When Shame Hits: A Clueless West and a Humiliated Arabia

Youssef M. Ibrahim writes an extremely interesting meditation on the psychological situation in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mr. Ibrahim, a former New York Times Middle East Correspondent and Wall Street Journal Energy Editor for 25 years, is a freelance writer based in New York City and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and a contributing editor of the NY Sun.

Arabs losing faith in ‘the cause’

By Youssef M. Ibrahim

Why is America trying to pour new money and more weapons into Palestinian Arab hands barely days after the Gaza debacle? It is an ill-considered policy, both premature and useless. The only sure result will be that warring gangs in the West Bank will use every new weapon to continue the mayhem and that the millions paid out won’t buy as much as a bottle of milk for Palestinian Arab civilians. Instead, the money will end up in the pockets and bank accounts of the same crooks who lost Gaza.

Indeed, why try to recreate a world that has just crumbled? America and Israel may want to wait for what may turn out to be a changing of the guard: Arab voices, both expert and popular, are rising in vociferous denunciations of the once sacrosanct Palestinian Arabs.

“It is idle to think that Gaza could be written off as a Hamas dominion while Fatah held its own in the towns of the West Bank,” Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies noted in a sobering analysis published Tuesday in the New York Times. “The abdication and the anarchy have damaged both Palestinian realms. Nablus in the West Bank is no more amenable to reason than is Gaza; the writ of the pitiless preachers and gunmen is the norm in both places.”

While Mr. Ajami’s commentary is poised, there is no such thing:

“Palestinians today need to be left without a shred of a doubt” as to what other Arabs think of them, a widely read opinion commentator for the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, Mamoun Fandy, thundered on Monday. “We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters.”

While it could be argued that the overwhelming public outrage in Saudi Arabia reflects resentment over the collapse of the much-vaunted reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah — which was personally brokered by King Abdullah earlier this year in Mecca — the anger expressed across the Muslim Arab world reflects deep embarrassment at the discredit Hamas has brought, in the name of Islam, through its savagery against Fatah.

For its part, the Egyptian press has become unhinged, spewing vile denunciations of what is universally known as “the cause” — support for the Palestinian Arabs — and describing it as dead. Egypt’s government pulled its embassy out of Gaza on Tuesday.

Kuwaitis, who have harbored contempt for Palestinian Arabs ever since they allied themselves with Saddam Hussein’s occupation in 1990-91, also dropped all restraint. “Palestinians are neither a modernized nor a civilized people,” Ahmad Al Bughdadi wrote Monday in Al Siyassah, an influential Kuwaiti daily. “They are not statesmen. If what happened in Gaza is what they do without a state, what then shall they do when they get one?”

If there could be an editorial coup de grace, it surely was delivered by no less than Abdelbari Atwan, undoubtedly the Palestinian Arabs most influential and respected journalist and a familiar face on both Western and Arab television.

Writing in the London-based Al Quds International, his painfully felt commentary, “Yes, We Have Lost the World’s Respect,” argued that “the cause” may have lost its legitimacy: “Many, myself among them, find it difficult to speak of Israeli crimes against our people in view of what we have now done,” Mr. Atwan wrote. “I never thought the day would come when we would see Palestinians throwing other Palestinians from the tops of buildings to their death, Palestinians attacking other Palestinians to tear their bodies with knives, Palestinians stripping others naked to drag them through the streets.”

Because when they did it to Israelis or other Arabs (e.g., in Lebanon), no one had a clue they’d do it to themselves?

All of which suggests letting this Arab storm run its course: It may be a purging of the Arab mindset that creates new realities and opportunities.

For instance, throughout the Arab Gulf region, starting with Al-Jazeera of Qatar and Al-Arabiya of Saudi Arabia, the press has long been controlled by Palestinian Arabs practiced in spewing anti-Western and anti-American propaganda. But the Gaza conundrum has left them stymied, opening space for “local sentiments,” which differ markedly.

Instead of pouring good money after bad in the western part of the Arab world, it may be wiser for America to help foster the revolutionary new thinking unfolding in its East — perhaps by nudging along a propaganda purge among friendly Arab regimes.

