Considering the ways reporters and opinion writers have covered Hamas’s recent attempts to breach the security fence between Gaza and Israel, Sohrab Ahmari notes a common trend of regarding the Palestinians as childlike innocents who have no choice but to respond to provocation with uninhibited rage:
Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people. This basic, incontestable anthropological reality needs to be frequently restated today since our media and foreign-policy establishment have apparently concluded the opposite. . . . By the Western media’s dim lights, the blame for Hamas’s criminal stunt and the casualties it caused lay with . . . anybody and everybody but Hamas and the Palestinians. . . .
The Palestinians’ more sophisticated friends know what Hamas is all about. They understand that young men whipped into a frenzy by an organization that exists to destroy world Jewry, per its charter, aren’t exactly latter-day Freedom Riders. But they think that the Palestinians can’t help themselves. While they expect Israel—a state encircled by hostile populations and threatened with nuclear extinction by the Iranian mullahs—to behave like Norway, of the Palestinians they have the most dismal, if any, expectations. . . .
The Mideast reporter Sulome Anderson [wrote]: “Imagine the desperation it takes to walk into live gunfire from the Middle East’s most powerful fighting force, armed with nothing more than rocks and the occasional Molotov [cocktail] or grenade. Try to conceive of the circumstances that could drive so many human beings to such an act.”
Or maybe try to conceive of the poisonous power of Hamas’s anti-Semitic ideology and the Palestinians’ permanently aggrieved mentality, which has allowed the conflict to fester despite numerous peace offers from the Israeli side. There are desperate people all over the world who never translate their frustration into suicide bombing, stone throwing, border-rushing, and violent “Days of Rage.” It does the Palestinians no good to treat them as children entitled to tantrums, as permanent wards of the international community or, worst, as wild men bereft of reason. Then again, such high-handed pity isn’t really about helping the Palestinians so much as it is about flattering their Western friends.