Star Parker

Many of the problems in America's inner cities seem to me similar to Israeli-Palestinian problems as described by a scholar of an Israeli think tank.

It's becoming increasingly evident to me that the theme of personal responsibility is crucial everywhere and transcends the particularities of different cultures and religions.

A recent column by this scholar concerned impact of the death of Yasser Arafat on prospects for near-term peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He talked about the summer of 2000 when President Clinton sequestered then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat at Camp David with the goal of achieving an historic peace accord. Barak agreed to the two-state solution that was the alleged goal of Arafat _ an autonomous Palestinian state next to the Jewish state _ and a good portion of the territorial concessions that Arafat demanded, and Arafat walked away from it all.

President Clinton thought he was on the verge of making history and wound up in shock that the Palestinian leader walked out. After years of suffering and bloodshed, how could Arafat reject a plan just a fraction less than 100 percent of his demands?

Following the rejection, the terror attacks resumed, with Palestinian children wrapping themselves in explosives, sneaking into Israel and blowing themselves up in crowded public facilities.

Most discussions I read today imply that in order to understand Arab terror we need to understand Islam and its nuances. The claims go on that we need to understand the cultural, historical and economic circumstances that produce this insane behavior.

I know very little about Islam and next to nothing about the Middle East. I do know irresponsibility when I see it. And frankly, this is what I see operating here, pure and simple. I'm sure this conclusion will not sit well with all the Ph.D.s. But guns, bloodshed and poverty are not unique to the Middle East. They unfortunately are very much part of life in our nation's own inner cities and I do know something about this reality. I see similar themes in these two very different parts of the world.

The irresponsible person, the perennial victim, will always find a reason why it is impossible to get up in the morning, accept life's burdens and quietly and peacefully build a responsible life. There will always be a piece missing from the perfect circumstances that supposedly needed.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.