Self-Inflicted Wounds

The official spokesperson for the Hamas government in Palestine has spoken out against the “stupid anarchy” of the Palestinian Authority:

Ghazi Hamad, the Hamas government’s official spokesman, said Palestinians had been “attacked by the bacteria of stupidity”.

“The anarchy, chaos, pointless murders, the plundering of lands, family feuds … what do all of these have to do with the occupation?” he asked in the opinion piece published in the Palestinian newspaper, al-Ayyam. “We have always been accustomed to pinning our failures on others, and conspiratorial thinking is still widespread among us.”

He was particularly scathing about the failure of the Palestinians to make a success of the Gaza Strip, the territory that Israel effectively surrendered a year ago.

“When you walk around in Gaza, you cannot help but avert your eyes from what you see: indescribable anarchy, policemen that nobody cares about, youth proudly carrying weapons. From time to time you hear that so-and-so was murdered in the middle of the night, and the response comes quickly the next morning. Large families carry weapons in tribal wars against other families.

As loathe as I am to offer any praise for a member of Hamas, Mr. Hamad is exactly right. The Palestinians have been living in a state of anarchy for years now. Hamas was elected in the hopes that someone other than the corrupt and weak Fatah Party could make things better, and Hamas has yet to do much to improve the lot of the average Palestinian.

The situation there is blamed on Israel — but the reality is that most of the Palestinian’s wounds are self-inflicted. Israel doesn’t create the political violence that is nearly a constant in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel doesn’t create the autocracy and corruption that keeps Palestinian government from functioning. It isn’t Israelis fault that money that could have gone to schools, roads, bridges, and other necessary pieces of social infrastructure went to killing innocent Israelis in cold blood. Yassir Arafat was one of the richest men in the world while his people starved in the streets. The Palestinians have been used as pawns by other Arab nations who see them as little more than a means to an end: and the Palestinians have played their part, allowing themselves to be so used.

One would hope that more people would join in Mr. Hamad’s call. Gaza was an opportunity to show that the Palestinians could create a functioning and livable state for themselves — instead, Gaza fell into anarchy and mob rule. The Palestinians will never find peace until they choose to advance themselves rather than try to destroy their neighbor. Israel cannot be blamed for all of the problems of the Palestinian people, and ultimately it is the choices that they will make that will determine whether Palestine remains a place of squalor or whether the Palestinian people throw off the shackles of ancient feuds and work to become part of the modern world.

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