Jonah Goldberg

I have been scouring eBay for the last couple of days, hoping to snag a one-of-a-kind item. But, alas, it hasn't turned up yet. I'm looking for the late Yasser Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize. It was looted from Arafat's Gaza compound by the victorious forces of Hamas, a jihadist group backed by Iran and Syria that has routed the once-mighty forces of Fatah from power in Gaza. According to the Jerusalem Post, a Fatah spokesman added: "They stole all the widow's clothes and shoes."

The widow in question would be Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's photo-op wife. Who can blame the looters for wanting to grab as much of her swag as possible? First of all, she wasn't using it. Suha hasn't been to Gaza for years. And her favorite shoe designer is Christian Louboutin, whose wares can fetch about $1,000 a pair, which is more than many Palestinians make in a year.

But it's that peace prize, won by Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin for agreeing to the 1993 Oslo accords, that really captures the lunacy of it all. It's the perfect reminder for everyone, myself included, of the Arabs' refusal to yield to idealism, hope or good intentions - and the West's refusal to recognize reality.

"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing," former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser once said. But from the U.S. point of view, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Maybe they just don't want what we're selling?

For example, in 2005, Israel simply gave Gaza to the Palestinians. According to the international community's land-for-peace mantra, a peaceful society should have sprouted like a stalk from Jack's magic beans. Instead, the Palestinian people voted for a band of Islamic fanatics - even the European Union calls them terrorists, not that it matters much - dedicated to the destruction of Israel. But the diplomacy-uber-alles crowd has long been immune to contrary evidence. Remember when Arafat fanned the second intifada in response to an unprecedented peace offer? Members of the Nobel committee openly talked of revoking the peace prize - from Peres.

Now, President Bush, the leaders of the EU and the editors of the New York Times all say this is the moment for Israel to offer more concessions to Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas. So much for the fresh-from-Iraq cliche that it's pointless to choose sides in a civil war.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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