Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestine Authority, we are told, comprise the moderate Palestinian alternative to the Hamas-driven vision of mayhem and terror in Gaza. This assurance is repeated despite Abbas’s well-established biography as someone antipathetic to Jews as a people. In his doctoral thesis, written at Moscow’s Institute of Oriental Studies, Abbas presaged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by denying the Holocaust. As a top lieutenant to Yasser Arafat – he named a son “Yasser” for his mentor – he was a terrorist leader, even sporting a nom-de-guerre: Abu Mazen. In his prominent role within Al-Fatah, Abbas provided the funds that Abu Daoud used to perpetrate the 1972 massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munic Olympic Games. During the period Abbas has headed the Palestine Authority on the land that Arabs call the “West Bank” and Jews call “Judea and Samaria,” he has honored mass murderers by naming town squares for them, has permitted mass media under his control to savage Jews as people, and even has allowed anti-Jewish vituperative to be taught in the curricula of his schools.
Now comes word that his Government – ever on the international prowl with outstretched hand seeking hundreds of millions of dollars and euros to cushion its bankrupt economy – has found $50 million to fund a new initiative. The Palestinian Authority will pay Arabs not to accept employment in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Will American tax dollars indirectly be financing this “fund”? Inexorably so. Only last year we pledged the Palestinian Authority and Gaza $900 million, then rushed them another emergency infusion of $200 million as their economy crumbled. Yet, while the Palestine Authority may not be wealthy, their sense of irony is rich: If Israelis hesitate to employ Palestinian laborers, sincerely fearing terrorism in their midst, they are berated as “racist” and “apartheid.” Now, in the face of tens of thousands of Palestinians working amicably with Jews, Mahmoud Abbas will pay them to revert to unemployed rather than to accept employment within Judea and Samaria.
More than 20,000 Palestinian Arabs now work at the industrial parks and construction sites that employ them throughout Judea and Samaria. Despite continual efforts by Mr. Abbas and Israel’s haters throughout the world to slander Israel as an “Apartheid” entity, the reality is that Arabs often earn from their Jewish employers twice the income they command within Mr. Abbas’s polity. These are good salaries, and those wages support large families. The people whose lives would be affected by the cynicism – the workers in the industrial parks – do not want to give up those jobs. The Associated Press interviewed Suhail Jaber, who supports his family of eight by working in a picture frame company in the community of Barkan in Samaria, an industrial park employs some 5,000 Arabs. Jaber told the AP that, if forced by Abbas to quit without being assured a new job, he might turn to stealing to feed his family. Another employee, Samer Awad, “said he would sleep in Barkan’s furniture factory to avoid detection by Palestinian law enforcement, rather than quit.”
This is the season when pockets of Western campus radicals enjoy proclaiming on their respective campuses their annual day or week of anti-Israel hate. (They mark May 15, 1948 as the “Day of Catastrophe” because Israel was proclaimed into existence as the Middle East’s first democracy on that day.) Curiously, the anti-Zionists actually are half-correct when they bewail the presence of Apartheid segregation and Nazi-like hatred in the Middle East. There really is “Apartheid in Palestine.” There really is “Nazi-like hate” in the Middle East. The only tweak on those anti-Israel posters, Jew-hating sloganeers, and haters who call Israel-supporters the “new Nazis,” is that the Apartheid and venom of Nazi-like hatred in Palestine is perpetrated by the Palestinian Arabs. It is their unbridled insistence on demographic separation – complete, utter separation from Jews – and their concomitant dehumanization and demonization of Jews that sees them refuse to coexist permanently with a Jewish state next door or anywhere in the Middle East. This social pathology mirrors the Apartheid and Nazi-like vitriol that sees the Coptic Christian minority persecuted in Egypt, the Berber minority persecuted in Algeria, the Christian minority persecuted in Saudi Arabia, African Christians persecuted in the Sudan, the Baha’i persecuted in Iran, Kurds mass-murdered in Iraq, and even Shiites persecuted in Sunni Muslim lands and Sunnis persecuted by Shiites. The affinity with Hitler’s Nazi paradigm of mass-murder and Jew-hatred may be traced back to the father of Palestinian nationalism, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
This pathological hatred of Jews transcends the worst images of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. At the core of Scripture, in its chapter five (“The Table”), Surah 5:57-62, the Koran discusses the “People of the Book,” portraying Jews as sub-human, despicable animals: “Believers, do not seek the friendship of the infidels and those who were given the Book before you . . . . Say: ‘People of the Book, do you hate us for any reason other than . . . that most of you are evil-doers?’. . . .You see many of them vie with one another in sin and wickedness . . . . Evil is what they do.” Thus, Allah will lay his “worst reward” on the Jews, “transforming them into apes and pigs.” The vicious ape/pig demonization of Jews recurs throughout the Koran (see, e.g., “The Cow,” 2:64-65), and that vicious imagery – a veritable Blood Libel – has been a central message propagated by the Palestine Authority in its mass media for years, even as it is a recurring Friday sermon topic telecast on Palestine Arab television – the literal demonizing of Jews as blood brothers or children of apes and pigs.
