The Pales­tinian lie we’ve fallen for


Not long ago, I had an an­i­mated dis­cus­sion with a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter. He was sug­gest­ing that in cer­tain cir­cum­stances — not now, mind, but if there were a bit of give and take — Bri­tain might think about talk­ing to Ha­mas. When I re­acted with hor­ror, he said de­fen­sively, “Well, have you got any bet­ter ideas?” (I gave him one or two, but strangely he didn’t seem to care for those ei­ther.)

I had pre­vi­ously had al­most iden­ti­cal con­ver­sa­tions with other min­is­ters. Then, how­ever, it was Arafat, not Ha­mas, with whom they said the world had no al­ter­na­tive but to deal. Would they have taken the same at­ti­tude to Hitler? I asked them all. Be­cause like the 1930s, just what is there to talk about with peo­ple whose non-ne­go­tiable po­si­tion is the de­struc­tion of the Jewish en­tity?

I was think­ing about th­ese con­ver­sa­tions when I read the re­ported re­cent com­ments of Mah­moud Ab­bas, the “mod­er­ate” Fatah leader. I say “re­ported” ad­vis­edly, since as far as I know, they were not re­ported by the main­stream me­dia. Might that be be­cause it found what he said too in­con­ve­nient to fit the — what’s the word th­ese days?; ah yes — “nar­ra­tive” of the mod­er­a­tion of Ab­bas and the noble cause for which he is fight­ing?

For ac­cord­ing to a re­port on World­Net­Daily, the “mod­er­ate” Ab­bas called upon the Pales­tini­ans to stop fight­ing each other and in­stead “raise our ri­fles only against the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion”. But wasn’t he sup­posed to be, un­like Arafat, a man who didn’t want to kill Is­raelis? Isn’t that why we sup­pos­edly can do busi­ness with him and not with Ha­mas?

He is, af­ter all, the “mod­er­ate” be­ing fran­ti­cally propped up by the Amer­i­can Sec­re­tary of State, Con­doleezza Rice. This week, she asked him nicely if, to break the stale­mate, he would set up within tem­po­rary borders the state he says he wants. No way, said the “mod­er­ate” Ab­bas; he wanted the lot now, right of re­turn as well — and that was non-ne­go­tiable.

Couldn’t be clearer, you might think: the de­struc­tion of Is­rael, through un­lim­ited Arab im­mi­gra­tion to a state that is not Pales­tine, is to him non-ne­go­tiable. Yet Amer­ica has armed him with 7,000 as­sault ri­fles and one mil­lion rounds of am­mu­ni­tion, all given safe pas­sage by Is­rael as a spe­cial de­liv­ery to Fatah — some mem­bers of which openly be­long to the Al Aqsa Mar­tyrs Brigades.

Of course we all un­der­stand that this is to help Ab­bas de­feat Ha­mas, be­cause Ha­mas is pledged to de­stroy Is­rael. Would that be the same Ha­mas whose erst­while leader Sheikh Yassin, who was killed by the Is­raelis, was praised by Ab­bas in his re­marks?

And any­way, Fatah also wants Is­rael de­stroyed. Its maps and in­signia erase Is­rael from the Mid­dle East al­to­gether. It teaches its chil­dren to hate and to kill Jews. And it says at ev­ery turn that the two-state so­lu­tion is but a stag­ing post to the fi­nal so­lu­tion of one state.

As Khaled Abu Toameh wrote in the Jerusalem Post, the idea that Ab­bas is mil­i­tar­ily weak is lu­di­crous. He con­trols more than 45,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel, in ad­di­tion to thou­sands of Fatah gun­men and ac­tivists, com­pared with fewer than 5,000 Ha­mas mili­ti­a­men.

He doesn’t fight Ha­mas, not be­cause he is weak but be­cause he re­fuses point blank to have a Pales­tinian civil war. Pales­tinian blood, he says, must not be spilt. In­stead he will use the guns sup­plied to him so thought­fully by Amer­ica and Is­rael to spill Jewish blood.

That’s be­cause he ac­cuses the Jews of cor­rupt­ing the world, quot­ing the Ko­ran verse 5:64, which goes on: “We have cast among them en­mity and ha­tred till the day of res­ur­rec­tion.”

Such ra­bid an­tisemitism should sur­prise no one who re­calls that he has a PhD in Holo­caust de­nial. But the ap­palling thing is that most of the so-called civilised world col­ludes with the fiction that he is a mod­er­ate and that he rep­re­sents a just cause for which the Pales­tini­ans will ac­cept a just so­lu­tion.

If that were so, Is­rael and a Pales­tinian state would have been liv­ing peace­fully side by side for the past six decades. But the world ig­nores the facts of his­tory. It ig­nores the dis­gust­ing things Ab­bas says. It ig­nores the Pales­tinian death cult he does noth­ing to stop, and scape­goats Is­rael in­stead as the re­gional bully.

Sym­pa­thy for mur­der­ous ha­tred has thus be­come — ob­scenely — the great com­pas­sion­ate cause of the West. And many Jews, on both sides of the At­lantic and in Is­rael it­self, have fallen for it too. They have been per­suaded to see in the plight of the Pales­tinian peo­ple their own his­toric re­flec­tion.

In­di­vid­ual Pales­tini­ans may de­serve com­pas­sion, but their cause amounts to Holo­caust de­nial as a na­tional project. The great Jewish heart thus bleeds for its own de­struc­tion.

Me­lanie Phillips is a Daily Mail colum­nist

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