Thoughts on Israel, Palestine, and terrorism
The Palestinian Authority issued the following official statement after the bombing:
We have issued official statement in the name of the Palestinian National Authority absolutely condemning the operation, which we consider a despicable operation that harms the Palestinian people.The harm that this does to the PNA is particularly great coming only a short while after many western nations, including Canada, withdrew financial support of the PNA government. The resulting financial crisis has caused the largest employer in the country, the government, to withhold pay cheques for at least this month.
The statement issued by Khaled Abu Helal, spokesman for the PNA Interior Ministry has been interpreted by those that would like to interpret it as such as a defense of the bombing:
We think that this operation . . . is a direct result of the policy of theThis was interpreted breathlessly in the US press as "emphatic support", and likewise by our very own National
occupation and the brutal aggression and siege committed against our people
The National Post, true to its short-sighted form, goes on to explain that this completely justifies cutting off support to the PNA and then villifies their acceptance of aid from Iran. This makes total sense if you look at the world through goggles that only let you see things in right and wrong; punishment becomes the only tool in your toolbox. The logic, I suppose goes like this:
- the Palestinian people voted for Hamas
- Hamas supports terrorism
- the Palestinian people voted for terrorism
So naturally, why indeed should we support Palestinian terrorists?
That this argument is facile should not need be stated, but since our very own government and a healthy chunk of the right-wing blogosphere, not to mention the purveyors of such idiocy at the National Post, haven't gotten beyond this, maybe it does. This argument doesn't lead to a constructive future for a number of reasons, and I will likely spawn some hate mail for this, but here goes.
First, let's put it up front and centre - terrorism isn't evil. Rightly or wrongly, terrorism is a battle tactic used by the downtrodden to fight back. It is dirty fighting, and lots of innocent people get killed to be sure, but it is not a personified "evil". You can't fight terrorism as a construct or as an enemy - it is a tactic. You fight terrorism by trying to find the cause that drives the terrorists. Going after those that commit terrorist acts is all well and good, but if you do not deal with the underlying motivation, you will play an endless game of whack-a-mole with terrorists popping up faster than you can deal with them.
In the case of Israel-Palestine (and I will limit my discussion for now to this topic), there is a nation of displaced people that are still effectively homeless, largely jobless, and almost entirely hopeless. Is it possible that someone that has any hope at all is going to strap a mantle of bombs to his or her belly and walk into a restaurant? It is this hopelessness what must be dealt with, and we do not deal with it by withdrawing our support because they voted for someone we don't like. This will, I guarantee, drive the population in directly the opposite direction we would like them to go. That they are now accepting donations from countries we don't like, countries that would surely love to export Islamic jihad to them in the case of Iran, is only natural - by withdrawing our support we effectively asked them to do just that. And furthermore, we have absolutely no right to bitch three or four years down the road when the Israel-Palestine conflict expands to an actual real-life Islamic jihad - because as surely as anyone, we helped create it.
Right now the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a political and economic struggle. Surely we would be no better off if we turned it into a religious one, too?