For all the hatred, perhaps nowhere in the world is Apartheid in Palestine more pernicious than . . . within the Palestine Authority. Only within the Arab world do we find civilian populations in their thousands consigned to “refugee camps” for sixty years. This perpetual consignment – indeed, virtual internment – constitutes one of the worst crimes against humanity we have witnessed in the modern era: the concerted persecution of Palestinian Arabs by cynical Arab regimes who have planted them in “refugee camps.” Nowhere is the cynicism more manifest than it is within the Palestine Authority, which maintains “refugee camps” in cities like Jenin. Consider: If those denizens indeed are Palestinian Arabs, and if the Palestine Authority oversees the homeland of the Palestinians, then how in the world can people living in their own land, under a government freely elected by their own people, be deemed “refugees”?
Those “refugee camps” are historical anomalies, thoroughly anachronistic. Their residents are dumped onto international welfare rolls, under the rubric of a cynically anti-Jewish United Nations agency, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (UNRWA), which runs the camps and their schools. The UNRWA has a vested interest – namely, preserving their own existence, preserving their own continued employment and pay checks, preserving their jobs – in perpetuating the historical crime of refusing to let the residents be absorbed into their local environments.
During the last century, the world has seen so many tragically painful “population exchanges” play themselves out on the world stage. Greek ethnics were forced out of Bulgaria and into Greece, while Bulgarian ethnics were forced from Greece into Bulgaria. In 1922, under the League of Nations, 1.25 million Greek Orthodox ethnics were transferred from Turkey, and half a million Moslems were transferred reciprocally to Turkey from Greece. Fridtjof Nansen, who oversaw the population exchange, was awarded the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize for his effort. In 1940, under the Treaty of Craiova, there was a massive population exchange: 80,000 Romanian ethnics were forced into Bulgaria, and 65,000 Bulgarian ethnics forced out of Romania. After World War II, between 14-16 million ethnic Germans were transferred out of Central and Eastern Europe, and into Germany. Poland and the Soviet Union exchanged populations: between 1944 and 1946, some 2 million people, Polish ethnics sent to Poland from the Ukraine and Ukrainians sent out of Poland, were transferred. More than 5 million Hindus and Sikhs were forced to India from the regions that became Pakistan, and more than 6 million Moslems were pushed from India into Pakistan.
Where are the languishing Bulgarian refugee camps? Greek refugee camps? Romanian/ Polish/ German/ Ukrainian/ Hindu/ Sikh refugee camps? Where are the Bosnian Moslem refugee camps? Why is there no massive international welfare apparatus in the rubric of a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for any of these refugees? How is it that no one even thinks to ask?
Maybe, as Mr. Abbas directs $50 million to pay Palestinian Arabs to leave their jobs alongside Jews, and to return to the squalor of his homespun “refugee camps,” it is time for Americans to ask that question – before we write him our next billion-dollar check.
Dov Fischer is a legal affairs consultant and adjunct professor of the law of civil procedure and advanced torts. He was formerly Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and writes extensively on political, cultural, and religious issues. He is author of general Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine and blogs at www.rabbidov.com.