Christopher Hitchens writes in Slate on the phenomenon of why there aren't any suicide bombings at present. He has some good thoughts, but it doesn't really go far enough.
It wasn't despair that began the bombings. It was simply the most simple, inexpensive, and brutal kind of terrorism the Palestinians could afford in their constant battle to annihilate Israelis and exterminate the State of Israel.
It backfired. One, in the court of public opinion. The civilized world recoiled instead of applauding the "martyrs". In fact, Islam became tarnished with what the West perceives not as an admirable religious statement but a form of primitive barbarity. The suicide bomber became evidence of a twisted, indeed anti-human, creed. He was not a patriot. He was just a terrorist, and a particularly vicious one at that, deliberately targeting women and children. Suicide bombing, in an ideological sense, was counter-productive, and showed just how great the intellectual gap is between Islam and the West.
Two, the Israelis simply didn't do what they were supposed to do: throw in the towel and leave Israel. In fact, most Israelis went about life as normal. We rode the buses and did the shopping. There was economic damage, of course, as tourists chose other places to spend their money, but this did not really help the Palestinians any and Israel's economic base is diverse. But the morale of the people was not touched, in any real sense. Mobile phone companies sold a lot of phones so parents could keep in touch with their children, and quite a few of us went to more funerals than we normally did, but in the main we resisted by NOT being moved from our usual course. (Palestinians, expecting brutal retaliation a la Assad's gassing of an entire Syrian town, were puzzled and could only conclude that we were "weak". They tend to take this view when we surgically take out a single terrorist leader rather than bomb several hundred family and friends at the same time. It's not a world view they understand, unfortunately)
Three, it actively damaged the Palestinians. Wherever possible, Arabs from over the Green Line were fired and either Israeli Arabs, Jews, or foreign workers were hired. The so-called "security fence" is really nothing more than a closed border. For years the Palestinians have closed their "side"--no Israeli in his right mind can go to places like Ramallah or Gaza without a good chance of being lynched -- while maintaining that it is their "right" to travel freely within pre-1967 Israel. That has now been stopped, and boy, are they mad about it, shouting "apartheid" and forgetting that it's not a good idea to bite the hand that fed it. Israeli employers who used vast amounts of Palestinian labor before the two intifadas now will do just about anything NOT to employ them. The Palestinians want a sovereign state, but they do not really seem to understand that, in that case, the countries bordering their state may not be willing to allow Palestinians free entry into their territory. That goes for Egypt and Jordan, too, neither of which is criticized for not allowing Palestinians to cross their borders with impunity. (Never hear the UN complaining about that). Only if the Palestinians have something positive to offer will they ever regain the jobs they once had in Israel. They've cut off their noses to spite their faces.
|Your Brain is Green|