pro-Palestinian thread

I have read a lot of comments in these forums categorizing the Palestinians, en masse, as savage, violent, incapable of decency, only interested in the “destruction of Israel,” unworthy of sympathy, and worthy of being shot. (Well, OK, these comments were mostly in the Pit, but still.)

The Palestinians and other Arabs I have met have all been friendly, hospitable, good-humored and generally liked Americans while being critical of US Government policies. It’s true that I met them all in America, so they would tend to be more pro-American, but this still proves that they are not all the same.

For a quarter-century, Israel attempted to keep the Palestinians as a subject people, without the right to vote or decide their destiny. At one point Israel relaxed the rules a little and allowed some West Bank towns to elect mayors, and those mayors later got blown up by car bombs planted by Jewish extremists. (To its credit, Israel later arrested and tried the perpetrators, but I bet their prison experience was not equal to that of a Palestinian.) This is not a characteristic of a democratic state.

Israel has always used the sick principle of “collective punishment” to retaliate for attacks. The homes of the families of suspects have been demolished, generations-old fruit orchards have been chopped down, ancestral homes and lands have been seized and given to settlers. This is not a characteristic of a humane, civilized state.

The autonomous territories given to the Palestinian Authority after Oslo are a cruel joke. The Palestinians received only a fraction of what they had before the Occupation, with the rest going to the settlers or designated as “nature preserves.” The remaining patchwork of towns and villages do not have access to the natural resources or economic infrastructure that a viable state needs. Jewish Israeli settlements are generally given all the land and resources they need, while Palestinians are forbidden to dig new wells. This is not a characteristic of an egalitarian state.

Every ugly, violent act committed by a Palestinian has its echo in an ugly, violent act committed by a Jewish extremist or Israeli soldier. The Palestinians have their suicide bombers and the Jewish extremists have their Temple of Abraham mass murderer (Baruch Goldstein, who was applauded by many settlers). The Jewish extremists have also done some things no Palestinian would be able to do, like assassinate a prime minister. Armed settlers can also invade Palestinian homes and terrorize the inhabitants virtually at will.

Israeli soldiers do the same, and worse. Has any Israeli soldier gone to prison for the unjustified killing of a Palestinian? Some soldiers were disciplined in the “beating scandal” of the 80’s intifada, but in this case there was a videotape and international outrage. The martyred and mourned Yitzhak Rabin himself may have given the green light for this, however inadvertent, with his emphasis on “force, might and beatings.”

And the death of a child in Oklahoma or the World Trade Center is neither more nor less tragic than the shooting death of a Palestinian boy last fall as his father tried to protect him. The Israeli armed forces don’t care much about collateral damage. For a while during the 80’s intifada, they acted as if they had never heard of tear gas or riot shields.

Current Israeli policy is not very smart. The military responds to every bombing by attacking Palestinian towns with rockets and gunships, whether the target was involved or not, and then seems shocked when, inevitably, there’s another suicide bombing. Kind of like, “Why do they hate us so much? Why are we still dying from bombs?”

Israel, alone among “democratic nations”, enshrines in law the practice of torture, using the euphemism “mild physical pressure”. This, also, is not a characteristic of a civilized, law-abiding state.

Arab citizens of Israel do not have the same rights as Jewish Israelis. They can vote, but they can’t join the Army. Any Jew in the world can immigrate to Israel and claim citizenship, but no Palestinian can return to his family’s pre-1948 home, or any home taken from him by Israelis. This, too, is not a characteristic of a democratic state, and Meir Kahane admitted as much. Let’s face it, democracy and ethnic/religious preferences don’t mix, and Kahane was one of the few Israelis to openly acknowledge that.

No wonder every Palestinian is pissed off.

And yet we still have this common impression, in the media and among many Dopers, that the Palestinians are the vile, violent ones. No one ever says that about Irish people, despite their long and brutal struggle against the British and the many excesses committed by the IRA.

