The notion that Israel is victimizing the Palestinians is one of the cardinal—perhaps the cardinal—paradigms of international politics since the 1967 Six-Day War. Not only the left, both in Israel and abroad, subscribes to it, but also a large part of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, and just about all of official Europe. It goes without saying that the paradigm is regnant in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
It is hard, then, to get anyone interested in Palestinians victimizing Palestinians—suggesting that the seeming preoccupation with Israeli-ruled territories has something to do with the great value many people find in the Jew-as-victimizer prototype. Similarly, once the United States—supposedly the oppressor—had left Southeast Asia in the early 1970s, it was hard to get any but a few of the opponents of that presence interested in the ensuing horrendous victimization of Vietnamese and Cambodians by other Vietnamese and Cambodians.
Last week, though, an Israeli outfit called the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) tried to buck the trend. It presented to the European Parliament a report on “The Status of Human Rights on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The reports notes that “a surprising silence prevails regarding the violation of human rights by the Palestinian government authorities in the Territories,” and that, even though these are by now widely documented, “the EU continues to push for full and immediate statehood for the [Palestinian Authority].”
And while the JIJ focuses mainly on Europe, it could, naturally, also have said similar things regarding the Obama administration’s preoccupation with getting statehood for the Palestinians—fast; which seems to have waned only recently in an election year.
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