Standing Up To a Bully

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I’ve written pages before that the current inferno in Palestine began when Ariel Sharon marched with too many troops into the Old City of Jerusalem, purportedly to visit his normally vacant apartment. It was a provocation, to be sure, and the Palestinians fell for it, initiating a violent response. (Given his ulterior purposes, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Sharon and his associates even paid some Palestinian kids to throw stones.)

By reviving the Intifada, the Palestinians prompted Israelis to vote for the party of the one man they felt capable of defending them – Gen. Sharon, otherwise retired. Indeed, he became prime minister. If Palestinians had simply let the Big Bully swagger through their town, he would have gotten fewer votes. Palestinian foolishness elected Ariel Sharon.

Even the Palestinian-American publicist Edward Said understood this cause and effect when he declared with typical convolution: “The suicide bombers of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have of course been at work, as Sharon knew perfectly well they would be when, after a ten-day lull in the fighting in late November, he suddenly ordered the murder of the Hamas leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud: an act designed to provoke Hamas into retaliation and thus allow the Israeli Army to resume the slaughter of Palestinians.” Simply, without the suicide bombers Sharon would have no excuse for slaughter. Got it? Furthermore, for every Israeli killed, several Palestinians die. Statistics are brutally unequal. Another result of Sharon’s election has been draconian policing that has devastated the Palestinian economy.

What to do? Palestinians seem to think that if they send into Israel yet more suicide bombers, they can undermine the Sharon regime. No go. Or that Israeli morale will crumble low enough to force its government to make greater concessions to Palestinian demands. Wrong again. They also apparently think that sending out such monumental self-fuckers, as I call them, can prompt intervention by sympathetic Arab nations. No go either, as Arab governments are not eager to get involved.

The truth is that the ‘Only people who can overthrow Sharon are those who got him elected in the first place – the violent Palestinians. Rest assured that standing by himself, without the threat of Palestinian provocations, Gen. Sharon is no more attractive to Israelis than to anyone else.

Don’t attack a bully, I learned while young; outsmart him. Only by making Sharon unnecessary to Israeli security can Palestinians succeed. For Palestinians to rid the Jerusalem of Sharon the tactics of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi would be considerably more effective – politically, economically, humanly. Universal Palestinian pacifism would also require more discipline of·their leadership and more saintliness of their people than has recently been evident. Cease falling for provocation bait, and eventually the provocateur will cease. People don’t get rewards for being stupid, no matter how righteous their cause.

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