Palestinian leaders' self interest militates against peace
The unspoken reality is that Palestinian elites dare not forge real peace with Israel because it will expose them as having wasted the lives of their people for decades to acquire something Israel was always ready to offer anyway
A few weeks ago, the Huffington Post published an article by Omar Alnatour, a pro-Palestinian activist who describes himself as a humanitarian. In the piece, Alnatour rehearses the familiar tropes about the suffering of young children in Gaza during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
The conflict is not a religious one, Alnatour reports, but is really a “secular humanitarian crisis.” In this crisis, Palestinian suffering is all Israel’s fault, Hamas did nothing wrong, and the world really needs to do something to help the Palestinian people.
“Justice” is the way to peace, Alnatour opines.
But when Alnatour talks of “justice” he doesn’t mean the arrest, prosecution and punishment of Hamas leaders who have committed war crimes by targeting civilians with rocket fire or by using hospitals and schools to store their weapons and in so doing putting Palestinian children in harm’s way. For Alnatour, “justice” means the continued demonization of the Jewish state and its leaders.
This is a pretty dishonest view of the conflict. It is Hamas that causes the suffering of the people in Gaza. In its effort to exercise a veto over Jewish self-determination, Hamas starts wars it cannot win with a more powerful state that cannot afford to lose, and in the course of these wars, it attacks Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
Hamas then uses the inevitable suffering of the Palestinians that results to score propaganda points against Israel. Alnatour, like a lot of so-called humanitarians, cooperates with this strategy.
For Alnatour, normalization and interfaith dialogue, organized by the Muslim Leadership Initiative is the enemy of justice. “The issue is that when these interfaith discussions are normalized it leads to religion being used as a tool to whitewash Israel's crimes,” he writes.
Alnatour’s hostility toward normalization is the most troublesome aspect of his article. If there is to be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, it will not be through the demonization of Israel that Alnatour engages in, but in the normalization he abhors.
By opposing normalization, the establishment of a modus vivendi between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Alnatour is helping to consign yet another generation of Palestinian young people to a lifetime of suffering and isolation.
Normalization is desperately needed if the Palestinians are to have a future, but the problem is this: If Palestinian leaders accept a deal with Israel, it won't be much better than what was offered to the Arabs and Palestinians over the past several decades. It might even be worse.
Once such a deal is achieved, the question that the Palestnians will ask is a simply one: “Why did we send all our children off to die in fruitless wars and terror attacks that gave us nothing more than what was offered to us previously?”
When the Palestinian people realize that their leaders have squandered their lives and well being for so long, the consequences will be ugly for Palestinian elites.
This is why Palestinian leaders in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been promoting hostility toward Jews and their homeland for decades. By inciting such hatred, the corruptocrats in the Palestinian Authority and the thugs of Hamas are deferring the backlash that would come if the Palestinian people came to their senses and realized that it is their leadership and not Israel that is the ultimate cause of their suffering.
Omar Alnatour's piece is just another in a long line of propaganda pieces that try to distract attention from the failure of Palestinian leaders by placing the blame for Palestinian suffering on the shoulders of the Israelis.
By arguing against normalization Alnatour is enlisting in a campaign that will consign yet another generation of Palestinian young people to decades of suffering. This is not the behavior of a true humanitarian, but of a propaganda warrior intent on sowing misinformation and hostility toward Israel into the West.
Alnatour and commentators like him are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
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