammad says.
"Forever and Ever."

2)
would clarify:why Islam is a culture of terror.
terror is the tool of both empire building and *governmental control*.
its founder and prime practioner was Mohammad...Mohammad is the model for Muslims.

3)
would clarify:why your secular,sociology-based counting of "older,more moderate Palestianians",
while possibly accurate and interesting,is practically irrelevant given that...

a) the Palestinian (PLO) charter,despite ALL the Road Maps,Oslo Accords,etc.
STILL not only doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist.. the PLO Charter OPENLY states:

http://www.iris.org.il/plochart.htm


Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.

Note, however, that the PLO's translation sometimes deviates from the original Arabic so as to be more palatable to Western readers. For example, in Article 15, the Arabic is translated as "the elimination of Zionism," whereas the correct translation is "the liquidation of the Zionist presence." "The Zionist presence" is a common Arabic euphemism for the State of Israel, so this clause in fact calls for the destruction of Israel, not just the end of Zionism.


so you can see the PLO "State" policy has little to do with whatever "moderate agenda" might be considered
constructive in the sense of "Two States living side by side in Peace"...it's not ON the Agenda ,except when it buys
time,or foreign aid,or positive publicity,all of which are directed to....Article 15,"the Agenda".

b) the Palestinians are the pawns of larger Arab ambitions and have been for some time(see article 15 above)
it has never been "the Palestinians out there,lonely,and on their own".

and the last item is the reason why they are in the role of pawns:

4)
why does Jerusalem matter?

Israel is an obstacle to the triumph of Islam,and (radical?) Muslims' desire for the return of the Caliphate.
if Allah allows the destruction of Israel,who will stand in the way of the Caliphate?

i'm not trying to be bleak.
i am trying to be accurate.


hth-
-gumshoe

 
At 6:55 AM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Ocean Guy said...

The conflict is an Arab-Israeli issue, it cannot be limited to "palestinians." The Arabs created the palestinian problem and use it as a weapon against Israel... Peace must come through Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus, and Amman... it will never come from Ramallah alone.

 
At 8:47 AM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

As many other folks have said, as long as arab nations and their leaders can focus on the Jews, their ignorant masses don't focus on the corruption and oppressive regimes they live under. It works well and reminds me of the ignorance of some Americans who blame the Katrina problems on George Bush.

 
At 10:42 AM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there really a difference between terrorists who plan and execute the attacks, and moderates who proclaim the virtues of peace but allow terrorists to use their houses for smuggling explosives? Who even use their protestations for peace as a shield to protect those who murder without conscience?

 
At 11:22 AM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

Gumshoe: I have no quarrel with the points you are making. And, however numerous or however rare Palestinian moderates might be, unfortunately it's somewhat of an academic point, I know. We have no way of knowing how many exist, because any who do exist would silenced by fear of reprisals. So they are both invisible and powerless, if there are any at all.

I also wrote that such moderates, "haven't got a chance."
I mean that in two ways: they haven't got a chance of gaining any power, and they haven't got a chance of living if they do speak up.

Why do I make the point, then, that there probably are some Palestinian moderates? Is it irrelevant? Yes and no. It's irrelevant in terms of policy--Israel and the US must act as though they don't exist right now, because effectively they don't.

But I think it is important in human terms to at least keep their possible existence in mind, however powerless and silenced they might be.

 
At 11:22 AM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous David Thomson said...

“But somehow it's not surprising.”

I take it for granted that the Palestinians are self-destructing. This is why I so strongly agree with Ariel Sharon’s decision to move the settlers behind the Wall. I don’t believe in the good intentions of Palestinians---my faith is invested in the Wall. The IDF can also take effective military action whenever necessary.

Are there any moderate Palestinians? Yes, but it really doesn’t make any difference. They are powerless and fearful of their more radical cohorts. Out of sight and out of mind. The hell with the Palestinians. They must now sleep in the bed of their own making. One should have as much concern for them as you would for a level three child molester.

 
At 5:19 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous Nobody said...

There is one way that moderate Palestinians make themselves felt. They provide the intelligence which has allowed Israel to assasinate several terrorist leaders.

They also get killed for collaborating with Israel.

Other than that, they are basically a silent minority.

 
At 6:42 PM, September 14, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

Nobody:

Well, after they get killed they are a very silent minority. But can you imagine what sort of courage it takes to be a Palestinian informer?

 
At 5:23 PM, September 15, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Palestinian moderates become important only when the US decides to ignore Israel, and invade Palestine and take it over like we did Baghdad and Iraq. This time we would have the experience, both in political and military terms, to actually handle it well.

What are Hamas and Hizbollah going to do? IEDs? VBIEDs planted among children, suicide bombers blowing up our barracks? Been there, done that, saw it written in an after action report.

The moderates exist, they would have to given the human uniqueness among a large segment population. Since they exist in Iraq, and we're using the moderates to help us, it is a useful tool. It is perhaps the KEY INGREDIENT to successfully drain the swamp. Because if you don't want to rule that section of the ME, then you have to find people who are patriotic, capable, and motivated to do so in your stead.

In some ways, the word moderate doesn't tell the whole story. Being moderate in the pursuit of freedom, isn't a virtue. No, moderation in this sense, has to mean pragmatism. Doing not what your fellow people are doing or what your intellectual/religous leaders are saying/doing, but doing what you have to do, because your survival and the future of your children depend upon it. No Empty Slogans, no fighting for a socialist Utopia, not fighting for a Utopia under Allah free of Jews, just fighting for life, food, and a job.

Assassinating terroist leaders is in fact, not WORTH the price of the informant's lives. Because we need those people, if ever we had to go in and remake Palestine so that terroists cannot recruit any more people. We take their territory away from them, logistically and resource based.

Israel could have done that, if they had the will and manpower, but since they didn't have those things they wouldn't and couldn't do it. Which is why Israel is still fighting the Arabs. I can't imagine the Americans still fighting in Iraq after 40 years...

Their occupation is all about being on the defense, never about being on the offense as we are in Iraq doing. The mentality isn't quite the same.

Our Soldiers become Imperialist Grunts, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way. They bring law, order, and our culture, things that all Empires brought to subject people for the betterment of the subject people. But since we don't have the infrastructure of Empire, our Soldiers do the job without the danger of an expansionist Empire.

Therefore that is why you hear stories about Iraqis helping Americans, when we expect them not to do so because we are occupiers. Guess what? To the Iraqis, they didn't mind being occupied, what they minded was how inept Americans were in replacing Saddam rule with American rule. They misunderstood our intentions, and we misunderstood their logic.

That always happens when two cultures collide anyways.

here's a link about Iraqis helping Americans.

http://thunder6.typepad.com/365_arabian_nights/2005/09/the_roadblock.html

You can find such stories everywhere, they're there, they just aren't easy to find if you don't look somewhere other than the MSM and AP/Reuters network.

 
At 5:28 PM, September 15, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Link

P.S.

I just wanted to add one small thing. Which is that the enemy is strong in propagandizing and brainwashing their next generation to serve as cannon fodder to kill more Americans.

We must then, not attack this directly by killing all the terroists. Attack their weak point, or flank them. And we flank them by getting their own people to turn on the terroists, because if they don't, we or our allies are going to kill them or the terroists (like in Iraq) will kill them out of fear that they will help us.

Make a civil war occur in the enemy's ranks, weaken them, divide and conquer. You can't divide when both sides are evil, so there has to be some moderates. A lot of them in fact. Or else, the whole thing is hopeless on a human level.

 

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