The Jerusalem Post
I think you are probably right. I certainly think Gazit is off the mark. However:
1. Can an Iraqi-subsidized intifada have the strategic purpose of delaying US action against Saddam? Is Arafat that much of a lackey?
2. Is a hepped-up, self-detonating cadre of true believers trying to compensate for the docile-sheep inaction of the masses of Palestinians? (This might suggest that Palestinian culture is “sick to the core,” as you say, but perhaps not for the reasons that you intimate.
The Palestinians were regarded in 1948 by almost all concerned (British, Jordanians, Egyptians, Iraqis) as non-entities, mere pawns in a bigger game. Fifty-four years later, nothing much has changed.
Kato makes an excellent point, and one I should have included.
But we should still keep in mind is that while, yes, the Palestinians have constantly been screwed over by their Arab “brothers,” they also keep handing them the lube.
Isn’t it a mistake to ask what “the Palestinians” hope to accomplish? It’s not as if they’re being asked to vote on their policy. Ask rather what Arafat hopes to accomplish. Arafat’s interests are very different than those of the Palestinians. If there’s a real Palestinian state, he has to govern. He might even have to hold an election. He has to go through normal international channels to get aid money. Foreign diplomats treat him like the unimportant leader of a useless little third world country.
This way? He gets attention, money, and gets to play the martyr.