Friday, March 24, 2006

Palestinian achievements=Israeli achievements

A Palestinian American columnist Ray Hanania wrote an article about Israelis and Palestinians called 'Changing the Israeli-Palestinian paradigm'. In it, Hanania describes how "ThereÂ’s going to be more violence. More killing. More frustration. More parents crying over the death of their children. More families weeping at the loss of their land. More communities despondent as violent events darken their hopes for peace."
Hanania basically raises the old calumny of the "cycle of violence" and morally equalises the share of blame equally between both sides. Israel advocates have heard this story manyy times before.
Martin Sherman writes an answer to Hanania called "False Symmetry". In it, Sherman describes the major differences between Israeli and Palestinian society.
"Hanania does bemoan the loss of life but blithely obscures real differences between the attitudes and conduct of the two sides. While Palestinian civilians have been hurt by the actions of Israel's armed forces, they are never the purposeful target such action.
By contrast, Israeli civilians are almost invariably the intended victims of Palestinian violence. When Palestinian bystanders are inadvertently hit during Israeli operations, which without exception are planned to preemptyt, or respond to, terror attacks, there are always official expressions of regret and contrition. Frequently, there are official inquiries into alleged misconduct of the IDF and security services, and offenders have been punished.
No such similar conduct is evident – or even imaginable - on the Palestinian side.
Likewise, the image of " Â…parents crying over the death of their children" fails to differentiate between the universal grief expressed in Israel at the loss of life; and the ever more pervasive culture of death in Palestinian society, including the glorification of homicidal suicide "martyrs," as well as expressions of pride and joy from parents of those who chose "plastique" as the preferred pathway to paradise.
Hanania expresses a yearning for "an Israeli leader who has the courage to do what needs to be done", but one can but wonder what he dreams of. Over the past few months an Israeli leader unilaterally withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip, removed the IDF from the border with Egypt and obliterated all the settlements there, turning thousands of Israelis citizens into refugees in their own land.
The Palestinian response to all these: the election of Hamas – a terrorist organization who's founding Charter calls for the elimination of Israel. This fact gives lie to the myth that settlements are at the root of Palestinian animosity toward Israel.
There is, however, a final thought regarding the essential asymmetry between the national endeavors of Israelis and Palestinians: Against all odds, Israelis succeeded in establishing a state despite ferocious Arab and Palestinian opposition. On the other hand, the Palestinians, have failed to establish a state despite manifest Israeli acquiescence (and at times even active endorsement) and massive international support.
While it is true that Israel has received a great deal of foreign aid, conditions in this country have remained dauntingly difficult. Yet Israelis have built an advanced industrialized country, with the world's highest per-capita rate of scientific publications and patents filed. The county is a world leader in agriculture, hi-tech and medicine.
Sadly by contrast, despite being the world's highest per capita recipients of international aid the Palestinians have excelled at producing crazed martyrs, corruption andÂ… well, little else."

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