How Did the Palestinians Descend into Barbarism?

(Wall Street Journal) Bret Stephens - The checkpoints and curfews are not gratuitous acts of unkindness by Israel, nor are they artifacts of occupation. On the contrary, in the years when Israel was in full control of the territories there were no checkpoints or curfews, and Palestinians could move freely (and find employment) throughout the country. It was only with the start of the peace process in 1993 and the creation of autonomous Palestinian areas under Arafat's control that terrorism became a commonplace fact of Israeli life. And it was only then that the checkpoints went up. In the Gaza Strip, the departure of Israeli troops and settlers has brought anarchy, not freedom. Members of Hamas routinely fight gun battles with members of Fatah. Just as often, the killing takes place between clans. So-called collaborators are put to the gun by street mobs, their "guilt" sometimes nothing more than being the object of a neighbor's spite. Honor killings of "loose" women are common, as is the torture and murder of homosexuals. Talk to Palestinians, and you will often hear it said, like a mantra, that Palestinian dignity requires Palestinian statehood. This is either a conceit or a lie. Should a Palestinian state ever come into existence in Gaza and the West Bank, it will be a small place, mostly poor, culturally marginal, most of it desert, rock, slums, and dust.

2005-10-24 00:00:00

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