The Palestinians who were dancing in the streets yesterday (at least the few who were captured on videotape) may not have realized that the US has often pressured Israel to back off, and that American servicemen have also been bombed and killed by Israelis. The Palestinians appearing on that tape may only be cognizant that the Israeli military equipment that makes their lives miserable is all stamped “Made In the USA.” Or, they may realize all too well that the USA will never stop sending that equipment and will never demand that Israel withdraw those settlements that are the source of most of the problems.

Palestinians who wave victory signs and hand out candy to celebrate American deaths are no more nor less vile than Americans who celebrate Arab deaths with high-fives and beer, and neither one of those groups deserves to be dragged out and shot.

Recently an Israeli Jew who liked to visit West Bank towns and patronize Palestinian shops was shot dead, and he was mourned by his Palestinian friends. I bet those Palestinians weren’t dancing like the ones on the videotape.

If you’re a comics/graphic novel aficionado like me, you may enjoy journalist-illustrator Joe Sacco’s “Palestine” books, which are a searing bit of first-hand reportage. In fact, I didn’t even know many of the things I wrote in this post until I read him.

As I said in a Pit thread, but I’ll leave out all the bad words:

There are some governments which I think are truly vile and despicable. Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Taliban, North Korea. I might well approve of armed attacks against those governments in order to overthrow them. But, if some deranged dissident group hijacked a jetliner full of men, women, and children and crashed it into a civilian office complex full of tens of thousands of innocent people in downtown Baghdad or Kabul or Pyongyang, I would be horrified and disgusted. I would not support such a thing even a little bit, not even to attack some of the world’s most cruel and oppressive dictatorships. I certainly would not be dancing in the streets.

I agree that it’s wrong to categorize all Palestinians or all Arabs or all Muslims based on the actions of some. But the people who are dancing in the streets in reaction to this are depraved.

I use to care about the plight of the Palestinians. But I simply can’t anymore. Their cause is dead to me now.

I saw the coverage of Palestinians dancing in the streets of Jerusalem.

In every society you will find people who are complete morons, and these people deserve all the vilification which is directed at them.

The Palestinian leaders are disgusted with these people and apparently told them in no uncertain terms to put a stop to their behaviour.

I understand that the vast majority of Palestinians are just as shocked as the rest of the civilised world.

Please, Blackclaw, don’t get sucked into thinking like that. That’s exactly the sort of thinking that makes people capable of acts such as this. I expect after some horrific incident in their own lives, your line or something very like it was used to recruit the people who did this.

I’m not advocating for violence against the Palestinians. I don’t believe that they were behind this attack. But with their celebration of it I simply find myself no longer caring about their plight. Perhaps someday in the future I’ll be able to care again. But not now. I’ve heard too many calls of "But the US shouldn’t have… " whatever. Nothing justifies what has happened to the thousands of innocent lives we lost yesterday. I don’t care if someone can quote a hundred long page of atrocities the US has committed. My ability to see the other side’s perspective simply no longer exists. I do hope that I can regain it someday. But right now all I care about is protecting the US and its allies.

There are millions of Palestinians. I saw maybe 20 celebrating ( the same loop being played over and over again on different news feeds ). Even if the actual number was 200,000, that’s a damn small percentage of the population. One shouldn’t condemn the many for the actions for the few.

But I understand your shock and angst. I hope in a few days you can sit down and take another look at things with a clearer head ( hopefully we’ll all be able to ).

  • Tamerlane

Nonsense. The Palestinian leaders are themselves terrorists and murderers. Arafat’s people gunned down a load of school children, among many other crimes.

However, at this particular time, this type of negative publicity does not serve their interests.

The United States sends almost $ 2 Billion a year in direct military assistance to Israel.

Then the Israelis use that money to buy tanks, helicopter gunships, bulldozers and rubber bullets, which they use to terrorize Palestinians. The United States is directly aiding a state which is involved in a brutal program of ethnic cleansing. The conditions under which Palestinians have been given “self rule” are no better than the conditions of blacks in South Africa under Apartheid.

