A trope on the Left is that, if Israel will just give the Palestinians back their land, glorious peace will instantly descend upon the entire Middle East, whether in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. All of those nations are convulsing, runs this trope, not because they are backwards dictatorships, whether the dictators use religion (Iran or Saudi Arabia, for example), or just old fashioned terror tactics (Egypt and Syria, for examples) against their citizens.
I fall into the group of people that has said for years that even if Israel were to vanish from the face of the earth (something Ahmadinijad seems to be working on), nothing would change in these Muslim, Middle Eastern nations. This is so becase the leaders in these countries use Israel to keep their uneducated masses from noticing that they are being fiercely abused by their leaders. It’s the strong anti-Democratic tendencies in these countries, not Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, that have kept Arab (and Persian) Muslims chained to the mud.
I was therefore entirely unsurprised when, after Israel yielded to Leftist and Muslim importuning and violence, a new dawn of peace did not instantly break. Instead, the Palestinians turned on each other with a vengeance. Meanwhile, the Leftists and Muslim world continued to castigate Israel as if she hadn’t done just what everyone insisted was a necessary precondition to the instant creation of a new Utopian Middle East.
What staggered me today was something I read in the AP story about the horrible bakery bombing in Eilat yesterday. The two factions claiming responsibility for the bombing explicitly admitted that they murdered innocents solely to return Israel to her scapegoat status in the hope that this would take the Palestinians’ mind off of their own internecine warfare:
A Palestinian suicide bomber killed three Israelis at a bakery Monday in the first such attack inside the country in nine months, and the two radical groups that claimed to have sent him said they were trying to end weeks of Palestinian infighting by taking aim at
Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed joint responsibility. Both militant groups said they hoped to encourage warring Palestinian factions to end weeks of clashes.
“The operation has a clear message to the Palestinian rivals. It is necessary to end the infighting and point the guns toward the occupation that has hurt the Palestinian people,” a posting on the Islamic Jihad Web site said.
Early Tuesday, officials from the rival
Fatah and Hamas movements announced a new cease-fire. Negotiated by the two sides with Egyptian mediators at a midnight meeting, the agreement was supposed to end bloodshed that has left over 60 Palestinians dead since early December.
But fighting continued in downtown Gaza after the truce was supposed to have taken effect. Several earlier truce agreements have broken down.
I think this must be the first explicit admission from the Muslim world that a primary purpose of fighting Israel is to keep Muslims from fighting each other. And there’s no question but that part of this Arab/Persian need to fight each other arises because the myriad strictures of the Muslim world, whether arising from religion or old-fashioned despotism, have created a very small economic pie indeed. There’s definitely not enough to go around, and the leaders of those countries know that they need an emotionally resonant target to distract the people from their grinding poverty and oppression.