Yesterday morning, I listened to Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman describe the terrorist attack in Jerusalem in which a Palestinian construction worker suddenly turned the bulldozer he was driving into traffic, crushing everything (and everyone) in its path.

The attack took place on one of Jerusalem’s busiest streets. Ambassador Gillerman noted sarcastically that the driver “courteously” stopped to let a car pull in front of him, which he then ran over and crushed, killing a woman and her baby. In another car, a woman threw her baby out the car window before the bulldozer crushed her to death. (The baby survived, the ambassador said, but was “gravely wounded.”)

According to Gillerman, the construction worker was an Israeli-Arab who worked for an Israeli Arab. “He took the bulldozer, with which he fed his own wife and family, and used it to crush other families to death, simply for being Israeli Jews.”

Gillerman described the attack as typical of the Palestinian contribution to the world. Of course, the ambassador was angry (who wouldn’t be?). But he went on to argue his point, reminding the audience that it was the Palestinians who invented airline hijackings. The long lines at airports are another Palestinian contribution to the world, said Gillerman.

In today’s political climate, one might be accused of “racism” for observing such contributions, like hostage taking, suicide bombings, and the use of innocents as human shields. After all, it is not for nothing that Yasser Arafat earned the sobriquet, “The father of modern Islamic terrorism.”

But that then raises the question of what “race” I am offending? Not all Arabs are Palestinians. Is there a “Palestinian” race? Well, historically, speaking, yes. From A.D. 70 until the early 1960s, they were called “Jews,” so that definition wouldn’t be applicable here. And the only other definition of “Palestinian” that seems to fit the modern usage would be “member of Yasser Arafat’s PLO” (which, prior to 1993, was also the working definition of “Middle Eastern terrorist”).

In any case, I wanted to be fair. So I typed the keywords “Palestinian contributions” (but without the quotes) into the Google News Search and got 519 hits containing those two words. Browsing through some of the hits, I noticed that wherever the word “contributions” appeared, it was in reference to contributions made TO the Palestinians. I couldn’t find any listing Palestinian “contributions” in the sense of the Palestinians being the contributors.

So, I thought I’d narrow the search: I typed “Palestinian contributions” using quotes, which forces Google to return only those documents that contain those exact words. This was what I got:

Your search – “Palestinian contributions” – did not match any documents.


Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

Try different keywords.

Try more general keywords.

Try fewer keywords.

Try Google Blog Search.

Instead, I tried expanding the search to the Web. Using “Palestinian contributions” enclosed by quotations, it appears there are but 295 documents out of the billions indexed by Google daily on the World Wide Web in which those two words are used together.

I didn’t read through them all, but the first hit on the top page from Yahoo! Answers was fairly representative. (You needn’t take my word for it. Google it yourself.)

That one was entitled: “Please List Positive Palestinian Contributions To the World.” The question was posed (six months ago!) and asked somewhat sympathetically:

I know somebody who’s spreading hateful words about Palestinians, basically saying they’ve contributed nothing but negativity to the world. … What I’m looking for are a few positive contributions to the world from Palestinians. Please don’t post any hateful “answers.” I’m not looking for a political or religious conversation. Thank you!

There were but a handful of replies, but the one chosen by the questioner as the ‘best answer” was this one: “How can they contribute anything … they are experiencing what some would call a genocide, and are currently in a state of apartheid … are you seriously going to worry about contributing to the world in such conditions?”

That was the BEST answer – after six months – to the question (it bears repeating) “What are a few positive contributions to the world from Palestinians?”

It might have been the best answer Yahoo! Answers got, but “Nothing. Why should they?” isn’t much of a list. The Palestinians, according to the U.N., deserve statehood based on the presumption that they are a cohesive people who are stateless – rather than a mob who live outside any national jurisdiction as the result of the Israeli victory in the Six Day’s War.

So, if anybody actually can list a few positive Palestinian contributions to the world – ever – in the history of the Palestinian people, drop me a line.

Google hasn’t been much help.

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