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Posted in: Israel

Published on May 18, 2010 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for NewsRealBlog

Palestinian Houses Demolished in Gaza

Whose Fault Is It?


Guess what? Earlier today, Hamas leaders demolished scores of Palestinian homes in Rafah, Gaza. And why? What is the real reason for this Palestinian-on-Palestinian demolition? Was the land needed for villas for Hamas heavies? Was it for a military purpose? Were these tunnels in which Palestinians were trying to escape from Gaza and into Egypt?

Hamas claimed that the houses were on "government-owned land." That—nothing more. Hamas police, wielding clubs, beat the inhabitants to force them to leave. Beaten, the people clutched mattresses and pronounced this a "nakba," a catastrophe, (and in the Palestinian media, no less). This word is usually reserved for Israel's miraculous survival in May of 1948 when it faced as many as ten Arab armies, including forces from Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

The Palestinians are so emotionally and rhetorically extreme. I wonder whether they'll take this to the United Nations or perhaps to the Arab League? Why not the Organization of the Islamic Conference—surely, they will raise a hue and cry at the United Nations on behalf of Palestinians-under-seige, yes?

Actually—no. Sadly, no one really cares about the Palestinians. Most are known killers and terrorists, gangsters. No Arab country will grant them citizenship. Jordan massacred them in 1970 and began to exile them in 2009; this is an ongoing process. They are forgotten by Arab tyrants whose own countries are filled with people who are also living in poverty and considerable misery. The Palestinians only matter as a symbol to quell national Arab unrest and when it is Israelis who are demolishing Palestinian homes or shooting back at Palestinian terrorists.

In the past, Israel has, indeed, demolished homes in Rafah. But why? Beneath the homes and buildings there were tunnels in which guns and explosives were smuggled from Egypt.

In the past, Israel was demonized for such home demolitions. American, European, and Israeli activists have demonstrated against Israel, and the UN has denounced Israel for precisely this reason.

I wonder whether these activists will denounce Hamas for brutally demolishing Palestinian homes. Sadly, I am not holding my breath.

Recall: the American activist and Palestine solidarity dupe, Rachel Corrie, was accidentally killed in Rafah, when an Israeli military bulldozer ran her over. The Israeli driver claimed that he could not and did not see her. I believe him. Nevertheless, her parents are attempting to sue the state of Israel. To date, plays have been written and performed about this naive, perhaps unwitting "shahida," (martyr) for the Palestinian cause.

In the past, in 2007, Egypt demolished homes on the Egyptian side of Rafah. There was no international uproar, nor did any Egyptian object. A September, 2007 article in the New York Times reported: "Egypt … is clearing almost 1,000 feet of houses from the Egyptian side of Rafah, a city cut in two by the border."

The Times' reporter asked a local Palestinian businessman named Muhammad the following question: "When Israel cleared Palestinian houses in Rafah to stop smuggling tunnels, will there be an international uproar and many demonstrations. Will there be demonstrations in Egypt?"

His response?

"Muhammad roared with laughter."

President Obama has not signaled to the Arab or Muslim world that he cares about Arab or Muslim suffering–or democracy, dissent, human rights, or women's rights. On the contrary. He has signaled that he does not care about such rights (or will not commit American money or blood to ensure them, not even in Tehran), and that he will accept, appease, and negotiate with the worst tyrants in the interest of … stability? How stable will our world be now that Turkey is selling uranium to Iran, and Russia is offering all kinds of material support to Iran as well? How stable will the tyrants of the Middle East be if Iran sells a nuclear bomb to al-Qaeda in Pakistan? How stable will the rest of the world be?

Obama just rolled out the red carpet for Afghanistan's President Karzai, a known drug lord and corrupt puppet—but left Prime Minister Netanyahu on his own, alone, held no state banquets in his honor, took no photos together. Now, the Israelis are downplaying this shameful public incident; perhaps they are also right, perhaps it does not amount to anything new; Israeli diplomats have steadily been shamed in the corridors of power. Worse: Perhaps they do not want others to remember this, enjoy it, follow suit.

The good news: It may not matter. Israel has just been accepted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a member. Its 34 members are all from high-income economies with only a few exceptions. The Israeli economy and scientific and cultural genius matters after all. Everyone who matters really knows this. In fact, the various petitions to boycott Israel and Israeli academics are signed by anthropologists, not physicists, by literature professors, not by computer scientists. Israel's contribution to the world is already very considerable. Imagine if the country was not under profound siege how much more it might be able to contribute.

True, Israel has no natural resources like oil and gold. According to Free Republic:

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people – as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

There are also nine Israeli Nobel Prize winners, including three who won the Peace Prize. Egypt, a much larger and older country, has won only one Nobel Prize for science (in chemistry), one in Literature, and two Peace Prizes. Egypt is eleven times the size of Israel. It is not chronically demonized or isolated, nor has war chronically been declared against it.

Here's a very short list of only some of Israel's contributions to the world: Drip irrigation; the cellphone (developed in Israel by Motorola); voice mail technology; AOL Instant Messenger (developed in Israel in 1996); the Pentium MMX chip—and countless medical miracles including nanotechnology, stem cell research, a new anti-cancer detection test, and recently, a way for paraplegics to potentially walk again.

Of course, the Palestinian Authority opposed Israel's new membership in OECD.

Who could make this up? I have absolutely no comment on this; none is needed.


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