Caroline Glick discusses the recent Arab Human Development Report -- a joke publication from the UN that was outdated (examines conditions through late 2004 only) before it was printed -- in her weekly column and explains some of the history and reality of the Middle East. Excerpts:
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.
And the EU has taken no action to stop future theft nor to ensure that the vast sums of money it funnels to the PA actually reaches Palestinian citizens. More from Glick:
We see that by internalizing the view that the Palestinian conflict is the source of the Arab conflict with Israel and that the way to solve the Palestinian conflict is to empower the Palestinians at Israel's expense, both Israel and the US are initiating policies that distance rather than advance their stated goals of peace and security through the democratization of Palestinian society and the Arab world writ large. This is so because the guiding presumptions themselves are not simply wrong, but are the polar opposites of the facts on the ground.
These facts are that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is largely a direct result of the Arab world's rejection of Israel's right to exist. And weakening Israel, by strengthening the Palestinians or in any other manner advances none of these goals.
* * *
The fact that it is Arab power rather than Palestinian weakness that is fuelling the conflict is made clear by the EU's Middle East policies. As Bat Ye'or, the noted scholar of jihad ideology and Arab-European politics makes crystal clear in her new book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Western European abandonment of its early support for Israel came not in the wake of Israel's stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War, but in the aftermath of the OPEC oil embargo in 1973.
It was the concerted pan-Arab attack on the economies of Western Europe in 1973, not Israel's acquisition of territory in 1967 that caused Europe to embrace the cause of the Palestinians. And it is the power that immigrant [Arab] voters and activists wield against the European electorate and the threat of violence wielded by Arab terrorists that ensure that year in and year out regardless of the brutality of Arab rhetoric and violence, the Europeans remain faithful to the ideology of Israeli criminality and Palestinian victimhood.
Israeli and American policymakers alike have repeatedly claimed that by strengthening PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, he will gain legitimacy among the Palestinians to move ahead with peace with Israel. They also claim that in the aftermath of Israel's planned removal of its forces and expulsion of its citizenry from northern Samaria and Gaza this summer, the PA will be strengthened and that as a result, chances for peace will be increased.
. . . there is no reason to assume that Abbas, who has devoted most of his time since replacing Arafat to coddling terrorists and currying favor with their state sponsors, will be in any rush to improve the economic situation in the Palestinian areas. Indeed, again, advancing their economic and political fortunes is actually antithetical to the interests of the PLO and the Arab world.
Given the fact that the America and Israeli governments are both basing their policies on the same false presumptions that formed the basis of the UNDP report they were so quick to reject, perhaps the real question is why did it bother them so much? And the second question is, if they are still able to tell the difference between spit and raindrops, when will they adopt policies that reflect the distinction?
Read it all.