The Palestinian Choice

There will be no peace in the Middle East unless freedom becomes the Palestinians' guiding philosophy

Edwin A. Locke
The Ayn Rand Institute
10 April 2002 E-Mail this page to a friend

The toll of violence in the Middle East is a tragedy. The whole world, including President Bush, is pressuring Israel once again to negotiate with Yasser Arafat as a means of ending the conflict. This is a hopeless quest. Negotiation pre-supposes that both parties share common moral values and compatible goals. But the two sides are not morally equivalent. Arafat is a ruthless dictator who has had hundreds of his own people tortured or killed. He is and always has been a terrorist; he has
Every Arab country is a monarchy, theocracy or some kind of dictatorship
never sought peaceful co-existence with Israel but only its destruction. New evidence indicates that he provided money for the suicide bombers' missions and no doubt will continue to do so.

The Palestinians are the initiators of the violence—an indiscriminate violence in which they do not care whom they kill, whether soldier or child. Israel, in contrast, is acting in self-defense, in retaliation for such terrorism. And its response is aimed at those responsible for the violence and at the facilities from which they operate. (Any innocent noncombatants killed in the process are not the targets of the retaliation, and their blood is on the terrorists' hands.)

The Palestinians are not seeking to gain their freedom—they are unequivocal enemies of freedom. They, along with the rest of the Arab world, reject the whole concept of rights. Every Arab country is a monarchy, theocracy or some kind of dictatorship. Freedom of speech, property rights, free elections, and the separation of church and state are almost nonexistent. Speaking out against the rulers or against the Muslim religion leads to imprisonment or death. All attempts to start competing political parties are ruthlessly crushed.

Israel is the sole country in the Middle East that recognizes individual rights. It is the only Mid East country in which people are free to voice their opinions. The nonviolent, non-PLO-supporting Arab who lives in Israel enjoys far greater freedom than he would in any Arab nation. It is an utter perversion for the collectivized, tribalist Palestinians to claim that they are acting in defense of rights, when their aim is to obliterate rights-the rights of Israelis as well as of Arabs.

The fundamental goal of the Palestinian leadership is destruction. They want their terrorist attacks to lead to retaliation, so that more of their people will become terrorists, so that more killing takes place, and so on, in an endless cycle of violence, resulting in . . . death—death to as many people as possible. For example, the response of a father to the suicide-bombing act of his 23-year-old son, which killed three Israelis and injured 93 in downtown Netanyah, was: "I call upon all Palestinian youth to follow in his footsteps."
The Jews brought Western knowledge and Western values to the Middle East

Why such seething nihilism? Consider that when the Jews came to Palestine, it was a desert. People were living in the same primitive manner as they had been since the time of Moses. The Jews brought Western knowledge and Western values to the Middle East. They turned an almost barren land into a modern, industrial civilization. They raised cities where there had been only dirt; they developed irrigated farms where there had been only dry sand; they built cars and trucks and planes where there had been mainly pack animals. They produced wealth where there had been only poverty. They brought freedom and individual rights to a land where these ideas were unknown.

And many of the Arabs hated Israel for doing so—because it was an achievement they could not, and did not want to, equal. That is why they have always wanted to destroy Israel. That is why the Palestinians continue today in that quest.

When a person sees that a different culture can produce a much better life—greater knowledge, greater mastery over nature, greater comfort and security, greater respect for the individual—than his own, he has two choices. He can adopt the new culture as a blessing, or he can seek to destroy it—and himself-because it stands as a reproach to his irrational form of existence.
They hate the Israelis ... (because of) their ability to better their lives by embracing reason, science, technology and individual rights

The Palestinians have chosen the latter. They are guilty of what Ayn Rand called "hatred of the good for being the good." They hate the Israelis not because of their vices, but because of their virtues—their ability to better their lives by embracing reason, science, technology and individual rights. Israel (despite its own, growing crop of religious mystics) represents the triumph of secularism and freedom in the Middle East. Israel stands for the principle of . . . life.

The only way this conflict can be resolved, short of all-out war, is for a radical change in philosophy on the part of the Palestinians, starting with the choice of a new leader who wants Palestine to have a future. They need to choose individual rights and a free society as their core political principle. If they don't, they will tragically get their death wish, and will bring about only further destruction.

