Palestinains take part in a protest against aid cuts, outside the United Nations’ offices in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip..
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Although the human being is the most sophisticated and capable of all of God’s creations, at our earliest stages we are among the most vulnerable and the most helpless. A newborn giraffe will start walking within an hour of birth; after 10 hours, the baby giraffe will be able to run and keep up with the herd. But it will take years for a human infant to become even partially self-sufficient; until then he will be completely dependent on others for his every need. As a result of this, the child experiences instant gratification; his food will be brought to him, he’ll be bathed and gently tucked in bed, and if he cries, his parents will rush to satisfy his every request.
Responsible parents know there comes a point when the child must learn to fend for himself, when it is permissible – even preferable – to say “No!” Otherwise, that child will likely become a demanding, spoiled, incorrigible brat who will struggle to find his place in society.
This is precisely what has happened to the Palestinians. For 70+ years, through three generations, they have been fed, wet-nursed, coddled and accommodated by a global set of “parents.” Rather than earn their keep and live within their means, they have been handed billions and billions of dollars – much of which has either been stolen by their handlers or illegally used to purchase weapons. Rather than move out of their squalid camps into decent housing – as Israel has offered numerous times – they have been cruelly kept in cramped surroundings by so-called “leaders” who foment their anger and prolong their agony for political and monetary gain. Rather than drop their refugee status and integrate into a variety of countries – as hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern Jews did, and as millions of others are doing today in Europe – they tenaciously cling to their persecution complex as if it were a warm blanket. The misplaced mercy showered upon them has only served to ingrain within them a massive sense of entitlement that is now virtually impossible to eradicate.
So it comes as no surprise that when they finally get a long-overdue “spanking” by a head of state and berated for their atrocious behavior, the Palestinians react like that proverbial spoiled child and throw a tantrum. They threaten, they throw things (stones, Molotov cocktails, etc.), they curse, they break things (like signed agreements and diplomatic relations), they call the president names, they lock themselves in their room or they run and hide under the UN’s and the Europeans’ skirts. In typical infantile behavior, they blame everyone – except themselves – for their problems.
Though they are the arch-villains of mayhem, glorifying suicide bombers and naming stadiums after child-killers, they call the Israelis “terrorists.” At the same time that they refuse to come to the table and negotiate, they blame Israel for being “intransigent.” While they fabricate a false narrative of their history in the region, they deny the legitimate, universally affirmed more than 3,000-year presence of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.
Sadly, there is no shortage of misguided Jews who rally to their cause, Jews who act as their apologists, accomplices and enablers, and no lack of media people who glorify their “suffering” – some of whom write in this very paper, spinning out monotonous, single-issue op-eds ad nauseam that are so vacuous and boring that intelligent people long ago stopped reading them.
What can be done about this dangerous, destructive enfant terrible? Is there any hope for him, any therapy or behavior modification that can turn him into a responsible citizen of the world?
Ironically, Israel itself offers the best model for attaining maturity and accelerating growth. Israel, too, was in a precarious position when we returned to our homeland and many non-believers were sure we would be dead aborning. We had every reason to feel persecuted – no nation ever endured more than we had – yet we shrugged off the urge to rant and recriminate and we set about the process of nation building.
We offered to live in peace with our neighbors, we agreed to a partition of our ancient homeland; we elected a government-in-waiting and raised up a fledgling army. We worked the land until our hands bled; carrying a plow in one hand and a gun in the other, as we made the desert bloom while dodging bullets. Rather than sit idly and bemoan our fate, we changed our fate. We modified the equation from Survival to Success, transforming ourselves in the process. We had some help along the way from a few friends, but mostly we did this all by ourselves. Dunam by dunam, sacrifice by sacrifice, with God’s blessing we built – and are still building – one of the premier nations of the world.
So, Palestinians, if you ever hope to mimic our achievements and hold your head high with self-respect – even royal bearing – stop your interminable whining, stop pointing fingers at everyone around you, and grow up. It will take a lot of work, a lot of effort, but that’s because life, real life, is much more than child’s play.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana; email@example.com