Bet you thought that as soon as Israel finished its dramatic withdrawal from Gaza and the upper West Bank, the Palestinians would roll up their sleeves, get to work building new lives and forge peaceful ties with their neighbors in the Jewish state.They will blow it. Too many of themn would rather explode around Jews than live with them inthe same neighborhood.
Israeli forces were still in the process of removing settlers from their homes and synagogues when ministers in the Palestinian government began whining that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza was nowhere near enough. Many Gazans dismissed it all as a PR "charade."
Other Palestinians warn that a third and bloodier intifadeh is on its way. And Hamas, the increasingly powerful Islamist terrorist party, says Gaza and even the entire West Bank aren't enough. "All of Palestine is our land," says Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar.
That, of course, includes Israel.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has done dangerously little to strengthen his control over Gaza. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other fanatic militias are still armed and operating. And after Abbas met some of their leaders in Damascus last week, they announced that he'd agreed not to disarm them - which leaves Israel vulnerable to renewed terrorist attacks.
Billions in aid have disappeared over the years, much of it stolen by corrupt Palestinian officials. With Gaza returning to Palestinian control, the world is ready to clean the slate and help again.
The U.S. and the European Union have allocated mega-millions. The oil-rich United Arab Emirates announced it would donate $100 million to build a new city for some 30,000 Palestinians in the Gaza settlement of Morag. And a group of American-Jewish philanthropists has contributed $14 million so Palestinians can buy the lucrative network of hot houses that Israelis built in Gaza.
Palestinians have the chance to improve their lives if they stop feeling sorry for themselves. Possibly 600,000 of them fled the 1947-48 war that Arab states launched against newly born Israel, and 60 years later they still consider themselves "refugees." Now the Palestinians claim they number more than 5 million - and that the world still owes them a living.