Why the Palestinians?

© Jordan White Enterprises

Feb 4, 2000


            Who are the Palestinians? Do they even exist?  Not according to former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir, who in 1969 voiced the opinion that there was no such thing.


            Subsequent agreements between the PLO and Israeli leaders have acknowledged one another’s rights to exist, but have you ever asked yourself why, in the course of some thirty years, the Palestinians have “risen up the evolutionary scale” (the metaphor is Edward W. Said’s), from not existing at all to at least some sort of status, albeit still, in the eyes of Israel’s leaders, rather sub-human, or, at the very least, sub-Jewish?


            Witness the recent attempts on the part of Prime Minister Ehud Barak to “control” Israel’s West Bank settlements.  He supervised the dismantling of one Jewish hilltop settlement home, while allowing for the destruction of three hundred Palestinian homes.  In other words, one Jew is worth three hundred Palestinians, more or less.  It kind of reminds you of the statement of Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, who, in 1994, stated that one million Arabs were not worth a Jewish fingernail.


            But, lately, the Palestinians have shown themselves to have a different sort of value, not only to the Israelis, but to other Middle Eastern nations as well! 


            Let’s take a look.


            The Palestinians have value to the Israelis because they coexist with them, on what is essentially the same piece of property. This puts the Palestinians in a position where they can be used, in the best-case scenario, as a sort of bargaining chip and, in the worst-case scenario, as a sort of hostage.  The Israelis have used the “bargaining chip” strategy recently when they offered to return certain amounts of West Bank land to Palestinian control in exchange for “peace”, which, as everyone knows, is Israeli double-speak for American money and arms.  (The fact that Israel has no legal rights whatsoever to any part of the West Bank is, of course, another story.)  The “hostage” scenario, an even more nefarious scheme, has been used before, also, most notably during the 1990 Gulf War. If you recall, Iraq was lobbing SCUD missiles in Israel’s direction, and, if you check a map, you will see that Palestine(the West Bank) sits directly between Iraq and Israel.  (So does Jordan, but that’s another story.  Jordan is a nation with its own defense forces and internal structure and is capable of defending itself.)  Israel was concerned that these missiles might contain biological weaponry, which is why it issued gas masks to its civilian population.  Israel did not issue the same equipment to the West Bank Palestinian population, leaving them to cower in terror in sealed rooms, lest a stray SCUD so armed fall short of its target and eradicate them all.  Why did Israel fail to protect these helpless people whose country they occupy?   Didn’t it matter that they were sitting ducks for Iraqi destruction?  Of course it mattered.  They knew that the Iraqis would be loath to destroy another Arab population, most of whom, like most Iraqis, practiced the religion of Islam.   And that was the strategy all along.  Just as a hostage-taker holds a knife to the throat of his victim, the Israelis held the Palestinian population in front of them, vulnerable and unprotected, saying, in effect, “Stop the attack or the Palestinians will die”.  Is there any way Israel is going to give up either of these valuable uses of the Palestinians by allowing them to have an independent, autonomous state?  Not likely.


            The Palestinians have value to the Arab states that surround Israel  as well.   That is because these states realize that, by making peace treaties with Israel, they have effectively forfeited their chance to remove an entity that is (1) a huge power-broker in the Middle East region, and a power-broker at odds with their own goals, (2) an American ally and soaker-upper of huge amounts of American aid and recipient of American influence in international organizations, trade agreements and so on, (3) an obstacle to pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic unity.  So, if there is dirty work to be done to weaken this entity and the system it has created (and, of course there is), it falls very naturally to the Palestinians to implement that, since they are essentially caught in the middle.  If Egypt and Jordan have peace agreements with Israel (and they do), and if Syria works one out (and they might), the Palestinians will find themselves essentially boxed in by nations who, instead of being allied with them in a fight to free them from Israeli control, are bound to a non-aggression pact with the enemy, leaving them helpless and desperate.  And, as history has repeatedly shown us, dispossessed, desperate people are capable of just about anything.  The Arab states know that.  That is why it is important for them to keep the Palestinians right where they are, caught in the middle of everything, so that they can be the actors-out of any Islamic fundamentalist jihad, any pan-Arabic call-to-arms, any time one of these Arab nations has a score to settle with Israel.   Sadly, the Palestinians might see such action as a chance for them to free themselves from their role as Israel’s “bargaining chip” or “hostage”, and, instead, find themselves in the role of “hit men” for an Arab version of the Cosa Nostra.


            It would be a tragedy of utmost proportions if the Palestinian national identity were only being kept alive in order to provide Machiavellian scenarios for Israel and Israel’s adversaries!   It is tantamount to the horrific “experiments” of Nazi-era Germany when persons were used and abused to foster “scientific knowledge”.  It amount to cannibalism, rape.  The idea is: the Palestinians are helpless, so let us use them as we will, feed off them, and, in effect, destroy them.  Make them into puppets, manipulated into making the schemes of other nations work out to their own advantage.  The ultimate horror is, of course, that this plan actually unites bitter enemies, that is, Israel and its surrounding Arab neighbors, at the price of the disappearance of the Palestinian identity, culture, ideals, and dreams.


            Is this the final word?   Is this, indeed, the only value the Palestinian people have?  If so, then Prime Minister Meir was right.  If this is how and why they “exist”, then they don’t really exist at all.  At best, they’re indeed worth only a Jewish fingernail.  Three hundred of them are not worth one Jew. In other words, they exist in name only.


            Just remember, though.  Remember one thing.  If we stand by and allow this to happen, we are setting in motion something that will not be stopped.  We are setting in motion a mindset of desensitization to the plight of these people, or of any people who find themselves cast in such a role.  We are saying that it is all right to use and abuse anyone, so long as it serves a purpose, to keep peace, somebody’s peace, somewhere in the world.


            Let the Palestinian cause be the shock that brings us back to reality.  Let us realize that we have allowed ourselves to buy into the lie that destroying the helpless to make the powerful even more powerful will ultimately destroy us all.



“Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?  Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?  Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of  wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?”  Isaiah 58: 4-6  (NAS)