IN THE MEDIA
Gaza’s savagery no surprise
Jun 21, 2007 | Bren Carlill
Herald Sun, June 21, 2007
GAZA descends into an orgy of bloodletting as Hamas takes it over militarily and people around the world scratch their heads in confusion.
But the writing has been on the wall since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994.
By the time Israel ceded control of 90 per cent of the Palestinian population as part of the Oslo peace process, Palestinian society was the most educated in the Arab world.
It also possessed the highest standards of living, the best economy, the highest literacy rates and so on.
How did it do this?
Because Israel built Palestinians universities and provided electricity and a water supply, which Jordan and Egypt had not done while ruling the Palestinians from 1948 to 1967.
After the Israeli-Palestinian peace deals, well-meaning countries such as Australia poured billions into PA bank accounts.
More than a billion went straight into Yasser Arafat’s pocket.
Instead of building infrastructure to create a state, Arafat invested in death.
He created 12 different security forces to help enforce his rule. Freedom of speech and dreams of democracy went out the window.
There would be no elections until after his death. Arafat’s corrupt leadership and investment in all those militias ensured a sustainable Palestinian economy would never develop.
The nail in the economic coffin was hammered in by Arafat’s refusal to do anything about terrorism.
Under the Oslo peace process, the PA was essentially obligated to do two things: help prevent terrorism against Israel and stop hate education.
It did neither.
For a couple of months, Arafat made a show of arresting terrorists, but released them a few days later.
Worse, the PA glorified terrorism. It named football stadiums, schools, summer camps and streets after suicide bombers and other terrorists.
Saddam Hussein chipped in, giving $US10,000 to the family of every suicide bomber.
The PA continues to pay pensions to the families of dead Palestinian terrorists.
By providing aid, the Australian taxpayer has helped.
Official Palestinian media encourage children and adults to jihad and martyrdom for the sake of Allah.
The financial and cultural encouragement of terrorism ensured it would increase.
Israel, understandably, built a barrier to stop bombers killing Israelis in buses and cafes.
And it shut the gates whenever there was a terror alert.
Palestinian workers were frequently unable to get to their Israeli jobs, further damaging the Palestinian economy.
It is everything Fatah pretends to be.
Islamist in theory and practise, it unashamedly advocates violence against Israel.
Rather than using lawful government, it tried to impose its will by force.
Fatah, also an armed political party, responded in kind.
The recent savagery is no surprise in a society that has glorified death for so long.
The surprise is that the world didn’t expect it.
Bren Carlill is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council