Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Arab myth

Caroline Glick has written a superb analysis of the way in which both Israel and America simultaneously reject and accept the ridiculous UN supported myth that Israel and America are the major, if not the sole, cause of the fact that 300 million Arabs are interred in countries ruled straight out of the worst part of the Middle Ages. As you may have read, the UN recently released a report stating that -- yes, it's coming -- America and Israel are responsible for the disaster that is much of the Muslim world:

Tuesday the 2004 Arab Human Development Report was released by the UN Development Project. The report placed a large chunk of the blame for the Arab world's lack of economic progress and political freedom on Israel's creation in 1948 and US support for Israel's continued existence, as well as the US military presence in Iraq.
Unsurprisingly, both Israel and America had the intelligence immediately to recognize this for nonsense and to repudiate it publicly. Where Glick's article gets interesting is when she claims that, despite repudiating this kind of silliness when they see it written out, both Israel and America have created policies towards the Palestinians that subconsciously internalize this ludicrous charge:
The American and Israeli denunciations of the report were, of course, wholly reasonable. The notion that 300 million Arabs live under the jackboot because some 5 million Jews in Israel live in freedom and America supports our right to live in freedom is patently insane. So too, it is simply delusional to believe that 300 million Arabs are so bent out of shape by the fact that 2.3 million Palestinian Arabs purportedly have their freedoms curbed by Israel, that they willingly accept their regimes' right to enslave and impoverish them economically and spiritually. Yet the greatest irony that is brought to the surface by the UNDP report is that in spite of both the American and Israeli governments' ability to differentiate between spit and raindrops, in point of fact, both Israel and the US are basing their policies towards the Palestinians specifically and the Arab world generally on an internalization of the UNDP's ridiculous claims.
As Glick sees it, both the US and Israel have accepted two fundamental assumptions -- assumptions that can be accepted as true only if one also accepts that Israel and America are at fault for everything:
The view among American policymakers and Israeli Foreign Ministry types, both egged on by their ideological bedfellows in Europe and the international Left is based on two presumptions. The first is that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the cause of the Arab conflict with Israel. The second is that the Palestinians are weak and the Israelis are strong and that the way to solve the conflict is to strengthen the Palestinians and weaken Israel.
What I found especially interesting was the historic information Glick provides with respect to the fallout from the first assumption.
The first presumption is what leads both Israel and the US to ignore the direct dependence of the Palestinian conflict with Israel on outside support by Arab League member states led by Egypt. Egypt, like the rest of the Arab world has never accepted Israel's inherent right to exist as a Jewish state in the Levant. Yet over the years, the rhetorical focus shifted from overt calls for Israel's destruction through war to overt calls for Israel's destruction through the establishment of a Palestinian state and unlimited immigration of millions of foreign born Arabs to Israel. These calls are obfuscated to a degree by a public fixation on the perceived weakness and actual misery of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza — both of which are blamed on Israel. Yet the reality on the ground is vastly different from the picture painted by UN reports whose basic presumptions, though wrong, form the foundations of US and Israeli policy in the region. The squalor in which Palestinians reside is wholly premeditated. As far back as 1949, the Arab League decided that no member state would grant citizenship to the Arabs who left the Land of Israel as a result of the Arab invasion of the nascent Jewish state. And so these miserable people and their children and grandchildren have been incarcerated in the squalor of UN internment camps for nearly 60 years. When in the early 1980s then prime minister Menachem Begin tried to dismantle the camps in Gaza and Judea and Samaria and provide permanent and decent housing for their residents, the "refugees" were warned, on pain of death, by the pan-Arab and PLO leadership to reject Israel's offers. The reason for this was clear: If the Palestinians had been allowed to freely develop, a core myth — that Jewish sovereignty is tainted with an original sin — a myth which was created to justify the continued Arab rejection of Israel, would disappear. And so it remains the case that despite the fact that in the last ten years the Palestinian Authority has received more international aid per capita than any national authority in the history of international aid, the Palestinians today remain in abject poverty. More to the point, their standard of living went into freefall shortly after the PA was established in 1994. Yasser Arafat and his deputies thwarted development efforts by stealing the billions they were given.
I'd always known about the Arabs refusing to allow the Palestinian refugees into their countries when the refugees fled Israel in 1948 (a situation that has never been repeated with any other refugee population), but I did not know that Begin was rebuffed when he tried to give the Palestinians decent housing. There's more, much more, but the easiest way to get the information Glick has to impart is actually to read Glick's lucid, compelling article.