Palestinians standing in the way of peace

By WND Staff

On this 3rd anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Palestinians have failed to do enough to condemn the kind of Islamic extremism that caused the terrorism.

And while technically, some Palestinians are correct in arguing that their cause was not behind Osama bin Laden’s terrorism, they were uninvolved and they were unsupportive, a redefinition of terrorism and the rise of terrorism in the intifada place a moral burden on their backs they can’t avoid.

Further, the failure of Palestinians to control their own Islamic extremists such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad has redoubled the burden. Islamic fanaticism has permeated the Palestinian cause undermining its justice and threatening Palestinian national aspirations.

They have functioned with the tacit approval of the Muslim world and Palestinians, who embraced Islam as the so-called “official religion” of the yet unachieved Palestine, have fueled the linkage.

More than championing the principle of Palestinian justice, Palestinians must address without equivocation the terrorism that has taken place in their own name.

That terrorism parallels the terrorism of Osama bin Laden in the eyes of the West, which has the power not only to deny Palestinian national rights, but to empower Israel’s growing rightwing government to exercise even worse acts of state sponsored terrorism in the guise of self-defense.

Israel would not be able to build the Wall had Palestinians not failed to reign in the terrorists who have hijacked the Palestinian cause. Suicide bombings are immoral and rather than undermine Israel’s actions only serve to reinforce world moral support for Israel’s repression.

Israel would not be able to expand its racist settlements had Palestinians not failed to control the freelance terrorists who seem to dominate the current turmoil.

Israel would not be overcoming years of Palestinian advances in the world toward nationhood had Palestinians stood firm in decrying not only Israeli atrocities but atrocities committed by Palestinians or in the Palestinians’ name.

Many might argue this is an unfair burden. It’s true, it is unfair. But the Palestinian tragedy that is unfolding is worse than unfair and unless Palestinians take serious steps to arrest the religious extremists among them, their cause will only further erode.

Before Palestinians can even speak out against Israel’s actions, they must speak out against the actions of their own people. They can thank the Islamicist movement for placing that inevitable burden on their backs. They can thank the rise of Islamic fanaticism for undermining their just cause. They can thank Osama bin Laden for pushing the cause of Palestine to the back burners of the international conscience. They can thank Sept. 11 for making it nearly impossible to stand up and demand justice or demand that Israel’s atrocities end.

The truth is that despite the ugliness of Israel’s wall, it has reduced Palestinian extremist suicide bombings. The wall is not the right answer for Israel – nor will it ever guarantee true long-term security – but it is providing the answer that Palestinians have failed to provide.

The longer Palestinians delay speaking out against the fanaticism among their own community, the worse the situation will become and the more difficult it will be for Palestinians to achieve justice.

Even Palestinians who embrace peace and oppose violence cannot succeed as long as the Palestinian community, the conscience of the Palestinian people fails to stand up and denounce terrorism and suicide bombings.

They must, as a nation, denounce Islamic fanaticism, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the instrument of these horrors, suicide bombings, or else they may be forced to surrender their historic claims for justice, compromise and peace.

Hamas stands in the way of peace, not Israel. The failure of the Palestinians as a nation, not individual groups, to denounce suicide bombings stands in the way of justice.

Israel may not want to give the Palestinians a real just peace, but Palestinians have made it easy for Israel not to do so.

Ray Hanania is the former national president of the Palestinian American Congress, a nationally syndicated columnist and author. His columns are archived at