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It's not just Hamas
It's time for America to stop coddling the Palestinians -- they're bloodthirsty bigots who would have exterminated the Jews if they were in charge.

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By Norah Vincent

Dec. 12, 2001 | This latest rash of violence in Israel has brought on the usual avalanche of lament from Palestinian spokespeople and their pan-Arab sympathizers around the world. Why, they moan, does it always matter more to the United States when Israelis die than when Palestinians do? Why do the Americans insist on pursuing such a one-sidedly pro-Jewish policy in the Middle East, even while they pretend to want peace on both sides?

Here is Edward Said writing in the Nation: "In the United States at least, there is no major segment of the polity, no significant sector of the culture, no part of the whole community capable of identifying sympathetically with the Islamic world." And here is Ali Abunimah in the New York Times: "[I wonder] why Israelis and pro-Israeli spokesmen who are called for comment by the same radio and television stations that call me are rarely asked to condemn the violence that is committed in their name."

These are familiar questions, and ones to which Pollyanna, pussyfoot diplomats like Colin Powell refuse to give straight answers, preferring instead to ignore the blatant hypocrisy they express. This is political correctness at its most insidious, because it makes us and, more important, our peace brokers, willfully blind to the great and ongoing moral lie staring them in the face.

The lie is this: Palestinians (and, post-Sept. 11, much of the Arab world) hold the rest of the world to a moral standard they themselves neither uphold nor share. They cry for justice, and yet theirs is a culture in which justice is utterly partial (in favor of Muslims, and against the infidel) and administered by the sword alone. They pretend to want peace, though by the rules of jihad, conquest, not compromise, ends conflicts. They want freedom, and yet freedom (especially religious freedom) is precisely what the Arab world so manifestly lacks, and rejects. They want life, and yet they devalue human life at every turn, both the enemy's (making no distinction between civilians and combatants) and their own (proudly raising their youngest children to be suicide bombers).


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If it weren't for our (and Israel's) cultural commitment to tolerance and the rule of civic law, to the use of violence only in self-defense and to reaching diplomatic solutions, the Palestinian people would have no cause at all. They would not exist. If treated according to their own barbaric rules, with the same visceral bigotry, the Palestinians would have been exterminated long ago, and all their Jewish executioners enshrined as martyrs. But instead, we have heard them, honored their complaints and done everything -- short of absconding -- to deal justly with them. But they answer only with more bombs, all the while declaiming our brutality. They want from us what they refuse to give. They act according to one code and hold us to another, never seeing the incompatibility of the two.

Take, for example, the most basic of concepts: the intrinsic value of human life. Who could forget the hideous spectacle this past September of Palestinians celebrating in the streets upon hearing that thousands of civilians had been killed in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks? This was perhaps the most shocking footage any of us had ever seen, and that on a day when a lot of shocking footage was rolling into our living rooms.

It truly boggled the mind that any people, no matter what their cause or sufferings, could rejoice openly and unashamedly in the deaths of thousands of innocents. It was grotesque, and demonstrative of a people whose common creed is kill or be killed, and whose disrespect for human life not their own was savagely apparent. This was beyond beastly. No animal stoops so low as to fete the death of his foe. No. This was devilish in its baseness. And what we saw on television was, according to wire reports, only isolated pictures of what was in some places widespread jubilation by thousands.

What's more, these revelers were not the rogue minority, or if they were, they were not treated as such by their leadership. Far from denouncing this behavior, Palestinian leaders threatened the lives of the journalists who dared to disseminate the damning footage.




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