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Jason Holliston
Thursday, November 18, 2004  

I haven't written anything about Arafat's death up until now. Let's get that part over with: good riddance. The man was a horrible killer, the father of modern terrorism, and in his early days, likely had deep ties to the Soviets. Not a nice man, and in the end, the world will be better off without him. Enough with that, though. I wanted to talk about the Palestinians and victimhood.

There has been almost non-stop talk about opportunities, of late: opportunities for the Palestinians, for Israel, for the Middle East, and for the world in general. I won't disagree with that -- we are at yet another crossroads in the struggle for peace in the Middle East, with choices to be made by many players. The key, though, is the Palestinian people themselves. Everything rests with them; where they go, the peace of that region will follow.

They have been played for decades now, being told how they are the victims of Israeli politics and ambition. They deserve the land, all the way to the sea they are told, and a majority believe it. Does it matter, though, in the end? It depends on your goal, I suppose, but in my view, it does not. What I would like to see is the sovereign state of Palestine, living peacefully aside Israel. A democratic, capitalistic, fairly liberal country, where opportunities are plentiful and people can live their lives in relative peace. This can happen, given enough time, if the people of Palestine desire it. I have no doubt.

First, though, they need to collectively give up their stranglehold on victimhood. This is something that, from the outside, always seems to obvious. You can see the dangers of victimhood all over the world, but probably not so starkly as in these people. Why is it, then, that you don't see more people -- people that devoutly wish for the Palestinian's good fortune -- bring this up? Is it really an untouchable subject?

To put it bluntly: if you blame other people for your misfortunes, you inevitably hold yourself back from success. If your goal is like my vision above, then who is to blame is a secondary subject, and cannot play into the solution. The people of Palestine need to let go of this hate and blame, or it will continue to consume their cities and neighborhoods for generations longer. Do they really wish that? Do their so-called supporters in the U.N., the Arab League, and Europe really want that? Do they really believe that you can build a nation and its dreams upon blame, hate, and pure victimhood, and somehow have it blossom into something resembling a successful, stable state?

As you watch the next series of events unfold in this long, bloody saga, remember this key factor. When reading statements from the Palestinian Authority, consider if the tone is optimistic, or attaching blame with every paragraph. When you listen to interviews of the people on the street of Jenin about their future, see if they can talk for more than two sentences without blaming Israel for their problems. When they can, there will be hope.

10:07 PM 2 comments


Very, very good post. I think the issue of victimhood is central to the Palestinian problem, and in genral one that needs to be addressed in the Middle East. Perhaps it is not coincidental that the "victim mentality" is also basic to the pathology of the far-Left.
Thanks. While I do agree that there are plenty of groups and sub-groups that have an addiction to being victims, I stayed focused on only the Palestians in this post. I think the only way that the Palestians will truly let go of their blame is when they're completely burned out on the societial pain they've been dealing with for over a decade. The sooner the better, and the key is in their hands: not Israel, the United States, and certainly not the U.N.
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