The New York Times today reports on a hopeful-sounding development: After years of anti-Israel violence have failed to improve their plight, the Palestinians in the West Bank are trying a new approach. So, what are they doing? Building their economy, reining in corruption, marginalizing extremists, curbing anti-Israel incitement? Not exactly:
Goods produced in Israeli settlements have been burned in public demonstrations. The Palestinian prime minister has entered West Bank areas officially off limits to his authority, to plant trees and declare the land part of a future state.
Curiously, the Obama administration, so quick to condemn Israel for building settlements on disputed territory in Jerusalem, has yet to condemn this Palestinian campaign to establish facts on the ground in the absence of a negotiated settlement. Just as curious, the Palestinians have started a boycott campaign against Israeli products – even as they and their apologists have taken to claiming that Israel’s “blockade” on certain goods entering Palestinian territories is primarily to blame for their misfortunes. How strange that the Palestinians should adopt the very measures that they insist are responsible for their economic woes:
Billboards have sprung up as part of a campaign against buying settlers’ goods, featuring a pointed finger and the slogan “Your conscience, your choice.” The Palestinian Ministry of Communications has just banned the sale of Israeli cellphone cards because Israeli signals are relayed from towers inside settlements.
Still, at least Palestinians have embraced non-violence. Or have they?
[Israeli authorities] reject the term nonviolent for the recent demonstrations because the marches usually include stone-throwing and attempts to damage the separation barrier.
To recap, then, Palestinians are now focusing their energies on state building, except when they’re busy boycotting Israeli goods, and have renounced violence, except when they haven’t. How precisely can this be considered progress?