Friday, September 16, 2005

Atlantic Monthly Calls Palestinians
Pawns In A Permanent War Against Israel

Yes, well they did 44 years ago anyway.

Neo-Neocon has dug up a treasure of an article from a 1961 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, which reveals that what ought to be evident about the Palestinian cause today, was as plain as the nose on your face back in 1961:

A reader recently alerted me to an astounding article by Martha Gellhorn which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in October of 1961, forty-four years ago.

The article is entitled "The Arabs of Palestine," and it was the result of a series of interviews Gellhorn had with residents of Palestinian refugee camps, and talks with Israeli Arabs, as well.

At the time of Gellhorn's article, the various refugee camps she visited were under the jurisdiction of Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Keep in mind, also, that she was describing conditions that existed long before the 1967 war that resulted in Israel having jurisdiction over some of the areas Gellhorn visited. Therefore nothing Gellhorn writes about Palestinian attitudes towards Israel could possibly be the result of an "occupation" that hadn't yet occurred.

Here are some of her opening salvos:

Although no one knows exactly how many refugees are scattered everywhere over the globe, it is estimated that since World War II, and only since then, at least thirty-nine million non-Arab men, women, and children have become homeless refugees, through no choice of their own....

The world could be far more generous to these unwilling wanderers, but at least the world has never thought of exploiting them. They are recognized as people, not pawns. By their own efforts, and with help from those devoted to their service, all but some six million of the thirty-nine million have made a place for themselves, found work and another chance for the future. To be a refugee is not necessarily a life sentence.

The unique misfortune of the Palestinian refugees is that they are a weapon in what seems to be a permanent war. Alarming signs, from Egypt, warn us that the Palestinian refugees may develop into more than a justification for cold war against Israel...

... today, in the Middle East, you get a repeated sinking sensation about the Palestinian refugees: they are only a beginning, not an end. Their function is to hang around and be constantly useful as a goad.

Was Nancy Gelhorn a prophet? Well, what was obvious to her 44 years ago is even harder for the general public to grasp these days.

The truth is, public perception of the Palestinian situation has gone backward during the course of my lifetime.

I am in my early forties. When I was a kid I had insomnia (well actually, I still do). So, I used to stay up late watching the TV news in desparate hope that it would put me to sleep. I remember, clearly, being 7, 8, 9 years old, and seeing Yasser Arafat and his insane followers on the news; hijacking, bombing and generally making a menace of themselves.

The difference, though, was in those days, he was called a terrorist, not a head of state. He had not won a Nobel Peace Prize. He was not even allowed on U.S. soil, let alone to speak at the United Nations.

The leftist transfiguration of Yasser Arafat has been an abomination, and one motivated by all sorts of anti-Western idiocy, which has over time mutated into virulent anti-Semitism.

Go read the rest of the Neo-Neocon post. It's worth it.