This morning I read a terrible, sad, tragic story in the Boston Globe. It was about a bunch of Palestinian refugees who were driven out of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp by the fighting between the Lebanese Army and the terrorist group, Fatah al-Islam.
This has me terribly confused.
You see, the refugee camp is run by the United Nations, through its subsidiary, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). And under the very strict rules of UNRWA, weapons are completely forbidden in the camp.
Don’t the men of Fatah al-Islam know that what they’re doing is illegal? Why didn’t the UNRWA rules stop them?
There are so many lessons to be drawn from this incident.
The first is that, to terrorists, there are no innocents. Fatah al-Islam set up base in the camp because 38 years ago, the Lebanese government agreed that it would not allow its troops to enter the camp. That de facto concession of Lebanese sovereignty — a term that is almost an oxymoron — laid the groundworks for the problems of today.
The second is that the UN is about as good at controlling weapons by passing rules as is pretty much any other body — like, say, the city governments of Washington, DC and New York City. In all such cases, those who are most likely to obey such rules are also the ones least likely to cause problems with weapons. Conversely, those most likely to want weapons to cause mischief are not in the least inclined to let themselves be checked by rules and regulations and laws.
The third is that only an idiot or a suicidal fool would ever entrust their physical safety to the UN, or any agency of the UN. We’ve seen it far, far too many times — the scandals of UN “peacekeepers” extorting money and sex from those they’re pledged to protect, the utter impotence of the Blue Helmets in doing their sworn duty.
The only time I can recall them even talking tough was when they moved into southern Lebanon following last summer’s fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. They’ve openly threatened Israel to stay on their side of the border, while scrupulously ignoring the other half of their mandate and allowed Hezbollah to move right back in among them and re-arm to the point where they claim to be even better equipped than a year ago — and I don’t doubt them in the least.
The fourth is that the Palestinians really ought to be disgusted with their “brothers.” What kind of people let their brothers live in “camps” (a better term would be “cities” and “towns”) for sixty years, forbidden form obtaining citizenship, their rights to move and work freely strictly curtailed, and used purely as political footballs? I know they blame Israel for the “original sin” of their displacement, but since then no one — especially not those who have appointed themselves the Palestinians’ champions — have done a single thing of substance to ameliorate their suffering.
The fifth is that I know a hell of a lot more about the Palestinians of northern Lebanon than I do about the Israelis of Sderot, who’ve been under similar (but less efficient) attack for far longer. Gee, I wonder why there is such in-depth coverage of the Palestinians, but the Israelis of Sderot often don’t get their names mentioned even when they are killed?
I’d like to thank the Boston Globe and the Associated Press for bringing us this story out of Lebanon. I, personally, learned a hell of a lot from it.
I just don’t think that I learned the sorts of things they were trying to tell me.