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Friday, June 22, 2007

The West believes in PalArabs more than Arabs do

A curious thing is happening in the Arab world.

For a couple of years already there has been a sense of exhaustion and apathy from the Arabs concerning the Palestinian Arab "cause." Statements to the West in support of PalArab rights have seemed perfunctory and reflexive, and in the general Arab press the Palestinian issue has mostly disappeared from the front pages. After the first couple years of the intifada, there seemed to be a slow awakening to the fact that the Palestinian Arabs don't seem to want a state that badly, and if they would rather fight than make hard choices, why should the Arabs be more pro-Palestinian Arab nationalism than the PalArabs themselves are?

In the past couple of weeks, however, this apathy has turned into full-blown disgust. The Hamas/Fatah fighting is being treated with not only revulsion towards the fighters but towards the entire divided leadership of the Palestinian Arabs. Saudi Arabia has felt especially betrayed as it put much of its prestige behind the ill-fated Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah.

Look at some of the commentaries on Asharq al-Awsat in English:
Boycotting Fatah and Hamas is no longer an Arab choice but a duty because they have lost both their moral sense and capabilities. ... These two parties have become a group that feeds on the blood of its children to live.
Meshaal stated that what happened in Gaza was not a coup and that Hamas still considers Mahmoud Abbas the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority and acknowledges that his powers cover the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. So how should one define the actions of Hamas's fighters as they rampaged through the office of the Palestinian president, trampled on his pictures and sat in his seat? Furthermore, as he sat in the president’s chair holding the phone to his ear, one Hamas militant said, “Hello Mr. President, from now on you will have to call us.” How should we understand what Hamas described as the “second liberation”, let alone the murder, torture, humiliation and destruction of buildings of the legitimate authority?
When murder and violence are considered a justified means of change, when we turn a blind eye to violent practices and have these events blacked out since they are carried out by ourselves, this means that our sense of humanity and our stance towards the principle of refusing to eliminate the other or target them becomes a confused and weak one.
Is Palestine on its way to become Somalia? Each faction wants to establish its own dream republic.
"Palestinians today need to be left without a shred of a doubt" as to what other Arabs think of them, a widely read opinion commentator for the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, Mamoun Fandy, thundered on Monday. "We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters."

And yet, exactly when the Arab nations give up on the infantile Palestinian Arabs, along comes Olmert and Bush ready to publicly proclaim their faith in the very same corrupt regime that lost the respect of the Arab world years ago. All the billions pumped into the territories have been wasted or used for terror, yet the Western solution is to add more money into the mix. One can only imagine Hamas wanting to wait to destroy Fatah in the West Bank until the latest half-billion shows up.

If the Arab world thinks that an independent Palestinian Arab state is a lost cause, why does the West still believe in it?