Original article by Bret Stephens can be found here.
For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel.
Let’s break down this barbaric sentence, you G-d damned Ostrogoth. THEY ARE PRISONERS. THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH WALLS AROUND THEM. These prisoners are currently cared for by a government that increasingly needs conflict with their prisoners to satisfy the religious, nationalist, and violent Zealots in their brainwashed electorate. Did they set fire to one of the entrances to their prison? Try feeling some empathy for the limits of what human beings are willing to endure and then start exploring why they’re so angry without your unprofessional cognitive bias. You’re a canalized thinker and it limits your ability.
Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also the presumptive victims.
You’re right, Bret. We should blame the victim and not believe a word they say because, I mean, they’re going to be biased, right? All emotional and shit. Who trusts people who express emotions over trauma? They should be tough like you, right Bret? Overcome all the obstacles you overcame at Middlesex and LES? You’re a chicken hawk. You don’t know what you’re talking about, you only know the words.
There’s a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.
“TO WHICH ISRAELIS ARE SUBJECTED.” The prison guards turn the screws until the prisoners riot, then use people like this gilded moron to trumpet victimhood in influential US media outlets. Remember, the Israelis were terrified of making the Palestinians citizens in their “Democracy” because oh shit, then they’d have political power. So instead of two-state or one-state and citizenship, Israel chose the shittiest possible path, which is to repeat the cycles of violence that were done onto them.
In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.
See, this whole “provide Palestinians with jobs” bullshit is what we’re talking about, Bret. You can’t even hide how condescending you are in a highly edited national op-ed, you egomaniacal snowflake. These are human beings, equal with you, me, and High lord Netanyahu himself. They’re not asking to be provided jobs, they’re asking to be left alone to their own devices in an environment where they don’t have to be provided with jobs.
In 2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Strip. Palestinians looted dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.
You shouldn’t have used the phrase “Israeli settlers.” As if these precious American diaspora-funded greenhouses weren’t built on the ruins of some Palestinian family’s home. You’re bad at this.
In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup against its rivals in the Fatah faction. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Strip have fired nearly 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel — all the while denouncing an economic “blockade” that is Israel’s refusal to feed the mouth that bites it. (Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also participate in the same blockade, to zero international censure.)
As in any human population, there is a sliding scale of reactions to something like imprisonment. The more Israel abuses their prisoners, the more the prisoners move to a more extreme position on this scale. It’s like Newton’s 3rd law, buddy. The reverse is true as well. The more prisoners move to a more extreme position on this scale, the more Israelis do the same on their own scale of extremist reactions. So now we see the impact of violence, imprisonment, abuse, and conflict on two neighboring populations with opposing organizing narratives. To see above this, beyond the back and forth, is the work of scholarship and diplomacy, Bret. But you don’t seem to know anything about that.
In 2014 Israel discovered that Hamas had built 32 tunnels under the Gaza border to kidnap or kill Israelis. “The average tunnel requires 350 truckloads of construction supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Estimated cost of tunnels: $90 million.
That’s a lot of anger being expressed in a really specific and concentrated way. If you were a smart person, you’d be asking questions about how Hamas recruits so easily and gets so much work done on these projects. If you think that’s a will to fight and survive and an anger for their definition of justice that can be crushed out of a culture, you’re white bananas.
Want to understand why Gaza is so poor? See above.
Hamas is a corrupt organization that, on top of starting idiotic fights that get people killed, steals money from the Palestinian people and rewards its senior officials with gifts. The political organization is a reflection of a concentrated ideological interest within a culture, so I think it speaks volumes on the state Israel has pushed Palestinian society into when Hamas is so well supported. It also speak volumes on the state Hamas has pushed Israeli society into when Netanyahu and the Zealots are so well supported.
Which brings us to the grotesque spectacle along Gaza’s border over the past several weeks, in which thousands of Palestinians have tried to breach the fence and force their way into Israel, often at the cost of their lives. What is the ostensible purpose of what Palestinians call “the Great Return March”?
“Tried to breach the fence and force their way back onto land they believed was still their territory, despite the presence of another governing organization and people who currently live there and claim the same land as theirs.” That’s how you write an accurate statement, bro.
That’s no mystery. This week, The Times published an op-ed by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the march. “We are intent on continuing our struggle until Israel recognizes our right to return to our homes and land from which we were expelled,” he writes, referring to homes and land within Israel’s original borders.
That sounds pretty reasonable, unless of course Israel is a cultural theocracy unable to tolerate diversity of electorate and opinion. That’d make that plan extremely hard to enact.
His objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish state.
The elimination? That’s a pretty dramatic leap in logic. How about thinking of it as the enhancement of the region by removing its greatest security threat and infusing an electorate and economy with people who have just as much a right to be there as everyone else.
Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.
Oh the old pattern! Those tricky prisoners! Always trying to break out of prison! When will the world learn prison is where they belong?
The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.
Harumph! Also, Bret, you’re such a civilian. Let me explain that in war, in 2018, we keep track of every bullet, because that’s logistics. Maybe you don’t know anything about it because you’re just a chicken hawk, but I promise you it’s not an egregious demand to ask a nation to “account for every bullet fired at demonstrators.” And as for single practical alternatives? Oh yeah, no one has ever offered Israel reasonable alternatives. How fascinating that self-fulfilling prophecies come true!
But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?
Where’s the outrage that organizers thought Israel wouldn’t fire on unarmed women and then Israel fired on unarmed women? And that Israel fired on a crowd with 7 year-old children? Shut the fuck up about outrage. We can all be outraged about whatever the hell we want. We’re all angry. Get over your outrage, kid. No one has the moral high ground, which is fine. It means we’re all equal. So let’s talk about this like equals, between two peoples who believe they each should be able to live in the same place and now have generations of traumatic cycles to undo before they can. You’re either adding to those cycles and increasing the distance from stable peace, or helping restore sanity to the situation by mitigating those cycles. You’re currently doing the former.
Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.
Yes, violent conservative religious groups all over the world recklessly endanger their societies and should be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly, and almost bottomlessly cynical.
The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?
The same way we come to understand murderers, misogynists, and homophobes all around the world and in our own communities: we empathize with them and put ourselves in their place. I’ll agree to any fact, but I’ll always empathize with all sides. If you decide that’s a weakness, your scholarship, writing, thinking, and personal morality will always suffer from that decision.
Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?
Why is nothing expected of Bret Stephen, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of not Bret Stephens, and nothing forgiven? White male privilege.
That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. Already did. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.
Let’s consider non-western indulgences of idiot westerners like Bret Stephens who ignore colonial history and the systematic extraction of resources and then talk about the west indulging anyone.
No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.
“No decent Israeli society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence, and fatalism symbolized by the response to these protests, including this article in which I’m projecting my side’s insecurities onto the enemies we’ve created in our inexperienced heads.” Blah blah blah crocodile tears and faux outrage. Keep climbing that mountain of conflict, Nazi Julie Andrews.
If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.
The Palestinians don’t need your blessing to be worthy, thanks. You haven’t done jack shit in your life compared to those Palestinian 7 year-olds who participated in that protest. You’re a coward whose words influence people into hurting other people. That’s who you are, and that’s your legacy.