Is it any wonder that Palestinians and other Arabs are upset with the United States? I would be, too.

The United States needs to stop coddling Israel. We must cut off all military aid to Israel unless they withdraw to the internationally recognized 1967 borders and stop meddling in Palestinian affairs.

I’m sure most, if not all, Palestinians think Israeli action in the West Bank, backed by the United States, is just as depraved. I’m not surprised they hate the US, nor am I surprised that these Palestinians (who, I’m led to understand, have been living in refugee camps and other less-than-ideal environments) would display irrational exuberance when they see that the country who’s been acting like the schoolyard bully proves to be vulnerable.

Well, if you’re saying that most Palestinians really do hate us that much, then I don’t guess there’s anything we can do to make them just suddenly start loving us. I mean, a hate like that doesn’t just go away overnight. So, oderint, dum metuant, huh?

tclouie wrote:

And now that big-time terrorist attacks have hit the good ol’ U.S. of A., it seems that a lot of us Americans are wanting to retaliate in precisely the same manner that Israel retaliates for terrorist attacks.


Minor differences: 1)The blacks of South Africa didn’t list driving the whites into the sea as one of their goals. 2) The blacks of South Africa didn’t send suicide bombers into crowded Johannesburg districts. 3) The leaders of black South Africans didn’t create modern terrorism. 4) Blacks didn’t put their children in harms way and then complain when they were injured.

I liked Mojo the Monkey’s idea, quite frankly.

And when I say Palestinians hate the US, I don’t mean they hate “us”. It’s been argued on this board (and rightly so) that we should not lump any and every Arab in with the execrable excuses for human beings who committed this atrocity. Is it not possible that people elsewhere in the world are capable of such an understanding as well? That is to say, do you not think it possible that the Palestinians don’t lump all Americans in with their country’s government, whom they hold either directly or indirectly responsible for their situation?

But that’s just the point. The people dancing in the streets do hate “us”. The people dancing in the streets aren’t capable of making those distinctions, and they do lump in all Americans with our government. Now, if you want to say that the people dancing in the streets are only a small loud minority, they don’t represent Palestinian opinion in general, etc., that’s one thing. But you seem to be arguing that the people dancing in the streets have legitimate grievances, and gosh, we need to “understand” their position. The position of the people who are dancing in the streets is that they hate all Americans and rejoice when any of us are killed under any circumstances. I don’t see how we can possibly deal with the people who are dancing in the streets; I can only hope they are in fact the hateful lunatic fringe of their society.

True, but then again, the United States wasn’t sending billions of dollars to prop up the Apartheid government, either. Maybe if we’d been doing that, black South Africans would have been driven to more desperate measures.

And you are certain of this how?

They do have legitimate grievances. The US has backed Israeli terror against Palestinians for decades. They’re angry, and rightfully so.

You’re making a generalization here. Why is it possible for us to understand that we shouldn’t hate all Arabs for the terrorist attacks of a few, but impossible for the Palestinians to understand they shouldn’t hate all Americans for the actions of the US government?

I’m American but live and work in Saudi with quite a few Palestinians. Their reaction to yesterday’s events was almost exactly like mine, shock and horror that anyone would do such a thing. As far as the infamous “celebrating Palestinians” go, they were incredibly embarassed. They obviously felt like I do when I see the US on TV being represented as continuous string of KKK rallies, street riots, and random gunfire. They told me how much that video embarassed and shamed them and asked me not to judge them by those people.



I have (unfortunately) zero interest in trying to sort out the rights and wrongs of the Palestinians’ situation, at this point.

Palestinians and Israelis have been at each others’ throats since 1948, or before.

I am on the side of whoever does not hijack my country’s airliners and use them to kill innocent civilians.

The other side can go to hell.


Well, it looks like the evidence is pointing to neither side you mentioned having done so. Which blows your sentiment to hell.