I’ve often heard the Palestinians as having a “culture of victimhood,” and pretty much agreed with it. It seems that no matter what happens or what they do, it’s not their fault, it’s all to be excused because they’re victims. It allows them to do whatever they like, with absolutely no fear of consequences, and a lot of people are willing to give them a free ride because of that.
But there’s a whole other aspect of the “culture of victimhood” I had overlooked. As long as the Palestinians are the perpetual victims, then no one else is allowed to be a victim. No matter what the cause, their victimhood must take a back seat to that of the Palestinians.
That realization came to me when I read this article (courtesy of this article of Bookworm’s). In it, we have the sob story of a Palestinian businessman whose business was crippled by the Intifadah (well, according to him, the totally-unreasonable Israeli crackdown in response).
Abdel Rahman was doing wonderfully. He made scads of money as an automobile importer, delivering goods to his customers, who’d pay top dollar because Rahman would get them exactly the car they wanted.
And how’d he get them the car they wanted? He’d have it stolen in Israel.
According to Rahman, it was the perfect business. Low overhead (hiring thieves and bribing border guards was cheap), lots of customers, and best of all, it was only illegal on the acquisition end. The Palestinian Authority didn’t just turn a blind eye to the flow of stolen vehicles across the borders, they sanctioned it, issuing special license plates that marked the car as stolen and therefore lacking the proper paperwork.
Rahman had no guilt about what he did. After all, who really lost out? His customers (including the Palestinian Authority itself) got the cars they wanted cheaply, the original owners would get new cars from their insurance company, and he was employing plenty of people.
And when the insurance industry got fed up with subsidizing Rahman’s business, they sued and won a hunk of money from the Palestinian Authority — which made it up by raising the registration fees on stolen cars. The idea of simply stopping the thieving and returning stolen property just never occurred to them.
The Palestinian Authority has often been described as a “kleptocracy,” but I think that’s too mild. It looks like the entire Palestinian culture is based on that precept.