You might not know it from the outcry from Hamas stooges, but however pained the western world feels about the deaths, injuries and day-to-day lousy standard of living of the Palestinians, closer to home, the people that know them best have no pity for them.
RtO has said this for years, but it was not really restating the obvious because virtually no one was in agreement. Today, even the New York Times cannot fail to notice the deafening silence from Arab capitals.
“There is clearly a convergence of interests of these various regimes with Israel,” said Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. In the battle with Hamas, Mr. Elgindy said, the Egyptian fight against the forces of political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical. “Whose proxy war is it?” he asked.The Times story is both tone-deaf and remarkably uninformed historically, even if it does recognize, without really comprehending, what is going on.
In 1948, the Arab leaders cynically -- or perhaps naively -- exploited the racism of the Palestinian Arabs (who were not then regarded as, nor regarded themselves as Palestinians; that came later) as a public relations fifth column to subvert world opinion against the Jews (who then did regard themselves as Israelis, even if world opinion had not come to the same understanding). They urged the Arabs to evacuate Israel, assuring them they could return as soon as the Jews had been wiped out.
At that time, borders and self-images were not as hard as they have since become. The people who became Palestinians, if they thought about it at all, probably thought of themselves as Syrians and Palestine (including Jordan) as properly part of an Arab Great Syria. Had the armies of Syria, Jordan and Egypt pushed the Jews into the sea, the soon-to-be Palestinians would have returned home, but they no doubt would have expected to be able to move freely around Syria.
If they had thought it through -- it seems unlikely any did -- they probably would have thought that in the event of an Arab defeat they could retreat to new homes in "Syria." That they would be -- in the language of the day -- DPs, displaced persons, segregated in camps would not have crossed their minds; and even if it had, in Europe DPs were being resettled, not confined permanently in "refugee camps."
That they are still in camps after 64 years has been a shock to them, and I have never read anything to indicate that they understand even now what happened to them. It is worth asking why they were not resettled.
It is obvious why they were not quickly resettled. The place (Jordan being too poor to be attractive) would have been Syria, but until 1954 Syria was in the hand of the most radical and violent of all Arab regimes. It was not in Syria's plans for pressure to be reduced.
The 1956 war removed the residual influence of Britain and France, and by that time the Arab states had learned that the United Nations (that is, the United States) would pay to feed the Palestinians. No reason for them to alter arrangements that were by then becoming customary.
Population pressures and increasing political sophistication was by this time generating a Palestinian diaspora. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964, with the sponsorship and as a tool of Nasser, dictator of Egypt.
It planned the destruction of Israel but as the Arab regimes soon found, it was more dangerous to them than even to the Jews. The regimes of Jordan and Lebanon managed -- Jordan just barely -- to save themselves. Lebanon was destroyed, however, in the civil war.
Arab leaders learned to distrust the Palestinians, which is why none has ever done anything to bring the Palestinians into the pan-Arab polity they claim, when convenient, to want. At times, as in Iraq, they have massacred their Palestinian refugees when they became obnoxious.
Palestinians are more useful to Arab regimes as a club to beat the Jews and entertain their masses than as either sources of well-educated (compared to other Arabs) labor or as residents of another Arab state. But from time to time the Palestinians start listening to their own propaganda and making trouble for not only the Israelis but for the stability of the Arab states. Then the Arab regimes keep up the mask but behind the scenes expect Israel to clean up the mess.
In rank order of who really cares about the lives of the miserable refugees, from least to most, are the western stooges of Hamas, Hamas, the other Arabs and the Israelis.
For the Israelis, a tenderness for refugee lives does not require us to believe that Israelis are more moral or less bloodthirsty, but merely to acknowledge the obvious -- Israel has something to lose from a high body count of Palestinians, the others something to gain.