Promise - last one for the road

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    Stop Feeding Sand to Horses
    Dr. Gabriel Danzig
    25 October 2002

    An old joke tells of a man who decided to save money by training his horse to eat sand. Each day he would add a little more sand to the feed, in the hopes that eventually the horse would be able to survive on a diet consisting only of sand. Unfortunately, just as the experiment was nearing the end, the horse unexpectedly died, and the experiment came to a halt. The farmer never found out if the horse could survive on sand or not.

    What is funny about the joke, of course, is that the farmer never realized that the only thing that killed his horse was the sand that he kept feeding it. He still thinks that if he had had better luck, a healthier horse, he could have succeeded in training him horse to eat sand. And who knows, he may have gone to look for another horse to try his experiment again in hopes of succeeded this time. Some people never learn.

    Well, that farmer is still around. In fact there are an awful lot of people today who think that it was just an unfortunate accident that the peace process between Israel and Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority met its untimely death two years ago. They don’t seem to realize that the death of the peace process was just the natural result of an experiment that was stupid to begin with.

    The idea was based on the baseless assumption that the Palestinians are interested in living peacefully in an independent state. That has never been the case and it is not the case today. The PLO is not called the Palestinian Liberation Army. It is not devoted to the liberation of the Palestinian people (who did not even have an independent identity at the time the PLO was founded in 1964). It is called the Palestine Liberation Organization, and its goal is not to free the Palestinians, but rather to free Palestinian land from the oppressive presence of non-Arab, non-Muslim people.

    If the Palestinians were interested in their own state, they would have rejoiced at the fact that Israel also wants them to have their own state. Why, if that were the goal, there would be no conflict at all. Instead of violating all the terms of the agreements that aimed at crating such a state, the Palestinians would have been very careful to fulfill them, knowing that by fulfilling these agreements, they would be guaranteed their own state. If they had behaved peaceably during the past nine years since the signing of the Oslo agreements, they would surely have a state by now.

    Many foreign observers who notice these facts are perplexed. They seem to think that the Palestinian leadership has failed to achieve its own goals. Even more perplexing, the Palestinian people do not seem to criticize their leadership for this supposed failure. They criticize the corruption; they criticize cooperation with Israel; but they do not complain about the fact that the Palestinian leadership has failed to create a Palestinian state, despite the fact that the Israelis, the Americans, the Europeans, and everyone else in the world wants them to have one already. What in the world is going on?

    The fact is that the Palestinians are not as uninformed as it would seem. They do not blame their leadership for not creating a state because their goal is not to create a state. It is fun to pretend that that is their goal, just as it is fun to pretend that there is no connection between Islam and the wave of terrorism that has begun to plague the world. It is fun to pretend, but it is not a very realistic approach.

    The fact is that the goal of the Palestinians, as well as their Muslims brothers and sisters, is to free Palestine from the infidels. It has already been virtually freed of Christians. The Christian communities of Lebanon and Israel have been decimated. The Arab Christians that remain find it prudent to pretend that they love being oppressed by their Muslim neighbors. Any complaints could be fatal to their health. But most of them have fled already. And the Jews of Israel are next on the list.

    In this situation, offering arms, territory and money to the Palestinian leadership, in the hopes of achieving peace, is about as intelligent as feeding sand to a horse in order to save money. Providing these resources will not bring peace, it will only provide a greater and greater incentive for acts of violence. War is always a psychological matter. But this is especially the case in the current conflict, where Palestinian hopes and expectations of expelling the infidels has risen to such heights of ecstasy that young men and women are lining up for suicide missions. The only way to overcome that psychology is not by providing resources, but by taking the kind of measures that would bring these fantasies to an end.

    But that is not what anyone is trying to do. On the contrary, world leaders today seem to be convinced that the road to peace still runs through Oslo. It means negotiations, concessions, and the provision of material resources. That’s like feeding sand to a horse.

    Dr. Gabriel Danzig
    Department of Classics
    Bar Ilan University
    Ramat Gan 52900, Israel
    [email protected]

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