When will the Palestinians wake up?

Destruction in Gaza after Israeli bombardment, part of Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 (Scott Bobb/ Wikimedia Commons)

The latest violence in Gaza was just as predictable as death itself. Of course, we did not know when it would occur, but we knew that it would occur. Why? Because after over 71 years of conflict with the State of Israel, the Palestinians have not yet figured out how to eliminate the main obstacle to Palestinian statehood, freedom, and prosperity: Palestinian violence.

It does not take a genius to understand this. Violence has never gained the Palestinians anything, unless one counts death, destruction, poverty, dependence, dislocation, bitterness, occupation, joblessness, despair, humiliation, and a blockade as gains.

The main victim of Palestinian violence is the Palestinians themselves. They pay for it with their lives and they also pay with their future. Leading Palestinian terrorist Baha Abu al-Ata, who was assassinated by Israel, is already being portrayed by Palestinians as a “martyr”, but to Palestinians who are honest with themselves, he was nothing but a despicable terrorist who did not care how many Palestinians would die to satisfy his personal quest for self-importance.

There are many people, including many Jewish Israelis, who support the Palestinians’ right to a state and who abhor the occupation and the blockade that are inflicted on them. That support, however, means nothing as long as the Palestinians keep shooting themselves in the foot. One may complain about some of the methods used by Israel to defend itself, but nobody will stand in the way of Israel defending itself, nor should we.

According to The Times of Israel, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat condemned the assassination of al-Ata as a “crime” and attributed to Israel “full responsibility.” This reaction by Erekat is not only hypocritical, but also a betrayal of the Palestinians that Erekat is supposed to represent.

For the Palestinians who insist on taking all of Palestine, there is no hope. Israelis will never give up their state. The best that the Palestinians can realistically hope for is an independent Palestinian state next to Israel, and the only way to achieve that is for the Palestinians to put down their weapons and negotiate a peace agreement with Israel.

If the Palestinian cause consists of achieving that goal then every Palestinian terrorist is a traitor to the Palestinian cause. Not a martyr. Not a resistance fighter. Not a soldier. Not a Palestinian patriot. No, just a traitor.

And if the Palestinian cause consists of pursuing the dream of taking back all of Palestine then the Palestinian cause is dead, just like the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed in the seven decades of conflict with Israel. Dead.

Palestinian leaders such as Erekat can either denounce the real enemy of the Palestinians, which is the Palestinian terrorist, or they can preside over the slow decomposition of the Palestinian cause while they line their pockets with international donations.

Whether they lead terrorism or fail to confront it, all current Palestinian leaders have failed the Palestinians, and they should all be replaced with new leaders who will pursue peace. To borrow a phrase from the Lebanese protesters denouncing their own failed leaders, “all of them means all of them.”

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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