This article, as recently published in the Wall Street Journal, addresses a central point to the current state of affairs amongst the various Palestinian factions, clans and tribes: if a people truly want a state they must build it from the ground-up through hard work and compromise. As Mr. Stephens states in the article, “…the experience of an unoccupied Gaza Strip has shown is the Palestinians’ unfitness for political sovereignty.” President Abbas is now receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to hopefully begin to build the semblance of a state. Let us all keep our fingers crossed.
From the WSJ:
Who Killed Palestine?
By: Bret Stephens
June 26, 2007; Page A14
Bill Clinton did it. Yasser Arafat did it. So did George W. Bush, Yitzhak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, Ariel Sharon, Al-Jazeera and the BBC. The list of culprits in the whodunit called “Who Killed Palestine?” is neither short nor mutually exclusive. But since future historians are bound to ask the question, let’s get a head start by suggesting some answers.
And make no mistake: No matter how much diplomatic, military and financial oxygen is pumped into Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, it’s oxygen flowing to a corpse. Palestine has always been a notional place, a field of dreams belonging only to those who know how to keep it. Israelis have held on to their state because they were able to develop the political, military and economic institutions that a state requires to survive, beginning with its monopoly on the use of legitimate force. In its nearly 14 years as an autonomous entity, the PA has succeeded in none of that, despite being on the receiving end of unprecedented international good will and largesse.
Hamas’s seizure of the Gaza Strip this month — and the consequent division of the PA into two hostile, geographically distinct camps — is only the latest in a chain of events set in motion when Israel agreed, in September 1993, to accept Arafat and the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. An early indicator of what lay ahead took place on July 1, 1994, when Arafat made his triumphal entry into Gaza while carrying, in the trunk of his Mercedes, four of the Palestinian cause’s most violent partisans. Among them were the organizers of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and the 1974 Ma’alot school massacre. If ever there was an apt metaphor for what Arafat’s rule would bring, this was it.