Until and unless that change occurs, our Mid East analysts and policy makers should not ignore the morally antithetical premises governing the two sides of this conflict. And that Israel is the morally right side that must be free to wage a just war of self-defense.

The original was published in the Ayn Rand website

Previous Visitor Comments

Name Email Subject Location
Looks like Ray did an amazing job btniasrorming and putting this all together. As I write this he’s probably performing with the Comedy Tour now! But it’s active members like you Liz, Ray, and Mohammad (who is going to represent us in Beirut in just a week!) that make networks like these work.We’re very proud to have passionate people like you amongst us.Tamara:That would be great! In June, Tori and Miriam will also be representing MEY in a panel somewhere in Colorado.I hope there will be one conference where all of us get to meet. I’ve been working with some people here via Skype and e-mail for over a year now. I’m dying to meet them!

The 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to Gaza or the West Bank since at the time of ratification nhteeir territory was under the jurisdiction of any state at the time. I am sure you are aware that Gaza was originally under control by Egypt while the West Bank was under Jordan’s control in which both at one point were invaded and occupied by IDF since the territories were used as platforms to launch attacks against Israel by Muslim states. Israel considers itself an authority in Gaza and West Bank as which is granted to an occupying power, is allowed and specified under the 4th Geneva Convention as well.In terms of the Six Day War that was not started by Israel but started by her neighbors. Prior to the conflict Israel was victim from attacks by terrorists it was discovered were being allowed to migrate through Syria. Egypt at first sent troops to the Sinai Peninsula due to an, admittedly, flase report that Israel was going to invade Jordan. Egypt later closed the Straits of Tiran considered an international water way at the time. Egypt then joined in the engagement due to a pact the country had with Jordan and Syria in which all 3 countries had military agreements with each other. Israel did start the fighting with an airstrike but the aggressions that lead up to the war were initiated by her Muslim neighbors. The reason for a lack of self determination by Gaza and West Bank Palestinians is simple, if they stop supporting terrorists and recognize Israel’s right to exist then the violence will stop. The Muslims not only refuse to but even reject any agreement geared to bringing peace to the region.To begin with I suggest you look up a man named Muhammad Amin al-Husseini. He was Yasser Arafat’s uncle and a Muslim cleric who ended up migrating to Germany and got a personal audience with Adlof Hitler. Husseini helped Hitler implement his Final Solution as well as raise Muslim regiments for the Nazis. When Nazi Germany fell he continued his activities helping to create groups like the PLO and Young Egypt Party which was a pro-Nazi organization. Among Young Egypt’s members were future Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.Nazism did not die with the defeat of Hitler but migrated to the Middle East thanks to Husseini in which you see Nazi influences in groups like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood (whose founder Hasan al-Banna was a Nazi sympathizer) and Hizbullah.
I thought fiinndg this would be so arduous but it’s a breeze!

Rameshwsx997_at_hotmail.comPoor Israelis!
This year, two Israelis and an American scientist have won Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Now do we ever read a news that an arab has won a Nobel Prize in science or discover something? NO! We know arabs for only one thing - SUICIDE BOMING!

Wynand de Beerwdebeer_at_yahoo.comWhose propaganda?
I wonder how much Edwin A. Locke was paid by the Israeli government and/or the Zionist pressure groups who dictate US foreign policy for writing this blatantly anti-Arab propaganda. The violent Israeli expulsion of millions of Arabs from their ancestral homelands since the late 1940's, and their continued occupation of these areas, can on no moral grounds be reconciled with Mr Locke's claim that 'the Jews brought Western knowledge and Western values to the Middle East'. Relations between the state of Israel and the Palestinians can only be normalised, on moral grounds, if the Israelis return the areas they illegally occupy, including eastern Jerusalem, to the rightful inhabitants thereof. Peace without justice towards all parties can never be lasting, let alone morally justifiable.

P L E A S E   P A R T I C I P A T E

No active contact accepted
E-mail Address

Previous Article Left inventing Afghan death toll
Next Article The case against the Euro

HOME Top Back Print E-Mail Page E-Mail us Guestbook