The problem runs deeper than a few figureheads. The Palestinian Arab population is rotten to the core. There are many to be blamed: Yasser Arafat, who lined his pockets with cash and subsidized murder while playing the victim of oppression. An Arab world that refused to absorb the Palestinian population, preferring to use it as a political pawn against Israel. The United Nations, which suckled the Palestinian Arab population into dependency at the international teat. Israel, for emboldening the Palestinian Arabs by conceding to them.
But in the end, the blame must lie with the Palestinian Arabs themselves. They have accepted their role with relish. They are as responsible for their government's longstanding evil as the Germans were for the Nazis'.
It is far more convenient, however, for the Bush administration and the international community to treat the Palestinian Arabs' thoroughgoing radicalism as a top-down problem. Throw a bit of money at the Holocaust denier, pressure Israel into concessions and hope that the Palestinian Arabs will abandon their attachment to Islamofascism, the logic runs.
Such policy demonstrates an adolescent understanding of Palestinian Arab motivation. Palestinian Arabs will not be bribed: The West has bribed them for decades, and the Palestinian Arabs have demonstrated their preference for suicide bombing over working toilets. Palestinian Arabs will not be moderated: Israel has ceded land continuously since 1993, and the Palestinian Arabs have demonstrated their preference for murder over peace. Palestinian Arabs must be fought on their own terms: as a people dedicated to an evil cause.
So far, Israel and America have willfully blinded themselves to the harsh reality of popular evil. They have refused to come to terms with the harsh fact that collective choices require collective treatment.
Treating collective problems as problems of individuals is a vacuous panacea. Waiting for Arafat to die of old age did not moderate the Palestinian Arabs; supporting one radical over another will not moderate them, either. The Palestinian Arab population breeds terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. If Israel and America refuse to recognize that simple truth, they will continue to pay the price in blood and treasure.