So, can we call the current kerfuffle in the Palestinian Territories a “civil war” yet?
Let’s see… we have two political parties that don’t like each other. Both parties are outgrowths of terrorist groups who have tried to hide behind the polite fiction that they can have “political” and “militant” wings. And they have decided to settle their differences the old-fashioned way — killing each other (and anyone else who gets in the way).
Fatah has pretty much been driven from the Gaza Strip, leaving it firmly in the hands of Hamas. Hamas, you might recall, is on the official list of terrorist organizations. Their rather impressive resume includes numerous suicide bombings, rocket attacks, kidnappings, shootings, and recently they’ve expanded their repertoire to include dropping people off high rooftops.
They are also Islamic fundamentalists. Their plan is for the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamist Palestinian state in its place, with Shariah law supreme.
But that doesn’t matter, you see. After all, they won an election, certified as fair by no less an eminence than Jimmy Carter.
My initial response to the carnage in Gaza, with Hamas and Fatah killing each other (and any civilians that were in awkward places, my first reaction was a shrug. For once, the vast majority of the body count was terrorists — and this was pretty much the inevitable consequence of the Palestinian elections. The Palestinian people chose the Islamist terrorists versus the corrupt secular terrorists, and the idea that the two groups would find some way of sitting down and settling their differences amicably was far beyond delusional.
So now we have the makings of what some are cynically calling a “true two-state solution” to the Palestinian crisis: an Islamist tumor in the Gaza Strip run by Hamas, and a kleptocracy in the West Bank under the thumb of Fatah. And both sides are vigorously exterminating the remnants of the other in their own territories.
So many solutions spring to mind. The first would be for Israel to simply seal off their border with the Gaza Strip and place the border regions under intense surveillance. At the first sign that Hamas has grown bored with slaughtering their fellow Palestinians and is considering resuming their preferred vocation of killing Jews, then Israel should just obliterate the staging areas. After all, Hamas has repeatedly affirmed that they consider themselves at war with Israel, so why not simply take them at their word?
And to those who say that that would be punishing the innocents of Gaza, I say this: Hamas won power in an internationally-certified election, and before that it was flagrantly clear that this was an eminently predictable consequence of that election — in fact, I would even say it was inevitable.
Of course, that leaves the question of what to do about the West Bank. Some say that we should support Fatah there, encourage them to consolidate their power as a hedge against Hamas. Some say that we should act to freeze out Fatah, as they are acting against the duly-elected government of the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Hamas after those infamous elections.
Me, I say “what’s the rush?” Killing people seems to be the Palestinian national sport (presuming, of course, that one considers the Palestinians a nationality — which I do not). For too long, they’ve focused on killing Israelis and anyone else they consider the least bit sympathetic or supportive of Israel. Now they’re currently killing each other, and any police officer can tell you the ugliest situation to get in the middle of is a domestic violence case.
And that’s pretty much what is going on in the Palestinian territories right now, a domestic disturbance writ large.
I don’t see any compelling interest or reason for anyone to intervene while terrorists kill terrorists, while people who invested all their hopes and dreams and aspirations in terrorists and gave them power and legitimacy get precisely what everyone else said would be the consequences.
More importantly, neither terrorist group — Fatah or Hamas — is asking for any international intervention in the fighting at this point. This means that for any outsiders to intervene would most likely end up getting shot at by both sides. And while some would welcome that — giving the terrorists a reminder that they both are happier when they’re killing others instead of their own — I, personally, feel no great compunction to stop them.
So I say what’s the rush? Let’s just sit back and see how things develop for a bit. Let’s give the terrorists plenty of time to grow bored with killing each other. Just isolate them and let them duke it out until they either grow tired of it or one side decisively wins.
Or — and this is purest fantasy — they wipe each other out.
In the meantime, could someone get me some chips?