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.