Friday, June 29, 2007

On the Disastrous Consequences of "Enabling": Pitfalls Ahead of New 'Mideast Envoy'

The psychology of 'Victimhood' is alive and well and continues to get resuscitated by the West. As discussed several blog entries ago, Why "Enabling" Only Perpetuates the Problem, enablement postpones responsible behavior in individuals as well as collectives. Ironically, the well-meaning, would-be do-gooders fall into the trap of accomplishing the exact opposite of their purported goals. Rather than truly empower peoples by alerting them that there will be consequences to misbehavior, they instead reward skullduggery, shameless corruption, brutality, misogyny, and barbaric terrorism. The do-gooders of the West patronize their massive aid recipients, the Palestinians, indifferent to the mammoth evidence of decades of squandered billions. With breathtaking condescension and subconscious racism, it is assumed that the Palestinians cannot really be expected to behave any better. For all the talk about respecting a culture that so values honor and dignity, the dolers of aid are really saying that the Palestinians are incapable of conducting themselves any differently. Is that the way to treat people honorably and in a dignified manner?
Freedom and self-determination don't just happen to a people, nor is it bestowed upon them. It is a historical process that cannot be bought. One of the prerequisites to statehood is the establishment of a monopoly on the use of force. The Palestinians have shown no aptitude, nor appetite, for such a process. All the riches in the world cannot change that fundamental reality.
Real progress may be possible when we stop patronizing the Palestinians and hold them to the same standards we apply to ourselves and the rest of the civilized world.
david brumer

Advice for Blair: Stop Patronizing the Palestinians - Gerald M. Steinberg

Real Israeli-Palestinian peace requires the type of societal transformations that take many years. This process will also require a basic change in international perceptions with respect to Palestinians. In particular, the patronizing and ineffective emphasis on Palestinian suffering and helplessness that has dominated actions since 1948 must end. Palestinians must be given the opportunity and the external push to take control over their own destiny, and stop seeing themselves simply as passive victims.

The rampant corruption and failed leadership in Palestinian society is, to a large degree, a product of the massive welfare system in effect since the Israeli defeat of the 1948 Arab invasion, and the refugees that resulted. At that time, "temporary" camps and housing were created under control of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Rather than work to end their refugee status, as in many similar situations of warfare and displacement, (and following Israel's example of integrating hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled violence in Arab countries), this situation was deliberately and cynically perpetuated. The objective was blatantly political - as long as refugees and camps existed, the goal of reversing the UN partition resolution and the establishment of Israel remained alive. In this central respect, nothing has changed in almost 60 years.
Beyond the massive economic cost of maintaining this situation (UNRWA spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year), more damage is caused by perpetuating the image of Palestinian victimization. The Arab defeat in the 1967 war led to the reinforcement of this image, as well as further increases in welfare funding through other aid and development frameworks through European governments, major churches, and powerful via pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Although the PLO was founded in 1964, and came to be accepted as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", its leaders limited their activities to the political and military struggle against Israel. Yassir Arafat showed no interest in building civil society or ending the dependence and victimization. On the contrary, for decades, he was a major contributor to this syndrome.

The international community, and particularly European governments, perpetuated and widened this process, handing over additional funds, often in bags of cash handed directly to Arafat and his cronies. Officials in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Oslo, Bern, Stockholm, Rome and elsewhere, ignored the obvious evidence of massive corruption and the lack of interest in building institutions or providing services (the report written much later by the EU's watchdog agency OLAF remains a tightly guarded secret, making a mockery of European calls for transparency).
The core reason for allowing huge amounts of European tax revenues to disappear among Palestinian officials was paternalism. European leaders did not expect anything better from Arafat and Fatah, and did not try or condition aid to fundamental changes. After the 1993 Oslo peace framework established the Palestinian Authority and the refugee camps in this territory ceased to exist, the image of victims and helpless refugees continued, and the corruption increased, abetted by the donors.
In parallel, the "Palestinian cause" and the prevalent image of helpless victims was perpetuated among self-proclaimed human rights groups and other NGOs, in the media, in churches, on university campuses, and among politicians. In Britain, powerful groups such as War on Want, Christian Aid, and others held rallies for the Palestinians, collected funds, and demonized Israel through boycott and divestment campaigns. European leaders continued to embrace Arafat until his death, long after his personal corruption and failed leadership was revealed and many Palestinians distanced themselves. By the same token, Palestinians were not expected to behave by the ordinary rules of moral and civilized behavior, or to respect human rights. And no terror attack, including bus bombings and suicide bombers in cafes, was considered repulsive enough by officials in Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch to change in this neo-colonialist image of Palestinian victimhood.

Financial Aid Will Not Change Palestinian Political Perceptions - Yaron LondonThe assumption is that showering the PA with funds will lead to prosperity, and that prosperity will moderate young Palestinians' passion for 72 virgins awaiting them in heaven. This hypothesis is premised on a mistaken assumption that improvement in living conditions can change perceptions, while in fact the opposite is true. Donations save people from starvation and make leaders wealthy, but they do not serve to change the cultures of societies and do not drive them to success. The aid provided to Palestinian refugees and their offspring by UNRWA since 1948 atrophied their ability to rehabilitate themselves and is one of the reasons for their political behavior. Hence, it is doubtful whether increasing economic support to the PA will change anything in the Palestinian political culture. (Ynet News)

The Real Obstacle to Peace: Genocidal Jihad - Saul Singer
The first thing Tony Blair should do is rethink the whole concept of a "Mideast envoy." What the job needs most now is not a mediator but a truth-teller. The more Israel embraced Palestinian statehood, the more violent and radicalized the Palestinians have become. During last summer's war in Lebanon, Blair hit on the real obstacle to peace. He said Hizbullah was not fighting "for the coming into being of a Palestinian state, but for the going out of being of an Israeli state." The struggle for peace is no longer between Israelis and Palestinians. It is between the jihadi axis (Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, Syria and Iran) and the West, moderate Arabs and Israel, who want to resolve the Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Blair's first task for peace should be to expose the real obstacle to peace: the jihadi front's genocidal dream of destroying Israel. (Washington Post)

1 comment:

Lao Qiao said...

"Genocidal jihad" is precisely what Israel is facing. Hamas TV has killed off its Mickey Mouse series by having the hero, Farfur, murdered by an Israeli settler. Where else in the world has a children's cartoon character been murdered? Hamas is trying to teach its children to die in a jihad. Is there a more extreme example of child abuse?