Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I think the Palestinians are going to get sued for plagiarism by the screenwriters behind some classic Charles Bronson flicks, the kind where he helps victimized shopkeepers organize and finally refuse to continue paying protection money to organized crime bosses. The Al Aqsa Martyrs are now playing out the scene where the knuckle-draggers swagger into one of the shops, usually the shop of the leader, and threaten to torch his store or get to know his children up close and personal if the protection money doesn't restart or even increase.
The Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, on Monday threatened to strike at US and European interests in response to international sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.
The threat, the first of its kind, came as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to hold talks in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin on the severe financial crisis in the PA territories. Moreover, the threat by Abbas's Fatah party came as Palestinians marked the 58th anniversary of the nakba, or catastrophe (the secular anniversary of Israel's independence).
"We won't remain idle in the face of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel, the US and other countries," said a leaflet issued by the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip. "We will strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries, here and abroad."
Somehow when Charles Bronson stood up to protection rackets, everyone understood that was a brave and principled act. But no longer, not in today's world. Somehow it has now become a legitimate act of international diplomacy to threaten violence against other nations that refuse to fund morally and fiscally bankrupt ("democratically elected") terrorist governments.
And it's even questionable how fiscally bankrupt the Palestinian regime really is. From the same article:
So they have no money and everyone is starving, but they can afford to mount serious military attacks against a neighboring state without any worry about the price. I was under the impression they were dead broke and without any further funding would be unable to do so much as lob unflavored biscuits over the border.
"We will plan and carry out more martyrdom attacks inside the Green Line regardless of the price and effort," he warned. "Those who are imposing the sanctions on the Palestinians will soon regret their decision."
Do they really expect to combine both concepts into one paragraph and have it pass unnoticed? Perhaps one message is intended for our left ear, the other for our right, and never the twain shall meet. Arlene Kushner writing in YNet has some essential reading on the reality behind this left ear, right ear stupidity, pointing out that the PA actually has lots of money.
A few days ago I posted that, while I don't agree with funding terrorist governments, I did believe that humanitarian relief should be forthcoming. However, I've since been questioning the wisdom of my seemingly kindness-based position, and this latest development is only increasing my feeling of having been more complicit than compassionate. Perhaps I've even been a bit dopey.
If there are children whose government-employed gunman-fathers are not receiving their salaries, and this is causing a few moments of outrage amongst the Hamas voting Palestinian public, perhaps this is precisely the much-needed wakeup call that has been delayed so long from overuse of the dreaded snooze button. Hamas has been told clearly what it can do to get all the money it wants for buying guns and explosives: simply give the same lip service to the platitudes of peace that Yasser Arafat did. But Hamas shows that it so abhors the idea of any peace with Israel, any coexistence or hint of acceptance of a Jewish state, that it would rather receive no aid for its starving gunmen than fib a little for peace.
And so the responsibility of funding the publically employed Palestinians and their children somehow falls on the rest of the world instead. As if the rest of us, who are now officially threatened with physical violence, are somehow supposed to love our threateners' children more than they themselves do. For if we do not want to fund those who extort and threaten us, we are oppressors. Yet those who refuse to even pretend they can live in peace with the neighbor whose aid they demand are somehow seen as noble freedom fighters for threatening to let their children starve instead as pawns in a propaganda war.
Ok, this is true, but don't we still owe them the minimum humanitarian gesture of a few million happy meals and a budget for their schools? The heart is obviously expected to say "of course we are" and not bother consulting the head. But the head sometimes has the annoying habit of asking whether an action, no matter how well-intended, will actually have the desired result. What does the head think here?
Some say Palestinians didn't elect Hamas on a platform of terror, and they therefore deserve insulation from the consequences of ensconcing these terrorists in power. Apparently the Palestinians thought Hamas would deliver kindergartens and ambulances that ran on time, and all the bluster and rhetoric and history of Jew-killing was just a little fringe benefit that shouldn't really bother anyone who was going to survive long anyway. But in that case, watching their terrorist government sink into an abyss of financial ruin -- or at least suffer the indignity of having to seem to do so -- should be exactly what is needed to show Palestinian voters that electing terrorists to power is not a road to peace and prosperity, and to give them something to think about if they are ever allowed to vote again.
Conversely, even simple humanitarian aid allows Hamas to boast it is forcing the world to feed its people and fund its programs, even as they continue lauding suicide attacks and terrorist acts and promising a holy Jihad to the very last Jewish centimeter of sovereignty. Such aid shows Palestinian voters that they were right to elect Hamas, and next time they won't need to pretend they are voting for kindergartens instead of suicide bombers -- they will know the world is happy for them to have both.
Am I advocating the world starve Palestinian children? Of course not. That is not what this is about. Loads of money is available for the children, both in existing PA accounts and queued in humanitarian channels. All that is required is for Hamas to declare it is willing to feed its children in peace. There is no government without responsibility.