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The Real Palestinian Response

Reader comment on item: Palestinians Taste a Dose of Their Own Medicine

Submitted by Alex (United States), Nov 17, 2005 at 22:43

...While this article rightly accuses Muslims of immense moral hypocrisy, I believe that it misses a major point about Palestinian/Arab/Muslim political culture and, thus, that it is not sufficiently cynical to predict how Palestinians will respond to this act.

A well-known Arab adage (roughly translated) states, "Me against my brother; My brother and I against our tribe; My tribe, my brother and I against the rest of the Arabs; the Rest of the Arabs and I against a foreigner."

What is significant about this quote in terms of explaining Palestinian thinking regarding the Amman hotel bombings is that it evinces that Arabs already recognize that the behavior that they direct against foreigners--including suicide bombing--is really no different from their behavior against one another. The Palestinians knew before this attack that suicide bombing against Jews was morally wrong--why else would they devote so much time, energy, blood and treasure to projecting responsibility onto the Jews? So, this attack, rather spurring the Palestinians into moral reform, is likely to be greeted with the same response as would be any other suicide bombing: "It must have been the Zionists or their collaborators amongst us!" Furthermore, note how those Muslims who criticized the act either were related to some of the victims or failed to condemn Arab suicide bombings against non-Arabs.

More deeply, I would expect this response because I have seen it before from other Muslims who were the victims of terrorism from within their own community. An example would be the response in the Fall of 2004 to a Baghdad suicide bombing in which Abu Musab al-Zarqawi targeted Iraqi children to whom US soldiers were handing out candy.

The Muslims/Arabs at the scene immediately afterward responded by blaming a previously-conceived enemy onto whom they have learned to delegate all responsibility for their own wrongdoing: America/the Jews. They probably would find it far to painful to blame members of their own community for something so heinous. Terrorists know this, and have exploited this weakness of illiberal political cultures the world over for decades (note that Zarqawi was behind this act as well).

So, instead of beggining the internal reforms that they so desperately need, the Palestinians will almost definitely continue playing the endless game of nation vs. nation, where conspiracy theories about the enemy abound and where a bullshit political identity somehow confers upon all wrongdoers the right to pursue particularistic interests and engage in destructive behavior, so long as it is against, and/or can be attributed to, "Them."
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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