Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Rules of Palestinian Politics

Courtesy of the Jerusalem Post columnist Barry Rubin, here are the rules of Palestinian politics. There are ten, but the first three are key:

(1) Palestinians cannot stop other Palestinians from attacking Israel. To do so would be betraying the cause, becoming Israel's lackey.

(2) He who is most militant is always right. Extremism equals heroism. This is one reason why Fatah has such a difficult time competing with Hamas. It cannot denounce these rivals for being too intransigent. Suicide bombers along with those who manage them are role models, not misled individuals, much less evil ones.

(3) More violence is good and a "victory" if it inflicts casualties or damage on Israel. Other than ritual denunciations for the foreign media, these are matters for pride, with the implication being that they advance the cause rather than sabotage it.

You can't beat that for a concise explanation of why the forthcoming U.S.-brokered peace talks in Annapolis will be yet another futile exercise of going through the motions. I suppose we're doing it for the sake of Western sensibilities, and maybe for some perceived benefit to U.S. public diplomacy in the Islamic world, but realists on all sides surely understand going in that the "peace process" is still all process and no peace.

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