Bit of honor-shame analysis: Now, after being humiliated in front of the world, Arabs — even Palestinians — grow self-critical, end up saying things that (right-wing) Israelis have been saying for decades… like, “They’re not ready for statehood.” We, instead of saying, “At last! Now let’s get serious,” rush in to cover their shame. How stupid can we get? Very.

Another teaching moment will be lost because of the inane advice of well-intentioned fools.

6 Responses to When Shame Hits: A Clueless West and a Humiliated Arabia

  1. fp\http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/ says:

    so tell me, why are you optimistic?

  2. nobody important says:

    “I never thought the day would come when we would see Palestinians throwing other Palestinians from the tops of buildings to their death, Palestinians attacking other Palestinians to tear their bodies with knives, Palestinians stripping others naked to drag them through the streets.”

    You mean you had your eyes closed when “collaborators” were dealt with, Mr. Atwan?

  3. shinseries says:

    “Collaborators” (any dissidents) were punished silently by the ruling party and its members. With the media under the thumb of the ruling party, there was no media coverage of that punishment.

    Now when Hamas and Fatah are feuding, monolithic control of the media is no longer in place. And in the chaos, record of such events were leaked to the rest of the world.

    Israel now has a state that sponsors terrorism on its doorstep and is in danger of rocket attacks every day. Despite this danger, I still think that Israel made a great decision to pull out of Gaza. To be able to expose the Palestinian government is priceless, and is a victory in the media that it desperately needs.

    Unfortunately, the idiots in the Palestinian government just promised to release lots of funds to Abbas and his Fatah movement. Starve the beast!!! Destroy both corrupt regimes by refusing it a supply of money. Fatah might be the lesser of evil when compared to Hamas, but it is still an evil. Fatah wants to destroy Israel but uses gentler rhetoric. And I can’t believe the US just promised more funds to Fatah, as well.

  4. fp\http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/ says:

    it’s worse than that: israel is now surrounded on 4 sides by people sworn to its destruction, funded and armed by iran going nuclear (the us has lost that fight too), a weakened US starting to refer to hamas as as resistance movement “moderating” itself, a defeated us, and israel led by a bunch of idiots and with a wishful thinking population.

    such a situation is almost certain to cause the enemies to overreach, in which case…

  5. Eliyahu says:

    fp, you say that the US is starting to refer to Hamas as a “resistance” movement becoming “moderate.” I have no doubt about what you say. But in Britain & Norway, the situation is worse. Tony Phoney –about to be appointed “peace” envoy of the ever peaceful empires to the “palestinian”-Israeli “peace process”– was trying to promote Hamas as far back as 2002, if not earlier, through the instrumentality of dear Mr Crooke. [see link:]
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/05/is-united-kingdom-israels-most.html

    Even years before, Britain was soft on Arab terrorists. Recall that the French discovered that Muslim-Arab terrorists bombing the Paris subway [Metro] in the mid-1990s were taking orders from leaders based in Britain. That’s how the nickname Londonistan arose. Even an Italian moderate Muslim saw fit to point that out:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/05/muslim-leader-reminds-us-that-london.html

    Tony blair is a very crooked character, much overrated. His moral corruption shines out in the affair of bribes paid by a Brit weapons manufacturer to Saudi Prince Bandar, as if Bandar needed more money. So some Western powers collaborate with the Islamists and Wahhabis.See link:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/06/uk-arab-relations-everythings-cozy-when.html

    Then there is Norway, trying hard to live up to its Quisling reputation:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/03/expel-norwegian-ambassador-stop.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/03/norwegian-judeophobia-in-cartoons-expel.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/03/norway-judeophobes-in-guise-of-peace.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/04/quislings-strike-again-expel-norwegian.html

  6. fp\http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/ says:

    you’re preaching to the choir. i already gave up on europe, as far as i am concerned they are part of the arab league.

    the loss of the US is critical to israel and this is exactly what i am seeing. if a dhimmicrat gets the presidency, together with a dhimmicrat congress i don’t want to think about what they’ll do.

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